The District of Columbia was created in 1790 from Maryland and Virginia. Land records for the District of Columbia, 1792 to 1886, are on 694 microfilms, FHL Collection, starting with film 895251 for the index and film 899401 for the records. The documents include deeds of transfer of title, bills of sale, mortgages, and manumissions. There is a grantor/grantee index for 1792 to 1919. The original records and indexes are located in the office of the Recorder of Deeds, 1101 4th Street, SW, 5th Floor, Washington, DC 20024, Telephone: 202-727-5374.
When Maryland and Virginia ceeded portions of their land to create the District of Columbia, they kept original records for that early time period in their respective counties.Deed books for Arlington County, Virginia Genealogy, (now Arlington County) are at the Alexandria City courthouse. FHL Collection, deeds (1783-1865) start with film 30170; index (1793-1870), films 30168-69. The Family History Library also has the Maryland Circuit Court deeds for Prince George's County (FHL Collection,index (1696-1884) films 14277& 14278, deeds start with film 14247) and Montgomery County (FHL Collection, index (1773-1863) film 14207; deeds start with film 14208).
A list of the earliest settlers is in Bessie Wilmarth Gahn, Original Patentees of Land at Washington Prior to 1700 (1936 reprint; Baltimore: Genealogical Publ., 1969) FHL Collection, book 975.3 R21g; located also at these libraries.
An early map (1795) identifying lot numbers in Washington, D.C. is available online.
- M1116, District of Columbia Building Permits, 1877-1949, and Index, 1877-1958. - Available via the National Archives. Read a blog post from NARA on how to use them.
- Pippenger, Wesley E. District of Columbia Original Land Owners, 1791-1800. Westminster, MD: Heritage Books 1999. FHL 975.3 R2p WorldCat
- Pippenger, Wesley E. Index to District of Columbia Land Records 1792-1817. Westminster, MD:Heritage Books, 2010.
Links to District of Columbia-related articles