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Spanish and Mexican Grants
The first land grants in Colorado were given by Spain and Mexico. When the United States acquired the area in 1848, it agreed to recognize these claims. The claims were processed by the U.S. Surveyor General from 1855 to 1890. Some claims processed in the New Mexico office before 1862 relate to land that is now in Colorado.
The Family History Library has microfilm copies of the following records from the Bureau of Land Management, New Mexico State Office, Federal Building, Box 27115, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87502-0115: Telephone: 1-505-438-7450:
- Miscellaneous Archives . . . , 1695 to 1842, indexed and written in Spanish. (Family History Library films 1016947-48.)
- Records of Land Titles, 1847 to 1852. (Family History Library film 1016950; use Donaciano Vigil's Index, 1681 to 1846, on Family History Library film 1016949.)
- Record of Private Land Claims . . . , 1855 to 1890, indexed and written in English and Spanish. (Family History Library films 1016950 items 2-4 and 1016951-74.)
The following publications may help you locate early records:
Beers, Henry Putney. Spanish and Mexican Records of the American Southwest: A Bibliographic Guide to Archive and Manuscript Sources. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1979. (Family History Library book 973 A3bh.)
Van Ness, John R. and Christine Van Ness. Spanish and Mexican Land Grants in New Mexico and Colorado. Manhattan, Kansas: AG Press, 1981. (Family History Library book 978 R2s.)
Federal and State Records
When the United States acquired Colorado, most of the land was unclaimed and became part of the public domain. The federal government transferred land to private ownership through land offices in a process called land entry. The first general land office in Colorado was established in 1863 near Denver. Most of the land office records are at the National Archives Rocky Mountain Region (Denver). Land entry cases are at the National Archives. Patents and copies of tract books and township plats are at:
Bureau of Land Management
Colorado State Office
2850 Youngfield Street
Lakewood, CO 80215
After land was transferred to private ownership, subsequent transactions have been recorded in county offices. The Family History Library has not microfilmed deeds or other property records that are available in each county. You may obtain copies by writing to the county clerk at the county courthouse.
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