You are here

Land Records

The New York State Archives holds numerous records documenting title to real property in New York. The records range in date from the Dutch colonial period to the near present. Practically all of the records dating after the early nineteenth century concern real property acquired or disposed by the State of New York. However, many of the earlier records document conveyances of real property from colonial authorities to private individuals and between private persons.
 
The State Archives holds deeds to the state for construction of public buildings and facilities; deeds and cessions to the United States; land appropriations for canals and other public purposes; and permits, easements, and releases to and from the state. The Archives also holds numerous records relating to the survey and sale of lands of the colony and state.
View looking northeast across Schroon Lake at the narrows in the Adirondack Mountains. 1912

Patents and Deeds

The State Archives holds recorded grants of land (patents) by the director and council of New Netherland, as well as recorded private conveyances (deeds) and a few Indian deeds from the Dutch colonial period. The following finding aids contain detailed descriptions of record series containing documentation of Dutch colonial patents and deeds.
 
A1880 New Netherland Council Dutch Colonial Patents and Deeds, 1630-1664
A1882 New Netherland Council Dutch Colonial Land Deeds, 1652-1653
A0270 Register of the New Netherland Provincial Secretary, 1642-1660
A1881 New Netherland Council Dutch Colonial Administrative Records, 1673-1674
 
The Archives holds Indian treaties and deeds filed with or recorded by New York’s provincial secretary and later Secretary of State. These records document the highly irregular and controversial process by which lands in New York were obtained from Indian tribal groups or nations. These records are described in detail in the following two finding aids.
 
A4609 New York State Department of State Original Indian Treaties and Deeds, 1703-1847
A0448 New York State Department of State Recorded Indian Treaties and Deeds, 1703-1871
 
Applications for and grants of land by the Royal Governor and later by authority of the sovereigns of England (British colonial period) are also documented in the State Archives. Such documentation extends into the early statehood period, when patents began to be issued in the name of the People of the State of New York, and on into the twenty-first century. Records of land grants for military service during the British colonial and early statehood periods are also present, along with records of conveyances of real property between private parties. Detailed descriptions of these records can be found in the following finding aids.
 
12943 New York State Department of State Letters Patent, 1664-2016
A0272 New York State Department of State Applications for Land Grants, 1642-1803
A0447 New York State Department of State Military Patents, 1764-1797
A0453 New York State Department of State Record of Deeds, 1659-1890
A4016 New York State Engineer and Surveyor Records of Surveys and Maps of State Lands, 1686-1892
 
Series A0272 and 12943 also document applications for and grants of lands under water. The following finding aids contain detailed descriptions of additional record series documenting applications for and grants of lands under water.
 
B2321 New York State Commissioners of the Land Office Lands Under Water Application Files, 1802-1885
B1304 New York State Office of General Services Lands Under Water Transaction Files, 1943-1965
A4025 New York State Engineer and Surveyor Records of Applications for and Grants of Land Under Water, 1875-1903
19116 New York State Office of General Services Maps of Grants of Lands Under Water, 1777-1970
 
The State Archives holds several record series documenting the sale of lands forfeited by Loyalists during and in the decades following the Revolutionary War.
 
A4016 New York State Engineer and Surveyor Records of Surveys and Maps of State Lands, 1686-1892
A4032 New York State Commissioners of Forfeitures Lists of Sales of and Accounts of Payments for Confiscated Lands, 1784-1788
B0256 New York State Surveyor General Records of Applications for and Sales of Forfeited Estates and Military Lots, 1783-1807
A1816 New York State Assembly Petitions, Correspondence, and Reports Relating to Forfeited Estates, 1778-1826
 

State Land Acquisitions, Releases, and Sales

The State Archives holds title documents for lands acquired by the state and releases of real property to the state, as well as deeds and cessions to the United States, and leases of and easements on state lands. The following finding aids provide detailed descriptions of record series containing documentation of such land transactions involving the state.
 
A0050 New York State Secretary of State Deeds of Cession and Assorted Documents of Record, 1774-1846
A0451 New York State Department of State Original Releases to the State, 1782-1929
A0464 New York State Department of State Original Deeds and Title Papers, 1855-1975
12945 New York State Department of State Miscellaneous Deeds and Title Papers, 1847-2016
A0449 New York State Department of State Register of Gold and Silver Mines, 1791-1914
 
Additionally, the Archives holds several record series documenting the sale of state lands by the Surveyor General, the State Engineer and Surveyor, and the State Comptroller. Records document sales of land in the Old Military Tract (northern New York), the Military Tract (central New York), and former Indian reservations, as well as sales of lands on foreclosure of state mortgages and for non-payment of real property taxes.
 
A4002 New York State Engineer and Surveyor Books of Sales of State Land, 1786-1927
A4003 New York State Engineer and Surveyor Certificates and Bonds for Sales of State Land, 1786-1903
A4004 New York State Engineer and Surveyor Records of Sales of State Lands Belonging to Various State Funds, 1824-1860
A0284 New York State Surveyor General Register of Lands Sold, 1794-1812
A1335 New York State Comptroller's Office Register of Buyers of State Lands, 1818-1834
A1337 New York State Comptroller's Office Register of Lands Sold by the Surveyor General, 1835-1881
B0969 New York State Department of Taxation and Finance Reports of Sales of State Lands, 1880-1939
B1614 New York State Department of Taxation and Finance Abstracts of Deeds Conveyed to Purchasers of Land Sold for Unpaid Taxes, 1873-1937
B0953 New York State Comptroller's Office Registers of Non-Resident Lands Sold in Tax Sales, 1808-1926
B0918 New York State Comptroller's Office Certificates of Sale of Land for Unpaid Taxes, 1815-1928

Land Appropriations for Canals, Highways, Parks, Public Buildings, and Other Purposes

The State Archives holds documentation of the state’s title to lands appropriated for the construction and enlargement of the state’s canal system. The following three finding aids provide detailed descriptions of the major record series in which this documentation is found.
 
A0848 New York State Canal Commissioners Canal System Survey Maps, 1832-1843
B0602 New York State Department of Audit and Control Canal Damage Awards by Canal Appraisers, Board of Claims, and Court of Claims, 1835-1953
22561 New York State Department of Public Works Barge Canal Land Appropriation Files, 1906-1950
 
The Archives also holds documentation of land appropriation by the state for construction of highways, parks, and public buildings. Series containing relevant records are described in the following finding aids.
 
18552 New York State Department of Public Works Real Estate Division Director's Office Right of Way Map Tracings, 1900-1945
A1346 Conservation Commission Recommendations to the Commissioners of the Land Office on Land Purchases for New State Parks, 1917-1925
A0460 New York State Department of State Land Appropriations, Correspondence and Maps, 1924-1974
B0635 New York State Department of State Terminations of Easements, 1932-1960

Additional Resources

This pathfinder will direct you to the most useful sources for real property records (deeds and mortgages for private properties).
 
These indexes include individual names appearing in selected records series held by the New York State Archives. The following indexes contain information specific to land records.
Related Topics