Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Look at a Cash Land Entry File-Part 1

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Files relating to cash sales of land by the federal government are usually said to contain little information. However, one must remember that when ordering land files from The National Archives and Records Administration, several types of land entry case files are lumped together under Cash Entry. For instance, the entryman may have begun the process of filing for a Homestead, then decided to pay for the land outright, rather than meeting the residency and other requirements for a homestead. Any paperwork created to that point will be in the case file. So the bottom line is, you don't know what you are going to get until you see the case file.
Over the next few days, we will look at two case files. The first is a basic cash entry file with very little information beyond the basics of who, what, when, where and how much. The second appears to be a preemption file and contains much more information.
  • Hone, E. Wade. Land & Property Research in the United States. Salt Lake City, UT: Ancestry, 1997. Print.
  • Bettag, Claire. Land Entry Papers: Federal Land Records at the National Archives. Handout from the National Archives 7th Annual Genealogy Fair held April 20 and 21, 2011. There is a link on this page for the handout.
  • Hawkins, Kenneth. Research in the Land Entry Files of the General Land Office.Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration. 2009. Downloadable from NARA.
Links to the entire series:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9

© 2011, copyright Michelle Goodrum


  1. Hi Michelle, great post series and thank you so much for pointing us to the handout. It was a great reference. We are going to NARA in a couple of weeks. I have read up on how to research land records and I think now I'm ready to start making a list of all the ones I want to find/pull.

  2. Good luck Ginger. I'm glad you found the handout helpful.