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Bounty Land Records

Founding a Nation

Bounty land records identify the earliest date of residence or arrival for ancestors. Bounty land records frequently supply other places of residence for them which leads you to additional places to search for them. These sources identify ancestors both military and non-military. Here are a few facts about bounty lands:

  • Military bounty land was awarded in specific tracts or areas where boundaries were set by law
  • The military man was required to describe his military service, dates, ranks, and commanding officers
  • When Heirs claimed military lands they were required to submit proof of service and detail their exact relationship to the soldier/sailor
  • Once approved a “Military Warrant” for land could be used as scrip much like a modern check is used for currency to purchase or exchange, so beware cashing in a Warrant is not proof of military service, you must locate the application
  • Bounty land enticed many to serve in the military (George Washington granted 700 acres of land to enemy combatants who would lay down his arms, take up acreage on unclaimed lands and farm them
  • Bounty land records provide a separate set of documents, different from courthouse records and can fill in gaps when records were destroyed by disasters such as floods or fires
  • Headright land was awarded to individuals who sponsored or paid the fare to others to come to America
  • Brides were imported to help settle the frontier

Watch for this type of record. They often show up in courthouse documents, as certificates or scrip, land office ledgers, and surveyor team records.

Read Lloyd Bockstruck’s, Revolutionary War Bounty Land Grants Awarded by State Governments, printed in Baltimore, Maryland by the Genealogical Publishing Company, Inc. in 1996. This is a very important reference tool, ¬†introduces you to each state and the printed and indexed entries.

A good description for US Military Bounty Land Warrants can be found on the FamilySearch Research Wiki. This article has several links to lead you into specific wars. While it is a good article to get you started it is by no means comprehensive. Check it out here:  

Good luck locating bounty land records. We are always happy to assist you with this type of research, at our Family History Library Retreats, where we offer you an extended learning experience. Click here for a list of upcoming events.