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Original Public Land Survey Field Notes of Minnesota

The field notes are on-line at the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) GLO web site.

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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 settlement.

MnGeo worked 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 deadline.

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 posed challenges due to their unique nature and fragile condition. This project ensures 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.

Project Details

Contact Information

Minnesota Historical Society Library
345 Kellogg Blvd. West
St. Paul, MN 55102
Phone: 651-259-3300


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