Open main menu

United States > Pennsylvania

Adopt-a-wiki page
Pa-rootsbuttonwiki.gif This page adopted by:
PA Roots and its members
who welcome you to contribute.
Adopt a page today

Ancestor Tracks, whose goal is to become a one-stop portal for researchers trying to pinpoint their PA ancestors, has posted numerous free, downloadable township landowner maps on their site so that researchers can pinpoint where their ancestors lived during the 1850, 1860, and 1870 censuses.  They typically also show landowners and locations mentioned in published county hhistories.  Scroll down to the map and hover over the colored counties for specific titles of the maps or books, then click on the county to access the free images.  In addition to the online images, Ancestor Tracks has published atlases (which are for sale) showing the earliest tracts and their owners for the following counties: Berks, Fayette, Greene, Lancaster, Washington, and Westmoreland. The "Keystone State" may be the most important state in supplying settlers for westward migration. Countless families who started out in Pennsylvania moved west into Ohio and beyond, while thousands more floated down the Ohio River into Kentucky and beyond. Pennsylvania was also the heart of German immigration and migration. Ancestor Tracks has become the most active participant in the effort to uncover and publish Pennsylvania landowner maps of the 18th and 19th centuries.

Here is what is on the site:

  • Free, downloadable, high-quality 19th-century maps and atlases for numerous Pennsylvania counties.
  • CDs containing the state-wide Pennsylvania Warrant Registers and Pennsylvania Patent Register Indexes located in the Pennsylvania Archives in Harrisburg. These registers, or ledgers, contain all of the indexes for the original sales from the Penns, and later the state, to the first private landowners throughout Pennsylvania. Part of the information in these ledgers for some counties were published in Pennsylvania Archives (Series 3, Volumes 24-26), but the CDs contain the entire set of 67 county indexes, plus 3 registers predating 1733. Please note that after the land passed from government ownership to private ownership, all land transactions were recorded at county courthouses.
  • The series of books titled Early Landowners of Pennsylvania: Atlas of Township Warrantee Maps of *** County. Starting in 1907, the Pennsylvania Land Office began to research the original surveys, locating them once and for all on the maps of current townships. These maps show precise metes-and-bounds outlines of each original tract and all surrounding tracts in the township, giving the names of the warrantee and patentee; dates of the warrant, survey, and patent; and the patent book and page of the recorded patent. Dates of the transactions rang e from the 1700s into the 1900s. Using these atlases, researchers of early Pennsylvania settlers can place their families in geographical context.

NOTE: Until now, these Township Warrantee Maps, located in Harrisburg, have been underutilized because the thousands and thousands of names have never been indexed and the maps themselves are too large to work with easily. Ancestor Tracks has solved those problems by compiling all information into 8 ½ X 11” books with everyname indexes. Each County book contains separate chapters for all townships in that county. These include the Township Warrantee Map reduced to a 8 ½ X 11” and tables detailing all information from each tract, along with atlas coordinates where the tract may be found. Numerous footnotes for individual landowners and townships from published county histories have been added. Companion CDs may be ordered containing scans of the Warrantee Township Maps for each county which show far more detail than the 8 ½ X 11" reduced images in the books.

  • Links to other early land tract resources known by Ancestor Tracks but not affiliated with them. Click on the map for all such links.

Armed with these Warrant and Patent Registers, plus the atlases we are publishing, researchers now can:

  • Pin families down to exact locations prior to the 1790 census
  • Reveal family relationships or clues to possible relationships since relatives usually congregated near one another
  • Verify their ancestors by identifying settler groups who lived and moved near each other
  • Trace the progression of sets of families and neighbors as they moved in groups
  • Determine the correct location of family wills, church records, deeds and orphans court records by knowing exactly where their families lived
  • Give flesh to your ancestors by being able to find real historical events, both exciting and mundane, in county histories where they lived
  • Plan a trip to the land of their ancestors so they can walk where they walked and feel their roots

See also