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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT

Oregon / Washington

Genealogy

Historic Family Records with the BLM

Archived Oregon Photo

Ever want to dig a little deeper in to your familyís history? Ever wonder about that piece of land thatís been talked about around the dinner table for years? Just why would a Federal agency have access to these records? Well, all these questions, and more can be answered on the BLMís Automated Records Web site.

The BLM is the Federal agency responsible for the survey and title records of the public domain, private land claims, and Indian lands. As the agency that succeeded the General Land Office, the BLM now maintains more than 9 million documents that provide an account of the settlement of the United States. Any member of the public can easily find genealogical and title information by using the Automated Records Web site.

Since 1989, the BLMís Eastern States Office has been protecting and automating the historic land patent documents for the Secretary of the Interior. These historic documents were among the very first land records to result from the Land Ordinance of 1785, which authorized the transfer of public lands to private individuals. Even today, these records are valuable resources for natural resource agencies, historians, title companies and genealogists.

The General Land Office Automated Records Project is responsible for making these important documents available on the Internet. The initial phase of this project is complete, with two million eastern records issued between 1820 and 1908 now available on this website. The General Lands Office Records Automation staff is currently adding eastern and western patents issued after June 30, 1908. The original documents are now stored in acid-free boxes and protected in fireproof temperature-controlled vaults, ensuring the preservation of this vital component of American heritage.

How to Search Family History in BLM Records

Searching for records related to your familyís history can be a fascinating and rewarding process. Like any research project, there are many ways to approach the work. Below are some tips on where to look, what to look for, and what you might find. read more