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.