In the Fourth Edition of The Researcher’s Guide to American Genealogy, author Val D. Greenwood devotes three full chapters (80 pages) to the subject of land records. One chapter covers national (colonial and U.S.) land, a second one covers local land, and the third explains the formats of land record abstracts. Land records, of course, provide clues about land ownership, relationships, and proximity to adjacent properties—all of which can help in establishing the identity of an ancestor.
Chapter 19 of The Researcher’s Guide, for example, covers land transactions initiated by the colonial governments (land grants, headrights, and non-grant transfers) and then the United States (bounty lands, land sales, preemption sales, donation land grants, homestead grants, and private land claims, as well as the unique situation of Texas land records).
To illustrate the kind of guidance you can expect to find in Chapter 19, here are Mr. Greenwood’s descriptions of the credit entry record files and the cash entry record files housed at the U.S. National Archives:
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