Archive for January, 2012

Records of the County Surveyor

The records of the Travis County Surveyor, dating from 1838-1999, are now available for research.

The office of County Surveyor is one that dates back to the early days of Texas.  Under the Republic of Texas, the County Surveyor was appointed by Congress. The Constitution of 1845 made the office elective for a two-year term, and in 1954, a constitutional amendment increased the term of office to four years. Over the years, as open land in Texas began to disappear, the importance of the office decreased and the office was left vacant in many counties. In Travis County, the office was abolished in 2001.

The duties of the County Surveyor included surveying land and recording and examining field notes of surveys made in the county. The County Surveyor made plats of all surveys in the county and transmitted sketches and field notes of the same to the Commissioner of the General Land Office, along with a list of all certificates or warrants on file in his office.

The collection consists of Surveyor’s Record books, Surveyor’s Record Index books, Surveyor’s Record File books, field notes, and assorted records.

Surveyor’s Record books, dating from 1838-1999, include surveys, plats, field notes, land warrants and scrips. The earliest records, those dating from 1838-1839, date prior to the formal establishment of Travis County, and are therefore referred to as Bastrop County records. Earlier records also include properties in counties outside Travis but within the Travis Land District. Volumes overlap in date, as several volumes were recorded in concurrently.

Surveyor’s Record Index books are organized alphabetically by grantee name, and refer to the information found in the Surveyor’s Record books. Many of the entries in the first three books are duplicated from one to the next. They include grantee name, number of acres, and a reference to the Surveyor’s Record volume and page number. Index Book Z is an index to Travis Land District records, and Index Book 6 is an index to Certificates of Survey.

Surveyor’s Record File Books, 1856-1907, are records of application to the County Surveyor for survey. Books 4, 5 and 6 have indexes included within the volumes; book 7 is not indexed.

Field notes are the primary record of the survey and are recorded at the time the fieldwork is being done. These loose records date from 1848-1930, but are scattered and incomplete and are not indexed.

Assorted records include materials relating to the disputed location of 4 leagues of Travis County school land in Throckmorton County, and undated blank forms used by the Surveyor’s office.

To view the collection finding aid, click here.  Please contact the Archivist at 512/854-4675 for more information or to view these records.

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