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HARLAN County, Nebraska Homesteaders

When Nebraska and other western states were first being divided into counties, people were allowed to "homestead" land. Many of us have ancestors that homesteaded here in Nebraska. Anyone who ever applied for a homestead via a homestead exemption or timber claim, was recorded at a U.S. Land Office. These homestead records are also known as U.S. Land Tract Records. For most of south central Nebraska homesteaders, the U.S. Land Office they needed to file their claim at was located in Bloomington, Nebraska. After the requirements were met, people were issued a homestead or timber claim number and certificate. However, there were also those people that applied for a homestead or timber claim, but for some reason or another, abandoned their claim or did not fulfill the requirements to get the certificate. For some early settlers that did not stay in this county, this is the only record that they would be found in. These original U.S. Land Tract Records are available on microfilm. Please contact your local library, genealogy or LDS History Center if you would like to view the microfilm of the original records. All of the U.S. Land Tract Records for Harlan County Nebraska Townships are included in this listing. Transcribing these old handwritten records was difficult and time consuming. I am sure errors exist, but we did the best we could.

A big thank you to Carol Wolf Britton for helping me type these records. Without her help this would not have been possible.

These Homestead Records are listed in alphabetical order by the Applicant's last name. This is a work in progress, so not all townships are available at this time. Please know that we did not include school and/or railroad land in these records as there were no names associated with those acres.

Q. What do the codes Tc, He and Cash mean in the Par Column?

The Tc = Timber Claim; the He = Homestead; and Cash = Paid Cash for Homestead.

Q. How can I get a copy of my ancestor's Homestead Papers?

To get a copy of your Harlan County ancestor's original Homestead or Timber Claim papers, first locate your ancestor on the list. If they fulfilled their claim, make a note of the Section, Township and Range numbers. Write the Harlan County Clerk, 706 - 2nd Ave., Alma, Nebraska 68920. When you write the Clerk give the Section, Township and Range information. Ask them how much it would cost to send you your ancestor's Application Number and the Certificate Number. Be sure to enclose a self-addressed stamped envelope. After you have this information, request NATF Form 84 by writing: Textual Reference Branch-Land (NWDT1), National Archives and Records Administration, 7th and Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. 20408. Fill out the form as requested.

Q. Is this list available in book form?

Not at this time.

Q. What is a Section? Township? Range? and how do you read a legal description?

The York County Nebraska web page has a very informative page on land descriptions in Nebraska that will really help out anyone with questions. Check out their web site at


Republican City Township

Enjoy! Patti Simpson

Return to Harlan County NEGENWEB page HERE.

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Last update 2011