Hi Bob -
Landsmen are Gardeners and Landscapers. We are Landmen, and the term applies to both men and women. There are no Landwomen.
It sounds like your interests are subject to Receivership Leases, which are applied for through the Courts when different Mineral Owners cannot be identified (unidentified heirs, for example) or located by the companies using reasonable efforts. Receivership Leases are a normal event - no one has been conspiring against you.
The Court appoints a Receiver, typically the County Clerk or the County Court Clerk, who negotiates a lease on behalf of the parties that cannot be located or identified. As people such as yourself discover that they are the owners of the mineral interests, it is up to them to "cure" their title issues, proving who they are to the Court and the Receiver.
That may take copies of Deeds or Assignments, Affidavits of Heirship, Probate or Administration Papers, whatever it takes to prove that you either inherited the interests or otherwise acquired them.
If you will contact the Courts in the three different Counties, they will be happy to guide you through the process of gathering the information you need and provide you with the address of the County Clerk's Offices where you will need to file the various records in order to establish your claim.
All of the documents gathered from different Counties to be filed in the three subject Counties will need to be certified copies. Once they are filed in each of the three subject Counties, you will need certified copies of the documents from those three Counties to submit to the Court. Once the Court approves your claim, they will release any royalties they are holding.
You will then need to contact the company(ies) operating the Wells and provide them with certified copies of the subject documents and a copy of any Judgment of the Court approving your claim, proving to the company(ies) that you own the subject mineral interests.
They will probably then send you a Royalty Division Order to sign and once that is returned release any royalties they have been holding in suspense for you and begin sending you your regular royalty checks.
That appears to be quite a bit of work and, yes, it can be expensive. Perhaps what the Landman you spoke to before meant was that he would do all of that work and pay all those expenses for a percentage of your mineral rights.
I am not as knowledgeable about that sort of arrangement as I would like to be. I know that a law firm can negotiate such an arrangement, but I am not sure whether a Landman can.
I advise that you consult an experienced Oil and Gas Attorney on your and your extended family's issues. Maybe one Attorney can resolve all of your issues together, thus making it all much more cost effective.
If you do not have an Attorney or know one, I will be happy to suggest a few to you. Several answer questions here on The Forum.
Hope this helps -
Charles Emery Tooke III
Certified Professional Landman
Fort Worth, Texas