Bertie County, NCGenWeb Project Page -- Land Research Last update:Monday, 10-Sep-2018 11:11:22 MDT


Pre-Revolution | Land from Virginia |Legal Terms

Helpful Page on understanding Land Research as well as terms used in Deeds.

Early Land Settlement

Established in 1664, Albemarle encompassed the newly formed Lord's Propietors' province of Carolina. The land under a royal charter from King Charles II all belonged to eight Lord Proprietors. Settlers could only obtain land by their GRANT, and it was thereafter subject to quitrents paid to the Proprietors who in the most part were absentee landlords.

Proprieters could give Land Patents in two ways:

In 1728, all the Proprietors (except Lord Carteret - Granville) sold their rights to the Crown. This Granville District was bounded by Virginia on the North and ran from the Coast, along the southern boundaries of Chatham, Randolph, Davidson and Rowan Counties. (You might need to know this if your ancestors migrated from that area to Bertie)

From 1728, land grants (in what would be Bertie County), were made from the King and approved by the Council. After Independence one of the first acts of the General Assembly (1777)was opening Land Offices throughout the state of North Carolina.

Each County appointed a Surveyor and an Entry Taker.

Basic procedure was this:

Bertie County Court Minutes (transcribed by Wynette Haun) record this as: "14th Feb 1743. Mordecai White proved his Rights to wit 7 whites". Thus he brought in 6 other people and was proving his headright. In some instance the Court Minutes actually lists the names of the people he brought in and claimed.

NC has 3400 land patents of the Proprietary period. Sec of State Land Grant Office, Raleigh . Books Hoffman used were 1,2,3,5,7,8,9,13.

No original papers survive, but they are amazingly complete. There may be some missing years, but in some instances the Lord Proprietors actually closed the land office so there may not have been any land patents during those years anyway.

The King purchased land back from Proprietors in 1729, but transfer to the agents of the Crown took several months, so office didn't open again until Feb 25, 1731. Proprietor's officers continued to issue patents through Nov 1730.

The land office opened by Gov. Gabriel Johnston was on May 12, 1735.

Published Resources for Land Grants
Margaret Hofman's Book Page
Format of these books:
Abstracts in this book set up in this format:
Abstract # (work is indexed by this #)
Patent Bk #
Name of Patentee
Patent date
# of acres
Location in county/precinct on a creek or river as well as adj land 
List of names of rep of Lords Proprietors who granted the land.
Sometimes list includes any lapsed patent (failure to pay patent price)

Ms. Hoffman consulted the Sec of State Patent books; British Public Record Office in London, Provincial Auditor's reports in NC Archives and Sec of State's office in Raleigh, and records of colonial Court of Claims Archives. It is possible to obtain the full patent and surviving warrants and plats by writing to the :

Land Grant Office, New Legislative Office Bldg
Room 302
300 N. Salisbury St
Raleigh NC 27611

Sample of Land Grant
Patent Book 
1624 pg 21
George Cockburne
10 Aug 1720
440 acres in Chowan Precinct on the S side of Cassia River, joining the 
N sideof Rocquis Swamp, a pocosin, a Branch and John Williams.
Witnesses: C. Eden, Thos Pollock, Wm Reed, Richd Sanderson, Fra 
Foster  (They sign almost all of them!)
Cost of Land Grants
"Even though the land might be free under the Headright system, the paperwork was expensive. Average farmer earned 100 pounds/yr. Cost of patent alone cost nearly 12 pounds if the tract of land was one square mile 640 acres. The governor received 10 shillings for signing the patent; governor's secrtary got 5 shilling for putting a wax seal to the document; Colonial secretary's underclerks got 1 shilling 5 pence for registering the patent; clerk of Court of Claims got a shilling for his trouble and another 7 shillings 6pence for the petitioning process; auditor was entitled to 3 pd ofr entering the patent in his records; the attorney genearl receivd 2 pounds for examining the patent to be certain that the wording was correct and that the title was clearly and accurately conveyed; colonial secretary charged 5 pounds for having written out the original patent and 10 shillings for his trouble. This whole process probably cost several months earnings to obtain a clear title to the land." - M. Hofman's Province of North Carolina 1663-1729.

Practices Leading to Large Holdings

Primogeniture - All land of those dying intestate (without a will) descended to the eldest son
Fee Entails - Inheritance restricted to lineal descendants

Quit Rents

Although not always paid, "quit rents" were due the Proprietor or the Crown. Prior to 1730 the usual rent was 2 shillings/100 acres for "rental land" and 1 shilling/100 acres for "purchase land"; this doubled after 1730.

These grants were numbered consecutively for each county until about July, 1885. The Land Grant Record Books beginning in 1811 are in chronological order by date of issuance within the County. These books have since been copied (beginning as early as 1801) and you may find a duplication of grants. Microfilming of the volumes followed this same order.

Terms in Deeds AFTER Revolution