New Jersey’s land records and deeds are unlikely sources for a thrilling tale but reveal little-known, fascinating history. A detailed story of the founding of the Garden State 350 years ago is preserved in these papers. The state’s boundaries were drawn in such documents centuries ago, even if the authors never stepped foot in North America. The archives hide heroes, like the freed African Americans who fought for their right to own their piece of the state. And of course, there are the bizarre and mysterious tales, like the silk baron’s castle and the assault against a sixteen-year-old maiden during the throes of the American Revolution. Join land title expert Joseph Grabas as he combs through these all-but-forgotten stories of the pursuit of happiness and property in early New Jersey.
Joe Grabas is a nationally certified land title professional who has spent over three decades researching real property records in New Jersey. He is widely recognized as the leading land title educator in the state and formerly served as the president of the New Jersey Land Title Association. He founded the Grabas Institute for Continuing Education to bring alternative, historically based continuing education to the title, legal, real estate and insurance professions and to establish an organization that would support and sustain research into the impact of landownership and conveyancing on the social and economic development of the state of New Jersey. Mr. Grabas serves on the Monmouth County Historical Commission and the New Jersey Tidelands Resource Council. He has been accepted as an expert in matters regarding land titles by the Superior Court of New Jersey and lectures widely throughout the metropolitan area. Joe lives in Freehold, New Jersey, where he supports and remains active in the local history community.