Land in Clinton Co.

Land records may supply the names and occupations of the seller  and buyer, a description of the piece of land, the cost, witnesses' names, date of signing and recording, and names of persons who may be relatives.  In homestead records, you may also find naturalization information.  

In the 1700s and early 1800s, the area that is now Iowa was under the control of France, then Spain, and again France.  Many of the private land claims for that period have been published in the American State Papers.

In 1834 the area that is now Iowa was attached to the Michigan Territory.  The Iowa Territory was established in 1838.  It included all of present-day Iowa, Minnesota, and parts of North and South Dakota.  In 1846 Iowa, with its present boundaries, became a state.

Land Office Records

Iowa land office records began in 1838, when Iowa became a territory and land offices were established.  Iowa was a public domain state in which land was surveyed and distributed to private land owners through land offices.  The federal government granted land through cash sales (entries), homesteads, and military bounty land warrants.

Abstracts of lands that were registered or sold at land offices from the late 1840s to 1859 are found in:

Iowa. Land Department. Abstract of Lands in Iowa Counties which were Entered or Sold at the Land Offices. Salt Lake City: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1978. FHL films 1023903-907; computer number 191586.  The original records are at the State Historical Society of Iowa in Des Moines.  These abstracts give the township, range, section, part of section, number of acres and name of purchaser.  They also sometimes give the date and county of residence.  They are listed by county; there is no index.

Homestead Grants

Many Iowa residents applied for homestead grants from 1862 to about 1910.  Homestead records may contain a person's age, the previous place of residence, description of the land and cost.  If the person was born abroad, the records may also contain a copy of naturalization proceedings and possibly a copy of a Union veteran's military discharge papers.  

You can check the Bureau of Land Management site for land patents.  Homestead papers are also available from the National Archives.

County Records

After land was transferred from the government to private individuals, subsequent land transactions were usually recorded by the county recorder.  See Land on Microfilm for a list of Clinton land records.

Early Private Land Claims, 1700s-1837

If your ancestor lived in the area that is now Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri or Louisiana before 1837, you might find land claims in the following volumes:

United States. Congress. American State Papers: Documents, Legislative and Executive of the Congress of the United States.  La Crosse, Wis.: Brookhaven Press, 1959.  38 vols. On 29 FHL films beginning with 1631827; classes 8 and 9 are also on films 899878-85; computer number 277508. Volumes for classes 8 and 9 deal with public lands and claims for 1789 to 1837 and may name siblings or heirs of original claimants.  Classes 8 and 9 have been republished in:

United States. Congress. American State Papers, Class 8: Public Lands; Class 9: Claims: Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States.  FHL book 973R2ag 1994; computer number 617316.

First Real Estate Transactions

Index to the 
1976 Plat Map

Street Name 

1925 Atlas

Land on Microfilm

Original Land Entries

Settlements and Name Changes

The Importance of Maps

Other Helpful pages


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