This week I had a chance to examine a new book by Paul K. Graham, entitled, "1805 Georgia Land Lottery - Fortunate Drawers and Grantees." This book documents certain land transactions for a time and place that is short on records that genealogists seek. It provides the record of title transfer from the State of Georgia to an individual for each land lot distributed through the lottery process in 1805.
The 1805 Georgia Land Lottery was the first experiment of its kind in the United States. Partly in response to the Yazoo and Pine Barrens Land Frauds of the 1790s, the people of Georgia decided to distribute newly acquired lands by using a lottery, thereby minimizing opportunities for corruption. Public funds were used to survey the land into uniform lots, which were then distributed by chance to eligible citizens. The system specifically included those who were typically disadvantaged under the headright land grant system, such as widows and orphans. Land lotteries had been used previously on a limited basis, but the distribution of public lands on a mass scale by lottery is unique to Georgia.
As the first of eight Georgia land lotteries, the 1805 Land Lottery served as the model for those to follow. It established districts and land lots as the foundational units of Georgia's survey system (over the township, range, and section). The book, 1805 Georgia Land Lottery: Fortunate Drawers and Grantees, documents the record of title transfer from the State of Georgia to an individual for each land lot distributed through the lottery process in 1805.
The records of these land lotteries often can be a source of genealogy information. It is especially valuable because there are not many records for that part of Georgia in the early 1800s. You can find a lot more information about the 1805 Georgia Land Lottery at http://1805georgialandlottery.com/lotteryhistory.shtml.
Mr. Graham's book contains some introductory material, one very long list of the lottery winners, and a back-of-book index. The list entries contain:
Land lot number
Fortunate drawer's name and residence
Grantee's name and residence
Book and page reference to the recorded grant
Transcriptions of original documents, executive orders, and laws, when available
The book includes:
- 4,850 land lots
- Almost 4,000 fortunate drawers
- More than 4,800 grantees
- 88 transcribed documents
- Records dating from 1803 to 1907
- A thorough introduction
- Full name index
I found this book to be super simple to use. You look up an ancestor's name in the index and then turn to the page referenced. In my opinion, this simplicity is a very good thing.
Here is one record, picked at random:
Location: Wayne County, District 2
Fortunate Drawer: Zachariah Melton
Grantee: Zachariah Melton
Grant Date: 1 Sep 1810
Grant Book: WaD2GB:156
The end of each location's entry also contains notes, typically minutes of the government department that granted the land. It was interesting to note that a few grants were later rescinded as "fraudulently obtained."
This book is a great Georgia genealogy resource, but here is the best part: author Paul K. Graham has placed the entire index online on his web site at http://1805georgialandlottery.com/bookindex.shtml. This online PDF document contains the names of every person found in 1805 Georgia Land Lottery: Fortunate Drawers and Grantees. You can download the file and open it with Adobe Acrobat Reader. Once open, you can either scroll down to find names you are interested in or use the Find option to go directly to a name. This is the actual index to the published book.
As a result of this online index, you can look for names before buying the book. This is unusual for genealogy books and is a darned good idea, in my opinion. It is an excellent method of seeing if there is data in this book of interest to you. You can also see some additional samples of pages from the book online.
1805 Georgia Land Lottery: Fortunate Drawers and Grantees is a 278-page hardbound book by Paul K. Graham and is published by The Genealogy Company. It sells for $35.00 plus shipping. Georgia residents will also have to pay sales tax.
Any bookstore should be able to order it for you if you specify ISBN: 0-9755312-0-4 0975531204. However, it is probably easier to order it online directly from the publisher. The order process uses PayPal, a very safe and secure method of handling the credit card transaction.
For more information about the 1805 Georgia Land Lottery: Fortunate Drawers and Grantees book, or to order it online, go to http://1805georgialandlottery.com.