Obtaining a land grant was a multi-step process that generated several types of documents, specifically warrants, surveys, and receipts (see above image). The documents associated with a specific grant were identified and placed in long thin envelopes called “shucks” in the early 1900s. The first image shown above is the shuck, and it also contains a summary of the grant. These documents are cataloged at the State Archives of NC as “Secretary of State Records Group: Land Warrants, Plats of Survey and Related Records”. They are informally known as land grant loose documents, land grant files, or land grant shucks. All the documents were microfilmed in the 1990s and 2000s, resulting in over 800 reels sorted by county. Digital copies of these reels may be obtained from the archives for $16 per reel.
HELP GET THESE IMAGES ON THIS WEBSITE
The NC Land Grants website has around 20% of the shuck images online and available to the public for no charge. The cost of digitizing all the reels is more than we can afford right now, so we have started a project through our parent organization, NC Historical Records Online, to ask for donations to get them all online. Since the project started we have received funding for another 45% of the images, so we’re around 2/3 of the way there! Click here for more information.
WHERE ELSE TO FIND THESE DOCUMENTS
1. The State Archives of NC has all the microfilm reels available for free public viewing at their facility in Raleigh NC. Please check here first before visiting. The Virtual Shuck page for each grant will tell you the specific reel. Making paper copies of each frame costs $0.25, but it is possible to get decent copies using a digital camera or your phone. The original documents are not available to the public for preservation reasons. The archives will also mail you copies for you for a fee. See https://archives.ncdcr.gov/researchers/services/ordering-copies. You can also have the reels digitized yourself, and if you do so we would like to get copies of them. Use the link at the end of #1 for information about this.
2. The FamilySearch website has digitized their copies of these reels and has them available on their free website. However, they are not indexed to the grant so you will have to work to find the shucks you are looking for. They also do not provide the archives film number so you have to find the correct reel using the county and file number.
3. The images are available on pay sites, but please read the information on this website about each grant to make sure you understand what you are looking at – they don’t give you much assistance.