Inheritance of Mineral & Surface Rights

Hi all,

I'm very new to this so please forgive my asking any of the obvious. Long story short, my dad, died in 2007, had inherited from his parents (both who died in the 1940's when by dad was very young) land and mineral rights to a couple different properties, as far as I know, in Crane and Jefferson Counties, TX. I didn't know about any of this as my father was not good with retaining any paperwork and died without a will and without any property or any real belongings- he also never really kept in touch with his Texas family. I did find a small file titled Oil Lease, but all the documents were from the late 1960's, so I just filed it away, thinking that it was neither here nor there, as my dad never mentioned it to me and I then totally forgot about it.

In 2011 a landman called me (after a month of searching for me) asking me to ratify the lease of a small NPRI interest in Jefferson County. I thought the whole thing was a joke and honestly didn't do my due diligence, but did sign off on it. Have not heard a peep since.

Recently, I started going through my files, and found the oil lease file. After doing some research I realized that the property listed in the file is a different one than the Landman called me about and is in Crane County. I googled the plot numbers and found that it's still listed under my grandfather's name. There were quite a few surrounding properties that also were listed under my family name, so assuming there are lots of cousins, etc that I know nothing about.

Of course, now I'm buried deep in the rabbit hole. I did see that in the 80's it looked like my dad and a few of his aunt's and uncles, did sign a warranty deed for a portion of one of the Crane County properties and were to retain 1/16th of the mineral/oil rights that was to pass on to their heirs.

I live in California, so can't pop into every clerk office in Texas. My question, is there a way I can find out if there is anymore property/interest out there? I'm not interested in spending tons of money (but can spend some time) finding out. I did go onto the unclaimed property search and didn't find anything, but it also didn't have anything on the Jefferson County property so not sure how thorough it all is.

Thanks for any feedback on next steps!

You can go to and search by last name by the texas county for free

Hi, Joy -

Every Texas County will have an Appraisal District which evaluates properties for the Tax Collectors Offices. Their records are typically available online through various services.

But, as you may be aware, there are 254 Counties in Texas. Searching the Property Tax and Mineral Tax Rolls one at a time and under the various possible family names you might have would be quite a chore.

There are a number of companies that prepare the Property Tax Rolls and Mineral Tax Rolls for the Counties, however, that might be willing or able to research ALL of the Counties they have under contract under the names you provide them for a fee.

One thing you should note is that the Mineral Tax Rolls only include mineral interests that are PRODUCING, so they might not include all of your family's holdings, but at least you might be able to locate any royalties waiting for you to find them.

There may be a few additional companies that prepare and maintain the County Tax Rolls in Texas, but the three that I am aware of offhand are:

Prichard and Abbott

Wardlaw Appraisal Group

Thomas Y. Pickett and Co.

There is at least one more, but I can't think of it right now.

One other thing you might consider is filing an Affidavit stating that you are the heir(s) of whomever and filing it with your contact information in the various counties you locate properties in. That way Landmen and other Title Research Types can get in touch with you.

Oh, and in the future whenever you negotiate an Oil and Gas Lease on your properties, include a provision requiring that the company provide you with a map and any Title Runsheets they prepare or acquire including your lands. That's a WHOLE LOT of VERY EXPENSIVE information for free.

I can send you an example of such a provision if you would like.

Hope this helps -

Charles Emery Tooke III

Certified Professional Landman

Fort Worth, Texas