Where to Find Washington State’s Federal Land Records

National Archives and Records Administration

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Between 1855 and 1910 the U. S. government kept records of all federal land transactions in Washington Territory and State. These records can contain genealogically significant information.

The records include land transactions under various laws and acts, including: donation land, homesteads, timber and stone, timber culture, desert land, mining, and some cash sales. The records also include tract books (township, range, section, and fraction of section) with lists of owners.

There are records of homestead entries and final certificates, desert land declarations and entries, timber culture entries, abstracts of land sold, and patents delivered. In addition, some Oregon land records include abstracts of military land warrant certificates and soldier declaratory statements.

Washington Territory and State Federal Land Offices were located in various places over the years, including: Colfax, North Yakima, Olympia, Seattle, Spokane Falls, Vancouver, Walla Walla, Waterville, and Yakima.

The records here do not include the land entry case files. Those records are available from the National Archives and Records Administration, in Washington, D. C. Record copies of donation land patents issued are kept by the Bureau of Land Management, and are not included here.

Some information on this page was summarized from NARA publications

  • M203 — Abstracts of Washington Donation Land Claims, 1855–1902
  • M815 — Oregon and Washington Donation Land Files, 1851–1903
  • M1622 — Federal Land Records for Washington, 1860–1910

Copies of these records are kept at the National Archives and Records Administration’s Pacific Alaska Region facility in Seattle, Washington, where I am a professional genealogy researcher. Contact me to start a discussion about the possibilities of researching your family’s history. Likewise, if you would like more information about my genealogical research services, including information about fees, and range of materials available to research, I’d love to hear from you.

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