chain of title

Definition from Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary

The line of owners of real estate, stretching from the current owner back in time to the original grant from some government. The chain of title is shown by deeds, judgments in lawsuits over title, affidavits, and other documents showing ownership changes and recorded in the county land records office. An error in this chain of title is what title searches are supposed to find and what title insurance protects purchasers against.

Definition provided by Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary.