Land records can be very useful, especially for earlier years when vital records are scarce. To use Bay County land records effectively, you need to know that Bay County did not exist before 1913. It was formed from portions of Washington and Calhoun Counties on 24 April 1913.
The earliest land records are federal grants of original land entry, or patents. Duke Vicory has extracted an index to all federal land grants before 1908 located in present day Bay County. Images are available at the Bureau of Land Management Government Land Office Records site in the table below.
Once a piece of land was sold to an individual by the federal government, all subsequent sales of that property were recorded in county land records. Indexes to early Bay County deed records have been scanned and are available online for your viewing pleasure, as are the deed records themselves. Many early Washington County deeds from 1885 through 1913, describing property that now resides in Bay County, also have been transcribed and are available on the Bay County Clerk of Courts Web site. The indexes in the table below are thought to be reasonably complete for the periods listed.
|Index to Federal Land Tract Book||1821-1908||Duke Vickrey|
|Index Original Entry Land Patents||1820-1908||Bureau of Land Management|
|Bay County Deed Index||1883-1982||Bay County Clerk of Courts|
|Bay County Deed Index||1987-now||Bay County Clerk of Courts|
|Bay County Deeds||1883-1982||Bay County Clerk of Courts|
|Bay County Deeds||1987-now||Bay County Clerk of Courts|
The index to early Bay County deed records has been scanned and is available online for your viewing pleasure, as are the deed records themselves. Unfortunately, this marvelous resource is impossible to find with a search engine. Further, there is no user manual, and the navigation is far from obvious. Here's how: Go to Bay County Official Records Browser Web page.