NARA Field Trip and Land Records

While at NARA today, I thought I would see what Land Records looked like and what they were about. From a Webinar or discussion in 2nd Life, I had already identified 4 Land Records to look at, when ever I would have a chance to do so. Today was that day. I handed in my 4 requests and got 4 boxes in return. One was not what I requested and it was too late to get it pulled in time. Maybe “next time”.

This blog post won’t be on the specific details of what I found, as I still need to look at all that I received. All are on my camera, and need time to spend with them. However, there was a lesson learned, for me at least.

I remember in the Second Life discussion on Inferential Genealogy, that we need to know the Records that we were looking at. These land records were one such lesson. My land records were AFTER 1909. But what had happened was that around 1907 (I think that was the date), the way that the Bureau of Land Management changed how these transactions were handled. This translates to how you request a Land Record to be pulled. I had, almost, the right information, in fact too much information, but the helpful gentlemen reviewed my form and corrected it.

All this to say, that it’s helpful to look at this or any record group and understand that group of records before going to NARA. That is helpful, but as I learned, the staff were really helpful to me. I’ll do better the next time.

While reading one of the records, the family farm, where my Grandfather was born was described. The Land holder was one of his brothers, but as I read the description of the farm, this is what I saw described.

Were my grandfather was born

In fact, the person in front of this building, is my Great-Grandmother. The detail in this record described this farm. It wasn’t this farm, but the description fit.

Another of these files, was another great-uncle’s fight and plea to keep his Land, as he had not been able to fulfill the requirements for the first two years of property ownership.

It will take some time to really digest all that was included in these three file, but I need to do some more research ABOUT these documents and what was behind the plea to keep the land. What were the “rules”? Or as I recall from Inferential Genealogy, Know the records that you are looking through.


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