Doing My Own Mineral Right Search- Need Help!

I purchased 26 acres here in central Arkansas and was told that I may own 1/2 of the mineral rights. I have the time and the court house is 200’ from my house and I want to do my own mineral right ownership search! I am not going to pay someone 3-4-$500 to do this if I can find help. I know it is labor intense but who cares! I need a few pointers in helping me get started- and any instructions would deeply be appreciated! Any useful sites showing exactly how to do this would be nice too.
I Thank You So Much for any help or thoughts!


Dear Mr. Crowell,

Wow, it’s really hard to summarize the title-search process in a few words. Basically, you start with the deed that you got when you bought the property, take the Seller’s name and go to the County Clerk in your county and search through the “Grantee Index” or “Reverse Index” for when HE bought the property. Then you take the Seller’s name from THAT deed and search for when HE bought the property. Keep doing this until you have created a “chain of title” from buyer to seller that is at least 120 years old. Your chain of title might “fork” or split if the tract of land you own going back in time was part of two other pieces of land, in which case your work just doubled. Then, take all of these deeds and look for “mineral reservations” whereby some or all of the minerals were kept by the Seller, and in many cases you will know to what mineral estate the current surface owner is entitled.

That’s the Reader’s Digest version. But a title search can be much more complicated than that if there were partial interests sold, mineral deeds as opposed to mineral reservations, probates or intestacy, or divorces, foreclosures, or other court cases. From my experience, I would say that about 80% of the time there is at least one of these “complications” present in a chain of title. Also, there might be statutes, doctrines, or case law in your state that dictate mineral ownership in certain scenarios. So if you REALLY want to know, hire a professional.


Philip Wynne

Start at the patent to said property and move forward to next deed and so forth until you get to your deed. Keep tract of reservations and what percent. If reservation is in the patent, you are done, they are reserved to the Government. Which happens most of the time. If not, do your search. If you go from your deed and backwards, go all the way to patent and still keep tract of reservations and what percent. Just some friendly advice.

Find someone, perhaps a close friend, spouse, etc. to help you search. I’d invest in a laptop if you don’t already have one, this will make recording information as well as internet research a lot easier. You could even turn this into a sort of treasure hunt if you want, to make it more interesting. Divide the prospective search files up so that no one will get overwhelmed in the process. My wife and I ran into this situation a few years back, but were unable to start such a process due to our health and financial limitations. Also distance was a deciding factor also. We own mineral interests in Colorado but live in Oregon. We’re not exactly sure how many acres we own and these mineral interests are not on the tax rolls yet. They say it may take years to get this addition to the tax rolls completed. We just have to wait it out right now.

Vic in Oregon