Common surnames, be honest with yourself. Aren’t these the most fascinating trails to explore? Take, for instance, John Smith. If I had to pick the most popular name for the past 400 years, it would be that name. Coming in at a fast second would be the surname, Johnson. How many family trees have Johnson hanging on the branches? What surname would you choose for third place? Piedmont Trails has thought of ways to help others with these notorious names, and we hope today you find a connection with these popular names listed below.
An extensive study into the military bounty lands proved without a shadow of a doubt what colonial names were popular. You guessed it, Smith and Johnson were at the top of the list. The records document land grants given throughout the British colonies dating 1607 to 1775. Piedmont Trails would like to share the Smith and Johnson records with you.
The first list below shows the John Smiths who received bounty lands from the British crown. The second list demonstrates the Johnson surname with first names James, John, and Joseph.
John Smith Bounty Military Land Records
- Served in the Royal Regiment of Artillery during the French & Indian War, received land in Albany County, New York
- Served as sergeant under Colonel Preston during the French & Indian War, received land in Augusta County, Virginia
- Served in 2nd Virginia Regiment during the French & Indian War, received 50 acres
- Served as soldier in French & Indian War, received 50 acres in Virginia
- Served under Colonel Byrd in French & Indian War, received land in Prince Edward County, Virginia
- Served in French & Indian War, killed at Fort Vause, heir/brother, Abraham Smith petitioned for 2,000 acres in Virginia
- Served in the Narraganset War, received land in Connecticut 1701
- Served in the Narraganset War, received land in Westminster, Massachusetts 1733
- Served in the Narraganset War, received land in Gorham, Maine 1733
- Soldier under Captain Wiswall, received 150 acres in Massachusetts 1735
- Served on Canada Expedition in 1690, received land in present-day Maine 1736
- Served in the 60th Regiment during the French & Indian War, received land in New York 1764
- Served as sergeant in the Battalion Royal American Regiment during the French & Indian War, received land in New York 1764
- Served in the 48th Regiment during the French & Indian War, received land in New York 1765
- Served in the French & Indian War, received land in New York 1765
- Served as Captain during the French & Indian War, received 3,000 acres in Virginia 1773
Johnson Bounty Military Land Records
Given names, James, John, and Joseph
- James-Served as sergeant under Captain Reeter during the French & Indian War, received 200 acres in Virginia
- James-Served under Captain Throgmorton during the French & Indian War, received 50 acres in Virginia
- James-Served under Captain Dickenson during the French & Indian War, received 50 acres in Virginia
- John-Served under Captain Hogg during the French & Indian War, received land in Virginia
- John-Served in Pequot War, received land in Connecticut 1671
- John-Served in Indian War, received land in Massachusetts 1735
- John-Served in the French & Indian War, received land in New York 1771
- John-Served in the 55th Regiment during the French & Indian War, received land in New York 1772
- Joseph-Served on the 1690 Canda Expedition, received lands in Massachusetts
I hope the list offers help to those who seek these popular surnames in the 17th and 18th centuries. Until next time, Enjoy Your Journey to the Past !!
- Bockstruck, Lloyd DeWitt Bounty and Donation Land Grants in British Colonial America published by Genealogical Publishing Company Baltimore, Maryland 2007 pp. 205, 368-369
- Crozier, William Armstrong Virginia Colonial Militia 1651-1776 published by The Genealogical Association, New York 1905
- Eckenrkode, H.J. List of the Colonial Soldiers of Virginia published by the State of Virginia 1917
- Morrison, W.E. The Balloting Book and Other Documents Relating to Military Bounty Lands in New York published by Ovid, New York 1983
Categories: Connecticut, Featured Articles, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Virginia
Thank you Carol for this email you sent out. I think maybe my ancestor could be the John Smith that served under Col Byrd. The only reason I think this is because the Smith’s from North Carolina did have relatives in and spent time in Virginia. And my 4th great grandfather’s name is William Byrd Smith (1810-1864). Possibly he was given the middle name of Byrd after Colonel Byrd that maybe his father fought under in the French Indian War. I don’t know his fathers first name but it possibly was John Smith. This Smith line of my ancestors come from my maternal line in North Carolina.
Part of my paternal line from North Carolina is King and also a Smith King….Another common name. Of course a LOT of William King’s and Mary’s. Lol. My 3rd great grandfather Dickson King was the father of William Lucian King and was married to Nancy Helms (or Nelms) in 1830 in Henry County Georgia. Dickson and Nancy were both from North Carolina. I unfortunately do not know what counties they came from in North Carolina which I really need to know to continue my research. I don’t know for sure what happened to Dickson King. Dickson and Nancy King Had 3 children. Nancy married Aaron Turner in Georgia in 1838. Nancy and Aaron Turner along with her children from Dickson King and their children went from Georgia to Texas in 1848-49. Aaron Turner died in 1850 in Texas and the Nancy remarried again to Drury Sanders and they had no children together. William Lucian King married Mary Ellen Smith between 1850-56 because they were not married in 1850 census and the first child recorded to be born in 1856 in Limestone County Texas (which used to be Old Springfield and the courthouse burned). Mary Ellen Smith was born in North Carolina and I don’t know what county. I’ve tried to research the Smiths from NC in Limestone Co TX during the timeframe but all the facts are not matching up unless she came with a relative after 1850 census? Confusing. I can’t research past her because I don’t have enough to go on.
I am enjoying my journey into the past but sometimes I get very frustrated because I want to be able to take my research further and I think it will require travel. My daughter and I hope to go to Ashe County North Carolina next summer 2023. I’m currently waiting on a cousin to send me some letters that may aid me in my research on my Ashe County Smith line and useful for my book.
Thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom with us all.
I hope I didn’t ramble too much.
Sent from my iPhone
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Thank you so much for commenting on the article mkingfoster. I really enjoyed reading about your family and your journey to the past so far. I wish you well on your trip next year to Ashe County, NC. The landscape is beautiful. I hope you find your answers soon.