The American State Papers are official government documents that were printed long before the creation of the U.S. Government Printing Office. In 1821, Congress authorized the reprinting of 750 copies of those State Papers still extant. Although these documents cover a myriad of issues (e.g., foreign affairs, commerce, etc.), for genealogists the most important categories are “Public Land” and “Claims,” and it is upon these categories that this volume is based.
Clifford Neal Smith, an authority on federal land policy, extracted records of genealogical importance from the “State Papers” related to French and British land grants issued near Port Vincennes (Indiana) District between 1750 and 1784, and he published them in four booklets. These otherwise extremely difficult to access records range from mere lists of inhabitants, to lists of claimants, to land surveys, and to rejected claims. At the very least, each record places an individual at Port Vincennes at a moment in time. In many cases, however, we also learn the name of a spouse or other relative and a description of a lot, usually stating its proximity to (the owners of) other lots. Researchers will discover nearly 3,000 French and British pioneers of the Indiana District named in this work, all of whom may be found in one or more of the name indexes located at the back of the original booklets.