National Archives at Chicago

Archival Holdings Guide

Attention Records Move
A number of infrequently used original records have been moved to an offsite storage location. We recommend that you contact us in advance prior to visiting to review original records.

This guide provides record group level descriptions for archival holdings maintained at NARA's Great Lakes Region (Chicago).

A record group, the basic unit of archival control, is a body of organizationally related records designated by a number and the name of the federal agency, bureau, or activity that created or received them. The National Archives at Chicago has 98 record groups, representing Federal agencies, bureaus, or other administrative units including federal courts in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.


How to Use This Guide

Record group entries are organized by:

  • Subject - Users with an interest in a specific subject can go to the Subject Access List. The list provides access to subjects covered in a specific record group. It is not an exhaustive index to individual documents or files.

  • Record Group Number - Users who know the number of the record group that interests them can go to the numerical list of record groups.

  • Record Group Title - Users who know the title of the record group that interests them can go to the alphabetical list of record groups. Record group titles are listed both by agency name (for example, Public Buildings Service) and by key word (Buildings Service, Public.)
Explanation of
Record Group Entries
Sample Entry

Administrative History - Brief history of the agency. For a more detailed history see Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States.

Administrative History - The General Land Office (GLO) was established within the Department of the Treasury by an act of April 25, 1812, to administer all public land transactions except surveying and map work (which came under the supervision of the GLO in 1836). In 1849, the GLO was transferred to the Department of the Interior where it was merged with the Grazing Service in 1946 to form the Bureau of Land Management. The Bureau classifies, manages, and disposes of public lands and their resources and administers Federally-owned mineral resources on non-Federal land and on the Outer Continental Shelf.

Records Description - Inclusive dates, quantity of records; information on creating office, content, types of textual records; existence of nontextual records. (See guides to archival holdings in NARA's other regional facilities and Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States.

Records Description - Dates: 1800-1908 Volume: 38 cubic feet
Records of land offices in Illinois, 1814-1885; Indiana, 1807-1876; Minnesota, 1855-1882; Ohio, 1800-1828; and Wisconsin, 1888-1905.
The records document the name of the purchaser or grantee, county of residence at the time of purchase, legal description of the land, and the certificate number. Included are entries for cash payments, credit certificates, and purchase applications; copies of correspondence; homestead information; and abstracts of land warrants. For Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio, there is a docket of homestead entries, 1868-1908. The records are bound volumes (record books), some containing an index.

Finding Aids - Published and informal preliminary inventories, box contents lists, folder title lists and other aids to using the records.

Finding Aids - Entries 47, 48, 53, 61, and 67 in Harry P. Yoshpe and Philip Brower, comps., Preliminary Inventory of the Land-entry Papers of the General Land Office, PI 22 (1949).

Related Microfilm Publications - National Archives microfilm publications held by the Chicago facility of records related to those described in this entry, listed in alpha/numeric order.

Related Microfilm Publications - M8, Journal and Report of James L. Cathcart and James Hutton, Agents Appointed by the Secretary of the Navy to Survey Timber Resources Between the Mermentau and Mobile Rivers 1818-1819; M25, Miscellaneous Letters Sent by the General Land Office, 1796-1889; M27, Letters Sent by the General Land Office to the Surveyor General, 1796-1901.

Restrictions - Federal records may be restricted by Federal statute or the creating agency, or may carry a national security classification. Notice of restriction is given where applicable.

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