Louisiana Land and Property
The French and the Spanish kept the earliest land records of Louisiana, and the documents are in their languages. Since most of these records were filed with notarial records, refer to the section on “Notarial Records” in this outline.
The Family History Library has microfilm copies and indexes of the records kept by the French Conseil Superieur and the Spanish cabildo.
When Louisiana was ceded to the United States, the landowners registered private claims to verify their ownership. Most of these claims have genealogical value and have been published. Useful indexes to pre-1837 claims in the American State Papers (on microfilm at the Family History Library), are:
- McMullin, Phillip W., ed. Grassroots of America, Salt Lake City, Utah: Gendex Corporation, 1972. (Family History Library book 973 R2ag index; fiche 6051323.)
- Maduell, Charles R., Jr. Federal Land Grants in the Territory of Orleans: The Delta Parishes. New Orleans, Louisiana: Polyanthos, 1975. (Family History Library book 976.33 R2m.)
Unclaimed land became public domain and was surveyed and sold to private owners.
The Bureau of Land Management has an online index to land patents in Louisiana. The patent search usually provides a digital image of the original patent.
The Bureau of Land Management has an index and digital images of the original survey maps for Louisiana. The original survey creates land boundaries and marks them for the first time.
The Family History Library and the Division of Archives, Records Management, and History have microfilms of the nineteenth-century claims and original land sales recorded by the United States District Land Offices, such as those in Ouachita, Opelousas, St. Helena, and New Orleans. The original records are in:
- State Land Office
625 N. 4th Street
Baton Rouge, LA 70804
Baton Rouge, LA 70804
Each office created several sets of records and indexes. Land tract books arranged by ranges and townships for the years 1807 to 1870 are also at the State Land Office and the Family History Library.
Since statehood, subsequent transfers of land between private owners have been recorded by the local clerk of court in each parish. Some records are filed in notarial books. They are often called “conveyances” and have vendor/vendee indexes.
The Family History Library has microfilm copies of the deeds for most parishes. For example, for New Orleans the Family History Library has 181 microfilms covering the years 1827 to 1887 and an index to 1900.
Louisiana Research Outline. Salt Lake City, Utah: Intellectual Reserve, Inc., Family History Department, 1998, 2001.