Was your ancestor a Homesteader? Homestead Application Papers can be a wealth of genealogical information. In order to prove up on their claim, citizenship papers, marriage or death certificates, newspaper articles, family Bible pages and affidavits may have been included, especially if the original claimant died and the family is trying to complete the process. The application often mentions the names of other family members, neighbors and previous residences. They also describe any improvements that were made to the property.
In conjunction with The Homesteaders Project, http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Project:Homesteaders
a sub-project of the Westward Ho! Project, I've put together a help page with information for ordering your ancestor's case file from the National Archives which includes a 44 Question application. I've done this in the past for several of my ancestors and it gave me a deeper appreciation of the hard work involved and the indomitable spirit they must have had.
Please contact me If you have an interest in developing and improving the profiles of those who settled on land obtained through the Homestead Act and would like to join the Homesteaders Project.
Alison, Homesteaders Project Leader
*edited to change font.