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Oregon Historical County Records Guide

Josephine County Records Inventory

Federal Land Grant Records

1850-1998

Series records ownership of county lands obtained from the federal government. Series includes records of land grants administered under a variety of federal programs such as donation land claims and homesteads. Donation land claims are the most common type of federal land grant in Oregon that is documented in this inventory project. Donation land claims resulted from an act of the 1850 Congress under which citizens of the United States, or those who filed a declaration of intention prior to December 1, 1850 and had resided upon or cultivated the land for four consecutive years, were granted a specified amount of acreage in the Oregon Territory. Donation land claims were unique in that acreage granted to married couples was divided evenly. Half of the acreage was placed in the husband's name while the other half was placed in the wife's name. Records include plats, indexes, and survey notes. Information includes township, range, and section numbers, names of donation land claim holders and claim numbers, claim dates, acreage, and descriptions of surveys.

Under the Homestead Act of 1862, settlers were given 160 acres of land in the public domain if they built a home on the land, resided there for five years, and cultivated the land. A complete homestead entry file includes such documents as the homestead application, homestead proof, and final certificate authorizing the claimant to obtain a land patent.

Records at the Josephine County Courthouse, Surveyor's Office Public Research Room:
DLC Field Notes [Donation Land Claim-typed copies-with index], 1855-1858 (1 volume);
Homestead and Mineral Surveys [Maps], ca.1872-ca.1996 (1 volume);
Homestead Entries Surveys [Field Notes], 1909-1923 (1 volume);
[Original BLM/GLO Survey Records-includes corner restoration and donation land claim survey information-Bureau of Land Management/General Land Office-paper copy of microfiche records], ca.1856-ca.1996 (16 volumes).

Records at the Josephine County Courthouse, Surveyor's Office Records Storage Room:
[Original BLM/GLO Survey Records-includes corner restoration and donation land claim survey information-Bureau of Land Management/General Land Office], ca.1856-1998 (5 inches of microfiche);
[Survey Index Cards-includes homestead, subdivision, and mineral survey references-alphabetical], ca.1924-1991 (3 cu.ft.);
[Survey Index Cards-includes homestead, subdivision, and mineral survey references-township and range], ca.1924-1991 (12 cu.ft.).

Records at the Josephine County Courthouse, Clerk's Vault:
Deed Record [U.S. Land Patents], vol. 28, 1905-1917 (1 volume);
Government Location Plats and Donation Land Claims for Josephine County, ca.1850-1936 (2 reels of microfilm);
Patents and U.S. Receiver's Receipts [Land], 1884-1931 (.20 cu.ft.).

Records at a Related Web Site:
Search Land Patents [includes patent and legal land descriptions and some document images], ca.1864-ca.1957 (BLM GLO Web site).

Oregon Secretary of State • 136 State Capitol • Salem, OR 97310-0722
Phone: (503) 986-1523 • Fax: (503) 986-1616 • oregon.sos@state.or.us

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