Real estate, property, a homestead, a “certain tract or parcel of land”–whatever it was called, each time James Jordan and his children settled in a new part of the country, they quickly recorded their interest in the land on which they were living. Whether by patent or purchase, squatting or speculation, these transactions are sometimes the only documentary record that remains of social and familial connections.

Federal, state and county land records can provide a wealth of information for genealogists willing to sort through the often difficult-to-read hand-written documents. For example, only land records can prove that the James Jordan found in Greenbrier County in the late 18th century was the same man as the one calling himself James Jordan in Kanawha County in the early 19th century. James acquired four specific plots of land while he was living in Greenbrier County and later sold the same plots after moving to Kanawha (Cabell) County.

The purpose of these pages is to follow the land and show the connections.


  • Indenture – a contract between two people/parties, with the government involved only as referee or documenting authority.
  • Land Patent – a first-title deed from the government establishing the beginning of private ownership of the land.

Greenbrier County

Kanawha County

Cabell County