Nebraska History

From FamilySearch Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Nebraska Wiki Topics
Nebraska flag.png
Beginning Research
Record Types
Nebraska Background
Cultural Groups
Local Research Resources

Online Resources[edit | edit source]

Timeline[edit | edit source]

The following important events in the history of Nebraska affected political boundaries, record keeping, and family movements.


Green check.png
The usage of "Mormon" and "LDS" on this page is approved according to current policy.

Dates Events
1803 Nebraska was part of the Louisiana Territory when it was purchased by the United States from France.
1804-1824 United States government explorers visited the region and described it as a vast wasteland. The resulting myth of the Great American Desert delayed significant white settlement in Nebraska.
1813-1827 Trading posts and forts were established near present-day Omaha.
1823 First settlement at Bellevue.
1830-1854 Nebraska was part of an area designated as Indian Territory. Between 1833 and 1876, Indian tribes ceded all Nebraska claims to the United States government.
1840s-1860s Pioneer wagons heading west passed through the Platte Valley over the Oregon, California, and Mormon Trails.
1854 March 16 - The Omaha Indians ceded to U.S. government.
1854 March 30 - The Kansas-Nebraska Act established the Nebraska Territory. The creation of the Colorado and Dakota territories in 1861 and the Idaho Territory in 1863 reduced Nebraska to nearly its present size. Lands in Boyd and Thurston counties were received from South Dakota in 1890.
1860 - 1861 3 April 1860 - 24 October 1861 - Pony Express
1863 The first claim under the Homestead Act was staked near Beatrice.
1864 7 August 1864 Plumb Creek Massacre. The massacre was a concerted attack by the Sioux, Cheyenne and Arapahoe
1865 The first railroad to the Pacific Coast was begun at Omaha. It was completed in 1869.
1867 March 1 - Nebraska became a state.
1868 Sioux Indian land cession.
1877 May 6 - Chief Crazy Horse and 900 warriors surrendered at Camp Robinson, Nebraska. The Sioux had been on the warpath since 1875.
1877 Sioux Indian Black Hill land cession.
1870-1890 Nebraska's greatest population growth occurred in the post-Civil War boom as settlers arrived from the eastern United States and northern Europe.
1898 Over 300,000 men were involved in the Spanish-American War which was fought mainly in Cuba and the Philippines.
1904 The Kinkaid Homestead Act opened the last range land in northwestern Nebraska to settlement.
1917–1918 More than 26 million men from the United States ages 18 through 45 registered with the Selective Service. World War I over 4.7 million American men and women served during the war.
1930's The Great Depression closed many factories and mills. Many small farms were abandoned, and many families moved to cities.
1940–1945 Over 50.6 million men ages 18 to 65 registered with the Selective Service. Over 16.3 million American men and women served in the armed forces during World War II.
1950–1953 Over 5.7 million American men and women served in the Korean War.
1950's–1960's The building of interstate highways made it easier for people to move long distances.
1964–1972 Over 8.7 million American men and women served in the Vietnam War.

Historical Content[edit | edit source]

Histories are great sources of genealogical information. Many contain biographical information about individuals who lived in the area, including:

  • Parents' names
  • Maiden names of women
  • Place of birth, death, or marriage
  • Occupation
  • Migration
  • Military service
  • Descendants

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

Some of the most valuable sources for family history research are local histories. Published histories of towns, counties, and states usually contain accounts of families. They describe the settlement of the area and the founding of churches, schools, and businesses. You can also find lists of pioneers, soldiers, and civil officials. Even if your ancestor is not listed, information on other relatives may be included that will provide important clues for locating your ancestor. A local history may also suggest other records to search. Local histories are extensively collected by the Family History Library, public and university libraries, and state and local historical societies. The "United States History" page cites nationwide bibliographies of local histories which include histories of Nebraska. The following sources are helpful for identifying local histories:

State Histories Useful to Genealogists[edit | edit source]

Good genealogists strive to understand the life and times of their ancestors. In this sense, any history is useful. But certain kinds of state, county, and local histories, especially older histories published between 1845 and 1945, often include biographical sketches of prominent individuals. The sketches usually tend toward the laudatory, but may include some genealogical details. If these histories are indexed or alphabetical, check for an ancestor's name. Some examples for the State of Nebraska:

  • Olson, James C. History of Nebraska. 2nd Edition. Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press, 1966. FHL book 978.2 H2o.

The Nebraska State Historical Society has a major collection of state and local histories. The Family History Library also collects histories.

United States History[edit | edit source]

The following are only a few of the many U.S. history sources that are available:

  • Schlesinger, Jr., Arthur M. The Almanac of American History. Greenwich, Conn.: Bison Books, 1983. FHL book 973 H2alm. At various libraries (WorldCat). This provides brief historical essays and chronological descriptions of thousands of key events in United States history.
  • Dictionary of American History, Revised ed., 8 vols. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1976. FHL book 973 H2ad. At various libraries (WorldCat). This includes historical sketches on various topics in U.S. history, such as wars, people, laws, and organizations. A snippet view is available at Google books.
  • Webster's Guide to American History: A Chronological, Geographical, and Biographical Survey and Compendium. Springfield, Mass.: G&C Merriam, 1971. FHL book 973 H2v. Limited view at Google Books. At various libraries (WorldCat). This includes a history, some maps, tables, and other historical information.

To find more books and articles about Montana 's history try a Google search. Search for phrases like "Nebraska history." The Introduction to the FamilySearch Catalog "Place-names" search lists many more histories under topics like:


Websites[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]