Index of Harford County, MD Land Grants


The data contained in this section is derived from numerous sources in order to plot the location of the early land grants in the present day Harford County. Since many surveys start at a landmark no more explicit than a "White Oak" or a stone, one can rarely determine the location of a tract just by looking at its survey. It's similar to a piece of a jigsaw puzzle which is only meaningful when one can fit it with its adjoining pieces. Occasionally, a survey references the Bay, a branch or run, or an old road which remains today, slowly allowing the assembled pieces to be placed on the map.

The main assistance in correctly placing parcels comes from the present day "Tax Maps" for the county, which show all the current properties with enough accuracy, although there are errors, to indicate the extact location of many tracts. Even though there have been many changes in property lines over time, there still remain many boundaries from the 17th century.

The data presented is part of an on-going project to locate some additional records and to better position tracts which do not fit well with their neighbors. This includes determining where the mistakes were in the original survey. This data allows one to determine the exact location of a property owned by their ancestors. In some cases, a house may still be standing. In other cases, knowing the location may help to determine identities of spouses who were often from nearby families.

Develpment of Harford County

Being on the Chesapeake Bay, the developement of the County began along the shore, with many early parcels being defined as some distance "for breath" along the shore and going back into the woods "for length", sometimes a mile. The second phase of development followed the rivers and streams as people discovered the valuable water resource formed by the "fall line". As settlers wanted more space, the granting of leases and then patents moved into the central part of the county. During the 1740's and 1750's, the northwest portion was mainly leases from "the lands reserved for his lordship's use". Only after the American Revolution was the northwest portion of the county granted for ownership.

To give some idea of this phased development, the following maps show the patents granted during each of the following periods:

1659-1689 | 1695-1734 | 1735-1783 | 1784 - present

Explanation of fields

The following describes the fields used in the table of patents.






Surveyed For
(if different)






The date the patent was granted or survey was made, given in old style until 1752 (e.g., 1 January through 24 March 1687 is really 1688).


Given in acres, roods (1/4 acre), and perches, as stated in the survey, not always accurate.

Surveyed for

Some patents were surveyed for someone different from whom they were eventually granted to. This was often a parent who died before getting a patent. The heirs then had to get the patent to prove ownership before they could sell it. Thus, these types of records often give information about relationhips and deaths.


This data includes patents, as well as many entries that were not patented. The types of entries are as follows:


The format of the reference depends on the type of entry as follows:


The locator grid is based on the Harford County Tax Maps (first part of the number) and a segment within that Tax Map (second part) as follows:


Note that Tax Map numbers with letters (e.g. 70B) do not actually exist in the County's record since they are a part of Aberdeen Proving Grounds. These numbers are assigned only for the purpose of this index.

Click here for a map of the location of the taxmaps in Harford County. The County's data should be referenced for more accurate locations of each tax map.


As maps are produced, copies with be placed here (about half MB each).

Tax Map 08
Tax Map 09
Tax Map 10

List of Patents

Click here for list.

This data was assembled by:
   Mike Pierce
   410 817-4795

If you have any comments, suggestions, or questions about the exact location of any patent, please send me an e-mail.

30 June 2012