In April, yes two months ago, I spoke in Colorado to the Swedish Genealogy Society of Colorado about homesteaders. In doing so, I showed them one of my homesteaders and the many (over 20) pages of documents online in his homesteading file. They were surprised that you can find naturalization information in a homesteading record. That is because they had to prove their citizenship.
Well since then, I thought I should look up ALL my possible ancestors who might have homesteaded or otherwise owned land.
Some sources for homesteading and land records include the following:
1. glorecords.blm.gov (This stands for the General Land Office records at the Bureau of Land Management)
2. Fold3.com (subscription)
3. Ancestry.com (subscription)
5. FamilySearch.org and Family History centers
6. Homestead National Monument in Beatrice, NE
7. University of Nebraska at Lincoln libraries (8 of them on two campuses)
Okay so I started looking up my ancestors.
On my mom's side I tried the Seggermans: The only Seggerman who homesteaded is not MY ancestor but a cousin of some sort: Henry Seggerman who homesteaded in Montana in 1919.
On my dad's side I have the following:
1. Lars Jorgensen in Kearney County, Nebraska: He was my example for my presentation, a pioneer settling in 1885 and then getting more land in 1890. He is the one I found over 20 pages on Ancestry of his homestead record.
2. Jesse Fields in Madison County, Nebraska: His record is from 1879-1884. As a Civil War veteran, he paid less than $20 for his 160 acres of land.
3. Charles William Hanks in Madison County, Nebraska: He is the son-in-law to Jesse Fields. His record is from 1886. He paid less than $10 but only had 40 acres.
4. Emeline Mary Nelson in 1891 in Frontier County, Nebraska for 160 acres. I'm nearly certain this has to be my ancestor. She was a single mother who came over from Denmark, so she had to do something to support them.
So now my mom's side:
1. Felix Regnier in Baca County, Colorado in 1906. Along with Felix, several of his 10 children also owned land in Baca County, Colorado: my great-grandfather Roy, along with his siblings Carrie, Iva (Ivy) and Louis. Carrie and Iva (Ivy) were single women their entire lives, so I am sure Felix thought he should try to provide for them. I heard there was a town in Baca County called Regnier, Colorado, and there is some proof to that here: https://history.denverlibrary.org/sites/history/files/Place_Names_of_Colorado.pdf on page 510 (although you may need to go to 525 on the site).
2. John B. Regnier in Washington County, Ohio in 1825: So this was pre-homesteading days and John B. Regnier was actually deceased by 1825 so it was his heirs, or as the document says "heirs at law" who owned this piece of land.
3. Levi Barber in Washington County, Ohio in 1832: Also pre-homesteading days, and this is a joint record, so I'm not really sure if Levi owned this land or if he was representing someone. He was along with Seth and Andrew Fisher, and the document states "Levi Barber, (absignee?) of Andrew Fisher". That word is hard to read, but later on the document acts like the land is "to have and to hold" by Seth Fisher and Levi Barber. Don't you love the language there? Not sure how you "hold" the land, but it sounds like they married it.
4. Katie C. (Dacy) Regnier in 1905 in Cimarron County, Oklahoma: This document is great because if I didn't already know, it gives her maiden name and her middle initial. I did know her maiden name, but not her middle initial. Her parents passed when she was pretty young, so my guess is an older sibling or someone set up this homestead for her. There were several woman homesteaders back in the day, although it was less common.
Part of Katie (Dacy) Regnier's homestead document
There are many books on homesteaders if this interests you. Message me if you would like some recommendations, or you can do a search. Who knows? You might find a book about one of your relatives.