This resource hosted at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln is a searchable index to approximately 65,000 homestead records created and managed by the Broken Bow Land Office in Custer County, Nebraska.

The Homestead Act of 1862 established a process by which an applicant could obtain land for the purpose of settlement and cultivation. The 1862 Act, the first of several Federal homestead laws, opened approximately one million acres in western states. The homesteading process required a three-step procedure: the claimant would file an application, improve the land, and file for deed of title after residing on the land for five years and showing evidence of improvements. The opportunity to own land proved to be a compelling reason for many in the eastern United States and non-US citizens in Europe to migrate and take advantage of the program.

Homestead records contain significant genealogical information and typical records in this online index will contain a number of informational items about the claimant including his or her name, age, gender, marital status, citizenship, and place of origin. Other information such as the names of witnesses and the legal land description of the homestead will prove useful to genealogists seeking information about ancestors who participated in the program.

Solomon D. Butcher. (Photographer). (1892). Samuel Neve Homestead, southwest Custer County, Nebraska [photograph]. Retrieved from American Memory at the Library of Congress.