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Oregon Historical County Records Guide

Polk County Records Inventory

Federal Land Grant Records

1851-2007

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 Oregon State Archives:
Donation Land Claim Plats, n.d. (30 maps);
Index to Donation Land Claims, n.d. (1 reel of microfilm).

Records at the Polk County Courthouse, County Clerk's Office:
Donation Land Claims [Alphabetical Register-photocopy], n.d. (1 binder);
Indexes to D.L.C. [Donation Land Claim], n.d. (1 reel of microfilm).

Records at the Polk County Courthouse, Assessor's Office:
Subdivision Index Partition Plats [includes Donation Land Claim index], ca.1853-2007 (1 binder).  

Records at the Polk County Public Works Department Building, Surveyor's Office:
DLC [Donation Land Claim Survey Descriptions-typescript], vol. A-C, ca.1854-ca.1858 (3 volumes);
Donation Land Claim Record [Survey Field Notes-with index], ca.1854 (1 volume);
Legal Subdivisions Also DLCs [Township Survey Record-includes Donation Land Claim information-title varies], ca.1851-ca.1853 (3 volumes).

Records at the Polk County Public Works Department Building, Surveyor's Records Storage Room 4:
BLM Fiche [General Land Office/Bureau of Land Management Survey Records-includes Donation Land Claim and mineral interest information], ca.1852-n.d. (1.50 inches of microfiche).

Records at the Polk County Public Works Department Building, Surveyor's Records Storage Room 5:
Deed Record Patents [Land], vol. 27, 1894-1906 (1 volume); vol. 45, 1906-1914 (1 volume).

Records at the Polk County Historical Society Museum, Archives:
Field Notes of Polk County Claims [Donation Land Claim Survey-with index], vol. 2, 1854 (1 volume);
[Index to Abstract of Donation Claims], n.d. (1 volume).

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

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