Barry’s GenSites: Bureau of Land Management General Land Office Records

Posted on Jun 29, 2012

Already home to more than 3 million federal land title records spanning 1820 to 1908, this site keeps getting better: Among the latest additions are Colorado, Idaho, Montana, South Dakota and North Dakota Master Title Plats (MTPs), field notes from original surveyors, images of land warrants issued as a reward for military service, and images related to survey plats and field notes as old as 1810.  Experienced researchers will be familiar with this site and its searchable database of government land sales.  However, you might not be aware that the site also provides a great deal of general historical information about the development of land policies and sales in the central and western states following the founding of the United States of America.

There is a detailed chronology of public lands history starting in the 1780s, an excellent description of the various types of land patents and how to interpret their contents, a helpful explanation of the rectangular survey system (to help you read property descriptions in old patents and deeds.  This includes a glossary of property-related terminology, and a summary of the records the office holds (which includes field notes and township plats in addition to the more familiar patents and tract books).  This site is home to more than 3 million federal land title records for Eastern public land states (1820 to 1908).

The bureau is currently adding images of Military Land Warrants.  These land patents were issued to individuals as a reward for their military service.  Also being added to the site (on a state- by-state basis) are images related to survey plats and field notes, dating back to 1810.  New to this essential site for land-records research: Survey plats, the official survey documentation the federal government used when transferring a land title to an individual.  Images of "serial patents"—land titles issued between 1908 and the mid-1960s—are also here; document images related to survey plats back to 1810 are being added state by state.  That's all in addition to images of more than 2 million federal land title records for eastern public-land states from 1820 to 1908.

Category:  US Government

Labels: gensite

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