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Division of State Lands

This collection (NvSA-000163) contains the records of the Division of State Lands from 1861-1990. The 34 c.f. and 24 volumes of materials consist of correspondence, land patents issued by the Nevada Surveyor General/State Lands Office, surveys, contracts, and related materials including 229 sheets of maps.

To learn more about the agency, download the history here:

Contents Dates Extent


This series includes both incoming and outgoing correspondence, much of it concerning applications and payments for lands, availability and status of lands, and disputed claims. Some of the types of correspondence include:

  • Incoming and outgoing correspondence from/to Nevada state agents in Washington, D. C., pertaining to the selection of state lands from the public domain
  • Letterpress copybooks of outgoing correspondence, 1887-1895
  • Incoming correspondence from the General Land Office, Department of the Interior, 1870-1915.
  • State Land Register correspondence, arranged alphabetically, 1909-1954
  • Letterpress volumes containing records of "Contests Certified to Court,"1890; and correspondence from the State Land Register to Nevada county assessors, 1891-1934.
  • Letterpress copybook of outgoing correspondence from the Register of the U. S. Land Office in Carson City, 1867-1868
  • Incoming letters from the Carson City District of the U. S. General Land Office, 1894-1900
  • Letters to and from the U. S. Surveyor General's office in Reno, 1887-1934
  • Letters to the U. S. Land offices at Eureka and Carson City
  • Plates, maps, clippings, and photographs. Found in individual files.
1869-1945 34 boxes

Land Patents:

Official records of patents for lands issued by the Nevada Surveyor General/State Lands Office. Each includes name of patentee, description/location of land granted by patent, patent number, and date. Arranged chronologically/numerically by date of patent/patent number.

The State Lands office compiled a searchable data base for the land patents, available here. The database is searchable by name of patentee, township and range, and patent number. The official land patent records are at the Nevada State Archives.

In addition, all of the existing land patents from our archives have been digitized and are available via our Digital Collections.

1865-1990 24 vols.


The first surveys of Nevada lands were undertaken to determining boundaries - between California and Nevada and between individual counties. The first survey, conducted by Butler Ives in 1863, was to determine the boundary between California and Nevada. A second California/Nevada boundary survey was conducted by Allexey W. von Schmidt and Willis Drummond in 1872. The Nevada State Archives has a copy of the original map which is part of the National Archives, entitled "Map of Eastern Boundary of the State of California as Surveyed ...20 July, 1872..." Map room.

Other surveys in the State Archives include:

  • Field notes of a survey of a part of the eastern boundary of Washoe County made February 1869 by Andrew J. Hatch, Washoe County Surveyor. SECSTATE-0969, file 15
  • Field notes of Section 19, T3N, R58E, September 23, 1881. No author. NSLO-0117, file 4
  • Field notes of the survey of the county line between Humboldt and Churchill [Counties] surveyed October 1, 1888 by W.E. Bowen, County Surveyor, Humboldt County. NSLO-0257
  • Survey of the boundary line between Nye and Esmeralda and Mineral Counties, November 7, 1913 by W.J. Moran, E.A. Byler, and W.P. McCarthy


An important responsibility of the U.S. Surveyor General was compiling maps of lands in new territories and states. Contracts were let to several dozen surveyors to map out the territory and state of Nevada beginning in 1861. Copies of the resultant maps were deposited with the Nevada State Surveyor General's office. Maps not transferred to the State Archives remain with the State Lands Office.

1861-1929 229 sheets + assorted folders

Miscellaneous Records:

Other kinds of records include the following which often reflect complicated financial procedures between the State Land Registrar, State Controller, and State Treasurer for receiving and distributing monies from the sale of land patents:

  • Clear lists ("Abstract of Certified Lists of Lands Granted to the State of Nevada by the United States")
  • Alphabetical Index Listing Contract Numbers
  • Payments on Contracts Certified to Controller
  • Daily Total of Interest Payments on Land Certified to Controller
  • Applications Certified to Controller
  • Contracts on Prior Deposit Certified to Controller
  • Contracts on Prior Deposit Certified to Treasurer
  • Completed Sales
  • Withdrawal Deposits
  • Patent Certificates
  • County Assessors' reports
  • Carey Act files, indexes, applications
  • "Chapter 633" forms (Nevada Statutes, 1979)
  • Remittances
  • Indexes to applications
  • Cash books
  • Abstract books

The records of the State Lands office include those representing functions later assigned to other agencies:

  • State officials and agencies represented in these records include: Treasurer; Controller; Department of Public Instruction; Board of Regents; Board of Immigration; Commission on State Land Law; State Multiple Use Advisory Committee on Federal Lands; Commission of Industry, Agriculture and Irrigation; State Engineer.
  • Records pertaining to the Surveyor General's membership in the Association of Executive Officers of Land Departments of Public Land States, formed in 1931.
  • State Forester-Fire Warden, Assistant State Forester-Fire Warden, and Federal-State Forest Fire Control Cooperation records.
  • Legal papers
  • Deeds
  • Mineral affidavits
  • Grand jury report, 1956
  • Taylor Grazing Act materials
  • Clippings
  • Camp fire permits
  • Supplementary Studies and Agreements, Lake Mead Fish Hatchery, 1971-1972

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