Saturday, January 19, 2008


Research, research, research. That’s all you here anybody that does a lot of treasure hunting talk about. That’s because research will save you valuable time and money in the long run by proving or disproving the existence of what you are looking for. It will also help you find locations, find information about what you might find at a location and possibly even how to read the clues that are at different locations.

Everybody understands the fundamentals of research but doing in depth research will give you a better understanding of history, the real history, and make you a better treasure hunter. Information that can prove useful to the treasure hunter can be found in a myriad of places including the local library, county courthouses, historical societies, museums and the internet just to name a few. In this article I will endeavor to explain what you might find in some of these places but by no means will this be an in depth accounting of the type of places you can get useful information.

We all understand going to our local library to research the person or group that we think left behind the treasure we are looking for but one thing you might try is doing research at the local library near where you are going to hunt. If you aren’t hunting near your hometown then the information in the closest library to where you are hunting could be invaluable. Libraries carry information about the local area that you won’t find anywhere else. You will also be amazed at what type of information the library employees have at the tip of their tongues. I once located a cave known to have been used by Jesse and Frank James just by asking the librarian about books that dealt with the local caves and rock formations.

On the subject of libraries and books, I would suggest that you look for a series of books called the “Historical Atlas of “. I have a few of these for states that I hunt in a lot and they are a very good source of information. The Historical Atlas of Oklahoma for instance shows the locations of all of the different tribes that were in Oklahoma, it shows the location of all of the forts and tells you when they existed, it gives information about the different explorers that were in the state, cattle trails, claims made by the Spanish, French and British, land openings, county information, battles, etc. This is all in a simple format that makes it easy to go right to the piece of information you want.

County courthouses can be an untold wealth of information. The county appraiser (or assessor) will have land ownership records going back to the beginning of the county giving you the names and locations of the property owners. They will have a map of the county, usually hanging on the wall, that shows the county and how the personal property is divided and who currently owns what. This is great for identifying landowners who may not live on the property you want to search. The cartographer’s office will have up to date aerial photos of the entire county and these will be actual aerial photos and not satellite photos so there will be more detail in them. You can also obtain copies of the old county maps from the courthouse and get information about floods or major disasters that may affect how you look for your treasure.

Okie Treasure Hunter has said before that you should look at the BLM, Bureau of Land Management, records. This again is a wealth of information, having old maps of areas that will give you the old names of the creeks and rivers in the event they have changed. These maps can show you how a creek or river may have changed course over time that may affect where you look for that treasure. Most of this is free from their web site.

The state historical society is a great place for finding information. They too have the old maps and sometimes even old photos of areas that may be of interest. You can read the old newspapers and look at the different books that may have history about the state or county. Most states and some counties will have a series of books entitled the “Chronicles” of this or that. These will have good information in them and they are usually broken down by area or dates. I would also look for books written specifically about the state or county at the historical societies. There are books that were published, some even by the state, that aren’t in print anymore but can give you leads to treasure sites. In searching through some old books in a state historical society I ran across a book that had been published by the state that showed pictures and gave the general location of several different petroglyph sites. The writers of the book had correctly identified most of the petroglyphs as being made by American Indians however………… there were several that were definitely treasure related and by getting copies of the pages out of this book I now had leads to treasure sites I never knew existed.

Some counties have their own historical societies or a museum that keeps historical information about the area. Don’t forget to look for these places also.

One of the biggest boons to research has been computers and the Internet. If I had had a computer and the internet thirty years ago, I would have started banging my head on my desk a lot sooner than I did but; I also would have been able to search the Internet. Using the Internet anyone with minimal computer skills such as myself can disprove most of the so-called information in Jesse James was One of His Names in about twenty minutes. You can also get access to old maps and books and even sites like this blog.

Research is definitely a topic that can’t be covered in just one post. I will try to revisit this topic later with even more places to find information that can be useful to the modern day treasure hunter.

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