Tracing Immigrants Arrival Land and Property

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[[Portal:Tracing Immigrant Origins|◄ Return to Portal:Tracing Immigrant Origins]]
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Many immigrants left their homelands for the chance to obtain inexpensive land in a new country. Land records, therefore, contain many immigration clues, even if the place of origin is generally not given. Information about an immigrant's old hometown will more likely be found in records of land purchased directly from the government (such as homesteads) rather than from private individuals.
  
Published histories of the town, county, or region where an ancestor lived are often the key to identifying his or her national and ethnic origin. Histories of churches, schools, and industries may mention immigrants. In addition, they often identify records that may include the immigrant ancestor. If an ancestor was among the area's founding families or was a prominent citizen, a local history may have an account of his or her life.  
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Most deeds indicate the purchasers' and the sellers' residences. If the immigrant purchased land right after arriving in the new country, the deed could reveal the place of origin. For example, “headrights” (the head of house's right to land for settling a colony) can show places—usually the country—of origin. Headrights are indexed in books like—
  
Local histories include less prominent immigrants as well. Immigrants often considered it a mark of success to have a biographical sketch in the typical local histories of the nineteenth century, even if they had to pay to be included. Immigrants could be on lists of early settlers into a valley, members of a founding church, original town settlers, landholders, or school teachers. Bibliographies of local histories are available for most countries, states, and provinces. The Family History Library has an excellent collection of local histories.  
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*Nugent, Nell Marion. ''Cavaliers and Pioneers: Abstracts of Virginia Land Patents and Grants, 1623-1732''. Reprint. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1983. (FHL book 975.5 R2n.)
  
Histories are available for many ethnic and religious groups. Many immigrants were part of an ethnic community in their new country. Many were also members of a religious group. Histories of smaller ethnic and religious groups often identify all or most of the members of that group. Excellent examples include—
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Many places required that an immigrant be a citizen or that an immigrant file a declaration of intent to become a citizen before buying land. Land records may include copies of naturalization records or lead to them. An excellent set of land records with immigration data, on 1,641 rolls of microfilm, is—
  
Ulvestad, Martin. ''Nordmændene i Amerika [Norwegians in America].'' 2 vols. Minneapolis: History Book Company's Forlag, 1907-10. (FHL book 973 F2u.)
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*''[http://www.saskhomesteads.com/ Saskatchewan Homestead Records, 1870-1930, and Index]''. Ottowa, Canada: Canadian Department of the Interior, Dominion Lands Office.  
  
Rosicky, Rose. ''A History of Czechs (Bohemians) in Nebraska''. Omaha, Neb.: Czech Historical Society of Nebraska, 1929.  
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Homestead applications in the United States often reveal immigration status. Homestead and other land transfers are indexed in the [[Land Patent Search|BLM-GLO Land Patent Index]].  
  
Histories also exist for most religious groups. A good example is—
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Holsinger, Henry R. ''History of the Tunkers and the Brethren Church''.... North Manchester, Ind.: L.W. Shultz, 1962. (FHL book 286.5 H741h.)
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Even histories of larger ethnic and religious groups, such as Germans or Episcopalians, can provide valuable background information about migration and settlement patterns.
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[[Category:Tracing_Immigrant_Origins]]
 
[[Category:Tracing_Immigrant_Origins]]

Revision as of 23:38, 2 August 2009

Many immigrants left their homelands for the chance to obtain inexpensive land in a new country. Land records, therefore, contain many immigration clues, even if the place of origin is generally not given. Information about an immigrant's old hometown will more likely be found in records of land purchased directly from the government (such as homesteads) rather than from private individuals.

Most deeds indicate the purchasers' and the sellers' residences. If the immigrant purchased land right after arriving in the new country, the deed could reveal the place of origin. For example, “headrights” (the head of house's right to land for settling a colony) can show places—usually the country—of origin. Headrights are indexed in books like—

  • Nugent, Nell Marion. Cavaliers and Pioneers: Abstracts of Virginia Land Patents and Grants, 1623-1732. Reprint. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1983. (FHL book 975.5 R2n.)

Many places required that an immigrant be a citizen or that an immigrant file a declaration of intent to become a citizen before buying land. Land records may include copies of naturalization records or lead to them. An excellent set of land records with immigration data, on 1,641 rolls of microfilm, is—

Homestead applications in the United States often reveal immigration status. Homestead and other land transfers are indexed in the BLM-GLO Land Patent Index.