Free Historical Land Patent Information

During the course of researching my wife’s genealogy I had discovered that one of her ancestors, Ferdinand Petri, had patented some land in the 1800’s. Guess what? The government comes to the rescue with a free web site where if you know the state in which the land was patented and the name of who patented it, you can find exactly where the land is located. Click land patent search fill in the blanks and see what you can find!

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T.D. Bradley

I guess if you look hard enough, you can find just about anything. In my previous post I said I didn’t have any information about Timothy D. Bradley who was married to Charlotta Knickerbocker. Well, if you look at the 1880 History of Morrow County and Ohio web page, you will find this:

T. D. BRADLEY, farmer; P.O., Cardington; was born in Chenango Co. N. Y., Dec. 15, 1818. He is the son of David and Sarah (Ketchum) Bradley, both natives of New England. They were the parents of six children, five of whom are now living. The father died in 1872, and the mother in 1877. T. D. Bradley remained at home until about 33 years of age, when he was united in marriage with Charlotta M. Knickerbocker, a native of New York, and a descendent of one of the oldest and most respected families in the State. There was one child by this union, who died in infancy. in 1858 Mr. Bradley came to Cardington, where he has since resided. He owns 45 acres of land which is nicely improved. He is a republican and a much respected citizen.

I’d be interested in being contacted by a direct descendant of David Bradley. I have some old documents that would be properly in their keeping instead of mine.

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Paperback Writer

Another cool free search I use quite a bit is the Google book search. For example, one of my ancestors is “Prudence Beadle” ( Married to William Knickerbocker). If you paste “Prudence Beadle” ( with the quotes) into the Google book search engine, one of the links you get returned is for:

Samuel Beadle Family: History and Genealogy of Descendents of Samuel Beadle … – Page 229

If you click on this link and look on the right there is a link to find this book in the library closest you your location.

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Free Canada!

Ok, well not really.

There is, however, a nice free site to look up some very cool Canadian genealogical information. Just go to the Canadian Genealogy Centre. They have all sorts of Birth, Marriage, death, Immigration, Military and land documents that are easily searchable.

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Free U.S. Immigration Records

There are two great free sites that let you look for immigration records online.

The Ellis Island web site lets you search through records of immigrants that came through Ellis Island/the port of New York between the years 1892 and 1924.

The Castle Garden web site let you search through similar records from 1830 to 1892.

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Department of Homeland Security(FOIA)

I’ve never liked the name “Department of Homeland Security“. Sounds very menacing to me. One thing the department will do for you though, if you fill out the right pieces of paper, is send you stuff for free on your immigrant ancestors. Here’s what you have to do:

Go to this web site and get the form G-636. It should be at the bottom of the page. Fill out the form to the best of your ability. You do not need it to be notarized. It’s very helpful if you can attached a ‘proof of death’. It’s also very helpful if you have a bit of information on your ancestor like their birthdate or their Alien Registration Number. Put the papers in an envelop. Put a stamp or two on it. Wait. In about 14 days you’ll get a letter back telling you that they have received your request. There will ba a case number on it. You may want to save that. Wait some more. Wait – I dunno – two years. Then, when you least expect it.

Here’s what you can get (.PDF) :

Freedom Of Information Act _ William Wainer

W.R. Knickerbocker

My maternal Great-Grandfather was from New York but ended up living in Minnesota. One of the best free places on the web to find Minnesota genealogy is the Dalby Database .

Here’s a sample of what you can find. It was taken from the Owatonna People’s Press dated August 20, 1915:

W. R. Knickerbocker, one of the oldest and most highly respected pioneer residents of this county, died last Sunday morning at the home of a daughter in Bismarck, North Dakota, the cause being a bowel trouble. The remains were brought to Owatonna for interment, the funeral being held yesterday afternoon at the First Baptist church, Rev. J. G. Briggs, officiating. Mr. Knickerbocker was a native of New York State, born January 11th, 1830. He came to this county in 1868, locating on a farm in Somerset township where he made his home for many years, finally retiring from active work and moving to Owatonna which was his home for a number of years. Mr. Knickerbocker was twice married. His first wife was Miss Caroline Lyon, whom he married in 1858. The first Mrs. Knickerbocker died in 1862, survived by two sons, only one of whom, Charles L., of Dodgen, North Dakota, is now living. Mr. Knickerbocker later married Miss Helen Burgess, by whom, with their four children, he is survived. The children are Mrs. D. B. Shaw of Bismarck, North Dakota; Mrs. C. E. Preston of this state, Clarence Knickerbocker of Minneapolis, and Mrs. A. H. Blabaum of North McGregor, Iowa. The deceased ws an excellent citizen and his death is mourned by many old friends throughout the county.