After the Revolutionary War, the federal government awarded bounty lands to citizens and soldiers for services rendered. In its simplest form, this involved the exchange of free land for military service. Federal records of these Revolutionary War bounty land awards are well known and readily accessible to genealogists. But the federal government was not alone in rewarding its citizens and soldiers with bounty lands. Nine state governments adopted similar policies, generating even more records. Unlike the federal bounty land records, however, these state records are not centralized; instead, they are found in the various states in the form of manuscript records and printed books and are all but inaccessible to the researcher.
Lloyd Bockstruck has created a master index to state bounty land records–a Revolutionary War resource unparalleled for freshness, originality, and research potential.
The nine states that awarded bounty lands in their western reserves or on their western borders (directly affecting the future states of Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Ohio, and Tennessee) are Connecticut, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Virginia. (The basis for the Connecticut and Georgia awards, by the way, differ from the norm.)
The nine state governments created a patchwork of records, and it was therefore no easy task to create a master index. Each entry in this index contains the name of the claimant, who is usually the veteran, the state of service, the rank held, the date of the record, and the acreage. Altogether about 35,000 names appear in the index, including duplicates. While the arrangement of matter is strictly alphabetical, there is also a separate index to heirs, representatives, and other assignees mentioned in the records.