A wealth of information about individual land properties on Taiwan appears as part of the land records of various Chinese government agencies. The records contain reliable and accessible data on lowland properties since 1904 and on upland properties since about 1925. The purposes of this paper are to describe the information and its sources and to indicate some of the types of problems related to land properties which bear examination.
This list of map types available in Land Bureau offices is incomplete. Cadastral maps in Taiwan are properly considered confidential. Permission to use specific maps for research purposes may be obtained from the Director of the Taiwan Provincial Land Bureau. Since the research of the writers was primarily concerned with rural farming areas, they did not see all types of urban maps or maps of forested areas.
Tu, Hsuan, op. cit., p. 17.
The most complex share arrangement known to the writers had 131 owners for an irrigable property of 0.3284 acres. The shares were recorded as ranging in size from 2,450/282,240,000 (or 0.00087 percent) to 3,880,800/282,240,000 (or 1.37500 percent) of the whole.
The records of the Household Registration Office of Township Governments may be utilized to identify the relationship between a landowner and his heirs.
The land property records alone do not permit identification of operating farm units, in part because legal divisions of properties among heirs are often delayed for many years aldiough, in fact, heirs may be working portions of the properties as separate farms, and in part because some heirs may continue to work as one farm properties which have been legally subdivided. The most ready source from which the plots constituting a farm may be identified is probably the water fee records of the Irrigation Associations. Since in a few instances persons other than the farmer may be responsible for payment of the farmer's fees, students investigating operating farm units should rely upon interviews and the Land Bureau, Irrigation Association, and Citizens Affairs Office records for identification of farm plots.