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!