Casefile Clues

28 January 2013

The Neighbor's Incomplete Claim


I've been using the Bureau of Land Management Tract Books that have recently been made available in digital form on the FamilySearch website. Those who completed the homestead process and actually obtained land are somewhat easier to locate records on because there will be local land records in the county in which the land was located.

The individual who completed the homestead process received a patent (first deed) for the land that would have been recorded in the county land records office. There also may be a deed where the homestead sold the land or where it was transferred to his heirs. There may also be real property tax records providing more information about the land or it may be mentioned in probate or estate settlement records.

That's not the case with homestead claims that were cancelled or were not successfully completed by the homesteader. There will be no local land records because the person who did not complete the claim did not get the land.

But there will be records of that cancelled claim.

The image in this post is part of the Bureau of Land Management Tract Book for township 14-11 in Dawson County, Nebraska. The entries are for various parts of section 25. The legal descriptions have been clipped from the image--as have details about whether the claim was finally patented or cancelled .The two claimant names that I have underlined in red were never completed.

And yet they are of interest to me. I'm not certain who the two women are, but I have a good hunch.

These records are not indexed by name. You have to know where the property is located.

I found these two women while looking for my great-great-grandfather Focke Goldenstein who also homesteaded in this same township. Two of Goldenstein's cousins (Willm and Jurgen Ehmen) also initiated claims in the same township. Goldenstein and the Ehmens had an aunt whose husband's last name was Albers.

When the records arrive from my contact at the National Archives, we will have an update.

There are not as many records in an incomplete claim, but there may be some materials in the cancelled claim that will help me to determine who these two woman are.