United States, Bureau of Land Management Tract Books (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page

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FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.

Contents

Record Description

This collection consists of tract books containing official records of the land status and transactions involving surveyed public lands arranged by state and then by township and range. These books indicate who obtained the land, and include a physical description of the tract and where the land is located. The type of transaction is also recorded such as cash entry, credit entry, homesteads, patents (deeds) granted by the Federal Government, and other conveyances of title such as Indian allotments, internal improvement grants (to states), military bounty land warrants, private land claims, railroad grants, school grants, and swamp grants. Additional items of information included in the tract books are as follows: number of acres, date of sale, purchase price, land office, entry number, final Certificate of Purchase number, and notes on relinquishments and conversions. Original documents are located at the Bureau of Land management in Springfield, Virginia. The collection covers the years 1820 to 1908.

For a list of the localities and land offices included in this collection, see United States, Bureau of Land Management Tract Books Coverage Table (FamilySearch Historical Records).

For a detailed list of the contents of this collection by film number see the Family History Library Catalog entry for this collection.

For a list of records by localities, and volume numbers currently published in this collection, select the Browse link from the collection landing page.

Record Content

Information found in this collection may include:

  • Name of purchaser
  • Description of the land
  • Date of transaction
  • By whom patented
  • Date of patent

How to Use the Record

To begin your search it is helpful to know the following:

  • Name
  • State
  • Land Office Location

Search the Collection

To search the collection
⇒Select the "Browse" link in the initial search page
⇒Select the "State"
⇒Select the "Volume (Land Office Location)" which takes you to the images.

If you need help deciding which volume to search, the United_States,_Bureau_of_Land_Management_Tract_Books_Coverage_Table may be of help to you. This table lists each volume along with the town where the land office was located and the townships and ranges in that volume.

Search the collection by image. Compare the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine which one is your ancestor. You may need to compare the information about more than one person to make this determination.

As you are searching it is helpful to know such information as your ancestor’s given name and surname, some identifying information such as residence and age, and family relationships. Remember that there may be more than one person in the records with the same name as your ancestor and that your ancestor may have used nicknames or different names at different times.

Using the Information

When you have located your ancestor’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. Make a photocopy of the deed, or extract the genealogical information needed. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details that can lead you to other records about your ancestors. Add this new information to your records of each family. For example:

  • Use the residence and names to locate other records such as church and census records.
  • Search for the land transactions of a couple and their children. The parents may have sold or given property to a son or daughter. Such transactions confirm relationships that might not be found in other records.
  • Search for records of people in the county who shared a surname. These may have been the couple’s parents, uncles, or other relatives. Your ancestor may have been an heir who sold inherited land that had belonged to parents or grandparents.
  • To find later generations, search the land records a few years before and after a person’s death. Your ancestor may have sold or given land to his or her heirs before death, or the heirs may have sold the land after the individual died. For daughters, the names of their husbands are often provided. For sons, the given names of their wives may be included. Heirs may have sold their interest in the land to another heir even though the record may not indicate this. Continue this process for identifying each succeeding generation.
  • When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.


Unable to Find Your Ancestor?

  • Check for variant spellings of the surnames.
  • Check for an index. There are often indexes at the beginning of each volume.
  • Check the land records of other known family members.

Related Websites

Bureau of Land Management General Land Office

Related Wiki Articles

United States

Contributions to This Article

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. Guidelines are available to help you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide. If you would like to get more involved join the WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections

Citations for individual image records are available for this collection. Browse through images in this collection and click on the "Show Citation" box: United States Bureau of Land Management Tract Books, 1820-1908


When you copy information from a record, you should list where you found the information. This will help you or others to find the record again. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records.

A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the wiki article Help:How to Cite FamilySearch Collections.

Citation for This Collection

The following citation refers to the original source of the information published in FamilySearch.org Historical Record collections. Sources include the author, custodian, publisher and archive for the original records.

"United States, Bureau of Land Management Tract Books, 1820-1908." Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2013. Citing Bureau of Land Improvement. Records Improvement, Bureau of Land Management, Washington D.C.

 

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  • This page was last modified on 29 March 2014, at 16:03.
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