FAQs

What is a surveyor's entry?
An entry is the second step in the land patenting process. After a warrant is obtained, the prospective landowner files an entry with the county surveyor reserving the land considered unappropriated and available for patenting. The county surveyor and his team then go to the field to perform the field survey. After the survey is complete, the warrant, survey and proof of entry are sent to the Land Office, where the governor's grant is prepared for signature. For more information regarding the patenting process in early Kentucky, see Section V of "Virginia Land Law A" and Section III of "Virginia Land Law B" on this website

Does an entry in the surveyor's book indicate land ownership?
No. Entries merely set aside land for patenting. They are subject to amendment or withdrawal if it appears all or part of the land is already taken.

Where was Lincoln County, Virginia?
Lincoln County covered one third of the former Kentucky County, Virginia. The county seat was at Harrodsburg.

Are all the entries for Lincoln County, Virginia, on the Land Office database?
No. The Military District, located from the mouth of the Green River to the Cumberland Mountains and along the Tennessee border and up the east side of the Jackson Purchase, is excluded. Entries for that area were filed with the principal surveyors of the Military District.

The current county seat for Lincoln County is Stanford; why do maps show the county seat of Lincoln County, Virginia, as Harrodsburg?
When Lincoln County, Virginia was formed in 1780, Harrodsburg was named the county seat because it seemed the most centrally located. The first (county) court ever held in Kentucky was for Lincoln County; it was organized in Harrodsburg on January 16, 1781. But in February 1781, Colonel Benjamin Logan offered ten acres of land at Logan's Station (St. Asaph), including the Buffalo Spring, for building a courthouse and other public buildings. He donated an additional 50 acres "so long as the court of Lincoln county shall continue there." At the May 1786 term, the court ordered "that the courthouse and prison be removed to the town of Standford [now Stanford] on the lands conveyed by Benjamin Logan to the court." (Source: Collins' History of Kentucky, Vol. II). When Mercer County was formed in 1785, it was decided that its county seat would be Harrodsburg.

How can this database aid a naturalist researching early Kentucky?
This database includes complete information for all Lincoln County Entries, which allows a variety of search options. For example, under the "Watercourse" function, you can search for elk, buffalo or cane (be sure to use alternate spellings and variations, as records were indexed using original spelling). You can also search for mills, salt works and other locations. If it appears the entry was involved in a patent authorized by a certificate of settlement or preemption warrant, the patent file may be available on the Certificates of Settlement & Preemption Warrants Database. If another type of warrant was used, access the Virginia and Old Kentucky Patent Series Database to verify the entry went to patent.

Are there entry books for all 120 counties?
Many county surveyors kept their entry books in their homes if an office was not available. Contact the county surveyor for the area in which you are interested to find out what entry records exist. If the county does not have a surveyor, contact the county clerk's office to determine whether the entry books are available in that office. You might also contact the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives to see if the surveyors' entry books may have been sent to Frankfort for storage and preservation.

What is the meaning of the abbreviations, "S," "W," and "A"?
Marginal notations were placed in the surveyors' entry books when the entry was surveyed ("S"), withdrawn ("W") or amended ("A"). According to the database, 3,155 entries had no marginal notations; 1,292 entries were withdrawn; 218 entries were amended; 88 entries were surveyed (additional entries may have been surveyed with no marginal notation made); 5 entries were amended and withdrawn; 4 entries were surveyed and withdrawn; and 1 entry was amended and surveyed. 

How many of each type of warrant were issued?
According to this database, entries were authorized by the following types of warrants:

  • Treasury Warrants - 3,366
  • Preemption Warrants - 389 
  • Certificates of Settlement - 232
  • Military Warrants - 213 (most for service in the French and Indian War)
  • Combination of Military and Treasury Warrants - 1
  • Road Warrant - 1
  • Unknown - 560

What are the book and page references in the search option?
Researchers can search this database by book and page of the "Lincoln Entries" section of Jillson's Old Kentucky Entries and Deeds.

Where can I research entries for Kentucky, Fayette and Jefferson Counties, Virginia?
Entries for Kentucky County, VIrginia, from November 3, 1779, to October 31, 1780 (when Kentucky County was divided), are listed in the front pages of the Jefferson County Entry Book. Microfilm of entries for Fayette County and Jefferson County (including Kentucky County entries) is available at most research libraries that specialize in Kentucky history. Books containing Lincoln and Fayette County surveyors' entries are housed with the Secretary of State's Land Office. The Jefferson County surveyors' entry books are housed with the Jefferson County Archives in Louisville.