Saturday, April 26, 2014

The Things You Come Across In Land Records


     For no particular reason I've been thinking lately about my 4th great-grandmother Armenia or Armina Galloway who was born around 1776 in Massachusetts.  Probably because I know next to nothing about her and it bugs me.  I don't even know her maiden name, though I suspect it may have been Russell since she chose that name for her second son.  For that matter, even the spelling of her first name is uncertain, in the 1850 census it is "Armenia" and in the 1855 it is Armina.  I've done searches using her husband's name and her first name, <"George Galloway" Armina>, but all the results I get are for some British politician named George Galloway and the country of Armenia or my own blog.

     Looking at Galloway land transactions in Wayne and Ontario Counties in New York on Family Search, I was surprised to see in the grantee index, "Armina Galloway" in 1825!  Women didn't buy much land in 1825 New York, so that was unexpected.  Upon looking up the original deed, I found it wasn't a deed at all, it was an agreement between Armina and Henry Hyde--
  January 8, 1825
     Know all men by these presents that I, Henry Hyde of Lyons, NY do agree with Armina Galloway of the same place, that she may have the use of the present dwelling house and lot where she now lives for the yearly rent of one kernel of grain, so long as she may live on the said premises in person, or she may rent the same and have the rent herself as long as she will take good care of said Hyde and his children at the said Hyde’s expense of provisions, clothing etc. at his own dwelling in said Lyons. 
    Witness my hand at Lyons the 3rd day of January, 1825. N.B. If the said Armina should choose after living with said Hyde to return to her present dwelling she may have the privilege as above stated.

     I was unsure what N.B. stood for, so I consulted Wikipedia which states it's an abbreviation for the Latin Nota Bene, meaning, "note well".  Today we would just write "note" in a document to emphasize the subject being addressed.  Besides learning a little new Latin, I also found that the learned Henry Hyde and the 1855 census taker both spelled Grandmother's name, "Armina". 

    I love the kernel of grain as rent and was curious about Henry Hyde.  I found for sale here a diary from his early years, and if I had $2,000 I didn't have any use for I would purchase it, however...
This is a description--
    Dr. Henry Hyde (1774-1828), was from Milton, Vermont and in 1810 he went to Ohio looking for land.  Not finding what he wanted, he returned east and purchased a farm near Lyons, NY.  

    I also found him in the 1820 census of Lyons with a large family.  He went on to found the town of Hydesville near Lyons, so I guess he could afford to let property for a kernel of grain.  It appears his wife had passed away by the time Armina agreed to take care of him and his family, but three years later, Henry himself passed away at age 54.  I wonder if the agreement continued in force?  I found it odd that she agreed to live with Henry, a man about her own age, while her husband George was still alive, but I imagine free rent would be hard to pass up.  I'd love to fill in these details someday, so I'm keeping my eyes open for new documents coming online.


  1. It sounds like Armina had her own residence while Henry and his children had theirs, but it does seem odd that she lived there presumably without her husband. Did she and George have children? Might they have been separated at this time? If you find more details about this story, please let us know :-)

    1. George and Armina had 3 boys that I know of but they were grown by 1825. George and Armina are in the 1820 census together, and the 1840 and 50. I cannot find either in 1830 and I've gone line by line in that census. They were missed or living with someone else, but not their sons--I found the sons with no parents in their households in 1830.

  2. Replies
    1. Hi Dara---interesting and frustrating