Q: My ancestor received land in Ohio for his Revolutionary War service. Why can’t I find any trace of it on the General Land Office Records site?
A: The Bureau of Land Management’s General Land Office(GLO) kept records for the “public land states.” In the early years of the United States, Congress declared it would sell or grant the unclaimed lands in “the West” to benefi t the Treasury. States gave up their claims to land in what’s now Alabama, Michigan, part of Minnesota, Mississippi, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin. In turn, the federal government gave up claims to lands within the original 13 colonies. New states farther west also became public land states.
There’s an exception in Ohio, though: Northeastern Ohio was part of the Connecticut Western Reserve, set aside to satisfy military bounty warrants for Revolutionary War veterans from Connecticut. The GLO wasn’t involved in those transactions and has no records of them. Instead, research these land records at the Connecticut State Library and the Western Reserve Historical Society.
A version of this article appeared in the September 2014 issue of Family Tree Magazine.