The University of Nebraska-Lincoln says the nearly 77,000 files contain more than 1.6 million digital images. The database can be searched and viewed for free at Homestead National Monument of America near Beatrice, UNL libraries, National Archives and Records Administration research centers nationwide and Family History Centers at several locations across the country.
The records are documents filed by homesteaders. They describe property improvements, including houses constructed, wells dug, crops planted, trees cleared and fences built. The case files also include records of military service and evidence of naturalization.
The records were used to ensure that those who claimed land through the Homestead Act of 1862 met the law's requirements.