The Texas Land Survey Maps series resembles the Family Maps series in many ways, primarily in its essence: presenting historical landownership –boundary maps in the context of modern roads and geographical features. The two primary goals being, first, to enable the analysis of “frontier neighborhoods,” and the second, to allow field researchers to actually go and find particular parcels of land in the simplest manner possible.
One imminently useful and unique feature that this series offers lies in the nature of Texas’s use of legal-descriptions of land. In most other states, after title passes from an original owner, that original owner’s name is of no further legal consequence to later owners. In Texas, land will often pass from owner-to-owner and each conveyance will refer back to the “original survey.” This system stops once an area is platted for city-use or perhaps for other reasons. Why is that good news for historical and land researchers? Since every Texas land deed refers to the original survey, you can KNOW where that land is and can find it without going to the courthouse, or to the internet, or anywhere else. And now, YOU KNOW why this series exists.
Part I – The Big Picture Maps
- Map A – This
is self-explanatory, but for researchers not familiar with Texas, or,
at least with the subject county, it gives them a context of the
county’s location within the entire state of Texas.
- Map B – The
subject county and surrounding counties. This zooms you into the
subject county and allows you to more readily identify the surrounding
counties, whether in Texas or one of the neighboring states.
- Map C – Land Survey Maps (an Index Map). This map simply shows you the grid used to break down the subject county into its various Land Survey Maps.
- Map D – Cities
& Towns. Building on the grid shown in Map C, this index map shows
you which maps to turn to if you are seeking answers in the land
surrounding a particular community. The accompanying index can help you
locate hard-to-spot communities.
- Map E – Cemeteries.
Again, building on the grid shown in Map C, this index map shows which
maps to turn to if you are seeking answers in the land surrounding a
particular cemetery. Use the accompanying index of cemeteries for help
in locating which map a given cemetery is located.
Part II – Land Survey Maps
The partial map above
is a sample from Rusk County, and apart from an interstate, a railway, and a
large body of water, it displays all the other elements you will find in maps
throughout this series. Surveys are always represented in the
same typeface and are followed by the abstract number in parentheses. You will note that in this small portion of a
map, just how easy it is to see the relationship of one parcel to another and
how you can clearly view which creeks pass through or nearby, as well as railroad
tracks and major roads. Cemeteries and
Populated Places are also easy to spot.
Abstract Number - in each County, a unique number has been assigned (by the State of Texas) to each Survey; that “abstract number” may apply to multiple parcels of land identified in the single survey.
GLO - the General Land Office for the State of Texas. A State agency.
Grantee - a grantee is that person originally given the right to purchase a particular parcel of land within the State of Texas (or if pre-Statehood, the Republic of Texas). The Grantee’s name, as used herein, is provided by the Texas General Land Office. In many cases, the Grantee was willing and able to actually take title to the land and would ultimately become the “patentee” (see below). The short explanation is that a grantee had a right to take ownership, but the patentee actually did. How that came to be may have been by the grantee either forfeiting their rights or
selling them to another. For MUCH more information, see the Texas General Land office’s web-site at: http://www.glo.state.tx.us/archives/collections.html
Patent Date - seen in the Abstract Listing, it refers to patents obtained during Texas statehood.
Patentee - a patentee is that person who takes original title to a particular parcel of land within the State of Texas (or pre-Statehood), by virtue of a public grant which may or may not have originally been intended for the ultimate patentee. See the explanation of “Grantee”, above and the Texas GLO web-site mentioned there.
Populated Places - may include incorporated and/or unincorporated towns, cities, neighborhoods, additions, or even sites of historical communities which no longer exist. Our source for most of these is the U.S.G.S. Geographic Name Service.
Title Date - seen in the Abstract Listing, it refers to title gained before Texas statehood.
Railroad Commission - the Texas Railroad Commission, author of the survey boundary maps we rely upon.
Survey - in general, when the public lands of Texas were sold to its citizens, whether during pre-Statehood or Statehood, that sale was conditioned upon a survey of the land in question. That Survey became known by the name of the person originally authorized to purchase that land.
Survey 1 - refers to the name associated with the first survey of a property. This person may or may not have actually taken title to the property.
Survey 2 - refers to a subsequent name associated with a second survey of a property.