Index to Homestead Declarations of Sonoma County, California
The purpose of the Homestead Act, signed by President Lincoln on May 20, 1862, was to encourage settlement in the western states on unappropriated public land. Any person who was twenty-one years of age, or head of a family, or met certain military requirements was eligible to apply for a homestead. The homesteader had to live on the land continuously and cultivate it for a period of five years in order to obtain the patent. Any person who had borne arms against the U.S., or given aid and comfort to its enemies, was not eligible. This was a significant point since the Homestead Act was passed during the years of the Civil War. The patents read much like any deed.This publication of over 6,000 names includes column headings of: Applicant and Family Information, Filing Date, and Vol.-Pg. When family information such as marital status or relationship was included, it was abstracted and included along with the name of the applicant. In some cases, what was apparently the maiden name of a woman was found in the homestead application.
Index to Homestead Declarations of Sonoma County, California is available for research at the Sonoma County History and Genealogy Library (the Annex).
This publication is also available for purchase at Heritage Books:
This index may be used to determine if a person of interest is listed in the book. The index includes only the Applicant and Family Information.