Wednesday, January 25, 2006

ACROSS MY DESK: Ancestor Tracks Introduces Major Source for Early PA Settlers

NOTE: This is just in from the folks at

All inquiries should be addressed to:


Ancestor Tracks, the producer of the series of books and CDs in the Early Landowners of Pennsylvania series, has announced the release of First Landowners of Pennsylvania: Colonial and State Warrant Registers in the PA Archives, Harrisburg 1682-ca 1940. Available for the first time outside of the Pennsylvania Archives in Harrisburg, this CD of .pdf files contains three major resources for researchers:

1) the warrant register for Original Purchasers (starting in 1682) with an everyname index for this register

2) two registers for Old Rights Purchasers (one for Philadelphia and one for Bucks & Chester Counties combined, also starting in 1682); and

3) all of the warrant registers (67 volumes, one for each county, starting with those in existence in 1733) for the original sales from the Penns, and then the state, to the first private owners of the land throughout Pennsylvania.

These registers predate the deed books located in each county.

These files are the primary finding aid for locating original warrants, patents and surveys in the Pennsylvania Archives when the name of the warrantee is known. While the 1682 registers give less information, each page of the County Warrant Registers gives the names of the warrantee and patentee; the size of the tract; the location of the tract (usually a township or a watercourse); the date of the warrant; the patent book and page number; and the survey book and page number. Remember that the original three counties — Philadelphia, Chester, and Bucks —were set up in 1682, while the rest of the counties were set up as soon as the population became dense enough to warrant a courthouse.

As each county was created, the Pennsylvania Land Office created a new register and began entering the land sales as they occurred. Thus, the warrantees are entered under the first letter of the surname, then more-or-less chronologically thereafter, and they appear in the county as it existed at the time that the tract was purchased. If a landowner’s name is in these registers, their original documents are undoubtedly in the Pennsylvania Archives. A copy of those documents can be obtained by writing to the Archives in Harrisburg or using the microfilmed records through your Family History Library (on the site, use the keywords "Pennsylvania Bureau of Land Records" and scroll down to "Original Warrants." Then click on "View Film Notes" to find the film number to order).

Note: These registers were published in the Pennsylvania Archives (Series 3, Volumes 24-26),
but the published version only includes the name of the warrantee, the number of acres (rounded off), and the date of the warrant (which is mislabeled as the date of the survey). No location or patentee information is given.

For more information and a map showing what land other resources now exist for the state of Pennsylvania, go to

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