Did Ya Know

My Abstracting Story

January 24, 2017

As we discussed yesterday the original recording procedure, in most states, could only be recorded upon the order of a court, so therefore the first abstractors were attorneys. Today just about anyone can sit at a computer with the tap of a few keys produce a title report. This computerized abstracting is a relatively new thing, and it has brought about a dramatic change in how we learn the process of abstracting. I actually got my abstracting start 26 years ago in Beaufort County South Carolina it was my first real job, you know one where I didn’t wear a uniform and ask if you wanted fries with that. J

Looking back it’s really funny, we worked 9 to 5, took hour lunches and never worked holidays or weekends, but we were working hard. Lol The real estate world, like the rest of the world, moved so much slower we had two weeks to do a full title! I don’t think I was entrusted with anything but typing invoices and following the real abstractors around for 3 months, but eventually I learned and after 2 years was entrusted with my first base abstract, Bloody Point Plantation on Daufuskie Island South Carolina.

The information we needed to do our job was all over the place, assessor on one floor, sheriff was around the corner, judgments were in the courthouse, land records were in a separate building with mapping and even a separate copy department, you simply could not do a title as quick as we do today. There were no computers there was a set of handwritten indices for each thing you were looking for grantee’s, grantor’s, mortgagees, mortgagors, tax liens, mechanics liens, judgments, lis pendens, plats etc. Depending on how many years you needed to search depended on how many indices you had to look in. After indexing you had to pull all the book references you found to see if they applied, oh how I hated bottom book day, you know days when every book you needed seemed to be on the bottom shelf ,which is only slightly better than top shelf books which required the use of a ladder.

So I know everyone is saying “geeze make a point”, well the point is in our fast paced, computer driven world, some of the “craft” of abstracting is being lost and hopefully by sharing some of the old stuff with you, the next generation, we can keep the “craft” alive. So when you ask questions of your veteran abstractors get more than a yes or no answer, wait for the explanation of why or how they figured that out, so you too can learn and carry the torch for the next generation.

To be continued…..

Donna Hunter