Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

About the Family Maps series

About Arphax Publishing Co.


In a nutshell, what are these Family Maps books?

Historians, particularly family historians, know how much valuable information can be learned by analyzing land records from our nation's early settlers.

For many years, these researchers have gained much by utilizing "first-owner" land records found in indexes compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

And now, for the first time anywhere, Greg Boyd, a software engineer, lawyer, businessman, and genealogist, has taken those records and mapped them, county by county, through much of the 25 of 29 public-land states. The maps are drawn using software it took Greg over two full years to create.

Typical counties have anywhere from 1000 to 10,000 parcels of land that are mapped. Maps are typically presented in 2-page spreads, each of which contains a six-square-mile Congressional (36-section) township, which in turn shows each patentee (first-owner) that Boyd has found in published BLM database indexes, as well as the year the patent was issued.

In each book, surname indexes are included as well as township-level, full-name indexes. Each township is mapped 3 different ways, yielding three different views and sets of information. The Patent Map is described just above. These are followed by another map that contains roads and yet another which contains waterways. Both of these "extra" maps contain cemeteries and city-centers that have been gleaned from government sources.

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For which states are you publishing the Family Maps series?

As of January 2017, we have published Family Maps books for counties in these states: Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin. Note: Texas books are in a totally separate series: the Texas Land Survey Maps series.

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What were Homesteads Editions of the Family Maps series?

In 2005, when we first began publishing Family Maps books, we did not have authoritative section-line data for some states. That means we were not able to correlate land-ownership with roads and other geographical features. Therefore, our first books for Alabama, Colorado, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin had only Patent Maps (no road or waterway maps) and were created using a hypothetical 36-section township rather than an actual one.

As of December 2009, we quit producing Homesteads Editions. All but a few of the old titles have been superceded by new Deluxe Editions. Any that have not, are represented now on our subscription website,

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What is "Public Land" and which are the "Public Land States?

"Public Land", as the term is used in the context of historical research, refers to land that was once within the public domain of the United States. Most of this land came to be in the public domain at the time the land became a part of the United States.

"Public Land States" are those states whose land came under the control of the U.S. Government, at the time the state became part of the United States.

The Public Land States are:

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Florida
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Louisiana
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Mexico
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • South Dakota
  • Utah
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

If you truly want to understand ALL the various types of land grants (federal, state, or otherwise), then we strongly recommend that you check out the same volumes that we frequently consult:

  1. "Land & Property Research in the United States" by E. Wade Hone (Salt Lake City, Ancestry, Inc, 1997)
  2. "Locating Your Roots: Discovering Your Ancestors Using Land Records" by Patricia Law Hatcher (Cincinnati, Betterway Books, 2003)

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Your books are laid out by counties. Are these MODERN-day county boundaries, or from sometime in the past?

Our books are laid out by counties, based on their modern-day boundaries. If a particular Land Patent in 1850 was in County #1, but today, that same land is located within County #2, it is the book for County #2, that you would want to purchase.

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What is the relevant time-frame (years) for these books?

Whenever the land was first sold or transferred to the public by the United States government. Each Family Maps book page on this website displays a grid showing how many land patents are represented for each decade relevant to that title (county). Most counties took several decades to settle and it is not unusual to find counties where the first patent might date in the 1820s and the last one may be in the 1920s. The important thing to remember is that these are FIRST landowners---not for just a single date---but each parcel is labeled using the first landowner.

You can answer this question with total accuracy by searching the patents in the county you are interested in at This is, after all, our source for the patents that we map. 

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What does Arphax even mean?

According to the Book of Genesis, Chapter 10, verse 22, Arphaxad (or Arphax'ad) was a son of Shem, and grandson of Noah. In Genesis 11:10, we are told that Arphaxad was born two years after the Great Flood.

But that is merely the origin of the name.

To Greg Boyd, author of the Family Maps series of books, Arphax stands for the person of Arphaxad DAWSON, Greg's 4th great-grandfather. Ongoing research of Arphax's life (and the lives of his cohorts), undertaken by Greg, a number of his cousins, and a few academic researchers, reveals one of the more complex and horrifying stories in American History. In the autumn of 1862, Arphax and 40-plus other men were hanged in Gainesville, Texas, on the orders of an extra-legal court formed largely by a handful of wealthy, plantation-owning, citizens of Cooke County, Texas.

The men were accused, among other things, of conspiring to assist an alleged Union invasion into north Texas. Most, if not all of the accused, were yeoman farmers. And contrary to rumors spread by their accusers, none of the damned were of any significant financial means. In fact, most of them were immigrants from border-states and wanted nothing to do with the regional issues that were dividing our nation.

Many of those accused, at the moment they were hanged, had sons who were fighting for Confederate units. Arphax, a Georgia-born, Alabama-raised, Southern boy, fell into this category---three of his sons, including Greg Boyd's 3rd great-grandfather, Ephriam A. DAWSON, were serving a Texas Cavalry unit (C.S.A.) on the day their father was hanged.

And while this story is fantastic by all accounts, the even more amazing reality that springs from this tale is the fact that in just a few generations, Arphax's own descendants, living only a few miles from where he lived and died, themselves grew up and died, without ever knowing his story. It had been "swept under the rug", in the truest form imagined by the creator of that cliche.

The facts, allegations, and aftermath surrounding this dark hour in our nation's history, are recounted in several popular and scholarly works (several of them listed below), and while readers of this web-page are encouraged to read these sources and others, we bring you the story here, only to answer the question: What in the world is an ARPHAX?

To the folks at Arphax Publishing, ARPHAX serves as a symbol of both the mysteries revealed to those of us curious enough to ask about our family's past, AND to remind us and others of the rich personal gain to be had by discovering amazing, historical truths that lie in the stories of our ancestors' lives.

We at Arphax Publishing are commited to unearthing the legends lurking in your family's past.


  1. Tainted Breeze: The Great Hanging at Gainesville, Texas 1862, by Richard B. McCaslin (Louisiana State Univ Pr, 1994).
  2. "Civil War Recollections of James Lemuel Clark", Edited by L. D. Clark (Texas A&M Univ. Press, 1984).
  3. "The Great Hanging at Gainesville", by Thomas C. Barrett, (Texas State Historical Association reprint, 1961).
  4. "Great Hanging at Gainesville", an article from The Handbook of Texas On-Line.

A Side Note:

Here are a couple of those "WOW" research findings that one comes across from time to time: another victim of the hangings, Raymond "Rama" J. DYE, was Arphax DAWSON's son-in-law. It turns out that Rama was a second cousin to Martha Ellen YOUNG, mother of the future President of the United States, Harry S. TRUMAN. Greg Boyd has transcribed Rama's will, a copy of which can be found here at genforum. (Note: this 1998 message-post by Boyd mistakenly identified Arphax as a 5th great-grandfather, rather than the 4th great, which he is in actuality; also, that post claimed that Rama was not a relative of Boyd's, but shortly after posting the message, Boyd determined Rama to be a distant cousin by virtue of a common ancestor in a Johann Jung (John Young) of Germany and later, North Carolina). John Young's descendants, who became Greg Boyd's and Rama Dye's ancestors, later migrated to Washington County, Kentucky, before moving to Texas.

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