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: