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GLO Records Bureau of land management Link / DIY General Land Office Records

Updated: Jun 20, 2021

To search for land patents:

  1. Start by selecting the State.

  2. You do not have to fill in all fields, but provide at least one additional field.

  3. Click the Search Patents button.

Search Tips:

  • Hover your mouse over a field to get a brief description.

  • Get detailed information by checking the Glossary in the Reference Center.

  • For more tips and help, check out our Patent Search Overview.

  • HOW TO FILE A LAND PATENT A land patent is the only form of proof of absolute title to land in the United States. It protects the landowner from claimants of co-ownership as well as the United States government.

A land patent is granted to the named party and his, her, or their heirs and assigns forever. Without a land patent, there is the potential to lose ownership of your property in a land contest. With a land patent, the property is no longer subject to any third party challenge. How to File a Land Patent

There are four steps, or elements, to filing a land patent.

1. Prove you own the land

You must produce adequate evidence that you own the rights to the property in question. You must procure either a certified copy of the warranty deed to the land, or, if you own the land through a quitclaim deed, you must establish a chain of title between your deed and the original warranty deed.

A certified warranty deed can be obtained from whichever local authority manages local properties. Typically, the authority is the county or municipal clerk’s office.

If you are working with a quitclaim deed, you must produce certified copies of every quitclaim deed between yours and the original warranty deed. You can visit the county or municipal clerk’s office to obtain the certified documents to prove your chain of title. Other documents to provide include assignment of ownership and proof of ownership through inheritance.

2. Describe and confirm the location of the property

You must confirm the exact location and bounds of the property. The best way to obtain an official description is by securing a certified plat map from the county clerk’s office.

If the country clerk cannot provide the document, you may hire a licensed surveyor to draw a plat acceptable to the local, state, and federal authorities.

In the 13 original states (and Texas) the land description consists of “metes” and “bounds.” The description started at a known point and described how far to go in each direction until the entire property is described. An acceptable description today may require a certified instrument showing the land is physically located within the boundary of the land patent’s land description.

The rest of the country was mapped in Section, Township, or Range format, which is acceptable for the land patent application. If the description of your property in the warranty deed or other proof of property right is not in STRf, it must be converted to that format. Your current deed may state where the original subdivision plat map is located, which will show the exact boundaries of your land.

3. Obtain the land patent

Take your property deed and the legal description of the land to the local Bureau of Land Management offices to request a legal copy of your land patent. The request may take some time to fulfill because the BLM must use the official documents you provide to produce a certified copy of the land patent.

Ask for at least two certified copies of the land patent and a copy of the patent plat map for the Township in which your land is located.

While you wait, create an official declaration of acceptance to convey your acceptance of the restrictions the land patent imposes. You are reaffirming your respect for federal law, and ensuring you adhere to any restrictions the land patent places on your use of the land.

4. File your patent publicly (optional)

It is not necessary to publicly file any records of your land patent, but many choose to do so. There are several ways to accomplish the public filing.

  • File it in the Clerk and Recorder’s office with the land records of the county.

  • Create a public notice in the legal notices section of your local paper, indicating you accepted the assignment of the patent.

  • Post the copyrighted quitclaim deed, certified copy of the warranty deed, copyrighted declaration of acceptance of the land patent, and the certified copy of the land patent in the post office, county or district courthouse or the Sheriff’s office.

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