The Homestead National Monument of America has recently collaborated with a number of organizations such as Fold3.com, Ancestry, FamilySearch, & the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to digitize the Homestead Land Entry Case Files. With an estimated 93 million Americans descend from homesteaders, these records are bursting with information that would be invaluable to any genealogist. Records at the minimum contain the entryman’s nam, the land’s location, acreage, and price; and the date and place of the land entry. Past the 1840s, records begin to include much more information such as the entryman’s age, place of birth, citizenship, military service, literacy, economic status, and familial information. One good record can potentially tell you an individual’s entire life story up to that point.
Note: The original 13 states, Vermont, Kentucky, Tennessee, Maine, West Virginia, Texas, and Hawaii do not have case records.
The current status of the project and all the states that have had their records digitized can be found at:
To access these records, you will need an account with Fold3.com, Ancestry.com, or Family Search, all of which are offered to you through your library card. Through all three resources you have access to a staggering amount of information. Here is a list of relevant collections:
Fold3 (Nebraska only)
U.S. General Land Office Records, 1776-2015
U.S., Homestead Records, 1863-1908
U.S., Indexed County Land Ownership Maps, 1860-1918
U.S., Indexed Early Land Ownership and Township Plats, 1785-1898
United States, Homestead Final Certificates, 1863-1909
Nebraska, Broken Bow Homestead Records, 1890-1908
Family Search also offers a list of cancelled, relinquished, or rejected land entry case files. https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/United_States,_Cancelled,_Relinquished,_or_Rejected_Land_Entry_Case_Files_(FamilySearch_Historical_Records)
If you need help navigating through each collection, reference staff on the 3rd floor are more than happy to help you find what you need.