Land grants are simply the transfer of government lands to a private individual or organization. Although the word “grant” implies they were free or that the person receiving it needed to do something special to deserve it, in reality most were simply purchased. These records are important in genealogical research in determining an individual’s time and place, neighbors, wealth, and more. They are useful for historical research in projects such as determining settlement and migration patterns.
The State Archives of North Carolina (SANC) in Raleigh, NC has an extensive collection of records related to North Carolina land grants from 1663 to 1960. For preservation reasons, the original documents were microfilmed and researchers only had access to those images at the SANC Search Room. Searches for grants were done using a card catalog or the SANC MARS database. This was a time consuming process, especially if you did not live close to SANC.
The free website NC Land Grant Images and Data was created by David McCorkle in 2014 starting with all the land grant data in MARS generously provided SANC. This was combined with digitized images from over 150 reels purchased from SANC, primary by David but also from other contributors. David wrote the website software to merge the data and images and provide extensive search capabilities. It has since been used by thousands of genealogists and historians, amateur and professional, with several hundred queries per day. Some of the collections on the website, such as images of all pages of all Patent Books and images of all Granville Grant deeds and associated documents, are not available anywhere else outside of SANC.