Johnson Co. TX Mineral Rights Inheritance


So glad I found this forum. I hope to get some help with some news that my mother (who lives in Louisiana) has just received in the past few days. Although my mom didn't know her or even know of her (perhaps due to some family drama), she had an aunt that died in the 1950's who had married an oil man in Dallas. A 'researcher' who claimed to be working for an oil company had contacted my mother, explaining that she was doing research to find out who would have inherited some mineral rights in Johnson County, which would have belonged to this great-aunt of mine. She wants to know about all of the lady's cousins and other relatives, but it's not clear if there's a will somewhere that is prompting her to find any descendents.

The great-aunt never had any children (which the researcher knows), and a cousin of my mother's said that the lady and her husband were very rich. I've been reading up on sales and leases of mineral rights in the Barnett Shale this evening, and I wonder if relatives of this lady could possess these mineral rights, since it looks like no one has been notified of any type of inheritance in the time since her passing until now, so neither my mom nor probably anyone else would have been paying taxes for that land. Is it possible for anyone to really find out about such an inheritance this many decades later? It sounds odd to me.

This whole thing seems rather surprising to my family, but I have the researcher's name (the one who contacted my mom), and she had a cell number that is registered within a few blocks of one of this oil company's offices in Oklahoma City. I've been to the website for the Johnson County Appraisal District, and see nothing under my great-aunt's name, not even under the maiden name, nor a name that she could have had later on (I read that a lady of the same married name had remarried around Franklin County in 1910). Yet I've been on LinkedIn and other sites, and there are scores of people in the oil industry here in the Dallas area (which is where I now live) that have that same last name as the one that my great-aunt received as her married name.

I found the phone number for the Oklahoma City office for this oil company (which my mom will call next week to see if this researcher really works there), and it is a Fortune 500 company that supposedly has bought up a lot of land in the U.S. Shales, especially those in the Barnett and Eagle Ford Shales. Any insight based on this information is much appreciated. This 'researcher' wants my mom's help in tracking down her relatives, and my mom doesn't want to help someone who is possibly shady into knowing our family tree, so that one of our relatives might be used financially. Help! Many thanks in advance.


Proceed carefully and gather as much information as the contact party will share. This may be a case of an heirfinder willing to assit for a share of the proceeds. Your correct, the first contact is the Oklahoma City oil company and ask what documentation they require to free the funds. The second question is, oil company are your disbursing all production and if not, please provide the anmes and addresses of the other parties?

Thank you both for your help! The landman said today that she is no longer looking in that area, and unfortunately I didn't have my facts right when I posted, because I found out tonight that my mom was the one who made the call recently, after being contacted by the lady about 18 months ago. Yet we're going to see if this landman can share the legal info that she has about the rights and the property description. She claims to work for a client company for EOG. I live in Dallas, so I can call up the Johnson County Tax Office, and can even take a trip over there if necessary. It'd be nice to know the amount of acreage and what $$ companies may pay for it, but also there is a lot of work to be done, as far as genealogy goes. We have a TON of relatives among whom to divide any established rights, and my own mom found out recently that her dad was the oldest of 14 kids, instead of the 13 she'd always heard about. Plus the lady wanted to trace back ancestry to my great-great-grandfather, and my mom and a second cousin are currently the only ones working (occasionally) on piecing together the family tree.

Thank you again for your help. I have spent so many hours this past weekend reading up about the Barnett Shale, and it's more than obvious that the family ancestry research is never-ending! I'll do my best to help my mom, but I think it's going to take a good while before we are ready with family and legal info to start doing any leasing, should we really have any mineral rights inheritances.