Newest General Land Office Records: Master Title Plats

By Diane Haddad

Land-records researchers might be interested to know that most of the Master Title Plats for Colorado, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota will be available free on the Bureau of Land Management-Eastern States General Land Office Records Web site starting Monday.

These plats are maps relating to federal government land ownership. They show authorization for various uses (such as mining or oil drilling rights), agency jurisdiction, and rights reserved to the federal government on private land in a township. Accompanying historical indexes list related actions (such as new or canceled use authorizations).

So how would you use them for genealogy?

GLO systems manager John Butterfield suggests that if you have the legal land description and other information from your ancestor’s land patent, you can use a Master Title Plat for that township to see where the property was located.

See an example of how to search for and use GLO patents on FamilyTreeMagazine.com.