Contradictory Oil and Mineral Rights?

Thanks for your help trying to figure out these contradictory records concerning the O&M rights to a property in Anderson County, Texas (under A-73, Lot 19).

Please find three files attached. The first is the deed from J.E. Copeland which conveys 3/4 interest in the O&M rights for the subject property to my father, L.S. Copeland. The deed references Vol 121, Pg 105 as the prior deed from S.N. Ricks to J.E. Copeland in the chain of title.

The next two files attached are copies of Vol 121, Pg. 105 I traced back. Everything matches, i.e., the grantor S.N. Ricks, the property description, the date of transference EXCEPT for the grantee. Instead of J.E. Copeland, it shows J.J. Strickland to be the recipient of the O&M rights!

I am currently under lease with a company which is drilling and producing on the subject property. On the lease, it does show a Strickland ancestor listed as having common interest in the O&M rights for the property along with several other people.

Can you give me any idea how title for the same interest could be deeded to two or more different people like this? I am hoping someone with experience in researching O&M interest might have some clue. Also, it may give me some idea how I might do further research to determine whether the interest on the property has been correctly distributed or not.

Thanks for your time and assistance. All comments, suggestions welcome, I am just an owner with no landman or title research experience.

1054-3388_001.pdf (156 KB) 1055-Deed1.jpg (176 KB) 1056-Deed2.jpg (172 KB)

I would bet there is another deed out there to your dad, and that is just a scrivener's error as to the grantee referenced in the Copeland deed. The mineral interest could be broken up and deeded out, technically, infinitely. The Ricks may not have owned 100% of the minerals when they sold in the first deed. I've seen one acre tracts with 200 mineral owners. There are likely several other deeds out there, being as you say there are several other owners listed on the lease. By saying they are listed on the lease, do you mean a division order? There is typically only one or two parties listed on recent leases. Its usually family if more than one. Though older leases will sometimes have several owners. Can I ask what sparked this inquiry? Is the operator now claiming you own a different interest amount that what they or you previously thought? You may keep running the title out after the Ricks deed. If you're receiving royalties, it was cleared up at some point, most likely anyway. You may get lucky and find a stipulation of interest filed outlining the ownership breakdown. Hope that helps. Let us know if you have anymore questions.

Hello, JR, that is definitely helpful and gives me some insight. Yes, from the deed to LS Copeland attached I think I am entitled to 3/4 (75%) of the O&M rights to the property but the oil company is saying the interest more like ~14%.

As you suggest, a title search forward from the Ricks lease should eventually lead back to JE Copeland. I will contract someone to do this, but would like some better idea how the process works. I see most deeds reference back to a prior deed vol/pg number. But how do you search forward? I guess you would have to search for any deed under Strickland that conveys to someone else later, but will old records I'm not sure how to do that. Even if I was sitting in the county clerk's office, I wouldn't know how to start such a search. Any insight on the process would be most helpful.

Landmen make mistakes too! There is also differences in opinion. What a person thinks and the way it is, does not make it a fact. Most people think they should have everything and the others have nothing!

If you know how much you were paid per net. mineral acre when you leased may be an indicator of what one landman's opinion was, but he may be wrong too. I would be very, very careful about anymore documents you sign concerning this.

Thanks, JR. Yes, we signed the lease, but we are not signing the Division Order until we clarify how much interest we are legally entitled to. Of course, the oil company is not responding to my request for a copy of their run sheet, so I will have to piece it together myself. But people like you and others who have replied to me on this forum have been really helping me to understand how to move forward.

Yea unless there’s a provision in the lease requiring them to, they probably wont provide it. But if its a large company, try calling back a couple times. Maybe you’ll get a different person that is more cooperative. At the courthouse there are indices, with all instruments indexed by grantor/grantee and grantee/grantor. You would basically star there. There are plenty of Landmen looking for work right now, even temporary. If you wanted to contract one for a day or two, they’re out there and I can put you in touch with some good ones. I wouldn’t think it would take much more than a day or so, just to get a general idea on who is right. But if I remember right Strickland was heavily involved in land deals and his name is plentiful in the index. The more entries, the more tine searching. Shoot me an email at if you have anymore questions. There are a few more options for you out there that could help you figure this out. Depends on what direction you want to go in.

OK, JR, thanks. I will send you an email and we can discuss in more detail off-board.