Southwest Oklahoma Genealogical Society
Federal Tract Books of Oklahoma Territory
What are the Federal Tract Books?
The Federal Tract Books were made when the land was first offered or opened to entry by the Federal Government and are entered by land description. The books include people who applied for homesteads or Indian allotments in Oklahoma Territory (not Indian Territory, except for a small portion in vol. 63). They do not include allotments of the Five-Civilized Tribes and Osage Indians.
These books have been microfilmed by the Federal Government. SWOGS owns a copy of these rolls, which are in the Family History collection in the Lawton Public Library. Each microfilm roll contains three or four volumes (books) and county lines are not necessarily followed. Some counties will be in more than one roll. The Tract Books have been microfilmed more than once, so our references may not correspond with another.
Headings on pages, shown below in CAPS, are sometimes misleading. What actually may be found under the column headings follows in parenthesis.
DESCRIPTION OF TRACT (part of section, section, township and range) HD or HE = abbreviations for Homestead.
CONTENTS (acres and 100th [or fraction])
RATE PER ACRE (dollars and cents)
PURCHASE MONEY (actually is the entry fee [often $14.00], paid when ready to transact business and in need of receipt number, which is necessary to obtain final certificate)
NAME OF PURCHASER (homesteader/entryman)
DATE OF SALE (actually is application date)
NUMBER OF RECEIPT & CERTIFICATE OF PURCHASE
TO WHOM PATENTED (erroneous heading, information found may include "Comm.C.E." = commuted to cash entry; "F.C." = final certificate; date recorded and location of land office; usually no proper name as heading indicates)
DATE OF PATENT (erroneous heading as space was usually used to continue information above)
VOLUME (shown at beginning of each volume); PAGE (top right corner)
SWOGS Research Service
The Oklahoma Tract Books, 72 volumes on 22 rolls of microfilm, were surname indexed by Anna Bentley Clevenger for the Southwest Oklahoma Genealogical Society in 1987. It is the only complete indexing of the records to date. It is published in 22 booklets, each one corresponding to a microfilm roll and a specific geographic area in Oklahoma. (See our Publications Page for more detail on these books.)
SWOGS volunteers will check the indexes, compare them to the microfilm copies and, if found, photocopy one entry for a $5.00 donation to SWOGS, plus a self-addressed, stamped envelope with adequate postage to insure the return of documents.
Using the numbers and land description from the entry, you may then order the Case File and/or Patent from the Federal Government.
How to Order Tract Book Search
1. Include the FULL NAME of pioneer who may have obtained land through runs, lottery, allotment or outright purchase from the Federal Government around the turn of the century.
2. List COUNTY, if known. Narrowing the scope of the search will be most appreciated. Include any information which might suggest residence. Common surnames can be very time consuming.
3. Make check payable to SWOGS and Snail mail to:
SOUTHWEST OKLAHOMA GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY
TRACT BOOK SEARCH
P.O. BOX 148
LAWTON, OK 73502-0148
How to Order CASE FILES
After you have located the entryman's name in the microfilmed copy of the Tract Book (or have received this from SWOGS Research Service), note "NUMBER OF RECEIPT AND CERTIFICATE OF PURCHASE." Request the person's Case File using all available information including name, complete land description, date, and all numbers, especially the Certificate of Purchase Number. A new fee schedule for all NARA paper records will go into effect on July 14, 1997. However, even when this new schedule is known, DO NOT send payment with your request. You will be advised that the records have been found and how much money to send. You may also use your credit card to expedite the order. There will also be a new order form for land records available in July. This is a new procedure. Send to:
ARCHIVES 1 TEXTUAL REFERENCE BRANCH (NWDT1)
NATIONAL ARCHIVES AND RECORDS ADMINISTRATION
7th & PENNSYLVANIA AVE. NW
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20408
Items Generally Available in Case Files
1. Cover sheet indication CASH ENTRY
2. Land Office record of purchase and location
3. Homestead Application
4. Receiver's Office receipt for filing fee
5. Qualification of applicant for homestead at Land Office
6. Homestead Affidavit, U.S. Land Office
7. Homestead Certificate and approval of land survey
8. Receiver's Office, U.S. Land Office, receipting for the total cost of land, plus testimony fee
9. Affidavit of publisher in local newspaper
10. Dept. of Interior Certificate as to posting of notice
11. Dept. of Interior Notice for Publication
12. Final proof to establish Homestead claim at Land Office
13. Homestead Fee and compensation for entry of land description
14. Sworn testimony before U.S. Commissioner regarding citizenship, birth date of applicant, and period of time spent on land
15. Non-Mineral Affidavit
16. Affidavit Required of Claimant regarding personal use of land
17-20. Homestead Proof - Testimony of witnesses (4 pages)
How to Order the Patent
After you have obtained the Case File, you can order a copy (usually one page) of the "PATENT", which is a document similar to a DEED, which conveys to the "Patentee" legal title to public land. Use all available information on the microfilm copy regarding name, complete land description, date and all numbers, especially the Certificate of Purchase Number. The current charge is $1.10 per page plus postage. There is an extra charge if they have to do research work. Do not send money with your request. They will bill you. There are no special forms. Send your request to:
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
P.O. BOX 27115
SANTA FE, NM 87502-0115M
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