In 1779 the Virginia General Assembly passed legislation that established the land patenting process for appropriating land in Kentucky County. A variety of land warrants and special legislative acts could be used to initiate a patent. Under the terms of the 1789 Compact with Virginia, Kentucky agreed to honor patents issued prior to Kentucky's statehood on June 1, 1792. The land patenting process continued after statehood.
This website allows researchers to access files for both the Virginia and Old Kentucky Patent Series. Files can be accessed by patent number or grantee. A number of other search functions are also available:
- Caveats - Caveats were filed to halt a land patent in progress until a court could determine whether the land had previously been patented. Caveat papers often include references to the dates of settlement by the claimant, the claimant's county of residence and other information deemed necessary to prove a prior claim. Caveat papers may include the court's judgment affecting the issuance of the grant.
- Unfinished Patents - These warrants and surveys either did not result in Governor's grants finalizing patents, or the appropriate files have not yet been identified.
- Unused Warrants - Patents authorized by these warrants have not yet been linked to any patent files.
Land Office staff has compiled a list of selected patents that exemplify various warrants or historical references.