One of the search terms on the Bureau of Land Management site is the “Authority” under the “Miscellaneous” section of the search screen for the Federal land patents. This can be an effective way to search for individuals who may have received a land warrant based on military service before 1855. Individuals who are searching for an individual who received a military land warrant should make certain they have checked the “warrantee” box on the search screen.

The land patents (the only actual record images that are hosted on the BLM site) are tagged by the geographic location of where the property was located that was actually patented to someone based upon the warrant. Warrantees could assign the warrants to someone else who actually went to the property, surrendered the warrant, and received a first deed from the Federal government (land patent) for the property. For this reason, it’s advised to not include a location when searching for military land warrants unless the researcher knows exactly where the patented property was located.

If a search is being conducted for a veteran of a US military action before 1855, using the authority can be a way to cut down on the number of hits if there are too many to scroll through.

Using the “Authority” (generally speaking the Congressional Act under which the which the warrant or patent was issued) can be a way to narrow the search results if a search.

There are six options in the drop-down list that apply to military action that may have resulted in a warrant being issued.

Screen shot of authorities related to military service. The 1905 act does not apply here, but is included in the illustration since it’s in the alphabetical drop-down list.


Men may have received bounty land warrants based upon more than one act. It may be necessary to search more than once using different authorities.






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