Book Review: Military Bounty Land 1776-1855, by Christine Rose

Prepared by Gena Philibert-Ortega.

Genealogist Christine Rose's newest book is one that will provide researchers the opportunity to learn more about a seldom approached topic. Land records, an important aspect of genealogical research is often one of the most misunderstood. Learning, using, and analyzing land records is one of the more difficult genealogical topics to master. Even fewer resources address bounty land grants, just one of the ways your American ancestor may have received land. Christine Rose's new book, Military Bounty Land 1776-1855 adds to the reference works available to genealogists on land records including the book Land & Property Research in the United States by E Wade Hone.

Bounty land was land given by the federal government in exchange for an individual's military service. This land may have been given as an incentive to enlist or to remain in the military. Cash-strapped but land rich, the federal government used land as an enticement. Some states also provided bounty land for military service. Begun as a way to attract Revolutionary War soldiers, providing bounty land ended in 1855. The importance of bounty land records can be found in the book's Preface, "Documents produced by the process initiated by federal bounty land legislations can be impressive. Evidence of marriages, deaths, Bible records, letters written by family members, physical description, names of heirs, and much more might be found in the document packets" (pg. xvii). Rose goes on to point out that an understanding of the laws around bounty land grants is essential to finding information for your military ancestor.

Topics addressed in this book include Revolutionary War Federal and State Bounty Land; Bounty land for service in the War of 1812; Unindexed Bounty; Federal Land Patents; and Finding Aids. A comprehensive appendix lists the laws relating to bounty land. For those who want to learn more, the bibliography includes books about military service and records associated with military service. This book is a nice combination of history, laws, and finding aids information so that you can find the bounty land for your ancestor.

This book should be on every U.S. researcher's bookshelf. It is one of those must have reference books that you will want to read and refer back to over and over again as you become more familiar with bounty land. Christine Rose has several other books that researchers will be interested in. You can find a list of these books on her website.

Military Bounty Land 1776-1855, by Christine Rose. CR Publications, 2011.

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