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Today’s Tip:  If you have ancestors who secured land through the Federal Government, be SURE to check out the site http://www.glorecords.blm.gov.  It is awesome!

One of the branches I have been working on were very early settlers to the State of Ohio.  Much of the land that became the State of Ohio was ceeded to the Federal government from the Native Americans in the Treaty of Greenville.  I won’t comment on the politics involved in said treaties, etc.  Just stating the fact here.  

As stated on the Bureau of Land Management or blm website, “When the public lands were sold, land “patents” were issued. Here, patents are deeds transferring land ownership from a sovereign (the U.S. Government) to a buyer. Patents are the first records in a chain of title to a piece of the Public Domain. Therefore, they are extremely important in establishing private ownership of land. Before March 2, 1833, all original patents were actually signed by the President of the United States; after that, designated officials signed in his behalf.” 

You can search on location, name, etc. and find these Land Patents or as in one case of an ancestor a Military Warrant.  Again as the blm site states “From 1788 to 1855 the United States granted military bounty land warrants as a reward for military service. These patents were issued in various denominations and based upon the rank and length of service. They were often assigned to heirs or other individuals.”  Again, critical information for us genealogists!

So what does a typical Land Patent hold?  

First, the name of the new land owner, the legal description of the land (usually by quarter section) and then the date and signatures of the appropriate Federal authorities in the General Land Office.  Plus, the search gives you an Accession number.  The Accession number, again according to the blm site: 

“On a land patent record, the accession number is a code used to uniquely identify a land patent. An accession number directly relates a document image to the original hardcopy document. Depending on the type of patent, it will assume various formats.
  • For a State Volume Patent (for the 13 eastern public domain states), it identifies the state, volume number and page number of the original GLO document .The format is SSVVVV__.PPP where SS is state code, VVVV is the volume number, and PPP is the page number.
  • For Serial Patents, it identifies the unique numeric code assigned to each serial patent.
  • For Military WarrantsMiscellaneous Volumes and other types of volume-based patents, it generally follows the the format of TT-VVVV-PPP where TT is the type of patent, VVVV is the volume number, and PPP is the page number.”
This number can then offer you the opportunity to purchase a certified copy of the deed if you so wish.  Otherwise you can use the digital copy that you can see and save online!  Quite a nice system!

I have found Land Patents for 14 ancestors and one Military Warrant from service in the War of 1812.  Nice finds indeed!

So if it is a possibiity in your family tree, check out the site.  

I was truly impressed and amazed at the material, holdings, ease of use, search and final product.

Enjoy! 

Onward To Our Past,
Scott

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