Land Records Genealogy Cheat Sheet


This genealogy cheat sheet guide will help you research your family history and ancestors in old property deeds, property tax records, land patents, plat maps, Sanborn maps, atlases, bounty land warrants and other important land records.


Records can reveal a wealth of family history details. They help you trace your family’s migrations, discover exactly where they lived, document relative relationships, distinguish same-named individuals and more. But researching land records can be challenging. Our eight-page cheat sheet serves as a quick-reference guide to finding and understanding your ancestors’ deeds, land patents, plat maps, property tax records and more. Download this PDF cheat sheet and start using it to discover your family tree today!

The easy-to-use tips, charts and resource listings include:


  • five steps for finding your ancestors’ old property deeds among court records
  • tips for understanding deeds
  • quick-guide chart of eight important types of land records, including patents, plat maps, Sanborn fire insurance maps, land entry case files and more, and hot to find them
  • glossary of key terms in land records research
  • timeline of US land expansion and settlement
  • map of US territorial acquisitions
  • detailed explanation of state lands and public lands, including the “metes and bounds” survey system
  • how to understand the Public Land (or Rectangular) Survey System and read aliquot parts
  • best sources for ancestor addresses
  • how to cite land records for genealogy
  • list of top websites, books and other resources to help you with you land records research

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