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Thread: MD Permission - How To Find Missing Owners??

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  1. #1
    us
    Jun 2012
    Bedford, IN
    Current: Tesoro Outlaw, BH Tracker IV, HF MD6008 Ex: White's Coinmaster Pro, BH Discovery 3300, Tesoro Cibola
    94
    21 times
    Metal Detecting

    MD Permission - How To Find Missing Owners??

    I imagine this has been asked/answered but a look through the forum doesn't seem to pull up to many possible answers.

    As my dad and I just recently got back into MDing we have been looking for old houses/schools/churches/etc. to MD. Turns out we found enough sites to keep us busy for quite a while; however, the problem is there are no -owners/neighbors/etc. left anymore to get permission for these places.

    For example a church we found today was built in 1891 and seems to be all but abandoned. It is in a tiny town that has many old buildings/houses/factories that have been abandoned for several years and most are collapsing or just shells/walls. There doesn't seem to be many if any people left anywhere in the town.

    Here is a picture of the church I found online, but it has changed some since it was taken.



    The church doesn't have any contact information on the sign or anywhere, but the property is mowed at least. I did find some contact information for it online but 2 of the 3 phone numbers are disconnected. The third number is for the "retired" pastor, he left in 2009 and does not know anyone to contact or anything about it's current state. He was very disgruntled in discussing the church and only answered/talked one or two word responses and I found out nothing from him.

    We knocked on several doors today with no answers even to houses that appear to have people living in them anywhere near the church. Also the "post office" is nothing more than a few dozen mail boxes and nothing else - no window, post master/person, or anything beyond the wall in the building with the mail boxes in them.

    The only way I can think of to track down the current pastor or owner is to try and show up Sunday morning, which would not be the best time to ask to MD - and chances are they no longer have services there anyway.

    Does anyone have any ideas how to go about finding more information about such a property to find the land owner, pastor, or someone to contact about getting MD permission?

    We also found several old houses, several that had to be from the 1800's based from their architecture/design, lack of electricity poles/lines, any type of road leading to them, etc. Several have thick grass/weeds that would come to my shoulders, but there are some that are in fields that have small grass if any.

    All of which seem to be in the middle of nowhere down a old country road and no neighbors/houses or anything around for miles. My question is how would one go about find the owner of old houses or the property itself? Any neighbor we did manage to talk to about such houses had no idea who owns that property - as with most people this day and age they keep to themselves and avoid other neighbors (and haven't been around long enough to know anything about the area).

    Any help to get me pointed in the right direction to tracking down the current owners of such properties would be greatly appreciated. As my city parks seem to do nothing more than add to my pull tab collection, and there appears to be many great places within driving distance that would be awesome to MD

    I must admit the urge to simply go ahead and detect such places once the owners/permission can't be requested or even found is strong. If we weren't worried so much about ethics/laws/punishment/or what have you, we would detect, but we would like to ask at least.
    Thomas - Tesoro Outlaw, BH Tracker IV, Mod HF Cen-Tech PP -MDing Since 6-4-12
    -Number of Coins: 428 -Jewelry: 15 -Pull Tabs: 415 -Fun:100%

  2. #2
    ca
    Jun 2012
    Bathurst N.B.
    1100 bounty hunter
    9
    1 times
    Beach and Shallow Water Hunting
    try putting an add in local newspapper and flyers on poles and buletonboards

  3. #3
    us
    Dirt Wizard

    Sep 2011
    Wichita, Kansas
    XP Deus, Tesoro Compadre
    14
    4 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    The first thing I try when trying to find the owner of a property is my county's tax assessment database. Many counties do this online. For my county, the database lists the owners name and address and the year the structure was erected.
    lorddean13 and Mzjavert like this.
    Disturbing the soil since May, 2011

  4. #4

    Apr 2012
    22
    4 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Yeah look for the county GIS online. Someone owns the property.
    I had the same situation with an old church no longer in use a while back(before onlineGIS), and to be honest I just went ahead and detected it.
    But these days it's much easier to find an owner.
    TCosbyJr likes this.

  5. #5

    Mar 2007
    Salinas, CA
    Explorer II, Compass 77b, Tesoro shadow X2
    6,127
    1781 times
    Banner Finds (3)
    Quote Originally Posted by WC68 View Post
    ...... and to be honest I just went ahead and detected it ......
    Tsk tsk. Oh me, oh my.

    Seriously now, churches, although technically owned by a private party, yet have a feel of quasi-public, since, of course, ANYONE can walk right in on Sunday AM, and so forth. Like a shopping center perhaps, where ..... yes it's private property, but no, no ones going to object if you walk in to a shopping center, or church, etc.... And then when you add "abandoned" to the picture, it even seems to be even moreso innocous. But go figure: you're asking on a public forum, so the "correct" answer you're going to get is: you can't even step off the sidewalk, without permission.

    When I first started detecting, it was the mid 1970s, and I was in Jr. High. The bus stop where we waited for our school bus each day, was at the lawn/curb of a neighborhood church's parking lot. So when I got my first metal detector, it was just a "natural" to hunt there, where a generation of kids had waited, daily, for the bus. And since the lawn there just sort of "melted" into the lawn of the church (there was really no demarkation from where the curb-strip "ended", and the church grass "started"). So as I hunted, I found myself going in ever-widening circles, to the point where, technically, I suppose I was now on church front yard's grass. No one ever cared, even though I distinctly recall a staff member showing up, giving me an odd look, shrugged their shoulders, and just went in. That was back in the all-metal TR days, so I suppose if I was only getting 3 or 4" deep. And just poking with a screwdriver (not "plugs" or something).
    Metal detecting is my one worldy vice!

  6. #6
    us
    Jan 2012
    Garrett Ace250 Minelab Safari
    1,035
    386 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Just go hunt them, I've hunted alot of churches and no ones said a word.

  7. #7
    mx
    Nov 2011
    143
    55 times
    none
    Every piece of property is owned by someone. You can generally find the owner by looking at a current Platt map or by going to the tax office and asking where the taxes are being sent or by doing a title search. You might find that the property has been abandoned and it will eventually be put up for sheriffs sale for the delinquent taxes. The information that you are looking for will almost certainly be in the county courthouse.

  8. #8
    us
    Jun 2012
    282
    25 times
    Metal Detecting
    If it's not in use any more,is not posted property and your popping or digging neat plugs and filling back in nice and neat like,I'de give it a good once over.That's just my opinion.
    Good luck with it all.......................................

  9. #9
    us
    Jun 2011
    SE Pa
    MX5, M6, GPP, TRX
    62
    10 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Always get permission to hunt private property if you want to promote the hobby correctly and in a positive way. If you don't want to check at the courthouse, check with whoever cuts the grass to find out who pays them.

  10. #10
    us
    Jan 2012
    Garrett Ace250 Minelab Safari
    1,035
    386 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    If there's no signs go hunt it

  11. #11
    us
    Apr 2008
    Virginia
    13
    2 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Not to be a pain. But there are probably more private properties without posted or no trespassing signs than with. Just because there is no sign does not mean it is fair game. Even public property in my county is off limits: per county municipal code, being in possession of a MD on public property is misdemeanor trespassing. My 2 cents. HH

  12. #12
    us
    Jan 2012
    Garrett Ace250 Minelab Safari
    1,035
    386 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    IMO if there's no signs saying no MD on a public places I'm swinging my detector

  13. #13
    Charter Member
    us
    MINELAB XS-2 Pro ....... XTERRA 305 ....... EXPLORER SE PRO

    Dec 2003
    S.W. Schuylkill County
    46,436
    5567 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Catch the person Mowing It.
    Ask him/her
    odds are unless they live next door they are not doing it for free

  14. #14
    us
    Jun 2012
    Bedford, IN
    Current: Tesoro Outlaw, BH Tracker IV, HF MD6008 Ex: White's Coinmaster Pro, BH Discovery 3300, Tesoro Cibola
    94
    21 times
    Metal Detecting
    Thanks everyone for submitting your responses. I will end up tracking down someone on it eventually - note on the door, or getting lucky and finding the grounds keeper.

    My dad is like many of you on here - if there are no signs and feels he won't be bothered, he'll get busy MDing. He says we play Good Cop/Bad Cop; I try to get permission, and he usually tries to convince me to dig anyway. I guess it is because he started in the late 70's/Early 80's and never had a problem beyond someone asking him to leave if he is ever bothered.

    Quote Originally Posted by WC68 View Post
    Yeah look for the county GIS online. Someone owns the property.
    I had the same situation with an old church no longer in use a while back(before onlineGIS), and to be honest I just went ahead and detected it.
    But these days it's much easier to find an owner.
    Thanks for the tip on the GIS. After *lots* of searching I found that my county, Lawrence County, has a GIS database online. I found it by locating one for a surrounding county, visiting the website's main page and there it was. It lists the property owners/build dates/and so much more. It didn't help me with the church, but did help me find the owner of a 1868 house that sits alone in a old field ready to fall in. I can't wait to see if the owner will let me check around the house for some silver.

    I did learn that downloading the many numerous GIS programs for Windows are about worthless as depending on the GIS data I find to download - it seems to only work in one of the programs and not the others. So far the GIS data I can download is nothing compared even to Google maps, or Google Earth (I have installed). The online GIS though is *really* great!
    Thomas - Tesoro Outlaw, BH Tracker IV, Mod HF Cen-Tech PP -MDing Since 6-4-12
    -Number of Coins: 428 -Jewelry: 15 -Pull Tabs: 415 -Fun:100%

  15. #15
    Charter Member
    us
    MINELAB XS-2 Pro ....... XTERRA 305 ....... EXPLORER SE PRO

    Dec 2003
    S.W. Schuylkill County
    46,436
    5567 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    used to be when I was young (under 21) this area was pretty laid back and so was I. I'd go to churches figuring they claim to be there for the public. and was never chased. They didn't even Lock churches back then. they were open for public use inside also. and everyone was friendly. As I got older, & farther away from home I started asking, and some said yes and most said no. and I started to realize Not all churches & their people are there to be friendly. and there is also allot of greed & fear these days.
    some won't even let members of their own congrigation
    hunt their churches. anyway these days I don't hunt without permission.

 

 

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