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Much of the United States was once "public domain" land owned by the federal government and transferred to individuals under laws enacted by Congress. Missouri was among the 30 states that were formed from the "public domain."
The homestead and other land ownership records of the pioneers who settled the American West include many valuable documents that show ownership of land acquired under various federal laws designed to promote settlement of the western frontier.
Homestead and other land ownership records are rich in genealogical information, and provide two types of important evidence for genealogists. First, they locate individuals and families in a specific time and place with connections to other people in the neighborhood, and second, they clearly show family relationships.
that opened up the American West
Land patents document the transfer of land ownership from the federal government to individuals.
Frequently asked questions about land patents, click here.