TRANSITIONAL-GENEALOGISTS-FORUM-L ArchivesArchiver > TRANSITIONAL-GENEALOGISTS-FORUM > 2009-06 > 1244235177
Subject: [TGF] Of Rods and Roods was Plat abbreviations
Date: Fri, 05 Jun 2009 13:52:57 -0700
I've been following LeRoy's thread with interest. Thank you, Patti, for
making the document scan available!
The use of length and area units does not seem as precise as I thought I
understood the words to mean. Of course, that usually means my
understanding is flawed. <g>
>From a 1767 deed in Middletown, CT (Middletown Deeds, 21:154)
"One Certain piece of land
lying in the parish of Middle haddam in sd Middletown containing
twenty Rods of Land lying Four Rods wide Northerly & Southerly &
Five Rods long Easterly & Westerly and is Bounded Easterly on a highway
Northerly on Joshua Cooks land. Westerly & Southerly on land belonging
or that did belong to Joseph Parke with a mansion house Standing
So, although I had thought that 'rod' was a unit of length, here it is
used as both a unit of area and length. with an implied 'square' for
the area 'rod'. This is clear from document context. 'Rood' is not a
possibility (I think). What I don't know is if there would be other
situations where context would be more obscure, and it would be easier
for me to misunderstand.
Became even more nervous regarding my potential for error after reading
Wikipedia's entry for 'Rood':
"When referring to areas, rod may be found in old documents and has
exactly the same meaning as rood."
"It is confusingly called an acre in some ancient contexts.[citation
"Rood also refers to a British unit of linear measure between 16.5 and
>From Wikipedia's entry for 'perch':
"A perch is as a unit of measurement used for length, area, and volume
in a number of different systems of measurement"
Actual lengths varied according to time and place. Although as a
_survey_ measure: "The rod as a survey measure was standardized by
Edmund Gunter in England in 1607 as 1/4 of a chain (of 66 feet), or 16
1/2 feet (5 1/2 yards) in length, in the 13th century."
"As a unit of area, a square perch (the perch being standardized to
equal 16.5 feet) is equal to a square rod, 30¼ square yards, 25.29
square metres or 0.00625 acres (25.3 m2). There are 40 square perches to
a rood, 160 square perches to an acre This unit was usually referred to
as a perch or pole even though square perch and square pole were the
more precise terms. Confusingly, rod was used as a unit of area but it
meant a rood.
Obviously, regional interpretations of perch would yield different
My conclusions from this very limited exploration are 1) the words
'rod'/'rood' may not have the same meaning, even in the same document
and 2) context should be sought to clarify meaning.
Thank goodness for the sum on LeRoy's plat example!
Does anyone know where to look for definitions 'in place' at the time a
document was created? would these be government reports/legislation?
An official list of weights and measures? For the above 1767 Connecticut
example, should one look in colonial records or British?
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