Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Nebraska High School and College Yearbooks


Looking for an old yearbook? You should check out Old-Yearbooks.com (Nebraska). They have a nice selection of links to high school and college yearbooks for Nebraska.

The selection is sporadic, but a good start. You never know what you will find, so be sure you check them out. Of course, for a subscription you can locate year books on Ancestry.com.

The colleges and universities on Old-Yearbooks.com consist of yearbooks of the University of Nebraska and the University of Omaha.

Have fun looking through them.

(Photograph is of the Public School, Cozad, Dawson Co., Nebraska.)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Eastern Nebraska Resources


The very active Greater Omaha Genealogical Society members have web pages that are helpful. These continue to grow, so check them often. The original settlement in Nebraska territory was in the east, along the Missouri River. Therefore, it is a good idea to look for pre-statehood settlers and even those who settled later, in the eastern counties of the state.

Their web site of Omaha Obits is updated several times a month. They provide an index to obituaries and death notices found in Omaha newspapers. For some who did not live too far from Omaha, the announcement of their death still appeared in the Omaha newspaper. The society has also added deaths of Civil War veterans from a larger area. Once you locate obituaries in the index, you can either use the microfilm at the Omaha Public Library, 215 S. 15th Street in Omaha, or order copies. Check out their How to Obtain Obit Copies.

They also supply the researcher with Omaha Area Marriages and Anniversaries. You will find the index and how to obtain copies to be very helpful. There are 132,889 marriage entries. Next, check out Omaha Births from Douglas County, Nebraska records and early Omaha newspapers. There are 7,742 entries to date.

Not only do they have web pages for Omaha vitals, but also for other areas in the state. There is one for Thurston County Marriages. This is north of Omaha and to date has 1,906 listings, including Native American names. Members of the society have also created Hall County Marriages. This county is located west of Omaha, along I-80 and the Platte River, a natural migration corridor for pioneers. To date there are 1,863 listings.

Now they have created a new web site, Sarpy County Marriages. Locate that county on your map and you will that it is south of Omaha proper. In the early days, many people who were not Sarpy County resident got married there. Some came from Omaha, Lincoln and even from Iowa. This is a brand new web page that will continue to grow as members locate the marriages.

Too bad more societies in the state aren't posting vitals like these. They would be so helpful!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Nebraska's Colorful History


How well do you know your Nebraska history? If you don't live in this state, you probably have a hit and miss knowledge about our history. Even if you live here, do you know about Nebraska history eras, great events and more?

NebraskaStudies.org provides teachers, students, history buffs and yes ... genealogists, access to archival photos, documents, letters, videos, maps and more. The history of Nebraska is captured and available at your finger tips.

Select a time period of interest and begin reading. The History Timeline across the top of the opening web page is a place to begin, or you can go directly to the Table of Contents by clicking on that tab on the left had side of the opening page.

One of the latest additions to the web page is The Story of Beef. Of course, Nebraska is famous for good beef. The saga began with the Texas Longhorns and cattle drives.

Throughout the timeline you can click on a specific event or year. For example, if you have heard about Nebraska's famous photographer, Solomon Butcher, you will find a special tab dated 1886 for him. By clicking on that you will have an interesting narrative to read and photographs to view.

Using this web site is an exercise in clicking! Be sure to check out tools for each timeline era and check those links which can be anything from photographs to videos and documents.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A Blogger Award


Cheri, aka You Go Genealogy Girl #2, at Those Old Memories has nominated me for the Kreativ Blogger Award. Thanks Cheri! I try to be creative, but sometimes hit a creative block!

Here are seven things about me. Some of you may know this about me, some may not.

1. I have been doing genealogical research since I was a teenager. The bug bite was hard, deep and has lasted long, considering that I am on Medicare and a grandmother. I have been doing professional research for over thirty years. Even so, I have compassion for beginners and people who are struggling to overcome their brick walls. I also have brick walls.

2. Yes, I'm on Medicare, but that doesn't tell you how old I am. I have also been a widow (young widow) for 2 1/2 years. I lost my husband to cancer in 2007. Since then I have tried to make every day count in my life. I am a ten year cancer survivor, so realize the importance of staying well and making return visits for medical check ups. In addition, every day counts in my life for doing genealogical research.

3. I have two children and two grandchildren. Will soon be blessed with two step grandchildren. They all range in age from 11 to 21. The youngest, my 11 year old granddaughter, enjoys looking at her family genealogy and old photographs. I hope that means she will eventually be traveling with me to courthouses and cemeteries.

4. Genealogy is my passion. It sustains my waking and sleeping hours. Don't you dream of courthouses where volumes of records are just waiting for you, page open to the exact information you need?

5. I am President (again) of the North Platte Genealogical Society in North Platte, Nebraska. We are the oldest genealogy society in the state. Like others, we have had our ups and downs in membership. We manage to draw a good crowd almost every month and hope to keep people up to date on genealogy affairs, plus supply them with knowledge about doing their research. That's a lot to do month after month! Seeing some of them come back month after month, I realize how dedicated they are to their genealogy.

6. My sister-in-law and I travel together, research together, lecture together and wander through cemeteries together. We live 2 1/2 hours apart, but we have e-mail and telephone. In May of this year we went to Salt Lake City. We had a lot of fun, laughs and of course, along the way picked up gobs of information. In July we were honor bloggers at the Family History Expo in Sheridan, WY. I think my late husband would be proud that his sister and I are genealogy pals. We have a blog together, so please check out our antics at, You Go Genealogy Girls. Her husband, occasionally referred to as go-Hubby, is very patient and understanding of our togetherness ... as long as I bring her back home safely, he is happy. Incidentally we travel in my car, aka Lil' Red.

7. Six months ago I was "blessed" with a bum knee. After scope surgery in August, things have not been better. It looks like in order to do all those wonderful things in life, aka genealogical research, I will need a replacement. Bring it on!! I need to be out in the cemeteries in the spring as well as going back to Salt Lake City with my sister-in-law in Lil' Red.

I know ... I'm not supposed to add #8, but can't resist, especially since this is a Nebraska devoted blog. I was born in South Dakota and have lived in that state, plus Wyoming and Colorado. In 1996 I moved to Iowa for a few years. I love Iowa, but Nebraska will always be my home. Go Huskers!

According to the Kreativ Blogger Award rules I am to nominate seven blogs for the award. These are all great blogs, so be sure and check them out. I nominate ...







Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Nebraska and the Civil War


Prior to the Civil War, most of the settlement in the Nebraska Territory was located in the eastern portion of the state, primarily along the Missouri River. There were other minor settlements west of there, particularly along the trails that had been leading pioneers westward for almost well over a decade. The territory was settled primarily by people who were sympathetic to the Union case. The U.S. Census of 1860 reveals only fifteen slaves in the Nebraska territory.

When President Lincoln called for troops, Nebraska furnished 3,300 men. This is a remarkable number considering the entire population of the territory in 1860 was only about 30,000 with 9,000 of those being males of military age. Some Nebraska men went to Iowa and Kansas to enlist and some from those states came to Nebraska to enlist.

At the beginning of the Civil War, troops were withdrawn from the garrisons at Fort Kearny and further north along the Missouri River at Fort Randall. This left the area wide open for Indian attack and caused great concern. Major General John J. Thayer of the Nebraska Militia suggested volunteers be placed at the two forts. The federal government proposed that one regiment be raised within Nebraska Territory with a portion of it being used to garrison the forts and defend the frontier. Contrary to the original formation of this regiment, they were ordered to serve against the Confederates in the South and the frontier still remained unprotected.

The regiment, mustered from Omaha, became known as the First Nebraska Volunteer Infantry. They fought in the first major engagement at Fort Donelson, Tennessee in February of 1862 and were at the Battle of Shiloh. The regiment was also involved in scouting and skirmishing in Missouri and Arkansas. They were granted a furlough in June of 1864 to 13 August 1864 to return to Nebraska.

With the passage of the Homestead Act on 20 May 1862, Nebraska became populated by men (and their families) who had served in the Civil War. As they settled and remained here, camps of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) were formed. Records were created which today can be beneficial to the genealogist. One of the best places to begin online research is at the web page, Nebraskans in the Civil War.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Nebraska Masonic History


On 3 October 1855 the Grand Lodge of Illinois chartered Nebraska Lodge No. 184 at Bellevue. The first Masonic meeting occurred on 3 April 1855 on the second story of the Old Trading Post at Bellevue, Nebraska Territory. This was owned by Peter Sarpy. Members of the Omaha tribe lived in an adjoining room. Peter Sarpy was the first candidate to be initiated in 1856. Acting upon his petition, members of the lodge were forced to use an empty gallon pickle jar and small gravel stones.

The following year the Giddings Lodge No. 156 at Nebraska City was chartered by the Grand Lodge of Missouri. In 1857 Capitol Lodge No. 101 in Omaha was chartered by the Grand Lodge of Iowa. The same year the three lodges in the Territory of Nebraska organized a Grand Lodge. members from Nebraska City walked to Omaha for the event.

By 1861 the membership growth was slow, partly because of the poor economy. Many of the old members had left for the gold fields. More of a depletion of members occurred as some left to fight in the Civil War. The Masonic Lodges eventually realized growth and renewal by the admission of Nebraska Territory as a state and with the influx of new settlers after the war.

An excellent book that gives chronological information on Masonic events in the state is A Sesquicentennial History of the Grand Lodge of Nebraska 1857-2007 by Russell G. Reno, published in 2007 by Macoy Publishing & Masonic Supply Co., Inc. of Richmond, Virginia.

The Masonic Grand Lodge of Nebraska's web site contains lodge information, along with location and links if they have a web page. If you have ancestors who belonged to a Masonic lodge in Nebraska, you may be able to gain more information by contacting either the Grand Lodge or a lodge to which he belonged. In your request, be sure to supply information on your relationships to the subject, along with a brief explanation as to why you are seeking the information.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Genealogy Workshop in Omaha

The Greater Omaha Genealogy Society is sponsoring a workshop on Saturday, October 24th. It will begin at 9 a.m. at the Nebraska Methodist College, Josie Harper campus. Doors open at 8:15 a.m. There will also be a bake sale and lunch will be served at a nominal fee.

There will be presentations about wills and probate records, Civil War pensions and a panel discussion to discuss some of the attendee's research problems. If you wish to submit a research problem, it must be done with your registration, explaining what you have researched and what you know about the problem. There will also be an Antiques Roadshow type event where attendees can bring family heirlooms and learn more about them.

Click here to download a registration flyer for the workshop.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Family History Month in North Platte


October is Family History Month. The oldest organized genealogy society in the state of Nebraska is the North Platte Genealogical Society and members are celebrating the month in style!

There is a display on the first floor of the North Platte Public Library, 120 West 4th in North Platte, Nebraska. Volunteers are staffing the genealogy collection in the library, which is on the second floor. Dates are ...
Monday, Oct. 5th 9:30 to 11:00 a.m.
Friday, Oct. 9th 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.
Monday, Oct. 12th 9:30 to 11:00 a.m.
Thursday, Oct. 15th 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
The volunteers are prepared to help researchers with the questions and assist them in locating books, microfilm and microfiche housed in the library. Collection Organization Tours are being held on:
Saturday, Oct. 17th 9:00 to 11:00 a.m.
Monday, Oct 19th 9:30 to 11:00 a.m.
Thursday, Oct. 22nd 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

The Fall Genealogy Seminar will be held on Saturday, October 10th. Ruby Coleman (Yours Truly) will be presenting the seminar from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Mid-Plains Community College south campus. The cost is $20; pre-register by calling 308-535-3714. The topics are Clicking Your Way to Genealogical Success (free Internet sites) and Vital Records & Substitutes.

The Genealogy Help Desk will be held on Wednesday, October 21st from 6 to 9 p.m. in the North Platte Public Library Meeting Room. There will be genealogy displays and volunteers available to help with genealogy problems; guests are very welcome. There will be prize drawings at 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.; must be present to win.

This should be a fun filled month to celebrate genealogy.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Nebraska Migrations Project


The Nebraska Migrations Project is not a new project, but it is worth checking out. Migrations is actually a stand alone project designed to further migration research and also develop a comprehensive database.

There are two parts to Migrations. The first is the Migrations Database. You can search this by name or place. The second part is a National Migration Links page with a table of state links. There are also some migration links to countries, such as England, Ireland and Germany. Because of the scope of the project, there are search engines for searching locations as well as surnames.

Information submitted to Migrations comes from genealogical researchers who are hoping to make connections with others researching the same family. Obviously the web site will not continue to grow unless people submit their migration information. If you desire to submit information, be sure to read the instructions thoroughly. You will still own the data submitted and it can be removed at your request.

There are 720 entries on the Nebraska Migrations Project. It was started in February of 2000. The database format is name, lifespan, such as 1861-1932 and origin. Once you click on a name of interest, there is more information, such as where born, additional notes along with migration steps and time frame that took them to Nebraska. There is also a clickable link to contact the researcher/submitter.

This is a project worth checking. Spend some time there and see what it is all about, then consider submitting your own data.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Genealogy Lock In


A Genealogy Lock In will be held on Friday, October 2nd at the Omaha Public Library, 215 S. 15th Street in Omaha, Nebraska. It is sponsored by the library and the Greater Omaha Genealogical Society (GOGS). On that evening after the library is locked, genealogists will be doing serious research. The doors to enter will be locked before 6:30 p.m. on October 2nd, so genealogists need to arrive before then. They can leave at any time, even though the Lock In ends at 9:30 p.m. In order to remain in the library after the doors are locked, genealogists need to have a name tag which they can secure by e-mailing, Sahara346@aol.com.

There will be coffee and cookies to keep genealogists going for three hours of intense research. There will also be a donation jar to help pay the guard's salary. If you don't live in the Omaha Public Library's area (have a patron card), you and get a one-day guest card for $2. Cards from Council Bluffs or Lincoln libraries will be accepted. The card allows you to use the computers and receive five free copies.

Ahead of time it would be a good idea to check out the card catalog and have a research plan. Here are some good reasons why you should attend the Lock-In:
1. two librarians on duty to help genealogists
2. fourteen computers with Ancestry.com and other genealogy web sites
3. over 8,000 genealogy books in the book room
4. marriage microfilm from about 20 Nebraska counties; mostly about 1900, but much later for Douglas and Sarpy counties
5. historical Omaha newspapers on microfilm
6. genealogy newsletters from over 125 genealogy societies around the country
7. complete set of Germans to America and other ethnic immigration book sets
8. complete set of Omaha City directories (and several other cities on microfilm)
9. obituary clipping file, 1977 through June 2008
10. naturalization index for Nebraska and some 60 plus Iowa counties (alphabetical)
11. Internet databases on several Douglas County cemeteries
12. church records from several Omaha historic churches - microfilm
13. historic clipping file on Omaha history and people (only accessible by asking librarians)
14. GO-PAF people available to answer genealogy computer problems
15. GOGS volunteers available to help solve genealogy problems

Sounds like fun. I bet at 9:30 there are some wanting to stay longer. I hope it is a great success.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Nebraska Regional Center Cemetery Records


After much litigation, the Hastings Regional Center in Adams Co., Nebraska has released photocopies of the cemetery records to the Nebraska State Historical Society and the Adams County Nebraska Historical Society.

The cemetery records also include corresponding plot maps for individuals buried in the Center Cemetery. From 1909 to 1959 there were approximately 751 patients buried there. A second listing abstracted from the medical ledger books between 1889 and 1918 for 399 patients was also provided. Both of these lists are in a PDF (downloadable/searchable) file at the Nebraska State Historical Society web site.

In 1887 the Nebraska legislature appropriated $75,000 for a "state asylum for the incurably insane" at Hastings, provided the city donate 160 acres of land. The city purchased the land one mile west of the city limits and eventually it was turned into 630 acres. The original building was a three story brick building with a tall central tower. Additions were completed through the years. The first patients were received on 1 August 1889. Forty-four were transferred from the "State Lunatic Asylum" in Lincoln, Nebraska. Through the years thousands of patients were received.

The name of the center changed through the years. In 1895 it was renamed Asylum for the Chronic Insane. In 1905 it was named Nebraska State Hospital and in 1915 to Ingleside Hospital for the Insane and eventually to Hastings State Hospital. The current name change occurred in 1971.

Tragically not everybody who was admitted was incurably or chronically insane. They may have suffered from hereditary disorders, change of life, stress, financial problems or domestic issues. It is sad to think that hundreds were buried there and for decades their place of burial was unknown. I hope that family will recognize their name and find them at last.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Nebraska Tombstones


Looking for Nebraska tombstones?  You might want to check out the Nebraska State Genealogical Society's Tombstone Photo Project.  People, using digital cameras, are uploading photographs of tombstones in Nebraska cemeteries.  Some cemeteries are complete and some are not.  Many are yet to be photographed.  

If you are inclined to help with the project, review the instructions online.  Fall is a great time to visit a cemetery ... just look out for the poison ivy.  Those of you with Nebraska ancestry, keep checking back to see what has been added in your areas of interest.  

The Nebraska Tombstone Photo Project is also another place with tombstone photographs.  It is part of the USGenWeb Tombstone Project.  You can also locate Nebraska cemetery photographs at FindAGrave.  Click on "Search for a cemetery."  If you know the name of the cemetery and location, enter that, otherwise browse by state and county.  Leave a photo request and hopefully somebody will go to the cemetery and take a photograph for you.  

Finding tombstones in Nebraska is getting a lot easier.  Just take a look!  

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Wikipedia, Nebraska and Maps


Do you know where you are researching in Nebraska?  Did your ancestors live here in some little town or someplace no longer on the maps?  Take a look around ... you may find where you are researching. 

For example, enter the following in the Google search box:  "hershey nebraska wikipedia" and then click on the link to that subject in Wikipedia, which is a free encyclopedia.  When it opens, you will be able to learn more about Hershey, Nebraska which is located in Lincoln County. You can learn about its geography, demographics and click on references and external links. Some place on that web page (usually right hand side), you will see a county map and Nebraska map showing the location of Hershey.  

Under the map are coordinates.  Click on the blue highlighted coordinates and you will be taken to a long list of maps on Internet that have maps of Hershey, Nebraska.  Some are maps, satellite maps and some are terrain maps.  There are also photo links and Wikipedia article links as well as a lot of other information.  Have fun checking out the maps.  

You can also search Wikipedia for townships.  Enter the following: "mirage township nebraska wikipedia" and you will be taken to the web page with information and links pertaining to that township which is in Kearney County.  There is a map on the web page showing the location of Mirage Township in Kearney County.  Under that are the coordinates.  Click on those and you will be directed to the maps under global systems with links to Internet.  

Click on Geonames (satellite).  Mirage Township is shown.  You can zoom in and out and move it around.  There are symbols on the map with names and locations of cemeteries, villages, historical sites and more.  What fun!  

With a little bit of exploring you may be able to discover more about places your ancestor lived that are no longer in existence.  You can apply this map research to any place in world that interests  you.  Of course, I'm partial to Nebraska!  

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Homesteading in Nebraska


The need and lust for land developed the state of Nebraska.  Because of that, records were created which can be useful to genealogists.  If you think your ancestor settled in Nebraska and obtained land under the Homestead Act, you need to explore what is going online.  

The Homestead Act of 1862 was in effect for 123 years.  Through this act claimants could obtain 160 acres of land if they filed and demonstrated that they were improving the land within five years.  If the claimant was not a citizen of the United States, they had to also indicate that their declaration of intention had been filed.  Men who served in the Union Army during the Civil War could use their time in service against the five years required to obtain patent to the land.  

There are approximately 2 million homestead case files in the National Archives (NARA) in Washington, DC.  The files contain information that can be beneficial, such as naturalization papers, family information, military information and declarations of intention.  With the final certificate number found in the online Homestead Records database, you can obtain complete files from the National Archives.  

The Homestead Records Broken Bow Nebraska Land Office is sponsored by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, National Park Service and the National Archives and Records Administration.   The Broken Bow Land Office was open from 1890 to 1908.  Located in Custer County, it was approximately in the center of Nebraska.  

A search, either simple or advanced, on the web page will produce results showing the name of the claimant, sometimes the place of origin, witnesses, clerk, application date, final certificate date, approval date, patented date, claimant's gender, final certificate number and place.  If you click on "Similar Items Find," you will obtain a list of other claimants who filed for land in the same area.  



Wednesday, July 22, 2009

History of the State of Nebraska


Years ago when I began doing research in Nebraska, a well-versed genealogist suggested that I look at Andreas.  That's it ... just Andreas.  I soon discovered that Andreas was the History of the State of Nebraska, first published in 1882 by the Western Historical Company, A.T. Andreas, Proprietor, Chicago, Illinois.  

It is a tome that can be found in almost all larger libraries in the state of Nebraska. Fortunately it has been extracted and placed on Internet in the Kansas Collection Books.  Even if you do not have ancestry in the early 1880s and prior to that in Nebraska, it is a good idea to use the book.  
There is significant information in it about Nebraska as a territory, as well as after it became a state on 1 March 1867.  The history includes information on the railroads, settlers and military history.  In the military history, you will find rosters of soldiers who served from Nebraska. 

Andreas also includes histories and biographical information from the counties, cities, towns and villages in Nebraska.  The early history of the counties and settlements is priceless.  The biographical sketches are of prominent men, as well as early settlers.  There are some photographs of buildings and people.  The online extraction includes an index of names by county.  

Alfred Theodore Andreas would be surprised to know that his 1882 Nebraska book is so popular, let alone that it is in extracted format on Internet.  You can locate a library that has either the original or reproductions by using WorldCat.  Take a look at Andreas ... you'll learn a whole lot about Nebraska! 

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Genealogy - Nebraska to Wyoming


Tomorrow is the big day.  I leave for western Nebraska to pick up my side-kick for the Family History Expo in Sheridan, WY.  Who is my side-kick?  We are the You Go Genealogy Girls and she's my sister-in-law.  Check out our blog.  

We are honor bloggers at the Family History Expo, so you won't want to miss a single tidbit of information from us.  We'll be blogging at the You Go Genealogy Girls blog and also on Twitter.  You can follow me on Twitter @GenGirl1.  She's on Twitter @GenGirl2.  

This promises to be a great expo with many interesting lecture topics and knowledgeable speakers.  Check it all out at the Family History Expo website.  

Friday, July 10, 2009

GenealogyWise - Nebraska Research & Ancestry


It's new and it's fun!  Somewhat like Facebook, there is now a social network in place for genealogists.  It is called GenealogyWise.  It was recently launched by FamilyLink and is buzzing with activity.  Yes, it grows by the hour ... almost by the minute.  

You can join it free, create your personal profile, find friends (genealogy friends, of course), set up or join groups and invite people to be your friends, to events or discussions.  Along with the discussion forum, there are blog and video areas.  If you click on Genealogy Search, it takes you directly to the subscription site of World Vital Records.  

On this great social networking site you don't wander around through personal friends and relatives who have no interest in genealogy.  You are sharing and communicating with genealogists, many of whom may be researching the same surnames or in the same areas.  

I have started a group on GenealogyWise and invite you to check it out.  It's Nebraska Research & Ancestry, devoted to those who research in Nebraska or have ancestry here.  This is a personal invitation to join GenealogyWise and then join my group.  You also have my permission to join many of the other groups!  

Friday, July 3, 2009

Nebraska Railroad History


Do you remember riding on a train?  Not a subway, but a real train?  My memories probably date me, but I can remember how disgusted my mother was when I would come home wearing a black-streaked dress.  Watching the steam engine come into town, I would invariably get soot all over me.  Those were the days when little girls wore dresses.  I can also remember riding the trains and looking forward to the porter selling ham sandwiches.  Even though I knew every town along the route, it was fun to look out the train window at the people getting on or off the train.  

Nebraska is rich in railroad history.  It was through this state that the rails were laid to link the east to the west.  You may have had ancestors who worked on the rails or traveled them.  Old newspaper frequently contain information on passengers as well as arrival and departure times.  They are fascinating to read.  

An interesting web page is The Iron Road.  It has many links to Nebraska railroad trivia, databases and history.  If there are stories in your family about train wrecks and accidents in Nebraska you will want to check that link.  You can learn which railroads came through Nebraska counties at Nebraska Counties Railroad History.  

There are links to web pages that have information on early railroaders in Nebraska.  Some of these are Grand Island - Railroad Men; Union Pacific Railroad Seniority List District 92 and Nebraska Railroaders.  

There are still railroads in Nebraska.  Passengers no longer travel the rails.  Those are days gone by ... and I will always have fond memories of those days.  

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Finding Nebraska Cemeteries


There are many ways to find information about Nebraska cemeteries on Internet.  Probably one of the easiest is to enter search terms into Google.  These can either be by the name of the cemetery and county and "Nebraska" or "cemetery" plus county and "Nebraska."  

Another place to check is ePodunk.  The opening web page has a selection of county profiles. Click on Nebraska, then proceed to the county of your choice.  Once you have selected a county, the return will show a map of Nebraska indicating the location of the county.  You can study census, demographics and also check out the cemeteries in the county.  Making a cemetery selection will pull up a Google map showing the cemetery location as well as the latitude and longitude of the location. 

BrainyGeography is a fun web page to explore.  Click on Nebraska and then click on cemetery. Once you locate a cemetery of your choice, information pops up about the latitude, longitude, as well as a Google map.  For some reason these Google maps do not pinpoint the cemetery locations. 

One that I particularly like is Lat-Long.com.  Search by Nebraska and you will locate an alphabetical listing of Nebraska cemeteries, followed by the name of the county.  These also have google maps, along with a state map and latitude and longitude locations.  

There's actually many more cemetery locators on Internet, but give these a "go."  You will like them!  

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Land Records


A Genealogy & Land Records Symposium will be held Friday, July 10th and Saturday, July 11th.  The location for the symposium is the SCC Continuing Education Center, 301 South 68th Street Place in Lincoln, Nebraska.  

This event is a partnership between the Homestead National Monument of America and the Southeast Community College (SCC).  The deadline for registration is July 2nd.  

Nebraska is a great setting to learn about land records.  The Homestead Act of 1862 provided approximately 270 million acres of land for settlement, much of which was located in Nebraska.  Participants in the symposium will learn about land records, in particular about the Homestead Act.  

An exciting presentation will be given by Richard G. Sayre, who will show how to use Google Earth to make and map historical buildings and cemeteries.  Other speakers will be Greg Boyd (Family Maps), Peter Drinkwater (Footnote.com), and Pamela Boyer Sayre (learning new things and Google Earth).  The keynote speaker will be Kenneth Heger, Chief of the Archives I Support Branch, National Archives.  

Be sure to look at their brochure and registration form which can be downloaded in PDF format.  This is a great Nebraska event you won't want to miss!  

Saturday, June 13, 2009

North Platte Public Library, North Platte, Nebraska



This is a library in my home town and they have a great genealogy collection.  It is on the second floor, with access by elevator or stairs.  The library is located two blocks from the Lincoln County Courthouse, so you can easily do a lot of research in downtown North Platte. 

120 West 4th Street 
North Platte, NE 69101
308-535-8036
Summer Hours (Memorial Day-Labor Day)
Monday & Thursday  9 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. 
Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday & Saturday  9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. 
Closed Sundays 

The library has a large collection of genealogical and historical books, with emphasis on Nebraska and Lincoln County.  Some of the highlights of their collection include: 

Lincoln County Atlases 
1885 Atlas of Nebraska 
Lincoln County and other Nebraska county cemeteries
City Directories for North Platte - 1919-current with some missing years 
North Platte High School yearbooks 
Obituary Index 
Newspaper Index 
DAR Cabinet 
rare books, DAR Lineage books 1893-1921, Pennsylvania Archives
Vertical File - scrapbooks, clippings, maps 
Microfilm 
North Platte newspapers 1915-February 2009; some missing issues; some earlier years
Lincoln County Court Records - 26 reels about 1900 to about 1970 
Lincoln County Naturalizations 
New England Historic Genealogical Society Register  Volumes 1-50 
census, passenger lists 

There two microfilm reader/printers available.  Patrons can use computers in the Technology Learning Center next to the genealogy collection.  

Be sure to include this library in one of your summer time research trips!


Saturday, June 6, 2009

Nebraska in the Civil War


At the dawn of the Civil War, Nebraska was still a territory, with heavier populations in the east. Elibigle men living in the territory responded to the call for troops.  This resulted unprotected western settlements in the territory.  If we could travel back in time, we would see the southeast portion of the territory, primarily Nebraska City, providing a safe haven for people fleeing the fighting along the Missouri-Kansas border.  

Nebraska provided about 3,300 soldiers to the Union Army.  Of these 239 died in war, most from disease and not in battle.  Shortly after the Civil War broke out, territorial Governor Alvin Saunders called for the formation of the First Nebraska Volunteer Infantry regiment. Troops boarded steamboats at Omaha in July of that year and left for Missouri.  Some of these men were involved in major battles, such as Shiloh.  

In 1863 the First Nebraska Volunteer Infantry was reconstituted as a cavalry regiment.  They were furloughed to Omaha and assigned as the First Nebraska Cavalry to Fort Kearny in 1864. The second cavalry regiment was recruited for nine months to respond to the Santee uprising in Minnesota and the Battle at White Stone Hill north of Fort Pierre in Dakota Territory.  

One of the largest repositories for military records in Nebraska is in Lincoln at the Nebraska State Historical Society.  While they are currently closed for remodeling, it is definitely a place you need to visit when they reopen.  They are located at 1500 R Street in Lincoln.  A synopsis of their Civil War collection is: 
Grand Army of the Republic (GAR Membership Rosters 
Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) Burial Cards 
Rosters of Nebraska Soldiers in the Civil War, 1861-1865 as published in Andreas's 1882 History of Nebraska 
Rosters of Soldiers, Sailors and Marines, 1887-1925 (living in Nebraska during that time period) 

Gerald E. Sherard has two large databases online for Nebraska Civil War soldier information.  They are Nebraska Civil War Grand Army of the Republic Members Index and Nebraska Civil War Veterans' Data.  In addition the Nebraska State Historical Society has a search form for their Nebraska Civil War Veterans' Database.  

Other Internet web pages with good information include the Civil War Rosters - Nebraska Links and 1893 Roster of Nebraska Veterans-Nebraska Enlistees.  The Nebraska Civil War Regimental Histories contains a good deal of interesting information.  

A membership in Footnote.com gains you information from the compiled service records for Union Soldiers, Nebraska.  It is about 95% complete.  These are not pension records.  If you do not have a membership in Footnote.com, you can access this at a Family History Center (LDS) near you.  




Friday, May 29, 2009

Kilgore Memorial Library, York, Nebraska


The Kilgore Memorial Library in York, Nebraska, located a couple blocks off the main area of York, contains some resources for the genealogist.  

520 Nebraska Avenue 
York, NE 68467-3035
Monday-Thursday  10 a.m. to 9 p.m. 
Friday and Saturday  10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 
Sunday 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. 

In their library you will find an index to local newspapers as well as microfilm of newspapers. They have some York High School annuals and some York College annuals.  City directories are available for 1887, 1891, 1902, 1906, 1909, 1912, and 1915.  The library has two volumes of local cemetery extracts for York area cemeteries.  You can check the location of York area cemeteries online.  Once you click on a cemetery name, you are directed to a Google Map of the cemetery.   

The Kilgore Memorial Library will answer limited genealogy requests.  An e-mail contact form is located on their web page.  If you are traveling, you can use one of their computer workstations or use your own laptop through their WIFI.  

Another great source for the genealogist is the York County Historical Association, PO Box 81, York, NE 68467.  They have many excellent genealogical databases on their web page.  These include records of land, naturalizations, directories, atlases, mortuary records, GAR records, county histories and school records.  You can use their order form to obtain copies.  

York County is an original county, formed in 1855.  You will find many old records there, so enjoy your visit in person or on the Internet. 



Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Traveling to Salt Lake City

Good morning!  This blog will be quiet for a few weeks.  I'm leaving this morning to begin my trip to Salt Lake City (yes, for research!).  This will mean stops here and there along the way (yes, for research!).  

To follow with what I'm doing (in case you are interested), please read the blog The You Go Genealogy Girls.  My sister-in-law and I will be traveling together and you will enjoy reading our comments.  Maybe you will enjoy the blog so much, you will become a follower and read it even after I'm back home.  

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Knight Museum & Sandhills Center Heritage Room - Alliance, Nebraska



The newly remodeled Knight Museum & Sandhills Center has a wonderful Heritage Room for the pursuit of genealogical and historical information.  Emphasis in the collection is on Box Butte County and Western Nebraska.  The museum and center is located at 908 Yellowstone in Alliance; 308-762-2384; museum@cityofalliance.net.  Until March 2010 when the center is officially complete, the hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and on weekends by appointment.  

In the Heritage Room you will find not only indexes and books, but also original records that were once housed in the Box Butte County Courthouse.  There are also numerous databases that have been placed on Internet at Box Butte County Databases

Marriages - film and copies up to 1940 - database on Internet
Delayed Birth Records - originals - index on Internet
Court Records - originals 1887-1943 and index
Divorces - originals to 1943
Cemetery Books for the Alliance Cemetery, Calvary Cemetery, Hemingford Cemetery, rural cemeteries 
Birth Records - Dr. Petersen and Dr. Burnham - originals and index 
Funeral Home Records - Miller and Landa - originals and index 
Naturalizations - index from courthouse records 
School Annuals for Alliance High School (ca 1910-1980), Hemingford High School and St. Agnes High School 
Soldier's Index of 1891 
Patent Record Index - indexed by local genealogical society - originals in courthouse 
1887 Tax List Index - indexed by local genealogical society - originals in courthouse 
Newspapers on microfilm - Alliance, Hemingford and Lakeside 
Families histories, scrapbooks, etc. 
Photographs 
County histories 
Box Butte County census - all that is currently available 

The Cemetery books contain extensive information.  They are in loose leaf notebooks.  Where available, newspaper data on the deceased, the obituary and family information has been added, along with a photograph of the tombstone.  

The Heritage Room has WIFI and also a computer for patron use.  Director, Becci Thomas, extends a welcome to anyone interested in visiting the center.  Add it to your genealogy research places to visit!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

An Abundance of Land in Nebraska


While people could purchase land directly from the federal government, many did not.  The land available from the federal government depended upon various land acts throughout the mid to late 1800s and into the 20th century.   (The photo on the right depicts people waiting in line at the Broken Bow, Nebraska Land Office.)

Your research should always begin at the courthouse level, checking deed indexes and then the actual deeds.  Patents are also registered in the courthouses, but you will not find the complete files in those jurisdictions. 

If you suspect that your ancestor purchased land from the federal government, search the web site of the Bureau of Land Management General Land Office Records.  Be sure to read the information on their web page before performing a search.  

The U.S. General Land Office Tract Books for Nebraska are located in the Nebraska State Historical Society, 1500 R Street, Lincoln, Nebraska.  The society is undergoing a two-year renovation program, so at this time the research materials are unavailable.  When you are able to use these books, keep in mind that they are only for land obtained from the federal government.  The information contained is:  name of person(s) who filed for land, date, legal description, type of land entry and final certificate number.  

Nebraska Land Offices and Date Opened
Omaha City - 1854
Brownsville - 1857 
Nebraska City - 1857 
Dakota City - 1857 
Beatrice - 1868 
Lincoln - 1868 
Grand Island - 1868 
West Point - 1869 
Lowell - 1872 
North Platte - 1872 
Norfolk - 1873 
Bloomington - 1874 
Niobrara - 1875 
Neligh - 1881
Valentine - 1882 
McCook - 1882 
Sidney - 1886 
Chadron - 1886 
O'Neill - 1888
Alliance - 1890 
Broken Bow - 1890

Distribution of Federal Land in Nebraska
Homesteads - 19,224,310 acres 
Gifts to Railroads - 8,172,859 acres
Kinkaid Homesteaders - 7,834,240 acres
Pre-Emption - 4,996,480 acres 
Sale - 3,991,658 acres 
State Lands - 3,025,780 acres 
Homesteads commuted for cash - 2,634,240 acres 

Rails Then and Now in Nebraska




A mournful whistle, a loud thump ... more than a thump ... a boom, a crash.  My sleep is interrupted.  Oh yes!  It's coming from the railroad yards as they move trains by computerized remote control.  One train section forcefully hits another to link together, eventually making one long train.

As I try to get back to sleep my thoughts turn to what used to be.  Pretty typical of a genealogist!  The Platte River Valley across the state of Nebraska was the route of wagon wheels and carts, clanking and banging their way along to the west.  Eventually those wheels were replaced by steel wheels of greater magnitude. 

As early as 1836 there was talk about constructing a railroad to connect the eastern United States with the Pacific Ocean.  More so after the explorations in 1842 and 1846, Congress began debating the importance of such a means of transportation.  A railroad was being built across Iowa and entrepreneur Thomas Durant hoped to extend the Mississippi and Missouri Railroad to the Pacific coast.  He sent his engineer, Grenville M. Dodge, to make surveys and collect data.  

The timing was poor as an economic panic hit the nation in 1857.  Then came the Civil War which eliminated any southern route to the Pacific.  It was apparent that any route west would have to go through the Platte Valley which was taking settlers to the west coast.  The government realized if it was to be built, they would have to do the financing.  Promotion companies began vying for the contract.  On 1 July 1862 the Pacific Railroad Act was passed. This provided for a hundred million dollar corporation ... the largest capitalization ever known in the United States. 

The act presented the promoters with a right of way through public lands, 200 feet each side, for the entire distance that the railroad would be built.  They would have free use of building materials from public lands.  Through the act they would received every alternate odd numbered section of public land to the amount of four sections a mile on each side, along with a subsidy of $16,000 a mile on the plains and $32,000-$48,000 a mile through the mountains.  In the process there would be an annulment of Indian titles.  

On 2 December 1863 near the ferry landing on the west bank of the Missouri River at Omaha, ground was broken.  Progress was extremely slow and by the spring of 1866, only 60 miles of rails had been laid.  General Dodge of the Union Army became Chief Engineer of the railroad and saw the project through completion.  By the summer of 1866 the tracks were about midway through Nebraska.  On 6 October 1866 the track crossed the 100th meridian near the present community of Cozad, 247 miles from Omaha.  Shortly after that Dodge went to an area near the confluence of the North and South Platte rivers.  It was the projected site of North Platte and was to be a railroad division point, 291 miles west of Omaha.  

The railroad, known as the Union Pacific Railroad, reached North Platte on 3 December 1866 and that winter progressed westward.  North Platte became the first of the notorious "Hell-on-Wheels" towns, which was an expression credited to Samuel Bowles, editor of the Springfield (Mass.) Republican.

In December of 1866 the area had been prairie and within three weeks there were about 20 buildings, including a brick roundhouse capable of storing 40 engines.  nearby was a frame depot and frame hotel which cost $18,000 to build.  Within a few months there were 15 businesses in North Platte, nine of which served food and/or drink.  North Platte's population soared with construction workers, miners, soldiers, traders, teamsters, prostitudes, adventurers and speculators.  All within six months it grew to 5,000 people.  Wide open living ... gambling, shooting, drinking ... no laws against it! 

By 1870 the route was advertised in newspapers as the Union Pacific All Rail Route to California and the Pacific Coast.  The journey of 1,800 miles was made in record time.  Each train had sleeping cars and a Pullman's Palace.  Some of the passenger lists for those early years have survived.  It is exciting to read the names.  In July of 1871 Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton traveled together from New York to the west coast.  Also passing through North Platte were artists, actors, actresses and lecturers, going to San Francisco.  Early balloonists, Professor Coe and Mr. Lay, made their way to California on the Union Pacific Railroad in January of 1873.  Professor Coe made balloon observations over Confederate camps during the Civil War.  Along with the famous came the not so famous ... carloads of unidentified emigrants.  Railroad travel also allowed people to return to the east as easily as they went west.  

It is so different now.  The Platte River Valley is still here, lined with homes extending far to the west, one of which is mine.  What began as one set of railroad tracks is now known as the Union Pacific Bailey Yard.  It is the world's largest Railroad Classification Yard covering 2,850 acres with 315 miles of tracks.  There are 16 receiving and 18 departing tracks with 3,000 cars sorted daily.  One of the railroad's largest repair facilities is there, large enough to house three football fields.  

You can see all of this in action from the newly built Golden Spike Tower at North Platte.  It is local history in progress by preserving the past and allowing people to view the present and future.  The eight story building has displays, a gift shop and an 8 story enclosed 365 degree view of Bailey Yard.  From there you can envision the lay of the land before the rails and during the early progress.  You can watch the computerized movement of train cars that create the loud crash that I've grown used to hearing.  Occasionally it wakes me at night so I can reflect on the days gone by in the life of the railroad.  

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Researching in Nebraska Courts


The court system in Nebraska consists of a supreme court, district courts and limited jurisdiction courts.  Under the limited jurisdiction courts are found the county, juvenile, municipal and workers' compensation courts.  The court where many records will be found that interest the genealogist is the County Court.  Also of interest to the genealogist is the District Court which is a trial court of general jurisdiction.  

The District Court hears all felony and civil cases involving more than $10,000.  It acts as the appellate court for county courts.  The County Court has limited jurisdiction and handles most misdemeanor cases, ordinance violations and civil cases involving less than $10,000.  There are 93 counties in the state of Nebraska, 21 judicial districts and 48 district court judges.  There is an elected clerk of the district court to handle administrative duties.  There are 57 court judges in the County Court jurisdiction with an appointed clerk to handle the administration.  

Actual county government in Nebraska began when it was a territory in November of 1854.  At that time the boundaries of the first counties were established as Burt, Cass, Pierce (later was named Otoe), Douglas, Dodge, Washington, Richardson and Forney (later was named Nemaha). The last county created in Nebraska was Arthur County in 1913. 

During the territorial period of 1855-1867 there were justice courts (justices of peace), probate courts and district courts.  The actual county justice courts continued to exist until 1970 when they were abolished.  There were also police magistrate courts in the territorial time period. They also continued until about 1972.  

Marriages will usually be found in the County Clerk's office.  Some smaller courthouses maintain land records in the County Clerk's office, but normally they are found in the Register of Deed's office.  Look for naturalization papers in the County Clerk of County Judge's office. Records of divorce, civil and criminal records are found in the Clerk of the District Court offices.  Probate records and guardianships are usually in the office of the County Judge.  

While some courthouses have records from the formation of the county, some may be stored offsite and some may be at the Nebraska State Historical Society in Lincoln, Nebraska. You may discover that some courthouses have computerized indexes of their records, such as probate and marriages.  

A listing of election officials, which is also the county clerk, can be found at the Nebraska Secretary of State web page.  This also includes addresses, both postal and e-mail, plus telephone numbers.  A good web page to check for what is available in public records online is the Nebraska Free Public Records Directory.  Read more about Nebraska's judicial system at Nebraska Judicial Branch

When doing your Nebraska research also investigate city or municipal level records.  Some of these include burial permits, cemetery records, council or committee records and police records. 

Be prepared for your Nebraska courthouse research by knowing in what jurisdiction you'll find the records! 

Monday, April 6, 2009

West Nebraska Family Research & History Center



Sometimes genealogists think that only public libraries have genealogy materials.  Quite the contrary!  A good example of this is the West Nebraska Family Research & History Center located at 1602 Avenue A, Scottsbluff, NE 69361.  

There is no charge to use the facility which is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and by appointment on Sundays.  The center encourages and promotes research, offers educational programs and workshops.  

They have three workstations with microfilm readers and a microfiche reader, computer with high speed Internet access, photocopy machine and scanner.  Their reading room has open bookshelves with books, newsletters, old phone books, magazines, indexes, city directories, maps, gazetteers, family files and a lot more.

When I visited the center, I was impressed with the materials that pertain to the panhandle of Nebraska with emphasis on Scotts Bluff County.  It was worth the visit and time spent there browsing through their collection. 

For more information, call them at 308-635-2400 or visit their web page.  If you are attending the Nebraska State Genealogical Society conference April 30th-May 2nd, be sure to check if they are open then stop by for a look at their collection.  

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

April Genealogy Events in Nebraska


April is the month genealogists come out of their cocoon.  While winter doesn't seem to be completely over here in Nebraska, it still a good time to plan on attending one or more of the great events being held in April right here in our state.  

April 2nd and April 9th (Thursdays) - Classes at the Family History Center, 3000 Old Cheney Road in Lincoln, Nebraska.  Each class begins at 7 pm and will be free, but pre-registration is requested. April 2nd - "Correspondence" ... learn how to network to research your family history 
April 9th - "Using Multimedia In Your Family History Research" ... Internet resources, saving documents and photos and sharing them 
To register, call 402-423-4561 or e-mail Tina Wells, FHC Director at tmwells@radiks.net.

April 4th (Saturday) - Grand Opening of the new location for the Southwest Nebraska Genealogical Society (SWNGS), 1 p.m.  The society and their library and computers are now located in the Merit Building, Suite M3 in downtown McCook, Nebraska.  It is on C Street between West 1st and Norris Avenue; parking lot within walking distance.  Patrons should enter on the north side of the building on C Street and take the elevator to the M level suites.  

April 18th (Saturday) - Genealogy Seminar at Mid-Plains Community College, South Campus on State Farm Road in North Platte, Nebraska; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., presented by Ruby Coleman.  
9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.  "Dot to Dot ... Effective Research" (evaluating research needs; class participation in solving research problems)  
1 p.m. to 4 p.m.  "Tracing Ancestors Through Migrations" (study of migrations and learning where to locate your ancestors) 
More information 308-534-1940 or rcoleman@inebraska.com 
Pre-registration is recommended  308-535-3600 (ask for Tom Gorman's office)   

April 25th (Saturday) - Spring Workshop presented by the Greater Omaha Genealogical Society; doors open at 8:15 a.m. and workshop is from 9 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. - Nebraska Methodist College, 720 N. 87th Street, Omaha, Nebraska 
Featuring Roger P. Minert, professor at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.  His topics will be Civil Records in Germany; Communicating With Agencies and Individuals in Europe; Church Records in Germany; Avoiding "Self-Defeating Behaviors" in German Family History. Download a flyer for this workshop at their web page.  

April 30th, May 1st and May 2nd - Scottsbluff Nebraska -- annual Nebraska State Genealogical Society Conference - featured speaker Julie Miller, C.G.  Her topics are The 5 Steps of a Genealogical Proof; Lost in Translation:  How to Cite Genealogy Sources; Chasing the Link:  Passenger Arrival Lists; Firing up the Next Generation of Genealogists!; When Grandpa Went Off to War:  U.S. Military Records.  Events will be held at the Harms Advanced Technology Center, 2620 College Park in Scottsbluff.  Download a brochure at the state web page.  

Hope to see some of you at these great events!  

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Trails Across Nebraska

The Great Migration across the middle of the continent primarily began in 1841.  Earlier than that  steamboats brought people on the Missouri River to the eastern part of the territory of Nebraska.  During a twenty year period of time, approximately 40 to 50 steamboats plied the waters of the Missouri River.  The Platte River served as a natural corridor for migration and eventually provided a vital link from ocean to ocean.  The primary trails in Nebraska included: 

South Pass Trail- key to the Continental Divide and then on to the west coast; the Platte River provided a natural link to the South Pass in what is now Colorado 

Oregon Trail -  a famous trail that followed the Little Blue and Platte River Valleys with eastern connecting points along the Missouri River at Bellevue, Nebraska City and actually further south at St. Joseph and Westport Landing in Missouri

Mormon Trail - originally used by fleeing Mormons who camped at Florence in what is now Omaha, also known as Winter Quarters 

California Trail or California Road - used by gold seekers; also known as the Independence Road; followed the Oregon Trail until it reached the area near Fort Hall and then dipped southward to Sutter's Fort in California 

Overland Stage Trail - alternative route designed in 1858; provided a link from the Platte River to the Green River area; a more direct route than the original route along the North Platte River; went up the Lodgepole to Cheyenne Pass; became the route taken by the Union Pacific Railroad 

The two most famous trails in Nebraska were the Oregon Trail and Mormon Trail. Traditionally the Oregon Trail followed the south side of the Platte River.  The Mormon Trail was on the north side of the Platte River, then following the North Platte River westward. However, in my years of research of early pioneers using both of these trails, this was not always true.  In some cases diaries reveal that pioneers to Oregon were also on the north side of the river and in a few cases Mormons were traveling on the south side toward Utah.   In some years the river changed course and in some cases flooded, so the routes would be diverted.  

I live between the rivers, a short distance north of the South Platte River.  Further north along the North Platte River would be the route of the Mormon trail.  The magnitude of people traveling through here is incomprehensible.  This all took place to make Nebraska a great state. I hope you enjoy the YouTube video, "This is Nebraska."  It is one of my favorites.  


Monday, March 23, 2009

Nebraska State Genealogical Society


In 1978 some avid genealogists organized the Nebraska State Genealogical Society.  It has been going strong since and is a source of help and support for people doing research in Nebraska.  

Membership in the society runs from June 1st to May 31st of the following year.  Members receive a subscription to the quarterly magazine, Nebraska Ancestree and to the quarterly newsletter, NewBrassKey.  They can also borrow microfilm and books from the state society's collection.  For more information about the types of memberships, fees and also the advantages of becoming a member, go to the Nebraska State Genealogical Society web page.  

The society has a Family Recognition program.  A First Family certificate is available to those who have an ancestor settling in Nebraska by 1867.  The Pioneer Family certificate is available for those who prove lineage to an ancestor settling here between 1868 and 1879.  The Century Family certificate is for those who settled 100 years prior to the application.  Samples of these are on the society's web page.  

The Members Only area of their web page is being developed.  You can also access their book catalog through the web page.  The annual state conference will be held April 30-May 2, 2009 in Scottsbluff, Nebraska.  You can read about this and sign up by going to the web page. 

Support the state society ... join now and enjoy the fun!  

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Nebraska Beginnings


Of the 50 states, Nebraska is the 16th largest with a total area of 77,359 square miles.  Known as the Cornhusker State, Nebraska's roots are deep in the history and geography of the United States.  In a much earlier time, rivers carved and coursed their way across the area that is now known as Nebraska.  Ancient sand dunes that are now covered with soil and grass, rose up in the north central portion of the land.  Drainage through the sand created an aquifer stretching for hundreds of miles north and south.  These formations of land would be instrumental in the settlement and creation of a territory and state that would be called NEBRASKA.  

This land was purchased by the United States government 1803 through the Louisiana Purchase.  Within a few years exploration began.  From those early contacts with the area, Nebraska exemplifies civilization in westward motion as millions of people eventually traveled the natural course of the Platte River Valley.  The human rivers of migration had a geographical indentation on the land and an historical impact for future generations. 

Rivers that were carved across the land provided a system of ladders that would be instrumental in migration, settlement and survival in the new land.  They all wind their way into the Missouri River, which eventually finds its way to the Mississippi River.  Nebraska's rivers would receive names such as the Platte River, Republican River, Loup Rivers, Niobrara River and Elkhorn River.  Even the smallest of streams and creeks provided the early explorers and settlers with life sustenance.  

The first settlement of any type was in 1810 at Bellevue along the Missouri River.  The first white settlement there was in 1823 with the formation of the actual village.  The first military post was Fort Atkinson, established by the U.S. Army in 1819.  We will discuss Nebraska's military posts in another blog.  When Major Stephen H. Long followed the Platte and South Platte Rivers in 1819 he declared that the region was unfit for agriculture.  It was detailed on his maps as being the "Great Desert."  It was generally felt that if trees did not grow in soil, nothing else would grow ... and the area was significantly treeless!

In 1842 John Charles Fremont explored the area and stated, "Indians and buffalo made the poetry and life of the prairie, and our camp was full of their exhilaration."  The word Nebraska first began to appear in publication in 1842.  He referred to the Nebraska River which was a name the Otoe Indians gave the Platte River, meaning "flat water."  

The area became known as Nebraska Territory in 1854 and encompassed land now known as Colorado, North Dakota, South Dakota and Idaho.  Until then, the government refused to allow white settlers into the area.  When people did begin to enter Nebraska to stay, they did not venture far from the the Missouri River in the eastern portion of the territory. 

And so ... now you know some of the early origins of Nebraska.  

Friday, March 20, 2009

Welcome to Nebraska Roots and Ramblings


NEBRASKA became a state on 1 March 1867.  It is a grand state which people explored and passed through on their way to the west coast.  Fortunately, some found their way back and others took advantage of the Homestead Act of 1862 and 1866 to obtain land in Nebraska.  

There are many Nebraska resources available for researchers.  This blog will be devoted to research and resources in Nebraska.  There will be information pertaining to genealogical events in the state and a lot of helpful hints and tips for doing research.  Occasionally a post will pertain to a Nebraska library that has a genealogical collection.  

Stay tuned for more on Nebraska ... home of many genealogists and home of the Big Red Huskers!!