What is a homestead file?

The files commonly referred to as "homestead files" which are held by the Provincial Archives were created by the head office of the Dominion Lands Branch of the federal Department of the Interior, when it was in charge of land settlement, 1871-1930, and by the Lands Branch of the Saskatchewan government after 1930.  The files are kept in two separate series:  the Pre-1930 Homestead File series and the Post-1930 Homestead File series.

The files in these two series include documents which were created by federal, and later by provincial, Lands Branch employees to track the progress and status of individuals who participated in the homestead process to acquire land in the region which became Saskatchewan.  While these documents were created for very specific administrative purposes, they have proven to have unexpected and lasting research value to historians interested in telling the story of settlement in Saskatchewan and to genealogists searching for the roots of Saskatchewan families.

The two homestead file series also include records related to other land dispersal and land management responsibilities that were overseen by the Department of the Interior and by the Saskatchewan Lands Branch.  Files in the homestead series also document: lands bought or sold by North West Métis scrip or by South African scrip; land records for servicemen who received soldier grants after the 1885 Resistance, the Boer War, and the First World War; some Indian reserve lands; and lands dispersed by land colonization companies or granted as reserves to certain religious groups that settled in colonies.