Warren County Genealogical Society
Warren County, Ohio
Chapter of Ohio Genealogical Society
Property & Land Records
General Information


(513) 695-1144


406 Justice Drive, Lebanon, Ohio 45036
Hours: 9 AM-4 PM Monday through Friday

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This page contains information about land records of Warren County, Ohio that the Warren County Genealogical Society has available for your use. Many of these records have been indexed and are available in our library.   If you are searching for land records and need help, please contact our research department and we will assist you in finding what you need.

On this Page

Warren County Ohio Lands
Virginia Military District
Symmes' Purchase (Miami Purchase)
Congress Lands
Resources for Property Records & Maps





Warren County Ohio Lands

The land that is now Warren County originally was part of the lands that belonged to the Miami Indian tribes, led by Chief Little Turtle (Meshekinoquah). They did not have any permanent settlements within the boundaries of Warren County at the time that the exploration and settlement of Warren County by the white man first began. On August 3, 1795. The Indian tribes ceded their rights to 16,930,416 acres of land [including Warren County] as part of the Treaty of Greenville.

The state of Virginia had claim to the area based on colonial charters and Warren County was first in an area known as Botetourt County Virginia. In October, 1778, Illinois County, Virginia was created which included this area. In 1781 Virginia offered her western lands to the United States which was accepted in 1784, becoming part of the 1st "Public Domain" lands. The Ordinance of July 13, 1787 created the Northwest Territory from all the lands north and west of the Ohio River. This territory would later become the states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin and the eastern part of Minnesota.

"The Official Ohio Lands Book by Dr. George W. Knepper provides a wonderful explanation of the history of Ohio Lands with some great illustrations and maps. It is published by the office of the Auditor of State of Ohio office who have made a pdf version available On-Line.

See the article on Land Tracts on pages 230-233 of Beers History of Warren County, Ohio

Warren County lands trace their origins to 3 different tracts of lands.



The Virginia Military District

All of Hamilton, Harlan, Washington and Massie Townships plus parts of Salem and Wayne Townships are located in the Virginia Military District.

The Virginia Military District was a 4,204,800 acre tract of land starting at the Ohio River and extending between the Scioto River to the east and the Little Miami River to the west. This land was reserved by the State of Virginia to satisfy land grants made to veterans of both the French & Indian War and the American Revolutionary War.

The Virginia Military District was the only Ohio lands surveyed by an irregular system of metes and bounds rather than the rectangular system used in other tracts. Property records in this part of the county can be traced back to a military survey number.


Symmes' Purchase [also known as the Miami Purchase]

All of Deerfield and Union Townships and portions of Salem and Turtlecreek Townships are located in Symmes' Purchase.

The Symmes' Purchase contained 248, 250 acres located between the Great Miami River to the west and the Little Miami River to the east, starting at the Ohio River and extending to and east-west line passing about a mile north of Lebanon. These lands "between the Miami's" were transferred to Judge John Cleve Symmes and associates from New Jersey by the U. S. Patent signed on 30 September 1794. Today the northern boundary line is about even with Monroe Road in Lebanon and the small offset in the western boundary of Warren County.

The original surveys of these lands was done privately using the rectangular "Range-Township-Section" system but the numbering did not follow the standardized pattern used for later land surveys in the rest of the public lands. THE SYMMES' PURCHASE , an article by C. Albert White taken from "Backsights" Magazine published by Surveyors Historical Society, explains how badly the Symmes' Purchase was managed and surveyed.


Congress Lands

All of Franklin and Clearcreek Townships and portions of Turtlecreek and Wayne Townships are located in so-called Congress Lands.

Congress Lands are public lands which were purchased directly from the government at federal land offices. In 1800 the minimum purchase was 320 acres. The minimum price was $2 per acre, 1/4 cash, remainder to be paid in 3 equal annual installments.

These lands were also surveyed using the rectangular "Range-Township-Section" system and for consistency, continued the irregular numbering system used for the Symmes Purchase on those lands between the Miamis.  The part of Warren County west of the Great Miami River use the conventional numbering system. 


Resources for Property Records and Maps

bullet Territorial Papers - Northwest Territory. Contributed by Ruth Hattendorf 24 Jul 2003
bullet Warren County Recorder. All Warren County deed and mortgage records going back to the original land transactions are available for public review at the Warren County Recorder's Office located on the 2nd floor of the Warren County Administration Building. It is my understanding that due to staffing and time restraints, the Recorder's office can no longer respond to written requests to search property records for genealogical purposes. Copies are $2 per page. Indexes from 1979 to date can be searched on line at www.co.warren.oh.us/recorder/search
bullet The Warren County Genealogical Society is located in the same building and their Research Volunteers are available for assistance if you can not visit the Recorder's Office in person.
bullet The Warren County Auditors office maintains an on-line Property Search feature which will show current ownership, improvements and aerial maps http://webmap.co.warren.oh.us/AuditorGIS/default.aspx
bullet The U. S. Government Bureau of Land Management has a search engine to locate original Land patents which document the transfer of land ownership from the federal government to private individuals. The land patent records include the information recorded when ownership was transferred. I've only found a few for Warren County lands in their on-line system.
bullet A number of maps are available on the Warren County Genealogical Society website including some pretty detailed images from a 1932 plat book.
bullet The Warren County Historical Society has a "Combined Atlas" available for purchase which includes map and atlas reproductions from 1856, 1875, 1891 and 1903. A wonderful resource.
bullet Early records of land grants, bounty land, and land purchases are at the Ohio Land Office, Auditor of State, 88 East Broad Street, Columbus, OH 43215. Most records of the Western Reserve are at the Connecticut Secretary of State's office. Virginia bounty land warrants are at the Virginia State Library, 11th Street at Capitol Square, Richmond, VA 23219.



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This page was last updated on 23 August 2010