I had the distinct pleasure of speaking before the NJ Society of Professional Land Surveyors in Atlantic City on February 5th at their annual conference SurveyCon. These are men and women that we in the title industry rely upon to properly define the boundaries of the land titles we insure. They are responsible for manifesting the essence of our purpose. Surveying is not only a science but very much an art; rendering an often rectangular description of an actual curved section of the earth requires deep math and even deeper understanding of the harmony of property boundaries.
Having once been a partner in a surveying firm for ten years, I was given the unique vantage point of a title man with an inside look at how the sausage is made. Believe me it is much more complicated than one might think. I invite you all to spend a day with a surveyor "in the field," it is an education.
I went to speak to the surveyors at the request of Thomas Howell. He is the Surveyor General for the West Jersey Board of Proprietors, the only proprietory faction still in existence in New Jersey today. In 2005 they deposited all their original records with the New Jersey State Archives in order to be preserved in an environmentally controlled and secure location. (You would be surprised how many of our historic documents have been pilfered over the years) These records are the foundation of the titles that the industry insures today. They are invaluable and need to be preserved in posterity.
However, they are of little use hidden in a dusty box in the basement of the Archives and it is Tom Howell's vision to make them accessible digitally. This is a considerable undertaking and one that I will be revisiting in the coming months, when I will share further plans for preservation and publication. Stay Tuned.
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