We can help you find the North Dakota Land Patents of your ancestors, because we know where to look. We research the complete federal land patent records of North Dakota, so we can help you find your ND ancestors.
Land Entry Case Files of South Dakota
South Dakota Land Entry Case File Research — $80.00 per case file
We research documents in the land entry case file of your ancestor in South Dakota, so we can help you.
You will receive photocopies of the actual documents contained in the land entry case file, because we will find them.
Your South Dakota Ancestor
An ancestor with one federal land patent certainly has one land entry case file.
An ancestor with more than one federal land patent certainly has more than one land entry case file.
The number of your ancestor’s federal land patents, consequently equals the number of land entry case files.
We research your ancestor’s federal land patents, so you choose which land entry case file you want.
South Dakota Land Entry Case File research is $80.00 per land entry case file.
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South Dakota Land Entry Case Files
Tell us the name of your ancestor, and the county where your ancestor resided, so we can find your ancestor.
Tell us the “township, range, section” legal description of your ancestor’s South Dakota land patent, so we can research it.
We’ll research your ancestor’s name, so we can find your ancestor’s land entry case file.
Ask us to research your SD ancestor in the land entry case files, because you can expect the best!
Help us research your ancestor’s name in the land entry case files of South Dakota, because we will find them.
We will find your SD ancestor in the land entry case files, so you can better understand your family history.
Above all, our highest priority is to provide unsurpassed quality of research and extraordinary personal service.
Ask us questions, because you can get answers.
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We always want to answer your questions.
Our highest priority is to provide unsurpassed quality of research and extraordinary personal service, so you can expect the best.
Land Entry Case File
Official records of the federal government, called land entry papers, transferred federal land to individuals.
The applicant, called an entryman, filed the claim for a federal land patent.
The document of deed, called a patent, guaranteed title to the land from the United States government to the individual.
The US government file, called the Land Entry Case File, contains the original documents of this land transfer process.
Land Patent Application
The claimant’s land patent application shows the name of the entryman, and residence at the time of filing.
The application describes the land and the number of acres of land contained in the patent.
The file includes receipts for the payment of application fees.
The US government required foreign-born applicants to file a declaration of intent to become a citizen of the United States.
Foreign-born persons filed “first papers” because they desired to acquire and own free land in the United States.
Filing naturalization “first papers” consequently declared the person’s intent to become a citizen of the United States.
Public Notice of Intention to File a Land Claim
A certificate of notice of intention to file a land patent claim is certainly part of the application.
Federal regulations also required claimants to file public notice of intention to prove a land patent claim.
Filing public notice similarly meant publishing this notice three times in the local newspaper.
Testimony of Claimant and Witnesses
The final proof certificate is important, because it includes the testimony of the claimant and two witnesses, usually nearby neighbors.
Final Patent Proof Certificate
The proof certificate shows the claimant’s name, age, post office address, citizenship, dates of residence, and relationship of family members.
The certificate describes the land, house, furniture, type of crops planted, number of acres under cultivation, farm machinery and tools.
Finally, the final document records the patent number and date.
Acts of Congress that Transformed the American West
The United States Congress enacted a series of laws that totally transformed the American West.
Sale-Cash Entry Act of 1820 — Title Transfer Authority Code: 272002, April 24, 1820, 3 Stat. 566
Congress enacted the Sale-Cash Entry Act so individuals could purchase land for cash directly from the General Land Office.
Pre-emption Act of 1841
The Pre-emption Act of 1841 legalized settlers who had established themselves illegally on land ahead of government surveyors. Eventually, the federal government surveyed the surrounding land, which then became available for public sale. Illegal settlers, “squatters”, then had the right to appear at the local land office so they could legalize their land.
Because of the Pre-emption Act, squatters could purchase up to 160 acres of their illegal land for $1.25 per acre. Upon showing proof of building a house and making improvements to the land, squatters could claim ownership of the land. The Pre-emption Act gave illegal settlers the right to pre-empt, or prevent, any other claims to their land.
The Pre-emption Act, repealed in 1891, legalized early pioneer settlement on unsurveyed lands. “Squatting” became a legitimate means of establishing a homestead, because of the Pre-emption Act.
As a result, many homestead files contain documents of proof related to the Pre-emption Act of 1841.
Acts of Congress played a key role in opening up the American West
Beginning in 1862, the United States Congress enacted a series of laws that totally transformed the American West.
The four transcontinental railroads received huge grants of land. Rail transportation extended across the entire continent of North America from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific.
The removal of Native American peoples from open land to reservations, consequently opened up the west to white settlement.
Thirteen new territories, including the Dakota Territory, joined the union, because of new laws enacted by Congress.
Each state and territory received land grants to establish new agricultural colleges to encourage productive farming.
Homestead Act of 1862 — Title Transfer Authority Code: 251101, May 20, 1862, 12 Stat. 392
The Homestead Act offered 160 acres (80 acres within the railroad grant areas) of free land. The person had to be a citizen of the United States over 21 years of age. A foreign-born person filing a declaration of intent to become a citizen of the United States was also eligible. The homesteader simply had to reside on the land for five years and improve it. The United States distributed free quarter sections of land (160 acres) to homesteaders who improved it for five years. There was also an option to purchase the land after six months of residency for $1.25 per acre.
The Homestead Act applies to surveyed land, and in 1880 it extended to include unsurveyed land. Railroads spearheaded the onslaught of land seekers, because they trainloads of homesteaders into the heart of the western frontier. Every homestead file contains documents of proof related to the Homestead Act of 1862.
Timber Culture Act of 1873 — Title Transfer Authority Code: 251105, March 3, 1873, 17 Stat. 605
The Timber Culture Act was another law that encouraged the planting of trees, and homesteading in the west. A settler planted 40 acres of timber (reduced to 10 acres in 1878) and fostered their growth for 10 years. Upon compliance with the law, the individual acquired title to that quarter section of land.
Homesteaders could also occupy their land for three years. One acre of trees would be under cultivation for two of those three years. Homesteaders could then receive a patent (first title deed) to the land. Congress repealed the law in 1882. Many homestead files in South Dakota contain documents of proof related to the Timber Culture Act of 1873.
Desert Land Act of 1877 — Title Transfer Authority Code: 252000, March 3, 1877, 19 Stat. 377
The Desert Land Act encouraged settlement, especially the arid and semi-arid regions of the west. Specifically, the act applied to California, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, and Utah. Also included were North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.
The Desert Land Act allowed anyone to purchase 640 acres of land for 25 cents per acre. The purchaser needed to irrigate the land within three years of filing. A rancher could receive title to the land any time within the three years. Upon proof of compliance with the law, settlers paid one additional dollar per acre for the land. The homestead files of many cattle ranchers west of the Missouri River contain documents related to the Desert Land Act.
North Dakota and South Dakota
County and Township Historical Atlases
Land Ownership Maps
If your ancestors owned a farm in North Dakota or South Dakota, here’s a suggestion. Research the county and township historical atlas where your ancestors lived. This is the type of land ownership map that shows your ancestors’ farm property in the county where they resided. You may very well find your ancestors’ land, and the land of nearby family members and neighbors.
Historic Map Works, LLC, based in Portland, Maine, is an Internet company. This company has assembled a very useful database of historic digital maps of North America and the world. Family history researchers can view this collection of American property atlases. We think this may be one of the best online map and atlas destinations for family history researchers.
In case you’re wondering, Time Passages has no relationship with Historic Map Works, LLC.
Try these links. You may find a North Dakota or South Dakota County and Township Historical Atlas related to your ancestors.
The Land Ownership Maps you find here may provide you with new information about your ancestors’ land.
• ND County and Township Historical Atlases / Land Ownership Maps
North Dakota. » Click Here «
• SD County and Township Historical Atlases / Land Ownership Maps
South Dakota. » Click Here «