Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Researching in Nebraska

This morning I walked out to the mail box and paused to listen to the birds chirping and the sandhill cranes cawing in the field west of my house.  This means spring has arrived in Nebraska. 

If your ancestors came from Nebraska, or passed through going elsewhere, the resources are great in this state.  Many travelers drive through the state on I-80 which follows an aged trail formed long before Nebraska became a state.  Following the Platte River route, many explorers, adventurers and pioneers came through this land on their way west.  And many came back through here returning to family and friends in the east. 

Traveling the I-80 route, genealogists will be interested in stopping at libraries and museums that contain records.  These contain extensive records on Nebraska and Nebraskans, but also have other genealogical and historical books and records.  

The W. Dale Clark Library is located at 215 South 15th Street in Omaha, NE.  Look for the Genealogy Room.  The library is located in the downtown area of Omaha, so time your driving to avoid rush hour traffic.  There is limited, metered parking at the library and parking garages within walking distance of the library.  There are also restaurants in the library area. 

There are several genealogy stops to make in Lincoln, NE.  The first should be the Nebraska State Historical Society, 1500 R Street in Lincoln.  This is on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus, thus parking is limited.  There are metered areas and also parking garages within walking distance.  Before going there, you should check out the society's web page at http://www.nebraskahistory.org.  The Museum of Nebraska History is located close by at 15th and P Streets.  

The Lincoln-Lancaster Genealogical Society book collection is located at the Union College Library in Lincoln, Don Love Building.  The college is at 2800 S. 48th Street.  This is a religious college so check their web page for hours and a map for parking, http://www.ucollege.edu.  

Many Germans from Russia settled in Nebraska.  Their history and genealogy is richly preserved in the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia (AHSGR) located at 631 D Street in Lincoln.  You can learn more about this society at http://www.ahsgr.org

Traveling west you will want to stop at Grand Island and visit the Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer, 3133 West Highway 34.  They have a closed stack, non-lending library and archives, but the historical items displayed are worth the stop.  The Edith Abbott Memorial Library, 2nd and Washington Streets in Grand Island, has an excellent collection of genealogy books.  

Other libraries along the route include the Calvin T. Ryan Library on the University of Nebraska campus, 2508  11th Ave., Kearney, NE.  The Wilson Public Library is located at 910 Meridian in Cozad, NE.  The North Platte Public Library is located at 120 West 4th Street, North Platte, NE.  The genealogy collection is on the second floor.  Just before crossing into Wyoming, stop at the Kimball Public Library, 208 S. Walnut Street, Kimball, NE.  

Preparation for a trip through or just to Nebraska is half the fun.  You will want to check out web pages and Google for maps so you are prepared to make the most of your visits.  These libraries and museums are located along the I-80 route through Nebraska.  The state has many more offerings for the genealogist.  

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