Defintions for terms marked with * are specific to North Carolina but may apply to other states
ACRE. A unit of area equal to 160 square POLES or 43,560 square feet. There are 640 acres in a square mile.
BOUNTY LAND. Vacant land given as a reward for service, typically military
CAVEAT. A court challenge to an ENTRY for a LAND GRANT, often because the land was not actually vacant.
CHAIN. A unit of distance equal to 66 feet.
CHAIN BEARER. A person who assists a surveyor when surveying land
CHAIN OF TITLE. The history of ownership transfers for a particular piece of land
COTT SYSTEM INDEX. A system for locating DEEDS often used in NC
DEED. A instrument for transfer of land between private persons or organizations.
DEED BOOKS. A set of bound volumes where DEEDS & GRANTS are recorded by the county.
DOWER LAND. Land set aside for a widow, rules varied over time until practice was eliminated.
EJECTMENTS. A legal process used to settle land disputes. Rules varied over time.
ENTRY. The process of requesting a LAND GRANT.
EXECUTIONS. Court orders to sell land in order to satisfy a judgment against the landowner.
GIS. Geographic Information System. Software often used by counties to map and display land
GRANT NUMBER *. A number assigned to each LAND GRANT when it was issued. Grant numbers were sometimes reused so these should not be used as a unique identifier.
GRANTEE. The party buying or receiving land, typically by DEED or PATENT
GRANTOR. The party selling or transferring land, typically by DEED or PATENT.
GRANVILLE GRANT *. LAND GRANTS issued in the northern part of NC from 1748-1763 by the Earl of Granville. These are technically DEEDS, but this terminology is widely used.
HEADRIGHT. The rights for a specific amount of acreage per person immigrating to the colony of NC. The rules varied over time until the practice was eliminated.
FILE NUMBER *. A unique number assigned to each LAND GRANT within a county. These are sometimes suffixed with letters, e.g. 843AA. File numbers starting with “0”, e.g. 0148, are used when loose documents exist but no grant was recorded in the PATENT BOOKS.
ISSUE DATE *. The date a LAND GRANT was officially transferred to the GRANTEE.
LAND GRANT. A grant of a land PATENT; transfer of vacant government land to private party.
LINK. A unit of distance equal to 1/100 of a CHAIN
MARS *. A system used by the State Archives of NC to track holdings. It is available online, and contains searchable records for all LAND GRANTS but no document images.
MCCULLOH TRACTS *. Land originally part of a 1.2 million acre 1737 grant to Henry McCulloh, divided into 12 tracts. Although older sales were of vacant land, these are considered DEEDS and not GRANTS. Unsold land reverted to the state after the revolution.
METES and BOUNDS. A system used to describe property boundaries. METES describe direction and distance, and BOUNDS describe boundaries
PATENT. An instrument for transfer of vacant land from the government to private ownership.
PATENT BOOKS. A set of bound volumes where PATENTS were recorded by the state.
PERCH. A unit of distance equal to 16 1/2 feet. Also called a POLE or ROD.
PLAT. A map or drawing of land being transferred.
POLE. A commonly used unit of distance equal to 16 1/2 feet. Also called a ROD or PERCH
PROCESSIONING. Verifying land boundaries. Techniques varied from informal walking along the boundaries with neighbors to more formal processes.
QUITRENT. Annual fees paid to the Lord Proprietors or Crown on a per-acre basis.
REGISTER OF DEEDS. A county official in charge of maintaining county land records.
ROD. A unit of distance equal to 16 1/2 feet. Also called a POLE or PERCH
ROOD. A unit of area equal to 1/4 of an ACRE.
SANC *. The State Archives of North Carolina http://archives.ncdcr.gov .
SHUCK *. An envelope used to hold loose LAND GRANT documents such as WARRANTS and SURVEYS. Shucks are preserved but no longer used to hold documents, now in folders.
STATE LAND STATES. Regions of the U.S. where vacant land was allocated by the state. These include the 13 original colonies and states formed from them, along with Texas and Hawaii. Other states are known as Federal or Public Land States.
SURVEY. To measure and record land boundaries; also refers to the resulting document.
VIRTUAL SHUCK *. A feature of the website http://nclandgrants.com which combines images and data for a specific LAND GRANT on a single webpage, regardless of the source
WARRANT. An order to SURVEY requested land for a PATENT.