Van Zandt County Genealogical Research Group


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Early Abstracts of Van Zandt County

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Land Grants

Lands grants were issued during different time periods and for various reasons. Here are the catagories:

Headrights (Republic of Texas, 1836-1845)
Headright grants were issued to individuals by Boards of Land Commissioners in each county.

First Class Headright
Issued to those who arrived before March 2, 1836. Heads of families received one league (4,428 acres) and one labor (177.1 acres), while single men received 1/3 league (1,476.1 acres).

Second Class Headright
Issued to those who arrived between March 2, 1836 and October 1, 1837. Heads of families received 1,280 acres, while single men received 640 acres.

Third Class Headright
Issued to those who arrived between October 1, 1837 and January 1, 1840. Heads of families received 640 acres, while single men received 320 acres.

Fourth Class Headright
Issued to those who arrived between January 1, 1840 and January 1, 1842. The amounts issued were the same as for third class headrights, plus the requirement of cultivation of 10 acres.

Pre-emption Grant
Similar to the headright grants, pre-emption grants were made after statehood. From 1845 to 1854 homesteaders could claim 320 acres. From 1854 to 1856, and 1866 to 1898, up to 160 acres could be claimed. Homesteaders were required to live on the land for three years and make improvements (such as building a barn) in order to qualify for a pre-emption grant of 160 acres.

Grants were issued in the form of certificates which could be sold and re-sold many times before a buyer could have the land surveyed and apply for a Patent which was the final deed to the land. Or the original grantee could have the land surveyed and apply for the Patent himself.

For researchers, it might be noted that just because an ancestor received a grant in a particular county, or patented that land himself, it didn't necessarily follow that the ancestor actually lived in that particular county. Some did and some didn't.

In any case, the serious researcher should obtain the papers which will show the grant and the certificate and the patent.

These papers are not located in the county but at the Texas General Land Office in Austin. Research fees and copying charges are fairly reasonable so researchers should obtain the papers that pertain to their ancestor. Any genealogical information is rarely, if ever, found in the land grant papers but the papers are valuable as a part of our ancestor's history as well as the history of the state.

To learn more about obtaining the grant papers, go to the Texas General Land Office.

To visit the land office in person:

The Texas General Land Office is located in the
Stephen F. Austin Bldg:
1700 N. Congress Ave.
Suite 130
Austin, Texas 78701-1495

Hours of Operation:

Normal operating hours are Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (files may be accessed from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.) Hours of operation are subject to change during state and federal holidays.

Metered parking is available on the streets near the Stephen F. Austin building.

Telephone numbers: (512) 463-5277, Fax: (512) 475-4619

Genealogy Name Searches

Researchers are welcome to visit the General Land Office and examine original documents in the Archives Research Room. Archives staff are available to provide assistance and to take orders for copies.

Name searches are provided as a service to researchers unable to visit the Texas General Land Office in person. Archives staff will conduct a search of the master indexes covering the main official records of Texas land grants, inform the researcher of records found, and provide a summary of the documents at US$10.00 per name. Please note: this is a mail service only, and we ask that each request be limited to four names.

A form is available on the land office website to order a name search.

Texas General Land Office
Archives and Records Division
1700 North Congress Avenue
Austin, Texas 78701-1495

Good luck with your land grant searches and if you have any questions, contact Sibyl. We might not know the answer but we will try to find it for you.

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This page last updated 20 September 2006

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Van Zandt County Genealogical Research Group Website maintained by
Sibyl Creasey