Thursday, September 18, 2008

Footnote in the News - Homestead Records has been announcing their latest collections very effectively - like many other genea-bloggers I received the press release today from therm. You can read the press release at Miriam Midkiff's Ancestories blog and Pat Richley's DearMYRTLE's Genealogy Blog, among others.

The key part of the announcement is:

"The Homestead Act of 1862 was a landmark event at a time when the American Nation was being torn apart by the Civil War. These records, most of which have never been microfilmed, contain more than simply the names of those who petitioned the U.S. Government for land. They tell the rich story of a fast-growing country and those men and women eager to live the American dream by becoming land owners.

" has already digitized and indexed the Homestead Records from Broken Bow, Nebraska featuring almost 40,000 records. To view samples of these records and see what Footnote users have discovered, click here. Working together with its’ partners, will continue to release more records on the site."

I was curious, so I clicked the link above, and went to the Broken Bow, Nebraska Story Page at There is a wealth of information about the Homestead records, written by Roberta King. The summary says:

"The papers in the homestead files offer a richly detailed picture of the entryman’s situation at that time in his life. They state the value of his property; the amount, description, and value of crops grown; and the dimensions of his house, barn, or corncrib. These are but a few of the fascinating details that present a picture of exactly how things were at that time, in that place, for that entryman and his family."

There are descriptions of the Application, the Testimonies, Military records, Grasshopper Acts, Court Cases, Medical information, and Citizenship papers. If all of these documents are in a typical Homestead file, then this database is very rich in information - and not just for the entryman - there is information in the Testimonies from two of his neighbors. And the names are indexed and found in a Footnote Search.

At present, only the 1,824 Broken Bow, Nebraska Homestead Land Entry Case Records from 1890 to 1908 are digitized and indexed. Hundreds of thousands more Homestead Land Entry Case Records will be digitized and indexed over time and be available on

This is a great start on an important and under-utilized genealogy resource - I look forward to using this database in the future.

No comments: