Eastern States General Land Office Records Available On-line
Over half a million military warrants dating back to the early 1800s are now easily available with free on line access for the general public. On August 24, the General Land Office (GLO) Records Automation Project completed scanning and indexing the warrants, which can be found at http://www.glorecords.blm.gov/.A military warrant is similar to a deed for land, given for military service through many years of wars and conflicts in the United States. “This country had been land rich and money poor since the time of our founding fathers," said Pat Tyler, Chief of the GLO Project at the Bureau of Land Management-Eastern States (BLM-ES).“So for years Congress authorized paying military veterans by giving them land instead of money for their service," she said. The task of digitally formatting the military warrants began in July 2007.“This is great news, particularly for genealogists," said Tony Herrell, Acting State Director for BLM-ES. “Now with just a few clicks on the computer from the comfort and privacy of your own home, you can track down that great-great grandfather who served in the U.S. military in one of the past conflicts."During the automation of these records, a warrant was found issued to Abraham Lincoln for service as Captain in the Black Hawk Wars, and another was found issued to 2nd Lieutenant Ulysses S. Grant for service as a quartermaster in the Mexican War. Congress passed acts in 1812, 1847, 1850, 1852, and 1855 authorizing the General Land Office to issue land warrants for military service dating back to the Revolutionary War. Warrants were also issued for service in such notable conflicts as the War of 1812 and the Mexican War.Information that can be used to search for a particular warrant includes the individual's name, legal land description, or the warrant number. Information on the warrant will also tell the militia, rank, and number of acres received by the warranty.“The land received by the warranty was often legally sold, so our records don't include any of those transactions once the land left federal ownership,"said Tyler. “To trace disposition of the land after it was granted to a private individual you would have to look at such places as county court houses," she saidSince 1989, BLM-ES, located in Springfield, VA, has been protecting and automating the historic land patent documents for the Secretary of the Interior. As the successor agency to the original General Land Office (GLO), BLM-ES maintains more than nine million historic land documents, survey plats and field notes, homestead patents, military warrants, and railroad grants. 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 from the Federal government. Even today, these records are valuable resources for natural resource agencies, historians, title companies and genealogists. Many of the documents are now computerized and are accessible via the Internet through the GLO Records Web site located at http://www.glorecords.blm.gov/. Over 5 million land patent records from across the United States are now online, and over 4.2 million have been imaged for the 30 public land states.
The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 western states, including Alaska, on behalf of the American people. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. Our mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.