On Day 18 of Family History Month, visit the US Bureau of Land Management General Land Office Records (GLO) and track where your ancestors lived. Where they lived and why they lived there is a good part of your heritage.
The Bureau of Land Management has digitized records of land grants, survey plats, field notes, land status records, and more. For a more thorough description of the collections available at the BLM, visit this page listing each collection.
Federal Land Patents
Here are two examples of land patent records at the Bureau of Land Management. Land patents show the transfer of land from the Federal government to individuals. The first is a land grant for Homestead property, land granted to someone when they met the requirements of the 1862 Homestead Act.
Here is another example of a land grant near Montgomery, Alabama at the BLM site:
This is a survey of the same piece of land near Montgomery, Alabama. …
Location, location, location. What's true now, was true then. Land matters. When President Abraham Lincoln signed the Homestead Act of 1862 granting 160 acres of unimproved land west of the Mississippi to anyone who: hadn't raised a weapon against their country, would live on it for 5 years, would build a 12 x 14 dwelling and improve it by growing crops, there was a westward exodus.
In the Utah Territory, where Mormons had already left the borders of the United States, Brigham Young learned of the 1862 Homestead Act and sent Mormons to claim land from New Mexico to Canada. My husband's family had prime real estate in the Millcreek area of Salt Lake City but were sent to the Loa/Torrey/St. George area, i.e. the desert. This is how it looks with 21st century improvements. It's still a hard place to live.
Here's an example of an ancestor's homestead land grant found on the Bureau of Land Management website.
Some ancestors won the Homesteading lotte…
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