New York State Secretary of State Field Books

Held by the New York State Archives

Overview of the Records


New York State Archives

New York State Education Department

Cultural Education Center

Albany, NY 12230

These volumes include surveys of land in the State's New Military Tract granted to veterans for service during the Revolution. They generally provide date of the survey; surveyors' names; name of patent and/or a narrative description of the land surveyed; narrative description; acreage of each lot; and occasional maps and valuations of lots.
11 cubic feet (54 volumes) Copies: 12 microfilm reels; 35mm.
Inclusive Dates:
Bulk Dates:
bulk 1701-1848
Series Number:


The series volumes are in no discernable order. Each volume is divided into a number of subdivisions identified by a letter, each of which is a separate set of field notes bound into the volume. The various subdivisions in each volume are not arranged, nor are they consistently related to each other in terms of geography, date of survey, or other factors.

Administrative History

Section 1171 of the Laws of the Colony of New York, passed on January 8, 1762, stipulated that patentees or other proprietors of large tracts of land who wished to divide their land among themselves or for sale, were obliged to have a survey made for these purposes. Two copies of the field notes and two copies of a map produced from these notes were required to be produced by the surveyor. One set of field notes and maps were filed with the secretary of the colony and the other with the clerk of the county where the greatest part of the land lay.

After the establishment of New York State a similar system was adopted for the disposal of unappropriated state-owned land. Chapter 60 of the Laws of 1784 required the surveyor general to have a survey made each time a group of settlers petitioned the state for a land grant, so that the land granted could be equitably divided into lots. Four copies of the surveyor's field notes and four copies of a map produced from these notes were to be produced. These were filed in the secretary of state's office, the surveyor general's office, the office of the clerk of the county where the land lay, and the clerk of the town where the land lay.

Throughout the late eighteenth and the first half of the nineteenth century the legislature from time to time directed the surveyor general to have special surveys conducted to divide privately held patents or estates. Multiple copies of survey notes and maps were produced from these surveys and filed in a manner similar to surveys undertaken under Chapter 60 of the Laws of 1784. In 1819 the legislature directed the secretary of state to bind and/or label all records in his custody. At that time all surveys in the custody of the secretary of state were arranged and bound into the present series. The maps relating to these surveys were numbered and are now in the custody of the Office of General Services, Division of Land Utilization.

Scope and Content Note

This series consists of bound volumes containing surveyor's field notes and related material.

Field books vary in the information they contain. Every survey in the series, however, contains the date of the survey, the name of the surveyors, the name of the patent and/or a narrative description of the land surveyed, and a narrative description of each lot laid out by the surveyor, including acreage. Some field notes also contain small scale maps depicting the land surveyed and the lots laid out. Also included with many surveys from the statehood period are summary tables containing the acreage, value of each acre, and total value of each lot. A number of surveys also contain copies of legal papers filed during the land granting process and copies of "Proceedings and Balloting Books". The latter contains a narrative description of the actual meeting during which lots were assigned to the various petitioners for a grant and record which petitioners received which lots.

Field book no. 27, pp. 195-204, contains a census of the Brothertown Indians, 1795, taken pursuant to Laws of 1795, 18th Session, Chap. 41 (1795). The Brothertown reservation was located in the present town of Marshall, Oneida County. The census is published as: Roger D. Joslyn, ed., "The 1795 Census of Brothertown Indians, Oneida County," New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, 141:3 (July 2010), 213-18.

Use of Records

Access Restrictions

Microfilm is not available for duplication or inter-library loan.

Alternate Formats Available

Microfilmed in 1973 at the Department of State by the Genealogical Society of Utah, microfilm reels 945384-945385, 946129, 946409-946410, 946421-946427, 947115 (item 3). Cataloged by the GSU as "Field Books, New York, 1701-1848." Some reels of the GSU microfilm have been digitized by FamilySearch: 945384 (volumes 6-10), 946421 (volumes 22-25), 946422 (volumes 26-29), 946423 (volumes 30-33), 946424 (volumes 34-37), 946427 (volumes 50-53), 947115 (item 3) (volume 46). Images can be viewed online at FamilySearch Affiliate Libraries (including the New York State Archives and the New York State Library).

Related Information

Related Materials

The surveyor general's copy of land surveys are contained in old series number 99 "Land Survey Field Notes" which are grouped with other land records of the Department of Transportation.

Other finding aids

This series was originally indexed by Series A4694, Old index to field books and maps, 1762-1843. This index has been superseded for all practical purposes by Mix, David E.E. "Catalogue of Maps and Surveys in the Office of the Secretary of State, State Engineer and Surveyor, and Comptroller and the State Library" (Albany: 1859).

Volume list.

Some volumes have indexes to purchasers of lots for particular areas, grants, purchases, etc., or listing number of lot, value, or improvements.

Maps in custody of the Office of General Services which relate to the surveyor general's copy of land surveys are generally referred to as "Maps in Portfolios", (within Mix's "Catalogue of Maps and Surveys...", pp. 8-35).

Field notes and maps are indexed in Freeborn G. Jewett, comp., Cataloogue of Records of the Office of Secretary of State (Albany: 1898), pages 32-123.

Access Terms

Geographic Name(s):

Detailed Description

Dates Contents Box Volume Roll

Accretion: A0452-79
1766-1768 Field Book 1 1 1
1762-1774 Field Book 1 2 1
1802-1813 Field Book 1 3 1
1816-1817 Field Book 1 4 1
1789-1791 Field Book 1 5 1
1795-1815 Field Book 2 6 2
1803-1806 Field Book 2 7 2
1796, 1807-1816 Field Book (also including typed copy of 1796 Field Book, Cayuga Reservation) 2 8 2
1763-1803 Field Book 2 9 2
1809-1811 Field Book 3 10 2
1806-1819 Field Book 3 11 3
1808-1819 Field Book 3 12 3
1807-1819 Field Book 4 13 4
1810-1814 Field Book 4 14 4
1807-1819 Field Book 5 15 4
1772-1802 Field Book 5 16 4
1807-1809 Field Book 6 17 4
1808-1811 Field Book 6 18 5
1810-1814 Field Book 7 19 5
1803-1807 Field Book 7 20 5
1763-1797 Field Book 8 21 5
1805-1819 Field Book 8 22 6
1765-1806 Field Book 9 23 6
1701-1799 Field Book 9 24 6
1763-1801 Field Book 10 25 6
1805-1813 Field Book 10 26 7
1788-1798 Field Book 11 27 7
1768-1801 Field Book 11 28 7
1766-1800 Field Book 12 29 7
1804-1818 Field Book 12 30 8
1764-1799 Field Book 13 31 8
1769-1848, 1859 Field Book (including insert in front on Refugee Tract, 1859) 13 32 8
1790 Field Book 14 33 8
1765-1786 Field Book (oversize) 14 34 9
1774-1804 Field Book (oversize, including large folded map at back) 15 35 9
1765-1801 Field Book 15 36 9
1792 Field Book 16 37 9
1804-1808 Field Book 16 38 10
1814-1815 Field Book 16 39 10
1820-1821 Field Book 17 40 10
1820-1823 Field Book 17 41 10
1819-1825 Field Book 17 42 10
1821 Field Book 17 43 10
1820-1822 Field Book 18 44 11
1818-1825 Field Book 18 45 11
1822 Field Book 18 46 11
1819-1825 Field Book 19 47 11
1807-1841 Field Book 19 48 11
1827-1845 Field Book 20 49 11
1827-1842 Field Book 20 50 12
1826-1835 Field Book 21 51 12
1839-1844 Field Book 21 52 12
1820-1845 Field Book 22 53 12
1815 Field Book (not microfilmed) 22 54