ARIZONA NEWS

Arizona homestead records to be digitized

Jul 7, 2014, 5:00 AM | Updated: 5:00 am

PHOENIX — An important part of Arizona history will soon be available to view online.

The Homestead National Monument of America is in the process of digitizing thousands of homestead records from the U.S. National Archive, and historian Blake Bell said Arizona’s records will soon be complete.

“These records are probably the most information-rich records I’ve ever come across as a historian,” said Bell.

Homestead acts were a series of laws signed by the federal government that allowed people to apply for federal land grants to farm and build houses, with the first act being signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1862.

Bell said the homestead acts lasted until 1976 in the contiguous United States, and Arizona was a popular destination for many people.

“Especially after world war one, you see a very big movement into the desert southwest and a lot of homesteading taking place there,” he said.

Those who applied for a grant were required to live on the land for five years and improve it by building at least a 12-by-14 home and by growing crops, resulting in detailed records of people proving they’ve met the requirements.

“In these records what you’re finding is how big the house was that your ancestor lived in, how many acres did they plow up to plant crops, how many trees did they put out,” he said.

The acts were considered quite progressive at the time Bell said, allowing anyone who hadn’t taken up arms against the U.S., including freed slaves, who were 21 years or older to apply.

It even allowed non-U.S. citizen applicants, only requiring that the applicant declare intention of becoming a U.S. citizen Bell said, thereby resulting in even more detail than just land information.

“There is citizenship paperwork, all of their naturalization paperwork, these kinds of things we’re finding in there,” he said. “So we’re getting a lot of really, really good, rich information from these records.”

He said the information could be very useful for tracing a person’s ancestry and the records should be available online in the next two to three months.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

An elderly woman with with white hair and a cane walks alongside a woman with blond hair in the hal...

Kevin Stone

West Valley assisted-living facility settles lawsuit over secrecy practices

A West Valley assisted-living facility has settled a lawsuit over secrecy clauses in its arbitration agreements, officials announced Tuesday.

3 hours ago

handcuffs seen in man's hands...

KTAR.com

3 suspects linked to South American organized crime groups indicted in Maricopa County

Three suspects connected with South American crime groups were indicted Tuesday in Maricopa County after allegedly attempting to break into a Phoenix home earlier this month.

6 hours ago

Phoenix officers shot and injured a man who shot at them first on Feb. 13, 2024. (Phoenix Police Sc...

KTAR.com

Phoenix Police release video of suspect who held woman at gunpoint, shot at officers

The Phoenix Police Department released body camera video on Tuesday of a suspect who shot at officers responding to a call of a man holding a woman at gunpoint.

7 hours ago

Traffic was restricted on 7th Avenue in Phoenix on Feb. 27, 2024, due to a fatal crash. (Pexels Pho...

KTAR.com

86-year-old woman dead after 3-car crash in Phoenix

An 86-year-old woman died following a three-car crash in Phoenix on Tuesday, authorities said.

8 hours ago

Promotional image of rapper 21 Savage...

Kevin Stone

Rapper 21 Savage coming to Phoenix this spring on his ‘American Dream Tour’

Grammy Award-winning rap star 21 Savage is bringing his distinctive flow to Talking Stick Resort Amphitheatre in Phoenix this spring.

9 hours ago

Mugshot of Raad Almansoori, who was indicted by an Arizona grand jury on eight felony charges...

Kevin Stone

Violent crime suspect wanted for NYC murder indicted on 8 felony charges in Arizona

Violent crime suspect Raad Noah Almansoori was officially charged with eight felony offenses in Maricopa County, officials announced Tuesday.

10 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

(KTAR News Graphic)...

Boys & Girls Clubs

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.

...

Canvas Annuity

Interest rates may have peaked. Should you buy a CD, high-yield savings account, or a fixed annuity?

Interest rates are the highest they’ve been in decades, and it looks like the Fed has paused hikes. This may be the best time to lock in rates for long-term, low-risk financial products like fixed annuities.

Arizona homestead records to be digitized