That was the case this morning when I saw Kris Hocker's post Pennsylvania Warrant Township Maps on the /genealogy blog. Kris' tip led me to the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission and State Archives web page for RG-17, Records of the Land Office, Warrantee Township Maps, (series no. 17.522) which has a list of Pennsylvania counties, and the townships for which the site has a Warrantee Patent map.
I checked first for Westmoreland County, but there are not any maps on the site yet. I recalled that Martin Carringer had a land warrant for his Revolutionary War service in Mercer County, so I went to the Mercer County site, and opened the map file for Perry township (it uses current township locations). The Warrantee Patent Map for the township looks like this:
N 87-1/2 E 261
In the four corners are notations for types of trees:
On the side of the Martin Garringer plot are notations for:
* N 2-1/2 W 130 [West boundary]
Isn't that interesting? Do the tree names at the corners of the plot mean that they planted trees of those types there, or were the trees already there and they are noting the tree type?
The land boundaries are defined in the classical metes and bounds way "N 2-1/2 W 130" for the west boundary means go North 2-1/2 degrees to the West for 130 rods (??) - I wonder if that's the right unit of measure? 200 acres with the width twice as long as the height means that the height is 2,087 feet (assuming half of the 200 acres is a square, so 5280 [feet] x 5280 [feet] x 100 [acres] / 640 [acres/square mile] = 2087.1 feet). That is 31.62 chains (a chain is 66 feet), 126.5 rods (4 rods to a chain), 3162 links or 695.7 yards. Since it is closest to a rod, that's probably what was used. We don't know what the "allowances" are - perhaps the allowance was 5.5 acres, which would make it exactly 130 rods high and 260 rods wide. I used the conversions at http://www.convert-me.com/en/.
The whole Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission and State Archives site is wonderful for researchers. If you have Pennsylvania ancestry, have you searched for your ancestry on the site? You may be pleasantly surprised!
Do other states have records of this nature? I don't know. It would be great if New York did!
The length measurement exercise was fun too!
Thank you to Kris Hocker for the really great tip about the Warrantee Patent Maps. I looked a bit further down Kris' blog and saw a post about the Lancaster County PA grantor deed index being online. I don't think I have any Lancaster folks, but I may go check just to make sure!