Find Your Homesteader

Over the course of the Act's 123-year history, more than two million individual homestead claims were made. Each and every one of these claims generated a written record known as a case file that was kept by the U.S. General Land Office.

Today, these case files exist only as paper originals and nearly all are stored in the National Archives in Washington, D.C. The complete collection of case files created under the Homestead Act contains more than 30 million individual pieces of paper. Homestead case files are treasure troves of historical and genealogical information. They hold information about a homesteader's date and place of birth, the names of children that lived on the homestead, naturalization information about immigrant homesteaders, notations regarding military service, the types of crops planted on the homestead, the value and kinds of homes and other buildings on the site, and more.

To find out if your relatives homesteaded in Montana, visit the BLM's General Land Office (GLO) Records website. The site provides live access to federal land conveyance records for the public land states, including image access to more than five million federal land title records issued between 1820 and the present. It also has images related to survey plats and field notes dating back to 1810. Due to the organization of documents in the GLO collection, the site does not currently contain every federal title record issued for the public land states.

To obtain actual copies of homestead case files, visit the National Archives website. Case files can be mail ordered for a small fee.