Morgan County Genealogy
A Missouri GenWeb Project
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Bureau of Land Management
The following has been contributed to the Miller County, MOGENWEB site by Don Blankenship. Thank you, Don!
The Bureau of Land Management, Department of the Interior
GENEALOGY: Official U.S. land Patent Records site on the Internet http://www.blm.gov/ Bureau of Land Management, Dept. of the Interior
SUBJECT: Find records of U.S. Govt. Land purchased made by your ancestors
From: Don Blankenship < email@example.com >
On 1 May 1998 the federal Bureau of Land Management under the Dept. of Interior first provided free public access to old U.S. government land patents. They now have a web page where you can not only find records of these land patents but also print out a beautiful copy of the original manuscripted document. Prior to 1833 all land patents were signed by U.S. presidents. Following that year they were signed by his secretary. The Congressional act of 1820 made available government land to anyone who could afford it at $1.25 per acre in 40-acre blocks. These U.S. government land acquisitions continued from 1820 up through the early 1900's.
I recently found many land patent documents for my relatives who resided in Miller County in the mid-1800's. When you find such a record it documents that particular ancestor or relative at a particular moment in time and it validates that he or she acquired land in a particular location. Very often you are surprised to find that your relatives actually acquired their land through government purchase because there may not have been mention of it in your genealogy records. I have evidence that one of my German born relatives who bought land just north of Tuscumbia, MO in July 1860 paid twice the amount that originally was paid for the land when purchaed from the governemnt one year earlier. So it is obvious there were land speculators in Miller County as soon as these U.S. government lands became available for purchase. I also believe that foreigners, such as my Kallenbach ancestors, were unable to purchase these U.S. governement lands and therefore were required to purchase them from land speculators.
When you go to the land U.S. Bureau of Land Records web page on the Internet you are asked to input your ZIP code to gain entry to the site. Most of the midwestern states currently are avaiable for access. The Bureau of Land Management will make available additional information during the next 18 months. Jim Gegan from the Bureau of Land Management explained to by me recently that there has been literally no announcement of this new genealogy service, but even so they were getting about 5,000 computer queries a day during the first few days of opening the new Internet service. If you are pleased with the service, drop Jim a note and let him know how invaluable these government records are. There is a place at the site to provide feedback to the Bureau of Land Management and if you mention his name it might help.
The beautifully hand scripted land patent documents are stored in the online computer for you to access. However, you will find that they are in TIFF graphics format. This is the newest version of the older TIF format. Some of you will not be able to handle this highly compressed format. So if you try to bring up these graphics using your standard graphics viewer you may not see the document. There are a great many graphic viewers which will handle the TIFF format.
Below is a sample of the Birdsongs who purchased U.S. Government land in Miller County. Once you determine that your ancestor is listed as a purchaser of U.S. government land, you then simply will click on their name at the internet site and that will bring up another screen with the particulars of where the land was acquired. At the bottom of that screen will be an option to download the graphic file which is an exact copy of the original document. If you take a copy of the file to a copy service or print shop, they should be able to print you an enlargement version of the document which would be suitable for framing in your home. The original manuscripted documents 11 X 17 inches in size but you can have your copy service make it any size you want. Those with computer graphic skills can do this with your own computer at home. The TIFF graphics can easily be converted to JPG graphics which all of your graphic viewers can handle, but the file size grows to about 1 megabyte in size.
Sample Printout of Birdsong Land Acquisitions in Miller County
If you have the accession Nr. of the land parcel you can quickly go to it and download the graphic of the original document.
Currently it is rather difficult to equate the description of these survey records to current maps or geographical coordinates. However, in coming months these land parcels and their locations should be cross indexed with geographic coordinates or master sheets with nearby towns and this will allow you to more precisely identify the locations. Read through all the different web pages at the USGS internet site for more details on how these survey documents were recorded.
Official U.S. land Patent Records site on the Internet http://www.blm.gov/ Bureau of Land Management, Dept. of the Interior
|This page was modified on Tuesday, 1 January 2002.||Morgan County MOGenWeb site © 1999-2013 by Larry Flesher|