1st Edition

The Original Survey Recognition and Significance

By Donald A. Wilson Copyright 2022
    542 Pages 38 B/W Illustrations
    by CRC Press

    542 Pages 38 B/W Illustrations
    by CRC Press

    The most comprehensive treatment of key elements of original surveys, and the research required to find them, which is an important issue in retracement surveys that has never been fully explored. It will help surveyors become familiar with the proper identification and requirements and find the appropriate evidence using proper procedures.

    The most comprehensive treatment of key elements of original surveys and the research required to find original surveys, is an important issue in retracement surveys that has never been fully explored. It emphasizes the importance and the necessity of determining the creation of the title and its sources along with its accompanying survey or location. The case studies included in the book discuss the consequences when investigators do not follow complete research procedures, and act upon less information, even though the law requires otherwise. This is a practical guide for surveyors to become familiar with the proper identification and requirements and find the appropriate evidence using the right procedures.

    This book is intended for the practicing surveyor and will be useful to the legal profession, historical researchers, federal land departments, and others interested in surveys.


    • This is the first book that focuses on identifying original surveys, written by one of the top consultants in the United States, who brings real case examples of both successes and failures
    • Explains land separation techniques when more than one has been used previously.
    • Includes numerous case examples providing context for surveyors and attorneys
    • Discusses the relation between title creation and their transfer
    • Addresses federal versus private surveys, their differences, and similarities

    Chapter 1 – Introduction

    Chapter 2 - The Elements of Title and its Significance

    Chapter 3 – Types of Surveys

    Chapter 4 - The Original Survey

    Chapter 5 - Necessity of the Original Survey

    Chapter 6 - Protracted Surveys

    Chapter 7 - Special Cases – General

    Chapter 8 - Finding the Original Survey

    Chapter 9 - Retracing and Locating Original Surveys

    Chapter 10 – Failure to find or honor the original survey


    Donald A. Wilson, has just established a new company called Donald Wilson Consulting, LLC. He was previously president of Land & Boundary Consultants, and has been in practice for over 60 years, consulting to groups throughout the United States and Canada. He is both a licensed land surveyor and professional forester, having conducted more than 500 programs on a variety of topics, including description interpretation, boundary evidence, law, title problems, and forensic procedures. Mr. Wilson has more than 200 technical publications in several areas, and has been involved with over 60 books, which include titles on Maine history and several books on fishing. Besides being co-author of Evidence and Procedures for Boundary Location and Boundary Control and Legal Principles, he is author of Deed Descriptions I Have Known But Could Have Done Without, Easements and Reversions, Interpreting Land Records and Forensic Procedures for Boundary and Title Investigation. His latest titles are Easements Relating to Land Surveying and Title Examination, Boundary Retracement, Processes and Procedures and a co-authorship entitled, Land Tenure, Boundary Surveys and Cadastral Systems. Don is an instructor for RedVector's on-line professional courses and a regular presenter at the University of New Hampshire's Professional Development Program. He is lead instructor in Surveyors Educational Seminars. In his professional practice, Don has testified numerous times, in a variety of courts, on boundary and title matters.

    "This is yet another indispensable book from Don Wilson for Professional Surveyors who should intimately understand the importance of original surveys - both public and private - and who properly aspire to "follow in the footsteps" of the surveyors who performed them." 

    ––––– Gary R. Kent, Professional Surveyor

    "As a follow up to "Boundary Retracement" (2017) Don has further emphasized the necessity to identify the intent contained in documents that transfer title to land and the uses thereof.  Equally important, Don provides examples and case law to articulately explain the requirement to "follow (find) the footsteps" of prior surveyors – private and federal.  This book is an excellent supplement to the library of essential references that professional land surveyors need to protect the bona fide rights of landowners."

    ——Steve Parrish

    "Don’s latest book highlights the importance of the Original Survey, and illustrates the many ways that it may be created—and later recovered. Don discusses the essential relationship between the boundaries that we survey and titles held by the owners, and identifies some surprising ways that original footsteps continue to define the limits of property titles. This is yet another worthy addition to the surveyor’s library.

    When it comes down to the subject of ‘Original Footsteps’ Don Wilson definitely can "Walk the Walk, and Talk the Talk."

    ——Kristopher Kline,2Point, Surveyors Educational Seminars