Notes and Documents
Research Opportuiities i& the elteral Zaud
Office of rexas
WITH about ten million documents in its files, the Gen-
eral Land Office of Texas, located in Austin, offers a
rich, relatively unexplored source of historical re-
search material. One of the oldest agencies of the government
of Texas, the Land Office was originally authorized by the Consti-
tution of the Republic on March 17, 1836. Some of the docu-
ments in the Land Office date back further than that. The
Spanish Archives go back to 1745, though they mainly encom-
pass the period from 1823 to 1835. These are the oldest docu-
ments in the General Land Office. They are also one of the
smallest of eight groups of records in the Land Office archives.
The seven other collections of documents are:
1. Land Records. Included here are certificates for specified
numbers of acres in the unclaimed public domain, field notes,
patents, deeds of acquittance, and miscellaneous and supporting
documents. Among the last, for example, are a true copy of
Robert E. Lee's will,' and muster rolls of the Army of the Re-
public of Texas. These records are indexed.
2. Letters. Included is all correspondence sent and received
by the General Land Office since July 2o, 1837. The first letter
was dispatched by John P. Borden, commissioner of the Land
Office, who requested that representatives of the Mexican gov-
ernment surrender their land records to the General Land Office.
One incident upon which the letters reflect light is the attempt
to move archives of the General Land Office to Houston during
the period of the Republic. The so-called "Archives War" re-
sulted from this endeavor.
The letters of the General Land Office are indexed.
3. Maps. The most important group of maps in the land office
shows original recipients of land by county. Other cartographical
1Bexar Third Class, file number 6947.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 62, July 1958 - April, 1959. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101173/. Accessed April 18, 2014.