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Land Warrant Applications at the Pennsylvania State Archives

What is a land warrant application?

An application was a request to purchase a certain amount of land in a particular locality from the State government. The successful applicant received a land warrant from the State Land Office, and both the applications and warrants are filed in Record Group 17, Records of the Land Office, at the Pennsylvania State Archives, Harrisburg. Click here for a more detailed history of the application process.

Which warrant application records relate to which time periods?

  • Pre-1687
    • Warrant applications were probably made orally and not recorded
  • 1687-1741
    • Some applications were recorded in the Minutes of the Commissioners of Property
      {series #17.405}
    • First, check Pennsylvania Archives, Second Series, Volume 19; Third Series, Volume
      1, pp. 25-110 (surname index in back of volume or use www.iarchives.com)
    • L.O. microfilm rolls #25.1, 25.4, 25.8, 25.20, 25.21
    • See Donna Munger's book Pennsylvania Land Records , pp. 27-30, 92-94
  • 1732-2000
    • Application Books, 1732-1767 {series #17.24 to #17.29}
      • L.O. microfilm rolls #31.1-31.2
      • Entries arranged chronologically by date of warrant
      • Be aware of "Old Style" dates when March was the first month
    • Applications for Warrants, 1734-1952 {series #17.7}
      • L.O. microfilm rolls #7.5-7.20, 7.28-7.101
      • Generally arranged chronologically by date of warrant except for 1762-1776
      • For 1762-76, applications are filed first by year, then by first letter of
        surname of applicant, then by month and day (if more than one
        applicant's name appears on the document, it will by filed by the
        name of the first applicant mentioned)
      • Includes loose East Side Applications, 1765-1769, and West Side
        Applications, 1766-1769
      • For index to East Side Applications, see Kenneth D. McCrea's Pennsylvania
        Land Applications, Volume 1: East Side Applications, 1765-1769
        (Strasburg,
        PA: Pennsylvania Chapter, Palatines to America, 2002)
      • For index to West Side Applications, see index on top of Land Records
        microfilm cabinet
    • Application Lists, 1742-1774 {series #17.8}
      • Entries arranged chronologically by date of warrant
    • New Purchase Applications, 1769-1773 {series #17.12}
      • L.O. microfilm 7.1-7.4
      • Arranged sequentially by application number
      • For land within the Purchase of 1768 (gray area on "Genealogical Map of
        the Counties") see Kenneth D. McCrea's Pennsylvania Land Applications, Volume 2: NewPurchase Applications, 1769-1773 (Philadelphia: Genealogical Society of
        Pennsylvania, 2003) for good index to these applications
    • Pre-Emption Applications, 1785 {series #17.14}
      • L.O. microfilm 7.5
      • Arranged chronologically by date of application
      • Only for northwestern corner of Pennsylvania (Last Purchase - yellow
        area on the PHMC's "Genealogical Map of the Counties")
    • Proof of Settlement Certificates, 1792-1865 {series #17.214}
      • L.O. microfilm 14.1-5
      • Arranged first by county, then chronologically
      • Only for western Pennsylvania
      • Key phrase on warrant or survey: "by settlement and improvement"
    • Warrant and Patent Application Case Files, 1919-2000 {series #17.18}
      • Arranged numerically by case number
      • See listing on website and binder in current land office files

For further information on land warrant applications, consult:
Donna B. Munger, Pennsylvania Land Records: A History and Guide for Research (Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources, 1991)

For more about Land Office Records in general please see: Record Group 17 (Records of the Land Office)

Land warrant application 

If you need further assistance, you may contact an archivist at ra-statearchives@pa.gov