"Homestead files consist of unbound documents that include final certificates, applications with land descriptions, affidavits showing proof of citizenship, register and receiver receipts, notices and final proofs, and testimonies of witnesses.
The database description also includes information about the process of applying and receiving a homestead - see the description at U.S. Homestead Records, 1861-1936.
I don't have any ancestors who received a Homestead to my knowledge, so I went looking for some of the collateral lines. I found a Homestead application for Herbert G. Dyar (1858-1949, who married my first cousin 3 times removed, Mary Woodward (1866-1945) in Nebraska.
Here is the search form for these records. The user can browse the records by State, then Land Office, then Final Certificate Year, and Township and Range. I entered the surname Dyar into the search form:
There were two results, and I selected the result for Herbert G. Dyar. Here is the record summary for him:
He received a Final Homestead certificate in Range 5 West, Township 20 North, Section 28 on 9 September 1884 in the Grand Island, Nebraska land office.
I clicked on the "View" button on the thumbnail image, and saw the first of 19 images for the Homestead file of Herbert G. Dyar:
He filed for the East half of the Northeast quarter and the East half of the southeast quarter of Section 28 in this Township:
His final affidavit required of homestead claimants:
His application was published in the local newspaper:
He applied to enter the land in 1879:
He submitted Testimony of the Claimant as Homestead Proof on 6 September 1884:
This states that "In the month of October 1879 established actual residence, Oct. 25 1879. Sod house 12 x 16. sod stable 12 x 16; frame granary 8 x 16; corn crib 8 x 16; dug well; total value $300.00"
He claimed that he was a single man and has resided on the land continuously. He said that he has cultivated 50 acres and raised crops for four seasons. Two neighbors testified via affidavits that these claims were true.
This looks like an interesting and very useful record for descendants or Herbert G. Dyar.
I look forward to more records from Iowa (there are some now, but not my counties), Missouri, Kansas and Colorado in hopes that my ancestors have records in this collection.
Copyright (c) 2016, Randall J. Seaver