Welcome, fellow genealogists! My blog will teach you about U.S. land records and United Kingdom research. My family has roots in Niagara County, New York; Norfolk, England; and northeast Germany.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Land Patents

A land patent is the first deed granting federal land to a private person, company or local government. The federal government received land in 1783 after the Revolution when Britain ceded all lands south of the Great Lakes and east of the Mississippi River to the fledgling country. In 1785, a land ordinance passed authorizing the sale of public lands and establishing the Public Land Survey System to measure and identify the property. (See blog posts from August 15 and 22, 2012 for details of survey system.)

The Louisiana Purchase of 1803 almost doubled the size of the country, all of this land owned by the federal government. In 1812, the General Land Office (GLO) was created to oversee the disposition of ceded and acquired land, first as part of the Treasury and since 1849, as part of the Department of the Interior.

You can find details of the land patents at www.glorecords.blm.gov. Four types of documents are described on the home page. The first two are of most interest to genealogists – land patents, and survey plats and field notes. There were about 7,500.000 land patents issued and about 5,000,000 are now searchable at this site. Like all land records, they put people in a specific place at a specific time.
Click the “Search Documents” button on top of the home page. Select a state from the drop down menu. You must add one more criteria.  Most likely a surname or a county name are the two most commonly used ones. Then click the “Search Patents” button. For example, I chose the State of Ohio and the surname, “Starr.” The first page of the results are below:

To see the original document, click on the blue items in column two. The third from the top is a Military Warrant for David Starr, a veteran of the War of 1812, who transfers his rights to the forty acres to James McFarland.
                                                                                                             ©2012, Susan Lewis Well


1 comment:

  1. I am using the website more all the time. Correct me if I'm wrong, but if there is a w by their name, doesn't that mean they received land as a result of service to their country. Yes I'm always checking these records now. They're part of my top sites which include family search, ancestry.com, and, findagrave.