Illinois Ancestors: Bounty land records valuable

Illinois Ancestors: Bounty land records valuable

It is not surprising that many genealogists have not tapped into the vast resources found in military bounty records. There have been so many federal and state laws, federal and state jurisdictions, and missing records as well, that the task may seem too daunting to tackle.

Noted genealogists such as Sandra Luebking and Lloyd de Witt Bockstruck have written books on the subject, but unless the "entire picture" is understood, the topic can be troublesome to researchers. Christine Rose has solved this problem with her new book, "Military Bounty Land 1776-1855," and both Luebking and Bockstruck have high praise for this book's extensive coverage.

During the early years of this country, free land (bounty land) was offered as an inducement to enlist for military service or to remain in service, or as a reward for service (and to establish veterans in "vulnerable border areas.") Obviously there are many records of those 550,000 veterans (or widows or heirs) who settled on over 60 million acres! Finding such records for the valuable genealogical information they may contain is the challenge for researchers.

Rose's new work describes the process needed for obtaining this free land, where the federal lands are located, the application files, warrants (federal and Virginia), and finding aids for locating Revolutionary War records. An entire chapter is devoted to Revolutionary War records pertaining to Virginia and the records in the states of Georgia, Massachusetts, Maryland, New York, North Carolina/Tennessee, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina. Bounty land offered after the War of 1812 includes information about the Illinois Tract.

Unindexed bounty records "are among the most genealogically valuable files relating to military service," having information found nowhere else. Case studies showing how to conduct a search, finding aids (including some new guides, both published and online), a bibliography, an index, and an appendix containing a chronological listing of all the statutes of the Continental Congress and the U.S. Congress relating to Military Bounty Land (with importance of each law identified in the sidebar) all make this work a necessary part of any researcher's genealogical library.

"Military Bounty Land 1776-1855" is a 176-page softcover book, 8x11 inches, ISBN 978-092962620-8, that can be purchased from the publisher, CR Publications, 761 Villa Teresa Way, San Jose, CA 95123 for $19.95 plus $5.60 shipping, or ordered online from the author's website at

Rose is a board-certified genealogist and lecturer whose other books can also be ordered from her website. She is also editor and founder of the quarterly Rose Family Bulletin and was columnist for the Federation of Genealogical Society's "Forum" for almost 25 years.

Technology reads tombstones

An anthropology professor, Grant Aylesworth, has begun a new project in partnership with the archaeological services unit of the Government of New Brunswick, reading 250-year-old "illegible" tombstones using 3-D software models derived from photos taken with a regular digital camera.

He notes, "This new technology is enabling us to digitally preserve the old tombstones, important for many researchers (and) bring back the name of a person that was lost to history." Read more of this account at

"So far, the results have found the name of an English soldier who served at the fort . Aylesworth is planning to involve students in local field research this summer."

Tombstones in Ireland

At the website of Ireland Genealogy Projects Archives at one may search for images of tombstones in several counties in Ireland. For example, a search for photos taken in County Antrim offers a list of 9 groups of photos; a click on any will take one to those photos, which can then be enlarged by another click of the mouse. Other county records are available as well.

Quaker obituary index

An index to obituaries and death notices in the "American Friend," a Quaker magazine published between 1894 and 1960, can be searched at This website also provides details on how the index was compiled and some of the information abstracted from the obituaries.

For example, a search for "Haworth" resulted in 101 "hits" including the following: "Tharp, Gertrude Haworth, D. 3-21-1958, Danville, Ill, bur. Georgetown, Ill, b. 1875 (5-1-1958, p. 143)." Also, "Fletcher, Mahala Haworth, D. 10-11-1926, Christman, Ill. 84 y (12-9-1926, p. 808)."

Several other Haworth deaths in the Vermilion County area are identified.

Queries, genealogical questions from researchers and genealogical materials readers would like to share will be printed in this column free. Joan Griffis may be reached via email at or by sending a letter to Illinois Ancestors, c/o The News-Gazette, P.O. Box 677, Champaign, IL 61824-0677.

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