Public Domain States
Early on in my genealogical quest, I started using property records. They helped me determine when my ancestors settled in a place. They frequently gave me the name of a wife and sometimes the names and relationship of other members of the family.
|First Land Patent |
4 March 1788
What is a Land Patent?
A land patent is the granting of a piece of real estate (land) by a government to a private individual or business. The land patents were either sold at public auctions or granted to individuals for service to the government, sometimes in lieu of payment for that service. Many soldiers in the American Revolution were paid in this way.
The issuance of a land patent is the first step in the selling of a tract of land from one individual to another. Once the patent was issued, the patentee (the one who got the property from the government) was able to sell it to another individual.
Bureau of Land Management Records
You can read about the history of the BLM in their extensive reference section, which includes the glossary mentioned above.
I learned that not everyone purchased or received a land patent or grant.
I learned that the federal government tried to make sure that more people could become land owners by making the price cheap and by limiting how much land a single individual could purchase at one auction.
I learned that not all states are found on the
BLM site. Only states known as "federal land" states have records posted there.
I learned that I should keep checking back to see what records the
BLM has imaged and posted to this site.
Whether you are new to genealogy or experienced, check out these tutorials.