Towards the end of the 17th century French fur traders came to Nebraska for the first time. Eastern Nebraska was part of the 1803 Louisiana Purchase. It was explored from 1804 to 1806 by Lewis and Clark. Then, from 1812 to 1813, the Oregon Trail was blazed across the region by Robert Stuart. However, it wasn’t until 1823 that the first permanent settlement was created by white settlers at Bellevue.
In 1848, after the Mexican War, a treaty was signed giving the western part of Nebraska to the United States. In 1865, Omaha became the site of the Union Pacific’s transcontinental railroad project. As of 1937, Nebraska was the only state that , had a one-house legislature. It’s members were and still are elected without any division of parties.
Getting Started with Nebraska Genealogy and Family Trees
A Guide to Searching for Nebraska Genealogy Information – Nebraska is right in the center of the country, and this position is what allowed so many people migrating around the country to pass through, and even to settle down. This is a state with an interesting history, and one in which genealogists can find a lot of strong material. We will look briefly at the ways to best seek out information for Nebraska genealogy projects, and identify some of the best resources in the state.
A Basic Approach for Nebraska Genealogy Research – Let’s start with the basics – where to search for Nebraska genealogy materials. The most common approach is to use the computer to find out where archives and information have been “digitized” and made available online. Many museums, libraries, and organizations have gone to great lengths to make materials available, and it is essential that someone beginning a search for Nebraska genealogy information take the time to learn which of the resources can be found right from home.
When you take the time to identify the information at hand, you save time and energy that might have been wasted on a trip to an archive. When the material does require a visit to a resource, the computer can still help to ensure that the materials you need for Nebraska genealogy are actually at the site in question.
Identifying which of your materials for Nebraska genealogy are available online, and which demand a trip to a library or archive must be seen as the essential step in beginning the search for Nebraska genealogy data.
General Records for Nebraska Genealogy Data – You will see that public records are the most commonly and widely available. These are often online or at least listed in the site’s collections. You can often find all of the records under specific headings that include:
- Local Records – traditionally, a state research project begins with a visit to a county clerk’s office or website. Then you will probably need to visit local genealogical societies, small local libraries, historical societies, and school or college libraries for Nebraska genealogy information. These are items that are usually offline and viewable by appointment or special arrangement.
- Vital Records – these describe the birth, marriage, divorce and death records from county, state, and national archives. They can also include immigration and naturalization details, cemetery or obituary information, census records, newspaper items, military records, and passenger lists and records as well. These tend to be available as online or offline resources for Nebraska genealogy.
- State Records – this group includes probate information, private manuscripts, surname lists, newspapers, state census information, marriage details, military or veterans information, land records, maps, estate information, genealogical folders, death records, deeds, birth certificates, cemetery information and more. These are available as online and offline resources for Nebraska genealogy.
The Primary Sources for Nebraska Genealogy Information and Materials – The following sources will direct you to the information needed for Nebraska genealogy research:
- Vital Records, 1033 O Street, Suite 130, P.O. Box 95065, Lincoln, NE 68509-5065 ; Website: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/w2w/nebraska.htm
This is where you may order birth, death, marriage and divorce records via a written request or even through an online form.
Additional state and local records can be found at the Nebraska State Historical Society, 1500 “R” Street, P.O. Box 82554, Lincoln, Nebraska 68501; Telephone: 402-471-4751;
Website: http://www.nebraskahistory.org/lib-arch/index.shtml. A large number of collections, including digital archives, make this a top-notch resource for anyone searching for Nebraska genealogy information. There are government records, photographs, manuscripts, and even sound recordings.
Also, consider using the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Resources Genealogy page at http://www.hhs.state.ne.us/ced/genealog.htm.
Finally, these websites give researchers a tremendous amount of state-specific details for those in search for Nebraska genealogy data.
- Nebraska Genealogy Network (facebook.com)
- Encyclopedia of Nebraska (nebraskapedia.com)
- The Nebraska Family Group Sheet Project (fgs-project.com)
- USGenweb – Nebraska Genealogy (usgennet.org)
- Free GenForum Message Boards – Nebraska (genforum.genealogy.com)
- Free Rootsweb Message Boards – Nebraska (boards.ancestry.com)
- Cyndis List Nebraska Links (cyndislist.com)
- Nebraska Mailing List (rootsweb.ancestry.com)
- Nebraska American History and Genealogy Project (usgennet.org)
- Nebraska (wikipedia.org)
- Nebraska Genealogy Look Ups (geneasearch.com)
- USGenWeb Archives Project for Nebraska (usgwarchives.net)
Nebraska Ethnic Group Research
Four Nebraska Native American tribes have present-day tribal offices. Those are the Ponca, Santee Sioux, Winnebago, and Omaha. The State of Nebraska Commission on Indian Affairs serves as a liaison for each reservation between the state government and the tribal governments. Agencies and reservations in other locations serve tribes that live in locations where Nebraska borders other states.
Several Nebraska tribe records were maintained by the federal government. Records may include enrollments, census records, and school records. The NARA in Kansas City and the National Archives in Washington D.C. hold most of those records. Some can also be found in Fort Worth and in the Denver NARA, as well as at the FHL.
Some of the Native Americans in Nebraska were moved twice before they settled there. That includes the Santee Sioux. Records for those tribes may be located at other state agencies.
The Nebraska State Historical Society and the University of Nebraska’s Love Library hold Czech records and bibliographical materials. However, the Love Library has a policy against responding to genealogical questions and assisting in searches. So, individuals must search for the records themselves. The American Historical Society of Germans from Russia and the Nebraska State Historical Society each have copies of a specific census that was taken of Germans from Russia who lived in Lincoln, Nebraska in 1913 and 1914.
- Nebraska Native American Books (amazon.com)