The image above is a land transaction. Mathew and Sarah Landsdown are selling land to Levi Martin. The year is 1864. Land records provide two types of important evidence for the genealogist. First, they often state kinship ties, especially when a group of heirs jointly sells some inherited land. Second, they place individuals in a specific time and place, allowing the researcher to sort people and families into neighborhoods and closely related groups.
Once when I was researching, I found a land record where a father had died, and the mother was deeding the land to her daughters. This was so great because the daughters were listed with their married names. It is hard sometimes in the South to find marriages depending on the year.
To find Land Records, I did a keyword search for Land in the FamilySearch.org collections, unfortunately, there arenít a lot of digitized records yet, but you can click on the link below and it will take you to some land records in Illinois, DeKalb county 1838 to 1927. familysearch.org/search/collection/2043772
You will want to look at the Indexes first to find out which page your ancestor is on as there are over 68,000 images in the collection. If they are selling their land, you can find them on the Grantor Index. If they are purchasing land, they are the Grantee.
If a census record indicates that your ancestor owned their land or home, go to the Family History Library catalog on FamilySearch.org and find some land records that you can look at. You might need to order the microfilm to our Family History Center, or take your spouse on a date to the FHL in Salt Lake one night.