Federal land records can be a valuable source for genealogical information. This presentation discusses searching the BLM website for patentees and warrantees, creating effective searches, wildcard searches, and geographic based searches.
Not everyone mentioned in these federal land records actually acquired the federal land themselves or even settled on it. Many veterans (pre-US Civil War) obtained military land warrants which they sold or transferred to someone else. That someone else actually settled the property. The military veteran who obtained the warrant should appear in the BLM land patent index as warrant receivers are included.
A New Hampshire man who served in the War of 1812 and who never left the New Hampshire after the war may still appear in the BLM patent index site. And he may be listed under a warrant that was used to obtain property in Iowa.
Even though he never set foot within 500 miles of the Mississippi River. The tract books can be used to locate claims that were started but never completed. Those files are at the National Archives as well as the files for completed claims.
The presentation on using the BLM land patent site and the BLM tract books can be ordered for immediate download here.