The Bureau of Land Management website ( allows users to search patent database of individuals who obtained federal land. The database contains an image of the actual patent and should describe the federal act under which the individual obtained the land. The BLM site does not contain any of supporting documentation used to obtain that land. Those files are in the National Archives in Washington, DC. Generally speaking federal land could be obtained via: cash purchase; military warrant (issued based upon military service in specific wars); homestead; pre-emption and various other claims. The amount of paperwork in the application file varies dependent upon the type of acquisition process. this tip originally ran in 2018
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