Polk County, Nebraska Genealogy

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United States
Polk County

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

County Facts
County seat: Osceola
Organized: January 26, 1856
Parent County(s): York and unorganized territory[1]
Neighboring Counties
Butler  • Hamilton  • Merrick  • Platte  • Seward  • York
See County Maps
Location Map
200px-Map of Nebraska highlighting Polk County svg.bmp

County Information


Polk County is the fourth county west of the Missouri River.[2] It was named after President James K. Polk. [3]

County Courthouse

Polk County Courthouse
400 Hawkeye Street
P.O. Box 276
Osceola, NE 68651
Phone: 402.747.5431
Polk County Website

County Judge has probate records.
County Clerk has marriage and land records. [1]

Polk 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.

Known Beginning Dates for Major Records[4]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1871 1870 1870 1860

Record Loss

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

Boundary Changes

Populated Places

The following are locations in Polk County, Nebraska:[5]

  • Durant
  • Osceola
  • Polk
  • Shelby
  • Stromsburg
  • Swedehome


  • Canada
  • Clear Creek
  • Hackberry
  • Island
  • Osceola
  • Platte
  • Pleasant Home
  • Stromsburg
  • Valley

History Timeline


Bible Records


Business, Commerce, and Occupations


Cemeteries of Polk 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


  • Beulah Cemetery (north of Swede Home)
  • Blue Ridge Cemetery (north of Gresham)
  • Graceland Cemetery (Shelby)
  • Hoffer Cemetery (southeast of Stromsburg)
  • LaClede Cemetery (north of Polk)
  • Osceola Cemetery
  • Pilzno (St. Mary) Cemetery (140th & P Roads)
  • Pleasant Home Cemetery (west of Polk)
  • Polk Cemetery
  • Sacred Heart Cemetery (Shelby)
  • St. Andrew's Catholic Cemetery #1 (north of Osceola, no longer used)
  • St. Andrew's Catholic Cemetery #2 (north of Osceola)
  • St. John's Lutheran Cemetery (north of Shelby, by the river)
  • Stromsburg Cemetery
  • Swede Home Cemetery
  • Swede Plain Cemetery (east of Stromsburg, or north of Polk)
  • Union Cemetery (south of Shelby)
  • Valley German Methodist Cemetery (north of Osceola)
  • Wesley Chapel Cemetery (northeast of Osceola, northwest of Shelby)

Census Records

Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1860 19
1870 136 615.8%
1880 6,846 4933.8%
1890 10,817 58.0%
1900 10,542 −2.5%
1910 10,521 −0.2%
1920 10,714 1.8%
1930 10,092 −5.8%
1940 8,748 −13.3%
1950 8,044 −8.0%
1960 7,210 −10.4%
1970 6,468 −10.3%
1980 6,320 −2.3%
1990 5,668 −10.3%
2000 5,639 −0.5%
2010 5,406 −4.1%
Source: "Wikipedia.org".

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

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

State Census Records

Church Records

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.

Court Records


Emigration and Immigration

Ethnic, Political, and Religious Groups

Funeral Homes



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

For more information see Nebraska Land and Property

Local Histories

Local histories are available for Polk 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.

Maps and Gazetteers



Early migration routes to and from Polk County for European and African American settlers included:

Military Records

Revolutionary War

Civil War

World War I

Naturalization and Citizenship


For information on Nebraska newspapers, see Nebraska Newspapers.

Nebraska Newspapers Online

Nebraska Newspaper Catalogs


Other Records


Probate Records

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 - Polk - Probate records.

Online Probate Records

School Records

Tax 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

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.





Research Facilities


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.





  • Rootsweb
  • USGenWeb
  • 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


  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. http://genealogytrails.com/neb/polk/ accessed 09/29/2016
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polk_County,_Nebraska accessed 09/29/2016
  4. 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
  5. Wikipedia contributors, "Polk County, Nebraska," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polk_County,_Nebraska, accessed 1 August 2016.
  6. Jim Tompkins, "The Oregon Trail 1841-1848 Map I" in Oregon Trail Landmarks at http://www.oregonpioneers.com/OTMap1.jpg (accessed 18 July 2011).
  7. "Oregon California Trails Association" at http://octatrails.micromaps.com/ (accessed 18 July 2011).
  8. "The Pioneer Story: The Mormon Pioneer Trail" in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at http://lds.org/gospellibrary/pioneer/pioneerstory.htm (accessed 18 July 2011).