Texas General Land Office, Archives & Records

A Guide to the Letters of Inquiry, 1919-1932

Relative to Alleged Vacancies


Creator: Texas. General Land Office.
Title: Letters of Inquiry
Dates: 1919-1932
Abstract: Letters of Inquiry are correspondence sent by individuals to the Survey Department of the General Land Office to ascertain the presence of unsurveyed public school land also known as a vacancy. The Letters of Inquiry include 7 file cabinet drawers of correspondence and maps, 1919-1930. Each letter contains at least one vacancy inquiry, though many have multiple pages of inquiries. As one of the more esoteric and complicated groups of records, the Letters are only available through appointment in the Research Room. Notice will give staff the time to consult with the Surveying Department to better serve the researcher.
Identification: AR.58
Quantity: 15.17 Linear feet, (7 file cabinet drawers)
Location: Map Vault
Language: Materials are written in English.
Repository: Texas General Land Office, Archives & Records

Historical Note

Letters of Inquiry are correspondence sent by individuals to the Survey Department of the General Land Office to ascertain the presence of a vacancy, that is unsurveyed public school land. For those seeking to recover a vacancy, the first step at that time was to send a letter of inquiry, through which the surveying department would review the records and respond. If the records showed that there was no vacancy, then the GLO surveyor would write that records "disclosed" proof. If proof was "not disclosed," through a records review, the surveyor would advise the individual to have the suspected vacancy independently surveyed.

A law from 1931 implicitly referencing the Letters of Inquiry states: "...expressing a desire to purchase unsurveyed public school land, where the official map of the Land Office shows the area applied for not to be included within the boundaries of any previous survey, and an answer that no vacancy existed has been given by the Land Office,... " (Acts 1931, 42nd R.S.,ch. 271, General Laws of Texas).

In 1939 the law "Land Vacancies" was passed, modifying the procedures for the discovery and sale of land vacancies (Acts 1939, 46th R.S., p.465,ch. 3, General Laws of Texas).

Current statute governing vacancies: Sec. 51.171, Subchapter E. Sale and Lease of Vacancies

Scope and Contents of the Records

The Letters of Inquiry include 7 file cabinet drawers of correspondence and maps, 1919-1932. Each letter contains at least one vacancy inquiry, though most have multiple inquiries. Each inquiry is annotated with comments from the surveyor who responded. Common annotations include, "no vacancy", "doubtful", "covered by X". Occasionally the surveyor will note that there may be a vacancy.

Each letter is given a sequential "inquiry number" as it is received by the GLO and is used for cross-referencing purposes such as when a suspected vacancy stretches over multiple counties; or when a surveyor designates a suspected vacancy as "covered by X" where X is the number of a previous, already-answered inquiry.

The Letters have not been digitized but there is a spreadsheet inventory available to download in the Detailed Description of the Collection below.


The Letters are arranged as follows:
1. By County
2. Chronologically: Each letter received a number as it was received by the GLO. The number was used for cross-reference purposes, such as when a letter inquired about a piece of land that stretched over multiple counties.


Access Restrictions

Access to these records requires an appointment in the Research Room. Notice will give staff the time to consult with the Surveying Department to better serve the researcher.

Use Restrictions

Most records created by Texas state agencies are not copyrighted and may be freely used in any way. State records also include materials received by, not created by, state agencies. Copyright remains with the creator. The researcher is responsible for complying with U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17 U.S.C.).

Index Terms

Anderson County (Tex.)
Andrews County (Tex.)
Angelina County (Tex.)
Aransas County (Tex.)
Archer County (Tex.)
Armstrong County (Tex.)
Atascosa County (Tex.)
Austin County (Tex.)
Bailey County (Tex.)
Bandera County (Tex.)
Bastrop County (Tex.)
Baylor County (Tex.)
Bee County (Tex.)
Bell County (Tex.)
Bexar County (Tex.)
Blanco County (Tex.)
Borden County (Tex.)
Bosque County (Tex.)
Bowie County (Tex.)
Brazoria County (Tex.)
Brazos County (Tex.)
Brewster County (Tex.)
Briscoe County (Tex.)
Brooks County (Tex.)
Brown County (Tex.)
Burleson County (Tex.)
Burnet County (Tex.)
Caldwell County (Tex.)
Calhoun County (Tex.)
Callahan County (Tex.)
Cameron County (Tex.)
Camp County (Tex.)
Carson County (Tex.)
Cass County (Tex.)
Castro County (Tex.)
Chambers County (Tex.)
Cherokee County (Tex.)
Childress County (Tex.)
Clay County (Tex.)
Cochran County (Tex.)
Coke County (Tex.)
Coleman County (Tex.)
Collin County (Tex.)
Collingsworth County (Tex.)
Colorado County (Tex.)
Comal County (Tex.)
Comanche County (Tex.)
Concho County (Tex.)
Cooke County (Tex.)
Coryell County (Tex.)
Cottle County (Tex.)
Crane County (Tex.)
Crockett County (Tex.)
Crosby County (Tex.)
Culberson County (Tex.)
Dallam County (Tex.)
Dallas County (Tex.)
Dawson County (Tex.)
Deaf Smith County (Tex.)
Delta County (Tex.)
Denton County (Tex.)
Dewitt County (Tex.)
Dickens County (Tex.)
Dimmit County (Tex.)
Donley County (Tex.)
Duval County (Tex.)
Eastland County (Tex.)
Ector County (Tex.)
Edwards County (Tex.)
El Paso County (Tex.)
Ellis County (Tex.)
Erath County (Tex.)
Falls County (Tex.)
Fannin County (Tex.)
Fayette County (Tex.)
Fisher County (Tex.)
Floyd County (Tex.)
Foard County (Tex.)
Fort Bend County (Tex.)
Franklin County (Tex.)
Freestone County (Tex.)
Frio County (Tex.)
Gaines County (Tex.)
Galveston County (Tex.)
Garza County (Tex.)
Gillespie County (Tex.)
Glasscock County (Tex.)
Goliad County (Tex.)
Gonzales County (Tex.)
Gray County (Tex.)
Grayson County (Tex.)
Gregg County (Tex.)
Grimes County (Tex.)
Guadalupe County (Tex.)
Hale County (Tex.)
Hall County (Tex.)
Hamilton County (Tex.)
Hansford County (Tex.)
Hardeman County (Tex.)
Hardin County (Tex.)
Harris County (Tex.)
Harrison County (Tex.)
Hartley County (Tex.)
Haskell County (Tex.)
Hays County (Tex.)
Hemphill County (Tex.)
Henderson County (Tex.)
Hidalgo County (Tex.)
Hill County (Tex.)
Hockley County (Tex.)
Hood County (Tex.)
Hopkins County (Tex.)
Houston County (Tex.)
Howard County (Tex.)
Hudspeth County (Tex.)
Hunt County (Tex.)
Hutchinson County (Tex.)
Irion County (Tex.)
Jack County (Tex.)
Jackson County (Tex.)
Jasper County (Tex.)
Jeff Davis County (Tex.)
Jefferson County (Tex.)
Jim Hogg County (Tex.)
Jim Wells County (Tex.)
Johnson County (Tex.)
Jones County (Tex.)
Karnes County (Tex.)
Kaufman County (Tex.)
Kendall County (Tex.)
Kenedy County (Tex.)
Kent County (Tex.)
Kerr County (Tex.)
Kimble County (Tex.)
King County (Tex.)
Kinney County (Tex.)
Kleberg County (Tex.)
Knox County (Tex.)
La Salle County (Tex.)
Lamar County (Tex.)
Lamb County (Tex.)
Lampasas County (Tex.)
Lavaca County (Tex.)
Lee County (Tex.)
Leon County (Tex.)
Liberty County (Tex.)
Limestone County (Tex.)
Lipscomb County (Tex.)
Live Oak County (Tex.)
Llano County (Tex.)
Loving County (Tex.)
Lubbock County (Tex.)
Lynn County (Tex.)
Madison County (Tex.)
Marion County (Tex.)
Martin County (Tex.)
Mason County (Tex.)
Matagorda County (Tex.)
Maverick County (Tex.)
McCulloch County (Tex.)
McLennan County (Tex.)
McMullen County (Tex.)
Medina County (Tex.)
Menard County (Tex.)
Midland County (Tex.)
Milam County (Tex.)
Mills County (Tex.)
Mitchell County (Tex.)
Montague County (Tex.)
Montgomery County (Tex.)
Moore County (Tex.)
Morris County (Tex.)
Motley County (Tex.)
Nacogdoches County (Tex.)
Navarro County (Tex.)
Newton County (Tex.)
Nolan County (Tex.)
Nueces County (Tex.)
Ochiltree County (Tex.)
Oldham County (Tex.)
Orange County (Tex.)
Palo Pinto County (Tex.)
Panola County (Tex.)
Parker County (Tex.)
Parmer County (Tex.)
Pecos County (Tex.)
Polk County (Tex.)
Potter County (Tex.)
Presidio County (Tex.)
Public Lands
Rains County (Tex.)
Randall County (Tex.)
Reagan County (Tex.)
Real County (Tex.)
Red River County (Tex.)
Reeves County (Tex.)
Refugio County (Tex.)
Roberts County (Tex.)
Robertson County (Tex.)
Rockwall County (Tex.)
Runnels County (Tex.)
Rusk County (Tex.)
Sabine County (Tex.)
San Augustine County (Tex.)
San Jacinto County (Tex.)
San Patricio County (Tex.)
San Saba County (Tex.)
Schleicher County (Tex.)
School lands
Scurry County (Tex.)
Shackelford County (Tex.)
Shelby County (Tex.)
Sherman County (Tex.)
Smith County (Tex.)
Somervell County (Tex.)
Starr County (Tex.)
Stephens County (Tex.)
Sterling County (Tex.)
Stonewall County (Tex.)
Sutton County (Tex.)
Swisher County (Tex.)
Tarrant County (Tex.)
Taylor County (Tex.)
Terrell County (Tex.)
Terry County (Tex.)
Throckmorton County (Tex.)
Titus County (Tex.)
Tom Green County (Tex.)
Travis County (Tex.)
Trinity County (Tex.)
Tyler County (Tex.)
Upshur County (Tex.)
Upton County (Tex.)
Uvalde County (Tex.)
Val Verde County (Tex.)
Van Zandt County (Tex.)
Victoria County (Tex.)
Walker County (Tex.)
Waller County (Tex.)
Ward County (Tex.)
Washington County (Tex.)
Webb County (Tex.)
Wharton County (Tex.)
Wheeler County (Tex.)
Wichita County (Tex.)
Wilbarger County (Tex.)
Willacy County (Tex.)
Williamson County (Tex.)
Wilson County (Tex.)
Winkler County (Tex.)
Wise County (Tex.)
Wood County (Tex.)
Yoakum County (Tex.)
Young County (Tex.)
Zapata County (Tex.)
Zavala County (Tex.)

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

[Short title of Document], [Date: Day-Month-Year]. Box [#], Folder [#], p. [#]. Letters of Inquiry (AR.58). Archives and Records Program, Texas General Land Office, Austin.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Letters of Inquiry, 1919-1932

Letters of Inquiry Inventory, 2014-08-25 (TARO)Letters of Inquiry Inventory, 2014-08-25
Scope and Contents of the Records
The Letters have not been digitized. The spreadsheet inventory of the Letters contains 17,709 rows with the following columns of data:
1. LOI - Letter of Inquiry number
2. County
3. Date of Letter
4. Date Received
5. Date Answered
6. Written By
7. Written From
8. Bearing
9. Degree
10. Distance
11. Miles
12. Outcome
13. Adjacent Surveys
The suspected vacancy can be determined from the data, though it is ultimately up to the researcher whether to view the original correspondence.