For a lot of Americans of European descent, Virginia was a port of entry and jumping-off point for their immigrant ancestors in the 17th and 18th centuries.1 Virginia's draw of land with richly fertile soil combined with the promise of freedom was attractive to many arrivals to the New World.2
Among the plentiful resources available for Virginia genealogical research is its extensive collection of land records. Land records, as we know, can shed light on a great many things about our ancestors like their socioeconomic status, exact location of their property and familial connections. And while some indexes may provide a summary of the information in the document, examining the original record is vital for sound genealogical research and forming correct conclusions.
October, being Family History Month, is a great time to shine a spotlight on a particular record set housed in the Library of Virginia. One of the best repositories for all things Virginia, a special gem is their digitized land office patents and grants (Library of Virginia Online Catalog Search Page).
The above link leads directly to the search page of the library's Online Catalog. To begin searching, select Virginia Land Office Patents and Grants, enter an ancestor's name and an optional date range and click submit.
(Online Catalog Search Page – Library of Virginia)
The results page will look like this:
(Online Catalog Search Results – Library of Virginia)
In this search, the land grant of interest is for William McDaniel dated 1 January 1838. Clicking on that link will take you to a page with another link to the image and a plethora of additional information. See below:
(Online Land Grant Description – Library of Virginia)
Aside from the land grant itself, bonus information includes microfilm source information, whether the original survey exists and where to find it. These and other documents that may have been created around the land transaction can provide more detail about your ancestor's life and associates, helping to add even more information about even the most elusive of them.
And, finally, you have the original record: