Land Office Patents
Land Patents are Federal Conveyance Documents created on the initial transfer of land titles from the Federal government to individuals. In viewing these documents, the following information may be helpful for interpreting the data:
The primary identification numbers are located in the upper left-hand corner of the document, e.g. a document number, warrant number, serial number or patent number, Indian allotment number, mining claims, etc. Beginning in July 1908 patents were identified with a GLO Serial number, that number appears at the top or bottom of the document. These numbers were assigned consecutively and filed numerically at the opening and closing of the various land offices. Military Warrant numbers are found in the body of these patents. Homestead patents have an assigned application number, which is not required when researching in this Web site.
Patentee names are shown in various areas of the patent. In instances where the patentee was not the original purchaser of the land, the patent will state the purchaser as the Assignee, heirs, and devisees. Military warrants will have the name, rank in service, and a regiment they were affiliated with. These patents were issued in favor of the Officers and Soldiers for their service in the Military, but were often assigned to their heirs or other individuals.
Land Offices were established in the district handling the land transactions. They would frequently move and close within the States as the land within their jurisdiction began dwindling.
Legal Land Descriptions are described in numbered townships in tiers north and south of the base line and ranges east and west of the principal meridians. Townships are subdivided into thirty-six sections with typical land entries containing 40 to 320 acres. They are described into aliquot parts, i.e., NE¼NE¼ Sec. 10, T. 2 N., R. 3 W., Fifth Principal Meridian, Arkansas.
Signature and Date will reflect the President of the United States of America in office at the time. Beginning on June 17, 1948, the authority was delegated to the Secretary of the Interior to issue patents on public lands.
On a land patent record, the Accession number is a code used to uniquely identify a land patent. An accession number directly relates a document image to the original hardcopy document. Depending on the type of patent, it will assume various formats.
Section Numbers identify a section within a Township. They are usually numbered 1 to 36 but can be higher in some states. Alphabetic characters may be included in the section number. In some instances there are surveys with duplicate section numbers that are identified by a numeric-alpha (e.g., 12 or 12U).
Thanks to DGS member Mike Dalton of Oregon for finding the BLM website.
If you wish to view the BLM site in a new window, please click here. Or, you may view a PDF of the information sorted by State. Note: The BLM site may take awhile to fully load in the window below. You may want to use the PDF in this case.
If you have researched your Dalton family and wish to contribute your data to the Bank, it will be most welcome. Contact for more information on how to submit your data.
This page was created 13 October, 2012
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