I am new to this and trying to get as much information as possible. I have been to courthouse and pulled original deed to my 2nd grt grandmother. According to BB Land we only own the mineral rights which were passed down from my grt grandfathers half sibling. I have a copy of the tax map showing the parcel number and location. I also pulled a 1910 farm map showing the land purchased. With all that being said, I am needing help with the lease offer too. It is offering $2000 an acre and 15% royalty on the gross production. It says my “proportional interests in the tract is 0.066666667 meaning I own 0.033333333 net mineral acres.” There are two other heirs to these rights to the best of my knowledge. Can someone guide me in the best direction to A) find where we originally inherited the rights and B) negotiating this contract to our best interest. Thanks so much for any input.
For A), you said you have the original deed to your greatgrandmother. Was she the grantor (conveying it to someone, perhaps her child?) or grantee (it was conveyed to her)? If you tell us what you know (don't have to mention names if you don't want) some of us could help you with a strategy to look things up.
For B) I recommend finding an attorney who can help you. Kyle Nuttall, a member of this forum, is very good. There might be other good ones as well. It is always safe to assume that they don't start with their best offer. Also there are a lot of important things in a lease besides the money.
It is great that you have done so much work so far in figuring this out.
Thanks Nancy for your response. The deed I found is from 1891 where she purchased the land. I haven’t researched for any wills yet but according to the landman my mom inherited the mineral rights from her father who inherited them from his half brother. I plan on going back to the courthouse to look for wills. I have read a lot on this forum and also found a guide to negotiating oil and gas leases. I am trying to familiarize myself with as much information as I can before I contact an oil and gas attorney. I believe there are a few things not so good in this lease like the warranty of the title and I’ve researched the oil and gas company a little and it seems they’ve had some trouble in the past with being fined. According to the landman there are only three heirs, my mom(whom I’m her guardian) and my two uncles, one who has already signed that dang thing and sent it back, the other is waiting on me to research a little. Both took their contracts to their “lawyers” and we’re told that they were standard leases. I’m dealing with a 81 and 75 yr olds and my mom is 77. I want them to get the best deal they can and its my fiduciary obligation to make sure my mom gets the best lease offer she can get.
Besides looking at wills and tracing from your greatgrandmother to your mother and her brothers, if you want to see what happened to the ownership interests in this, from the 1891 deed forward, you could look in the grantee index (if they are separated, otherwise the grantor/grantee index to deeds) under your great grandmother's name, or her heir (maybe the half brother of your grandfather, or your grandfather...) and find where the surface was sold. Then you could trace forward to find how the surface went after that.
Tracing back from your greatgrandmother would be very helpful also. Maybe the deed to her has a reference to the deed where the grantor acquired the title. Otherwise look in the grantee index under the one who conveyed the property to your great grandmother. Keep going back like that as far as you can. They say you should trace your title back to the original Land Grant from Virginia. Some of those are recorded in the county deed books, and some might be in the county where Pleasants was separated from. There is an online database at the Virginia State Library for these, searchable by name and other words Virginia State Library Land Grants
Since you have the surface tax map and parcel number, you can find out the current surface owner and trace back from him/her.
You said the landman said you own 0.033333+ net mineral acres. That sounds like your mother and her two brothers own 0.1 net mineral acre. Was that the acreage your great grandmother purchased? Or were there other children of your great grandmother besides your mother's father and his half brother?
About the leases, there are a couple of online documents that I found helpful. Somebody on another part of this forum posted these links
Read as much as you can on this forum. The Doddridge county group has quite a lot of activity, with many people helping each other. Lots of information.
That Old Farm Map sure is interesting, isn't it?
Thanks Nancy! I went to the courthouse again today and started with the name they have on file for the land which is still in the name of my grt uncle but someone else has been paying the taxes on both surface and minerals since 2006. I looked for deeds in their name and my grt uncle’s to no avail. I can’t seem to find where they acquired the property. I’m gonna look in my genealogy tree and see if their names come up anywhere. The property is 5 acres. I’m not sure how that calculates in net mineral acres. That’s been one of my questions. I found where my grt uncle started paying the taxes the year after my 2nd grt grandmother died. But nothing where it changed hands after that. There were a slew of siblings in that family. 14 total between my 2nd grt grandparents. I’m just going by what the landman stated as to where the inheritance came from. There was other property purchased by my 2nd grt grandfather ( 55 acres) but I haven’t even begun to investigate that! Just the piece that the landman said we inherited. I actually went for a drive and found the property. I do know my grt uncle died at 42 and he was single at the time. I never found any marriage certificates or such. He was a chauffeur and lived with another family the year before he died. Thanks for the heads up on doddridge county group. I will check them out too. I have those two links for the negotiating leases, thanks. I’m thinking that until I figure out the ownership, I’m not dealing with this lease. I’ve looked into the gas and oil company that the landman told me they were a subsidiary of and they have had some troubles with fines and such. My mom told me that she remembers her mother telling her that she had some "wells"in WVA but she doesn’t remember anything other than that. So I’m thinking maybe there are some old wells on the property too. Gonna look into that also. Thanks again for all your help.
It sounds like you are working hard at this!
I am still thinking about that percentage which the landman said your mother owns, and net acres. It still seems that your mother and her brothers together own 0.1 acre as net acreage, their father's share. If that is "net" and the other is gross, then they (your mother's father) would have 0.2 acres, or 1/5 of an acre gross. That sounds to me like there was half mineral interest retained when the surface sold so your grandfather's part would be 1/5 of 5 acres, but half minerals on that. Not making complete sense. The landman should be able to explain this.
Does Pleasants have separate grantor / grantee indexes for deeds? I know Tyler does have separate ones, but Ritchie has them together. Don't know about some of the other counties.
About the wells your mother talked about: maybe they are on the 55 acres and not the 5? or maybe some each place.
You could go here WV Office of Oil and Gas Map and zoom in until you find the area of your acreage, and see if you see a well nearby.
About taxes: the Pleasants Assessor's office should be able to tell you where the tax bill is sent, even if stilll in your great uncle's name. There is a "care of" entry that they should have. I agree, better to get the details of ownership sorted out first.
Hi Nancy, the tax assessor did give me the name and address of the person paying on the surface and minerals. I searched for her and found she’s a 83 yr old woman in Arizona. I have gone thru my tree and can’t find her. I called Kyle and he suggested I go back to courthouse and look for deeds. I don’t think they are separated either. My question is if there’s a deed recorded then why hasn’t the name been changed by the tax assessor office? I’m tempted to contact this person but not sure until I look thru the deeds.
If you find a deed I think you should show it to the Assessor and ask what to do. If the deed shows that your ancestor (whichever one) sold the surface but retained all or part of the mineral rights, maybe the Arizona lady is the current owner of the surface but the transfer was not recorded correctly showing that your family still owned all or part of the minerals. Those mistakes happen. I think if that is the case, the assessor needs a title opinion prepared by an attorney in order to correct the record. Our family has had this happen. Since the landman found your mother and uncles, there must be information somewhere leading him to them. Keep looking! The assessor should have a record showing where the Arizona lady acquired this, maybe a deed book listing or a will. Ask that office to tell you what they have listed. It should be public record. Keep digging. This may take some sorting out.
Thanks Nancy! I do know this person has been paying the taxes since 2006 so that gives me a starting point in finding the deed if there is one. If not can I request the tax assessor to give me any documents pertaining to transfer of names on tax books?
Yes, I think it is reasonable to ask for the document that put the property in that lady's name. If you can get back to the courthouse and look in the land record books, I think that information is recorded there, at least the year when the transfer is made. Anyway the Assessor's office, I think, is the place to ask that question. If you get a deed book and page listing, go to the deeds room and find that (same with a Will Book). Etc. A lot of looking, but you are lucky that you can get to the courthouse fairly easily. A lot of people live in a different state, and it is a lot more difficult. Some counties have their tax records and/or their deeds online (like Tyler). Most do not have their land records online, but that would be really great.
Nancy, Do you have a website that I can look up to see if Pleasants is on line? Tyler and Pleasants are out of the same courthouse so It’s worth a shot.
I searched but could not find Pleasants. If anybody knows, I'd love to have the link. You could ask them.
I think we are heirs to the same mineral rights, my family got their papers over the weekend. BB Land is telling me if we are distant relative that there are around 150 possible heirs, the math however works out to only 40.
I personally have told them I am not signing just yet. As they say Pleasants County is not a "proven area" yet. If it's not a "proven area" why are they contacting us now?? I will wait till they decide it is worth paying for!!
I however don't find you in my family tree search, but I am still looking!!
Hi Terry, I’m curious why you think we are part of same mineral right? Can you contact me so we can compare specifics and maybe figure it out? I have done a lot of research up to this point and still holding out on signing anything. I have been to Pleasants county courthouse and it’s packed with landmen. My email is foxfireblond39@ aol.com.
I am still sitting on this and haven’t done much researching in several months. In all this time I have not been contacted by the landman who originally sent the contract. Just curious if anyone knows if there’s been any movement towards Pleasants county yet? this property backs right up to Tyler county and I know thru emails that there’s been some activity Tyler but haven’t seen anything about Bens Run.
My family was told there were not enough people who would sign the lease, so they are no longer interested in our property. They only wrote to the ones who actually signed a lease!!
Terry I recently found out that my two uncles that signed their leases were paid $600 about 6 months ago.