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About Vermont Land Records
Vermont is a state-land state. Land was generally acquired from early town proprietors or from other individuals. Early grants were at times in conflict with each other, originating in New York, New Hampshire, and Vermont. When Vermont declared itself independent in 1777, all land came under its jurisdiction. Consequently, there was no other way to obtain an initial grant of land except through the auspices of the legislature. In this process, land was first granted for a town to a group of individuals called proprietors. The proprietors then met, devised a plan for dividing up the land, and drew lots to determine who owned which lots.
The town is the primary legal jurisdiction for land records in Vermont. Consequently, original copies of land records are at the town clerk's office. Each town has separate indexes for the grantees and grantors. Very few women owned land in their own right. They occasionally witnessed deeds but sometimes were asked to release their dower's right. A few land records were recorded by counties and are available at the county courthouse, although they are primarily for those towns that had no formal organization.
With no statewide master index or abstract of land records in the 251 towns, this valuable genealogical information has to be searched for town by town, but it can be done centrally with microfilm copies. Land records for towns whose records were extant in the 1940s had those deed books and indexes microfilmed from inception through 1850. They are available at the Vermont Public Records Division, Route 2, Middlesex, Vermont (mailing address: State Administration Building, 133 State Street, Montpelier, VT 05633-7601), and through the FHL. Only a few towns had lost their land records in fires or floods by that time. The Vermont Public Records Division is always expanding its microfilm holdings of town records beyond those done in the 1940s, and its collection now includes many town records from 1850 to the present. These are not necessarily in the FHL microfilm collection.
Vermont BLM Office:
Eastern States Office
Vermont State Historical Society:
Vermont Historical Society
Vermont County Courthouses:
Grand Isle County
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