We’ve recently been helping a client discover more about an ancestor who lived in North Carolina in the mid- to late-1700s. Southern U.S. research that’s this early requires a careful look at existing documents, especially since often there aren’t nearly as many documents available as there are for the mid- to late-1800s. We were happy to find that this particular ancestor had received a state land grant from North Carolina so we could obtain more information about him as we searched for the link to his parents.
Where deeds between private individuals generally involve only one document registered with the county, state land grants usually generate four separate documents. First, an entry was made to the state or county office by an individual who wanted to claim a parcel of land. Next, a survey would be ordered and performed to ensure that the land being claimed was available. Then a warrant (order) would be issued granting that parcel of land to the individual after the appropriate fees had been paid. All of these documents can help provide additional details about an ancestor.
You can use the patent number and the Manuscript and State Archives System (or MARS) of the North Carolina State Archives to obtain these additional documents. These often contain a map of the exact location of the land along with other information.
Our thanks to Virginia Rush, one of our expert Southern U.S. researchers, for her work in these early North Carolina deeds.