Thursday, July 30, 2009

Homesteading in Nebraska

The need and lust for land developed the state of Nebraska.  Because of that, records were created which can be useful to genealogists.  If you think your ancestor settled in Nebraska and obtained land under the Homestead Act, you need to explore what is going online.  

The Homestead Act of 1862 was in effect for 123 years.  Through this act claimants could obtain 160 acres of land if they filed and demonstrated that they were improving the land within five years.  If the claimant was not a citizen of the United States, they had to also indicate that their declaration of intention had been filed.  Men who served in the Union Army during the Civil War could use their time in service against the five years required to obtain patent to the land.  

There are approximately 2 million homestead case files in the National Archives (NARA) in Washington, DC.  The files contain information that can be beneficial, such as naturalization papers, family information, military information and declarations of intention.  With the final certificate number found in the online Homestead Records database, you can obtain complete files from the National Archives.  

The Homestead Records Broken Bow Nebraska Land Office is sponsored by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, National Park Service and the National Archives and Records Administration.   The Broken Bow Land Office was open from 1890 to 1908.  Located in Custer County, it was approximately in the center of Nebraska.  

A search, either simple or advanced, on the web page will produce results showing the name of the claimant, sometimes the place of origin, witnesses, clerk, application date, final certificate date, approval date, patented date, claimant's gender, final certificate number and place.  If you click on "Similar Items Find," you will obtain a list of other claimants who filed for land in the same area.  

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