The first step is to search for the original land patent at the Bureau of Land Management's General Land Office Records http://www.glorecords.blm.gov. (You might want to open in a new tab.) Click on Land Patents.
You don't have to have a lot of information. For this example I searched for McCullough in Perry, Alabama. Gabriel is my Great great grandfather. William is his father.
Clicking on image gives you a PDF of the original land patent which you can print, save, or order a certified copy.
Clicking on Accession gives you details of the patent.Related documents shows the same land over time, such as other owners of the same land.
|Accession Nr:||AL1950__.374||Document Type:||State Volume Patent||State:||Alabama||Issue Date:||7/15/1854||Cancelled:||No|
|Names On Document||Miscellaneous Information|
MCCULLOUGH, GABRIEL I
|State In Favor Of:||---|
|Authority:||April 24, 1820: Sale-Cash Entry (3 Stat. 566)|
|Military Rank:||---||General Remarks:||---|
|Document Numbers||Survey Information|
|Document Nr:||42665||Total Acres:||40.00|
|Misc. Doc. Nr:||---||Survey Date:||---|
|BLM Serial Nr:||AL NO S/N||Geographic Name:||---|
|Indian Allot. Nr:||---||Metes/Bounds:||No|
|Coal Entry. Nr:||---|
Checking the box for map will give you one (sometimes), but not what we're after.
Using the Land Descriptions info from this page, go to Earth Point Tools for Google Earth http://www.earthpoint.us/TownshipsSearchByDescription.aspx
Enter Township and Range. Optionally enter Section. Google Earth flys you there using BLM data. Hint: pause for a moment after choosing each of the criteria. This allows the data to be loaded into the drop-down boxes.
|Free. User account is not needed.|
|If you want to see the surrounding townships, then once you have clicked the "Fly To" button, come back and click the BLM or National Atlas "View on Google Earth" button. Free. User account is not needed.|
I already have Google Earth downloaded, You need to have it pre-installed, if you need it, download free http://www.google.com/earth/index.html. Use the Fly To On Google Earth button to download a ,kml file. Click the file and watch the magic happen!