New York State Secretary of State Applications for Land Grants

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Overview of the Records


New York State Archives
New York State Education Department
Cultural Education Center
Albany, NY 12230

The series consists of applications for grants of unappropriated land by letters patent from New York Colony and State. Along with the applications are related reports, surveys, maps, warrants for surveying lands and drafting of letters patent, objections to title, and letters.
Applications for land grants

25.7 cubic feet


63 volume(s)


39 35mm microfilm roll(s)

Inclusive Dates:
Series Number:


The volumes in this series are arranged roughly chronologically. Note that certain documents were removed from the series for conservation and filed separately upon their return. These documents appear in their original location in the microfilm version of the series.

Scope and Content Note

The series consists of applications for grants of unappropriated land by letters patent from New York Colony and State. Along with the applications are related reports, surveys, maps, warrants for surveying lands and drafting of letters patent, objections to title (caveats), and letters. The bulk of the series is an amalgam of two large pre- and post-revolutionary series held originally by the Office of Secretary of State. Each of these, the "Colonial Council Papers" (1668-1783) and the "Papers of the Land Office" (from 1784) are readily identifiable within the combined series and are described in brief below. Certain volumes in the series also contain smaller groups of documents which were originally unique series; these were combined with the larger two groups to form the current series in 1819.

Colonial records. Most documents in this group concern original land grants made by the governor with approval of the colonial council. Documents found in the series to varying degrees include a petition for license to purchase land from the Indians; license to purchase land from the Indians; Indian deeds, in the form of a "bargain and sale" conveyance (sometimes marked with totems of Indians conveying the land); warrant of survey (governor's order to the surveyor general to survey land for a petitioner); return of survey (gives metes and bounds and acreage of the tract surveyed, but actual surveys are often lacking, especially before 1700); petition to the governor for a land grant by letters patent; a report of a council committee approving the grant; and warrant to prepare letters patent (order from the governor to the attorney general or the solicitor general to prepare a draft of the patent).

Also found in this group are caveats, or formal objections to granting letters patent because of a conflicting title; petitions for grants of land under water (often including the right to erect a wharf or pier); descriptions of town boundaries; petitions for licenses to operate ferries; and assorted notices, affidavits, and letters related to petitions for land grants.

Of special note are 17th century Dutch "deeds of confirmation" and petitions; land grants by courts in Kingston, Hurley, and Marbletown; petitions for remission of quit rents accruing during Queen Anne's War; the Schenectady patent; documents on Palatine German settlement on the Mohawk River; petitions for land grants to French and Indian War officers and soldiers (including affidavits or certificates of war service and returns of surveys) and additional petitions submitted by those veterans after the Revolutionary War; petitions and returns of survey (with maps) for tracts in what is now Vermont; and petitions for grants (most prior to 1681) on the west side of the Delaware River and Bay in what are now Delaware and Pennsylvania.

Post-revolution records. The series also contains applications for letters patent after the Revolutionary War. No original letters patent were issued by New York State for lands west of the 82nd milestone on the Pennsylvania border. Most post-revolutionary "land papers" relate to land grants in the new Military Tract in central New York. Records in this group include applicant's claim or petition to the Commissioners of the Land Office; order of the surveyor general to survey the tract; the resulting return of survey; certificate of location certifying the grant of land (described in detail); and assignments of certificates by veterans to others. Other documents relating to military land bounty rights include powers of attorney; state treasurer's receipts; and letters and affidavits in support of claims.

Documents associated with survey and sale of public lands include petitions for land grants, returns of survey, and certificates of locations similar to those for military grants; certificates of purchase at public vendue; proposals (bids) for purchase of lands, with correspondence; assignments of certificates of location; drafts of letters patent; caveats, or affidavits of claims to lands already granted; powers of attorney; and letters and reports concerning land grants. Special categories of records found after 1784 are applications for ferry licenses and petitions for grants of land under water, with attorney general reports; applications for surveys of new roads in central, northern, and western New York, with surveyor general reports; related road surveys and maps; certificates of completion of roads; and a few petitions by Indians for land grants for Revolutionary War service.

Other record groups. Found among several volumes in the series are smaller groups of documents which were separate series before being combined into this series by the Office of Secretary of State. These include items relating to a land dispute between heirs of general John Bradstreet and the proprietors of the Hardenbergh Patent (1785); land grants to patriot refugees who left Canada and Nova Scotia during the Revolutionary War, including lists of refugees, petitions and claims for land grants, certificates as to the authenticity of claims, and related letters (1789-1790); the "Chemung Papers" concerning surveys and sales of land in what is now Tioga and Chemung counties (1788, 1793); and a few deeds or releases of property to the state (1794-1796).

A0272-19: This accretion consists of one map, referenced on page 11 in Mix's Catalog as Map #44 filed in the Secretary's Office.

Alternate Formats Available

Microfilm of this series, with the exception of Book 59, is available for use at the State Archives. Specifically, folios 127-184 (end of volume) were never filmed.

Items Online

High resolution images of selected original documents in this series are available in State Archives Digital Collections.

New York State Archives Digital Collections

Applications for land grants, 1642-1803

Related Material

A0447 Military patents contains the final land grants awarded to veterans who received military bounty lands, the applications for which may be found in this series.

12943, Letters Patent contains the final land grants awarded to veterans who received military bounty lands, the applications for which may be found in this series.

A4609 Original Indian Treaties and Deeds contains related documents.

A0448 Recorded Indian Treaties and Deeds contains related documents.

Other Finding Aids

Available at Repository

"The Calendar of N.Y. Colonial Manuscripts Indorsed Land Papers; in the Office of the Secretary of State of New York, 1643-1803" (Albany: 1864) lists all documents in this first series of "Land Papers" as they were rearranged in 1819. There is an index to personal names and to land tract names or geographical locations at the back of the volume.

Series B1454, Inventories, receipts, and transfer documentation for assorted land records, [ca.1913-1973], includes an annotated copy showing documents in the "Calendar" found to be missing in 1928 and thereafter. The list of documents determined to be missing from series A0272 as of 1928 are also indicated in the reprint edition of "The Calendar of N.Y. Colonial Manuscripts Indorsed Land Papers; in the Office of the Secretary of State of New York, 1643-1803" (Harrison, NY: Harbor Hill Books, 1987).

Volumes in this series spanning 1785-1790 contain name indexes to claims of Revolutionary War veterans.

An extensive narrative description of the provenance, content, and indexing of this series is available, which includes a list of associated land records series and a review of subsequent recordkeeping responsibilities of various state agencies.

All of the earlier series from which the series was formed were listed (by bundle) in the "Annalium Thesaurus," an inventory made by the Office of the Secretary of State ca. 1819.

Maps found among the volumes are listed and indexed in David E.E. Mix's "Catalogue of Maps and Surveys..." (Albany: 1859), pp. 134-244.

Custodial History

The series was created under direction of Secretary of State John Van Ness Yates in 1819 from an amalgam of documents taken from the "Colonial Council Papers," the "Papers of the Land Office," and several other small series that existed in the office at that time. Since the nineteenth century the series has been known as the "Land Papers" and is now referred to as "Land Papers - Series 1" to distinguish it from another series of early land-related documents bound by the State Engineer and Surveyor (series A4016).

The "Indian Deed Conveying to New Settlers Land Bordering the 'Mohawks' River, 1732" was removed from the series for exhibit purposes and subsequently stored separately.

Access Restrictions

A0272-19: Map is fragile and should be handled under the supervision of an archivist.

Access Terms

Corporate Name(s):
Geographic Name(s):

Detailed Description

Contents Box Folder

Accretion: A0272-19
Map of a tract of land in the County of Orange granted by Letters Patent bearing date April 9, 1703 to Dr. John Bridges & Co. and known as Wawayunda; with the tract granted to Monpesson, the Township of Goshen June 7, 1765. Samuel Doty, Surveyor. 1

Accretion: A0272-78
Volume 1, Pages 1 - 214 1
Volume 2A, Pages 1 - 144 2A
Volume 2B, Pages 145 - 277 2B
Volume 3, Pages 1 - 190 3
Volume 4, Pages 1 - 182 4
Volume 5, Pages 1 - 182 5
Volume 6, Pages 1 - 191 6
Volume 7, Pages 1 - 203 7
Volume 8, Pages 1 - 200 8
Volume 9, Pages 1 - 172 9
Volume 10, Pages 1 - 178 10
Volume 11, Pages 1 - 194 11
Volume 12, Pages 1 - 170 12
Volume 13, Pages 1 - 168 13
Volume 14, Pages 1 - 176 14
Volume 15, Pages 1 - 188 15
Volume 16, Pages 1 - 167 16
Volume 17, Pages 1 - 168 17
Volume 18, Pages 1 - 181 18
Volume 19, Pages 1 - 174 19
Volume 20, Pages 1 - 185 20
Volume 21, Pages 1 - 186 21
Volume 22, Pages 1 - 182 22
Volume 23, Pages 1 - 162 23
Volume 24, Pages 1 - 162 24
Volume 25, Pages 1 - 150 25
Volume 26, Pages 1 - 157 26
Volume 27, Pages 1 - 159 27
Volume 28A, Pages 1 - 90 28A
Volume 28B, Pages 91 - 157 28B
Volume 29, Pages 1 - 152, Including Index 29
Volume 30, Pages 1 - 148, Including Index 30
Volume 31, Pages 1 - 160 31
Volume 32, Pages 1 - 157 32
Volume 33, Pages 1 - 153 33
Volume 34, Pages 1 - 161 34
Volume 35, Pages 1 - 146 35
Volume 36, Pages 1 - 83 36
Volume 37, Pages 1 - 156 37
Volume 38, Pages 1 - 157 38
Volume 39, Pages 1 - 148 39
Volume 40, Pages 1 - 155 40
Volume 41, Pages 1 - 149 41
Volume 42, Pages 1 - 170 42
Volume 43, Pages 1 - 169 43
Volume 44, Pages 1 - 170 44
Volume 45, Pages 1 - 182 45
Volume 46, Pages 1 - 145 46
Volume 47, Pages 1 - 172 47
Volume 48, Pages 1 - 186 48
Volume 49, Pages 1 - 148 49
Volume 50, Pages 1 - 157 50
Volume 51, Pages 1 - 170 51
Volume 52, Pages 1 - 179 52
Volume 53, Pages 1 - 169 53
Volume 54, Pages 1 - 192 54
Volume 55, Pages 1 - 180; Page 29 Transferred to Page 27 55
Volume 56, Pages 1 - 174; Page 98 Transferred to 1792 June 5 56
Volume 57, Pages 1 - 185 57
Volume 58, Pages 1 - 187 58
Volume 59, Pages 1 - 126; Page 65 Transferred to 1800 59
Volume 60, Pages 1 - 188 60
Oversized - Volume 60: Page 72 70
Volume 61, Pages 1 - 182 61
Volume 62, Pages 1 - 181 62
Volume 63, Pages 1 - 163 63
Items filed separately after conservation Alienatd 1
Items filed separately after conservation Alienatd 2