This monumental three-volume reference work is based on official government records on file in the Virginia Land Office and on documents in the Archives Department of the Virginia State Library. The records are of several classes–bounty warrants, military certificates, exchange warrants, and land vouchers–and they establish absolute proof of Revolutionary service and of the descent of bounty land. At the conclusion of the Revolutionary War, soldiers were invited to make application for bounty land promised them by Congress. The first warrants for land were issued in 1784 for lands in Kentucky and Ohio.
Before he was awarded bounty, the soldier was required to submit proof of service in the form of certificates and affidavits. These certificates reveal genealogical data of unequaled strength and authenticity, indicating particulars of rank, regiment, and service. Some soldiers took up their grants, moving with their families to make new homes, but others assigned their land to sons or other relatives, while still others sold their interest and title in the land to other pioneer families. In a great many cases the soldier’s heirs applied for a warrant for which the soldier himself had not applied, and records of their claims are included in this work. Such “exchange warrants” contain the names of all heirs-at-law, executors, dates, and places. It is through these claims that the majority of useful genealogical data comes to light, for, among other things, they demonstrate proof of relationship. Annexed to these claims are certificates of heirship, wills and powers of attorney, and dates of birth and death and place of residence of the Revolutionary soldier. Further information includes the number of the warrant, exact number of acres granted, and date issued.
The material in this work is compiled in the form of abstracts and is arranged throughout in a series of articles, some running as many as three or four pages. The several thousand names mentioned in the articles can be readily located in the indexes to the set, which is regarded as a major source for Virginia genealogy.