1. Verify name of ancestor landowner and find homestead application number? Check
a. "Oklahoma Tract Books" organized by legal description, found at
* Oklahoma Historical Society Research Library;
* Oklahoma Department of Libraries;
* Southwest Oklahoma Genealogical Society,
_ TRACT BOOK SEARCH, P.O. BOX 148, LAWTON, OK 73502-0148.
Southwest Oklahoma Genealogical Society member, Anna B. Clevenger has indexed the tract books in 22 volumes organized by surname. SWOGS explains "How To Order Tract Book Search." SWOGS volunteers will check the indexes, compare them to the microfilm copies and, if found, photocopy one entry for a $5.00 donation to SWOGS, plus a self-addresed, stamped envelope with adequate postage to insure the return of the documents.
b. "Register's/Receiver's Book" organized in numerical order, found at
Oklahoma Department of Libraries,
State Archives Branch,
200 NE 18,
Oklahoma City, OK 73105.
Books are organized in numerical order with legal description, name of claimant and applicable remarks. Both sets of books give homestead application number. They should be crosschecked to verify information.
2. Did Ancestor prove up? Check
a. "Patent Register" found at County Clerk's office. Ancestor registered the patent to pay property taxes. Write to the County Clerk's office in the county where your ancestor held property, giving name and approximate dates for the landholder and ask for entries in Federal Land Patent Index. Copies of the patent will give you the exact Legal Description of the property, and, if it was an original homestead claim, the Land Patent Certificate Number, and the name of the General Land Office which issued it.
3. What various forms were filed at the land office? Check
a. "Record Group 49, Land Entry Papers of the General Land Office of the United States" found at
General Branch NNFG,
Civil Records Division,
National Archives and Records Administration,
Washington, D C 20409.
Send SASE, homesteader's name, land site office, homestead application number, date entry filed, legal description, final entry number and date for forms and affidavits made by homesteaders.
b. "Patent for Land" found at
Department of the Interior,
Bureau of Land Management,
Santa Fe, NM 87501.
The Oklahoma Tract Books are organized by legal description (quarter-section, section, township and range) and contain names, dates, and other information about entries made on the tract.
The homesteader proved his claim in one of three ways. He lived on the land for five years; he paid $1.25 an acre after 12 months; or he subtracted service time (in Union Army or Navy) from the five year requirement.
The runs of 1891, 1892, and 1895, and the lottery of 1901, required a price of $1.50 an acre to be paid before receiving the title. In 1893, land was valued from $1.00 an acre to $2.50 an acre. Title was not transferred until the payments were made. After 1900, charges were made for only the lottery land; the previous settlers were excused from paying for their lands.
Three months before making final application to obtain title to the land, the homesteader and two of his neighbors went to the land office and filed a notice of intent to make final proof. The register ordered a newspaper advertisement to appear for four weeks in the newspaper nearest the claim and called for potential contestants to appear at a hearing.
On the assigned date, the homesteader and his witnesses appeared at the land office. The witnesses testified about the homesteader and his family, the improvements on the land, and their estimation of it's value. If there were no contests to the claim, and if the register was convinced by the answers, the homesteader was given a final certificate after paying a $2 commission to both the register and receiver. He was also required to submit payment for the newspaper ad and for rendering a transcript of the testimony. The paperwork was sent to Washington and the General Land Office then issued a patent for the land.
You may not find genealogical information on the homestead affidavits but you will find name, age, post office, legal description of house, date when residence was established, number and relationshipof members of family, evidence of citizenship, type of crops, number of acres under cultivation, description of personal property and house, patent date.
If homesteaders land description is not known the Southwest Oklahoma Genealogical Society will research all 22 volumes on the indexes and compare the surnames to the 72 volumes of Tract Books until the full name is found and will send a copy of the page on which the entry appears for $5 plus a SASE. If the land description is already known, the charge for the copy is only $1 plus SASE.
"Looking for 89'ers," Gordon Moore, The Chronicles of Oklahoma, V.66, #4, Winter 1989, p.461-3
|Custer County, Oklahoma Pioneers 1892-1906
||Oklahoma Historical Society
||Custer County History
|Southwest Oklahoma Genealogical Society
||Oklahoma Land Openings 1892-1906
||Researching Land Records
by Linda Haas Davenport
|Homestead Records Information Page
|National Archives and Records Administration
||Where to obtain Land Patents and Warrants
by Linda Haas Davenport