The Library of Virginia has a free collection of Virginia Land Grants and Land Patents.

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The index includes:

Land Patents issued prior to 1779 (1623-1774)

“With the abolition of the charter of the Virginia Company of London in 1624, the administration of the colony was placed directly under the crown. As this included the disposal of land, it fell to the governor to use his broad powers to issue land patents. In 1634 the Privy Council authorized the patenting of lands under the principle of granting patents to any person who qualified as a planter. In practice, the acreage was awarded to the person who paid the transportation cost of the emigrant and not to the settler himself. This method, called the headright system, was employed as the major means of distributing virgin lands in the 17th century.” For more background

Land Grants issued by the Virginia Land Office after 1779 (1779-1993)

“The Virginia Land Office was established in 1779 by the General Assembly and was headed by a Register “appointed from time to time, by joint ballot of both houses of assembly. . . . ” It was the responsibility of the Register to carry out the very carefully structured legislation that provided the procedure for obtaining waste and unapproriated lands. …Under the act, any person could purchase as much land as desired upon payment to the Treasurer of a fee of forty pounds for one hundred acres. In return the purchaser was given a receipt, that was then given to the Auditor of Public Accounts, who issued a certificate noting the amount of land to which the person was entitled. The certificate was taken to the Land Office where the Register entered a warrant authorizing a surveyor to lay off the land. The warantee entered a claim to the land by depositing the warrant with the surveyor of the county in which the land was located.” For more background

Land Grants issued in the Northern Neck from 1692-1862

“This collection consists of recorded copies of grants issued for land in the Northern Neck from 1692 to 1862 when the territory encompassing the present state of West Virginia withdrew from the Commonwealth to enter the Union. The formation of West Virginia eliminated the major source of available land in Virginia. Eighteen additional instruments dated as late as 1874 were entered in the final volume before these books were closed. Gaps in the records exist for the period 1719–1722 and 1732–1736. Following the recitation of the ownership of the Northern Neck are the name of the grantee, the description of the land, any reservations for the proprietor, and the date on which the grant was signed.” For more background

Original and Northern Neck surveys, 1786-1874 (unrecorded Northern Neck surveys prior to 1782)

“The Northern Neck, or “Fairfax Proprietary,” consisted of 5,282,000 acres located between the Rappahannock and Potomac Rivers. In 1649, King Charles II, then in exile, gave this unsettled region to seven loyal supporters, including Lord Fairfax. By 1688 most of the region was owned by Thomas, Lord Culpeper. Lord Culpeper’s daughter married Thomas, Lord Fairfax, in 1690, and the region became synonymous with the Fairfax name.” “Three collections of records comprise the surveys related to land grants in the Northern Neck. The Northern Neck Surveys, 1697, 1722–1781, and the Northern Neck Plats and Certificates, 1786–1874, are unrecorded documents arranged in folders. While they are indexed online, the documents themselves are not available as part of the online collection. The Northern Neck Survey, 1786–1874, consists of recorded documents that are indexed and available online.” For more background

Chronological Display of all Land Patents and Grants

Chronological Display of Northern Neck Grants and Surveys Index

 

 

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