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Nebraska Records


Where to Find Census Records


NARA - National Archives & Records Administration
All Federal census record microfilms are available for viewing at the branch locations of the National Archives & Records Administration. The film is NOT on the web. The NARA website has a page for each regional branch stating hours of operation, holdings, etc. There is no charge for using their facilities. They provide readers. Copy machines will be available for you to use at a modest charge. They will have a donation box sitting out - put some money in it please!

Can't get there?
The films can be rented from NARA (rental information). The loan period is 30 days.
6000+ public libraries are members of NARA organization that can arrange for census microfilm through inter-library loan.
You can purchase the census film from NARA (purchase information) - price is about $40 per roll; arrange with your local library to use their reader.

LDS Family History Centers (list of locations) - Loan of census film can be arranged.
The fee is about $3, you will have a two weeks to view it at their facility. (Loan period can sometimes be extended by the local FHC manager. To some extent, loan period is dependent on demand for a particular film at other FHC branches.)


NSHS - Nebraska State Historical Society, Lincoln, NE
All NEBRASKA census records are available at Nebraska State Historical Society, Lincoln, NE - including the 1885.
They also have complete set of soundex rolls for NE.
Lookups/extracts/copies of NE census films - available by mail through NSHS, see their "reference by mail" page for fees and requirements.

The Omaha Public Library (location, hours of operations) has had a drive to purchase a complete set of all Federal Census records - ALL STATES, ALL YEARS - check their holdings. They have the 1885 NE.

Holdrege Library has some census films - check there for specifics.
Libraries at different branches of the state college/university system may have a roll or two.

The library at each county seat usually has the microfilm for each census year for that ONE county. On occasion they have a locally produced index and will do a lookup - other times, they don't. (Do NOT expect them to have the soundex. Soundex films cover an entire state and are extremely useful - but an entire set is too expensive for most counties to purchase.)


Check your own state of residence on USGenWeb Project.
Is there a state library with a collection that includes census film for other states?
You may find a state genealogy society that maintains a library including some material for Nebraska.
If you live in or near a metropolitan area, the city's main library may have census film collection.
A college or university library may have films including donations by alumni with interest in a different state or country.

NARA branch in Kansas City has complete set of 1885 Census for NE in addition to all the usual rolls for other years - says Harley.
NARA branch at Seattle has NE 1885 - says CMP. This confirmed by Lisa. NO index.
NARA branch at Laguna Niguel, CA doesn't have any of the 1885 - T&C

NARA branch in Massachusetts agreed to accept donations specified for purchase of 1885 NE census says Ken. The cost per roll is half the price of regular purchase if done as donation! Roll 5 Burt County of1885 Census is now there in addition to "the usual". Great idea!

Allen County Public Library in Ft. Wayne, IN has complete collection of census films including NE 1885. (Leona says this is second best genealogy resource location in USA - only FHC Salt Lake has more.)

Mid Continent Genealogy and Local History Libraryat Independence, MO has all the usual Federal census records and TWO rolls of the 1885 census for NE (Roll 9 Clay County and Roll 51 Seward County) says Robin.

LDS Family History Library at Salt Lake City, UT - All the census records, all states (and other countries as well). A repository of all sorts of records (no newspaper films). Open long hours and staffed by many helpful volunteers. They do NOT do the research, you do it - by selecting from banks of microfilm that are as high as you can reach (stepstools provided). Check the catalog at your local FHC - and be overwhelmed. Practice genealogy on a smaller scale near home, so if the opportunity to go to Salt Lake arises you will be able to cope with the mass of data. For maximum results, super organize prior to the trip. Have lists of census locations with the surnames sought in each area; have soundex calculated for each surname.


On-Line Census Records

USGenWeb Census Project - NEBRASKA
Nebraska census records have been extracted and are on-line.
As you can imagine - extracting a census and getting it on-line takes ages, deciphering the handwriting is a laborious process, and there's always somebody that complains about the surname spelling! (That's a sure sign the viewer has never done any "real" census research.)

A BETTER idea is to put the images of the census pages on-line. Then the descendents will view the REAL record! There is special equipment required to generate the images, enhance the handwriting, etc. It is costly - first the production expense, and then maintaining the electronic storage. (Images take a tremendous amount of space to store, and that's one reason many County Coordinators are highly selective about using graphics or photographs.) Disadvantage - "FIND" on your browser won't work on images!

A list of sites selling CD's of census images can be found by checking the USGenWeb Census Project page. You will also find information about the following - says Connie

SK Publications has made a special offer to RootsWeb - anybody donates a census roll to SK, they'll donate a copy of the images to RootsWeb. They are financing this operation by selling the CD's produced - must pay for the equipment as a starter. (Let's face it - they'll be buying upgraded equipment forever after - that's the electronic world. The technology will advance and better images will be possible...)

Two NEBRASKA counties have IMAGES of the actual census pages!
- 1870 Platte County
- 1900 Franklin County


Commercial Sites:
Heritage Quest - Census (and other films) can be rented, if you are a member ($40 per year).
Gary says the film arrives within 2-3 days, loan period is a month.     There are others ...
Year 2000 - Ancestree and Heritage have stated that they will be posting census images in 2001. Believe these will be subscription services.


Nebraska has only one SPECIAL census since the 1860 Territorial - the 1885. It was a Federal Census, although many NARA employees aren't aware of that fact and the microfilm is NOT found at the branches of NARA, except Washington DC. Seattle, & Kansas City.

In general - Get the 1885 census film through LDS, or rent it from NSGS, NARA (interlibrary loan) or a commercial site. Visit Lincoln NSHS, Omaha Public Library, or Kansas City NARA branch.

NOTE: Other states have census records for other years. NY has 1855, 1865, 1875, 1885 (may be more ...). Iowa has a 1925 (probably others). For information about the census records of other states check state pages on USGenWeb Census Project.


Websites about the census (a list from Gary)
Why gather census records, pitfalls

Comment from NE Roots list: I would like to add that the microfilm of census records are photos of the original hand written records. It requires patience to find an ancestor on the rolls, but when you do, the thrill is undescribable. (from M.A.C....)


Consider - the entire population of Nebraska is on one roll of microfilm for the 1860 Territorial Census (includes portions of Wyoming and Colorado). That extract is up (warts & all).

The 1885 fills 56 rolls! It is "the most wanted" by researchers because is most difficult to locate.

VOLUNTEER to the USGenWeb Census Project! Extract a county for NEGenWeb Project! You get to arrange for the film (purchase, rent, or make paper copy to work from), spend hours squinting and typing, argue with your spouse about what "it really says" ... Alternative, contact the Census Project Coordinator - set up a donation to SK Publications; specify a copy goes to RootsWeb. Most recent - you'll be asked to do the extraction in addition to donating the film! An image file is not "searchable", so an extract is needed.


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