There are many ways your ancestor might have obtained federal property. Military service before the Civil War may have made him eligible for bounty land, he may have made a direct cash purchase, he may have been an early settler who filed a pre-emption claim, a homesteader who worked the ground the required amount of time, or someone who obtained property in another way. To search federal land patents–those deeds that transferred property from federal to private ownership, visit the Bureau of Land Management’s General Land Office website.
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