Homesteading brought thousands of Americans and immigrants to the Plains states. In this column, I look at a homestead claim that was actually canceled and see that it also tells us something about the claimant, even though he did not finish the homestead process. Genealogists should remember that not every application was completed, and not every migrant to the American West stayed. We may overlook crucial records if we make too many assumptions about our ancestors, as I initially did about the person in this study.
To be perfectly honest, I actually stumbled upon the file. Locating my ancestor's incomplete homestead file was not found by diligent, painstaking research. A simple web search located the reference. But finding that reference was key as I needed the specific location of the property to find the actual records. Incomplete homestead files are not always easy to find because they require knowing where the property was located – down to the precise legal description. That is a challenge when your ancestor was in a location for only a few years. It is even harder when you really don't know whether or not your ancestor even homesteaded.
The remainder of this article is for Plus Edition subscribers only.
If you have a Plus Edition user ID and password, you can read the article right now at no additional charge in this web site's Plus Edition at http://plus.eogn.com. This article will remain online for several weeks.
If you do not remember your Plus Edition user ID or password, you can retrieve them at the same place: http://plus.eogn.com.
If you decide to subscribe to the Plus Edition right now, you will be able to immediately read this article online.
For more information about subscribing to the Plus Edition of Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter, visit http://blog.eogn.com/eastmans_online_genealogy/plusedition.html.