Based on what my grandpa told me and backed up by the Moffat Clan Genealogy site, I had some level of certainty that my direct ancestor Robert Moffett (1764-1849) lived and perhaps even owned land in Ohio in the first half of the 1800’s. In fact, the notes on Robert’s page at the Moffat Clan Genealogy site mention land and tax records. Based on the timeframe there was a decent likelihood that he was an early purchaser from the Federal land grants for what became the state of Ohio.
The Bureau of Land Management has a great online resource that allows you to search land records. I tried the way I spell my name first. While I found some purchasers listed, I did not see a Robert. So I tried varying the spelling slightly, first by dropping the 2nd “t”, and found this:
And there was Robert.Or, at least, A Robert. But is this the right Robert? The one from my direct family line?
Clicking on the link gives you a lot of details:a Township number ,a range number and Aliquots. If you know how to use those figures you can determine where the land sat. Further links provide a PDF of the land grant and, even better, a digital map:
And there we are. A real place on a real map. A map that suddenly made my ancestors feel so much more real to me.
This all matches details Moffat Genealogy as well as some letters in the blue suitcase, so I felt fairly sure that this Robert of Rose Township was indeed my Robert. I suddenly had fantasies of drivnig out there, finding the old family farm and stomping around on the same grounds my ancestors lived on. This was just the start of learning about Robert and his life in Ohio.