National Archives at Seattle

Bureau of Land Management Records at the National Archives at Seattle

The National Archives at Seattle has records from Bureau of Land Management (BLM) offices in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. We also have records from offices of the BLM’s predecessor agencies in these states. 

Records of the Bureau of Land Management and its predecessor agencies are contained within Record Group 049.

Administrative History 

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is a federal land management agency within the Department of the Interior (DOI).  It was created by the merger of two agencies within the DOI in 1946, the General Land Office and the Grazing Service.  The BLM classifies, manages, and disposes of public lands and the lands’ resources and administers Federally-owned mineral resources on non-Federal land and on the Outer Continental Shelf.

1812: The General Land Office (GLO) was established within the Treasury Department by Congress to oversee the management of public domain lands.  

1836: The Office of the Surveyor General became a unit within the GLO.    

1849: The GLO became part of the newly created Department of the Interior.   

1934:  Congress created the Grazing Service within the Department of the Interior to manage livestock grazing on public domain lands.

1937: The Oregon & California (O & C) Revested Lands Administration was organized as a unit within the GLO to manage timber reserves on railroad grant lands in western Oregon.

1946: The BLM was created by the merger of the GLO and the Grazing Service.

BLM Records at the National Archives at Seattle

The following is only a brief overview of the records we have.  It is important to note that some of the materials we have in our holdings may not be described here.

Dates: 1850-2011 
Volume: 7200 cubic feet

Records of land offices in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.

  • Records that document activities of the surveyors general, deputy surveyors in the field, and the local land offices.

  • Records related to settlers' requests for land or mineral surveys. Included are applications and correspondence.

  • Records related to decisions and actions affecting the sections of each township. They contain the names of purchasers or grantees, the law under which the land was acquired, and plat book maps of each township after the land was surveyed. Included are correspondence, plat maps, and tract books.

  • Records of land offices in Roseburg and Oregon City, Oregon. The records relate to Oregon donation land claims.  The case files for these claims can include affidavits, applications, cash receipts, proofs, and public notices.

  • Records of grazing district offices. The records relate to range improvement projects and activities of the advisory boards. Included are case files, correspondence, and minutes.

  • Records of the Oregon & California (O & C) Revested Lands Administration. 

  • Records of the National Interagency Fire Center, Boise, Idaho. The records relate to the coordination of multi-agency, state, and federal responses to forest and range fires in the U.S. They are cooperative agreements, publications, and fire reports.

Finding Aids 

Please contact us for more information on the BLM records we have at the National Archives at Seattle.

Guides Published by the National Archives

David Pfeiffer, comp., Records Related to North American Railroads, Reference Information Paper 91 (2001). 

Harry P. Yoshpe and Philip P. Brower, comps., Preliminary Inventory of the Land-Entry Papers of the General Land Office, PI 22 (1949).

Peter F. Brauer, comp., Records Relating to Railroads in the Cartographic Section of the National Archives, Reference Information Paper 116 (2010).

Robert M. Kvasnicka, comp., The Trans-Mississippi West, 1804-1912: A Guide to Federal Records for the Territorial Period, Part IV, Section 3 (2007).   

Related Microfilm Publications 

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 
M145, Abstracts of Oregon Donation Land Claims, 1852-1903
M203, Abstracts of Washington Donation Land Claims, 1855-1902 
M815, Oregon and Washington Donation Land Files, 1851-1903
M1620, Federal Land Records for Idaho, 1860-1934