Platting Land

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Drawing (platting) the boundaries of a land parcel can offer additional insights to the land record. The term “platting” generally refers to property that is described in metes and bounds. The term “graphing” is more applicable to rectangular survey (township and range).


Determine if the same amount of land was sold as was purchased. If not, this is a clue as to other records of acquisition or subdivision.

  1. Distinguish same name individuals in the same county.
  2. Identify common neighbors—which might lead to other records to consider.

Plotting Land Descriptions by Hand

Commercial platting software

Platting State Lands on Maps

For additional information

E. Wade Hone, Land and Property Research in the United States (Salt Lake City, Utah: Ancestry, Inc., 1997), has a section on platting metes and bounds (pages 89-96) and a section on graphing township, range, and section (pages 173-176).

Sandra Hargreaves Luebking, “Land Records,” in Loretto Dennis Szucs and Sandra Hargreaves Luebking, eds. The Source: A Guidebook to American Genealogy, 3rd ed. (Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 2006), includes a sidebar, "Creating a Plat," by Mary McCampbell Bell, CG, p. 438.