This past weekend I went to the NC State Archives. I had two goals: 1) to retrieve and copy some Surry and Lincoln County Wills and estate files for a genealogy colleague and 2) retrieve copies of the ORIGINAL land grants of my Godwin ancestors in Randolph Co., NC.
Abstract books are an invaluable tool in genealogy research. Randolph Co., NC boasts three abstract books based on Land Grant records, compiled by Barbara Grigg and Albert Bruce Pruitt. The Family History Library website has a very good explanation of North Carolina land grants here and the overall land grant process here. I had several references to my Godwin family copied from these 3 abstract books:
Abstracts of land warrants : Randolph County, NC, 1778-1948
Randolph County, NC land entries, 1779, 1780 & 1783-1801
Abstracts of land entries : Randolph Co, NC, 1801-1833
Land “entries” were created when a person chose land that he intended to purchase and settle on. When an entry was created and paid for, the land was then “surveyed” by the surveyor; In NC the surveys were sent to the Secretary of State's office which in turn released a “warrant” for that land. If no one contested the warrant and all the fees were paid, a grant was then delivered to the person who made the entry. The land “entries” for Randolph County, NC were abstracted in two volumes, 1779-1795 and 1801-1833. The land “warrants” were abstracted in one volume, 1778-1948.
My goal last weekend was to retrieve all of the original documents that were referenced in the abstract books. Here is a list of what I was looking for (names and entry nos):
James Goodwin, entry numbers 153 and 296 (two warrants and two entries with no warrants)
Elijah Godwin, entry no. 1764 (1181) (no warrant issued)
Cornelius Latham, entry no. 1427 (843) (Reference to Nathan Godwin)
Cummings King, entry no. 2472 (reference to Enoch Godwin)
Richard Graves, entry no. 434 (reference to Nathan Godwin)
The first thing you do to find land grants at the archives is look in the card catalog of the Secretary of State Land Grants system. It is alphabetized by last name. So I looked for the "G" and then I pulled the drawer that had "G" and "Randolph" County. Under Randolph County section, I look for “Godwin” or “Goodwin.” I did not find any Godwins in the county. I did find the records for James Goodwin, however, they were not the entry numbers that were recorded in the abstract book. I recorded the information listed on the cards anyway. I located two other warrants in the card catalog – those of Cumings King and Richard Graves. Their relationship to my Godwin family is explained below.
The cards list the file number, entry number, entry date, grant number, grant date, book and page and location of the land. The file number is the important part. The file number is used to locate the packet that contains the survey and related documentation to the warrant/grant.
The card catalog represents all of the land “warrants” that were issued. Many land “entries” were taken out, but warrants were not issued for them either because the requestor deemed the land untillable or he moved out of the area. Therefore, some of the land “entries” I copied from the abstract books were not found in the land “warrant” card catalog.
There are two volumes of abstracts for the Randolph Co land “entries” which are divided by date. The first volume represents records recorded between 1779-1795. The introduction in the beginning of the abstract books states that the original records can be found in the NC State Archives microfilm no. S108.225, “State Agency Records, Secretary of State, Land Entry Books, 1778-1795, Randolph-Rockingham counties.” The records from the 2nd Land Entry abstract book can be found the NC State Archives in 2 bound volumes, C.R. 081.404.1 and 2. I was able to find and copy the records from the microfilmed land entries. The second set of entries from the bound volumes were not permitted to be copied, so I took digital pictures of them with my camera.
I found two land entries for James Goodwin in the microfilmed entry books. The first entry (#153) of 1785 was reassigned to John Craven. The warrant was issued to John Craven and was located in the card catalog. This land was on Richland Creek. The second entry of James Goodwin (no. 296) was entered in 1788 and was transferred from William Widdop to James Goodwin. William Widdop made the original entry to the state. This land was located on Richland Creek near John Craven’s line. I found the two warrants that were issued to James Goodwin. The file numbers from the card catalog were 1825 and 1969. Land “warrants” are found in the NC State Archives on microfilm S 108.974-989, “Secretary of State, Land Grant Section, Warrants, Plats, etc., Randolph Co.,” and are organized by file number. File no. 1825 was for grant no. 1783 issued to James Goodwin 20 Aug 1802 for 50 acres on the Deep River waters. This file was found on microfilm no. S108.981. It contained several documents including requests for transfer. This entry had been originally entered by Christian Dunbar Giles, transferred to William Giles, then to James Goodwin. The second file no. 1969 was for grant no. 1998 and was located on microfilm no. S108.982. This grant was issued 29 Nov 1803 for 7 acres on the waters of Deep River.
The entry for Elijah “Godin” was found in volume 2 of the bound entry books. It was a simple record which read: “No. 1181, Elijah Godin enters 200 Acres of land on the waters of Uharre adjoining the lines of Godfrey Luther and ____ For Compt Feb the 5th 1822.” – “Compt” means “compliment.”
I also found the entry for Nathan Godwin (1818): “No. 843, Cornelious Lathom enters 100 acres of land on the waters of Little River, adjoining the lines of Michael Luther and Nathan Goddin. April the 29th 1818.”
No “warrants” were issued for the two “entries” for James Goodwin, one for Elijah Godwin, and the entry for Cornelius Latham that mentioned Nathan Godwin as a neighbor. Elijah Godwin and his family removed to Putnam and Clay Counties, Indiana about 1828, so that is probably why he did not get a land grant. The land he had planned to inhabit probably wasn’t good land for farming or was simply abandoned because they removed to Indiana which might have boasted better farming conditions.
Several other “warrants” were retrieved and photocopied from the microfilms. John Craven’s warrant, contained in file no. 360 was photocopied because it was the land that was originally entered by James Goodwin in 1785. John Craven was issued the final grant in 1787. Richard and John Grave’s grant no. 1757 issued 1802 was also copied because in the file it mentioned Nathan Goddin as a chain carrier when the land was surveyed in 1799. This is important because it puts Nathan Godwin in Randolph Co., NC in 1799. He was last in Sampson County, NC in 1795 and enumerated on the Randolph Co Census in 1800. I pulled the file of Cumings King for a warrant issued 1824 because it mentioned Enoch Godwin as a chain carrier. This is only one of a few records that mention Enoch Godwin in North Carolina.
When I got home, I scanned all of these documents, wrote up a brief summary of each document and organized by source, and added a description of each document and source to my NC Godwin excel database file. It is important to me that I locate the original records of each abstracted record. It is always a good idea to copy the introduction pages of the abstract books for this purpose. Often the introduction will tell you where the original files are located.
When I was at the archives, I could not find the original files of the land entries for the years 1801-1833. I knew they were in a bound book, but the call number I had written down was incorrect. A gentleman offered to assist me with locating the original records. I realized he was Dr. Pruitt, the original author of the abstract books. Together we were able to identify the real call number of the bound volumes. We had to look in the County records card catalog for Randolph County. This card catalogs shows all of the call numbers for all of the records pertaining to that county. I was able to find the correct call number for the bound volumes. All with the help of Dr. Pruitt!!!