Land and Maps

Note: The Links Offsite page shows additional repositories.

Illinois lands acquired prior to 1814

Lands granted prior to 1814 for militiamen and squatters are discussed by Raymond H. Hammes in this May 1977 issue of Illinois Libraries. A useful finding aid to covering St. Clair County and Illinois land grants, sales, preemptions, and squatters before 1814 is the Raymond H. Hammes Collection of Illinois Records. The microfilm is available at the Belleville Public Library, the Family History Library, and for purchase from the Illinois State Genealogical Society.


Public land sales

The majority of St. Clair County’s land, however, was first purchased from the federal government after 1814. An index to these Public Domain Land Sales is at the Illinois State Archives website. These include military bounty-land warrants and most railroad and canal lands.

The corresponding patent is available on the Bureau of Land Management website, Eastern States Office where the patent may be downloaded for free. The date shown on the patent is the date issued.


Township and range descriptions

Land is described by township, range, and section. This online tutorial for deciphering legal descriptions is provided by the Illinois State Archives.


Record books and indexes

St. Clair County land records are located in the Recorder of Deeds office at the courthouse and at IRAD (through the mid-1850s).

An index (1790-circa 1909) is part of SCCGS holdings at the Belleville Public Library.


Landownership map with precinct boundaries – 1863

An 1863 map of St. Clair County landowners may be viewed at the David Rumsey Map Collection website.

  • Type or copy/paste saint clair county Ill in that site’s search box.
  • The original map was drawn by J.W. Holmes, Saint Clair County, Illinois (Philadelphia: Robert P. Smith Publisher, 1863).


Sanborn Maps


In the Quarterly

This sampling of land-related articles appeared in the SCCGS Quarterly. Use the Site search tool (main menu) to find other articles by keyword. The Quarterly page (under Publications) also has a surname index to its issues published since 1978.

  • “Map 1819-20 Trails and Roads in Illinois,” in SCCGS Quarterly Volume 13 No. 1 (1990).
  • “Jacob McCarty Land Entry Case File,” in SCCGS Quarterly Volume 26 No. 2 (2003).
  • “Establishment of Illinois City and 1825 Landownership Plat,” and “1858 Belleville Tax List and 1825 Plat,” in SCCGS Quarterly Volume 32 No. 2 (2009).

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