“Digging in Federal Land Records”
19 September–26 September 2015
Millions of Americans obtained land from the federal government either by purchase, donation, bounty land, or homesteading. The records created by these land transactions can be valuable for locating an ancestor in a particular time and place, and may also contain useful family information. Some land files include a detailed description of improvements to the land, evidence of military service, proof of naturalization, or testimony from neighbors.
This course will cover the distribution of land in the thirty public land states to individuals from 1798 to 1976. The sessions will take an in-depth look at the process for obtaining land, the records created, and the genealogical value they contain. You will learn about the surveying process and legal land descriptions, the Acts of Congress that authorized different types of transactions, the process for applying for land, and what can be found online and only onsite at NARA. We will examine records from each type of land transaction, including private land claims, bounty land warrants, cash and credit entries, homesteads, and donation land.
Angela Packer McGhie is a professional genealogist who has focused her career in genealogy education. She is the coordinator for the Intermediate Genealogy course at the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research (IGHR) at Samford University, and the coordinator of the Advanced Evidence Analysis Practicum at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG). She served as the administrator of the ProGen Study Program from 2008-2014 and is now on the board of directors. Angela has been an instructor at the National Institute for Genealogy Research (NIGR) in Washington, D.C., the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP), and Howard Community College in Columbia, Maryland.
Course Schedule (all times U. S. Eastern)
19 September 2015
- 11:00am: “Background: History, Surveys, Laws and Records”
- 1:00pm: “Obtaining Free Land: Homesteading in America”
26 September 2015
- 11:00am: “Land Entry Papers, Private Land Claims and Bounty Land”
- 1:00pm: “Locating Records: BLM Website, Tract Books and Finding Aids”