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commences at the source of title, as where a devolution from the United States is shown, no announcement of the time from which the search dates is necessary, but when any intermediate point is selected it is customary to indicate same.
The different conveyances and stages of title are usually shown in chronological order so as to present, as far as possible, a connected chain, and are numbered seriatim from the beginning. The liens and incumbrances when connecting title should be set forth in regular chronological order in conjunction with other instruments, and releases or discharges should immediately follow the incumbrance or lien which they purport to affect, irrespective of the time they bear date. The aim of the examiner should be to present, so far as may be, the course of title in unbroken sequence through whatever forms or instrumentalities it may pass. Judgments against the person, mechanic's liens, taxes and tax sales, are better shown after the course of title has been traced, in the shape of appendices and under appropriate heads. Decrees, judgments, orders affecting the land, and tax deeds, of course appear in regular order in the body of the abstract.
The result of the examiner's labors should be summed up in conclusion, by a brief recapitulatory and explanatory certificate, embodying the essential features of the search. It should be certain in its statements, leaving nothing to implication, and contain no more than is developed by actual investigation. If the examination is made from the records it should so state, enumerating the different classes examined, or describing the offices or depositories from which the information was obtained, but where it is made from indices kept by the examiner, it is customary to certify from such indices. It should be signed by the examiner and dated, such date being usually the date of the examination.26
SECTION 13. SUBSTANCE OF THE ABSTRACT-INITIAL
STATEMENTS. Whenever the abstract goes back to the foundation of title, in all cases of lands which originally formed a part of the National Domain, it should always com mence with a brief note of the original entry of the land at the United States Land Office of the district in which the same is located, giving the name of the person so entering it, together with the date, and any other particulars that may appear and are pertinent. Should the entry from any cause have been cancelled and re-entry made, that fact should also be noticed, with date of cancellation and re-entry. Where parties have negligently omitted to record the Receiver's receipt, issued on the sale of the land at time of entry, or the patent, as is frequently the case, this forms the only item of information relative to the origin of the title. The entry itself, if valid, gives a right to the Register's certificate of purchase, and creates an equitable interest in the land. It is useful in showing the inception of title, and forms a symmetrical initial to the history which follows.
When the inception of title is through some grant of Congress, even though the immediate grants are from the State, the preliminary measures by which the State acquired its right to convey should appear as the preliminary statement of the abstract. A grant of public land by statute is the highest and strongest form of title known to our law. The original grant, there30 Warvelle on Abstracts, passim,
fore, or so much thereof as may be necessary to show the conveyance, should form the initial statement of an abstract of title to land so derived. Coupled with this should appear so much of the official action of the State authorities as will show an acceptance on their part and a compliance with such conditions as may be imposed by the granting act. Public grants to States are usually of specified quantities but of unascertained location, which is determined by selection in accordance with the terms of the grant. A selection by the State has the effect of an entry of the land, and withdraws the tract from further disposal. And when a particular parcel of land is selected by a State, through its officers or other authorized agents, and such selection and location are approved by the United States, the title becomes perfect and attaches to the land selected.
The immediate title to Section sixteen, and in States west of the Missouri River to Section thirty-six as well, is derived from the State, although the original title comes from the Federal Government. These sections, in pursuance of a cherished policy of the government, are specifically appropriated to the use of common schools, which appropriation or reservation forms a part of the compact by which the State is admitted into the Union. Where the land lies in sections sixteen or thirty-six the formal introduction should show the devolution of title from the government.
In the West and Southwest, the title to land rests, in many cases, upon confirmed claims of inchoate rights derived from the governments which owned the soil prior to the conquest or cession, the method of confirmation differing considerably with locality. The rights of parties claiming under titles from the Spanish or Mexican governments are determined by special commissioners appointed for the purpose, and by the United States courts, and such determinations are usually followed by patent. Whenever practicable, the decree of confirmation, or reference to it, should form the initial statement of the abstract and precede the patent.
It frequently happened that the advancing tide of immigration, not only pushed forward the adventurous pioneer and agriculturist beyond the line of the public surveys, but in many cases whole communities settled and formed a town or village. These settlements have been provided for by several acts of Congress. The preliminary measures attending the inception of the title of town and city property when acquired under the acts just mentioned should form the initial to the abstract and be shown with a reasonable degree of detail.
In the case of lands acquired through the common form of entry, the receipt of the Receiver of the district land office should follow the note of entry. While this receipt does not constitute title, it is yet evidence of an equitable interest, which, in many of the states, , has been accorded a dignity and effect equal to a patent. Upon the strength of this receipt large investments were frequently made and great improvements commenced, while the land often passed through many hands before a patent had been issued.
Lands granted to the states for school and university purposes, as well as grants for internal improvements, are disposed of in much the same manner as the public lands of the general government. The special method of their disposal is regulated by express statute in each State. A certificate of sale of State lands is not sufficient to convey the fee, which, by analogy to
the doctrine of sales of Federal lands, remains in the State until patent has issued. It entitles the purchaser, however, to the beneficial interest in the premises, and is sufficient evidence of title to vest in him the same rights of possession, enjoyment, descent, transmission and alienation of the lands therein described, and the same remedies for the protection of said rights, as against all persons except the State, that he would possess if he were the owner thereof in fee.
The foregoing paragraphs have reference only to well ascertained beginnings of title, which may be traced with little difficulty from its source or fountain head. In all states west of the Alleghenies, with possibly the exception of Kentucky and Tennessee, this may be easily accomplished, and a purchaser may reasonably insist on the production of a chain of title from the government. Such, however, is not always done, and the examiner, from information furnished by the vendor, sometimes prepares a preliminary statement, resting mainly on tradition, in which is recited the condition and course of the title at some remote period, which is then followed by a regular examination. The time selected is usually twenty years prior to the commencement of the search. This is strictly in accord with the English precedents and is not without authoritative usage in the United States. Where information is difficult of access, or impossible of procurement from official or authentic sources, as is often the case in the Eastern States, such a practice might be followed as the only available method, leaving the keenness of counsel to detect flaws and call for further evidence on desired points; but in the states formed from the territories, where the rectangular system of