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Each collection features a unique aspect of Michigan's history.


What's the story behind this collection?What’s the story behind this collection?

This collection consists of scanned pages from the original Surveyors’ Field Notebooks. Commonly referred to as GLO notes, these handwritten notebooks were done between 1815 and 1918, and encompass the majority of the State of Michigan. The land survey divided all public domain of the State into township parcels, each approximately 36 square miles and divided again into 36 one mile sections. The survey covered 1,400 townships with the State of Michigan, and used over 2,000 notebooks.


How do I find things in this collection?How do I find things in this collection?

This collection can be accessed by using the Township and Range of the parcel being researched. If you are unfamiliar with Michigan’s township and range system, or do not know the township and range of the parcel you are looking at please review the Archives of Michigan Look blog Land Ho! which details this system. Within the collection you can search by the township and range using the township number plus North or South followed by a space then the range number plus East or West, this would look like 25N 08W or 03S 01E. Please note that township and range numbers must always include two digits.

Additionally, the GLO Notes can be access using the Michigan county name, township name, Surveyors name, completion date, or specific volume number.


What else can I find?What else can I find?

Researcher may also be interested in searching the Archives of Michigan GLO Plat Map collection where you can use the same township and range system to find maps that correspond with the GLO Notes. In addition, The Archives of Michigan has transcriptions of the original survey notes in both microfilm and bound formats that can be viewed in the reading room or can be ordered through the Archives services portal. Transcriptions may be useful to research because while also handwritten like the originals, they are generally more legible and laid out in a more simplistic format.

Please note that in order to preserve the integrity of the original GLO Notes they cannot be pulled for research in the Archives reading room. The Archives does have transcriptions of the original survey notes in both microfilm and bound formats that can be pulled for researchers at the Archives of Michigan.