Kinsearching March 18, 2007




Marleta Childs
P. O. Box 6825
LUBBOCK, TX 79493-6825

     Many genealogists will welcome the reprint of Clifford Neal Smith's FEDERAL LAND SERIES: A CALENDAR OF ARCHIVAL MATERIALS ON THE LAND PATENTS ISSUED BY THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT WITH SUBJECT, TRACT, AND NAME INDEXES. Originally published in five parts by the American Library Association between the years 1972 and 1986, Smith's four volume (parts one and two are now combined into one volume) set lists the public land grants made by the federal government and the state of Virginia to settlers in U. S. territories (especially the Old Northwest Territory) between 1788 and 1835. This work is an important tool for tracking the westward migration of many pioneering families. In addition, the material may provide information about military service since much of the land was granted to veterans of the American Revolution and the War of 1812.

     Each volume has a helpful introduction which explains the archival resource materials and how to use them. Genealogists should read the introductions in order to understand and make full use of the records.

     Excluding war bounties and land company sales, VOLUME 1: 1788 - 1810 pertains to assignments of land recorded by the federal land offices in the territorial districts of the U. S. during this twenty-two year period. Containing information on approximately 8,000 names, the material is arranged in a chronological series of land abstracts. Since the majority of patents pertain to land in the Ohio Territory, there are entries for land offices in Chillicothe, Cincinnati, Dayton, Marietta, Steubenville, and Zanesville, OH. However, there are also some entries for land offices in Jeffersonville and Vincennes, IN; East of Pearl River (Fort St. Stephen); West of Pearl River (Mississippi Territory); and the General Land Office in Washington, DC.

     VOLUME 2: 1799 - 1835, FEDERAL WAR BOUNTY-LAND WARRANTS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION presents names found in the summary registers of the General Land Office referring to land grants in the U. S. Military District of Ohio for this thirty-six year period. Also included are lists of bounty-land warrants exchanged for scrip. These warrants may supply evidence of Revolutionary service for many individuals. Approximately 10,000 names appear in the data.

     Primarily concerning settlers in Ohio, VOLUME III: 1810 - 1814 resumes where the first volume left off and continues to the year 1814. Containing references to around 10,000 names, this volume arranges its material in the same manner as the first volume. In addition to land offices mentioned in VOLUME I, this volume furnishes abstracts recorded in offices in Huntsville, AL; Washington, Mississippi Territory; and Nashville, TN.

     The final volume, VOLUME 4, PARTS 1 & 2, concerns non-federal land grants made by Virginia to the state's Revolutionary War veterans. These lands were in the Virginia Miliary District of Ohio--the land lying within the triangle formed by the Ohio, Scioto, and Miami rivers. Arranged by survey number, each entry provides the amount of acreage obtained, survey book and page number, watercourse upon which the land is situated, county and township location, warrant number and names of the warrantee, the patentee, and any other person settled on any part of the land. More than 22,000 individuals are identified in both parts.

     Knowing the location of the tracts of their forebears can help genealogists identify the modern county where records may be checked for more information. Having such a wealth of material abstracted and indexed for easy searching is a boon for family researchers. Any genealogical library that does not already have Clifford Neal Smith's FEDERAL LAND SERIES: A CALENDAR OF ARCHIVAL MATERIALS ON THE LAND PATENTS ISSUED BY THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT WITH SUBJECT, TRACT, AND NAME INDEXES will want to add the set to its collection.

     Totaling 1,772 pages, the four volume paperback series has several maps (small and larger fold-out) and separate indexes for names, subjects, and tracts. To the set's price of $200.00, buyers should add the cost for postage and handling charges. For U. S. postal mail, the cost is $4 for one book and $2.00 for each additional volume; for UPS, the cost is $6 for one book and $2.50 for each additional volume). The set (item order #9421) may be purchased by check, MasterCard, or Visa from Clearfield Company, 3600 Clipper Mill Rd., Suite 260, Baltimore, Maryland 21211 (for phone orders, call toll free 1-800-296-6687; fax 1-410-752-8492; website