Land Patents and Bounty Land Warrants
I spent many happy hours yesterday searching the Bureau of Land Management – General Land Office records and even though in the previous post I cited just the Holmes records I found, I also found many for other branches of the family as well. The new site is in beta, but I was so pleasantly surprised to find they not only include land patents (proof of purchase of land) for individuals, but also bounty land warrants paid for military service.
If you search the BLM-GLO site make sure you have both the patentees and warrantees boxes checked. Searching the patentees is great for land documentation and to help determine when your family member might have first arrived in that location.
But by checking both you can see if your ancestor was perhaps a veteran of some military service, etc. too. Keep in mind also that even if your person is listed as a patentee, he might show up with someone else who had a bounty land warrant. Why is that important? Because there might be a chance your ancestor was buying land from a family member! A good rule of thumb is to discount nothing or make assumptions. What if that person who was buying the land eventually married the land owner’s daughter, or was already married to her?
I know it’s hard to see in the image above, but there is a very exciting (to me) “W” for William S. Holmes which going by the date of the Act authorizing it, was most likely for raising for a limited time a military force (February 11, 1847).
Where Would I Go From Here?
First of all, I would do some research on Captain Heintzelman mentioned in William S. Holmes’ warrant, and try to match up the company and regiment with the two men; then, I would do some further checking to see if there were any marriages or some kind of connection to the Robert Hett Chapman who bought land from W. S. Holmes.
If you’re doing your own search, make sure you click on the tab for “Related Documents” also. Bounty land was a remarkable way for veterans to accumulate wealth by selling off their land to those who could afford it.
Not all the states have records available through the land records site, but they do provide resource links for most states.