In June of 1892, Christ Troutfetter received a patent for 160 acres in Thomas County, Kansas.

In an attempt to ferret out neighbors who may have filed homestead claims near Troutfetter, I decided to search for his parcel in the tract books from the Bureau of Land Management. The patent gave me the legal description which is necessary to search the unindexed books. I’ve worked with land records long enough to know that section 5 is close to the border–the township border. Fully searching for Troutfetter’s neighbors will require that I search not only the tract book for several sections in the same township as his homestead, but three nearby townships as well.

Troutfetter had neighbors less than two miles away living in potentially four townships as shown on the illustration.

I will need to search part of the tract books for parts of:

  • township 7 S 33 W–the township in which Troutfetter’s patent is located
  • township 6 S 33 W–the township to the north
  • township 6 S 34 W-the township to the northwest
  • township 7 S 33 W-the township to the west
Searching the book for Troutfetter’s entry and then going a “few pages before and a few pages after” won’t be sufficient to get at all his potential neighbors. I’ll have to have my section maps handy to make certain that I’m actually getting the pages for the townships and sections within those townships that are closest to Troutfetter’s claim.

It’s not always about just turning the page.

Note: A blog post linking to the FamilySearch image of these tracts books can be found here.




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