Okay, I just made that “Free Resource Friday” thing up. And granted, I’m getting to be quite a land and property record geek. However:
If you do land research in early Ohio, you need to check out this free resource on Google Books. This book, Ohio Lands and Their Subdivision, by William Edwards Peters, will tell you everything you ever wanted to know about the admittedly complicated development of Ohio’s various areas and methods of land distribution. Check out this book. Don’t know the difference between the United States Military Tract and the Virginia Military Tract? Check out this book. Don’t know what either of those things are? Check out this book. It might not end up being one of those “cover-to-cover” reads, but it is something that you will want to have at the ready when digging into new territory (pretty clever pun, I know).
Below are the Chapter titles from the table of contents: The Seven Ranges, Sudivision of Land in Ohio, Congress Lands, Description of Land, The Greenville Treaty Line, The Virginia Military Tract, The Ohio River Survey, The United States Military Tract, The Connecticut Western Reserve, Between the Miami Rivers, The Miami River Survey, The Michigan Survey, The French Grants, The Ebenezer Zane Tracts, The Twelve Miles Square Reserve, The Two Miles Square Reserve, The Moravian Tracts, Miscellaneous Surveys, The Ohio Company, The Donation Tract, The Ohio University Lands, The Symmes Purchase, The Refugee Tract, The Fire Lands, The Dohrman Tract, The Salt Reservations, The Turnpike Lands, The Maumee Road Lands, The Canal Lands, School Lands, Ministerial Lands, Calculation of Areas of Land, Rules and Tables
As you can see, anything you might need to know about land division in early Ohio can be found here. This is not a “how-to” or a records-finding aid, but it is a wonderful reference. The more you understand about the history of where you are researching and the “hows and whys” of the records that were produced, the more you will be able to distill from those records. Plus you can impress your friends on the next road trip with your vast knowledge of obscure and obsolete tract references. Chicks dig it. (Okay, I made that part up, too)