19 May 2015

Two Troutfetters in the BLM Tract Books

A search of the Bureau of Land Management website indicated that Christian Troutfetter received a homestead in Thomas County, Kansas in 1892. 1892 was the year his claim was completed and a patent was issued.

The BLM site only indexes land claims where a patent was issued to transfer title to the claimant. Others may have started claims in federal land areas and never completed them. To see all the land claims filed in a certain geographic location, reference to the BLM tract books is necessary. Sometimes these uncompleted claims contain as much information as completed ones.

The tract books are organized geographically and I searched for the section of the BLM books that contained section 5 in township 7 South 33 West of the 6th Principal Meridian in Kansas, which is where Christian's property was located.

There was a name in section 6 that looked familiar: George Troutfetter.

Apparently George obtained land in neighboring section 6. George's acquisition was via a public sale so there will not be the amount of detail that there would have been if it had been a homestead claim.

The reason for looking at the tract book was to determine if any of Christian Troutfetter's relatives filed a homestead claim near him. Relatives who had started claims but never finished them would appear in the tract book, but not in the BLM database of patents.

If you have never used the tract books, my webinar may help  you utilize them:

The Bureau of Land Management Office Tract Books. These books are a good source for additional information on your homesteading or federal land acquiring ancestors. This material supplements what is in the homestead file, allows you to see names of neighboring claims, even if those claims were not completed. If you've ever wondered who might have started a claim near your ancestor, but never completed it--these books are the way to find out. Our webinar on using the books (most of which are available for free on FamilySearch) discusses several examples in Ohio, Illinois, and Nebraska for a variety of federal land purchase types. If you've never used the tract books because you found them too confusing, let this webinar cut through the confusion. The webinar can be downloaded immediately here for only $5.