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Heritage quest contains the entire US Census, the Periodical Source Index, The Revolutionary War Pensions and Bounty Land Warrant Application Files.   Heritage quest provides researchers with information on African Americans in the 1870 Census.  Available for purchase in CD-ROM form. Sometimes abbreviated by experienced historians and genealogists as HQO the service is offered free by many local libraries.  

By Christina Kassabian Schaefer

The Hidden Half of the Family: A Sourcebook for Women's Genealogy is a troubleshooting sourcebook for hunting down those "pesky" women on your family tree.  The women who despite all your best efforts searching, just REFUSE to be found. Don’t be mad at them too much.  Many women were legally barred from owning their own real estate, signing documents like deeds, devising wills, entering into contracts and even citizenship in some cases.  Hidden Half of the Family hopes to right that wrong done women within the historical record.  Learn the shortcuts that will help you avoid the brick walls associated with finding a female ancestor.  


Bureau of Land Management

The Homestead Act of 1862 signed into law by Abraham Lincoln, allowed anyone over the age of 21 who had never taken up arms against the United States (including freed slaves) to apply for free land up to 160 acres west of the Mississippi River.  The property would become the property of the individual free and clear if he lived on it for five years, built a house, dug a well, plowed at least ten acres and actually lived on the land.  These records are filled with useful information.  Homestead Records list the names of the applicants, spouses, and the number of the children living on the land.  A bonus for African American researchers are the witness statements.  Each statement provides a window into the applicant's past.  The tract books for the Western States are located at The National Archives in Washington, D.C.  The eastern tract books and land case entry files are located at the U.S. Department of the Interior.  You can access ancestor information by searching through the five million federal land titles filed between 1820 to the present-day.  The land didn’t cost anything, but settlers did have to pay a filing fee.    


For more information on researching Homestead Land Records read, Land Records: Introduction and Links to Resources on Land Entry Case Files and Related Records online.

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