Abbreviations and symbols are great, but can be confusing when users are unaware of what they mean.
Such is the case of P and W on the Bureau of Land Management website.
The results page on the Bureau of Land Management website indicates that names on the patent are either the name of a warrantee or a patentee. The warrantee is the person(s) who qualified for bounty land based upon their or someone else’s military service. Warrants were for a specific amount of property–but not location specific. The patentee is the person to whom a deed was issued for a specific piece of property. Patentees could have obtained title to federal property through a cash sale, a preemption claim, a homestead claim, surrendering their own warrant, or surrendering a warrant they had purchased from someone else (in addition to a few other ways).
Generally speaking cash land sales have the least in the way of genealogical documentation. Homesteads, preemption claims, and warrant applications have more genealogical material in them.
We’ve mentioned these files in the past, but will be looking at some new examples in upcoming blog posts.