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Harlan County, Nebraska Genealogy


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

County Facts
County seat: Alma
Organized: June 3, 1871
Parent County(s): Kearney [1]
Neighboring Counties
Franklin  • Furnas  • Kearney  • Norton (KS)  • Phelps  • Phillips (KS)
See County Maps
Location Map
200px-Map of Nebraska highlighting Harlan County svg.bmp

County InformationEdit


The County was named for either Thomas Harlan, or James Harlan, who was U.S. Secretary of the Interior between 1865 and 1866. The County is located in south central area of the state.[2]

County CourthouseEdit

Harlan County Courthouse
706 W. 2nd Street
Alma, NE 68920
Phone: 308.928.2173
Harlan County Website

County Clerk has marriage and land records.
County Judge has probate and court records.
Clerk District Court has divorce records.
Register of Deeds has land records. [1]

Harlan County, Nebraska Record DatesEdit

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[3]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1904 1873 1904 1871 1871 1871 1854
Statewide registration for births and deaths started in late 1904. General compliance by 1920.

Record LossEdit

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

Boundary ChangesEdit

Populated PlacesEdit

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:[4]

Unincorporated communities

History TimelineEdit


Bible RecordsEdit


Business, Commerce, and OccupationsEdit


Cemeteries of Harlan 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 RecordsEdit

Census Pop.
1880 6,086
1890 8,158 34.0%
1900 9,370 14.9%
1910 9,578 2.2%
1920 9,220 −3.7%
1930 8,951 −2.9%
1940 7,130 −20.3%
1950 7,189 0.8%
1960 5,081 −29.3%
1970 4,357 −14.2%
1980 4,292 −1.5%
1990 3,810 −11.2%
2000 3,786 −0.6%
2010 3,423 −9.6%
Source: "".

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

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

State Census Records

Church RecordsEdit

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.

Online Church Records

Court RecordsEdit


Emigration and ImmigrationEdit

Ethnic, Political, and Religious GroupsEdit

Funeral HomesEdit



Land and Property RecordsEdit

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.

For more information see Nebraska Land and Property

Local HistoriesEdit

Local histories are available for Harlan 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 GazetteersEdit

Gosper CountyPhelps CountyKearney CountyFurnas CountyFranklin CountyNorton CountyPhillips CountyNE HARLAN.PNG
About this image
Click a neighboring county
for more resources


Military RecordsEdit

Revolutionary WarEdit

Civil WarEdit

World War IEdit

Naturalization and CitizenshipEdit


For information on Nebraska newspapers, see Nebraska Newspapers. Nebraska Newspapers Online

Nebraska Newspaper Catalogs


Other RecordsEdit


Probate RecordsEdit

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 - Harlan - Probate records.

Online Probate Records

School RecordsEdit

Tax RecordsEdit

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 RecordsEdit

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 FacilitiesEdit


Family History CentersEdit

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.


  • C.B. Preston Memorial Library
    510 Orleans Ave.
    P.O. Box 430
    Orleans, NE 68966
    Phone: 308-473-3425
  • Alma Public Library
    1114 2nd St
    Alma, NE 68920
    Phone: 308-928-2600



  • Harlan County Historical Society
    General Delivery
    Orleans, NE 68966


  • NEGenWeb
  • 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 GuidesEdit


  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. Wikipedia contributors, "Harlan, Nebraska," in,_Nebraska accessed 8/22/2018"
  3. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Harlan 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.
  4. Wikipedia contributors, "Harlan County, Nebraska," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,,_Nebraska, accessed 31 January 2019.