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Locating Land Records on the BLM's General Land Office Records Website


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Intro to Federal Land Records from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM)
Locating Land Records on the BLM's General Land Office Records Website
Bureau of Land Management, General Land Office
The U.S. General Land Office (GLO) was established in 1812 to handle the business associated with the sale of public lands for private ownership, transforming the wilderness of America into productive agricultural land, and generating income for the Federal government. In essence, the GLO was the "Gateway to Land Ownership" for millions of Americans. The GLO was later succeeded by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in 1946, but still operates as a division within the BLM, and continues to oversee land transactions recording the initial transfer of land from the federal government to an individual.

What You'll Find
The Bureau of Land Management's General Land Office (GLO) website provides searchable access to Federal land conveyance records for the thirty Public Land States. This includes digitized image access to more than five million Federal land title records (patents) issued between 1820 and 1908. The majority of these are from the Eastern Public Land States which encompass the present-day states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin.

In addition to the Federal land title records, the GLO website also has images for survey plats and field notes, dating back to 1810.

What You Won't Find
The GLO website only includes information on federal land transactions in the public land states. It does NOT include land records for the original thirteen colonies (Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Virginia) and their territories (now the states of Kentucky, Maine, Tennessee, Vermont and West Virginia), or Hawaii and Texas. These states, known as State Land States, were never in the federal public domain (meaning the land never belonged to the United States government), and land records are in the hands of each individual state. It also does not include documents (deeds) recording the sale of land from one individual to another individual.

How to Use the BLM General Land Office Records Website

The BLM's General Land Office Records site can be accessed online at the following URL:

To search the online land records, begin by selecting the big Search Documents link on the green navigation bar. This takes you to the main search page demonstrated in the next step.

Note: The GLM is continually adding to the documents available on its website, but does not currently contain every land title record issued by the U.S. government.

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