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Patent Register Indexes of the Colony and State of Pennsylvania, 1684-ca 1957

Patents were the official document transferring ownership from the colony or state to an individual (known as the patentee). The patents were copied into ledgers called Patent Register Indexes (all of the many Patent Register volumes are included in this product). Sometimes many years and several owners passed between the 3 steps.These 10 series of many volumes serve as indexes to the patentees who received final title (or land patents) from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and by the Penn family before the Commonwealth was created.  Each file is a .pdf version of the scanned original Patent Register Indexes, and each of them can be saved to your computer so that they can be accessed at any time.

Within an index covering the relevant years, the names are grouped alphabetically by the first letter of the patentee's surname, then grouped by volume number of Patent Book, and finally arranged chronologically by date of patent. Thus, you have to look through the entire alphabetical section (which may be as little as one page to as many as 50) to be sure you don't miss anyone. These ledgers give the date of the patent, name of the patentee, size of the patented tract, name of the tract, name of the warrantee and date of the warrant and the county where the transaction was recorded.  

The process for obtaining land in Pennsylvania involved a 3-part process: (1) after applying and paying a fee, a warrant to survey the tract was issued to the warrantee.  The loose warrant was copied into a county ledger called a Warrant Register (see our product "Warrant Registers of the Colony and State of Pennsylvania, 1682-ca 1940");  (2) after paying a fee for a surveyor, the survey (nearly always including the names of neighbors who owned adjacent tracts; nearly all Survey Books are now online for free, but unfortunately the Survey Book and page number are not given in the Patent registers--they are only entered in the Warrant Registers; and (3) after paying one last fee to the colony or state, the final title or patent was issued to the patentee.  The patentee gave a name to his or her tract in order to track future transactions, sometimes descriptive but sometimes indicating his European origin (see our product "Indexes to Tract Names in the Pennsylvania State Archives"). 

Please note that these registers predate the county deed books showing sales from person to person because they deal with the first transfer of land from the government to private individuals. Copies of all original documents shown in these indexes are available from the Pennsylvania State Archives in Harrisburg. 

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  • All Pennsylvania Patent Register Index volumes, downloadable as pdf files


Patent Register Indexes of the Colony and State of Pennsylvania, 1684-ca 1957

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