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Land grants digitization complete!

So many times, The Legal Genealogist has to remind a reader: it’s not all online.


Thanks to the untiring personal effort and commitment of one North Carolina researcher and his team, there is one set of critically important genealogical records that is now all online.

The North Carolina land grant records.

NCHRO website

Late yesterday, the word came from David McCorkle of North Carolina Historical Records Online (NCHRO): every last one of the 1.2 million images of original documents associated with all 200,000 North Carolina land grants have been fully processed and are available, free, on NCHRO’s website,

The project to secure copies of microfilmed images of land grant records from the North Carolina State Archives, digitize them, and index them so that they’re fully searchable began some years back and picked up steam when crowdsourcing efforts, including those of readers of this blog, helped move things forward.1

Now, it’s complete. All of the land grant records for North Carolina, covering the years 1663 through 1960, are now freely available — even at 3 a.m. in our bunny slippers.2

And it’s wonderful.

Land grants are how land originally went from the sovereign (the King or Lord Proprietor or State) to a private owner, and the records are on microfilm at the North Carolina State Archives. Some of them are available on Ancestry or unindexed on FamilySearch. But nowhere except on this free-open-to-the-public research website are the images and indexes so readily accessible.

So what exactly might we find?

Oh, just:

* Searchable data for 217,460 land grants including names, dates and locations for years 1663 through 1960, including 10,000 grants in what is now Tennessee
* 51,500 Images of all 200+ existing Land Patent Books with complete metes and bounds for each patent
* 1,054,000 Images of loose documents (surveys, warrants, receipts) for 88 NC and 18 TN counties
* 41,000 Images of all Lord Granville Grants including signed deeds, warrants, and surveys
* 6,300 Images of all Land Grant Entry Books copied by the state 1778 – 1795
* 1,400 records of pre-1730 land grants

And a whole bunch of that can’t be found anywhere else online, much less free online.

Seriously, anybody with North Carolina ancestors owes David and his team a big debt of gratitude. Land records are often the only surviving records that shed light on an early ancestor’s life.

And the best part of this whole thing? It’s that David and his team aren’t going to sit on their laurels.

So… what’s next for NCHRO? Sigh… I’m drooling:

With this project now complete, NCHRO is focusing on digitization of other North Carolina records that are not available online on a new website . This not only includes those held by large repositories such as SANC, but also smaller repositories that might not have the resources or expertise to put their old records online. NCHRO is also collecting images of privately held records, some of which have never been seen outside of the family holding them.3

Kudos to NCHRO.

I can’t wait to see what’s coming next.

Cite/link to this post: Judy G. Russell, “Kudos to NCHRO!,” The Legal Genealogist ( : posted 7 March 2023).


  1. See Judy G. Russell, “But some land!,” The Legal Genealogist, posted 21 May 2021 ( : accessed 7 March 2023).
  2. See NC Historical Records Online, “The Shuck Images are DONE!!!!,” posted 6 March 2023 ( : accessed 7 March 2023).
  3. See ibid.
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