The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has a site for researching US federal land records called the The Official Federal Land Records Site. On the Federal Land Records site, you can search for image access on more than 2 million federal land title records. The research is fairly limited to the east side of the United States, specifically called the Eastern Public Land States, which were issued between 1820 and 1908 to Americans for a variety of reasons, including a reward for military service. More current records (1908-1960) are being added to the site, so your luck with these maybe hit and miss.
They do have an extensive list of sites which offer other land records and information sorted by state. If the BLM’s records do not have what you are researching, then try one of these other resources.
To search the Land Patent Records online, select the state, enter the name of the patentee or warrantee (who you are researching) and click search. A list of the search results will appear.
Go down the list to find the name and information that mostly resembles your relative. Click on the name and you will be taken to the Land Patent Details page. There, you can look at the Patent Description, Legal Land Description, and view an image of the document in one or more graphic forms from GIF to PDF.
You may find your ancestors in the Bureau of Land Management Patent Records, or you might not. There is little that directly ties your ancestor to these records unless you know where they lived at a specific time or their name is uniquely distinctive. Many of these records do not feature the signature of the actual person, as some couldn’t read nor write. Names are often misspelled, too. Still, they are an invaluable resource to discovering your ancestors’ past location and activities.
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