The headright was the most important land grant and became the principal basis for title to land in the seventeenth century. Its origin goes back to The Greate Charter of 1618; as follows: "
That for all persons, which during the next seven years after Midsummer Day 1618 shall go into Virginia with intent there to inhabite If they continue there three years or dye after they are shiped there shall be a grant made of fifty acres for every person upon a first division and as many more upon a second division (the first being peopled) which grants to be made respectively to such persons and their heirs at whose charges the said persons going to inhabite in Virginia shall be transported with reservation of twelve pence yearly rent for every fifty acres to be answered to the said treasurer and company and their successors for ever after the first seven years of every such grant." Thus, it is evident that not only was the headright grant of fifty acres per person open to shareholders who brought settlers into the colony, but also to anyone who had migrated to the colony at his own expense or who had financed the expedition of other persons. Individuals paying their own transportation were entitled to fifty acres for themselves and for every member of the family, providing they fulfilled the residence requirement of three years. This is how so many early settlers became large landowners of thousands of acres. The headright was set aside by the crown in 1624, however, the royal governors continued to honor headright claims based upon immigration. It became the custom.
County and Probate Records to Help you Find your Virginia Ancestors