Understanding mineral rights legal description

After reading many postings and several referenced documents, trying to figure this out for myself, I still have some questions.

Our legal description identifies 80 acres, but we only own 10.00 NMA. I spoke to someone at an abstract company who confirmed that yes indeed more than one person can own the same legal description. When they do research, they start from statehood forward, following the ownership trail.

Is this unique to Caddo County? or Oklahoma? or is this just how mineral rights work in general?

Does this mean that if we research our legal description today, that it would become out-of-date over time? How do mineral owners stay on top of this?

Do oil companies do the same type of research to make sure they notify all current owners? In our case, my deceased mother’s name with old address appeared on a filing for increased density.

Who makes sure that the correct number of acres are accounted for (with no mistakes, errors, or typos over time)? In our case, all current owners should add up to exactly 80 acres.

Does the phrase “net mineral acres” mean that we don’t own a specific 10 acres? In our case, we own “10 out of 80” acres.

Thanks for any help in understanding how this works.

This is not at all unusual. The legal description is often the original patent gross acres grant to an original owner. Over time, the acreage can be split or fractionate through the generations. Sounds like you have a 1/8th undivided interest now. The “undivided” means that you have 10 acres spread out over the entire 80 acres, not limited to a very specific part of it which would be called “divided”. The other 70 acres are owned by someone else. Your legal description should have the qualifier on it such as the 1/8th. The original deed may have had the full 80 acres and then it was passed by a probate or sale or such. Those records should be at the county courthouse and can be found by a title search.

Yes, leasing companies do a leasing title search when they lease. Sometimes, they are not done or not done well or done extremely well. Depends upon the company. However, once a well is drilled, the operator will do a very rigorous title search called a Division Order Title Opinion (DOTO) which determines who the actual owners are so that they can be paid properly. One would hope that the DOTO is accurate, however there can be mistakes.

Quite often, a lease will only have the gross description on it. Most of mine are like that. It is just the way it is done. You will be paid on the net acres.

Here is a useful article about the rectangular grid system for Oklahoma. S-T-R Legal Land Descriptions in OK_Kletke-1.pdf (59.7 KB)


Thank you M_Barnes for the insight. I have read many of your postings and always find them informative.

Now I understand why the division order is so important.

Yes, that document was very helpful to understand how to decipher a legal description. I also used the Caddo County map you referenced in another topic.

You mentioned the original deed, so the next thing I think we should do is have my father go through his old paperwork. Hopefully he can locate the deed and any contracts with oil companies. He was able to get the royalty changed to his name and current address a long time ago and has been receiving checks, but we don’t think he ever probated the minerals. So I will certainly be reviewing Richard_Winblad’s postings regarding that topic.

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If your father is receiving royalties there may be no need for a probate of your mother’s estate at this point. Your father can do things to ease the inheritance to the next generation by deeding his interest to his trust (if he has one), if not he can create one or a simple mineral trust, another option may be a transfer on death deed. But you will need the legal description.
Unfortunately, Caddo county does not have any online search capabilities in order to trace the ownership. Perhaps the abstract company would share the legal description. It would also be interesting to know if there was an affidavit of heirship, deed or other instrument filed whereby your father received or claimed your mother’s interest.


Thank you Richard_Winblad! I appreciate you taking the time to identify our options. I have shared this with family members as we decide our next steps.

An update for those who are getting up-to-speed (as I am) and don’t already know…

Since Caddo is one of the few OK counties that does not have mineral records available online, I called the number from Richard_Winblad’s list. The person I spoke to said that their database only goes back to 1993. Prior to that, you have to look at books. She offered to look a few things up for me from the database while we were on the phone. She also took some information and researched the books, then called me back with her findings. I don’t know if they are always so willing to research, or if I just caught her on a slow day.

She also explained that some court records are available online:

  • https://www.oscn.net/courts/caddo
  • Click the “Court Records” link at the top to see several options.
  • I used the “Search OSCN Dockets” link on the left side.
  • Filter by Caddo County drop-down, enter other relevant info in the “Search By Party” section to limit (or leave blank to expand) your results, then click “Go” button.

For example, I found my parent’s marriage license. She thought they may also have probate records, but I could not find anything for my situation. I called the main number from the website and spoke to someone who looked things up for me, which confirmed my results.

So in my experience, the Caddo court clerks seem to be very helpful for those of us who cannot easily travel there to do research.

Hi my name is Scott Andrew and my wife father Wayne Nichols left mineral rights in Comanche co.but I’m told the description is in Caddo county the description is sec 01 township 1 n 12w Comanche co we can’t find anything online to see. Any help would be appreciated. Scott Andrew

Section 1-1N-12W is Comanche County, OK. There have been no OCC filings for this section.

Thanks for clearing that up

Search Comanche County with : Comanche County | OKCountyRecords.com | County Clerk Public Land Records for Oklahoma Didn’t find Wayne Nichols on that property although other Nichols were there.

Yes it looks like it hasn’t been changed out of my grandma name,londa Nichols.How can I get this done as there is no will.it is written in the will of my grandpa at the Garvin County clerks office

My aunt Mildred who raised me left me 100%of her royalties,and now I’m trying to get my birth father Wayne Nichols rights as he has no will either.

You need to probate their estates. You can’t just change title without valid documentation and because record owners are deceased, you must probate.

We have probated Mildred Hall Nichols will already and the deed is in our names.My question is how do we probate without a will?

Property will be divided under Oklahoma laws of intestate succession. Generally takes 90-100 days of time then an Order will be issued setting forth the owners & percentage.

If there is no Will, Todd is correct this requires intestate administration. IN the majority of cases this can be done without the need to travel to the court or even Oklahoma. The attorney can take care of appearances. Also most attorneys have a fixed rate for uncontested probates.

Thank both of y’all I guess I realy knew we would have to do some kind of probate,just got finished with one,and guess I was wishing that we were done with probates. Lol wishful thinking. Scott