Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Nebraska Stories on NET 1

Living in Nebraska, I have developed an appreciation for the landscape, the geography, the history and the people who have devoted their energy and lives to make this a great state.

The Nebraska Stories February episode will be one Nebraskans should watch.  It airs on Sunday, February 9th at 9 pm (central time) on NET 1.  It will be repeated on Friday, February 14th at 7 pm (central time); Saturday, February 15th at 9:30 pm (central time); Friday, February 21st at 7:30 pm (central time) and Sunday, February 23rd at 6 pm and 10:30 pm (central time).

This will be a very interesting episode that you won't want to miss.  Two of the featured stories are the Wildcat Hills and The Forgotten War.

The Wildcat Hills are an interesting formation eight miles south of Gering in the Nebraska Panhandle.  A rangeland ecologist will take us on a walk through the hills which loom up from prairie land to form crags and rocks along with trees and other plants.

The Forgotten War will be interesting to anyone whose relatives served in the Korean War.  This episode follows a group of Nebraska Korean War veterans on their visit to the Korean War Memorial in Washington, DC.  This is a great opportunity to experience the war through the eyes and words of those who saw action there.

There are other segments within the episode also including a talk with young Jack Hoffman who made the famous Husker touchdown run in 2013.  There is also a segment of a piano "experiment" conducted in Omaha.

You can watch a preview of the episode on the Nebraska Stories web site for NET.  Make this a night of learning and enjoyment with NET 1.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Nebraska ... get ready for the Family History Expo

The Midwest Family History Expo will be held September 6th and 7th at the Holiday Inn Convention Center in Kearney, Nebraska.  This is the second year the Expo has been at this location.  Nebraska genealogists will find it a rewarding experience.

The Holiday Inn Convention Center is located at 110 South Second Avenue in Kearney.  Check out the web site for how to contact the hotel for room reservations.  You can register online for the Expo and save money.  The full registration is $69 ... a real bargain considering that gets you in for two days of lectures by top-notch genealogists and presenters.  If you pay at the door, it is $99.

James L. Tanner is the keynote speaker.  He will be presenting an entertaining message, Top 10 Techniques:  Fishing for Ancestors & Other Persons of Interest.  During the two days, you can attend classes ranging from how to use the flip-pal, using the FamilySearch catalog, finding German ancestors,  researching Swedish ancestors, the state and territorial census, land records to military records.

There will be vendors and door prizes.  Plan on meeting old friends and making new genealogy friends.     This is a great event to get you jump-started with your research.  This is definitely the place for genealogists!!

See you in Kearney ... yes, I am one of the presenters.


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Capitol Masterpiece Documentary

The Nebraska State Capitol Building towers over the city of Lincoln and projects an image of the spirit of the pioneers who traversed the plains and the people who have built this great state.  Towering 363 feet above the three story base, The Sower rises above a gold-tiled dome.  Over all the building measures 400 feet, making it the second tallest United States statehouse in the nation.  The Nebraska capitol design is unique in that it is not like the traditional federal dome found in other statehouses.
Nebraska State Capitol, Lincoln, Nebraska

Inside there are stunning sculptures, mosaic, carvings and artwork.  These all pay homage to the natural and human history of the state.  The design of the capitol was selected in a 1920 nationwide competition and completed in 1932.  From the outside of the building throughout the inside, a story is told.

NET (Nebraska's PBS station) will be telling that story as Nebraska's Capitol Masterpiece on August 5th at 7 p.m. (on NET1 and NETHD) and on August 8th at 7 p.m. (on NET1 and NETHD).  Viewers will watch the state capitol building take shape from creation to completion.  Be sure you take time to watch the trailer for Capitol Masterpiece, then set your TV to watch the program in its entirety.

People in Nebraska are proud of their state capitol building, so it great to show it off in this documentary.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Nebraska - The History Harvest

The History Harvest is a new learning initiative in the Department of History at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  It is a student-centered, team-oriented collaboration of community-based projects.  They are using digital technologies to share the artifacts as well as their experiences of the past,  ordinary life.  Community members are invited to bring and share their treasures, such as photographs, letter, objects, stories, etc.  Their goal is to provide a new foundation of publicly available material for historical study.

There are three communities available for browsing on their web page.  They are North Omaha, Nebraska City and Lincoln Refugee Communities.  In each of these communities there are collections that can be browsed and enjoyed.

Many people probably do not realize that Ralph Orduna who was born in Omaha enlisted in the US Army Air Corp during World War II and became a fighter pilot as one of the Tuskeegee Airmen.  He flew multiple recon and bomber escort missions.  The collection from this outstanding Nebraskan was brought to History Harvest by Philip Orduna Reis.  You can learn more about Orduna by going to the History Harvest web page, but also watching a You Tube video.

Who wouldn't love to locate an everyday farming records notebook for an ancestor?   Betty Stukenholtz shared this item and more for the Nebraska City Community of History Harvest.  The three pages from the notebook, dated about 1890,  represent everyday records that a farmer kept, revealing his interactions with workers and neighbors.  It belonged to Betty's great grandfather who emigrated from Germany and farmed in Richardson County, Nebraska.

There are family history interviews, such as that of Betty Wilberger who shared papers and stories about her family from Axtell, Nebraska.   One of the rare documents of the turn of the 20th century railroad was the drover's ticket.  You can view one in Wilberger's collection.  A drover was a person overseeing the transportation of cattle.

Become a part of the past by browsing these excellent collections, brought to you through the efforts of the UNL Department of History.  It is worth your time to see what is available and also determine if you are digitally preserving your artifacts.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Digital Maps at Omaha Public Library

The Omaha Public Library has an excellent web page with links to their digital collections.  The collections are Early Omaha:  Gateway to the West, Trans-Mississippi & International Exposition of 1898, Nebraska Memories, Early Nebraska and World Stereoview Collection.

I am particularly interested in the Early Nebraska collection which contains maps and atlases for the United States, Nebraska and county maps and atlases.  If you are interested strictly in Omaha maps, be sure to check out Early Omaha: Gateway to the West.

The time periods for the maps and atlases varies, but some are from the mid 1800s.  Many of the maps are for adjoining states, such as Colorado, Kansas, Iowa and the territories of Dakota, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.  They are excellent when trying to place your ancestors in a location at a specific time.

If you are interested in purchasing maps from the library, contact them at 420-444-4800 or research@omahapubliclibrary.org.  Be sure to provide them with the image number.

While you are on the Omaha Public Library web site, be sure to check out information about their genealogy reference collection.  There are nearly 8,300 items.  This is also a "must" if you are planning to visit the library.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Buried in a Nebraska Cornfield

Tombstone of Georgie Nowell 1882-1890

Buried in cornfield in south central Nebraska is a child named Georgie Nowell.  The stone marking the place of burial is almost three feet high and for generations has been left untouched in the cornfield.  Year after year, the farmers have disced, planted, mowed and harvested around it.  The grave is located on a farm south of Hershey in Lincoln Co., Nebraska.  Dates on the tombstone are 21 April 1882-24 July 1890 with “Rest sweet child in peace” at the bottom.  
Fred and Emma Nowell were in the county in 1880 when they are shown as being enumerated at O’Fallons, Lincoln County.  Fred was 24, born in New Hampshire and a stock grower.  Emma was 23, born in Massachusetts, keeping house.  There were two boarders living with them.  Eventually the township where they lived in Lincoln County was named Nowell Township.  Today very few people realize it was named after the Nowell family.
Looking for vital records on the couple, I was able to determine that Frederic D. Nowell married Emma Augusta Basford on 15 January 1880 in Boston.  He was born in Portsmouth, Rockingham Co. New Hampshire, son of Thomas and Lydia Nowell and a stock raiser.  Their marriage was also recorded in Chelsea, Massachusetts.  
Fred Nowell obtained land under the Homestead Act.  In July 1880, he settled on the land and on 31 May 1881 made application for the land.  It was the South 1/2 of the Northwest 1/4 and Lots 3 through 4, Section 4, Township 13 North, Range 32 West, 165 acres.  He obtained proof on the land on 5 June 1886 and received his final certificate on 9 June 1886.  
He built a stone  house with a board and sod roof 35 feet by 15 feet, with an addition 18 feet by 24 feet. There was a stable, shed, corral, granary, wells, fencing and he planted trees.  The papers in his Homestead file indicate that he was absent from the property for five months due to the sickness of his wife and three children.  They moved to North Platte and he accompanied them, but visited the property several times in that time period.  
Because of the loss of census enumerations between 1880 and 1900, we can only rely on information from the 1900 US Census where Frederic D. Nowell and family are in Juneau, Alaska Territory, living on Third Street.  Fred is shown as coming to Alaska in 1890 from Boston, Massachusetts.  He was born in July of 1855 in New Hampshire.  His occupation was stockman and mining.  Emma B. was born in Massachusetts in September 1861.  The children were Ethel who was 11 years old, born in July 1888 in Nebraska and Marion (daughter), 8, born November 1891 in Massachusetts.  From this information it appears the Nowell family left Nebraska and returned to Massachusetts sometime before 1892 when another daughter was born.  
Records of the United States Patent Office for patent No. 763,572, application dated 26 February 1903 and patent dated 28 June 1904 show that Danivill W. Starrett of Oakland, California was the assignor of three-fourths to Frederick D. Nowell, Juneau, Alaska Territory.  The patent was for a water-wheel governor, which was used in mining to maintain a constant rate of speed irrespective of the variations of the load.  
The Nowell family left Alaska before 1910 when they are shown living in the 24th Ward of Boston, Massachusetts in “The Peabody” on Ashmont Street.  Frederick is shown with his own income.  His wife, Emma, is shown as having had six children with only four living.  The others in the household, all single are Florence E., 29, b. MA, Frederick D. Jr.. 25 b. NE, Ethel P., 21, b. NE, Marian 18 single b. MA and nephew Ames, 17 b. MA.   
By 1920 the Nowell family had left Alaska and were living in Berkeley, California.  Frederick D. Nowell, as head of the household, was renting and was a mining engineer.  In his household was his wife Emma B., son Frederick D. Nowell, Jr., age 35, single, born in Nebraska, a secretary.  His daughter Ethel Nowell was 31, single and an artist.   
Alumni records of Harvard University indicate that Frederick Drown Nowell, Jr. graduated 1908-1909 and was living at 2814 Derby St. in Berkeley, California.   The World War I Draft Registration provides more information on Frederick Drown Nowell, Jr.  He was living at 924 N. Curtis in Alhambra, California and working as an account for Ventura Refining Company.  He was born 26 December 1884 and his mother is shown as a contact person.  The registration form was filed in Los Angeles County on 12 September 1918.  
Nowell residence in 1930
The 1930 US Census shows the Nowell family living at 478 Vernon in Oakland, California.  They were renting for $65 a month.  Frederick is shown as the operator of a mine.  Florence E.  was 49, single an a teacher in the public schools.  Frederick Jr. was 45 and a sales manager.  He was also single.  Living in the household was Frederick Sr.’s son in law, George F. Ware, director of a crude oil company and his daughter Alexine B. about 4 1/2 years of age.  George’s wife, Marian, was deceased by 1930.  By the time the 1940 US Census was taken George F. Ware had married his late wife’s sister, Florence.   

From all indications, the Nowell family remained on the west coast.  The only visible trace of their time spent here in Nebraska is the tombstone of their first born son, Georgie. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Genealogy Award

Nebraska Genealogist of the Year 2011
On Friday, May 4th at the Nebraska State Genealogical Society Annual Conference, I received the award of Nebraska Genealogist of the Year, 2011.  The conference was held in Grand Island, Nebraska.

I am humbled to receive this from my peers.  From an assignment in genealogy in 4th grade my genealogical research and studies have blossomed.  There are others in the state as well deserving of the award.  And to those who would like to receive such an award, keep trying and achieving.  Genealogy is a learning process ... daily learning.  Then apply what you learn!

A special thank you to the Nebraska State Genealogical Society for presenting me with this award.

------- Ruby