The Bureau of Land Management has a free website where you can search for the names of ancestors who may have bought public land (in other words, land sold to them by the federal government).The website is:
You can put in a state and search for names.If a name comes up, you can then click on it and get a detail screen that will give you all of the information that you will need to order the file from the National Archives (NARA).You can also get the legal land description, and see an image of the actual patent certificate.There is usually more information in the files at NARA, but only the patent certificate image is available online at the BLM site.For the rest of the documents in the file, you have to order it.To order a file, you need the following information from the detail screen at the BLM site:
Name of patentee Date of patent Type of patent (homestead, cash-entry, etc) Land office Document #
I don't know how much NARA charges, and I don't know if you need an order form.You could check at their website, which is:
I get my files by going there in person, so I don't know the procedure for ordering by mail.I will have to defer to Debra for details about that process, and also to answer your question about Arkansas records.
Mary Lou, I really enjoyed this project, and I'm glad that one more Chronister connection has been made!