The passage of the 1862 Homestead Act provided women a unique opportunity to own land in their own right. The husband was presumed to be the head of a family, so married women were not eligible, but unmarried women—single, widowed, divorced, abandoned—could apply for their chance at independence. Combining the genealogical gems in their homestead entries with other records, we will follow the lives of three remarkable women whose stories may differ, but who shared a dream--the dream of owning land in their own name.
Gail Blankenau is an experienced genealogist, speaker and author. Her publications include articles in the New England Historical and Genealogical Register and The Genealogist. She is also a contributor to Family Chronicle and Internet Genealogy magazines. Based in Nebraska, she specializes in Nebraska records, Midwestern roots, German genealogy, land records, 19th-Century photographs and tracing lineages. More than half her ancestors came from New England, but she has roots in almost every state east of the Mississippi.