If your ancestors received homestead land, the Homestead Records may provide a wealth of information. Some case files include records of military service, evidence of naturalization, and much more. The files from Nebraska are now online. The following announcement was written by the folks at the Homestead National Monument:
Homestead National Monument of America is excited to announce that the Homestead Final Certificate Land Entry Case Files of Nebraska are online and available at Ancestry.com.
Ancestry.com is the world’s largest online genealogical database with over 14 billion digitized historical records.
The Homestead Act of 1862 lasted for 123 years and virtually all Homestead Land Entry Case Files from the 30 homesteading states have survived and are cared for by the National Archives. Homestead National Monument of America, along with Family Search International, Fold3.com, Ancestry.com, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and the National Archives and Records Administration have been working for over a decade to digitize the Homestead Land Entry Case Files and make them available.
Having the records available at Ancestry.com will provide unprecedented access to the public. Homestead’s Superintendent Mark Engler says, “Never before have we had an opportunity like this. It is exciting to see these records garner so much attention! Our goal has always been to make these records available to the world. Teaming with Ancestry.com will go a long way towards achieving that objective.” In addition to being featured on Ancestry.com, the Homestead Records will still be available at Fold3.com.
The Homestead Final Certificate Land Entry Case Files, accumulated by the General Land Office, were intended to prove that those who received a portion of the public domain through the Homestead Act of 1862 fulfilled the requirements of this law. These records describe improvements made to the property, including houses constructed, wells dug, crops planted, trees cleared and fences built. Some case files include records of military service, evidence of naturalization, and much more. In all, thirty states distributed public land under the Homestead Act. The preparation and digitization of records from the other homesteading states is underway.