Original Public Land Survey Field Notes of Minnesota
New The field notes are now
on-line at the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM)
Work yet to be completed by BLM:
- Incorporating Minnesota’s high-resolution (600 dpi) GLO plats into the
site. The plats which currently appear on the site are BLM’s duplicates
which may differ from the originals scanned in Minnesota in 2004. For now,
download the GLO plats, including geo-referenced versions, via
MnGeo’s GLO Plats
- Modifying BLM's land records database to accommodate multiple survey
records per GLO plat. In those instances when multiple records exist for a
plat, there currently are no links to a map (BLM’s or Minnesota's).
BLM has not yet set a date for completing these final steps. Comments
are welcome. For the BLM site, direct them to
Daniel Fleming. For the MnGeo site, contact John Hoshal.
The Minnesota Historical Society awarded a Minnesota Historical and
Cultural Heritage grant to MnGeo to scan, index, and publish Minnesota’s General
Land Office (GLO) Field Notes online, thereby greatly increasing their
accessibility. The field notes were created for the federal government
between 1847 and 1911, prior to opening Minnesota to land sale and to European
MnGeo is working in partnership with the Minnesota Historical Society, Office
of the Secretary of State, Minnesota Department of Transportation, Minnesota
Association of County Surveyors and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to
digitize and index these exceptional documents and publish them online.
The scanning and indexing parts of the project were completed by the June 30, 2011
Contained in 1410 volumes totaling nearly 310,000 pages, the notes serve as
the legal foundation for all land ownership in the state. All property
titles in Minnesota ultimately rest on these descriptions. They are also
uniquely valuable for historical, environmental, genealogical and legal purposes
and are the only comprehensive representation of Minnesota’s landscape prior to
development. However, access to the actual notes has posed challenges due
to their unique nature and fragile condition. This project will ensure
that the public will have full access to them for generations to come.
Minnesota Historical and
Cultural Heritage grants are made possible by the Minnesota Legislature from
the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund created with passage of the Clean Water,
Land and Legacy Amendment to the Minnesota Constitution in November 2008.
The grants are awarded to support projects of enduring value for the cause of
history and historic preservation across the state.
More information will be added as the project progresses.
- Field notes on BLM's website: Final work in progress to
incorporate high-resolution GLO plats into the site and to link multiple
survey records to a single GLO plat.
- Scanning and indexing complete: On June 30, 2011, the
scanning and indexing of nearly 310,000 pages of notes and supplemental
documents was completed. The indexing process ties the notes to the
high-resolution GLO plat images that MnGeo created in 2004 and sent to BLM
in Fall 2010. MnGeo has also delivered copies of the field notes images –
approximately 23 terabytes – to the Minnesota Historical Society and to BLM.
- Supplemental surveys: Additional grant funding expanded
the scope of this project to include island, tribal land, railroad, and
transportation supplemental surveys.
- Scanning contract awarded:
Perfect Image was awarded the contract to scan the field notes.
They worked onsite at the Minnesota Historical Society to scan the
documents, and began at the end of November 2010. Since the documents
are rare, old, fragile, and bound, a planetary scanner and hand-turning
pages and frequent adjustments were necessary.
- Sample photos of the notebooks and storage boxes
- Metadata record
documentation New 1/24/12
- If you need paper copies of the field notes before the digital versions
are available from BLM's website, please contact the Minnesota Historical
Minnesota Historical Society Library
345 Kellogg Blvd. West
St. Paul, MN 55102