Nebraska Homestead Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page
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Collection Time Period
Records from this collection encompass the years 1863-1908.
How to Use the Record
When you have located your ancestor’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details that can lead you to other records about your ancestors. Add this new information to your records of each family. For example:
• Use the name, location and date to find the family in census records
• Use the description and location of land to find the family in land records
• Use the description and location of land to find the family in probate records
If you are unable to find the ancestors you are looking for, check for nearby land owners with similar or variant spellings of the surnames.
This collection includes homestead entry case files and land entry case files. The records are arranged by final certificate number. They are from the Bureau of Land Management. The homestead entry case files include applications, petitions, affidavits and other documents required to qualify for a homestead.
The key genealogical facts found in most final certificates and homestead patents are:
• Application and final certificate numbers
• Name of applicant
• Description and location of land
The Homestead Act of 1862 was signed into law after the secession of many Southern states from the Union.
Why This Record Was Created
The Homestead Act allowed for settlement of land in unpopulated areas. It established a land acquisition process that required filing an application, improving the land, and filing for the deed of title. Any citizen or intended citizen could file an application for 160 acres of land, as long as they had never fought against the U.S. Government. Homesteaders had 5 years to build on, farm, and improve the land. After 5 years a homeowner could file for a land patent or deed at a local land office. The local land offices forwarded the documentation to the General Land Office in Washington D.C., with a final certificate of eligibility. Claimants paid $1.25 an acre. Service in the Union Army was counted towards the residency requirement after the Civil War. Not all homesteaders were able to qualify for ownership of the land due to harsh soil and weather conditions. Once the railroads were in place, homesteading increased due to the ease of travel.
Records are organized by final certificate number order.
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Why Should You Cite Your Sources?
When you copy information from a record, you should also list where the information came from so that you or others can find it again. If you keep a list of the searches you make, be sure to include the name you looked for even if you didn’t find any information so that you won’t repeat the search unnecessarily.
Samples of Source Citations for a Record in This Collection
You are welcome to add sample citations to this article. For more information about creating sample citations for this collection or for information about documenting your own sources see the guidelines found at: How to Cite FamilySearch Collections
How Has This Article Helped You?
For guidelines to use in creating wiki articles that describe collections of images and indexes produced by FamilySearch, see:
Sources of Information for This Collection
Homestead Final Certificates, database, FamilySearch (http://familysearch.org/); from the
National Archives and Records Administration, Bureau of Land Management General Land Office, RG