Did Your Ancestor Move West for FREE Land?

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On May 20, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Homestead Act into law, encouraging the Westward migration of millions of Americans. In fact, the Homestead Act was also an invitation to immigrants from other countries, as it offered land not only to citizens but those who had declared intent to become citizens.

For a small filing fee and five years of continuous residence on the land, a person could become the owner of 160 acres of land. Homesteaders also had an option to buy the land outright after 6 months residency for $1.25 per acre. What a deal!

Between 1862 and 1900, 80 million acres of public land were distributed through the Homestead Act. Were your ancestors among those enticed to move west in search of a piece of land?

Learn more about the Homestead Act of 1862 and the records it created that can help us in our genealogy research in the episode below:

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This video is part of the MIGRATION SERIES from the Project Genealogy Collaboration, a group of YouTube Genealogy experts. Watch the entire series to learn more about migration and how and why your ancestors were moving around the country, and around the world!

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