Monday, December 19, 2011

Merry Christmas

Wishing everybody a very Merry Christmas.  That includes people living in Nebraska and people living anywhere else in the world.  


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

History of Cozad, Nebraska

Along the Platte River, Cozad is a community located in Dawson County, Nebraska.  Because of its location, it is rich in history from the Oregon Trail time period to the building of the Union Pacific Railroad and opening of highways.

An early pioneer merchant, Charles E. Allen, put together a story of Cozad which was eventually published in the 1950s.   Frank M. Johnson, a Cozad native and Lexington attorney, contributed a good deal of work toward the publication.  Their publication on the early history of Cozad is fascinating to read.  The reminiscences are interesting as well as the history, even of various Cozad families.

The Tri-City Printers, Inc. realized the need for an updated history which would take the history from 1960 to the present.  Along with the Cozad Centennial Committee and other civic officials, the book, Early and Modern History of Cozad Community, has been published.  White pages designate the original book and blue pages represent the updated history.  While the book is not indexed, it contains valuable information about Cozad and its people and businesses.

The book sells for $4.00 and is available from the Tri-City Tribune, PO Box 6, Cozad, NE 69130, phone 308-784-3644.  The Tri-City Trib web page has information under "Contact" for contacting the newspaper by e-mail.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

A Great One Passes

Bridgett A. Schneider  1946-2011
Many genealogists take what is on Internet for granted.  When something is gone on Internet we moan and groan and do not realize what happens behind the scenes.  For the most part, we don't even know the administrator of the web site.  They are human beings like us, only perhaps more dedicated in making genealogical information available to the public.

Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness' (RAOGK) administrator, Bridgett A. Schneider passed away on 12 November 2011 at the age of 64.  I doubt that many of you knew that Bridgett was from Lincoln, Nebraska.  She leaves a husband, children, grandchildren and thousands of genealogical friends.  Click here for an obituary for Bridgett.

When RAOGK went down less than a month ago, Bridgett announced that they were having computer problems and she was having health issues.  Her husband, Dale, promised her that he would get RAOGK back up and maintain it.  I hope he keeps his promise to Bridgett and also to the world of genealogists.

RIP, Bridgett ... you have been an inspiration to all of us, as well as being a dedicated genealogist.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Cemetery Directory

Have you ever driven to a cemetery to find a grave only to discover the cemetery is huge, nobody is "at home" in the office and you have no clue where to start looking?  Many larger cemeteries have directories of some sort that assist in locating graves.

The North Platte Cemetery (North Platte, NE) is located on West Rodeo Road which is also Highway 30.  It is on 30 developed acres, with an additional 15 acres undeveloped for future needs.  The original cemetery in the 1860s was located at Fourth and Locust Streets which is now in-town.  The North Platte Cemetery Association was established on 13 December 1872.  They purchased five acres of land at $20 per acre for a new cemetery.  About six months later the land was divided into lots and offered for $10 each.  In 1884 Mrs. William F. Cody (Buffalo Bill) sold an additional 10 acres of land to the association, making a total of 15 acres.

Through the years the cemetery has developed and enlarged in size, making it almost impossible to locate a grave without some assistance or map.  The North Platte Genealogical Society has established a Electronic Directory Fund at Mid-Nebraska Community Foundation in North Platte.  The intent is to raise $25,000 for the directory, plus more for maintenance.  Because of the 501(c) (3) status of the foundation, donors will be able to make contributions that are tax deductible.  They are hoping that people consider the fund for a memorial designation or a donation in memory of a loved one.

The North Platte Genealogical Society has several money making projects for the future and hope that people will respond to the need for the directory.  With no deadline established for fund raising, it is hoped that soon there will be an electronic directory at the cemetery.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Canteen Memories

Seventy years ago and for six more years, over six million servicemen and women traveled through Nebraska by train on their way to camps and bases or for deployment.  Some returned from World War II and others did not.  As the trains pulled into North Platte, Nebraska, they were met by volunteers who had made sandwiches, cookies, cakes and coffee for them.  Some were given birthday cakes or apples and words of encouragement and support.  Those who returned from the war would always remember North Platte, Nebraska.  Through the years stories have been told, reunions held and books written about the North Platte Canteen.

North Platte and surrounding communities were caught up in the canteen spirit.  Donations were accepted, baking was non-stop and volunteers cheerfully showed up to meet the trains.  Young girls were known to have flirted with soldiers and established a correspondence that endured throughout the war.  It was a time when tensions ran high, but spirits were higher.

During North Platte's annual Rail Fest this month, there will be events celebrating the Canteen.  The annual Rail Fest celebrates the bond between North Platte and the Union Pacific Railroad, with a celebration being held September 16, 17 and 18, 2011.  A film "Canteen Spirit" will be presented in the North Platte Community Playhouse at the Neville Center for the Performing Arts in downtown North Platte.  There will also be a panel discussion with former canteen volunteers and soldiers, along with an authentic Canteen meal.  This event will be on Friday, September 16th at 1 pm and 4 pm, Saturday, September 17th at 4 pm and Sunday, September 18th at 2 p.m.  Contact phone numbers are 308-532-8559 or 308-530-2233.

Canteen Memories is the title of this year's cemetery tour that is hosted by the North Platte Public Library Foundation.  Tribute will be paid to the World War II soldiers and the women who volunteered to help with the Canteen effort.  As people walk through the North Platte Cemetery they will find local actors and actresses portraying a soldier buried in the cemetery, as well as people involved in the Canteen effort.  The tours begin at the cemetery on Rodeo Road on Friday, September 16th from 4 pm to 8 pm.  Saturday, September 17th, tours will be held at the cemetery from 1 pm to 5 pm.  On Tuesday, September 20th, there will be a non-walking presentation at the North Platte Community College Theater, South Campus.  It begins at 7 pm that evening.  Advance tour tickets are $10 at the North Platte Public Library, 120 West 4th,  or $15 at the door or gate of the cemetery.

This is a time to rekindle the spirit of the Canteen by participating in Rail Fest activities.  When finished with the presentations, I encourage you to visit the Lincoln County Historical Museum located at 2403 N. Buffalo Bill Ave. in North Platte.  They have an extensive collection memorabilia from the World War II Canteen.  Just for the record ... over six and half million servicemen and women were served during the Canteen era.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Using Nebraska Mailing Lists

Mailing lists were one of the first forms of mass communication and sharing for genealogists.  By joining a mailing list somebody might find your information, be able to help you locate information and have ideas for your research.  Today they seem to have taken a backseat to other phases of Internet.  Mailings lists are still a viable way to share, search and locate ancestral information.  It may take months or years before somebody sees your archived post to a mailing list, but it is worth the wait.

A link to Nebraska mailing lists hosted by RootsWeb can be found at Nebraska Mailing Lists.  Some of the available lists are by county and others by topic.  Some of the topics include Cemeteries, Lookups, Czechs, Freedmen, Old News, Roll Call Nebraska, Gen-Societies, Vintage Photos, NE Roots, West NE, and Ghosttowns.  A list and description of Nebraska mailing lists is also at Genealogy Resources on Internet.  Many of the Nebraska USGenWeb pages have county links to mailing lists.

When you decide upon one or more Nebraska mailing list of interest, consider if you want to subscribe by having single e-mails sent or if you want them grouped together in digest format.  You can always change your mind later.  Some mailing lists have a lot of activity and others do not.  You may be the first person to join and post to since 2008!  Once you have joined a mailing list, you can wait for the emails to arrive or you can immediately start your own thread and send a message to the subscribers.

From the link you used to join, there are options under each mailing list.  You can search the archives from the list or browse them.  To get a better idea of the list activity, date of last post and context of the posts, click on browse.  By doing this before subscribing to the mailing list, you will have a better idea of the activity of the mailing list.  If you have a specific interest, search the archives for names, locations or topics.  Later if you don't want to be subscribed to the mailing list, go back to where you joined and follow the instructions for unsubscribing.

Let the fun begin ... start browsing, searching and subscribing!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Nebraska Ghost Towns

Ghost towns are described as towns that used to be populated and are now extinct or abandoned.  Maybe the ghosts prowl them at night, but I've never seen one!  Nebraska has its share of ghost towns.  If your ancestors lived in these towns or villages, you might be interested in learning more about them.

My father used to point out a community known as Charleston in York County.   It was located southwest of York, Nebraska and north of Luston.  There isn't anything to remind people of what it looked like, but my father remembered it when he was a boy.

In Greeley County was Belfast, located northwest about ten miles from the town of Greeley.  You can still see a foundation of the grain elevator, abandoned farm house and equipment.  When the railroad pulled out in 1937, the town folded.

North of Seneca in the sandhills there was a town called Jim Town.  It was located in Cherry County.  There used to be homes there, plus a church and other buildings.  All that is left now is the cemetery.

Ten miles south of Brownville in Nemaha County, in what is now Indian Cave State Park, stood the town of St. Deroin.  It was founded in 1854 by the Indian trader, Joseph Deroin.  In 1861 it even had a post office and was an important steamboat landing place on the Missouri River.  When the railroad missed St. Deroin, it was abandoned in 1920.

In Sheridan County on Highway 2, stand the remains of a once thriving town known as Antioch.  It is about fifteen miles east of Alliance.  Antioch was established to mine potash during World War II.  At one time there were over 2,000 people living there.  As the demand for potash ceased, the town faded.  It is estimated that less then 25 people live there today.

A town called Tate was located in Pawnee County.  It was founded in 1891 and discontinued in 1920.  When the railroad stopped coming through, the town declined.  Two buildings remain ... the old hotel and an old house.

Hecla was more like a whistle stop on the railroad in Grant County.  Its claim to fame is that the largest cattle drive in the sandhills of Nebraska took place there.  The event took 17 hours and several trains to load about 5,000 head of steers.  A few fountains can be spotted where Hecla once stood.

As you are reading census and old records, keep in mind that your ancestors may not have lived in the city, but in a village that is no longer there.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Genealogy Trails - Nebraska

There are a lot of great web pages on Internet.  One of the oldest that genealogists have used for many years is  USGenWeb.  Newer is Genealogy Trails History Group.  It is somewhat similar to USGenWeb's format, by state and county and projects.  

Before moving on to the link for Nebraska, be sure you check out the various general indexes on the home page.  These include military records, Presidents, slavery and African-American data, historical events, historical data, Native American data and miscellaneous data.  

Once you are at the Nebraska Genealogy and History web page in Genealogy Trails, you can click on any of the 93 counties in the state.  Each county has a different webmaster and thus different databases and links.  They can be anything from cemeteries, marriages, census, biographies, obituaries to military records.  

Now go exploring at Genealogy Trails History Group ... have some genealogy fun!  

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Civil War Conference

Celebrate the nation's independence on the 4th of July, then come to Alliance, Nebraska to learn about the Civil War on July 8th and 9th. "Remembering the Civil War" ... 150 years later will consist of 17 presentations over two days. There will be classes, lectures, portrayals and demonstrations.

This great conference will be held at the Knight Museum and Sandhills Center, 908 Yellowstone Ave., Alliance, NE; 308-762-2384; The state of the art museum is great in itself for a self-guided tour, but once we bring the Civil War to it ... the action begins.
You can obtain a full brochure of the conference by contacting

See y'all in Alliance!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Genealogists Can Learn New Tricks

To prove that genealogists can learn new tricks, a great series of summer lectures is being presented by the Family History Expo. It starts off in my home town of North Platte, NE on Thursday, June 16th.

The theme of the Expo is Where Ol' Dogs Learn New Tricks! It is being held at the Holiday Inn Express, 300 Holiday Frontage Rd., North Platte, NE; reservations 888-562-9500. The Expo begins at 4 p.m. and goes until 9:30 p.m.

Speakers at the Expo as very knowledgeable genealogists and will talk on everything from evaluation of documents to basic sources and finding wills and probate records. A complete list of activities can be found on the Family History Expo website. In addition there will be vendors ... and who doesn't love browsing exhibit halls?

The early bird registration has expired, but you still have time to get a discount if you register before June 15th. You can also register at the door for a higher price. People attending will receive a CD of the syllabus.

Hurry on over to the Family History Expo website to learn more and register. Or you can phone in your registration by calling 801-829-3295. See ya' all there!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Hitin' the Trail to Utah

While there is research to be done right here in Nebraska, there is more to be done at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. My sister-in-law and I are leaving for two weeks in the "genealogy city." I will be gone over three weeks.

Shortly after returning home, I will be presenting lectures at the Family History Expo to be held here in North Platte, Nebraska on Thursday, June 16th. This is a great opportunity for genealogists in the area to participate in a top-notch conference.

If you want to keep up with what is happening while we are in Salt Lake City, read the blog You Go Genealogy Girls. Stay turned for more!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Nebraska Book

A year in the planning, my new book, Genealogical Research in Nebraska, has been published by Family Roots Publishing Co. I wrote the book with genealogists in mind ... genealogists with ancestors or relatives who may have settled in Nebraska.

There are many repositories in Nebraska and unique records. The book contains information on the types of records and where to locate them. The following are chapters in the book:

  • Introduction
  • Nebraska Settlement
  • Colonization and Development by Railroad
  • Nebraska Court System and Records
  • Nebraska Vital Records
  • Probate, Guardianships and Adoptions
  • Land Records
  • Naturalization Records
  • Civil and Criminal Court Records
  • County Histories
  • Territorial, Federal and State Censuses
  • Military Records
  • Schools and Records
  • Cemeteries
  • Institutional Records
  • Nebraska Railroads
  • Nebraska Ethnic Groups
  • Religious Records
  • Orphan Trains
  • Cattle Brands
  • Societies, Repositories and Libraries
  • Genealogical Collections in Nebraska Libraries and Repositories
  • Nebraska State Censuses & Substitutes 1854-1976
  • Maps Showing Nebraska County Boundary Changes
  • Nebraska County Records – Alphabetical by county
  • Suggested Internet Web Pages
  • Suggested Reading
  • Notes
Just in time for spring and summer research, the book can be ordered at Family Roots Publishing Co. It will also be available throughout the year at genealogy conferences where Family Roots Publishing Co. is a vendor.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Family History Expo Comes to Nebraska

The Family History Expo is coming to Nebraska to Thursday, June 16th. It will be held at the Holiday Inn Express, 300 Holiday Frontage Rd. in North Platte. Registration begins at 4 p.m. and sessions go until 8:50 p.m.

Because it is also Nebraskaland Days that week in North Platte, room reservations are at a premium. The Holiday Inn Express can be reached toll free at 888-562-9500. Some of the North Platte hotels/motels can also be found online at Nebraska Hotels or call the North Platte Convention and Visitors Bureau at 308-532-4729.

Between now and May 31st you can take advantage of an early bird registration of $45 for the entire event. From May 31st to June 15th online registration is $55 and on the day of the event it is $60 at the door. There will be a dinner at 6:20 with "Ask-the-Pros Panel" costing $20. Attendees will receive a CD syllabus or can purchase a printed one in book format for $25. Register online at the Family History Expo web page.

There will be demonstrations at the event along with several vendors and the awarding of prizes. The following are the speakers and their topics:

Arlene H. Eakle -- Basic Sources: 1775-1815 and Document Your Common Ancestors in Congressional Records
Leland Meitzler - Blogs for Reading, Writing and Research and Flames Over the Courthouse
Billy Edgington - Finding Wills and Probate Records and Military Records
Ruby Coleman - When the Census Taker Came, Grandpa Was in the Outhouse and Motivation, Evaluation, Action
Holly T. Hansen - Charting for Success

From this event, the Family History Expo travels to Rapid City, South Dakota where it will be held on on Saturday, June 18th and then to Sheridan, Wyoming on Tuesday, June 21st. This will culminate at their large two day Expo at Loveland, Colorado on Friday and Saturday June 24th and 25th.

Whether it is one day or two days of genealogical learning, experiences and sharing, the Family History Expo is worth attending. The speakers are friendly and people become one, big happy family of genealogists. I don't know a better way to have summer fun than to attend a Family History Expo!

See ya in North Platte!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Nebraska's Part in the Civil War

It was today, April 12th, 150 years ago, that the first shots were fired on Fort Sumter. The territory known as Nebraska was a long ways from those shots, but yet the creation of the territories of Nebraska and Kansas led to the eventual Civil War. The Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 created the territories for the expansion of the railroad across the continent. In so doing the settlers were allowed to decide whether slavery should be allowed. The struggle between factions in the Kansas Territory was not apparent in the Nebraska Territory. In 1861 slavery was officially prohibited in the Nebraska Territory.

Nebraska men rallied to the cause and fought in the Union Army. Approximately 3,000 served with many giving their lives on the battleground or from disease.

By the summer of 1861 the First Nebraska Volunteer Infantry mustered 1,000 men into service at Omaha. They joined General Grant's campaign in western Tennessee and many were involved in the Battle of Shiloh. The First Nebraska returned to the territory in 1864 and was stationed at Fort Kearny. They provided protection to road ranches and travelers along the Platte Valley.

The Nebraska Battalion, comprised of four companies of Nebraska cavalrymen, joined troops from Missouri, Minnesota and Iowa to form what eventually became known as the 5th Iowa Volunteer Cavalry.

Even though slavery was prohibited in the Nebraska Territory, there were southern sympathizers living there. The population was largely along the Missouri River and close to Kansas and Missouri. Political views were not always in favor of war or the freeing of slaves.

Nebraska was the first to be granted statehood after the Civil War ... on 1 March 1867.

There are many Civil War web sites and the following are recommended for Nebraska genealogical researchers:

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Civil War Conference in Nebraska

Mark your calendars for the "Remembering the Civil War ... 150 Years Later" conference to be held on July 8th and 9th at the Knight Museum and Sandhills Center in Alliance, Nebraska. There are many excellent lectures, along with lunch and programs and demonstrations. In addition there will be vendors.

First Day - July 8th
"The First Nebraska Regiment in the Civil War" - James Potter
"Civil War Research" - Ruby Coleman
"Mary's Sons, the Buchanan Brothers" - lunch program by Cheri Hopkins
"Genealogy and the GAR" - David Wells
"Fight or Flight: Quantrill and the Kansas Raiders" - Jason Hopkins
"Petticoats and Trousers: Women in the Civil War" - Ruby Coleman
"Adopt a Soldier Program" - Becci Thomas
"Quilts and Quilt Makers of the Civil War" - Susan Weber
"The Origins and Legacy of Memorial Day" - Nebraska Humanities Program by David Wells

Second Day - July 9th
"Land for Soldiers ... the Homestead Act" - Ruby Coleman
"Abraham Lincoln: the Emancipator, the Martyr, the Dictator?" - David Wells
"Antique Photos and Cherished Reflections" - Cheri Hopkins
"Recitation of the Gettysburg Address" - lunch program by Wally Seiler
"Quilts and Quilt Makers of the Civil War" - Susan Weber
"Firearms and Accoutrements of the Common Civil War Soldier" - Guy Hielscher
"A Southern Woman in the Civil War" - Maurine Roller - character portrayal
"From Bleeding Kansas to Old Virginny!" - Nebraska Humanities Program by Dr. Daniel Holtz

The speakers share a passion for history and genealogy. James E. Potter is the Senior Research Historian and Associate Editor at the Nebraska State Historical Society. Ruby Coleman (that's me!) is a professional genealogist, instructor, lecturer and free lance writer. Dr. Daniel Holtz is a professor of English at Peru State College. He is First Vice President of the Nebraska State Historical Society Board of Trustees. Jason R. Hopkins is an independent scholar who lives in Topeka, Kansas, studying History, Philosophy and Religious Studies at Washburn University. Susan Weber is a fourth generation quilter and is currently the President of the Nebraska State Quilt Guild. Wally A. Seiler is an independent scholar who is well known for his character performances of Mark Twain. Maurine Roller is a member of the Nebraska Humanities Speakers Bureau, has a master's degree in history and women's history. She does character portrayals. Guy Hielscher is an expert in the field of historical firearms and a student of firearms and their uses. Becci Thomas is the director of the Knight Museum and Sandhills Center in Alliance, Nebraska. Cheri Hopkins is a life long student of history and specializes in photo restoration and designing family remembrance art as well as doing genealogical research.

The deadline for registering for this conference is June 24th. The fee is $45 for both days or $30 for individual days. Pre-registration includes lunch served each day at the museum. If you elect to register at the door, it is $55 for both days or $30 for a single day, with no lunches included. More information can be obtained by contacting the museum at 308-762-2384 or The Knight Museum and Sandhills Center is located at 908 Yellowstone Ave., Alliance, Nebraska.

You won't want to miss this conference. Celebrate the Civil War right here in Nebraska! Be sure to download the brochure.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Historical Maps of Nebraska

The Hall County, Nebraska web site now has historical maps of Nebraska dating 1850-1901. They were scanned from atlases published between those dates. The maps have been retouched. They are colorful and informative!

Maps are online in PDF format in "Low Res" and "High Res." Of course, the "High Res" files are going to take longer to download, but the quality is much better. They can all be saved to your computer for future reference.

Originals maps are in the collections of the Nebraska State Historical Society in Lincoln, NE and the Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer at Grand Island, NE.

By using the maps you will have a good understanding about the early formation dates of the territory and state ... NEBRASKA.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Genealogy in Cuming County, NE

The John A. Stahl Library is located at 330 North Colfax Street in West Point, NE. Genealogists will enjoy the Leila Stahl Buffet Genealogy Center in the library. It was opened in the fall of 1997 and continues to expand and grow. The following are the hours you can use the center:
Monday, Wednesday and Thursday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Tuesday, Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Closed Sunday and holidays

Located in Cuming Co., Nebraska, the genealogy center focuses on that area. They have a computer and microfilm reader. Their microfilm consists of early court records, naturalizations, marriages 1900-1920, school enrollment records and county census 1860 to 1920. The following are newspapers on microfilm:
Bancroft newspaper 1892-1923
Wisner newspaper 1892-1952
West Point newspapers 1871 to present
Beemer newspaper 1886-1922
Nebraska "Volksblatt" newspaper (in German) 1879-1916
In addition they have church records, cemetery records, book and maps in their collection.

The Elkhorn Valley Genealogical Society meets in the library meeting room on the third Monday of the month, September through June (except December) at 7 p.m.

If you are researching in that part of Nebraska, consider a visit to the library or perhaps becoming a member of the society.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Nebraska Cemeteries Online

There are many ways to locate Nebraska cemetery records on the Internet ... everything from Google to the USGenWeb pages to the tombstone project of the Nebraska State Genealogical Society. Here is just a sampling of what you can find on Internet.

Wyuka Cemetery at 3600 O Street in Lincoln was established by an act of the Nebraska Legislature in 1869. The original three acres east of the city is now within the city of Lincoln and no longer a "rural cemetery." The cemetery was patterned after Mount Auburn Cemetery in Boston, Massachusetts. Wyuka Cemetery now encompasses over 140 acres between O Street and north to Vine Street in Lincoln. They have an excellent searchable database for burial records.

Forest Lawn Cemetery at 7909 Mormon Bridge Road in Omaha has a searchable database which is a work in progress. They have almost 90,000 records on file. The Forest Lawn Cemetery Association was organized under the laws of Nebraska on 13 May 1885.

The cemetery at Kearney is located at 4440 Avenue I. They have a searchable database that is easy to access. They also have a detailed map for locating burial sites.

The North Platte Cemetery, located on West Rodeo Road, was established in 1872. Their record database is continually updated.

In Buffalo County, the Ravenna cemeteries of Highland, Mt. Calvary and Highland Park have online databases.

There are more databases of Nebraska cemeteries online. Just start exploring!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Busy Genealogists in Otoe Co., Nebraska

The Otoe County Genealogical Society at Syracuse, Nebraska is busy in the next few months with genealogy meetings and a conference. The county was one of the first established in Nebraska Territory and is home to Arbor Lodge. Members of the society are actively engaged in preserving the heritage of their area and state.

They will host their 10 March 2011 meeting from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Morton-James Public Library, 923 First Corso, Nebraska City. There will be a genealogy workshop in both the media center and genealogy reference room at the library. The themes are "Researching Your Civil War Ancestors" and "Breaking Through Your Genealogy Brick Walls."

The 34th Annual Nebraska State Genealogical Society Conference will be held at the First United Methodist Church, 1023 1st Ave. in Nebraska City. The Otoe County Genealogical Society will host the event which will be held May 6-7, 2011. The main speaker for the event will be Gail Blankenau. She is a genealogist and photo historian and has written for the New England Historical and Genealogical Society Register, The Genealogical Helper and Family Chronicle.

Be sure to mark your calendar for these southeastern Nebraska genealogy events.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Civil War Conference in Nebraska

On April 28-30, 2011, a Civil War conference will be held at Fort Robinson State Park, 3 miles west of Crawford, Nebraska. "The Civil War in the American West" is the eighth Fort Robinson History Conference. It is co-sponsored by the Nebraska State Historical Society and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

The conference will explore ways the Civil War affected the history of Nebraska and the American West. Papers by scholars of the military and political history of the Civil War will be presented. They will also conduct a bus tour taking conferees to the site of Fort Mitchell and Mud Springs Station. The 4th U.S. Artillery Regimental Brass Band will present a concert of Civil War-era music.

Scheduled presenters and their topics include:
Dr. Douglas D. Scott -- "The Battle of Mud Springs, Nebraska, February 1865"
Dr. Richard W. Etulain -- "Abraham Lincoln and the American West"
Dr. Douglas W. Owsley -- "Forensic Investigation of the Civil War Casualties"
Dr. Michele Butts -- "The Galvanized Yankees"
John D. McDermott -- "The 1865 Powder River Expedition"
James E. Potter -- "Horses: The Army's Achilles Heel in the Indian War of 1864-65"
Randy Kane -- "Soldiers at Fort Union"
Dr. Mark Van de Logt -- "The Pawnee Scouts"

To request conference registration information when available e-mail or call 402-471-3272.

Monday, January 31, 2011


There are many people who use the Personal Ancestral File (PAF) software. Even if you do not use PAF, be sure you check out the PAF-LUG blog. That stands for Personal Ancestral File-Lincoln (NE) Users Group. The blog is maintained by Howard Camp.

A couple weeks ago he posted "IGI-Past-Present-Future" to the blog. This is a compilation of links to the Ancestry Insider blog which explains the International Genealogical Index (IGI) and where it went. If you use the IGI, be sure to read these blogs.

There are blogs about better ways to cite genealogy sources and the changes at Camp has been writing the blog since 2004 so be sure you check the archives.

If you are in Lincoln, NE or visiting, visit the Family History Center. It is located in the church building at 3000 Old Cheney Road. The phone is 402-423-4561. Unless the hours have recently changed, they are normally ...
Tuesdays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Wednesday and Thursday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Saturdays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
It is always a good idea to call or e-mail,, ahead to make sure they are open.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Learning about Nebraska

The area now known as Nebraska was acquired by the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. It became a natural corridor for migration to the west, much of which began in about 1841. This corridor followed the Platte River and would eventually link the settlement of the continent from ocean to ocean.

Settlements prior to the Civil War were in the eastern part of the territory, along the Missouri River and close to forts in the territory. The road west was not easy. There were births and deaths to contend with, all of which have led to myths perpetuated in family lore.

Diseases and environmental changes were more detrimental than Indian attacks, particularly in the Nebraska Territory. Cholera followed the Platte River road. The burials were speedy and without tombstones. If anything, there may have been a piece of wood to mark the spot. Very few graves have been located and identified.

Information on the early pioneers can be found in letters, diaries, journals, newspapers, military fort records and territorial census. It is worthwhile to check the National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections (NUCMC). This does not link to the originals, but provides information as to where they are located. A good book to read about Nebraska is The Great Platte River Road by Merrill J. Mattes.

Traffic through Nebraska ran both ways. Many people and families returned through this area, some stayed and left descendants. If you have lost an ancestor who journeyed through here, check out later census and land records for Nebraska to see if they returned.

Trail era research is not impossible ... it's just challenging.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Civil War Veterans Museum

After the Civil War there were more than 100 Grand Army of the Republic Halls in the state of Nebraska. There are only four that remain today. The one in Nebraska City was built in 1894. It has been restored and is now a Civil War Veterans Museum and GAR Memorial Hall.

The museum is located at 910 First Corso, Nebraska City, NE 68410, across from the library. Their phone is 402-873-4018; e-mail

The museum is open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from Arbor Day (last weekend in April) through the end of October. Their hours are noon to 4 p.m. with free admission on Fridays to persons living in the zip code area of 68410.

Members of the Nebraska GAR Posts were from many states. They had served in the Union Army during the War. A detailed account of the History of Nebraska's GAR Posts provides information on the formation of each post, along with dates they closed, when and where they met, the first charter member and the last member.

If your Civil War ancestor died in Nebraska, be sure to check out Burials in Nebraska of Civil War Veterans. The Sesquicentennial of the Civil War beings this year. Make this museum a highlight of your summer travels in Nebraska.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Lue Spencer DAR Library

Years ago when I was beginning my genealogical research, I used the Lue Spencer DAR Library. At that time it was located in the basement of the public library in Alliance, Nebraska. In time it was moved to the Edith Abbott Memorial Library in Grand Island, Nebraska.

The collection does not pertain just to Nebraska. There are numerous books pertaining to other areas, as well as bound collections of excellent periodicals. You will also find the Sprague Collection in the library. Both of these will keep genealogists busy for hours.

Grand Island's library has old city directories, early newspapers, Hall County census records and a city cemetery book which is updated periodically. They have the "Grand Island Daily Independent" on microfilm. There are three microfilm readers available. If you are unable to search in person, a volunteer will copy requests such as obituaries, weddings, birth and death announcements with an exact date. They request postage and copy fees. Available within the library are the online databases, Ancestry Library Edition and Heritage Quest.

Information about the library:
211 North Washington Street

School year hours:
Sunday 1 pm to 5 pm (after Labor Day)
Mon-Thurs 9:30 am to 9 pm
Fri-Sat 9:30 am to 5:00 pm

Summer hours:
Sunday closed
Mon-Thurs 9:30 am to 7:30 pm
Fri-Sat 9:30 am to 5 pm

Add this library to your genealogy research list. It is worth the trip!