Thursday, May 19, 2011

Why Genealogists Should Look in the Land Records

Why Use the Deeds, Land Grants, and Land Tax Lists?

  • Before 1850 the Census contains the name of the Head of Household and a hash mark for other members of the family. Since most white men owned land before the Civil War, the Land Records can be used to find the names of the family members represented by the hash marks.

  • Sometimes there are several people with the same name in a locality. The land records can help genealogists to determine which John Smith is their John Smith. The land records can also help to determine who are the other members of John Smith's family.

  • Land records can verify your ancestor was in a certain location at a certain time. Knowing the location of an ancestor can help genealogists to find vital records.

  • Land records have often survived when vital records are not available.

Where can genealogists find Land Records?

Finding Land Records in Indiana

The Source: A Guidebook to American Genealogy provides information on finding Land Records in Indiana:

  • NARA Great Lakes Region in Chicago has some office registers, tract books, and correspondence from some Government Land Offices in Indiana

  • Indiana State Archive

  • Book--Indiana Land Enteries by Margaret R. Waters

  • Book--French and British Land Grants in the Port Vincennes District by Clifford Neil Smith

  • Book--Private Land Claims: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin by Fern Ainsworth