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.