North Dakota Tract Books ('Homesteading records')

This 34 reel microfilm set of the U.S. Land Office's tract books for North Dakota documents original land transactions from the 1870s to about 1920. These federal land records document the first transfer of land title from the United States to a private party (purchase, homestead, timber claims, land grant or land bounty). Records of subsequent transactions are recorded at the Register of Deeds office at the county level.

Access to these records is by the legal description (Section number, Township number, and Range number) not by name. Several reels contain portions of South Dakota. A finding aid with maps to assist the researcher is available in the Institute Research Room. The microfilm is located in the Institute Microforms Area. (Call No.: Microfilm HD196.N9 T73)

The United States Bureau of Land Management now provides a searchable database to land patents on public lands for the Public Land States including North Dakota. The land patents are also available for all North Dakota counties on the North Dakota GenWeb Project. They were indexed by Joy Fisher.

The actual papers for each land transaction are located at the National Archives and Records Administration. Mail order photocopying requests must be submitted on NATF Form 84 (Order for Copies of Land Entry Files). Copies of the form are available from the address given below. Minimum identification required includes name of entryman, land located in what state, and approximate date of entry. Additional helpful information includes the legal description of land (Section number, Township number, Range number); type of land entry (Homestead, Credit, or Cash); Patent, final certificate, or document number; and name of land office.

Textual Reference Branch-Land (NWDT1)
National Archives and Records Administration
7th and Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20408