Nebraska Church records definitely are a rich resource for the genealogical and historical researcher. In many parts of Nebraska, church records predate civil records. They consequently record vital occasions, supplying birth, marriage, and death information that could in any other case be lost. Furthermore providing names and dates, church records may reveal associations between people and show a family’s standing in the community. In addition, records of a personal nature are not unheard of, and these could offer a peek into an ancestor’s character or habits.
Prior to Nebraska County and city governments gathered vital records, many people recorded significant times, events, and names in their family Bible. Family Bibles are important research resources. Despite the fact that the dates cannot be guaranteed, Family Bibles are a tangible link with past generations.
Many early church records for Nebraska can be found at the manuscript division of the Nebraska State Historical Society. A guide to those holdings, including dates, church names, counties, and communities, can be found on the society’s website. Congregations represented in the collection include: Baptists, Presbyterians , Congregational, Lutherans, Evangelical United Brethren, Methodists, Episcopalians, Society of Friends
Beginning in 1838 the Jesuits came to Nebraska, which led to the Roman Catholic Church gaining a foothold in the area. In 1856 the first church was founded in Omaha. There are now three dioceses in the state, located in Grand Island, Lincoln, and Omaha. Each one can supply parish contact information, and each one has a website, which can be useful to researchers.
The Archdiocese of Omaha covers the counties of: Antelope, Boone, Boyd, Burt, Cedar, Colfax, Cuming, Dakota, Dixon, Dodge, Douglas, Holt, Knox, Madison, Merrick, Nance, Pierce, Platte, Sarpy, Stanton, Thurston, Washington, Wayne
The Diocese of Lincoln covers the counties of: Adams, Butler, Cass, Chase, Clay, Dawson (South) , Devel (South), Dundy, Fillmore, Franklin, Frontier, Furnas, Gage, Gosper, Hall (South), Hamilton, Harlan, Hayes, Hitchcock, Jefferson, Johnson, Kearney, Keith (South), Lancaster, Lincoln (South), Nemaha, Nuckolls, Otoe, Pawnee, Perkins, Phelps, Polk, Red Willow, Richardson, Saline, Saunders, Seward, Thayer, Webster, York
The Diocese of Grand Island covers the counties of: Arthur, Banner, Box Butte, Blaine, Brown, Buffalo, Cherry, Cheyenne, Custer, Dawes, Dawson (North), Devel (North), Garden, Garfield, Grant, Greeley, Hall (North), Hooker, Howard, Keith (North), Keya Paha, Kimball, Lincoln (North), Logan, Loup, McPherson, Morrill, Rock, Scotts Bluff, Sheridan, Sherman, Sioux, Thomas, Valley, Wheeler
The Indian territory was first served by the Episcopal Church from Fort Kearney. In 1856, the first parish was founded in Omaha. The Episcopal Diocese of Nebraska now serves the state. Their website lists information about each parish.
The Lutheran faith was started in Nebraska by immigrants from both Scandinavia and Germany. Today there are two large denominations of Lutherans in the state. They are the Lutheran Church- Missouri Synod and the Evangelical Lutheran Conference of America (ELCA). All of the Nebraska Synod congregation information can be found at the Nebraska Synod of ELCA. All of the congregation information for the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod can be obtained by contacting them. Each congregation has a website, which can be an excellent research guide. Researchers may need to contact both congregations to determine which one is connected to the congregation that their ancestors belonged to.
The Nebraska United Methodist Church Historical Center is the best place to start looking for information about the Evangelical United Brethren Church or the Methodist Church. The Cochrane Woods Library at the Nebraska Wesleyan University is the official archive repository for the Nebraska Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. The FHL holds church registers as well.
There are several Nebraska Presbyterian denominations. However, all Presbyterian records are kept by the Presbyterian Church, USA at the Philadelphia Presbyterian Historical Society. The FHL also holds several Presbyterian congregational registers on microfilm. The Synod of the Rocky Mountains and the Lakes and Prairies Synod serve Nebraska. They each have websites, which list local congregation information, including contact information.
The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or RLDS Church was later renamed the Community of Christ. Both it and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) have presences in Nebraska. The FHL has large collections of documents relating to both congregations on microfilm.
The Nebraska Conference (1878 to 1981) and the institutions under it should be contacted for information on Nebraska Seventh-day Adventists. The Kansas-Nebraska Conference now serves the state.