TIP OF THE WEEK WEEK – UNTAPPED RECORD FILES
RELATED TO THE HOMESTEAD ACT OF 1862 Many genealogists are familiar with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) website and use that site to see if their ancestors acquired land under the Homestead Act, or by any of the other federal land acts. On this website, one can see the legal description of the land, along with a digital image of the patent itself.
But many people do NOT know that there is a file associated with each patent, that is not online. Both the affidavit of eligibility and the proof required for the patent after five years may contain detailed genealogical information. In many cases, because non-citizens were eligible to claim land but only citizens could receive a patent, the actual naturalization records of the claimants may be found in the files. Other files, by widows or children of the original claimant, may include marriage or birth records.
The Homestead file itself is available through the National Archives, for a fee of $50.
For more information about these records, and how to order them, see The Legal Genealogist article titled “Happy Birthday, Homestead Act” by Judy Russell at https://www.legalgenealogist.com/blog/ . Just scroll down to the May 20, 2019 post.
One can sign up to subscribe to The Legal Genealogist at no charge and receive it as a daily email. Her daily blog posts are frequently very interesting and informative, as this one is. Consider this a bonus Tip of the Week!