Whether or not a record set is useful depends upon your ancestors. It also depends upon the researcher accessing those records. Federal land records are a wonderful set of records that are occasionally overlooked by researchers.
Recently I realized that several of my ancestors were mentioned in federal land records. Some just started the process and others completed it:
- Thomas Johnson Rampley started a credit land sale in Coshocton County, Ohio, in 1817. Died before it was paid off. His son-in-law completed the purchase.
- Augusta Newman obtained a military land warrant in the early 1850s based upon his military service in the War of 1812–he served from Kentucky.
- Rufus D. Stephens obtained a military land warrant in the early 1850s based upon his military service in the War of 1812–he served from New York State.
- William S. Newman purchased federal property on a cash sale in Tipton County, Indiana, in 1850.
- John H. Ufkes started a homestead claim in Franklin County, Nebraska, in the early 1870s. The claim was abandoned.
- Focke Goldenstein and his wife Anna (Dirks) Goldenstein completed a homestead claim in Dawson County, Nebraska, in 1889.
These are just my “direct-line” ancestors who appear as claimants in federal land records. There are numerous more distant relatives who appear in these records. I know that Focke Goldenstein appears as a witness in homestead applications for several of his neighbors and relatives. William S. Newman’s brother-in-law also made a cash sale for property very near his.
Whether US federal land records will be useful in your research depends on your ancestors. City dwellers typically do not appear in these records unless the person in question was a veteran of a war before the Civil War. In that case, he may have qualified for a military land warrant.
Have you looked in federal land records?