Casefile Clues

26 April 2013

A Cancelled Timber Claim from Nebraska

Records of cancelled federal land claims are an underutilized resource. Because the claims were not completed, patents were not issued and the original claimant never acquired title to the land. Because of this, the ancestor would not appear in property records as owning the property.

Yet the files can contain quite a bit of information, depending upon how far the claimant completed the process and whether or not he actually relinquished his claim or simply abandoned it for greener pastures.

These images are from the relinquished timber claim for Jurgen Ehmen in Dawson County, Nebraska.

We are sharing these images with readers in an attempt to make genealogists more aware of them--please do not use them in presentations, handouts, articles, other materials without asking permission. I don't know of anyone other than myself who is actively researching the Ehmen family.

These images are "front" and then "back." These images may be at a slightly lower resolution than they were obtained at the National Archives. The color scans are wonderful.







It takes some finesse to learn about the existence of these claims that were not completed. The tract books from the former General Land Office have to be searched manually. Without a completed claim, this is difficult if the area of settlement is unknown. In this instance, Ehmen's claim was within a few miles of several others in his extended family of immigrants. Two of those relatives completed their land claims. Because of that there were patents issued in their names which were recorded in the land records in Dawson County, Nebraska. Armed with the legal description of the property, the tract books were manually searched at the index entry for Ehmen's claim was located.


In a future post, we'll have more on claims of this type and how to research in these records. We'll have detailed analysis of these materials in an upcoming issue of Casefile Clues.

Citation reminder: We are a strong believer in citing genealogical source material in the spirit of Evidence ExplainedHowever, we choose not to include properly formatted citations in these blog posts. There's always enough information in the post to create a citation and full citations are included in my how-to newsletter Casefile Clues. 

Note: Jurgen Tonjes Ehmen was born in Wrisse, Ostfriesland, Germany, in 1832. He was a first cousin of Fokke Goldenstein, my great-great-grandfather.

This post is: http://rootdig.blogspot.com/2013/04/a-cancelled-timber-claim-from-nebraska.html