Maine Land and Property

From FamilySearch Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Maine Wiki Topics
Maine flag.png
Beginning Research
Record Types
Maine Background
Cultural Groups
Local Research Resources
Maine Land

Online Resources[edit | edit source]

Introduction[edit | edit source]

The value of land records lies in the fact that land was highly sought after and the transactions were recorded from the time settlers began to arrive. Therefore it is a consistent and continuous record of many ancestors lives. Land records can be used to learn where and when an individual lived in certain areas, as well as often revealing useful and interesting family information.

If you are new to land research, you may wish to read the Beginner’s corner and other articles included on the United States Land and Property page.

History[edit | edit source]

1622 - Sir Ferdinando Gorges and James Mason received a land patent for New England, including Maine.

1629 - Gorges and Mason divided the land, and Gorges retained Maine.

1652 - Maine became part of Massachusetts. Maine land records often were recorded in Massachusetts state land records and can be found in the Massachusetts State Archives.

1700 - Massachusetts created the 1st 'Committee for the Sale of Eastern Lands', including Maine. [1]

1783 - Massachusetts created the 2nd 'Committee for the Sale of Eastern Lands', specifically to survey, appraise and sell land in Maine. [2]

1819 - Maine separated from Massachusetts, but Massachusetts retained ownership of half the available land.

1853 - Maine bought the rest of the land still owned by Massachusetts within Maine borders.

Colonial Records[edit | edit source]

Land ownership in the colonial period can be traced to royal charters, proprietary grants, and Indian deeds. During this period, all of Maine was included in York County. You will find many of the early records for 1642 to 1737 in:

  • York Deeds. 18 Volumes. (Portland, Maine: John T. Hull, 1887-1910). Each volume is well indexed.  Volume (book) 2 is free on the site. All 18 volumes are on the New England Historic Genealogical Society site ($). The Family History Library has all 18 volumes FHL Collection book 974.195 R2m; film 599904 item 3 through film 599914; on 186 fiche 6046839]. Volume 10 is on film and fiche only.

Post-Revolutionary War Records[edit | edit source]

In 1783 the 2nd Massachusetts Committee for the Sale of Eastern Lands was formed to sell unclaimed land and distribute grants to soldiers. In 1794 more than 2,000,000 acres were sold.

The Maine State Archives has the records of the Maine Land Office. A list of the principle collections with an index of the Revolutionary War Land Grants, 1830s is shown on the Web site.

  • Massachusetts, Land Agent. Massachusetts Deeds, 1794-1860. (Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1954). On five Family History Library FHL Collection films starting with 010248 item 3. Each volume is indexed.

From 1820 to 1853, the state of Maine purchased the remaining land from Massachusetts and held auctions to distribute it. The Land Office of Maine was established in 1824 to distribute this land.

  • Maine. Land Office. Record of Deeds of the Land Office of Maine, 1824-1861. Ten Volumes. Indexes are in the volumes. (Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1954). FHL Collection films 10238-41.

After 1835, Revolutionary War veterans or their widows made applications to the Land Office for land. The following includes claims, applications, and declarations.

  • Maine. Land Office. Revolutionary War Veterans Land Records. (Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1954). FHL Collection films 010249-60].

A partial index to these records is:

  • Charles J. House. Names of Soldiers of the American Revolution Who Applied for State Bounty..., pub. 1893. (Reprint. Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1967). FHL Collection book 974.1 M2n; film 1033754 item 16; film 010248]. Film 010248 contains handwritten numbers of certificates next to the names of the soldiers and another index of names of soldiers who applied to Massachusetts for State Bounty under services rendered in the Revolutionary War.

County Records[edit | edit source]

After land was transferred to private ownership, subsequent transactions were recorded by the register of deeds in each county. The addresses and a description of each county's records are in:

  • Leclerc, Michael J., Editor. Genealogist's Handbook for New England Research. Boston, Massachusetts: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2012. This is an excellent guide to Maine towns and counties, location of public records, and genealogical societies. FHL book 974 D27g 2012

Maine Registers of Deeds Association Official Land Records Website

The following counties have two deed districts with specific towns in each:

- Aroostook County (this web site gives the areas served by each district) = Northern District and Southern District
- Oxford County = Eastern District serves all areas not served by the Western district, and Western District serves the towns of Brownfield, Denmark, Fryeburg, Hiram, Lovell, Porter, Stoneham and Stow. [3]

The Family History Library has copies of deed records for all counties, most to about 1900. See the Place Search of the FamilySearch Catalog under MAINE, [COUNTY] - LAND AND PROPERTY.

Websites[edit | edit source]

Wiki articles describing online collections are found at:

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Massachusetts. State Archives. "History of the Land Office" with a list and description of Eastern Lands Papers, Records, 1717-1860 at the Massachusetts State Archives,, viewed 27 December 2010.
  2. Massachusetts. State Archives. "History of the Land Office" with a list and description of Eastern Lands Papers, Records, 1717-1860 at the Massachusetts State Archives,, viewed 27 December 2010.
  3. Reaves, Tony, Staff Writer. "Oxford County Commissioners Eye Consolidating Registries of Deeds", Sun Journal, Nov. 17, 2010, viewed on Oxford County, Maine web site at (accessed 27 December 2010).