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Douglas County, Missouri

Land Records & Maps

MO Gen Web, Kristi Towe and Sharon Sanders, Coordinators


The Douglas County Recorder of Deeds have records of all land transactions back to 1886.  Earlier land transactions may be on file if the parties re-recorded the transaction after the courthouse fire of April 1886. The following sets of plat maps exist:

1846-47 Survey Maps -- A few surnames were recorded on this earliest survey map.  A copy is on file in the Douglas County Museum.

  • In the 1840s, the Federal Land Office in St. Louis, Missouri, contracted with independent surveyors to go
    through the entire area that included present-day Douglas County, Missouri.  As the surveyors completed the
    field work, they laid out the legal townships, ranges, and sections that have been used since that time to
    assign land title. 

  • No legal claim to Douglas County land was documented prior to the completion of these
    surveys.  (According to Bessie Selleck, in her 1952 book, "Early Settlers of Douglas County," Sarah Lawrence
    was the first homesteader in Mar. 3, 1847.  Her land parcel was in Twp. 25 - Rng 18.  Using the map below,
    one can see that Sarah Lawrence's was in the extreme southwest corner of the county).

  • As the surveyor conducted his work, he prepared maps that showed roads, streams, mills, and the surnames of any residents he discovered along the way.  Click Here to see a listing of the surveyor's notations listed by township, range and section.

1886 July Plat Maps.  {prepared by the Federal Land Office in Springfield, these plat maps show the original land patentee for each parcel as of July 1886.  The maps are indexed.  A set of the maps can be acquired from the Douglas County Hist/Gen Soc.

  • In 2004, a set of old plat maps was discovered in a vault in the Douglas County Courthouse (by yours truly).  Apparently, they were created by the Land Office in Springfield, MO, after the Douglas County Courthouse fire of April, 1886, which destroyed most county records including all land records.  With these plat maps, the county was able to begin its land records system again. These 1886 plat maps show the person to whom the U.S. Government issued each parcel of land as of July 1886.  (The maps DO NOT show subsequent land holders to whom the original owner might have sold the land before 1886).

  • Prepared by hand back in 1886, these maps show the original land holder's name, the date of the acquisition, an indication of the type of acquisition and then a reference number.  The plat maps indicate three ways in which these early settlers acquired land: (1) by "proving up" a homestead, (2) by land warrants (issued to veterans), or (3) by cash.

  • Cost: $15.00 + $2.00 shipping.  Send orders to the Douglas County Historical and Genealogical Society, Inc.  P.O. Box 986, Ava, MO 65608.

ca 1930 Plat Maps -- These plat maps with indices, shows the land holders in the 1930 just before modern roads came to the area.  A set of the maps can be acquired from the Douglas County Hist/Gen Soc.

  • A few years ago, Nancie Todd Weber prepared a fully indexed set of plat maps (circa 1930) for the Douglas County Historical and Genealogical Society.  This publication is a 'must-have' for any serious researcher of Douglas County history and/or families.  (Click here to see how to acquire this publication). 

  • The University of Missouri has placed 1930 plat maps online that appear to be the same ones (without index) as those of Nancie Todd Weber.  (Click here to see those online 1930 maps)

  • In the 1920s, the current state highway system was not in place.  Besides showing all the land holders in
    the 1920s time period, the maps show some of the old roads that our ancestors used.

1964-65 -- The Douglas County Landowners 1964-65 Book is available from the Douglas County Hist. & Gen. Society.  CLICK HERE to view their publications list, and order instructions.


2001 Plat Maps --  This is the latest plat map available from the County Clerk's office in the Douglas County Courthouse.


Family Maps of Douglas County, Missouri, Deluxe Edition (2006), published by Arphax Publishing Co. --

  • By Gregory A. Boyd. 344 pages, with 77 total maps. There are 3 maps for each of the 24 Congressional townships that make up Douglas County. Each Township has a Patent Map, Patent Index, Road Map, and a Map we call an Historical Map, which includes Waterways, Watercourses & Railroads. The Road and Historical Maps also include the City-centers and cemeteries that can be found at There is also a Surname/Patent Index and a Surname/Township Index to help you dive into the right area of the County. Included Appendices identify multi-Patentee buying groups and also list the numerous Aliquot (section) parts you might find. This book is constructed to last with a plastic spiral binding, acid-free paper, and a tough, laminated cover. 
Copyrights and Good Ethics -- This site is copyrighted to protect the many creators of the body of work contained here.  Use this information freely but tell your readers where you acquired the information.  A copyright comes into existence when a work is created. Only “original works of authorship” can be protected by copyright.  An example of this would be cemetery records – if you copy names and dates from a cemetery, that in itself might not be copyrightable, unless you have added information to it, such as compiling multiple cemeteries into one source, such as Laine Sutherland’s (et al) Gone But Not Forgotten: Cemetery Survey of the Eastern District, Douglas County , Missouri (1995).  My own transcriptions of Fairview and Oak Forest Cemetery are also copyrighted, because I added additional information not available on the headstones. For works created after 1978, copyright protection lasts for the “life of the author, plus seventy years”. For works created before 1978, the protection is good for a maximum of 95 years, with a minimum of 28 years. Note that “official government publications are not eligible for copyright in any form by anyone” – the information can be used, as it is public domain, but you cannot call it your original work. -- Kristi Towe, Coordinator

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Last updated on 06/26/2014
Copyright © 2014 Kristi Towe and Sharon Sanders