Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Land Patents

The National Archives web page on land records says that Land Patents are "the legal documents that transferred land ownership from the U.S. Government to individuals." Patents were granted only when a transfer was complete. This means that if an individual was not able to complete the contract, a patent would not have been issued.

This information is useful in that much of the land in the Las Vegas Valley changed hands several times before a patent was issued. For example, an early map created by J. T. McWilliams lists owners of section 9 in Township 19S, Range 60E as shown in the following illustration (note that this is a best guess at the spelling of names from a map found here, in the UNLV Digital Archives.)

Much of this land did not receive patents until afer 1912. A search of the Nevada State Land Patent Database shows patents received before 1930 as shown below.

Notice that the first property transfer from section 9, township 19S, range 60E did not occur until 1913 and that by 1930 there were still four 40-acre parcels on the east side that had not been completely transferred.