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Land Records at MNHS

Preliminary Research

farm scene, 1910

-Look at the property tax statement or online county property tax records for a legal description and a record of property constructed on the land.  A web search for your county name and the term property tax should take you to a website where you can search by legal description or address. 

-Determine the township and range numbers associated with your land parcel.  Township and range numbers are typically listed in county atlases and can be useful for locating tract records, land patents, and other types of land records.

Books & Other Publications

A Guide to the Records of Minnesota’s Public Lands, by Gregory Kinney and Lydia Lucas. 
Saint Paul, Minn. : Minnesota Historical Society, Division of Archives and Manuscripts, 1985.
MNHS call number: Digital Copy

Useful Terms

Patent  - The legal transfer of parcels of land from the U.S. Government to individuals.  A patent will include the date, legal description of land, patent number, and office that issued the patent.

Deed - Records of the sale and mortgage of land are filed in the office of the county recorder.

Legal Description - The official definition of a parcel of land, including information about the property's location and boundaries.

Township and Range- Terms designated to two lines drawn by surveyors through a territory.  Township lines run north and south and range lines run east and west.  

Gale Family Library • Minnesota Historical Society • 345 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55102-1906 • 651-259-3300
Tuesday: 9am to 8pm • Wed. to Sat.: 9am to 4pm • Sunday & Monday: Closed • Holiday Hours