Historical Facts of Nebraska Counties

Nebraska Court records include a wide variety of genealogy topics that can guide you with your research, such as land ownership, courts, taxes, and naturalizations. Given that Nebraska court records cover a wide range of topics, they can help you in many different ways. For instance, they could allow you to identify ancestors’ residences, identify occupations, locate financial information, confirm citizenship status, or clarify relationships between people. It all will depend on on what kind of court records that your ancestors” names can be found in. For Definitions of all court terms see the Genealogy Encyclopedia.

Nebraska County records differ widely from county to county in either quality as well as quantity. Some are already very carefully preserved while some have been significantly abused and overlooked. Some Nebraska records have merely disappeared. For genealogists carrying out research in Nebraska there is no effective replace to have an on-site research of county court house records.

Nebraska Counties

Nebraska is divided into 93 counties. Nebraska County records change extensively from county to county in both quality and quantity. You will find several forms of court records that are in all likelihood to possess information essential in your genealogical research. Nebraska State Government is located in Lincoln.

Nebraska Counties

The Genealogical Society of Utah and the Nebraska State Historical Society have a partnership, which they use to microfilm Nebraska county records. The microfilming of county marriage records have been completed. Deed records and naturalization records are now being microfilmed as well. The FHL and the Nebraska State Historical Society have the completed microfilms on file. Research Guides for Genealogical Data for most of the counties in the state have also been published by the Nebraska State Genealogical Society. New guides are expected to be published on an ongoing basis.

The website for the state of Nebraska has links to each county’s governmental offices. The county clerk’s office holds many genealogically useful records, including delayed birth registrations, county commissioners’ minutes, and notary records. Researchers may also find other records in those offices, including school registers, physician’s registers, marks and brands, voter registrations, military discharge papers, estray notices, and ranch and farm names. The Nebraska State Historical Society also has a few county commissioners’ minutes on file. The county clerk’s office holds marriage records, while the register of deeds holds deeds and land records. The county court clerk’s office holds probate records, as well as civil court records.

The links in the table below link to county and city government offices and is limited to government-maintained websites. If you know of a Nebraska county that has an official government web site but is not linked, or if the link is in error, please contact us so we may edit our database.

County Date Formed Parent County County Seat
Adams February 16, 1867 Unorganized area of the Nebraska Territory Hastings
Antelope March 01, 1871 Unorganized area of the Nebraska Territory Neligh
Arthur March 31, 1887 (1913) Unorganized area of the Nebraska Territory Arthur
Banner 1888 Formed from Cheyenne County Harrisburg
Blaine March 05, 1885 Unorganized land Brewster
Boone March 01, 1871 Unorganized land Albion
Box Butte March 23, 1887 Formed from Dawes County Alliance
Boyd March 20, 1891 Holt County, and Unorganized area of the Nebraska Territory (Indian Territory) Butte
Brown February 19, 1883 Unorganized area of the Nebraska Territory Ainsworth
Buffalo March 14, 1855 Unorganized area of the Nebraska Territory Kearney
Burt November 23, 1854 One of Nine Original Counties Tekamah
Butler January 26, 1856 Formed from Greene County David City
Cass November 23, 1854 One of Nine Original Counties Plattsmouth
Cedar February 12, 1857 Formed from Dixon County and Pierce County Hartington
Chase February 27, 1873 Unorganized area of the Nebraska Territory Imperial
Cherry February 23, 1883 Unorganized area of the Nebraska Territory Valentine
Cheyenne June 22, 1867 Unorganized area of the Nebraska Territory Sidney
Clay March 07, 1855 Formed from Unorganized area of the Nebraska Territory Clay Center
Colfax February 15, 1869 Formed from Platte County Schuyler
Cuming March 16, 1855 Formed from Burt County West Point
Custer February 17, 1877 Unorganized area of the Nebraska Territory Broken Bow
Dakota March 07, 1855 Formed from Burt County Dakota City
Dawes February 19, 1885 Formed from Sioux County Chadron
Dawson January 11, 1860 Unorganized area of the Nebraska Territory Lexington
Deuel November 06, 1888 Formed from Cheyenne County Chappell
Dixon January 26, 1856 Formed from Blackbird County, Izard County and Unorganized area of the Nebraska Territory Ponca
Dodge November 23, 1854 One of Nine Original Counties Fremont
Douglas November 23, 1854 One of Nine Original Counties Omaha
Dundy February 27, 1873 Unorganized area of the Nebraska Territory Benkelman
Fillmore January 26, 1856 (1871) Formed from Jackson County and Unorganized area of the Nebraska Territory Geneva
Franklin February 16, 1867 Formed from Kearney County Franklin
Frontier January 17, 1872 Unorganized area of the Nebraska Territory Stockville
Furnas February 27, 1873 Unorganized area of the Nebraska Territory Beaver City
Gage March 16, 1855 Unorganized area of the Nebraska Territory Beatrice
Garden November 02, 1909 Formed from Deuel County Oshkosh
Garfield November 08, 1884 Formed from Wheeler County Burwell
Gosper November 26, 1873 Unorganized area of the Nebraska Territory Elwood
Grant March 31, 1887 Unorganized area of the Nebraska Territory Hyannis
Greeley March 01, 1871 Unorganized area of the Nebraska Territory Greeley
Hall November 04, 1858 Unorganized area of the Nebraska Territory Grand Island
Hamilton February 16, 1867 Unorganized area of the Nebraska Territory Aurora
Harlan March 01, 1871 Formed from Kearney County Alma
Hayes February 19, 1877 Unorganized area of the Nebraska Territory Hayes Center
Hitchcock February 27, 1873 Unorganized area of the Nebraska Territory Trenton
Holt January 13, 1860; renamed January 09, 1862 Unorganized area of the Nebraska Territory (Formerly- West County) O’Neill
Hooker March 29, 1889 Unorganized area of the Nebraska Territory Mullen
Howard March 1, 1871 Formed from Hall County Saint Paul
Jefferson March 02, 1855 Unorganized area of the Nebraska Territory Fairbury
Johnson March 06, 1855 Formed from Nemaha County and Otoe County Tecumseh
Kearney January 10, 1860 Unorganized area of the Nebraska Territory Minden
Keith February 27, 1873 Unorganized area of the Nebraska Territory Ogallala
Keya Paha November 04, 1884 Formed from Brown County and Unorganized area of the Nebraska Territory (Indian Territory) Springview
Kimball November 06, 1888 Formed from Cheyenne County Kimball
Knox February 10, 1857; renamed February 18, 1867; renamed February 21, 1873 Formed from Pierce County and Unorganized area of the Nebraska Territory (Formal names-L’Eau Qui Court (1857-1867) and Emmet (1867-1873)) Center
Lancaster March 06, 1855 Formed from Cass County and Pierce County Lincoln
Lincoln January 7, 1860; renamed December 11, 1861 Unorganized area of the Nebraska Territory (Formerly Shorter County) North Platte
Logan February 24, 1885 Unorganized area of the Nebraska Territory Stapleton
Loup March 06, 1855 Unorganized area of the Nebraska Territory Taylor
Madison January 26, 1856 Formed from Loup County and McNeale County and Unorganized area of the Nebraska Territory Madison
McPherson March 31, 1887 Unorganized area of the Nebraska Territory Tryon
Merrick November 04, 1858 Formed from Polk County and Unorganized area of the Nebraska Territory Central City
Morrill November 03, 1908 Formed from Cheyenne County Bridgeport
Nance February 13, 1879 Formed from Pawnee Reservation Fullerton
Nemaha November 23, 1854; renamed January 26, 1856 One of Nine original counties (Formerly Forney) Auburn
Nuckolls January 13, 1860 Unorganized area of the Nebraska Territory Nelson
Otoe November 23, 1854 One of nine Original Counties (Formerly Pierce) Nebraska City
Pawnee March 06, 1855 Formed from Richardson County Pawnee City
Perkins November 08, 1887 Formed from Kieth County Grant
Phelps February 11, 1873 Formed from Kearney County Holdrege
Pierce January 26, 1856 Formed from Izard County, McNeale County and Unorganized area of the Nebraska Territory Pierce
Platte January 26, 1856 Formed from Greene County and Loup County Columbus
Polk January 26, 1856 Formed from York County and Unorganized area of the Nebraska Territory Osceola
Red Willow February 27, 1873 Unorganized area of the Nebraska Territory McCook
Richardson November 23, 1854 One of Nine Original Counties Falls City
Rock May 23, 1857 Formed from Brown County Bassett
Saline March 06, 1855 Unorganized area of the Nebraska Territory Wilber
Sarpy February 07, 1857 Formed from Cass County and Douglas County Papillion
Saunders January 26, 1865 Formed from Douglas County and Lancaster County (Formerly Calhoun County (1856-1865)) Wahoo
Scotts Bluff November 06, 1881 Formed from Cheyenne County Gering
Seward March 6, 1855; renamed January 03, 1862 Formed from Cass County and Pierce County (Formerly- Greene County) Seward
Sheridan July 01, 1885 Formed from Sioux County Rushville
Sherman March 01, 1871 Formed from Buffalo County and Unorganized area of the Nebraska Territory Loup City
Sioux February 19, 1877 Unorganized area of the Nebraska Territory Harrison
Stanton March 06, 1855; renamed 1862 Formed from Burt County (Formerly Izard County) Stanton
Thayer January 26, 1856 Formed from Jefferson County Hebron
Thomas March 31, 1887 Unorganized area of the Nebraska Territory Thedford
Thurston March 28, 1889 Formed form Blackbird County and Omaha Reservation Pender
Valley March 01, 1871 Unorganized area of the Nebraska Territory Ord
Washington November 23, 1854 One of Nine Original Counties Blair
Wayne March 04, 1871 Unorganized area of the Nebraska Territory Wayne
Webster February 16, 1867 Unorganized area of the Nebraska Territory Red Cloud
Wheeler February 17, 1877 Unorganized area of the Nebraska Territory Bartlett
York March 13, 1855 Formed from Cass County, Pierce County and Unorganized area of the Nebraska Territory York


Interactive Map of Nebraska Counties Formation

(Nebraska maps made with the use AniMap Plus 3.0 & with the Permission of the Goldbug Company)

Nebraska Extinct Counties

Nebraska contains counties that no longer exist. They were established by the state, provincial, or territorial governing administration. A lot of these counties were established and disbanded during the 19th century; county boundaries have changed very little since Nineteen hundred in the great number of states. These counties needs to be investigated when doing genealogy and family tree research. Pay close attention where the courthouse records went to if the county was eliminated or consolidated with another county.

  • Blackbird County was created on March 16, 1855 from Nebraska Territory. It was abolished in 1889, area formed as Thurston in 1889.
  • Calhoun County was created on March 14, 1856 from Lancaster County. It was renamed to Saunders County in 1862.
  • Emmet County was created on 18 Feb 1867renamed from L’Eau Qui Courtrenamed Knox 1873
  • Forney County was created on March 23, 1854 from Nebraska Territory. it was renamed to Nemaha County in 1856.
  • Jackson County was created March 16, 1855 from Jones county. On January 26, 1856 the County lost all territory to the creation of  Filmore County.
  • Jones County was created November 23, 1854 from non-county area. On 16 March 16, 1855 the county lost area to creation of Clay County, Jackson County, Johnston County, Saline County, and York County. The County was eliminated on February 18, 1867 and remaining area merged into Jefferson County.
  • Greene County was created on 1855 from Cass and Pierce Counties. It was renamed to Seward County in 1862.
  • Izard County was created on November 23, 1854 from Nebraska Territory. It was renamed Stanton County in 1862
  • L’Eau Qui Court County was created on 10 Feb 1857 from Nebraska Territory and renamed Emmett County in 1867
  • McNeale County was created on 1855 from Burt County. It was abolished in 1856 and became part of Madison County
  • Old Pierce County was created on November 23, 1854, it was renamed to Otoe County in 1855.
  • Shorter County was created on January 7, 1860Nebraska Territoryrenamed Lincoln 1861
  • West County was created on 13 Jan 1860Nebraska Territoryrenamed Holt 1862

Nebraska Counties with Burned Courthouses

The harm to Nebraska courthouses significantly has a affect on family historians in each and every way. Not only are these historic buildings torn from our lifetimes, so are the files they kept: marriage, wills, probate, land records, and others. Once destroyed they are destroyed permanently. Despite the fact that they have already been put on mircofilm, computers and film burn too. The most heartbreaking side of this is the reason why nearly all of our courthouses are destroyed from arsonist. Though, not all records were destroyed. A number of Nebraska counties have endured a loss of records due to courthouse fires, floods, and theft.

  • Lincoln County Courthouse
  • Thomas County Courthouse
  • Thayer County Courthouse