17 September 2015

Analyzing the House's Info Found in Online County Databases

In the last post, I located a significant amount of information for the house via two separate online county databases-- that of the county's tax assessing board and that of the county's Recorder of Deeds. Here, we will expand upon some of this information and offer up what it means to our house history research. We can also take this information and use it to search other places for even further information.

Recap- What We Found

Between the two databases, this is a summary of the NEW information we found:
  • 2001 Sale Price was $110,000 (I actually first saw this on Zillow, but the county database is Zillow's source).
  • This 2001 transaction, in addition to having Catherine Cantin as grantor (seller) also listed " 'M' Cantlin Atty" on the grantor side.
  • The Cantlins (John J & Catherine) took ownership of the house on October 18, 1932.
  • The grantor (seller) in the 1932 sale was the Remlu Building and Loan Association.
  • The house was assessed at $4,500 in 1987, and re-assessed at $91,800 in 1997.
  • The consideration amount for the 1932 was $1,400. 
  • The previous owners (2001-14) had multiple mortgages associated with the property.
Using the above new information, let us now analyze this information and perhaps do some quick, simple additional searches.

Analyzing the 2001 Sale

The couple that sold us the house paid $110,000 in 2001 from Catherine Cantlin. From my conversations with the neighbor, I already knew that Ms Cantlin was quite old by this point (I also knew she since passed in 2002, and was born in approximately 1906-07, but I found these out using genealogical search methods I will describe at another time). But the clue of "M (first name withheld here) Cantlin Atty" listed in the index with the 2001 deed is of interest with a new person involved.

Searching for "M" Cantlin by name in the Recorder of Deeds database reveals some interesting new bits. First, a Power of Attorney document was recorded with the county on the same date as the home transaction. This power was granted by Catherine to "M" and "R" Cantlin the year prior (I've since learned that "R", now deceased, was Catherine's son, and "M" her daughter-in-law). Likely, this 2001 sale of the home was a difficult one for the family, with Ms. Cantlin clearly quite elderly and having lived here for many decades. Also found in the search results for "M" Cantlin revealed that she currently owns a house the next block over from mine-- THIS bit of information COULD prove incredibly, incredibly useful, as previous owners are perhaps the most powerful source of inormation for a house history project.

There were two additional mortgages associated with the 2001-2014 owners listed (those mortgages being recorded in 2003 and 2012). Homeowners these days tap into their home equity to make home improvements and even for other non-home related purposes. It is quite clear that these owners put a significant amount of investment into the home over their ownership, with the house jumping in price by about $100,000. These additional mortgages are lower on the priority list to explore further, as the more recent improvements to the house are pretty well and easily known. Further, all of the mortgages were satisified (paid off) so they are of no great consequence at this time. Still, they are a potential source of further information.

Analyzing the 1932 Sale

John J Cantlin and his wife Catherine Cantlin purchased the home from the Remlu Building and Loan Association for (at least) $1,400 on October 18, 1932. On the face of it, this most obviously means that the Cantlins did indeed own the house for the vast bulk of its existence. However, as we saw in our initial census research, they were not the first occupants. This 1932 deed now proves that they were not the first owners. It is important to note that the existence of a deed at a certain time does not in and of itself prove the existence of a house at the same time, however our early research has already shown us a few facts that tell us the house was built prior to 1932-- a) the house is shown on a 1927 map, and b) the Stout family is living at the house on the 1930 census.

Index information of 1932 deed when John and Catherine Cantlin acquired the house.

So, was the Remlu Building and Loan Association, a company, the owner of the home when the Stouts were renting it in 1930? Possibly. We cannot know until we collect all of the deeds for the property to find out if 1930 falls within the period of ownership of the Remlu B&LA. As explained, all of the deeds are not listed online. Since they owned the home up to October 1932, it certainly is quite possible. As we explained briefly in the last post, a Building and Loan Association is a financial institution that focuses on residential lending, and home mortgages in particular. The name "Remlu" is significant, as it showed up on our 1937 map in the name of the neighboring subdivision "Remlu Heights". This small area of North Glenside, according to the Old York Road Historical Society in their Arcadia Images of America publication about Abington, was partially developed by a man named Ulmer, and he used the reverse spelling of his surname (Ulmer -> Remlu) in his subdivision. So, the institution that sold the house to the Cantlins was certainly a local one, and further research on this company may give us further information down the road as they were likely heavily involved in the development of this immediate area. For the time being, one can search the National Information Center for some basic historical information on corporations, and searching for Remlu B&LA tells us that it existed at least as early as 1979 (certainly), in 1982 moved to Wyncote with a slight name change, and was acquired in 1988 by another institution. If we locate a current listing of the acquiring company, there is a chance we could locate some more records.

Back to the Cantlins-- they certainly will figure very prominently in our research moving forward, especially if we can locate some living descendants who may have memories of the home. Mrs Cantlin by all appearances lived in this house for 69 years, and owned it up until within about a year of her death. However, we've now established that the house has a history prior to the Cantlins, and we will seek to find it.


  1. it means to our house history research. We can also take this information and use it to search other places for even further information. annie

    1. That is true, and this can go for nearly any new piece of information you may find. One clue always leads to the next...