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!