Saturday, September 09, 2006

Public Land Index's of 1789--1837

Land records are another good source for finding information on a ancestor, a lot of people forget about the land office, today we call it the Register of Deeds, these offices can be found at the county court house, in the county seat of each county.

Note: In some larger cities, they maybe housed in another county office so you may need to look it up in a city directory under land, or county offices.

A person can find out a lot about his or hers ancestor at the deeds office. The deeds office is not only for rural areas such as farm land, but land within a large or small city. You will be able to find where the land was how much there was, how much they paid for it, and if you wanted to follow the deeds you could find out if the land is still in the family. Some times there will be another family names on the deeds and this will start you on a new search. Now your wondering what good it will do to know where the land is. Lets say you have a ancester that you know lived within a county but don't know what city they live in, by going to the deeds office at the county seat of that county, you will be able to find out what city he or she lives, that is if they own the land. You say he or she didn't own land, they just rented, but you know he or she own a little shop of some kind, this will be register. Now you say but they didn't live in a city or own a business,they just own a fram. This is where a book called a Range book comes in.

Range books

The range book is where all rural land is recorded, a county is divided into range numbers and section numbers. You will need these numbers to know what book to look in, to help find the right book it will help to know the township their farm is in or the nearest town they live by. At the top & bottom of a county map you will find the range numbers and also you will see other numbers on the map these numbers will be within a circle these will be the section numbers. If you can't find the right book don't worry just ask someone in the office for help they will be happy to help.

Note: A lot people think the Register of Deeds office is for the recording of land, that's far from the truth, below is some information on what type of documents are housed and recorded at this office. Just keep in mind some of the documents recorded is not by law but voluntary for the safe keeping of ones family legal papers. Just about any legal document can be recorded at the deeds office.

These offices are responsible for filing financing states and security agreements on personal property according to the regulations of the Uniform Commercial Code, federal and state tax liens, powers of attorney, military discharges, corporation papers and county school records, wills, birth records, death records. They also record hundreds of different types of documents.

I have eight volumes of land records from 1789 to 1837 they cover all the states within this time frame. Within thses volumes there are thousands of names, If you would like a look up I would be happy to do so, but keep in mind I don't have all the names of the United States, but still there are thousands of names. You can E. mail me at:

Below you will find two examples of information you may receive.

Example 1.

Detroit Michigan

No. 325
Samuel Abbott, esq. The board took into consideration the claim of Samuel Abbott, esq. to a lot of ground at Michillimackinack, which was entered with the former commissioners of the land office at Detroit in Vol. 2 page 33, under the date of December 26, 1805 .

This lot contanains forty-six feet in front by fifty-one in depth, bounded in front by main street, in rear by the house and concerns of Joseph Gui, southwest by widow Solomon, and northeast by one Petit.

Whereupon Daniel Daly was brought forward as a winess in behalf of the claimant, who being duly sworn, deposed and said, that previous to the 1st july 1796, James Aird was in possession and occupancy of the premises, and continued so untill he sold to Bartholmew Noble, from whom the claimant has purchased and has possessed and occupied the same to this day.

Example 2.


On june 25, 1811, Roger West sold to David T. Sacket on order of survey in the county of Rapides on the waters of Bayou Chactos, 338.51 acres, with a front of 400 acres. In the remarks, on both sides of the Bayou.