Inside Sources: State Land vs. Public Land States
Whether your ancestors lived in a state-land or public-land state affects the land records you'll look for. Learn which states fall into which category.
The types and locations of your ancestors' land records depend on whether he lived in a state-land state or a public-land state. Before state-land states became US territories, entities such as Colonial governments controlled, surveyed and distributed their land. Early property-transaction records are usually in those states' archives. The US government owned the land in public-land states before they entered the Union; the National Archives and Records Administration has records of federal government land sales.


• Alabama

• Alaska

• Arizona

• Arkansas

• California

• Colorado

• Florida

• Idaho

• Illinois

• Indiana

• Iowa

• Kansas

• Louisiana

• Michigan

• Minnesota

• Mississippi

• Missouri

• Montana

• Nebraska

• Nevada

• New Mexico

• North Dakota

• Ohio (parts were surveyed under earlier systems)

• Oklahoma

• Oregon

• South Dakota

• Utah

• Washington

• Wisconsin

• Wyoming


• Connecticut

• Delaware

• Georgia

• Hawaii

• Kentucky

• Maine

• Maryland

• Massachusetts

• New Hampshire

• New Jersey

• New York

• North Carolina

• Pennsylvania

• Rhode Island

• South Carolina

• Tennessee

• Texas

• Vermont

• Virginia

• West Virginia
From the September 2005 Family Tree Sourcebook
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