We recently attended the Pennsylvania Genealogy Conference in Pittsburgh and noticed, among much of interest, that Ancestor Tracks has introduced a new state-wide product for genealogists doing research in Pennsylvania. They have just published three CDs which contain the indexes to the state's Warrant Registers, Patent Registers, and Tract Name Registers from 1682-1959+.
The first CD, "First Landowners of Pennsylvania: Colonial and State Warrant Registers in the Pennsylvania Archives in Harrisburg," contains all 70 of the Warrant Registers showing the first transfer of land tracts to private owners. These are people who applied for land from either the Proprietors or the state. The records start in 1682 and continue through most of the first legally-recognized owners of land originally owned by the Penns, and later the state. Every county register, containing thousands of pages, is on this CD. The dates of the land transfers continue throughout the 1700s and 1800s and into the mid-1900s. NOTE: These registers document the first owners of land for all counties and cover approximately 70% of Pennsylvania. These registers should not be confused with the deed register located in the counties which show all subsequent land transfers.
The second CD in the series, "First Landowners of Pennsylvania: Indexes to the Colonial and State Patent Registers in the PA Archives, Harrisburg, 1684 - ca 1995," contains the indexes to all people who actually were granted final title from colony or state authorities. In very many cases, they are not the same as the individuals who actually applied for the land (termed warrantees).
The third, "First Landowners of Pennsylvania: Indexes to Tract Names of Patented Land in the PA Archives, Harrisburg, ca 1684-1811," contains the names of these first land tracts and is the place to look when only the original name of the tract is known.
The CDs can be purchased individually or as a set of three at a slightly reduced price.
Ancestor Tracks also announced publication of the fourth of their Early Landowners of Pennsylvania county atlases, this one for Berks County; a companion CD of tract maps is also available. This atlas is the fourth one they produced (the others covered Fayette, Greene and Washington Counties). It contains the first tract maps for the county, with precise metes-and-bounds outlines of each original tract and all surrounding tracts in individual townships, giving the names of the warrantee and patentee; dates of warrant, survey and patent; and the survey and patent book pages where the transaction was recorded. Each chapter starts with the Township Warrantee Map reduced to a 8 1/2 x 11" size and includes tables of transcriptions of all information from each tract may be found. An everyname index is included. The atlas and the CD may be purchased separately or in combination at a slightly reduced price.
Information on these and all products Ancestor Tracks produces can be found at their website, www.ancestortracks.com. There are also links to other sources on Pennsylvania land records. Ancestor Tracks told us they are committed to provide such links for every county in Pennsylvania, and have made it very easy to connect by providing a "clickable" color-coded map of the state on the first page of their website. If you are interested in the first landowners of Pennsylvania, you might want to take a quick visit to this most interesting website.