Tuesday, April 14, 2015

L is for Land Records

L is for Land Records - whether held on the local, county, state or federal level, one of the most interesting record sets is land records. So many of our ancestors came to the United States with very little. Unoccupied land was plentiful, congressional acts - specifically the various homestead acts - made it possible to purchase land for a pittance. Hard work and perseverance made it possible for families not only to survive in their adopted country, but to thrive.

My 2nd great grandfather's experience with the 1862 Homestead Act was played out countless times with people from all over the world who came to the United States and changed their destinies.

Both James and Ellen were from Ireland, came to America
and made a life for themselves and their children.

With 2 payments totaling $18.00 James and Ellen owned 160 acres
a farm that remains in the family today.  

I can only wonder how 8 people lived in a house the size of my bedroom
and yes improvements continued over the years!
Do you have any homestead act properties in your family? Have you researched those farms and properties? I had the opportunity to review the original land records for James Joseph Murphy's application and grant at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. Sitting in the reading room and reviewing the original land records was a thrill. If you are lucky enough to have homestead land records in your family history, do the necessary research, touch a piece of history, and be enthralled by the story of your family who did their part to build the farms of America.

See you back here tomorrow for the letter M!

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