Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Finding More Information About Land Grants in U.S. BLM Tract Books on FamilySearch

I so appreciate my readers who reach out and help me in areas that I don't have much experience!  On my post More Land Patents in Cheyenne County, Kansas for Devier Smith and Della Smith (26 July 2013), there were two very helpful comments:

*  Chad Milliner said:  "There are a lot of ways a person may have acquired title to land from the federal government. Each and every one of those ways is because a specific public or private act of Congress allowed for the transfer.

"Obviously, the Homestead Act is the most famous of these acts. But many people also got land through acts such as Timber Culture and Desert Lands. The BLM GLO site notes in each case which public or private act was the basis for the transfer of title.

"The particular documents that will be in the GLO's land entry file for the transfer varies. Typically, the more time involved in the transfer, and the more "proving up" that the person seeking land had to do, the more documents there are. But you can never say for sure that a particular type of land entry file will, or will not be genealogically useful. They should always be sought, which is of course what the Reasonably Exhaustive Search of the GPS requires.

"Also, there is a limitation to the BLM GLO website what is not well understood by most genealogists. At least for now, that site ONLY references land transfers that were completed. NARA has thousands of land entry files for transfers that were NOT completed. Such as for a person who began homesteading a tract of land and then gave up on it. Or had their claim "jumped" by the railroad, etc. So while the BLM GLO website is an important tool to learn about how an ancestor interacted with the Federal government's land offices, it is not yet a comprehensive tool for that purpose."

*  Geolover said:  "You might find entries for these sections in the BLM Tract Books 1820-1908 (on FamilySearch.org) of interest.

The State listing is here:

Check Kansas Vol. 88, which has the low-number Townships of Range 40W; especially pages 25 and 28 (images 26 and 29).

There are entries here that show as grants on the BLM/GLOrecords site, which were evidently relinquished as homesteads (?) and specifically converted to Cash Entry."

Today, Kimberly Powell posted Searching BLM Tract Books on FamilySearch on her About Genealogy blog with directions on how to find specific tract books and what to do with them.  The ost helpful information was a link to the FamilySearch Research Wiki article on the U.S. BLM Tract Books Coverage Table, which defines which townships are on which volume in each state.  

With that as background, here is what I found in the BLM Tract Book collection for Henry Carringer, Della Smith and Devier Smith in Cheyenne County, Kansas.

1)  I know that the land patents found earlier are in Township 3 South, Range 40 West in Kansas.  The U.S. BLM Tract Books Coverage Table says that it is in Volumes 87-89 for Kansas (looks like Geolover did my job for me here!).

In Volume 88, of the Kansas Tract Books on FamilySearch, here are the two pages with the land entries on them (pages 25 and 28, on images 26 and 29, respectively):

Here are the column headings for the first leaf of page 25:

The entries for Della A. Smith and Henry A. Carringer on this first leaf are:

The column headings for the second leaf are:

The entries for Della A. Smith and Henry A. Carringer are shown below (the first, second, and last entries):

Taking the first entry for Della A. Smith, and itemizing the entries in the columns from both leaves:

*  Part of Section:  Home. W 1/2 SW 1/4
*  Section:  2
*  Township:  3
*  Range:  40
*  Contents (acres-100ths): 80.00
*  Rate per Acre (dollars-cents):  [blank]
*  Purchase Money (dollars-cents):  5.00
*  Name of the Purchaser:  Della A. Smith

*  Date of Sale:  Nov. 10, 1887
*  Number of receipt and certificate of purchase: 7120
*  By whom patented: Con. to Cash No. 4686. Oberlin. Sep. 7, 1887 $100
*  Where Recorded:  [blank]

On the first leaf, there is a note handwritten above the entry that says (as best I can figure out):

D.S. 1897.  W2SW4. Nellie Randell. Apl 29 - May 4 1885

My interpretation of these entries is this (again, I have little experience here!):

Della A. Smith filed a Homestead claim for the West half of the Southwest quarter (80 acres) of Section 2 in Township 3, Range 40 in Kansas on April 29-May 4, 1885.  She converted the claim to a Cash Entry claim on 7 September 1887 for $5 in cash in Oberlin, Kansas, and received Certificate No. 7120.  In 1897, something happened relating to Nellie Randell (sold to, took over the claim, what?).

I'm not sure what the entry for Henry A. Carringer indicates in the first column on the left leaf - "Pre. 41."  That appears to be a Cash Entry claim, and he paid $1.25 per acre for the 160.10 acres.  Again, it has the date of Apl. 29-May 4, 1885 in the note on the left-hand leaf.  

The date of Apl. 29 - May 4 1885 may be the first paper in the Land Entry file for these claims.  It looks like that is my next information to find.  Kimberly's post links to a description of Land Entry Files, and to the Land Entry File for Charles P. Ingalls on the NARA site. 

Page 28 of this book included the information for the two Devier J. Smith claims, one more Henry A. Carringer claim, and several for D.D. smith, who was Devier J. Smith's son.  I need to decipher those also.

I should be able to figure out the cryptic information on the Tract Book entries from the Land Entry Files.

This is fun!  Thank you to Chad, Geolover and Kimberly for providing useful and helpful information!

The URL for this post is:  http://www.geneamusings.com/2013/07/finding-more-information-about-land.html

copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

1 comment:

Angela said...

Randy, I love that you are using the tract books! I just lectured on them at IGHR and GRIP. You transcribed and interpreted your entries well. Just a few notes to help you --

In the "Part of Section" column on the left the register or clerk usually included the type of entry. "Home" stands for homestead and "Pre 41" stands for a Preemption under the Act of 1841.

You can see that the "By whom patented" column is really used for notes on the transaction. On Nellie's entry the "Com. to Cash" means that the homestead entry was commuted to cash. She decided to purchase the land for $100 in 1887 instead of completing the five years of residency for obtaining the homestead land for free (after the $5 filing fee). The No. 4686 is the final certificate number of the cash entry and the one you need to order the land entry file from NARA. The file should include all the paperwork she submitted on the homestead entry before she commuted it to cash, so it could have some genealogical information in it.

I am glad you noticed the pencil notation for Nellie Randell. The "D.S. 1897" stand for Declaratory Statement number 1897 and means that in April/May 1885 Nellie Randell was living on the land and filed a declaration that she intended to claim the land by pre-emption. Clearly she did not complete her claim, as Nellie purchased the land Nov. 10, 1885, also claiming a pre-emption (see the "Pre 41" in the left column). Again, even those these records would all be filed with the cash entries, they will contain more than just a final certificate and receipt. Both Della and Henry were claiming a preemption so they would have had to file statements proving when they settled on the land and detailing the improvements they had made. There will probably be affidavits from neighbors as witnesses on their behalf.

You may be able to find the Declaratory Statement #1897 at NARA if you are interested. These records are filed by land office (Oberlin, Kansas) and then type of transaction (homestead, cash, or declaratory statement) and then certificate number.

Let me know if you have any questions on these records. I do love working with the tract books and land entry papers.