17 June 2015

Fascinating Family Finds: Land Patents

My 3x great grandfather’s brother Benjamin Franklin VanHorn fought in the Civil War, came home, married and moved. First they moved to Virginia then onward to California. On Wednesday I finally found the land patent! 

Benjamin was born on 8 March 1843 in Pennsylvania to George Washington Vanhorn and Jane Dudbridge. He was one of seven children. As I mentioned he did fight in the Civil War. He enlisted on 2 September 1863. He was captured at Weldon Railroad in August 1864 and was held a POW in Liberty Belle Island Prison. At the war’s end he was released and came home. On 24 April 1867 he married Margaret Hensel in Philadelphia. They moved to Virginia, where they had their first child in 1868, and then pushed onward to California. The other seven children were born, starting in 1870, in San Jose, Santa Clara County, California.  

On Tuesday, I read a post on Jana’s Genealogy and Family History Blog which spoke of a land patent for one of her ancestors. I followed her link to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and found my Benjamin! 

Knowing he ended up in California, I used only California and his surname of VanHorn as my search parameters. Two pages of VanHorns! There are two entries for him, both dated 10 November 1875. This would mean he was already there and had established a residency there for five years when it was granted. He received 160 acres (Jana’s ancestor I noticed did too so I wonder if that was a standard acreage). He went through the land office in San Francisco. The meridian listed is Mount Diablo. 

Upon enlarging the search parameters to any state, I also found two in Oregon. One is dated 16 May 1888 and the second is dated 20 June 1893. Both are in Wilamette but there is no documentation available for either. I have no record that he ever left California once there so perhaps he applied and then never follow through. 

What a great find! Now to search other families!
Fascinating Family Finds is a genealogical prompt issued
by Crestleaf.com as "12 Months of Fascinating Family Finds.
Locations listed are located in Pennsylvania (USA), unless otherwise noted in post.