I purchased a property in Albany County, Wyoming about 10 years ago. It was a parcel of land that was at one time a large ranch. In my contract, I own mineral rights but it does not specify what those are. What I specifically want to know is if the oil rights were sold prior to my purchasing the property. Is there someone who can help me research this?
A local Title & Abstract company could research it for you, or you may hire a "Landman" for the same purpose. Your situation is typical. When ranch land is sold it is not uncommon to acquire "half" the minerals the seller owned (or some other amount). However, the seller may have actually owned Zero minerals, or only a fraction of the total mineral estate. So in my example, your "half" might mean no minerals, or at the least usually will not amount to 50%.
The only way to determine what you own is to look at the records in the local county court house. You'd research the land from the initial USA patents to the original homesteaders up to the point you acquired it. Depending upon the amount of acres involved you might just want to research it yourself. If so, make and keep a photocopy of each deed involving your parcel for future reference. Good Luck.
Another good source is the State BLM office. Their maps show if the USA withheld minerals in whole or in part at the time of patent. I find that spitting minerals between locatable and leaseable was a common practice in Wyoming and Northern Colorado.
Thank you Gary.
I have been looking for a "landman" and left several messages with a few people but nobody returns the calls. If anyone has a recommendation of someone in Albany County, WY, please let me know!