Well, ordinary mortals did not 'own' land (the term was 'ownership in fee'). They leased it under a variety of conditions. As long as the Penal Laws applied (until c. 1780-1800), Catholics could not normally lease land for more than 31 years. At any time, non-payment of rent could mean eviction. A small farmer could not 'sell' his land, because he did not own it. But, generally with the permission of his landlord, he could sell his lease, at which tiome the landlord probably exacted a fee. Farm laborers did not make leases, but they could rent a piece of 'potato land' from a leaseholder. Such transactions were probably made in front of witnesses, but did not involve a written document. A farmer's son might marry the neighboring farmer's daughter, and, again with the permission of the landlord, two farms might be united. Landlords had no interest in evicting 'strong' farmers, or steady small farmers, so rents were sometimes 'forgiven' or lowered when harvests failed. There was a great social difference between a Catholic 'farmer' and a landless Catholic laborer or 'farm servant'. The Famine often erased those differences, and even fairly prosperous farmers' sons and daughters viewed emigration as a means of holding on to their social status and maintaining their pride.