The chain of property ownership is most commonly traced backward through each preceding deed grantor,
beginning with the latest grantor on the recorded deed for the property in question (see "Deeds 101" above). .
In theory, one may also trace property ownership by beginning with an early deed and following each successive grantee.
Tracing early deed chains of title is made difficult by the brief (or non-existent) property descriptions in the index,
and by the omission of wives' names in the indexes. Un-named "Grantee wives" not infrequently later appear as named grantors, if they
are the surviving spouse. The frequent use of initials, rather than full names, further complicates matters.
There was also much consolidation and division of properties without benefit of the recording of the changes in boundries,
except incident to subsequent sales.
About 60 years ago it became common practice to reference the Book and Page of the predecessor deed when new deeds were created.
This has greatly facilitated the tracing of the chain of title for Carter County properties.
It must be noted that some very early deed transfers are for properties which were originally recorded in a county which preceded the creation of
Carter County (Mason, Greenup or Lawrence Counties). In those cases, the chain of title begins in the records of the predecessor county.
Many contemporary deeds are on microfiche and may be printed on the one viewer/printer.
There is no single comprehensive centralized deed indexing system or ledger.
Indexes to deeds are available in either hand written ledgers, or in a computerized database,
available through publicly accessable terminals located in the Deed Room.
Curiously (and frustratingly), some deed book identifying number series over-lap each other.
For example, there are two deed book "A"'s for different years, and there are numbered deed books
which share the same numbers as Order Books (which also contain many deeds).
Tax Assessor (PVA) computerized parcel information does, in many cases, contain a deed book and page number reference.
PVA Property Cards also sometimes list the deed book and page number for deeds for the property on the card.
Rarely are property survey maps filed in the deed room, but they can be very valuable if available.
Unlike many other jurisdictions, parcel survey marks or markers (pins) are generally non-existent, or are very difficult to locate in the field.
To this day, trees, rocks, creek and road beds are still considered legitimate boundary markers by real property surveyors.