LAND RESEARCH
United States

Class and Website

This Class Was Given At The Los Angeles FamilySearch Library or LAFSL
Formerly The Los Angeles Family History Library or LAFHL
by Instructor Jon Schweitzer

This is a Website companion to the class.

Website made 18 March 2004 by Jon Schweitzer.
Revised 13 Feburary 2014 by Jon Schweitzer.
HOME    OLD LAFSL HOME    NEW LAFSL HOME

The official website for the LAFSL is at https://wiki.familysearch.org/en/Los_Angeles_Family_History_Library
The unofficial website for the LAFSL is at http://www.encinojon.com/lafhc/

Books listed below are in the LAFSL.
Main Topics
1. Introduction To Class
2. Reference Resources in the LAFSL
3. Starting Your Research
4. Grantee and Grantor Indexes
5. Researching Deeds
6. State Land States versus Public Land States
7. Homestead Act of 1862
8. Federal Land Records
9. State Land Records
10. Resources for Local Land Records
11. Military Bounty Land
12. Land Survey Systems
13. Other Internet Land Resources
14. Definitions and terminology used in land records
15. Land Ownership Maps
16. Other Maps
1. Introduction To Class
The reasons for finding and using land records.
Do the necessary research to establish where your ancestors lived.
Use federal and state censuses and other records to determine their locations.
Use military records to determine if your ancestors were in the military before 1858. See a list that has at least 10 land information sources to research is HERE

2. Reference Resources in the LAFSL
"Land and Property Research in the United States" (Ref 973 R27h) - Hard cover book on the open shelves in the Book Room

3. Starting Your Research
Use the Family History Library Catalog (FHLC) on the Internet to find the land records that have been microfilmed for your locations. The FHLC is at https://familysearch.org/Eng/Library/FHLC/frameset_fhlc.asp

Print out the FHLC lists of land records on microfilms.

Check the Los Angeles FamilySearch Library (LAFSL) for the land records on microfilm.
Use the LAFSL microfilm/microfiche search at http://www.lafhl.org/microsearch.html to determine if they are at the LAFSL or if the FHLC microfilms that you require are not at the LAFSL, you may order them at the LAFSL Welcome Desk.

Look at my "Genealogy Research at the Los Angeles FamilySearch Library" website at http://www.encinojon.com/lafhc/

See the floor plan of the LAFSL at http://www.lafhl.org/mainfloorplan.html

4. Grantee and Grantor Indexes
Grantee Indexes
Names are frequently misspelled in the indexes. Work up a list of all possible variations and misspellings of both the given name and the surname.
Use "Names, Nicknames and Missspelled Names" (929.4 C191c).
Enter the surnames into the Ancestral File HERE to find more variations.
Persons acquired land most of the time from private individuals or the railroad. The buyers should be listed in a Grantee (the person or business buying the land) Index.

Start with the Grantee Index or the Index to Real Estate Conveyances shortly before they first moved to the location.

If you find the person (buyer) in the Grantee Index or the Index to Real Estate Conveyances, you can then find or order the microfilmed deeds that are listed in the indexes.

Grantor Indexes
The Sellers should be listed in the Grantor (the person or business selling the land) Index.
Look for all the names of the children, widow and remarried widow with remarried surname that would have been in the probate records as possible sellers of the land.

5. Researching Deeds
See the website http://dohistory.org/on_your_own/toolkit/deeds.html

Learn more about researching deeds at http://www.directlinesoftware.com/deeds.htm

See the links under "Land Records" at http://www.lhaasdav.com/land/index.html

Examples of a Warranty deed and a Cemetery deed. Samples are shown at http://www.encinojon.com/lafhc/landresclass/record7.html and http://www.encinojon.com/lafhc/landresclass/record8.html

6. State Land States versus Public Land States
See a good website that has all of the land patent/warrant locations in the United States at http://www.lhaasdav.com/learningcenter/patentlocations.html

7. Homestead Act of 1862
These are the best land records for genealogical information. The 2nd most common place to obtain land is from the federal government that has the records from the Homestead Act of 1862.
See the websites at http://www.directlinesoftware.com/homestead.htm and http://www.archives.gov/education/lessons/homestead-act/
Use form NATF 84 in 8. below to obtain these Homestead records and more.
Final Proof Sample - http://www.encinojon.com/lafhc/landresclass/record1.html
Certificate of Naturalization Sample - http://www.encinojon.com/lafhc/landresclass/record2.html
Adjutant General's Office (Military Service) Sample - http://www.encinojon.com/lafhc/landresclass/record3.html
Military Service Sample - http://www.encinojon.com/lafhc/landresclass/record4.html

8. Federal Land Records
Warrant - an order allowing survey of the land
Survey - shows boundaries and description of the property
Patent - official title to property and is the first and only patent from the government to the private sector

Search and print out many records such as land entry case files on the online official federal Bureau of Land Management patent record site at http://www.glorecords.blm.gov/ See this PDF site that has information about the Bureau of Land Management records at http://uvtagg.org/presentations/Land_Records_Handouts.pdf

Ancestry.com has images online of U.S. General Land Office Records, 1796-1907 at http://content.ancestry.com/iexec/?htx=List&dbid=1246&offerid=0%3a7858%3a0

Use this nice site that lists each state and "Where to Obtain Land Patents" http://www.lhaasdav.com/learningcenter/patentlocations.html

Obtain a copy of the land patent/warrant in the land entry case file by using the National Archive Order Form NATF 84. Obtain this free form NATF 84 by printing it out from http://www.archives.gov/forms/pdf/natf-84.pdf or order the records online at http://www.archives.gov/contact/inquire-form.html#85
The information required to complete form NATF 84 might be obtained from local record sources or you must write the Bureau of Land Management Bureau of Land Management at 7450 Boston Boulevard Springfield, VA 22153-3121 for the information.

A large amount of information about Land Entry Files of the General Land Office is at http://gardner_2.tripod.com/landentry.html

Lands that were initially controlled and dispersed by the United States are called Federal Lands. The 30 states that contain such lands: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Applications to the U.S. Government for re-ownership of land acquired by the claimant while living under a foreign government is indexed in "List of Private Claims" 973 R2us, 3 volumes.

See Federal Land Series (land patents), 4 vols. (incomplete series), 973 R23s.

9. State Land Records
Use the FHLC to determine what records have been microformed for your research location.

Look at the Illinois land tract records on microfiche at the LAFSL starting at 6016848 in microfiche cabinet 1 and drawer 3. These Illinois Public Land Purchase Records are online on Ancestry.com at http://www.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=3780

The lands initially controlled and dispersed by the state governments are called State Lands. Subsequent transactions were considered to be individual or private lands. The 20 State Land states are the following: Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia.

Look in "Land and Property Research in the United States" 973 R27h book under State Lands and the state for the general land information and the name and address for the state land repository or use the Website at http://www.lhaasdav.com/learningcenter/patentlocations.html

10. Resources for Local Land Records
Use the FHLC to determine what records have been microformed for your research location.

Find local county websites that might have land resources.

There are 660,000 large-scale Sanborn Insurance Maps of more than 12,000 American towns and cities that show improved properties from 1867 to 1970. See more information at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sanborn_Maps and the holdings for all states at http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/EART/sanbul.html Sample of a Sanborn map.
Use the websites http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~usgenweb/ and http://usgenweb.org/ and http://www.google.com/ to find the local websites.

Online satellite views of homes and land are at least 2 Web sites if you have high speed Internet. They are: http://microsoft-virtual-earth.en.softonic.com/ and http://earth.google.com/ and details about the Google site are at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Earth If you have dial-up Internet you can use http://maps.yahoo.com/ Enter the address in "A" and click "satellite" and zoom in.

Newspaper research may uncover land owned that had delinquent taxes that required notices published in a local newspaper. A sample is shown at http://www.encinojon.com/lafhc/landresclass/record6.html

You might be able to obtain information about past ownership of land from a title insurance company in your area of research. Here is a Web site that has companies in all states - http://www.manta.com/mb_34_A2169_000/title_insurance

11. Military Bounty Land
These are the 2nd best land records for genealogical information. The federal government gave bounty land as an incentive to join the military and partial compensation from about 1776 to 1858. The state and federal governments usually had an abundance of land but very little money.

In addition to federal bounty land warrants, 9 states produced their own bounty-land warrants. They were: Connecticut, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Virginia. See more information at http://www.genealogytoday.com/news/archive/999news.htm

In the LAFSL Microfilm Room see the National Archives films M-804 Revolutionary War Bounty Land Warrants and M-848 War of 1812 Bounty Land Warrants.

A War of 1812 Bounty Land Warrants website is at http://www.directlinesoftware.com/bounty.htm

Sample of War of 1812 discharge is at http://www.encinojon.com/lafhc/landresclass/record5.html.

Obtain a copy of the bounty land warrant by using the National Archive Order Form NATF 84. Obtain this free form NATF 85 in the Sales Area of the LAFSL or print it out at http://www.archives.gov/forms/pdf/natf-85.pdf or order the records online at http://www.archives.gov/contact/inquire-form.html#85

Bounty land awarded by state governments may be found in the "Revolutionary War Bounty Land Grants" 973 R2bo, 2 volumes.

12. Land Survey Systems
The Metes and Bounds System was generally used in the southern states and states with State Lands.
This system uses directions and distances from some physical marker. See the website HERE

The Federal Township and Range System is made up of nice and neat rectangular land surveys. See the web site HERE

Plotting deed locations for determining where the land was located.
See the website at http://members.tripod.com/~LeeHouse/platTool.htm

13. Other Internet Land Resources
National Archives - http://www.archives.gov/publications/general-info-leaflets/67.html

Land Records - http://www.wvc.edu/library/Research/gen/RBGenLand.html
and http://www.directlinesoftware.com/sites.htm
and http://www.directlinesoftware.com/landref.htm

Land Records, Deeds, Homesteads, Etc. - http://www.cyndislist.com/land.htm

Researching your House History - Look at the 2 following websites for the U.S. lists of resources to research a property. The lists for the U.S. includes Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, Bird's Eye Views, Plat Maps and many more at http://www.kshs.org/research/topics/community/househistorychecklist.pdf and http://www.mnhs.org/localhistory/bldghistory/index.htm

14. Definitions and terminology used in land record
http://www.lhaasdav.com/learningcenter/landrecordterms.html

15. Land Ownership Maps
Plat maps may be found at city Building or Planning Departments and county historical societies.
See an example at http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~wiburnet/platbook/38n17w.htm

16. Other Maps
Cyndi's List Maps, Gazetteers, http://www.cyndislist.com/maps

Maps On Other Web Sites, http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/map_sites/map_sites.html

Map Machine: Resources, http://www.nationalgeographic.com/resources/ngo/maps/csites/index.html


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