25 November 2014

Complete Homestead Claims Lead to Tract Books Lead to Incomplete Claims

A search of the "Nebraska, Homestead, Records, 1861-1936," located four completed homestead applications for section 12 in 11 North Range 25 West in Dawson County, Nebraska as shown below and as mentioned in a previous blog post:

As these results were created from the database Ancestry.com has for these records, there's always the possibility that something was coded incorrectly.

So I went to the Bureau of Land Management tract books for Nebraska to see what entries there were for section 12.

The BLM tract book agreed with Ancestry.com. Actually I should say that Ancestry.com agreed with the tract books as the tract books are the authoritative source, not Ancestry.com.

The tract books indicated that the only homesteaders in section 12 to complete their homestead were:

  • Campbell
  • Friesenborg
  • Goldenstein
  • Meyer
Those names are underlined in green in the tract book image below.
General Land Office Tract Book, Nebraska, Volume 22, page 28;
digital image from FamilySearch, 25 November 2014.
There are other homestead entries for section 12. Those all show in the tract book as having been cancelled (underlined in red in the image above). Those homestead files are at the National Archives as well and can have a great deal of information. It's not just about the completed claims. 

The only way to know if your ancestor had an incomplete claim is to search the tract books manually. I usually search the tract book for areas where relatives had completed claims in order to determine if other relatives filed claims in the same area that were incomplete. My relative's incomplete claim from the 1870s contained a copy of his declaration of intention to become a citizen--which I did not have before. 

My Genealogy Search Tip of  the Day  contained links to the tract books and the tract book guide on FamilySearch ("Guide to the BLM Tract Books"). There is more about my webinar on using the BLM tract books here.

Note: this image was taken from "Nebraska, Homestead, Records, 1861-1936."