Free Resource for Virginia Land Records

I love the Library of Virginia. Every time I poke around their website, I unearth something else I can use in my genealogy research. The Land Office Grants database is no exception. It is fully searchable and covers pre-1779 land patents, grants issued by the Virginia Land Office after 1779, Northern Neck grants from 1692 to 1862 and recorded Northern Neck Surveys from 1786 to 1874.

The search interface is easy to use. You have the option to search or browse. To search, put your name of interest in the box that requests word or phrase. Then choose whether you want it to search for the word(s) anywhere, in the name, in the title, in the subject or by system number. If you're searching a full name rather than only a surname, you can have it find only results that have the names adjacent.


For the purposes of test-driving the database, I searched for records related to my Radcliff surname. Personally, I found the best results when using only a surname and selecting words anywhere for the field to search option. Once you put in your information and hit go, you get the results screen. It lists the author, title and year, among other details. The grantee is the author.

You may notice different names than what you searched. This isn't an error. By searching for a particular name anywhere in the land grant, it not only finds people with that name who were granted land, but also people with that name who were mentioned in the grant. So if someone is listed on the land grant as owning the land bordering the land being granted, they will be found in the search.


If you click on the hyperlinked title, it will take you to a page with more detail. Items on this page include URL, author, title, summary, other format, related, subjects (personal, topical and geographic), genre/form, added entry and system number. The summary gives you the size and location of the land grant and the source for the information.


By clicking on the URL hyperlink, you can get the image of the actual land grant. Some results do have more than one URL hyperlink. These are an especially nice find. They include both the land grant and the land survey.

I do want to offer one point of advice when searching these land grants. While the search does look for some variations of a name, it doesn't look for all variations. When I searched Radcliff, it brought up results for Radcliffe. However, it didn't include results for Ratcliff, Ratcliffe or Ratliff. Make sure you search all variations of a name so you don't miss records.

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