Any genealogist knows, vital records are what draw the outline of a family tree. It’s the “other stuff” – family bibles, yearbooks, employment records – that paint the leaves of one’s tree with shades of green. The State Library of Ohio is thrilled to hold in our collection items both for creating the outline and for adding color, and the collection of documents from the Federal Land Office in Cincinnati is just one example.
The Federal Land Office in Cincinnati was established in 1800 as part of what was known both as the Act of May 10, 1800 and the Harrison Land Act of 1800. This Act included many provisions, such as establishing receivers and registers, permitting the lease of parcels of land under certain conditions, and setting a minimum price of $2.00 per acre. The Act also allowed for the purchase of land on credit, which would be payable in quarters annually with the first quarter payment due upon the date of purchase.
Lands sold by the Cincinnati office were located in the southwestern corner of Ohio and also included a portion of Indiana, as well as part of the Symmes Purchase (also known as the Little Miami Purchase).
This collection, with items ranging from 1806 to 1828, is made up of certificates which establish the terms of purchase, and power of attorney documents for transferring the land holdings from one individual to his (in this collection, all purchasers are male) heir. Included in each document are the purchaser’s name, his place of origin, the location of his newly-purchased land, the number of acres he is buying and the location of the land. The certificates also detail the total dollar amount to be paid, and the powers of attorney list the purchaser’s heir(s).
Documents are not full-text searchable, but every effort has been made to pull relevant information–specifically, names, dates, and locations–from each, making finding your ancestor (if he’s there) fast and easy!
Come explore the Cincinnati Land Office Records Collection on Ohio Memory. Maybe it will help you to add more shades of green to your family tree!
Thank you to Shannon Kupfer, Digital/Tangible Media Cataloger at the State Library of Ohio, for this week’s post!