Land and property records, combined with tax digests, can be important keys to successful research in Georgia. Surviving colonial and state land grant records of Georgia, including loose, original records not available on microfilm, are in the Georgia Surveyor General Department, Floor 2V, Georgia Department of Archives and History. See also Marion R. Hemperley, The Georgia Surveyor General Department (Atlanta, Ga.: Georgia Surveyor General Department, 1982), and Pat Bryant, Entry of Claims for Georgia Landholders, 1733–1755 (Atlanta, Ga.: State Printing Office, 1975). The latter is a book of titles given to Georgians in 1755 for their lands under the trustees between 1733 and 1755.
The first effective legislation, dated 17 February 1783, concerning land grants after Georgia became a state provided for headrights and bounty-land grants. The law allowed each head of household 200 acres free as his own headright and fifty additional acres for each member of his family and each slave at a cost of from one to four shillings per acre. Grants were limited to 1,000 acres, and the grantee was responsible for paying survey and grant fees. Those who had received grants under colonial jurisdiction were entitled to the lands they occupied when the law went into effect.
The 1783 act also provided for establishing a land court in each county. A land grant applicant would appear before five justices to swear under oath concerning the size of his family and the number of slaves he owned to obtain a warrant of survey. Once the county surveyor completed his layout of the applicant’s land, a copy of the plat of survey was forwarded to the surveyor general, and the original was filed in the county. The applicant was then required to live on the land for a year and cultivate 3 percent of the total acreage. After meeting those requirements, the applicant could apply to the governor’s office for his grant and pay all fees. At that point the grant would be issued and recorded. Headright grants were made in Bryan, Bullock, Burke, Camden, Chatham, Clarke, Columbia, Effingham, Elbert, Emanuel, Franklin, Glascock, Glynn, Greene, Hancock, Hart, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Laurens, Liberty, Lincoln, Madison, McDuffie, McIntosh, Montgomery, Oconee, Oglethorpe, Richmond, Screven, Taliaferro, Tattnall, Warren, Washington, and Wilkes counties.
Bounty-land grants were made to soldiers who served in the Georgia military, civilian residents of 1781–82, and Georgia citizens who went to other states during the Revolution to continue the war. Most of the surviving Georgia Revolutionary War bounty certificates (except for civilian residents) are abstracted.
A second act of 25 February 1784 created new counties and designated some of the area as bounty lands for Georgia veterans who had served in the Continental Line or Navy. Most of the area that later became Greene County was reserved for bounty-land grants. The Georgia Department of Archives and History and the FHL have microfilm copies of original land grants.
Only Georgia has the distinction of distributing lands by lottery. Lands given to Georgia citizens by lotteries from 1805 to 1833 are in the present western and northern three-quarters of Georgia. Lotteries took place in 1805, 1807, 1820, 1821, 1827, and two in 1832. All Georgia citizens were eligible to qualify for a lottery, although the 1820, 1827, and 1832 lotteries also gave special consideration to war veterans. Published lottery books are excellent sources for pinpointing where a Georgia family lived when a lottery was held.
Where Georgians sold lots won in the lotteries, researchers will find that deeds may be valuable sources of genealogical information. Those deeds should have been recorded in the counties where the land was located, but in some cases references may be found in the counties where the owner resided. Land transaction between private individuals are recorded with the clerk of superior court in the appropriate county.
Most surviving pre-1900 county land records, including deeds and land court minutes, are on microfilm at the Georgia Department of Archives and History and the FHL. Many of the mortgage and county plat books are not included in the FHL’s microfilm collection.”
Source: Ancestry’s Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources
Clerk of Superior Court The Clerk of Superior Court has Court and Land Records from 1801.
91 Albany Ave – P.O.Box 247 – Danielsville, GA 30633
Phone: 706.795.6310 – Fax: 706.795.2209
Georgia Land Lotteries