The following information was provided by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
The Archives of Michigan announced Wednesday that the original survey maps of Michigan’s 1,400 individual township parcels have been scanned and are now available to search, browse and print at seekingmichigan.org.
The maps included in the collection at Seeking Michigan document land surveys that were conducted by the federal government to lay out Michigan’s township and range grid system. Some maps documenting later resurveys are also included. The maps show bodies of water and land formations throughout the state. They can be searched by township name or by coordinates.
The initial survey of the state of Michigan was conducted primarily between 1815 and 1860; this survey of West Bloomfield Township was conducted in 1817 by Samuel Carpenter.
The federal government contracted land surveyors who earned between $3 and $4.25 per mile, which covered payment of their crews and supplies. Crews usually conducted surveys in the winter because their line of sight was improved and they could walk across frozen lakes and ponds. It took about 20 days to survey a township with two surveyors, two axe men to trim brush, and two chain men.
This project was funded by a cooperative agreement with the Michigan Office of Land Survey and Remonumentation. The Archives of Michigan is currently working with that office to scan the land surveyors’ original field notebooks and make the images available at Seeking Michigan.
Seeking Michigan is administered by the Archives of Michigan through the support of the Michigan History Foundation.