Pawnee County, Nebraska Genealogy
Guide to Pawnee County, Nebraska ancestry, genealogy and family history, birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.
- 1 County Information
- 2 Resources
- 2.1 Bible Records
- 2.2 Biographies
- 2.3 Business, Commerce, and Occupations
- 2.4 Cemeteries
- 2.5 Census Records
- 2.6 Church Records
- 2.7 Court Records
- 2.8 Directories
- 2.9 Emigration and Immigration
- 2.10 Ethnic, Political, and Religious Groups
- 2.11 Funeral Homes
- 2.12 Genealogies
- 2.13 Guardianship
- 2.14 Land and Property Records
- 2.15 Local Histories
- 2.16 Maps and Gazetteers
- 2.17 Migration
- 2.18 Military Records
- 2.19 Naturalization and Citizenship
- 2.20 Newspapers
- 2.21 Obituaries
- 2.22 Other Records
- 2.23 Periodicals
- 2.24 Probate Records
- 2.25 School Records
- 2.26 Tax Records
- 2.27 Vital Records
- 3 Research Facilities
- 4 Societies
- 5 Websites
- 6 Research Guides
- 7 References
Pawnee County Courthouse
625 6th Street
P.O. Box 431
Pawnee City, NE 68420
Pawnee County Website
County Clerk has marriage records from 1858, land, divorce and court records.
County Judge has probate records. 
Pawnee County, Nebraska Record Dates
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.
There is no known history of courthouse disasters in this county.
The following are locations in Pawnee County, Nebraska:
Business, Commerce, and Occupations
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
- 1854 - 1870 - Nebraska, Compiled Census Index, 1854-1870 at Ancestry.com - index ($)
- 1860 - 1885 - Nebraska State Census Collection 1860-1885 at Ancestry.com - index and images ($)
- 1885 - Nebraska State Census 1885 at FamilySearch — index and images
- 1885 - Nebraska State Census 1885 at Ancestry.com - index and images ($)
Church records vary significantly depending on the denomination and the record keeper. They may contain information about members of the congregation, such as age, date of baptism, christening, or birth; marriage information and maiden names; and death date. For general information about Nebraska denominations, view the Nebraska Church Records wiki page.
Emigration and Immigration
Ethnic, Political, and Religious Groups
Land and Property Records
Land and property records can place an ancestor in a particular location, provide economic information, and reveal family relationships. Land records include: deeds, abstracts and indexes, mortgages, leases, grants and land patents.
See Nebraska Land and Property for additional information about early Nebraska land grants. After land was transferred to private ownership, subsequent transactions were usually recorded at the county courthouse, where records are currently housed.
Online Land Records
- Land Patent Search - index to federal patents and homesteads on the Bureau of Land Management website, some images available
- 1796 - 1907 - U.S. General Land Office Records, 1796-1907 at Ancestry - index, info taken from Bureau of Land Management website
- 1861 - 1936 - U.S. Homestead Records 1861-1936 at Ancestry.com - ($), index and images
For more information see Nebraska Land and Property
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.
(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
- Nebraska Gazetteer - database for all known places found in 1890 and 1911 Nebraska gazetteers
- Interactive Formation Boundary Map of Nebraska - shows boundary changes for Nebraska Counties
- 1775 - 1783 - United States Rosters of Revolutionary War Soldiers and Sailors, 1775-1783 at FamilySearch - images only
- For more nationwide Revolutionary War databases, see US Military Online Genealogy Records.
- 1861 - 1865 - Nebraska Civil War Service Records of Union Soldiers, 1861-1865 at FamilySearch — index
- 1891 - Nebraska Resident Military Roster on June 1, 1891 at Ancestry.com - ($), Roster of Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines of the War of 1812, the Mexico War, and the War of the Rebellion, residing in Nebraska June 1, 1891
- 1893 - Roster of Nebraska Veterans - list of veterans in 1893
- For more nationwide Civil War databases, see US Military Online Genealogy Records.
World War I
- 1917 - 1918 - World War I Drafts 1917-1918 - index only
- For more nationwide World War I databases, see US Military Online Genealogy Records.
Naturalization and Citizenship
For information on Nebraska newspapers, see Nebraska Newspapers.
Nebraska Newspapers Online
- Nebraska Newspapers - contains images of newspapers throughout Nebraska
- GenealogyBank - ($), contains images of Nebraska newspapers
- Newspaper Archive - ($), contains images of Nebraska newspapers
- Chronicling America - contains images of some Nebraska newspapers; searching tips
- Elephind - Free; search engine that retrieves newspaper images from other free newspaper websites
Nebraska Newspaper Catalogs
- Nebraska State Historical Society - catalog of known Nebraska newspapers; lists repositories that have the newspapers
- U.S. Newspaper Directory, 1690-Present on Chronicling America - contains a list of all known newspapers and the dates they cover; once you locate a newspaper name, contact the local library to see if they have copies of the newspaper
- 1870 - 1990 — Nebraska Prisoner Records 1870-1990 — index only
In most counties in Nebraska, probate records have been kept by the county judge. They include wills, fee books, claim registers, legacy records, inheritance records, probate ticklers, and dockets. The records are available at the county courthouse.
The FamilySearch Catalog lists films of probate records. To find the records for this county, use the Place Search for Nebraska - Pawnee - Probate records.
Online Probate Records
Nebraska tax records complement land records and can be used in place of censuses before 1820 or to supplement the years between censuses. There may be gaps of several years in the records.
Vital Records consist of births, adoptions, marriages, divorces, and deaths recorded on registers, certificates, and documents. A copy or an extract of most original records can be purchased from the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services or the County Clerk's office of the county where the event occurred.
- 1855 - 1995 — Nebraska Marriages, 1855-1995 at FamilySearch — index only
- 1856 - 1898 — Nebraska Marriages 1856-1898 at Ancestry.com ($), index only
Family History Centers
Family History Centers provide one-on-one assistance and free access to premium genealogical websites. In addition, many centers have free how-to genealogy classes.
- Pawnee City Public Library
735 8th Street
Pawnee City Nebraska
- Pawnee City Public Library
- Pawnee City Historical Society Museum
Society, Box 33
Pawnee City, NE 68420
- Pawnee City Historical Society Museum
- TABLE ROCK HISTORICAL SOCIETY & Museum
P. O. Box 66
Table Rock, Nebraska 68447
- TABLE ROCK HISTORICAL SOCIETY & Museum
- 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
- Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Nebraska.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
- http://genealogytrails.com/neb/pawnee/ accessed 09/29/2016
- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pawnee_County,_Nebraska accessed 09/29/2016
- Alice Eichholz, Ancestry’s Red Book: American State, County and Town Sources, Revised ed. (Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1992), 452-465. At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27rb 1992
- Wikipedia contributors, "Pawnee County, Nebraska," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pawnee_County,_Nebraska, accessed 1 August 2016.