Ownership of forest land has been the subject of continuing research in the United States since about 1940, because knowledge of who owns this land, why it is owned, and what is being done with it is essential to development of appropriate forest-land management policies and programs. The accompanying list of selected references furnishes evidence of previous work in forest-land ownership research. Despite interest in this field, however, procedures used in these studies have shown surprisingly little variation. The study reported here, which is directly concerned with ownership of private forest land in Lane County, Oreg., represents a different approach. Specifically, it develops a new method for classifying private owners in the county and in other areas where similar basic data are available. This method may also have application in other regions.