In the Southern United States in the State-Land s tates, land is surveyed in the indescriminate metes a nd bounds system, not the federal township-range system. The metes and boun ds survey system uses natural land features, such as trees and streams, as well as neighboring land owners, along with distances to describe plots of land.
For further discussion of Land Records in the United States, see L and and Tax Records by William Thorndale inThe Source: A Guidebook of American Genealogy (1984) edited by Arlene Eakle and Johni Cerny, Anc estry, Inc., Salt Lake City, UT.
The Township-Range System is also descri bed in most of the recent Plat Books of the counties in the Public Domain states , as well as many basic geology text books, such as Laboratory Manual for Physical Geology (1983) Sixth Edition, by Zumberge and Rutford, W.H. Brow n Co., Dubuque, Iowa.
A specific township is identified as being north or south of a particular baseline and east or west of a particular principal meridian. For example, T3N, R1E of the 3rd Principle Meridian is the third township north of the baseline in the first range east of the Third Principle Meridian. This particular 36 square-mile area is located in southern Illinois.
The land description generally starts with the smallest part of the description and proceeds to the largest definition. For example, SE1/4 of NW1/4 of Section 3, T3N, R1E, 3rd PM would be the southeast quarter of the northwest quarter of section 3 in township 3 north, range 2 east of the 3rd Principle Meridian.
You may find some irregularly shaped townships and sections which result from surveying errors and other difficulties.
Computer Programs to draw plat maps of tracts.
Last update: Monday, 21-Feb-2005 08:37:23 CST