This Genealogy On A Budget series presents links to free online genealogy databases.
If you have ancestors from the Republic of Texas, before it became the 28th state to join the Union in 1845, then you might want to check out the Texas General Land Office Land Grant Database:
The Land Office Archives contains documents issued by the new Republic of Texas after winning independence from Mexico in 1836. Some of the most popular documents in the Archive relate to the land grant certificates issued to Texians who rendered military service in battle during the Texas Revolution, including William B. Travis, David Crockett and Sam Houston.
After annexation by the United States in 1845, Texas retained control of its public domain, unlike other western states, and continued to distribute its land. Prior to 1900, Texas was a cash poor state, and used land to secure and pay off debt, reward veterans, encourage economic development, finance public education and even in building the State Capitol.
I have one such ancestor: my 4th great-grandfather, John Hamilton, Jr, born in Ohio about 1810 and “arrived in this Republic in April 1836 as a Vol and has served a tour of duty in The Army of Texas…”
This document, dated 2 Apr 1838, notes John Hamilton’s arrival in Texas, his service with the Army of Texas, his subsequent entitlement of land… even his marital status.