Reason says: Go with the Well-Known. Instinct says: Go with the Know-How.

This stunning ad from Grant grasped my attention!  And I decided to share it with you.  I have developed a new seminar presentation called The Importance of Land Records in the South:  State-by-State.  This presentation is based on my experience doing southern genealogy research in the documents for my clients. The more I searched, the more I found value in these amazing records.

You see, the South has experienced extraordinary record loss, especially at the county level. Over 393 counties have substantial record loss.  So I began to draft a checklist of land processes and records  the majority of which were created by other levels of jurisdiction–they are not nor were they found in the courthouse.  When the courthouse burned or was flooded, these records were not there to be damaged.

Here is my preliminary checklist (alphabetical by state):  Southern Land Record:  State by State

VIRGINIA (West Virginia until 1863, Kentucky until 1792, parts of Tennessee until 1796, parts of Ohio until 1803, parts of North Carolina–remember that “…in the beginning, all was Virginia.”)

Large Plantations and Manors Records, including

__Farm Books

__Account Books and Files

Land Companies and Speculators

__Double-entry Bookkeeping Ledgers

“The One Hundred”–Virginia Men with the largest numbers of acres, slaves, cattle

__Quit Rents, 1704

__Northern Neck Indexed Lists , 1770’s

Warrants, Surveys, Grants


__Indexes, Published Entries to 1783

__Cavaliers and Pioneers, 8 vols.

__Northern Neck, 4 vols.

__Digitized Documents, Library of Virginia website,

Biographical Dictionary of Early Virginia, 1607-1660, ed Ransom B. True, 22 microfiche FHL# 6332718; Guide and Supplement FHL# 1750757, item 21.

__Lists of Inhabitants, 1782-1785, Virginia.  Check against originals–spellings are a challenge.

__No Conveyance if Land Descends to Heirs

__Slave Rental Agreements, Wage Lists

__Bounty Lands Awarded Ohio, Kentucky, North Carolina (along Virginia line), Southwest Pennsylvania

__Will Filed in Place of Residence Transfers Title Wherever Located

__Surveyors’ Ledgers and Files for every County, Some Indexed


__Spanish Land Grants

__Indexed Grants Online, Texas State Archives

__Natchez Trace Collection, 1759-1813, FHL 10 microfilm reels (incl MS and LA Territories)


__Septennial Military Censuses (with tax rolls every 7 years)

__Jurisdiction Overlap in Virginia and North Carolina

__New York Land Speculators and their Records

__Glasgow Land Frauds,2 vols, ed  A. Bruce Pruitt

__Military Bounty Lands, 2 Districts

__Indian Lands Reserved, then opened to settlers

__Indexed Land Entries Made by Entry-Taker

__Indexed Surveys for Middle Tennessee, 3 volumes

__TVA Relocation Files, 1934-1954, FHL 41 reels of microfilm

SOUTH CAROLINA (included North Carolina until        )

__South Carolina Name Index to Genealogical Records Collected by the DAR,              FHL# 6052835, 102 microfiche

__Slave Deeds and Mortgages

__Large Plantations

__Original Counties were called Districts until 1868


__Bounty Lands Awarded in Tennessee, edited and indexed by A. Bruce Pruitt

__Land Grants Indexed to 1776

__Early Settler Maps, selected counties

__Powers of Attorney Filed in Other Counties and States

__Organizing Petitions Submitted from Counties, with Signatures

__Cherokee Indian Agency Records, Indexed 1801-04

__ (County Register of Deeds with GIS maps)


__Colonial Records Centralized:  Land, Tax, Court, Probate

__Card Index to Testamentary Proceedings, State-Wide Finding Aid

__Lands for Pennsylvania Recorded in Frederick County MD

__Free People of Color (majority of blacks)

__Named Land Tracts

__Plantations and Manors

__Debt Books, Rent Rolls–include chain of title

__Wills Filed Where Lands are Located–copy of will filed in every county where land located

__Westward of Fort Cumberland, ed Mary K. Meyer, Revolutionary War Bounty Lands

TO BE CONTINUED, stay tuned.  Your favorite Virginia genealogist, Arlene Eakle

PS  You will find Virginians in every Southern State,  bringing with them elements of Virginia laws and traditions.









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