Abstract title property is the most common form of title found in the United States. An abstract of title is a condensed history of all deeds, mortgages and other documents relating to a particular piece of land, which affect the title. If parts of the original parcel of land have been sold, the deeds are included in the abstract.
When property is sold or mortgaged the lending institution or new owner wants to be sure the title is clear. If the title isn't clear the lending institution may not be able to foreclose, if need be, or the owner may not be able to mortgage or sell the property. An attorney or title insurance firm is hired to review the abstract records. This is done by following the various lines of ownership from person to person and deed to deed over the years, matching mortgages with releases, etc.