Bureau of Land
Management- General Land Office
Submitted by John Hansen, November 2003
Index by Surname
About this Project: These pages have over 5,200
In research that it is often helpful to understand not only
our ancestors, but their neighbors and affiliated families
that resided within their homestead area. These are sometimes
the families that immigrated together to a new area and are
often the families that our ancestor's children intermarried
with. By studying the mapped area of your ancestors,
some valuable clues develop from the surrounding
How to Locate Your Ancestors Land in Carroll County!
Mississippi was subject to the Federal Township and
Range System for identifying land. We are not going to discuss
the how system brought us to Carroll County. You can read more
about it at: Legal Land Descriptions in Federal Township and
Range System. To plot the land you need a land description
from the General Land Office for original land patents or a
record of sale from the County Court House. The General Land
Office website can be reached by the following link - (General
Land Office) .
Township and Range lines are 6 miles wide. The crossing of
the two lines create boxes that are approximately 6 miles
square. Each Township/Range box on the Carroll County Map is
numbered to indicate which Township and Range cross to create
that square. (Example: 17N2E) Township 17 North and Range 2
East. A detailed Carroll County map, is available from
the Mississippi Department of Transportation's main
website. This map shows all county roads, state
highways, land features, and the township and range
designations. Carroll County's designations vary from
Township 16 North to Township 21 North, and from Range 1 East
to Range 6 East.
All Land Descriptions under this system read from the smallest
division and go to the Largest, but to use them you have to
read from the largest to the smallest or right to left. The
following two descriptions are for land bought by David W.
Connely on November 10, 1840 at the Land Office in Choccuama.
1) - 21N - 2E - S24
2) - 21N - 2E - S25
Reading from right to left, the first entry is 24 and 25
respectively. This is the section that the land was
purchased in. For further detailed information, refer to
the Bureau of Land Management- General Land Office records for
the specific legal description. The next part is 2E and is the
Range line number (Vertical Line). 21N is the Township line
designation (Horizontal line). So on our Carroll County Map that
you can download from the Mississippi Department of Transportation, this land is in the square marked 21N-2E.
The township are vertical numbers beginning with Township 16
north at the bottom and ending with Township 21 North at the
top. The Range sections run horizontal and begin with
Range 1 East on the left to Range 6 East on the right.
Follow the cross coordinates of each to the specific
Each of the Township/Range boxes are further broken down into
approximate 1 mile squares that are called sections. There are
36 sections in a Township/Range box. The numbering of these
sections start in the top right of the Township/Range box and
go to the left. The next line starts in the section box under
the section 6 box and the numbering goes to the right and then
continues in a zigzag pattern as shown in the illustration.
Each of these numbered 1 mile square boxes are called a
Section and contains 640 acres. Note that these sections are
outlined and numbered on the maps downloaded from the
Mississippi Department Of Transportation. Now we are ready for the next
part of the Land description for Connely's land which is a
"24" and indicate that the land is in Section 24 of
the Township/Range box T21N-R2E. This will help you to
locate the land description to the square mile.
| 6 | 5 | 4 | 3 | 2 | 1 |
| 7 | 8 | 9 |10|11|12|
Each Section box is divided into Quadrants and each
Quadrant is divided into four parcels creating sixteen 40 acre
parcels of land. The quadrants are named NW (northwest) for
upper left, NE (northeast) for upper right, SW (southwest) for
lower left and SE (southeast) for lower right. Each Large
Quadrant is divided into four parts and are label as are the
larger quadrants. The scope of this project does not go
into detail as to which quarter of land was purchased, for
this information you will have to visit the Bureau of Land
Management's- General Land Office website for additional
information, however, a description of how to read the
"quarter" information is included below.
Now we will look at the last portion of the land description.
The two descriptions are NESW and NWSE.
The first will read: "The Northeast 1/4 of the Southwest
The second description reads "Northwest 1/4 of the
I sincerely hope this helps the researcher in
learning more about the lives of these individuals, where they
lived, and who were their neighbors. If you have any
questions, comments, or would like to help in compiling
additional information regarding this project, please contact
explanation for land patents was provided by Everette Carr,
a County coordinator, on January 2, 2006)
Not all Land Patents show the cost of the land that
the purchaser was buying. It may be there in some
instances but was not always shown by the individual
recording the information.
According to the BLM site, In the early 1800's
people could buy public land under the Cash-Act for
$1.25 an acre and for a time, they could purchase up to
a maximum of 640 acres.
The Homestead Act of 1862 nullified the terms of
the Cash Act and this act allowed people to settle up to
160 acres of public land if they lived on it for a
period of five years and grew crops or made
improvements. There was no cost associated with the
acquisition of the land other than a filing fee.
Neither of these acts is currently in effect.
Unlike the Homestead Act which required that the
purchaser settle on the land for a period of five years,
the Cash-Act had no such restrictions. All that was
required was sufficient cash to purchased the land the
individual was interested in buying. Thus, there were
many land speculators that purchased land with the sole
intent of reselling it later at a profit. As a result,
many of the original land patents were issued to
never lived on the land they purchased. The
ultimate settler on some sections of land purchased
their land from a speculator and the sale would be
recorded as a deed transfer in the County's Chancery
Court. This is unfortunate for genealogists, because it
robs them of a wonderful source of information at the