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Provisional, Territorial, and Federal Land Office Records
Oregon land records during the period, 1845 to 1849, were filed with the provisional recorder. These papers are now in the Oregon State Archives. The record contains a description of the land claimed, and may name adjoining land holders. Abstracts of the records are in Oregon Provisional Land Claims—Volumes I–VIII (Portland: Genealogical Forum of Oregon, 1987).
Individuals who settled in the Oregon Territory before December 1, 1855 were eligible to receive donation land claims. The earlier, provisional claims were voided. The size of the piece of land was dependent upon the date of the arrival and the marital status of the claimant. The applications for these free lands may provide birth, marriage, citizenship, migration, or other valuable information.
Records of the original donation land claims are in the National Archives. Microfilm copies of the records are available at the National Archives—Pacific Alaska Region (Seattle); at the Family History Library; Oregon and Washington Donation Land Files, 1851- 1903 (Family History Library films 1028543 and 1490152-242), at the Oregon State Archives, and the Genealogical Forum of Oregon.
Abstracts of the donation land claims are published in: Genealogical Material in Oregon Donation Land Claims, 5 vols. (Portland: Genealogical Forum of Portland, 1957-1975; Family History Library book 979.5 R2g; vol. 4 on film 823831 item 7; vols. 1-5 on fiche 6051173). An alphabetical index to the claims is available at the Oregon State Library. A published index to the claims is Oregon State Archives, comp., Index to Oregon Donation Land Claims (Portland: Genealogical Forum, 1953-57; Family History Library film 874373 item 2; fiche 6051271). An Index to the Claimaints can be found on the website of the Genealogical Forum of Oregon.
Distribution of the remaining unoccupied land was administered by the General Land Office (FHLO) through land offices in Oregon. Most of the local FHLO records are now kept in the National Archives—Pacific Alaska Region (Seattle). Patents and copies of the tract books and township plats are at:
Oregon State Office
Bureau of Land Management
333 S.W. 1st. Avenue
Portland, OR 97204
The original tract books, plats, and land entry case files are at the National Archives.
Many of the records are now online at the BLM internet site.
After land was transferred to private ownership, subsequent transactions are recorded by the county auditor in the form of deeds and mortgages. These may be obtained from the appropriate recorder or clerk in each courthouse. The Family History Library has not acquired land records from the counties, except for the deed indexes of Douglas County for 1857 to 1974.
Many of the country records can be found on the internet by using a search engine and terms such as county name (e.g. Douglas), Land, Records. Information on Oregon Land records can also be found at the Oregon State Archives
Oregon Research Outline. Salt Lake City, Utah: Intellectual Reserve, Inc., Family History Department, 1998, 2001.
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