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Twenty colonies and states did not cede the unclaimed land in their borders to the federal government when they became part of the United States. These states are known as state-land states and included the original 13 colonies, those states created from original colonies, Hawaii, and Texas. Usually this land was surveyed in metes and bounds.
The states in the public domain areas who received grants of land from the federal government also granted some of this land to individuals.
Each state established land offices to distribute its land, in a manner similar to that of the federal government. The original documents are usually at the state archives. The Family History Library has copies of many of the records that have been microfilmed.