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Land Records

Learn about early land sales and surveying in Ohio.

The Ohio History Connection serves as the custodian of records from Ohio’s federal and state land offices, United States Military District and Virginia Military District. The records consist of survey plats and notes, and entry, sale, and payment records. They were transferred from the Auditor of State of Ohio’s land office beginning in the 1960’s and ending in the fall of 1994 and encompass more than 400 linear feet of shelf space. These historical records, which date to the late 18th Century, document the western expansion of a young nation and illustrate some of the earliest exploration of the Ohio wilderness through plats, field notes, and tract and entry books from most of Ohio’s land districts, entry books and payment entry and receipt books, journals, and ledgers from six of Ohio’s oldest land offices, and entry and survey books from the Virginia Military District.

What Materials are Held by the Ohio History Connection?

Tract and Entry Books for Congress Lands in the 22 Ranges East of the Scioto River and North and South of the United States Military District, Miami River Survey, Between the Miami Rivers Survey, and 18 Ranges East of the Indiana Boundary and North and South of the Baseline contain entries that are arranged within each survey district by range, township, and section numbers. Information includes names of entrymen, numbers of acres purchased, and dates of purchase. A card index to the tract and entry books was prepared by the Auditor of State’s land office. Index card information includes names of entrymen, names of survey districts or tract and entry book titles, and volume and page numbers.

Receiver of Public Monies and Register of Federal Land Offices kept entry and receipt books, journals, ledgers, and forfeiture or relinquishment books. Entries are arranged chronologically; only the receivers’ and registers’ ledgers contain indexes. Typical entry information includes names of purchasers, dates of purchases or payments, receipt or certificate numbers, tract descriptions, and numbers of acres. First and final certificate numbers are important for tracking forfeiture or relinquishment information and receipt of a land patent. The Ohio History Connection holds receivers’ and registers’ records from the Canton, Chillicothe, Cincinnati, Marietta, Steubenville, and Zanesville Land offices. Records from land offices north and west of Columbus were kept at the Defiance Land Office and were destroyed by fire in 1855.

Virginia Military District entry and survey books are arranged by entry number or survey number. Information includes names of Virginia military warrant recipients, heirs, or assignees, warrant numbers, names of persons for whom the surveys were done, numbers of acres in each survey, dates of entry or survey, and names of surveyors and chainmen. Survey books also include maps that show the dimensions of the surveys in chains and links and record the directions the surveyors walked, the objects or trees used as markers, and the survey numbers of bordering surveys. A card index to the entry books and a numerical list of surveys that shows survey book numbers and pages was prepared by the Auditor of State’s land office.

What Materials are not Held by the Ohio History Connection?

We do not have entry records for land in the Firelands or the Connecticut Western Reserve because these lands were directly conveyed by Congress to single entities. We do not have a record of the U.S. Patent and subsequent real estate transactions. These documents should be filed in the County Recorders Office of the County where the land is located or a predecessor county.

General Land Research Request Fees

The base fee for land research is $25.00 per hour. The fee includes four scanned or photocopied pages. Additional pages are billed at $.25 per scan or photocopy when the research is completed. After the first hour is completed, the researcher will receive a price estimate of the research needed to complete the request. Research Requests must be prepaid with the initial fee of $25.00.

To submit a Land Research Request:

  • Mail a Land Research Request Form with a check or money order made payable to the Ohio History Connection for $25.00 to Research Services at the Ohio History Connection, 800 E. 17th Ave., Columbus, OH 43211. DO NOT SEND CASH.

If you have any questions about submitting a Land Research Request, please contact us at reference@ohiohistory.org or 614.297.2510.