San Mateo County Genealogical Society's Blog featuring society events, projects, meeting notes and other items of relevance to genealogists.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

SMCGS Databases Online: Tax Sales and More

This month two new indexes have been added to the SMCGS website.

The first is Certificates of Sale, Executions and Attachments.  It is an index to documents held in drawers 19 through 24 covering the years 1856 thru 1929 in the San Mateo County Record Repository.  The documents include:
  • Sheriff's Certificate of Sale names include sheriff and purchaser of land (p) and if found name of original land owner (o) a plaintiff is also often listed as in the case of a lawsuit the land is sold to satisfy it.  In a tax delinquency the plaintiff is the people.
  • Sheriff's Certificate of Sale on Foreclosure - specific to mortgage holders.
  • Sheriff's Certificate of Redemption
  • Copy of Writ of Attachment is a court order to "attach" or seize an asset. It is issued by a court to a law enforcement officer or sheriff. The writ of attachment is issued in order to satisfy a judgment issued by the court.
  • Copy Writ of Execution is a court order granted to put in force a judgment of possession obtained by a plaintiff from a court.[1] When issuing a writ of execution, a court typically will order a sheriff or other similar official to take possession of property owned by a judgment debtor. Such property will often then be sold in a sheriff's sale and the proceeds remunerated to the plaintiff in partial or full satisfaction of the judgment.
  • Release of Attachment
  • Sale on Execution  - a sale of property by the sheriff under authority of a court's writ of execution in order satisfy an unpaid obligation
  • Constable's Sale - Sold at township rather than county level
  • Sale by City Treasurer - Usually for non-payment of improvement bonds.  Most of these sales were redeemed.
  • Conveyance of Real Estate for Delinquent Taxes.
 Check the about page for lists of County Sheriff's, County Recorders and City Treasurers.

The second index is to Sales by the County Tax Collector for the years 1857 to 1894.  Some of the sales are recorded in Sheriff's Tax Certificate Books A-G.  Certificates are located in drawers 25-34. Some certificates for sales to the People of the State of California were not found.  A few other certificates are also missing from the drawers.  Information includes owner, purchaser, a description of the land and whether the land has been redeemed. 

It is apparent from the large number of "sales" to a few men, that they did not for the most part intend to buy this land.  Instead they were the "money lenders" who would pay the taxes and then collect interest until the land was redeemed.  By following the records you get a picture of who was living on the edge, checking the date of the sale and the redemption gives you an idea of how long it look to pay the bill.  For some individuals this was an annual process and they paid back within the year.  Others missed their payments for a few years.  They might eventually redeem the land after three or four years.  For others this was a final sale and they left the land.

You can order these records from the County Recorders Office.  Be sure to give them a description of what you are looking for and its exact location as these records are very infrequently accessed and they are not likely to be familiar with them.

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