Sunday, June 17, 2018

Homesteaders and Land Owners

I'm long overdue for a blog post.
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. (This stands for the General Land Office records at the Bureau of Land Management)
2. (subscription)
3. (subscription)
5. 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: 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. 

Friday, March 30, 2018

1888 Stromsburg book

Last fall I helped digitize church records. So this got me thinking about more digitizing. A discussion on Facebook led to noting a few books in the library that are irreplaceable. No, they're not your Danielle Steel or Stephen King collection. It's those OLD local history books. Copyright lasts for approximately 70 years, so anything before that should be in the public domain. So I took pictures of this book. I was going to post it on GenWeb but Rootsweb is down and I haven't gotten around to moving it. Someone suggested my blog, so here are the photos of that book. I apologize for blurriness on one picture. I must have moved. I did scan this one too. Just takes a bit more time to put those on. I should work on my digitization, maybe get a better camera and a tripod to avoid some of this.

STROMSBURG, NEBRASKA Advantages and Needs
Published by the committee of John D. Haskell, Chairman; A. Coleman; P. T. Buckley; Lewis Headstrom and Alex Scott.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Review of 2017

The first day of the year.... Our thoughts turn to reviewing the last year and planning for next year.

Genealogy wise I try to separate into 3 sections: personal, professional and volunteer. I admit I never put concrete goals down (on paper or computer) this year. Seriously I have a spreadsheet titled 2017 genealogy goals but it has these three titles on it and that's it. Blank! But I still made some progress.

1. I made progress on my DAR application. I got accepted into a chapter pending approval of my application. I filled out an application and got one more record. So I need to review what else I need to submit my application.
2. Thanks to a new genealogy friend, I made progress on my Danish line.
3. Thanks to two of my cousins for doing a DNA test which may have been helpful or at least interesting.

1. Mainly I spent quite a bit of time this fall contacting churches for digitization of their records and driving there for Arkiv Digital. This was a big project but mostly temporary  although there is a little left to do.
2. I applied for a scholarship for a genealogy training (SLIG, GRIP or DC). My first time applying so wish me luck.
3. I attended several of my APG meetings (mostly virtually), as well as a few genealogy Twitter chats (#genchat). I attended one conference (see below).
3. Also I had several clients this year and think I was successful in helping them. Also I  helped track down my boss's classmate so they could visit when heading that way, although maybe that was volunteer. Lol

1. I added a ton of photos and a good number of memorials on Findagrave, specifically over 2300 gravestone photos and over 500 memorials. That brings my totals to 9000 memorials and 16,830 photos.
2. I coordinated a large conference for NSGS with D. Joshua Taylor as featured speaker. It was a successful conference with our largest attendance ever, even if we didn't quite make a profit on it.
3. I updated the local cemetery directory, and tried to keep the county GenWeb site maintained.
4. I also made progress indexing marriages.

That's all I can think of for now. Hopefully 2018 is another productive genealogy year.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Pros and Cons on the "new" Findagrave

Any of you who know me well know that I am an AVID cemetery photographer, and probably know my favorite web site for this is Findagrave.
So how long do you think I've been a member?
Pretty much as long as I've been doing genealogy, over 15 years. That's a long time to use a web site, and I use it regularly. I have contributed an average of over 1000 photos per year, or 3 per day.
Then lately, they decided to TOTALLY change their site, and its design. Now there have been updates over the last 15 years, but generally their design has stayed the same. So it wasn't that hard to get used to those.
I didn't think I was "old dog" who couldn't learn new tricks but for some reason I have been resistant to try this out. Well in the last month or so, it pretty much looked like I didn't have a choice.

Also please refer to their statement here as to the changes:

1. Findagrave says it's better for phones and tablets.
   I rarely use it on my phone or tablet, but I agree it does work well on my phone. No need to zoom in to read the type which before was quite small.
2. It's faster.
I have found it loading quicker, hopefully this continues.
3. Easier to send edits
Instead of 5-7 choices to send edits, there is one page to make all the edits and then click save. No need to send relationship links in one edit, and then edits to dates in another. Do it all in one. Thanks Findagrave. I am liking this one.
4. More photos allowed.
This is a pro as sometimes a contributor would put 5 family photos on, not leaving any space for a gravestone photo or vice versa.
Now there is a limit per contributor

1. You have to accept edits one at a time. This is more time consuming than it used to be. Used to be able to set up to 25 edits to accept (or reject or ignore) and then process them.
2. You have to claim a photo request in order to report a problem on it. My questions is Why (did Findagrave do this)? It seems like an extra step that is unnecessary.

That's all I can think of for now. Feel free to leave a comment if you can think of other Pros or Cons to the new format. Please no other comments about Findagrave and specific people (like the complaint I often see about posting memorials RIGHT after someone dies). I'm just talking about the format changes.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Cousin's DNA

Ancestry DNA had a good sale a while back, so I asked a few of my cousins if they would take a DNA test. About 5 people agreed, but I was only paying for two. Not a whole lot of surprises by their DNA, but it's interesting. So I did a comparison:

Beth (my) DNA:
Jeremy DNA:
Tricia DNA:

Okay we are all three first cousins. Tricia's Mom, my Mom, and Jeremy's Dad are all siblings.
We are all 100% European, no surprise. Our top 4 are virtually all the same. However the percentages vary, which is to be expected. Percentages can even vary between siblings. Also even though we are ALL Scandinavian, there is no Scandinavian in our common heritage. Jeremy's Mom and my Dad have Danish ancestors, so pretty sure that's our Scandinavian. With Tricia's maiden name, her Dad surely has Swedish ancestors (or possibly Norwegian).
Our common countries should be Ireland, Germany, France and England. So the Europe West could be Germany and France. We all have Irish, and all close to the same percentage 17-23%. The Irish is from our great-grandmother (our grandmother's mother was pretty much 100% Irish). We also all have a tiny bit of Iberian Peninsula, which I'm thinking could be related to our French ancestors. I haven't found any Spanish or Portuguese, so maybe our French were further south.
Some things stand out. Jeremy is the only one with Finland/Northwest Russia which must be from his Mom. Maybe her Danes dabbled in Finland. Tricia is the only one with European Jewish which must be from her Dad's side. Tricia and I have Italy/Greece but not Jeremy, and I have not found any Italian or Greek ancestors yet, but notice my percentage is tiny.
Anyway, this was all very interesting to me. Feel free to leave any comments below or on social media.

Friday, May 19, 2017

May Ancestor: Harry Seggerman

Sorry to my faithful readers that it's been a while. I've just been busy.

Did my fellow genealogists know that NSGS (Nebraska State Genealogy Society) offers family recognition certificates? So if your family settled in Nebraska AT LEAST 100 years ago, you could apply for one of these! And in 2017 the certificates are special with the Nebraska 150 logo, and the 40th anniversary logo of NSGS. This year I hope to do that for 2 of my ancestors, one a pioneer family and one a century family. Go here for more information.

For my pioneer family, I plan to apply with Lars Jorgensen. I have already blogged about him here

For my century family, I plan to apply with Harry Seggerman.

Harry was born the 9th of October 1881 to Johann Heinrich (John Henry) and Mary (Junker) Seggerman in Minonk, Woodford County, Illinois. Harry was the sixth of nine children born to J. H. and Mary Seggerman. Some time between 1889 and 1894 the Seggerman family moved from Illinois to Jefferson County, Nebraska. Here is where the 1890 census would help determine that. I have evidence that their youngest daughter was born in 1889 in Illinois, and Mary passed away in 1894 in Jefferson County, Nebraska. So Harry spends much of his youth growing up in Illinois, and then around the age of 10 moves with his family to Nebraska.

On April 7, 1904 Harry marries Anna Michels in Jefferson County, Nebraska. This union is blessed with 3 children: Henry, and then twins Lester and Esther. Harry is a farmer in Jefferson County, Nebraska for his entire married life. Harry passes away February 18, 1942 at the age of 60 years and about 4 months in Fairbury, Jefferson County, Nebraska. He is laid to rest on February 20 in the cemetery where his father and several siblings are buried, the Pleasant Hill Cemetery just west of Fairbury. He is survived by his wife, 2 sons and one daughter, two brothers and three sisters.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Advertisement: NSGS Conference 2017

Readers beware,
This is basically a promotional post. I am the conference coordinator for NSGS.

Solve Family History Mysteries with
PBS Genealogy Roadshow’s D. Joshua Taylor

D. Joshua Taylor, president of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society, will be the keynote speaker at the Nebraska State Genealogical Society (NSGS) conference April 28-29, 2017 at the Cornhusker Marriott Hotel, Lincoln, NE. 
Nationally and internationally known, Mr. Taylor has been featured on the PBS TV multi-season series Genealogy Roadshow.  He is past president of the Federation of Genealogical Societies.
In addition to Mr. Taylor, the two-day event also includes additional speakers and sessions for genealogists, historians, librarians, and archivists.  
“I am pleased to announce Mr. Taylor as our speaker for this event.  The conference will honor both the 150th anniversary of Nebraska statehood and the 40th anniversary of the NSGS.  Participants will discover many new ideas, research strategies and trends they can apply to their family history research,” said Rosalee Swartz, NSGS president.
Conference Highlights
·         Conference Sessions: A wide variety of genealogy-related lectures for all experience levels. Attendees will be able to learn tips for researching their ancestors, using the internet, DNA, Nebraska resources and more. Pre and Post Conference research activities available.
·         Vendor Exhibits: Includes genealogical products and genealogical organizations.
·         Single Day (Friday or Saturday Only) Registration with Luncheon: NSGS Members $60, Nonmembers $70.
·         2-Day Conference with two luncheons: NSGS Member $109, Nonmember $119.
·         Friday Evening Banquet and Program: Featuring Dr. Sara Crook, chair Nebraska Sesquicentennial Commission “Celebrating Nebraska’s Sesquicentennial” $30.
About the Nebraska State Genealogical Society (NSGS)
The Nebraska State Genealogical Society (NSGS) was founded 40 years ago in 1977.  It represents members across Nebraska and the country. NSGS connects the state-wide genealogical community through resources, programs, on-line links, and its quarterly publication Ancestree and newsletter NewBrassKey.
Learn More about NSGS, the 2017 Spring Conference and Stay Connected
·         Visit the conference web page at
·         Questions contact NSGS conference coordinator at or 402-764-2026.

·         Twitter: @NebrStGenealogy and Facebook group: Nebraska State Genealogical Society