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Rhonda's Tips: Genealogy Questions Answered
by Rhonda R. McClure

February 01, 2001
See Rhonda's Previous Columns

Bounty in North Carolina

Q: My fifth great grandmother in the early 1800s (Alabama), "rode alone and on horseback, to North Carolina to secure her bounty from the government." Her husband was not a soldier in the American Revolution. What was this "bounty"? Any ideas? -- Ed

A: Depending on where you found this information, you may need to do some research. Generally when individuals received a bounty, it was land that up to that point had not been previously owned by one of the colonies. North Carolina, being one of the original colonies, had already laid claim to the land that would become the state of North Carolina.

Land given as part of the bounty land system by the Federal Government was given in areas of the newly claimed lands, primarily west of the Appalachian Mountains. Those getting land in the late 1700s and early 1800s were given land in the Northwest Territory. The Northwest Territory would eventually be divided into the states of Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Ohio was one of the states in which many bounty land warrants were redeemed.

While the Federal Government did not issue bounty land in North Carolina, the state itself did. It was one of the states that issued bounty—land warrants. While your grandmother's husband may not have been in the American Revolution, perhaps her father was and she was the only living relative and thus the heir to the bounty.

If your ancestor did indeed get land in North Carolina, then the land record should indicate how she got that land. A search of land records should be undertaken in the county to which she went. You might also want to check the Master Card File Index to North Carolina Land Grants 1679-1959. This index is available in the North Carolina Land Grant Office in Raleigh, North Carolina. It is also available on microfilm through the Family History Library.

Soldiers Named Battle

Q: I have searched and searched for any information on Confederate or Union soldiers surnamed Battle. I am especially interested in the state of Georgia, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee. How can I find this surname? -- Larry

A: If you are looking for this information online, you may be having difficulty. In the first place, such a surname as Battle will result in sites that pertain to actual battles as opposed to sites that list soldiers.

While not available online, you will want to search the Index to Compiled Service Records for Confederate Soldiers. This index is alphabetical and available on microfilm. You will want to visit your local Family History Center and search the Family History Library Catalog. These films will be listed under the heading of United States - Military Records - Civil War.

When compiling similar information on the Union soldiers, you will need to look at the individual state indexes. A similar, all encompassing, index was not created for Union records.

Another resource to checkout, is the Index to Pension Records. This is also available on microfilm. It is only for Union soldiers. The Federal Government did not authorize pensions for Confederate soldiers until the 1900s. Confederate soldiers in need of assistance after the war had to turn to the states in which they were living after the war.

Getting Started

Q: I have been interested in searching for my family roots for years. I don't know where to start. Please help me!!! This is what I know. My grandfather is from Maryland. His name is Thomas Gracie Kidwell born January 8,1919 in Ekart Mines, Maryland. His original birth name was James Robert Kidwell changed about age nine. His father a Kidwell married an Ekart. -- Kimberly

A: When beginning the search for your family history, it is a good idea to talk to any older relatives that you can. They often have information that will supply you with details necessary to further your research. The good news though is that you already have a good start with the information you have on your grandfather.

In addition to contacting the relatives, you can begin your search with the 1920 Census. You will want to search the Soundex, an index based on phonetics rather than strict alphabetical spelling, looking for a family with a one year old son.

Once you have located him in the Soundex, you will then need to go to the original census page. The Soundex card supplies you with all the necessary information to find the original page.

To help you with working in Soundex, writing down the information supplied by the relatives and to get you off to a good start with your research, I suggest that you read a book devoted to the how-to of family history. A good introductory book is The Complete Idiot's Guide to Genealogy by Christine Rose and Kay Ingalls. You can find it any bookstore as well as through the many online book sellers. This will introduce you to the proper ways to research your family history.

Searching for Parents

Q: I am searching for the parents of Cordelia Flint. She was born on February 7,1841 in Alleghany County, New York. She married George W. Elston on January 1,1857 in Scio, Alleghany County, New York. -- Barbara

A: While not an exact science, perhaps the first step should be to see how many FLINT families are living in Alleghany County in 1850. Unless there are fifty or more, you may want to go through each one of them, assuming you have access to the census records on microfilm.

Make a list of the FLINT families as they appear in the census indexes, specifically for Alleghany County. I suggest just this county because she was married there. Traditionally marriages take place in the home town of the bride. This would be the first county then to begin the research.

Also, locate George and Cordelia in the 1860 census. Are they still living in Alleghany County? Look five to ten pages before and after the entry for George and Cordelia to see if there are any FLINT families enumerated. It is possible that her family was living nearby, especially if they remained in Alleghany County after they married.

While there may be a few FLINT families in the 1850 census, Cordelia is not that common a given name. However, if you do find a family with a child named Cordelia that is the right age, do not assume that you have found the family. Work with additional records, such as probate records. It is possible that the man, if he is her father, will refer to her by her married name, if he died after she was married.

Another option available to you in New York is the State Census. It will mean doing a line-by-line search of at least the towns where you found FLINT families in the 1850 Census to see if you can still find the same family units. The 1855 State Census is available on microfilm and can be order through your local Family History Center.

Finally, if you haven't done so already, you will want to begin a search for a death certificate for Cordelia. This may require following her and George through the censuses, getting records of the births of their children, and so forth. Death records are one of the main records that we should strive to gather on all of our ancestors whenever they are available.

Rhonda R. McClure is a professional genealogist specializing in celebrity trees and computerized genealogy. She has been involved in online genealogy for fifteen years. She is the author of the award-winning The Complete Idiot's Guide to Online Genealogy, now in its second edition. She is the author of four how-to guides on Family Tree Maker. In late 2001, she wrote The Genealogist's Computer Companion. She is a contributing editor to Biography Magazine with her "Celebrity Roots" column and a contributing writer to The History Channel Magazine. Her latest book is Finding Your Famous and Infamous Ancestors. She may be contacted at

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