Because I’ve been hunting down Kentucky Hendricksons for a very long time, I was thrilled to discover a series of free, searchable Kentucky land records online. These records date from Revolutionary War Warrants to later patents. If you find your ancestor in one of these databases (lucky you!), you can download an image of the record or print it for your own records.
The Kentucky Secretary of State site at sos.ky.gov/land is a treasure trove of early land records, as well as excellent reference material. Follow links to the Reference Library, for example, to access a free online seminar, tips on researching Kentucky tax records, a gazetteer, and county formation table. Be sure, too, to download or print a copy of Saddlebag Notes, a four-page leaflet on the Kentucky Land Grant System.
Because Kentucky was once part of Virginia, land patents prior to statehood (1792) were authorized by the Virginia General Assembly. In 1792, the records were sent via wagon from Virginia to Frankfurt, Kentucky. And did I find my family here? Boo-hoo. I did not-but I did learn more about researching Kentucky land records than I’d ever known before.
Want to search land records in other states? Go to your ancestor’s county at the USGenWeb and see if any land databases are listed. Or, Use your favorite search engine and look for land records. (You can construct complex searches like this: +tennessee +land +records.) If your family was in Virginia, check out the Virginia Land Office Patents site.
Do you know of any free online land databases? Write and let us know and we’ll be sure to post your suggestions in another issue of the E-mail Update newsletter.
Nancy Hendrickson is a contributing editor for Family Tree Magazine. She also is a family historian, freelance writer and the author of two astronomy books. Her Web site is at www.ancestornews.com. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org