On Day 18 of Family History Month, visit the US Bureau of Land Management General Land Office Records (GLO) and track where your ancestors lived. Where they lived and why they lived there is a good part of your heritage.

General Land Office Records Family History Month

The Bureau of Land Management has digitized records of land grants, survey plats, field notes, land status records, and more. For a more thorough description of the collections available at the BLM, visit this page listing each collection.

 

  • Federal Land Patents

    Here are two examples of land patent records at the Bureau of Land Management. Land patents show the transfer of land from the Federal government to individuals. The first is a land grant for Homestead property, land granted to someone when they met the requirements of the 1862 Homestead Act.

Mathew Mansfield Homestead grant

Here is another example of a land grant near Montgomery, Alabama at the BLM site:

Land Patent records

 

  • Survey plats

    This is a survey of the same piece of land near Montgomery, Alabama. The BLM site allows you to zoom in and out to get a perspective of the surveyed area.

Land Survey

Land Survey closer up

 

  • Field notes

    Field notes are attached to some land surveys (this is a different plot of land)

Survey Field Notes at BLM

 

  • Land Status records

    In this survey map, you can select the “Related Documents” tab and look up the ownership and more information about any section of this surveyed land (look up who is the assigned owner of area “15” for example)

Land Status records

 

  • The Control Document Index

    The CDI “includes BLM documents that affect or have affected the control, limitation, or restriction of public land and resources. …CDI documents have been kept on microfilm since the 1950’s, but are now being scanned and linked to existing data records from BLM’s LR2000 database.”

    Land Classification document

If you can’t find any General Land Office (GLO) records for your ancestors, here’s a map of which states are Public Land States and which states are State-Land states meaning land grants came from the states/colonies themselves and you’ll usually look to individual states for land grant records.

If you find a land grant to one of your ancestors at the BLM site, you’re able to print copies of these land certificates directly from the site for free.

Best in your searches, whether they’re by fee or free!

 
 
Here’s a pinnable image to save for future reference!
 
5 helpful links to find & learn about land an ancestor acquired from the Federal Government US #LandRecords

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