The Reference Library aids researchers in their study of the Kentucky land patenting process, Kentucky Land Office databases and related articles.
Since the late 1980s, Land Office staff have conducted more than 100 land patent seminars and continuing education classes for historians, elderhostels, Kentucky surveyors and engineers. The Online Seminar allows researchers to access the entire content of the original Land Office program.
The technical leaflet, “The Kentucky Land Grant System”, first published in the “Saddlebag Notes” section of the May/June 1990 issue of “Circuit Rider”, published by the Historical Confederation of Kentucky, is one of the most requested handouts generated by the Kentucky Land Office.
"Researching Kentucky Tax Lists: 1792-1840", published by the Kentucky Genealogical Society in the Fall 2002 issue of "Bluegrass Roots", provides a summary of legislation approved by the Kentucky General Assembly regarding the collection of state taxes and their value to historians and genealogists.
The Gazetteer lists the county location for more than 1,000 place names identified in early Kentucky patents, the 1818 Munsell Map, and selected articles. Additional information will be added to the Gazetteer as patents are indexed. For county location of Kentucky watercourses (1835 to present date), visit the County Court Orders Database, and search by “Watercourse”.
What is the difference between a Warrant and a Survey? The Glossary defines more than 100 terms associated with land patenting.
On our Maps page, we are delighted to include maps donated to our website by Neal Hammon, a Kentucky author, historian and surveyor. Also included are maps of Kentucky Counties and Waterways, as well as the Loughridge Map, the Filson Map, and other maps of historical interest.
Quick Reference Guides provide brief summaries entitled “Kentucky Land Patent Series” and “Key Points to Remember.”
Kentucky wills, marriages and deeds are filed at the local level with the county clerk. When new counties are formed, most records stay in the county in which they originated. This County Formation Table identifies county creation dates and the names of "mother counties".
The land patenting process in Kentucky is the direct result of legislation passed by the Virginia General Assembly (before June 1, 1792) and the Kentucky General Assembly (after June 1, 1792). Researchers are encouraged to access the complete text of the various acts establishing and amending the patenting process. Additional acts pertaining to "the Permanent Revenue" (taxes), academies and seminaries, and miscellaneous topics of historical significance are also included on this website. Text of additional legislation will be added as the Acts are identified.
Over the years the Kentucky Land Office has researched and acquired a number of publications, articles and rolls of microfilm regarding the history of Kentucky land. This bibliography of resources represents a listing of many of those resources.
The Links page includes hyperlinks to: selected government agencies and professional associations; research libraries and online databases; genealogy websites; and websites relating to maps and Kentucky locations.
The Kentucky Land Office is the repository for all records pertaining to Kentucky Land Patents. Subsequent land conveyances, after the grant is issued, are filed on the local level with the county clerk. Land transactions may be recorded with deeds or wills. Mineral leases are also recorded with the county clerk's office. Researchers are encouraged to access the "Quick Guide: County Formation Table" to determine when the county was formed and the names of mother counties. (Records are not usually copied for new counties being established.)
For escheated land sales, identification of current landowners, and maps of land parcels, contact the Property Valuation Administrator for the county you are researching.
For court cases regarding land title and/or mineral rights, contact the Kentucky circuit court clerk for the area you are researching. Older cases may be available from the Research Library, Department for Libraries and Archives, Coffee Tree Road, Frankfort, KY 40601, or the Kentucky Supreme Court Law Library, Capitol Building, Frankfort, KY 40601.
To view surveying measurements, please click here.