Saturday, June 15, 2013

Finding the Old Homestead

Ever wondered where your ancestor's home was located on a modern map? It's not too hard to find out, and you can do it for free (I'm all about free!).

The first step is to search for the original land patent at the Bureau of Land Management's General Land Office Records (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.

ImageAccessionNamesSorted AscendingDateDoc #StateMeridianTwp - RngAliquotsSec. #County
View Patent ImageAL1950__.374PatenteeMCCULLOUGH, GABRIEL I7/15/185442665ALSt Stephens021N - 009ESW¼NE¼17Perry
View Patent ImageAL2020__.007PatenteeMCCULLOUGH, GABRIEL J11/1/185846668ALSt Stephens021N - 009ENW¼NE¼17Perry
021N - 009ESE¼NW¼17Perry
View Patent ImageAL2100__.009PatenteeMCCULLOUGH, JAMES W9/1/186051413ALSt Stephens021N - 009ES½NW¼36Perry
View Patent ImageAL2100__.408PatenteeMCCULLOUGH, THOMAS H9/1/186051852ALSt Stephens021N - 009ESE¼NE¼18Perry
View Patent ImageCV-0131-150PatenteeMCCULLOUGH, WILLIAM,
10/1/18313437ALSt Stephens018N - 009ENW¼8Perry
View Patent ImageAL0290__.274PatenteeMCCULLOUGH, WILLIAM12/1/18318390ALSt Stephens018N - 009EE½SW¼5Perry
View Patent ImageAL1730__.484PatenteeMCCULLOUGH, WILLIAM8/12/183730923ALSt Stephens021N - 009ESW¼SW¼17Perry
021N - 009EE½SW¼17Perry
View Patent ImageAL1820__.104PatenteeMCCULLOUGH, WILLIAM,
5/20/184134896ALSt Stephens020N - 008EG1Perry
020N - 008EH1Perry
View Patent ImageAL1830__.366PatenteeMCCULLOUGH, WILLIAM2/1/184335667ALSt Stephens020N - 008EB12Perry
View Patent ImageAL1950__.064PatenteeMCCULLOUGH, WILLIAM12/1/185241652ALSt Stephens020N - 009ENW¼NW¼21Perry

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 DocumentMiscellaneous Information
Land Office:Cahaba
US Reservations:No
Mineral Reservations:No
State In Favor Of:---
Authority:April 24, 1820: Sale-Cash Entry (3 Stat. 566)
Military Rank:---General Remarks:---
Document NumbersSurvey Information
Document Nr:42665Total Acres:40.00
Misc. Doc. Nr:---Survey Date:---
BLM Serial Nr:AL NO S/NGeographic Name:---
Indian Allot. Nr:---Metes/Bounds:No
Coal Entry. Nr:---
Land Descriptions
MapStateMeridianTwp - RngAliquotsSectionSurvey #County
ALSt Stephens021N - 009ESW¼NE¼17Perry
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

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.

Principal Meridian

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 Use the Fly To On Google Earth button to download a ,kml file. Click the file and watch the magic happen! 

Google maps has lots of features, play around and have fun! You can add pins to mark locations, get the GPS data, and tons of other things. If you go back and search for additional land, it will bring up the same map, so you can add additional locations.