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 Richardson County

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Richardson County is found in extreme southeast Nebraska and is bordered by Nemaha County on the north, Pawnee County on the west, Brown County, KS and Nemaha County,KS on the south and across the Missouri River by Holt County, MO on the east. This county was opened for settlement by the passing of the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854 and took its name from William A. Richardson, a sponsor of the bill and later the 3rd governor of Nebraska Territory.

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Richardson County Family Genealogy Pages

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    Past and Present Towns, Communities and Post Offices

     

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    Brief Histories of Selected Richardson County Communities

    Arago

    Arago was a port of entrance for many pioneers who came up the Missouri River on steamers. It was settled in 1858 by a sizeable group of persons from Buffalo, NY, most of German descent. They had formed the German Colonization Society for the purpose of buying land on some western river for a home. The first 12 settlers landed at Arago on July 4, 1858. Some of the land was purchased from Stephen Story who had founded St. Stephens in 1855. It was the first town in Richardson County to be incorporated by an act of the Legislature. This was January 10, 1860. Population grew to as many as 400-500. When the railroad built on the Missouri side of the river, steamboat commerce almost ceased and many businesses moved to Falls City in the 1880's. Many laborers had moved to farms and buildings had either burned or been moved to farms or to Falls City. For some reason when the post office was discontinued at Arago and moved west a few miles, the name Arago went with it while the village of Arago became known as Fargo or "old Arago." There was a post office at Arago from 1862 to 1903 and one at Fargo "Old Arago" from 1895 to 1913. Many descendants of the original Arago settlers still reside in Arago Precinct. Return to Towns

    Archer

    The town was laid out in 1855 and named for founder, Robert T. Archer, the county's first sheriff. The post office was established in 1856 and discontinued in 1865. Archer was the county seat until the site was found to be partially on the Half-Breed Tract and abandoned in 1857. There were 10 houses, 2 stores, and a log house used as a hotel and kept by the county's first judge, John C. Miller, who held court in his home and served as post master. Also there was a school house, a doctor, and a saw and grist mill. Only an abandoned cemetery remains at the site 1 mi east and 2 mi north of Falls City. Return to Towns

    Athens

    This Post Office was established in November, 1860 and discontinued November, 1881. The town was named for Athens, Ohio, from where the area's early settlers had come. Only an abandoned cemetery is there now in the southwestern part of the county in Speiser Precinct. Return to Towns

    Barada

    Barada and Barada Precinct are named after first settler, Antoine Barada (1807-1887). In 1856 he received a patent of 320 acres from the U.S. Government in what was known as the Half-Breed Tract. He settled on the grant, built a house, and raised his family. This land became the site of the village of Barada in northeast Richardson County, Barada Precinct. Exact date of original town plat has not been established. A post office was established in a village general store in 1877 and, until its close in 1966, had never been located in a separate building. The population increased from 70 in 1880 to 200 in 1910 and then steadily declined to its present 23 citizens. Even without a railroad the community remained a stable trading center for a large rural area. At one time there were 3 stores, a bank, a hardware store, a photo gallery, 3 blacksmith shops, a drug store, a dance hall, a saloon, a doctor, a veterinary, and a barber shop. Prominent residents included John H. Morehead, Nebraska Governor and U.S. Representative to Congress; Byron Dunn, former president of National Bank of Commerce in Lincoln; Henry Gerdes, state senator and member of State Board of Control; and Louis Buchholz, former State Secretary of Agriculture.

    1890 Business Gazatteer

    Return to Towns

    Dawson

    Joshua Dawson built a grist mill in 1867 on the bank of the Big Nemaha River just south of the present village of Dawson. In 1872, W.F. Draper founded the town of Noraville which with the post office of Dawson Mills became known as Dawson. The village currently has a population of about 156 and is the site of the Dawson-Verdon Consolidated School.

    1890 Business Gazatteer

    Return to Towns

    History from 1914 Dawson Reporter

    Falls City

    A notice of the new townsite of Falls City was filed in the courthouse at Archer on March 27, 1857 and a plat was filed on April 29, 1858. It gained citizens from flooded Nemaha Falls and the village of Archer. On the Nemaha River south of the townsite was a water fall, a potential source of power for mills and machinery. In its first 20 years, Falls City won a struggle to become the county seat, saw the end of the Civil War, was reached by its first railroad, and a newspaper was established. In the second 20 years (1877-1897) the town made big gains with another railroad, German immigrants, public utilities, corporate banking, and many businesses and social clubs. In the third period, (1898-1916), apple buying from local orchards began on a large scale, the Lydia Bruun Woods Memorial Library was established, and the city faced the problem of finding a good supply of water. The fourth period of time from 1917-1932 saw prohibition, WWI, several major fires including the court house, many more automobiles and services and brick streets for them, an outbreak of Spanish Influenza, suffrage for women and election to offices, and shippment of 300 train car loads of poultry and eggs a year. From 1933-1953, Falls City saw the WPA put people to work on such stone landmarks as the Jug Brown Stadium at the high school and Prichard Auditorium, banks closed and were consolidated, Prohibition was repealed, many served in WW II and those at home experienced war bond sales and rationing, the Missouri Pacific Railroad closed its shops in the early '50's. Since the celebration of its centennial in 1957, Falls City has seen the beginnings and ends of businesses and industries, the start of KTNC radio station, the change in publication of the Falls City Journal from 6 times to 5 times to twice weekly, creation of a Mini Park where fire had destroyed buildings on Stone Street, the expansion of the Community Hospital into the Community Medical Center, and the expansion of Brenner Field, the city's airport. Current population of Falls City is about 4800.

    1890 Business Gazatteer

    1887 Immigrant Promotion

    Return to Towns

     

    Falls City Home Page

    Humboldt

    Located in northwest Richardson County, Humboldt was incorporated in 1871 although there were families in the area as early as 1855. The post office was established in 1861. In 1880 the population was 917 and peaked at 1455 in 1930. Today it numbers about 934. School District 37, Colonial Acres nursing home, and the Bruun Memorial Library are sources of pride for this community.Efforts are being made to reopen the Hospital.

    1890 Business Gazatteer

    1887 Immigrant Promo

    Humboldt Page

    Return to Towns

     

    Middleburg

    The post office was established here on the South Nemaha River in July, 1858 and discontinued in March, 1901. It was presided over for many years by "Uncle" Jacob Frey, pioneer. Citizens of Speiser Township received their mail here.

    1890 Business Gazatteer

    Return to Towns

    Miles Ranch

    This post office was located four miles southwest of Dawson in northern Nemaha Township. It was named in honor of Stephen Miles, settler and mail contractor of stage lines from Independence, Mo to Salt Lake City, UT. It was established July, 1858. In 1867, the name was changed to Wells Mills and moved further southwest to Middleburg. Miles Ranch was also a place where hundreds of horses and mules used in mail and stage lines were recuperated. A large house and a barn built with hand-hewn walnut timbers are still used on the ranch. More Miles Ranch History || Return to Towns

    Nims City

    Nims City was platted in 1903 several miles south of Dawson in Nemaha Township by Betsy U. Nims. It was at its height in 1906-1908 when there was a church, blacksmith shop, barber shop, large public hall or opera house hotel and several stores. Return to Towns

    Nohart

    The post office at Nohart was established October, 1860 near the Kansas Line in southeast Rulo Township. It was named for a chief of the Iowa Indian Tribe and discontinued in 1888. Return to Towns

    Preston

    Preston dates from January 31, 1881, when Philip R. Shelly purchased 40 acres and had the land surveyed, streets and lots staked, and began building. Earlier the post office was know as Sac and the railroad station as Blufton. Although the population was only 149 in 1900 and 122 in 1910, the families there were large. A railroad serviced the village with fare to Falls City costing 17 cents. Preston was a center for farmers to market their produce. Entertainment was found at second story dance halls, debates, an occasional medicine show and most often at programs at the school. The town of the 1890's had two each of hotels, barber shops, livery stables, blacksmith shops, drug stores, and harness shops (one employed 6 girls to help manufacture flynets for horses.) Also there were 3 general stores and a two-story bank. The cyclone of 1896 caused extensive damage. After 1900, hotel and bank buildings were torn down and moved to Falls City. The automobile made it possible for residents to travel farther to merchants and Preston continued to decline. The population is now about 40.

    Profile From 1890 Business Gazatteer

    Return to Towns

    Rulo

    Rulo was laid out in 1856 on lands belonging to the wife of Charles Rouleau and her sister, Mrs. Eli Bedard, under the Prairie du Chien Treaty of 1830. It is the site of the only Missouri River Bridge into Richardson County from Missouri. In 1858, the first newspaper in Richardson County was started there and through the years until1936 several newspapers appeared and vanished. It was an important town on the Missouri River before before the advent of the railroad. Peak population was 877 in 1900. In 1903 Rulo had its own telephone company, in 1913 electricity was obtained, in 1926 many dirt streets were paved, in 1934 free movies sponsored by merchants began and continued into the '50's, in 1939 a W.P.A. limestone auditorium was built and in 1971, the community began restoration of the same. Population of Rulo is now 190. Students attend school in Falls City. There are presently two churches, a library, the auditorium, the post office, and three taverns and restaurants noted for special fish dinners.

    1887 Immigrant Promotion

    1890 Business Gazatteer

    Return to Towns

    St. Stephens

    The post office name changed from Nemaha to St. Stephens in 1855 and was discontinued in 1868. This primarily Catholic community honors Stephen Story, the first postmaster. At its peak in 1860, this Missouri River ferry town had a population of 404 with 2 stores, a blacksmith shop, two saloons, and a school used for a church and general meeting house. Return to Towns

    Salem

    Salem lies 7 miles west of Falls City and at one time was the county seat. It was founded in 1854. Post Office was established in January, 1856. In May, 1857, J.C. Lincoln, a founder of the town and 2nd cousin of Abraham Lincoln, opened a store as the first general assortment of goods brought into the county. Before the course of the Nemaha River was changed by the drainage district, the river passed Salem at the foot of the hill and a mill was located there. Salem became noted for its Chautauqua and the facilities that went with it. It had a number of stores, followed by a blacksmith shop, cafes, bank, churches, school, and a grain elevator. The population of Salem peaked at about 694 in 1860. Today it has a population of about 160. Present businesses include a cafe, a tavern, and the headquarters of Salem Grain Corporation.

    1887 Immigrant Promotion

    1890 Business Gazatteer

    Salem Webpage

    Return to Towns

    Shubert

    Henry W. Shubert came to Nebraska Territory in 1865 and in 1869 purchased land in northern Richardson County from Edwin S. Towle. Railroad officials were eager to establish a town and build a depot in order to provide transportation for incoming supplies, outgoing produce, and more settlers. This railroad line from Nemaha to Salem passed Mr. Shubert's land and in 1883 he recorded his plat for the village, two days before the first railroad run. The post office was established in 1884. There have been a number of stores, cafes, taverns, doctors, dentists, an auto company, grain elevator, bank, school, and churches located there. Shubert is now part of the Southeast Consolidated School District. Population is about 238. Businesses today include a retail lumber company. Return to Towns

    Stella

    Stella, in north central Richardson County was founded in 1881 at the completion of the Missouri Pacific Railroad line being built from Hiawatha, KS to Omaha, NE. The station was completed in 1882, and the town began to grow. It was named after the deceased daughter of J.W. Clark on whose land Stella was built. Stella is part of the Southeast Nebraska Consolidated school district and is the location of its school. Besides the school, Stella has churches, a library, a bank, and a grain elevator. Population is about 250.

    1887 Immigrant Promotion

    1890 Business Gazatteer

    Return to Towns

    Straussville


    Straussville, laid out by Gustave and Savilla Strauss, local land owners, is the youngest village of the county. It was platted in 1901 about 5 miles northwest of Falls City on the railroad, but was not filed for record until 1912. There was a post office from 1899 to 1912. There was also a store, blacksmith shop and grain elevator. Kentopp Elevator operated there for many years and has recently been sold to a granddaughter of its founders. Return to Towns

    Verdon

    Verdon, platted as Springfield in 1856, is in the center of the Richardson County. Springfield failed to materialize, but from its decayed remains, Verdon took root after a lapse of 26 years. The plat for the land was filed in 1882. Many of its first settlers were from Cottage Grove, northeast of Verdon. The main street once held a bandstand, a flag pole, and the town well for watering animals and fighting numerous fires. Main street was gravelled for the first time in 1926. Second floor of the grocery store was used for social functions and programs until the 1940's. Present businesses in this village of 244 people include the Richardson County Coop, a hardware store, and a newly-opened mini-mart, and craft shops. Verdon is part of the Dawson-Verdon Consolidated School District which has its school in Dawson now.

    1887 Immigrant Promotion

    1890 Business Gazatteer

    Return to Towns

    Williamsville


    A post office was established here in 1867 and discontinued in 1879. It was named for the first county school superintendent. It was a German community southeast of Barada. Return to Towns

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    State Resources

    Nebraska State Genealogy Society
    PO Box 5608
    Lincoln, NE 68505-0608
    NSGS Publications


    Nebraska State Historical Society
    1500 R. Street
    PO Box 82554
    Lincoln, NE 68501-2554
    Phone: (402) 471-3270

    Bureau of Vital Statistics
    Department of Health and Human Services
    301 Centennial Mall South
    P.O. Box 95065
    Lincoln, NE 68509-5065
    Death & Birth Certificates

    Nebraska Resource Center
     

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    Richardson County Resources

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    Lydia Bruun Woods Memorial Library Genealogy Resources

    Library Homepage

    Newspapers:

    • Falls City Journal (Falls City, NE) ..........................1869-Present
      (note: Obituary summaries for the year begin in January, 1922.)
    • Auburn Press-Tribune (Auburn, NE).June 21, 1955-December 12, 1961
    • Falls City Tribune (Falls City, NE) ........June 16, 1905-July 14, 1911
    • Falls City Daily News (Falls City, NE) ........................1875-1900
    • Nemaha Granger (Auburn, NE) .................................1885-1890
    • Nemaha Transcript (Stella, NE) ..........June 22, 1888 - June 24, 1892
    • Rulo Reporter (Rulo, NE) .......................................1860-1872
    • Shubert Citizen (Shubert, NE) ..................................1897-1942
    • Falls City Broad Axe (Arago, NE) ..............................1860-1872
    • Stella Tribune (Stella, NE) ......................................1887-1893
    • Stella Press (Stella, NE) ...................April 15, 1898-June 14, 1955
    • Verdon Vedette (Verdon, NE) ...................................1885-1891

    Census Records:

    • 1860 Nebraska (Entire Territory)
      (note: Have alphabetical index for Richardson County)
    • 1870 Pawnee, Platte, Polk, Richardson, and Saline Counties
    • 1880 Pierce, Polk, Platte, Red Willow, and Richardson Counties
    • 1885 Nebraska State Census
    • 1890 Union Veterans and Widows (Civil War), Nebraska Counties
    • 1900 Red Willow, Richardson, Rock, and Saline Counties
    • 1910 Richardson County
    • 1920 Richardson County
    • 1881-1901 Falls City School Census


    County History and Biographical Sketches

    • Edwards History of Richardson County (2 vol.), 1917
    • History of Richardson County, 1985
    • Andreas History of State of Nebraska (2 vol.) 1882
    • Nebraska - Our Towns (7 vol.) 1992
    • Falls City Centennial 1857-1957
    • Shubert - The First 100 Years 1883-1983
    • Richardson County Nebraska Residents as Shown by the Souvenir Stella Press,1901
    • Morton Illustrated History of Nebraska (2 vol.) 1907
    • Who's Who in Nebraska 1940
    • Pages of History of Nebraska High Schools (2 vol.) 1854-1994
    • Rural Education in Richardson County 1860-1990
    • Edmunds Pen Sketches of Nebraskans 1871

    Family Histories

    • Albin
    • Baker
    • Barada
    • Butler
    • Chaney/Dore
    • Clark (of Stella)
    • Culp, Lyanna, Hopper, Hall
    • Curran
    • Daeschner
    • Deckinger/Oberst
    • Doane
    • Driftmeier/Field
    • Duerfeldt
    • Foster
    • Gatz
    • German
    • Goodloe
    • Hall (with Antoine Barada)
    • Harris
    • Heim (Westward Bound)
    • Heim/Ulmer
    • Hilgenfeld
    • Holcombe/Doane/Henke
    • Hulbert/Renner
    • Jorn
    • Karst/Constantine
    • Long (of Pennsylvania)
    • Mayfield
    • McElroy
    • Parchen
    • Phillips of Kentucky
    • Pribbeno
    • Seward
    • Shallenberger
    • Smith (Eva Abigail)
    • Sloan/Hale/Smith
    • Stalder
    • Strauss/Crissinger
    • Suess
    • Vaughn
    • Werner/Miller
    • Wiltse
    • Wittwer

    From Other Counties

    • History of Nemaha County, NE 1987
    • History of Otoe County, NE 1983
    • History of Gage County, NE 1983
    • Butler County NE History 1981

    Cemetery Records

    • Richardson County Cemeteries have been walked and indexed by the Tri-State Corners Genealogical Society as a project for the Nebraska State Genealogical Society (NSGS). Jorene Herr and Dorothy Lewis have compiled the records of all the county cemeteries into six volumes divided by precincts. A set of these volumes is in this library. These are also available for purchase from NSGS Nebraska State Genealogical Society
      1. Volume I-Franklin, Porter, East Muddy, West Muddy Precincts (NW part of County)
      2. Volume 2-Barada, Ohio, Arago Precincts (NE part of County)
      3. Volume 3-Grant, Liberty, Salem Precincts (Central)
      4. Volume 4-Falls City (except Steele Cemetery) , Jefferson, Rulo Precincts (SE County)
      5. Volume 5-Humboldt, Speiser, Nemaha Precincts (Western part of County)
      6. Volume 6-Steele Cemetery (Falls City) (Now Available)
        Cemetery Names/Locations

       

    • Holt County, MO cemetery records - Gone Home - 1991
    • Atchison County, MO cemetery records - Gone But Not Forgotten - 1981


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    Other References:

    • Atlases & Pictorial Atlases
      1896, 1913, 1924, ca1930, 1963, 1967, 1986, 1996
    • Zion Reformed United Church of Christ Records (1895-1973)
    • Pee Wee Erwin Scrapbooks
    • Naturalizations - alphabetical list
    • Falls City School Census 1882-1903

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    Church Histories

    • St. Ann's Catholic Church (Shubert)1885-1980
    • Shubert Christian Church 1871-1971
    • First Methodist Church (Falls City)1855-1955
    • First Presbyterian Church (Falls City)1866-1966
    • Mount Zion Brick Church 1881-1985
    • St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran (20th & Towle, Falls City) 1913-1953
    • Rulo Trinity United Methodist 1865-1965
    • Four-Mile Congregational Church 1980
    • St. Mary's Catholic (Dawson) 1873-1973
    • Zion United Church of Christ (rural Falls City)

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    Bruun Memorial Library (Humboldt, NE) Resources Bruun Memorial Library On-line


    Newspapers:

    • Humboldt Standard 1884-Present ( note: many gaps in early years)
    • Farmers Advocate 1881-1883
    • Humboldt Enterprise 1888-1905
    • Humboldt Leader 1899-1909
    • Humboldt News 1909-1912
    • Humboldt Leader-News 1912-1923
    • Dawson Herald 1921-1930
    • Dawson Reporter 1914-1920
    • Dawson NewsBoy 1888-1909
    • The Dawson Outlook 1909-1910


    County History and Biographical Sketches

    • Edwards History of Richardson County (2 vol.), 1917
    • History of Richardson County, 1985
    • Nebraska Militia
    • Perkey's Nebraska Place Names
    • Rural Education in Richardson County 1860-1990


    Vertical Files

    • United Methodist Church History 1961 &1996 editions
    • Pleasant View 1957
    • United Methodist Pictorials 1977, 1989, 1995
    • Faith Lutheran Pictorial 1989
    • First Presbyterian Pictorial 1971
    • Dawson Bicentennial History 1976
    • Pawnee County Pictorial Album 1976
    • History of Humboldt 1867-1976
    • Photocopy of 1893 Richardson County Commercial Directory

    Family Histories

    • Letters of Edward Tinker
    • The Wittwer Family (4 books)
    • Andrew and Sarah Watson
    • Heim 1490-1979
    • Westward Bound (Gottlieb Heim Family)
    • Czech Heritage Families
    • Frank and Frances Dvorak
    • The Virginia Albins
    • Scheidegger-Miller Families
    • Boop Family
    • Rist Family -John Rist, the genealogy of the Rist family 1854-1997 (on microfilm)

    Cemetery Records

    • Richardson County Cemeteries have been walked and indexed by the Tri-State Corners Genealogical Society as a project for the Nebraska State Genealogical Society (NSGS). Jorene Herr and Dorothy Lewis have compiled the records of all the county cemeteries into six volumes divided by precincts. A set of these volumes is in this library. These are also available for purchase from NSGS Nebraska State Genealogical Society
      1. Volume I-Franklin, Porter, East Muddy, West Muddy Precincts (NW part of County)
      2. Volume 2-Barada, Ohio, Arago Precincts (NE part of County)
      3. Volume 3-Grant, Liberty, Salem Precincts (Central)
      4. Volume 4-Falls City (except Steele Cemetery) , Jefferson, Rulo Precincts (SE County)
      5. Volume 5-Humboldt, Speiser, Nemaha Precincts (Western part of County)
      6. Volume 6-Steele Cemetery (Falls City) (Now Available) Cemetery Names/Locations

    Naturalization Records

    • Roll 1--Vol. 1, Index to Declarations thru Vol. 10, p. 66, Aug. 28, 1924
    • Roll 2--Vol. 10, p. 67, Dec. 22, 1925 thru Vol. 15, "Z" 1928

    Marriage Records

    • Roll 1--Vol. A, Index thru Vol. 2, p. 213, Sept 3, 1881
    • Roll 2--Vol. 2, p. 216, Sep. 9, 1881 thru Vol. 4, p. 582, Feb. 16, 1899
    • Roll 3--Vol. 5, Index thru Vol. 7, p. 341, Jan. 27, 1917

    Other Resources

    • Video tapes (VHS) of Richardson County Fairs
    • Video tapes (VHS) of early Humboldt Community & Pleasant View Church Life
    • Four-Mile Church Records 1880-1980 (microfilm)
    • Naturalizations - 2 rolls microfilm
    • Marriage Records - First 3 rolls microfilm

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    Richardson County Courthouse Resources

    Note: For the best service, please avoid Monday and Wednesday which are court days.

    • Probate Records - County Court -
      descendant estates, conservatorships, guardianships - indexed
    • Land Records - Register of Deeds -
      indexed by grantor/grantee, grantee/grantor, and by legal description
    • Marriage Records (1856 - Present) - County Clerk's Office
      These records usually give age, state of birth, parents' names, witnesses, place of marriage and presiding judge/minister. Each large volume covers several years and is indexed by male and female.
    • Naturalization Records - District Clerk's Office
      An index is also available at the local library.
    • District Court - suits, divorces cases, mortgage petitions, felonies


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    Favorite Links

     

    Illinois Land Sales searcheable index to public land sales in Illinois. For gif animation of sales across Illinois from 1813-1862, click here: Illinois Land Animation

    Ancestry's Social Security Death Index

    Gene Stark's Index of names for all Gen Web Sites

    Cyndi's List for thousands of genealogy links


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    The society was founded April 1, 1984 under the guidance of Lawrence Burkey, who designed the logo. As seen by the logo, we represent the 3 state corners of Nebraska, Missouri, and Kansas. Several of our members hold memberships in other state/county genealogy societies. Meetings are 7:30 p.m. the first Thursday of each month at the Pioneer Plaza Meeting Room, 1820 Barada Street, Falls City, NE. Membership is open to everyone and we welcome guests and new members. Dues are $7.50 individual, $10.00 couples. Fiscal year is January 1- December 31. Election of officers is held in November. March is the annual potluck supper meeting. The newsletter, Tri-Corner Connections, is published 4 times yearly in February, May, August, and November. Queries are printed in the newsletter as space permits. Cost of queries in the newsletter is $1.00 for non-members and free to members. Back issues are available for $1.25 each. Address of the editor is:

    • Tri-State Corners Genealogical Society
      c/o Jorene Herr, Newsletter Editor
      PO Box 524
      Humboldt, NE 68376

    Our members volunteer to answer queries as time and resources permit. Please include a Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope. These queries may be addressed to:

    • Tri-State Corners Genealogical Society
      c/o Lydia Bruun Woods Memorial Library
      120 E. 18th Street
      Falls City, NE 68355

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