Write Your Homestead Story

Homestead Land Entry Records – Learn why Land Entry Case Files are exceptionally detailed and try this activity!

Step 1: Did your family homestead?

Conduct a state and name search on the Bureau of Land Management’s General Land Office Records website. You just might find an Original Homestead patent!
If so, you can obtain the legal land description vital to ordering records from the National Archives.


Step 2: Acquire your family’s homestead records.

All homestead Land Entry Case Files are kept at the National Archives. However a small number of casefiles have been digitized. Learn more here: Requesting Homestead Records.


EXAMPLE NPS PAGES written by descendants:

Peter Clark (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov)
Charles and Hester Meehan (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov)
America Hunt-Harrell (Harrold) (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov)

Step 3: Write Your Story

Each story will be proofed and formatted by NPS staff for the website. There may be edits and format changes that happen after submission. The story contributor will be given the opportunity to approve edits.

Please fill out what you know for the Quick Facts section of the webpage.

Quick Facts

Significance: (State where homestead located) Homesteader
Place of Birth:
Date of Birth:
Place of Death:
Date of Death:
Burial Place:

These next questions will help you to tell your story from the homestead Land Entry Case Files. Please write the story as a 3rd person narrative. If you would like to add 1st person narrative about your personal connections and information, please share that under the “Contributor” section.

What is your ancestor’s name?
Where was he/she born?
Was he/she or the parents enslaved?
Is he/she a natural born citizen or delared their intention to become a citizen?
When did he/she apply for the land?
What is the application number?
What was the cost of the application receivers receipt fee?
When did your ancestor settle on the land? (The date should be in the land entry papers.)
Describe the land improvements ( on claimant proof of testimony and witness documents) – for example, acres cleared, house, outhouse, corn crib, furniture, and the value of the improvement(s).
How many individuals lived with him/her on the homestead?
Did he/she name them or do you know their names?
Could he/she read and write?
Did he/she use a signature or an X to sign her/his name?
Who were the witnesses? Any unique statements made about the settler from the witnesses?
What was the cost of the final reciever's receipt fee?
When did he/she obtain the land patent? What is the land patent number?
How many acres were acquired?
Any family information you would like to share from oral history or your research?
Do you have a photo or a unique artifact to add to this story?



Contributor: Add your name
More From the Contributor: Add any first person narratives here.
Brief Bio: Who are you and what is your relationship to this Homesteader?
Bio picture: Include your picture (with who to credit) if you’d like it to be added to your contributed webpage.

Homestead submissions can take a long time to be added to the website based on variables like staffing and expertise. Once submitted, the stories go into a queue to be verified in order of submission. It is Homestead National Historical Park’s mission to share homestead stories for current and future generations and we thank you for your submissions!

Last updated: February 13, 2023

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8523 West State Highway 4
Beatrice, NE 68310


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