A search of land titles will help sort the puzzle of who’s lived in your house. Photo: FILE.When you bought your little charmer you were given a title. No, not a fancy new name to make you sound more important, but a legal document issued as part of the sale of your home. A title is proof of your ownership and an invaluable historical document that records every owner of the property back to the first time it was sold by the Crown.
Titles also record any relevant legal claim on the property – in most cases this is the bank that lent you the money to buy it –transfers due to the death of an owner and even the occupations of owners. Back in the day occupations may have been a ‘gentleman’ or ‘home duties’.
Any time a property is sold, the existing title is ‘cancelled’ and becomes known as the ‘parent’ and a new title is issued to reflect the changes. Sometimes you are only dealing with one title – when the entire property is sold – but in more complicated situations you could be dealing with several titles such as when the property is subdivided into parts and sold.
To put together this piece of your house history puzzle, you will need to spend a little money and collect all of the cancelled titles of your property. Then you will have a complete history of all the people before you who once owned your house.
First, dig out your title from your files. Then go Landata, the Victorian government’s online service for titles and property information at www.landata.vic.gov.au and follow the instructions to create an account and log in.
Start by ordering a ‘Register Search Statement’ using the volume and folio information on your current title. The key information you need to trace past owners is the ‘parent’ volume and folio information for the cancelled titles. Using the ‘parent’ information, order a ‘cancelled title search’. Keep ordering cancelled titles on every parent title until you have traced all the titles back to the original owner and sale from the Crown.
Hint: On the older titles sometimes the parent information is recorded at the top of the second page of the title.
See how many people once owned your house. Happy titling!
Dannielle Orr isthe City of Greater Bendigo’s Heritage Planner.
READ: Who’s lived in my house: part 1
READ: Who’s lived in my house: part 2