Over the course of the Homestead Act’s 123-year history, over four million individual homestead claims were made. Each and every one of these claims generated a written record known as a case file that was kept by the U.S. General Land Office. Today, these case files exist only as paper originals and are stored in the National Archives in Washington, D.C. The complete collection of case files created under the Homestead Act contains over 30 million individual pieces of paper. These records are some of the information richest collection of documents in the holdings of the National Archives. Genealogists, scholars, or if you are just interested in learning you will want to explore these documents. They hold information on births, deaths, military history, they show improvements made to the land and you might even learn about the home they lived in or gain an insight into the neighbors. You might even stumble upon a famous American! Since 1999, Homestead National Monument of America has been involved in a project that aims to eventually digitize all 30 million documents of the homestead case files collection.
You can access the completed records on site at the Homestead National Monument of America’s Heritage Center for FREE or online through Ancestry.com and Fold3.com