|Facsimile of the first page of the original "Plimouths Great Book of Deeds" in the handwriting of Gov. Bradford|
New Plymouth Colony, Nathaniel B Shurtleff, David Pulsifer, Massachusetts, and General Court. Records of the Colony of New Plymouth, in New England. Boston: Press of W. White, 1855.
Because all of the land that was originally claimed by England was deeded out to various interests long before the colonies declared their independence. These original property claims were passed on to the individual states. The rest of the land in the country was claimed by the United States Federal Government during the years following independence. Here some maps showing the dates and names of the parcels acquired.
The Federal Government currently claims about 640 million acres of land which is about 28% of the total of 2.27 billion acres of land in the United States. See Federal Land Ownership: Overview and Data. The lands in the eastern part of the country are called "state lands" because ownership was retained by the colonies when they became states. Texas also retained ownership to its lands when it was admitted to the Union. The rest of the states derive their land ownership from the Federal Government and are called federal land states.
Here is a map showing the current land owned by the Federal Government.
Some of the land in the eastern part of the United States has been subsequently acquired by the Federal Government through purchase or through the declaration of national parks, monuments and national forests.
Each state in the United States also claims its own "state lands"
Genealogists need to be aware of the dates and history of the land sales and acquisitions in the areas where their ancestors lived.
See the previous parts of this series here: