Georgia Headright and Bounty Land Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page

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FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.

Contents

Record Description

This collection consists of individual documents from Georgia’s original land grant system, the headright and bounty land system for the years 1783 to 1909. The files, filmed at the Georgia State Archives, contain the following types of records relating to the acquisition of a piece of land:

  • Headrights which provided the head of a family with a grant of land.
  • Bounty land grants which were awarded by the government as a reward to citizens for the risks and hardships they endured in the service of their country, usually in a military related capacity.
  • Warrant files which may include land plats, although not all transactions included surveys.
  • Vouchers listing the applicant’s status during the Revolutionary War
  • Certificates of eligibility for a land grant
  • Powers of attorney
  • Petitions

The files are generally organized by county and then by record type. The original grant files are arranged alphabetically by name of applicant. Each grant book has an index which usually appears at the beginning of the digital files.

This collection is being published as images become available. Check the wiki or browse the collection to determine current coverage.

For a list of records by date or locality currently published in this collection, select the Browse link from the collection landing page.

Record Content

Information found in the collection is listed below:

  • Name of grantee
  • Date of land grant
  • Legal description of land
  • Location of the land
  • Number of acres

How to Use the Record

To begin your search it is helpful to know

  • Name of your ancestor
  • Identifying information such the location of the land or date of the grant

Search the Collection

To search the collection
⇒Select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page
⇒Select the appropriate "Record Type, Date Range and Volume" which takes you to the images

Look at each image comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine if the image relates to them. You may need to look at several images and compare the information about the individuals listed in those images to your ancestors to make this determination. Keep in mind:

  • There may be more than one person in the records with the same name.
  • You may not be sure of your own ancestor’s name.
  • Your ancestor may have used different names or variations of their name throughout their life.

Using the Information

When you have located your ancestor’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. Save a copy of the image or transcribe the information. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details. Add this new information to your records of each family. You should also look for leads to other records about your ancestors. For example:

  • Use the land location and names of the parents to search for church and census records.
  • If your ancestor received a bounty land grant, search for military records.

Tips to Keep in Mind

  • Search for the land transactions of a couple and their children. The parents may have sold or given property to a son or daughter. Such transactions confirm relationships that might not be found in other records.
  • Search for records of people in the county who shared a surname. These may have been the couple’s parents, uncles, or other relatives. Your ancestor may have been an heir who sold inherited land that had belonged to parents or grandparents.
  • To find later generations, search the land records a few years before and after a person’s death. Your ancestor may have sold or given land to his or her heirs before death, or the heirs may have sold the land after the individual died. For daughters, the names of their husbands are often provided. For sons, the given names of their wives may be included. Heirs may have sold their interest in the land to another heir even though the record may not indicate this. Continue this process for identifying each succeeding generation.
  • When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.*Some entries in earlier years may have been missed.
  • Indexes may contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings or misinterpretations.
  • Some of the documents are difficult to read.
  • Some counties were subdivided or the boundaries may have changed. Consider searching neighboring counties as well since that courthouse may have been more convenient for the person.
  • One record alone does not usually give complete information about a couple and their children. A careful study of all records for the person or the family will yield a richer return of information.

Unable to Find Your Ancestor?

  • Look for variant spellings of the names. You should also look for nicknames and abbreviated names.
  • Look for an index. There are often indexes at the beginning of each volume. Local genealogical and historical societies often have indexes to local records.
  • Search the indexes and records of nearby counties.

General Information About These Records

Georgia was a state-land state. The land was distributed by the provincial and later, state governors of the Colony and later the State of Georgia. After the Revolutionary War, a land act was passed which allowed a man to receive from 200 or more acres of land. Georgia also issued lands to its civilian population who had remained loyal, or at the very least neutral, to the Revolutionary cause after the British restored royal control. Settlers in good standing who owned land at the time of the establishment of the land offices received grants for their land.

Applicants for grants would swear to oaths regarding the size of their families to determine the number of acres granted. A warrant of survey would generally be issued, and the county surveyor would lay out the land. Copies of the survey plats were kept by the county surveyor and Surveyor General. Settlers were required to live on their land for a year and cultivate at least 3 percent of the land. After that time the applicant could apply for a grant.

These records were created to document the processes of receiving land grants from the State of Georgia, including headright land grants and bounties. They generally contain reliable information regarding the location and disposition of land, as well as military service information. Most of the headright and bounty grants issued were for land located east of the Oconee River.

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Contributions to This Article

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Citation for This Collection

The following citation refers to the original source of the information published in FamilySearch.org Historical Records collections. Sources include the author, custodian, publisher, and archive for the original records.

"Georgia, Headright and Bounty Land Records, 1783-1909." Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2013. Citing State Archives, Morrow.

 

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  • This page was last modified on 22 September 2014, at 18:45.
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