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Patents are lands/privileges typically granted to one or more persons by the British crown or the state of New York. "Proprietors" were joint owners of a patent, who subdivided, surveyed, and conveyed individual allotments. Patents are NOT deeds conveying land from person-to-person. Grants of land by the colony/state of New York since 1664 are recorded in series 12943.
Patents are indexed by grantee name (see series A4684, A4685) and location (see series A4686, A4687). Patents and indexes are on microfilm in the research room (not available online or for ILL).
Most major colonial land grants are listed by name of patent and date of grant in John H. French, Gazetteer of the State of New York (NY: 1860), pp. 49-52. Use the "Tables of Manors, Colonial Patents, Purchases, and Land Grants" to find names of patentees and then look in grantee index.
Maps of patents and subdivisions (statewide and county level) are available in the Research Room. Most useful is Julus Bien, comp., Atlas of the State of New York (NY: 1895), plate 3, "Map of the State of New York Showing the Location of the Original Land Grants, Patents and Purchases." A smaller-scale map is in Robert J. Rayback, comp., Richards Atlas of New York State (Phoenix, NY: 1965).