Having a preliminary understanding of land ownership in Georgia can be very helpful for understanding title work. I say this because knowing the historical dynamics of land transfers in Georgia will allow you to better understand certain particular title issues that may arise. The core tenants of land law and land transfers in Georgia are based on English common law. Over time, the Georgia legislature has modified the English common law regarding land transfers as necessary. Under the English common law, King George of England had certain rights and power over the land in his dominion. Since Georgia was one of his colonies, the King of England retained the power to tax, power of eminent domain, power to terminate use and the power to establish procedures and regulate land transfers. Obviously, England has no power over land transfers today, so now this power vests with the state of Georgia.
When the colony of Georgia was founded in 1733, the King of England chose to give certain tracts of land to specific individuals. This can be considered the initial conveyance of land in the state of Georgia. These initial conveyances became known as the head rights system because the size and shape of the land was not uniform and these large tracts were given to the heads of households. As an aside, remainders of this head right system still exist in the eastern and coastal regions of Georgia. When these initial conveyances took place they were known as parishes; now known as counties. Following in 1803, the state of Georgia began taking ownership and distributing Indian land. To encourage settlement within the State, Georgia developed a lottery system to distribute this seized land in lots ranging from 40-440 acres. These lots were divided into districts, and the districts into section and each received a number. These have become known as land lots.
Why is this important? First, this history helps us understand the modern legal description. Clearly, our modern legal description method was developed from the land distributions in 1803. But in a broader sense, understanding the beginnings of land distributions in Georgia will help make sense of the processes and procedures of modern land transfers and title work.
Our office specializes in title work and is experienced in handling even the most difficult of title issues. So no matter how minor or major you think your issue is, please give our office a call and we will be happy to help.