1) On Finding More Information About Land Grants in U.S. BLM Tract Books on FamilySearch (posted 30 July 2013):
* Angela helped: "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."
"I really don't like programs that tell ME where I want to put something (whether downloading to the Downloads folder, or automatically installing on the C drive when I have a P drive set up for programs). If they're just going automatically to Downloads, then maybe that's something else they can fix."
"Birth date? It's a toss-up. I would trust other potentially better sources, and add this computed date into notes for analysis. I wouldn't take a birth date on a gravestone over other evidence. They are so often wrong...."
"Gets you out of your 'cave' for an hour, too ;-)"
"As Linda Schreiber stated, gravestones are often erroneous, but that doesn't mean we should ignore them. They are a piece of evidence and you should keep all your evidence and analyze it until you find better evidence. As you pointed out, the grave marker is probably a better source for a death date than the Bible, but the Bible may be a better source for the birth date.
"You can take the dates you have and look for confirmation in other sources. He would be elderly during the Civil War, but it is possible he fought. Also, search for military records from the Mexican-American War (1846-1848).
"You may also find his birth and/or death mentioned in church records. Since you indicate he is of German descent, you should look for Lutheran, Reformed, or Presbyterian congregations in the locations of his birth and death. Wills and probate records, newspapers, and civil records may also be helpful."
"Log in to Find-A-Grave (registration is free). Click the Edit tab, then click "Suggest a correction or provide additional information" In the blank box, enter a message, such as:
'I'm the great-grandson of X and would be happy for you to transfer ownership of his memorial to me.'
"The owner of the memorial will get an email with your ID and the ID of the memorial, and can easily transfer ownership to you. Then you can more easily and quickly add photos, a bio, family links, etc."
"My only comment is that I HOPE that we don't see the PC / Mac based program to a specific Web based program start to line up. Like FTM2012 to Ancestry.com.
"I clearly see that one, but one would hope that Ancestry.com would encourage an API to their Ancestry Member Trees.
"Or that Family Tree Maker (only using that as an example) would develop to the FamilySearch.org API so that FTM20XX would sync to FamilySearch Family Trees, without using a generic GEDCOM file.
"I also hope that FHISO is able to get ALL of our Genealogy Database Management program developers and Web site developers to the Same TABLE to develop an International Standard so that we can share, transparently, between the various platforms."
"Riddle me this: wouldn't it make much more sense for FamilySearch to adopt the Geni API then for MyHeritage/Geni to adopt the FSFT API?
"'That would make the FamilySearch API a de facto standard.'
"What a dark, gloomy, distopian fantasy you have. Having FamilySearch in charge of a de facto genealogy technology standard has been tried already. The current mess is the result of that..."