LAND & PROPERTY RECORDS can be a very useful
resource in your genealogy search. The following is a GREAT LINK
to explain the significance of deeds and how to go about searching
to Search Deeds
Listed below are some
terms connected with deeds in general
and with land measurement that will be helpful in your own research.
- Acre - Unit of area containing 43560 square feet, or 10 square
chains or 160 square poles. A square mile is composed of 640 acres
- Chain - Unit of length equal to 66 feet, or 4 poles. A mile
equals 80 chains.
- Hectare - Area measurement equal to 2.47 acres.
- Pole - May also be called "rod". Equal to 16.5 feet. An acre
equals 160 square poles. When used to measure area, it was equal
to a square with each side one pole in length.
- Corner - the point of beginning, change, or end of a survey
- Meander - refers to the natural run of a land feature, such as
the turns of a river or stream. Often stated as, "...with the
meanders of the creek...", etc.
- POB - Point of Beginning - the starting point of a survey.
- Section - a one mile by one mile square, containing 640 acres
and used as the basic unit of the township and range land
- Township - consists of 36 sections, measuring 6 miles by 6
miles, and numbered beginning in the uppermost NE section, then
numbering west to 6, then along the west boundary to the next
section, then east, etc.Used in the township and range measuring
- Range - townships received ranges by measuring east or west of
a "Principal Meridan".
- Range lines - Township boundary lines running north to south.
- Township lines - Township boundaries marked by lines running
east to west.
- Base Line - Beginning point for the measurement of north or
- Principal Meridian - Beginning point for measuring east or
- Dower - the wife's interest in the property of her husband.
- Executor - the individual named in a will to handle the
settling of the estate of the deceased.
- Fee Simple - Ownership of land which is inheritable, i.e., to
own "in fee simple".
- Grant - The transfer of title to property by the governing
body to the first owner of that property. May also be called a
- Grantee - The individual receiving the property by grant or by
- Grantor - The individual or government transferring the
property by grant, or selling it.
- Patent - Usually seen in crown grants and other early
transfers. Same definition as "Grant".
- Quitclaim Deed - A deed in which the seller gives up any claim
to rights on the property in question, but does not guarantee that
the title to the property is clear from any other claims.
- Warrant - An order by a government authorizing an action. In
land transactions, it most often refers to an order allowing a
surveyor to survey land for an individual in preparation for the
issuance of a grant.
If your surname is listed at the bottom of
this page (or you arrived here through the search engine), click on
the link that matches the first letter of the surname & you'll go to
the LAND PATENT (HOMESTEAD) records in Shawano County online index.
The Wisconsin Land Patents Database (1820-1908
) contains the following information for each land transaction: date,
location (township, range, section), name of person the land was
patented to, county, date, and the patent document identification
number. Using this index, you can easily locate the original files at
the Bureau of Land Management.
The index provides you with the full name and date.
Or, if you would like to go directly to the
Bureau of Land Management
web site and view a copy of the original document.
(click on document for full-size image)
The document can be saved to disk, printed
out, or merely viewed. Certified copies of the document can be ordered
on their web site as well.
The National Archives will also send you a
copy of the patent file for $10 from at the following address:
Reference Branch (Lands)
Washington, DC 20408
You need to submit your request on a copy of
Form 84. To get the form, send an e-mail message to
In the body of the message, be sure to ask for
Form 84 "Order for Copies of Land Entry Files", tell them how many
copies you want (get at least 2, in case you make a mistake) and give
your name and snail address so they can send you the forms.
(Or you can send a snail mail letter to above
address). Sending by e-mail takes less than a week; by snail mail both
ways takes about 2 weeks.