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Documents Required to Claim State Benefits

Documents Proving You Qualify for State Benefits If Your Property Is In A Land Grant Corridor

If your Covered Property is in a Land Grant Corridor AND you checked the “State Benefits Option” on the first page of your Claim Form, you will need to submit documentation showing that the Covered Property was transferred to the original owner of your property by the United States or otherwise already out of the public domain before the railroad got its right to use the property for the railroad.

You can show that your Covered Property was already out of the public domain when the railroad got its rights by providing with your Claim Form the documents described in any of the three paragraphs below:

1. A Patent for your property with a date before the date of the land grant for the right of way next to your property.  Click here for instructions on getting a copy of the Patent.  

2. A Patent for your property with a date after the date of the land grant for the right of way next to your property AND (a) a Cash Entry Certificate, Homestead Application, or Preemption Declaratory Statement, and the corresponding Tract Book Pages, both of which evidence an entry date by the patentee prior to the date of the pertinent land grant statute, (b) a Map of Definite Location that evidences that the right of way was designated for location on the Segment after the date of the patent, or (c) a Cash Entry Certificate, Homestead Application, or Preemption Declaratory Statement, and the corresponding Tract Book Pages, and a Map of Definite Location, all of which evidence that the right of way was designated for location on the Segment after the entry date by the patentee.  A Map of Definite Location is a map, plat, statement, certificate, report, or profile which the pertinent railroad company filed pursuant to the pertinent land-grant act with the applicable governmental agency to locate the route of the railroad.  Although the federal government conserves these documents, locating them can be difficult.   Therefore, Class members who intend to rely on a Map of Definite Location for their claim should begin the process of locating the document as soon as possible. 

3. To show that your property was not part of the public domain by virtue of a title derived from the Spanish or Mexican government, you must submit a patent for your property.  You must also submit one of the following documents showing that the foreign land grant that includes your property has been recognized by the U.S. Government: (a) an Act of the U.S. Congress, (b) an Order entered by a court of private land claims established by the U.S. Congress, or (c) an Order entered by a federal court.  (Orders of courts of private land claims might be found through the New Mexico Commission of Public Records or the Center for Southwest Research at the University of New Mexico. See phone numbers below.)  Either the patent or the additional document must show on its face that your property was not part of the public domain as of  March 3, 1875.

Class members may wish to use the assistance of their own counsel. Listed below are the phone numbers for government offices that may provide assistance: 

  • The National Archives in College Park, MD (301-837-2000)
  • The National Archives in Denver, CO (303-604-4740)
  • The New Mexico State Office of the Bureau of Land Management in Santa Fe, NM (505-954-2000)
  • The New Mexico Commission of Public Records, State Records Center and Archives (505-476-7948)
  • Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico Zimmerman Library (505-277-9100)

THE INFORMATION ON THE LINKED DOCUMENTS IS PROVIDED BY SETTLEMENT CLASS COUNSEL AS A GENERAL GUIDE ON OBTAINING DOCUMENTS.   OBTAINING THE NECESSARY DOCUMENTS FOR A CLAIM RELATED TO YOUR SPECIFIC PROPERTY MAY REQUIRE ADDITIONAL OR DIFFERENT ACTIONS. 

IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS SPECIFIC TO YOUR PROPERTY, YOU MAY NEED TO CONTACT YOUR OWN COUNSEL.  PLEASE DO NOT CALL THE COURT, THE CLAIMS ADMINISTRATOR, OR DEFENSE COUNSEL. 

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