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Nebraska: Local History & Genealogy Resource Guide

Compiled by reference specialists at the Library of Congress, this guide identifies key print and online resources for pursuing family history, as well as state, county, and municipal historical research for the state of Nebraska.


Galbraith, Frank H. Galbraith's railway mail service maps, Nebraska. 1897. Library of Congress Geography and Map Division.

Nebraska was admitted to the Union on March 1, 1867, just two years after the Civil War. Long before Europeans arrived, Nebraska was inhabited by several indigenous tribes. By the 1860's most of the native people were forced off the land and sent to live on reservations. The California Gold Rush of the 1840's and the Homestead Act greatly increased the population of Nebraska. New agricultural innovations such as barbed wire, windmills, and the steel plow, combined with fair weather, enabled settlers to transform Nebraska into prime farming land. By the 1880s, Nebraska's population had soared to more than 450,000 people. Although the territorial capital of Nebraska was Omaha when it achieved statehood the seat of government was moved to Lancaster, which was later renamed Lincoln after President Abraham Lincoln, who had recently been assassinated.

This guide offers a selection of resources and strategies for Nebraska local history and genealogy research. These include the print and digital collections of the Library of Congress, as well as external repositories and web sites key to finding forebears in the Antelope State.

About Local History & Genealogy Reference Services

The Library of Congress has one of the world's premier collections of U.S. and foreign genealogical and local historical publications, numbering more than 50,000 compiled family histories and over 100,000 U.S. local histories. The Library's genealogy collection began as early as 1815 with the purchase of Thomas Jefferson's library.