One of the most frequently asked questions we get asked at the Archives is: “Do you have a copy of my property survey?”

The short answer is no, and here’s why.

Land surveys are documents that establish the boundaries of a property. Surveys document boundaries when new parcels of land are being developed, and also identify and confirm already established land boundaries. They also show any dwellings, buildings or improvements located on properties.

A recordable document is a document that the recording authority (in this case, the County Clerk) is authorized to record, usually by state statute. In Texas, property surveys are not recordable documents, so they are not typically maintained at the county level. Travis County will only have a copy of a survey if it was recorded as an exhibit to another document (which is rare).

So where can you find your survey?  You have a few different options to try.

  • Title Company: The title company that handled the title transfer when the sale of the property closed should have a copy of the survey.
  • Mortgage Company: Your mortgage lender might also have a copy of the property survey, because it also holds the title.
  • Surveyor: If you know the name of your surveyor, you can contact them to see if they have a copy of your survey.

What about plats?

Plats are maps drawn to scale that show the divisions of a piece of land. Plat maps typically show the dimensions of a property before improvements are made and cover more than one lot or parcel of land. City, town or village plats show subdivisions into blocks with streets and alleys. Subdivision plats are recorded when a landowner or municipality divides land into smaller parcels. These are recorded and kept by the Travis County Clerk.

Travis County Clerk, Recording Division
5501 Airport Blvd.
Austin, TX 78751
Recording@traviscountytx.gov
(512) 854-9188

*As of March 24th, the Travis County Clerk has closed all office lobbies in an effort to minimize face-to-face interaction due to the COVID-19 pandemic. All Divisions will conduct business via efile, mail, telephone or email during regular business hours.

Did you know that Travis County had a County Surveyor for many years?

Surveying is the process of mapping and measuring land to define and mark property boundaries. The office of County Surveyor has existed since the Republic of Texas days and has been provided for by the Texas Constitution since 1845. Travis County had an elected County Surveyor from 1840-2001. His responsibilities included surveying open land and recording and examining field notes of surveys made in the county. Copies of the surveys, plats, sketches and field notes were then sent to the Texas General Land Office.  For this reason, most – but not all – of the information in the Travis County Surveyor’s records can also be found at the Land Office.  However, the Travis County survey records continue to hold research value due to unique information that was not transmitted.

Open land refers to land that was obtained by grant or patent from a sovereign entity – in Travis County’s case, the Republic of Texas and the State of Texas. As open land in Texas began to disappear, the importance of the office decreased, and it was left vacant in many counties. The Travis County Surveyor’s office was abolished in 2001.   

The earliest records of the Travis County Surveyor actually predate Travis County’s establishment in 1840. These records, which date from 1838-1839, are recorded as Bastrop County records – Travis County was created from land that was originally part of Bastrop County.  Other early surveyor records include properties within the Travis Land District (territory that encompassed much of Central Texas), and land that became part of counties created from Travis County’s original boundaries.

Travis County Surveyor’s Record Book A, 1838-1853
Travis County Archives

While the most recent County Surveyor records date from 1999, the bulk of the records are from the 1800s and early 1900s. The books include surveys, plats, field notes, land warrants and scrips; index books are organized alphabetically by grantee name. Because the office County Surveyor has been abolished, the County Clerk is the custodian of these records. All of the books have been digitized and can be viewed on the Portal to Texas History:

https://texashistory.unt.edu/search/?q=travis+county+surveyor&fq=untl_institution%3ATCCO&t=dc_title&sort=title

Travis County Surveyor’s Record Book F, 1852-1930
Travis County Archives

23 thoughts on "Surveys and Plats and Where to Find Them"

  1. Michael Barnes says:

    I have made a vow to get to know your archives better. I’m working my way through the public-facing pages on your website. Nicely organized. Anyway, I might have questions down the line. Best, Michael

  2. Bobby Smith says:

    I need a copy of the survey on file for the property at 8310 Westcrest Lane. Where can I pick this up at?

    1. Hagan says:

      Hi Bobby,

      In Texas, property surveys are not recordable documents, so they are not typically maintained at the county level. Travis County will only have a copy of a survey if it was recorded as an exhibit to another document (which is rare).

      So where can you find your survey? You have a few different options to try.

      Title Company: The title company that handled the title transfer when the sale of the property closed should have a copy of the survey.
      Mortgage Company: Your mortgage lender might also have a copy of the property survey, because it also holds the title.
      Surveyor: If you know the name of your surveyor, you can contact them to see if they have a copy of your survey.

  3. Sam Payne says:

    Lake Shore Ranch Subdivision
    Owner George K. Marshall
    Main interest … copy of Restrictions
    Date filed ? Maybe Jan. 1975

    1. Christy says:

      Good morning! You will need to contact the County Clerk’s office – their staff should be able to assist you with your request. Travis County Clerk Recording Division: (512) 854-9188 or recording@traviscountytx.gov.

  4. david weintraut says:

    after spending hrs looking for and NOT finding a simple “property plat” showing pins locations. where are they? need to redo fence so looking for pins that Austin Power co removed when they put in a new pole w/transformer . they blamed their “contractor” who says its APC responsibility/ typical “not my fault crap. being a DAV on limited income can’t afford att. or paying for survey to reset pins that they removed. so can U help make elect co replace pins they destroyed? thanks

    1. Christy says:

      Unfortunately we cannot help with the removed pins. For plats, please contact the Travis County Clerk’s office: https://countyclerk.traviscountytx.gov/recording.html

  5. sblu says:

    i bought a 100 year old home and want to trace its ownership and documentation over the years, how do i go about it?

    1. Christy says:

      To start, I recommend looking over this guide that was published by the Austin History Center about researching properties: http://www.austinlibrary.com/ahc/downloads/Property_Information_Sources.pdf. As far as Travis County records specifically, deed research can help you trace back ownership of the property. We have an overview to deed research on our blog here: https://www.traviscountyhistory.org/deed-research-in-travis-county/.

  6. A.P. Yang says:

    I am buying land in Travis County and Austin ETJ. The plat and survey provided by the seller does not show any GPS lat long or coordinates. All lines and curves reference survey corners. How can I find GPS position of a survey corner?
    Thanks

    1. Hagan says:

      Hi! This is a question that the archives is unable to answer. If you know the name of your surveyor, you can contact them to ask about the GPS positions of the land or talk to a professional surveyor.

  7. A.P. Yang says:

    Only 5 of the 9 comments are shown

  8. Joan says:

    We are gathering documents for an exception to platting and we need to provide a Tax map (full size). Where can I get a full size tax map for our property in Travis county?

    1. Christy says:

      You should be able to access tax maps on the Travis Central Appraisal District website.

  9. Reed says:

    I need to combine 2lots in travis county, can you please tell me who to call

    1. Christy says:

      Good morning. Please contact:

      Travis County Clerk, Recording Division
      5501 Airport Blvd.
      Austin, TX 78751
      Recording@traviscountytx.gov
      (512) 854-9188

  10. Patty Kob says:

    My family has a large “library” of surveys, plats, field notes, etc. which originated during the existence of the Republic of Texas. One of our ancestors was a surveyor and land agent for the Republic of Texas. Do you know if these documents would have any value or how we might go about assessing the value? Thank you.

    1. Christy says:

      What a great collection! I’d recommend contacting the Texas General Land Office Archives – their staff will likely be able to provide you with some advice or direction. https://www.glo.texas.gov/history/archives/visit/index.html

  11. Angie says:

    I have recently done a lot of research (during lockdown 2.021) re:our family finding information that predates Texas as well.
    Patty Kob – if you would like to contact me directly to combine some of these historic records, I would be happy to discuss what I have found thus far. This is a personal project doing archival research online for fun while digging into the past. I have dated my ancestors back to the 1500s, and while I do not have any physical maps, etc on hand, most of the information is at university libraries and other collections throughout Texas.

  12. Mark McNeal says:

    Need a copy of a 1984 subdivision plat but an image is not available online.
    The message reads:
    Book and Page: PL 84 146C-147A Microfilm Code: N/A Addtl Rest: N/A Resub: N Surveyed: N/A Restrictions: N/A RESTR 9674/671 9421/559Microfilm#:
    Can I get an image or order a hard copy/print of this final plat?

    1. Christy says:

      Yes – you will need to contact the County Clerk’s Recording Division directly, as they keep the county’s plat records.

      Telephone: (512) 854-9188
      Email: recording@traviscountytx.gov

  13. Wiltse. Crompton says:

    Hi, I had a house built that was completed in 2017. Neither title company (we refinanced) or bank where we got the construction loan have a survey for our home at 3108 Sacbe Cv 78745. The builder says there was a survey done in 2016 but when we called the company he said that the copy is in a storage center and he’s unwilling to spend hours looking for it (even if we paid him)! The builder said another option is to get it from the city because it would have been included with permits for the house, is that true? We need it ASAP as we selling the house in a couple of weeks…. Please help🙏🏼

    1. Christy says:

      That is certainly worth a shot. We are not associated with the City so we don’t have a specific contact number for you, but here is their website: http://www.austintexas.gov/department/development-assistance-center

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