Where to find Records for Sections 16 & 36 of Public Domain Land

August 8, 2012 at 1:04 am | Posted in Genealogy Research Strategies, Researching Land Records | Leave a comment
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If your ancestor “homesteaded” or was the first purchaser of land in the Public Domain (states not including Texas, Hawaii, and the 13 Colonies), the place to go for records is the Bureau of Land Management website.  It is a super easy way to get the patent (deed) for free.  From there you can chase down the Land Entry Files (everything in his application file) at the National Archives.

There are a number of exceptions to this rule, and one is if your ancestor purchased land designated as “Section 16” or “Section 36” within a township/range under the Public Domain Land.  These lands are special in that they were designed to generate revenue for schools in each state.  The land wasn’t necessarily set aside as the property upon which to build the school, but it was left to the local authority to dispose of and use the proceeds to build schools.

The Section 16 & 36 Records

Unlike the “normal” research route for typical Public Land records, the Section 16 & 36 records are found in a whole different manner mostly because they weren’t sold by the Federal government.  They were sold – at least in Kansas – by the State of Kansas.  Isn’t that an eye-opener?  Therefore the records are stored on a local level and not with the Bureau of Land Management or the National Archives.  As you might expect there are seller and purchaser records, and they aren’t in the same place. Continue Reading Where to find Records for Sections 16 & 36 of Public Domain Land…

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