Source Information

Ancestry.com. U.S. War Bounty Land Warrants, 1789-1858 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2007.
Original data:
  • U.S. Revolutionary War Bounty Land Warrants Used in the U.S. Military District of Ohio and Relating Papers (Acts of 1788, 1803, and 1806), 1788-1806; Microfilm Publication M829, 16 rolls; ARC ID: 635444. Records of the Bureau of Land Management, Record Group 49; National Archives at Washington, D.C.
  • War of 1812 Military Bounty Land Warrants, 1815-1858; Microfilm Publication M848, 14 rolls; ARC ID: 4923870. Records of the Bureau of Land Management, Record Group 49; National Archives at Washington, D.C.

About U.S. War Bounty Land Warrants, 1789-1858

This database contains bounty land warrants issued to veterans of the U.S. Revolutionary War between 1789 and 1833, and to veterans of the War of 1812 between 1815 and 1858. It also contains some related papers of the Revolutionary War warrants that date to as late as 1880. Bounty land warrants were certificates given to eligible veterans granting them rights to free land on the public domain.

Historical Background:

During the Revolutionary War the Continental Congress promised bounty land as an inducement to military service. For this war and other wars in which the United States engaged during the years 1812-1855, the issuance of bounty land warrants to veterans or their heirs as a form of reward for service was continued.

The Acts:

The warrants for Revolutionary War service were issued under acts of July 9, 1788, March 3, 1803, and April 15, 1806.

The 1788 act gave free land in the public domain to officers and soldiers who continued to serve during the Revolutionary War or, if they were killed, to their representatives or heirs. The resolution provided that a private or noncommissioned officer would be entitled to 100 acres of bounty land, an ensign to 150 acres, a lieutenant to 200 acres, a captain to 300 acres, a major to 400 acres, a lieutenant colonel to 450 acres, a colonel to 500 acres, a brigadier general to 850 acres, and a major general to 1,100 acres.

A 4,000 square mile tract was located in the Northwest Territory and was set aside for these land warrants. This area came to be known as the U.S. Military District of Ohio. Originally the lands in this district were to be distributed by January 1, 1800. By the end of 1802 about 14,000 warrants had been issued. However, additional time was needed to locate warrants and to grant warrants to soldiers with late applications or uncompleted claims. Congress passed the act of 1803, which was later amended by the act of 1806, to extend the time limit.

The first series of warrants for War of 1812 service were issued under acts of December 24, 1811, January 11, 1812, and May 6, 1812, in which Congress provided that noncommissioned officers and soldiers serving for 5 years (unless discharged sooner), or their heirs, would be entitled to 160 acres of land from the public domain in partial compensation for their military service. Six million acres of land in the Territories of Michigan, Illinois, and Louisiana were set aside for this purpose.

The second series resulted from an act of December 10, 1814, by which Congress doubled the acreage offered to soldiers enlisting after that date. Warrants issued under the act were called Double Bounty Warrants.

About the Revolutionary War Warrants:

The first series includes warrants issued under the act of July 9, 1788 (numbered 1-14220). Most of the warrants from 1-6912 in this first series were destroyed during the War Department fires in 1800 and 1814. Beginning with warrant 6913, most of the actual warrants are intact. Those that are missing are presumed to be lost or not surrendered by the veteran or his heirs.

The second series comprises warrants issued under the acts of March 3, 1803, and April 15, 1806. The warrants are numbered from 1-272 under the act of 1803, and continue from 273-2119 under the act of 1806. A series of 18 additional warrants issued under later acts is also included.

Warrants usually contain the following information:

  • Date of issuance

  • Name and rank of veteran

  • State from which enlisted

  • Name of heir or assignee, if applicable

Note: Warrants issued at this time were assignable and were often sold by the veteran on the open market. When this was done a notation on the reverse of the warrant indicates subsequent transfers of ownership from the veteran to heirs or assignees.

About the War of 1812 Warrants:

The majority of the records for the War of 1812 are of original warrants.

Warrants 1-2519 under the act of 1812, and warrants 1-79 under the act of 1814 were detached from the original volumes. For these warrant numbers, the warrant stub is provided in place of the original warrant.

Also, the location of warrants 27116-28085 under the act of 1812, and warrants 1077-1101 under the act of 1814 is unknown by NARA. They may have been destroyed. However, copies of warrants 27116-28085 from the Veterans Administration are available on microfilmed prior their misplacement and are included in this database.

Warrants usually contain the following information:

  • Name of veteran

  • Rank on discharge from service

  • Company, regiment, and branch of service

  • Date warrant was issued

  • Usually the date the land was located and the page on which the location is recorded in Abstracts of Military Bounty Land Warrant Locations

Warrant stubs usually include the following information:

  • Warrant number

  • Name, rank, and regiment of veteran

  • Date of location and the citation from the Abstracts of Military Bounty Land Warrant Locations

Note: Warrants issued for War of 1812 service could not be transferred or assigned to another person except through inheritance.

Manuscript Indexes:

Images of manuscript indexes created by the U.S. government for both the Revolutionary War and War of 1812 warrants are included as part of this database.

The Revolutionary War warrant indexes for the first series are called “Index to the Register of Army Land Warrants” and the “Register of Army Land Warrants per Acts of 1796 and 1799.”

  • The Index to the Register contains entries arranged alphabetically by the first letter of the surname of the warrant holder who registered and located his warrant on land in the U.S. Military District of Ohio between 1799 and 1805. Entries give the warrant number, the number of acres shown on the warrant, and the page number in the register where the name of the veteran or of the warrant holder is cited.

  • The Register of Army Land Warrants contains entries arranged chronologically by date of warrant registration from April 11, 1799, to March 20, 1805. Entries give the registration date, the name of the patentee, and the name and the service rank of the warrantee.

  • The Revolutionary War warrant indexes for the second series (issued under the acts of 1803 and 1806) are called “Index to Revolutionary War Military Bounty Land Warrants Issued Under the Acts of 1803 and 1806” and the “Register of Military Land Warrants Presented at the Treasury for Locating and Patenting, 1804-1835.”

    • Entries in the Index to Land Warrants usually indicate the veteran’s name, warrant number, and the act under which the warrant was issued, and may contain a cross-reference notation to the scrip application number.

    • Entries in the Register of Military Land Warrants are arranged chronologically by date of warrant registration, 1804-1835. Each entry provides the registration date, the name of the person presenting the warrant for registration, the warrant number; the name and the service rank of the warrantee; the number of acres shown on the warrant; the location of the warrant by lot, township, and range in the U.S. Military District of Ohio; the date on which a patent for the land was received; and to whom the patent was delivered.

      There are four manuscript indexes which apply to both series of the War of 1812 warrants. These indexes are:

      1. Alphabetical Index of Missouri Patentees - Entries arranged alphabetically by name of patentee and include date of patent, warrant number, warrantee’s military rank, company in which served, and legal description of the land.
      2. Index of Arkansas Patentees - Entries arranged alphabetically by first letter of surname of patentee and contain GLO patent book citation, legal land description, and warrant number.
      3. Partial Index of Illinois Patentees - Only contains surnames beginning with “C” and “D”. Entries include veteran’s name, company, and regiment of service, warrant number, and Abstract citation.
      4. Index of Patentees Under the Act of 1842 - Entries are arranged alphabetically by first two letters of surname of patentee and include GLO patent book citation, legal land description, and warrant number.

    How to Use This Database:

    The following information has been keyed from the manuscript indexes just described and can be used to search this database in the above search template:

    • Name of veteran/warrantee

    • Warrant Year

    • Warrant Number

    The Warrant Number has also been keyed from the actual warrant record. In most cases, performing a search through the search template will yield results with links to images of both the index and the warrant, identified by the corresponding Warrant Numbers.

    You may also browse this record collection and locate a particular individual by first finding them in one of the indexes and then using the Warrant Number and other information listed in the index to locate them in the appropriate set of warrant records.

    Not all individuals who were granted military land warrants will be found in this collection. Warrants that were never surrendered by the veterans, their heirs, or assignees are not included in these records.

    Abbreviations and Translations:

    The following abbreviations and latin words may be found in these records:

    et = and
    et al = and others
    hr = heir
    hrs = heirs
    ux = wife
    uxor = wife

    *Description information taken from the following sources. For more information on these record collections, please consult these two references.

    U.S. Revolutionary War Bounty Land Warrants Used in the U.S. Military District of Ohio and Related Papers (Acts of 1788, 1803, 1806), NARA Descriptive Pamphlet, M829. Washington, D.C.: National Archives, 1972.

    War of 1812 Military Bounty Land Warrants 1815-1858, NARA Descriptive Pamphlet, M848. Washington, D.C.: National Archives, 1975.