Nebraska Homestead Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records scheduled to become available at

Collection Time Period

Records from this collection encompass the years 1863-1908.

Record Description

This collection includes homestead entry case files and land entry case files. The records are arranged by final certificate number. They are from the Bureau of Land Management. The homestead entry case files include applications, petitions, affidavits and other documents required to qualify for a homestead.

Record Content

The key genealogical facts found in most final certificates and homestead patents are:
• Date
• Application and final certificate numbers
• Name of applicant
• Description and location of land

How to Use the Record

When you have located your ancestor’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details that can lead you to other records about your ancestors. Add this new information to your records of each family. For example:
• Use the name, location and date to find the family in census records
• Use the description and location of land to find the family in land records
• Use the description and location of land to find the family in probate records
If you are unable to find the ancestors you are looking for, check for nearby land owners with similar or variant spellings of the surnames.

Record History

The Homestead Act of 1862 was signed into law after the secession of many Southern states from the Union.

Why This Record Was Created

The Homestead Act allowed for settlement of land in unpopulated areas. It established a land acquisition process that required filing an application, improving the land, and filing for the deed of title. Any citizen or intended citizen could file an application for 160 acres of land, as long as they had never fought against the U.S. Government. Homesteaders had 5 years to build on, farm, and improve the land. After 5 years a homeowner could file for a land patent or deed at a local land office. The local land offices forwarded the documentation to the General Land Office in Washington D.C., with a final certificate of eligibility. Claimants paid $1.25 an acre. Service in the Union Army was counted towards the residency requirement after the Civil War. Not all homesteaders were able to qualify for ownership of the land due to harsh soil and weather conditions. Once the railroads were in place, homesteading increased due to the ease of travel.

Record Reliability

Records are organized by final certificate number order.

Related Web Sites

Nebraska Land Records

Related Wiki Articles

Nebraska Land and Property

Contributions to This Article

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.

Sources of Information for This Collection

Homestead Final Certificates, database, FamilySearch (; from the
National Archives and Records Administration, Bureau of Land Management General Land Office, Washington DC.

Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections

When you copy information from the record, you should also list where you found the information. This will help you or others to find th record again. It is also good to keep track of records where you do not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records.

A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched in found in the Wiki Article: How to Create Source Citations for FamilySearch Historical Records Collections

Examples of Source Citations for a Record in This Collection

"Nebraska, Broken Bow Homestead Records, 1890-1908." database and images, FamilySearch accessed March 25, 2011. entry for William Brown, township 19 North, range 17 West, section 28; citing Homestead Records; Bureau of Land Management General Land Office, Washington DC.