Property Ownership Examples

Property Ownership Documents

This section provides examples of 19th and and early 20th century property ownership documents. They are from the personal archives of a single Connecticut family whose ancestors were named Molnár. All the real estate involved was located in what is now the town of Novajidrány in northern Hungary. This town, composed of the former villages of Idrány, Alsónovaj, Felsönovaj, and Sárvár, is located on highway E-71 about 10 miles south of the Slovak border. During the period in which these documents were produced, this was part of the Szikszó district (járás) of Abauj-Torna county (megye), the county seat of which was in the large city of Kassa (now Kosice, Slovakia). In a way, this tutorial could be titled The Saga of a Plum Orchards since several of the documents illustrated relate to two small plum orchards purchased in 1866 and 1884 by a János Molnár, the great-grandfather of the present-day owner of the documents.

To view three generations of Molnár family history
-- that may help put these documents into perspective --

Click to See Note.

Hungary was well-known for centuries as a litigious society. Property disputes sometimes went on for generations, and -- if nothing else -- made the lawyers wealthy. Therefore we see here, in addition to contracts for the sale/purchase of properties, decrees of the Royal District Court settling claims regarding impediments to clear title to a property.

It may be easier to keep track of the various Molnár property transactions (not all of which are shown here) with a outline of what was going on. Presumably, as they accumulated land, it was more-or-less integrated into the Molnár homestead.

  • 1866: János Molnár buys a plum orchard adjacent to land he already owned in Alsónovaj.
  • 1884: He buys a second orchard, called the outer plum orchard.
  • 1890: The wife of János inherits a small portion of an estate in a nearby village.
  • 1908: János' son, András, buys a nearby vineyard.
  • 1910: András buys out his brothers' shares of the outer plum orchard while living in the US.
  • 1911: The wife of András builds a new house on that property.
  • 1915: Court orders inventory of estate of the mother of András.
  • 1917: Court validates ownership of outer plum orchard by András.
  • 1924: András brings his wife and children to the US.

Hopefully, this collection of documents will give the reader some sense of the breadth of property-related materials that may be found among a family's old papers.

This tutorial is quite different from my other document tutorials, because the materials used here are all totally unrelated to my own family. Joseph Balogh, editor of Magyar News arranged access to the documents for me, and was kind enough to assist with the translation of selected parts. He also provided important additional insights into the significance of the documents. I extend my thanks to both Mr. Balogh and the Molnár descendants for their cooperation and assistance. But, as always, I take full responsibility for any errors that you may find in this website.

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