Friday, October 8, 2010

Land Records One of the Best Genealogy Resources

Martha Jones recently published an article titled "Land records can reveal family lineages" in the Victoria Advocate that is worth checking out. As the title indicates, she explores the value of land records. Just to wet your whistle, here are some of her opening comments:

"Land records in America date back to the early 1600s. Even as late as the 1850s, nine out of 10 adult, white males owned land and today the figure is more than 50 percent. For genealogists, land records are one of their best resources for tracing ancestral lineages. There is a surname index to virtually every land owner back to the beginning of land sales and acquisition in the U.S. It is estimated that researchers have a 90 percent chance of finding their ancestor in a land-ownership index. This is surely a better percentage rate than searching census records, especially prior to 1850, when genealogical research starts getting more difficult."

Because of the completeness and reach of land records, some say that they are a "better" genealogical source than even the US Census...and as you can see above, Martha hints at this also.

Land records can be such a fertile (but unused) source of information that the PGS has a schedule to develop a class on the subject. You won't see it until next year, but when it is rolled out it will complement our impressive list of 30+ classes already on the books. Keep your eye out for it.

You can check out Martha's article at

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