Research Help

The Revolutionary War Warrants Database enables you to determine (1) whether an ancestor received a military warrant, (2) whether he assigned the warrant, (3) whether the warrant was used in Kentucky, and (4) what Kentucky survey(s) were authorized by the warrant.

If you find that your ancestor was issued a warrant, there will be a scanned image of the warrant at the bottom of the screen. Warrants do not identify particular tracts or locations; this was intentionally omitted by the Virginia Land Office so that it would be easier for veterans to sell or trade their allotments in the event they preferred to stay in Virginia or move to an area other than a military district. It also enabled buyers, who frequently were agents working for wealthy speculators, to purchase several warrants and patent large tracts.

If a veteran sold his warrant before the document was actually issued, the assignee's name is included in the database. If a veteran received his warrant and then assigned it, the assignee's name will appear on the survey and/or grant.

You should study all documents pertaining to the military warrant, including the original warrant issued to the veteran or his assignee(s), the actual survey and the governor's grant. Original signatures are included on original documents, which can prove useful when matching signatures to marriage bonds or pension applications, for example. Original documents are filed with the Secretary of State's Land Office, Capitol Annex, Frankfort, KY 40601 and are available on microfilm from the Research Libarary, Kentucky History Center, 100 W. Broadway, Frankfort, KY 40601 and the Department for Libraries and Archives, 300 Coffee Tree Road, Frankfort, KY 40601.

If you locate your ancestor on the Revolutionary War Warrants Database but the "Authorized" field is blank, this office did not locate any surveys in Kentucky authorized by that warrant because the warrant was never used, its number was not identified in the patent or it was used in the Ohio Military District (also reserved for Virginia veterans). You can contact the Ohio Historical Society, Velma Street, Columbus, OH 43211, for research suggestions.

If you find your ancestor received a warrant with significant acreage but research indicates the entire allotment was not located in Kentucky, it is possible the remaining allotment was patented in Ohio.

If you cannot locate your ancestor on this database, consider whether he might have served for a state other than Virginia, as veterans from other states had different military districts, and some states had no districts at all so that bounty land warrants could not be awarded. Additionally, some veterans refused their bounty land warrants because they felt their service was a patriotic duty. (Frequently they or their heirs applied for bounty land when pensions were requested.)

Results of Database Research

  • 4748 military warrants were issued by Virginia for the Kentucky Military District. James Askew received Military Warrant #1 on August 8, 1782. Henry Bedinger received Military Warrant #4627 on October 29, 1793. Three numbers were skipped, and there were 121 duplicate numbers issued.
  • Warrants were assignable, meaning they could be sold or transferred, particularly if the veteran preferred cash to a military district relocation. For that reason, some veterans chose to accept their bounty land in small denominations. For example, a veteran allowed 4,000 acres might accept the payment in one warrant or in four warrants of 1,000 acres each. Thus, it is difficult to determine ow many different veterans received bounty land warrants - one veteran could receive several.
  • Some veterans served longer than three years. Although they received a previous warrant, they were given a second warrant for additional service time.
  • The largest tract issued was 15,000 acres to Major General Baron Friederick Wilhelm Von Steuben for his service at Valley Forge. The smallest tracts were for 100 acres.
  • The Military District was reserved for veterans of the Virginia Continental Line (national troops) and the Virginia State Line (equivalent of the National Guard). 3,247 military warrants were issued to Continental Line veterans, and 1,444 military warrants were issued to State Line veterans. One warrant was issued for service at Valley Forge and one for the Director of the Virginia State Hospital. Unit of service was known for 52 warrants. Branches of service, based on information from the warrants, are:
    • 4263 unknown
    • 21 identified by regiment
    • 4 Crockett's Regiment
    • 1 Valley Forge
    • 253 Navy
    • 8 Light Dragoons
    • 4 Garrison Regiment
    • 1 Continental Hospital
    • 102 Artillery
    • 7 Army
    • 2 Illinois Regiment
    • 71 Cavalry
    • 6 Infantry
    • 2 Maj. Neilson's Cavalry

Soldiers from Kentucky who served with General George Rogers Clark did not receive bounty land warrants for the Kentucky Military District. Their warrants had to be used in Indiana. For more information, please contact the Clark County Surveyor's Office in Jeffersonville, IN.