Homestead land records tell us more about our forebears who settled the western U.S. Learn more with Lisa Louise Cooke at the Land Records and Genealogy Symposium July 14-15, 2017 in Beatrice, Nebraska.
Lisa Louise Cooke will be a featured speaker at the Land Records and Genealogy Symposium in Beatrice, Nebraska on July 14-15, 2017. The 2-day event is co-sponsored by the Homestead National Monument of America, a unit of the National Park Service, and the Beatrice Campus of Southeast Community College.
Homestead land records and our ancestors
Omer Madison Kem, (later, Representative to the United States Congress) in front of his sod house in Nebraska (1886). Click image to view at American Memory (Library of Congress digital archive).
“The Homestead Act of 1862 had a profound affect on the United States and throughout the world,” states the symposium webpage. “Under the provisions of this law, the U.S. government gave away 270 million acres of land to 1.6 million individuals and families for the purposes of settlement and cultivation. Today there may be as many as 93 million descendants of homesteaders.”
Our homesteading ancestors may show up in land patent records and related paperwork. Over five million documents are searchable by name and location at the Bureau of Land Management’s General Land Office Records website. These databases found at major genealogy websites may also be helpful for finding homestead land records and related paperwork:
Out ancestors’ homestead land records may reveal when they purchased and/or applied for land and where they were living at the time. In many instances, immigrants had to be citizens to purchase land, so you may find information about their naturalization. You’ll often find land records in the same area purchased by relatives, which can help you reconstruct family groups and more confidently identify your family.
Participants in the Land Records and Genealogy Symposium will learn to use records of different kinds–and strategies for researching them–in their genealogical and historical research. Lisa Louise Cooke’s lectures will focus on using powerful online tools to map out your family history and find mention of ancestors that may be buried deep in online resources. Other lectures will also help you chart the stories of your frontier ancestors, many of them immigrants, who purchased land from the government in the Midwest and Western United States.
What: Land Records and Genealogy Symposium, co-sponsored by the Homestead National Monument of America (National Park Service) and the Beatrice Campus of Southeast Community College
When: July 14-15, 2017 (8 am – 4 pm on Friday, with optional dinner presentation; 8:30 am – 3 pm on Saturday)
Where: Southeast Community College, Beatrice, Nebraska
Can’t make it to Nebraska?
Learn to plot your ancestors’ homestead records in Google Earth in Lisa Louise Cooke’s Google Earth for Genealogy video series.
Genealogy Gems Premium website members can learn more about homestead land records in Genealogy Gems Premium Podcast episode 33, in an interview with expert Billie Edgington. (Click here to learn more about all the benefits of Premium membership, including access to the full Premium Podcast archive of nearly 150 episodes!)
Click here to see all of Lisa’s upcoming presentations: is there one near you?
U.S. land entry case files are now free to browse at FamilySearch. We give you a link to a free index to those–and MORE new and updated records for Argentina, Australia, England, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Scotland, and other U.S. collections (Crimean War photos, Illinois birth certificates, and more).
Featured: U.S. Land Entry Case Files
Over a quarter million record images have been added to the free FamilySearch database of United States, Cancelled, Relinquished, or Rejected Land Entry Case Files, 1861-1932. This collection gives researchers access to browsable images of case files for those who unsuccessfully applied for homesteads (such as the one shown above; click the image to see its citation), mining claims, and land pre-emptions. Even better–the National Archives website hosts a name index to speed along your search of the browsable records at FamilySearch!
According to a National Archives description of the original collection, “A file may contain the original entry application, correspondence between the officials of the Lincoln Land Office and the GLO in Washington, D.C., receipts for fees paid, public notices, affidavits and witness statements, proof of military service, the entryman’s naturalization records, and documents concerning the cancellation or relinquishment of the entry.”
This collection of Land Entry Case Files includes Kansas land offices at Dodge City and Topeka and Nebraska land offices at Alliance, Broken Bow, Lincoln, North Platte, O’Neill, and Valentine. More records will be forthcoming.
Over a quarter million indexed names have been added to a free FamilySearch collection of Catholic church records for Entre Rios, Argentina (1764-1983). Also noteworthy are over 118,000 record images recently added to FamilySearch’s Argentina, Corrientes, Catholic Church Records, 1734-1977.
Nearly 170,000 indexed names have been added to the free FamilySearch collection, Australia, Victoria, Outward Passenger Lists, 1852-1924.
England—Newspapers and Wiltshire
The British Newspaper Archive recently announced it now has a title online for every county in England. (Click here to learn more.) They’ve also updated several London titles and added two new ones, among them the North London News and West London Observer.
Findmypast.com has recently added more than 4.5 million records that can help those searching for ancestors in Wiltshire, in southwest England:
New indexes to French censuses for 1876-1906 are now free at FamilySearch:
- France, Côtes-d’Armor, Census, 1876
- France, Côtes-d’Armor, Census, 1906
- France, Côtes-d’Armor, Census, 1891
- France, Hérault, Census, 1876
- France, Hérault, Census, 1906
- France, Nord, Census, 1906
Germany–Church and Family Tables
Ancestry.com has published two new collections of German Lutheran church records. Note that the time periods overlap, so try searching them both:
Also new on the site is a collection called Baden-Württemberg, Germany, Family Tables, 1550-1985. A tip from the collection description: “Use the browse fields to sort through the images by City or District and Description of records.”
Nearly a million new articles have been added to Findmypast’s enormous collection of digitized Irish newspapers. This unique collection now hosts more than 35 million articles.
Over a million indexed records have been added to a miscellaneous archival index for the Netherlands at FamilySearch. If you’ve got Dutch roots, check it out–it’s free.
New Zealand—Probate records
Over a quarter million browsable record images have been added to a free FamilySearch collection of New Zealand probate records.
As promised, Findmypast continues to expand its Catholic Heritage Archive. Recent additions include baptisms, congregational records, marriages, and burials for Scotland.
A collection of Crimean War photographs from the Library of Congress is free to search online, and is the subject of a recent article on the Library of Congress blog: “Witness to History.”
Got relatives from Chicago, Illinois? Perhaps they’re among more than a quarter million newly-indexed names in Illinois, Cook County, Birth Certificates, 1871-1940, free to search at FamilySearch.
Newspapers.com has added Louisville, Kentucky’s Courier-Journal to its collections of digitized newspapers. Basic subscribers have access to just shy of 100 years’ worth of issues (1830-1922) and Publisher Extra subscribers also may access more recent years (1923-2016).
FamilySearch has added 1.3 million names to its free collection, Massachusetts, Boston Crew Lists, 1917-1943.
A new online database of The Michigan Daily brings more than 23,000 issues digitally searchable. This is the student newspaper of the University of Michigan. The newspaper archive spans 125 years: 1890-2014. Click here to search it for free.
Google your way to MORE genealogy records like these
Wish you could find similar records for another time or place? Use Google search strategies to target the record types, places and even a specific range of years. You can even search for digitized photographs on Google! Click here to read more about Googling old records online.