One of the two land patents for Ranslow Smith, who bought two parcels in Dodge County, Wisconsin, is shown below.
I wondered how the Ancestry collection compared to the collection of similar records on the US General Land Office web site at http://www.glorecords.blm.gov/ which is free. There are patents for 30 states at this site (the 13 above, plus Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming). In the Advanced Search box, you can search by the Legal Land Description or the Issue Date.
The same image for Ranslow Smith is below:
You have a choice of downloading a GIF, PDF or TIFF file from the GLO web site. I selected a GIF and converted it to a JPG to upload here.
On the GLO site, you can input information in the Land Description box - State, County, Section, Township, Range, etc. and see all of the patentees. Or, you could enter an Issue Date or a Document Number in the Miscellaneous box.
The image quality from the GLO web site, for this particular record, is much better than from the Ancestry site, at least when viewed as a downloaded picture on my computer. However, if you click the two pictures above, there is very little difference between them.
Have you found Land Patents for all of your ancestral families? If you don't know exactly when your ancestors moved west, these records may help you find out.