Pawnee County, Nebraska Genealogy

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Guide to Pawnee County, Nebraska ancestry, genealogy and family history, birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, and military records.

County Facts
County seat: Pawnee City
Organized: March 6, 1855
Parent County(s): RichardsonCounty[1]
Neighboring Counties
Gage  • Johnson  • Marshall (KS)  • Nemaha (KS)  • Nemaha  • Richardson
See County Maps
Location Map
200px-Map of Nebraska highlighting Pawnee County svg.bmp

County Information[edit | edit source]

Description[edit | edit source]

Pawnee County is located in the bottom eastern corner of the state.[2] It was named after the Pawnee Native American tribe.[3]

County Courthouse[edit | edit source]

Pawnee County Courthouse
625 6th Street
P.O. Box 431
Pawnee City, NE 68420
Phone: 402.852.2962
Pawnee County Website

County Clerk has marriage records from 1858, land, divorce and court records.
County Judge has probate records. [1]

Pawnee County, Nebraska Record Dates[edit | edit source]

Information for this chart was taken from various sources, often containing conflicting dates. This information should be taken as a guide and should be verified by contacting the county and/or the state government agency.

Known Beginning Dates for Major Records[4]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1904 1858 1904 1855 1855 1855 1854
*Statewide registration for births and deaths started in late 1904. General compliance by 1920.

Record Loss[edit | edit source]

There is no known history of courthouse disasters in this county.

Boundary Changes[edit | edit source]

Populated Places[edit | edit source]

For a complete list of populated places, including small neighborhoods and suburbs, visit Hometown Locator. The following are the most historically and genealogically relevant populated places in this county:[5]

Unincorporated communities
Ghost towns

History Timeline[edit | edit source]

Resources[edit | edit source]

Bible Records[edit | edit source]

Biographies[edit | edit source]

Business, Commerce, and Occupations[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries of Pawnee County, Nebraska online and in print
Tombstone Transcriptions Online
Tombstone Transcriptions in Print (Often more complete)
List of Cemeteries in the County
See Nebraska Cemeteries for more information


Census Records[edit | edit source]

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1860 882
1870 4,171 372.9%
1880 6,920 65.9%
1890 10,340 49.4%
1900 11,770 13.8%
1910 10,582 −10.1%
1920 9,578 −9.5%
1930 9,423 −1.6%
1940 8,514 −9.6%
1950 6,744 −20.8%
1960 5,356 −20.6%
1970 4,473 −16.5%
1980 3,937 −12.0%
1990 3,317 −15.7%
2000 3,087 −6.9%
2010 2,773 −10.2%
Source: "".

Federal Censuses were taken for Nebraska starting in 1860. For links to Federal census indexes, see Nebraska Census.

For tips on accessing Pawnee County, Nebraska Genealogy census records online, see: Nebraska Census.

State Census Records

Church Records[edit | edit source]

Church records vary significantly depending on the denomination and the record keeper. They may contain information about members of the congregation, such as age, date of baptism, christening, or birth; marriage information and maiden names; and death date. For general information about Nebraska denominations, view the Nebraska Church Records wiki page.
List of Churches and Church Parishes

Oneline Church Records

Court Records[edit | edit source]

Directories[edit | edit source]

Emigration and Immigration[edit | edit source]

Ethnic, Political, and Religious Groups[edit | edit source]

Funeral Homes[edit | edit source]

Genealogies[edit | edit source]

Guardianship[edit | edit source]

Land and Property Records[edit | edit source]

Land and property records can place an ancestor in a particular location, provide economic information, and reveal family relationships. Land records include: deeds, abstracts and indexes, mortgages, leases, grants and land patents.

See Nebraska Land and Property for additional information about early Nebraska land grants. After land was transferred to private ownership, subsequent transactions were usually recorded at the county courthouse, where records are currently housed.

Online Land Records

For more information see Nebraska Land and Property

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

Local histories are available for Pawnee County, Nebraska Genealogy. County histories may include biographies, church, school and government history, and military information. For more information about local histories, see the wiki page section Nebraska Local Histories.

Mission Creek

(This article was written by Mrs. Alfred Eastwood years ago. The title used here was not with the original story.)

Early History of Mission Creek
For nearly two decades during the 1870*s and 1880*s there was a settlement known as Mission Creek in the southwest corner of Pawnee County. The name came from the creek which had been so designated by the early settlers because of a Presbyterian mission for the Indians near the stream south of the state line.

Besides being near the creek and close to a never-failing spring, the settlement was on a trail that led west from Pawnee City for several miles before angling southwest toward Marysville and the crossing of the Big Blue. Another trail from St. Joseph to Beatrice crossed the Pawnee CityMarysville trail on what is known locally as the Miller Farm on Section 29.

Settlers had come into the area soon after Nebraska became a territory. The first recorded land filing was by a man named Bartholomew who chose the quarter where J. b. Barr now lives. He filed in 1856, the year that Pawnee County was laid off in sections. In 1857 bavid Neal and Henry Musfeldt filed on land in section 21. The first settler to make a permanent home in the community was George Tanner who built a cabin in 1859 on the quarter south of the Mission Creek Church. He and his family lived there until 1873. Abe Manley came to the precinct in 1866, Thomas Clark and John Bowhay came in 1867 and Perry Miller in 1870. After that the land was taken up very rapidly.

Before there was the beginning of a town there was a cemetery. The first death in the community was that of Jacob Tanner, the father of George. Since there was no burial ground, George gave an acre of his farm to be used for that purpose. From the old stones it is known that several graves in the plot date from the early 1870*s. After that period, burials were in the present Mission Creek Cemetery, the land for which was deeded to the local cemetery association by Abe Manley. Interested persons continue to maintain the cemetery association and care for the cemetery.
In 1870 W. J. Halderman opened a store on Section 22 at the corner east of the Mission Creek Church. The building was constructed and owned by Mr. Carothers who owned all of Section 21. Later the store was operated by
M. K. Walker. Utter*s Harness Shop was on the second floor of the store. Miss Nellie Kinkade had a millinery shop across the road. There was a blacksmith shop and several houses in the cluster of buildings.

On the corner one mile west of Holderman*s was another store built on land leased by Christian Rees to the Grange. It was known as the Grange or "stone" store. The hall above the store was used for public gatherings such as oyster suppers and parties. The store was also a polling place. For a good many years it was operated by Perry Miller and baniel Swarthout. On the same corner was a drug store, another blacksmith shop and five dwellings. There was usually at least one doctor in the community, sometimes one at each corner of the settlement. Over the years the post office was sometimes in one store, sometimes the other depending upon changes in political power. At first Mission Creek was served by a mail route from Pawnee City to Marysville. After there was a railroad through Liberty the delivery came from that point.

The Mission Creek United Presbyterian Church was organized in 1872 and a building completed the following year. It was on land donated by Mr. Carothers a short distance west of Halderman*s store. Later he gave additional land for a parsonage beside the church.

By the 1880*s all available land in the locality had been taken. Many quarters had been divided into 80 acre farms. Families were living on all of these and some farms had only 40 acres. This brought considerable business to the Mission Creek stores. Many travelers stopped, too, during the peak years of the westward migration. About 1882 someone counted 30 wagons that traveled west past the church corner in a single day.

In the early 1870*s a survey for a proposed railroad was made. Since both Mission Creek settlements were to be on the line, enthusiastic boosters in the community predicted a town a mile long would be built along the new railroad. The corner where the stone store stood was surveyed and laid out in town lots.

Across the road there was a fairgrounds where fairs were held from 1876 to 1880. This was considered by local residents to be the Pawnee County Fair. The one at Mission Creek was discontinued after 1880 as that was the first year a fair was held in Pawnee City. According to records of the 1879 fair, county entries for the Nebraska State Fair were selected from exhibits at Mission Creek. Indians had won the pony race, there was a traveling photograph gallery on the grounds, a local boy had demonstrated an improvement for a butter churn, and tombstone salesman who had shown a sample of his wares made several sales.

By the mid-1880*s it became evident there would be no railroad through Mission Creek but the town hung on until 1888-1889 when the Northwestern Railroad built a line two miles from Mission Creek. Within a short time
several buildings, including Halderman*s Store, were moved to the new town of Bookwalter which sprang up along the railroad. Other buildings were moved to scattered locations. For several years mail was delivered to the Mission Creek Postoff ice which was in the home of Thomas Griggs. After that was discontinued there was nothing left on the one corner but the church, the parsonage, and a farmhouse. At the other corner the stone store was eventually razed. The floral hall on the fairgrounds was remodeled into a barn which stands as the only reminder of the heyday of Mission Creek

Mrs. Alfred Eastwood

Maps and Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

Gage CountyJohnson CountyNemaha CountyRichardson CountyMarshall CountyNemaha CountyNE PAWNEE.PNG
Click a neighboring county
for more resources

Migration[edit | edit source]

Military Records[edit | edit source]

Revolutionary War[edit | edit source]

Civil War[edit | edit source]

World War I[edit | edit source]

World War II[edit | edit source]

Naturalization and Citizenship[edit | edit source]

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

For information on Nebraska newspapers, see Nebraska Newspapers.

Nebraska Newspapers Online

Nebraska Newspaper Catalogs

Obituaries[edit | edit source]

Other Records[edit | edit source]

Periodicals[edit | edit source]

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

In most counties in Nebraska, probate records have been kept by the county judge. They include wills, fee books, claim registers, legacy records, inheritance records, probate ticklers, and dockets. The records are available at the county courthouse.

The FamilySearch Catalog lists films of probate records. To find the records for this county, use the Place Search for Nebraska - Pawnee - Probate records.

Online Probate Indexes and Records

School Records[edit | edit source]

Social Security Records[edit | edit source]

Tax Records[edit | edit source]

Nebraska tax records complement land records and can be used in place of censuses before 1820 or to supplement the years between censuses. There may be gaps of several years in the records.

Vital Records[edit | edit source]

Vital Records consist of births, adoptions, marriages, divorces, and deaths recorded on registers, certificates, and documents. A copy or an extract of most original records can be purchased from the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services or the County Clerk's office of the county where the event occurred.

Birth[edit | edit source]

Marriage[edit | edit source]

Death[edit | edit source]

Divorce[edit | edit source]

Research Facilities[edit | edit source]

Archives[edit | edit source]

Listed below are archives in Pawnee County. For state-wide archival repositories, see Nebraska Archives and Libraries.

Family History Centers[edit | edit source]

Family History Center and Affiliate Library Locator map - search for local Family History Centers or Affiliate Libraries

  • Family History Centers provide one-on-one assistance, free access to center-only databases, and to premium genealogical websites.
  • FamilySearch Affiliate Libraries have access to most center-only databases, but may not always have full services normally provided by a family history center.

Local Centers and Affiliate Libraries

Libraries[edit | edit source]

Listed below are libraries in Pawnee County. For state-wide library facilities, see Nebraska Archives and Libraries.

Museums[edit | edit source]

Societies[edit | edit source]

Listed below are societies in Pawnee County. For state-wide genealogical societies, see Nebraska Societies.

Websites[edit | edit source]

  • USGenWeb project. May have maps, name indexes, history or other information for this county. Select the state, then the county.
  • FamilySearch Catalog - The FamilySearch catalog contains descriptions and access information for all genealogical materials (including books, online materials, microfilm, microfiche, and publications) in their collection.  Use Historical Records to search for specific individuals in genealogical records

Research Guides[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Nebraska.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  2. accessed 09/29/2016
  3.,_Nebraska accessed 09/29/2016
  4. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Pawnee County, Nebraska. Page 428-435 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002; Alice Eichholz, ed. Ancestry’s Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources, Third ed. (Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 2004), 417-420.
  5. Wikipedia contributors, "Pawnee County, Nebraska," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,,_Nebraska, accessed 2 February 2019.