Land Records - Becker County, Minnesota GenWeb

Land Records

Land records are an important source of genealogical information. The original land owner who homesteaded public land or purchased it from the U.S. Government was issued a Land Patent (fee-simple title ) for that property. Subsequent owners got a Deed to the property.

Plat maps record the ownership of land. They can be a valuable resource to locate an individual or a family at a particular place and time. The Becker County Historical Society holds copies of plat Maps for Becker County as well as several other counties.

Online Patent Search

The Bureau of Land Management - Eastern States, General Land Office has a web site where you can search for land patents. The URL is:

The GLO site contains land patent data for the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Missouri, Indiana, Ohio, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. You can search by Land Patentee Name or by Legal Land Description (Section, Township, Range and Meridian).

You can download copies of original land patents from the GLO site.

Land Entry Files

Copies of Land Entry Files may be ordered from the National Archives.

National Archives and Records Administration General Information Leaflet Number 67 describes Research in the Land Entry Files of the General Land Office.

CD-ROM Patent Search

The General Land Office (GLO), part of the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, made a CD-ROM (now out of print) which contained land records from 167,000 land patents dated before 1908 for the state of Minnesota.

The names of all individuals who were issued pre-1908 homestead and cash entry land patents in Becker County, Minnesota, obtained from the CD-ROM Minnesota Pre-1908 Homestead & Cash Entry Patents are available below.

Last names starting with:

Some land patent holders are listed more than once. The individual may have homesteaded a piece of land and also purchased land (cash entry) from the government.

An expanation of terms and data fields may be found here.

Copies of the original land patents may be ordered from the Bureau of Land Management.

White Earth Reservation 1911 Land List

Information about land ownership on the White Earth Reservation in 1911 is available here.

Land Description

Principal Meridian

See the Bureau of Land Management in California web site at for a map showing the Principal Meridians and Base Lines Governing the United States Public Land Surveys. Townships in Becker County, Minnesota are measured from the base line which runs east and west across the middle of the state of Arkansas. Ranges in Becker County are measured from the 5th Principal Meridian which is a north south line.

Read the description of land in Becker County written by Alvin H. Wilcox in the book, A Pioneer History of Becker County, Minnesota.


A township is an area of land which is six miles by six miles and is divided into 36 sections. Sections are numbered as shown below. (The Minnesota statehood act transferred title to sections 16 and 36 of each township to the state for school purposes.)

<---------6 miles ----------->
  6  5  4   3  2  1
  7  8  9 101112
1817 16151413
3132333435 36
6 miles

Division of a Township into Sections

See: A Pioneer History of Becker County Minnesota, Chapter I, Becker County Created and
Townships in Becker County, Minnesota for a description of the county's townships.


Each section contains an area of one square mile. There are 640 acres in each section. Homesteaders could obtain up to 160 acres of land, one quarter section, by living on and improving their claim for five years.

(160 acres)
(160 acres)
(160 acres)
(160 acres)

A Brief History of Land Settlement in Minnesota contains information that may be helpful in using land records.

Survey Plats and Field Notes.


See also: Cyndi's List of Genealogy Sites on the Internet - Land Records, Deeds, Homesteads, Etc.

Graphical Display of the Federal Township and Range System

Land Record Reference

Public Domain System

The Homestead Act of 1862

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