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McCool Cemetery in York County (photo by Beth Sparrow)
McCool Cemetery in York County (photo by Beth Sparrow)
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Blog Entries: 1 to 4 of 4
January 21, 2023 By: Catherine Renschler
The Capper's Weekly
   My mother, Edna Trausch, subscribed to the Capper’s Weekly newspaper her entire married life until they quit printing in 1986.   Arthur Capper began publishing his weekly newspaper in 1879 at Topeka, Kansas.  It had a huge readership, especially among farm families.  The newspaper's articles included short stories, recipes, patterns for clothing, quilts, and needlework, poems, and letters from subscribers.  The Capper’s also solicited and printed pioneer stories and reminiscence.  For Christmas in 1956, my parent's gave me the book “My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon.”  It is a collection of short pioneer stories submitted by Capper’s Weekly readers.  That book was followed in 1978 by “My Folks Claimed the Plains: A Treasury of Homestead Stories,”  and in 1993 by “My Folks and the One-Room Schoolhouse.”  
    Each book is indexed by submitter's names.  I recently perused the three books and noticed many stories submitted by or about Nebraskans.  The following is an index, sorted by book, of the submitters with a Nebraska connection. The books are available by interlibrary loan and for sale on ebay.
My Folks came in a Covered Wagon
   Submitter                                                       Address                       Location of story                    
Mrs. B. F. Baker                                              North Platte
Mrs. Marvel B. Berry                                       Bakersfield, CA
Mrs. Arlo Brawner                                           Fremont
Mrs. Giles Cleveland                                       Lyons
Glass Davis                                                     Burlington, CO
Jessie F. Gentry                                              Stratton, CO                midwestern Nebraska
Mrs. Louis Grimm                                           Wauneta                      southeast Nebraska
Mrs. Jens A. Holst                                           Marquette
Mrs. Orville Hunt                                             Wauneta                      Platte valley
Mrs. N. D. Ickes                                              Page                             Gibbon
C. W. Martin                                                    Litchfield
Vesta Millemon                                               Pond Creek, OK          the sandhills
Hazel Ottjes                                                    Mitchell
Charles Smith Jr.                                             Nora                            Table Rock
C. A. Strawn                                                    Parker, WA
My Folks Claimed the Plains
Mrs. Fred Abendroth                                       West Point                   Stanton Co.
Mildred Stevens Anderson (Mrs. Fred)           Stromsburg
Harry E. Chrisman                                          Denver, CO                 Custer Co.       
Inez Wade Coleman                                       West Point, IA
Mrs. Ida Emery                                                Endicott                       Jefferson Co.
Mrs. Carl E. Feikert                                         Kearney                       McPherson Co.
Mrs. Leon (Alice) Foster                                  Sidney
Mrs. Levi Gingrich                                            LaVerne, CA
Norman E. Graham                                          Beatrice                       Loup River valley
Esther Dirks Herman                                        Riverton                       S. Dakota
Mrs. Lillie Johnson                                           Minden                         Little Blue River
Elnora Mannon                                                Ava, MO                       south of North Platte
Nellie Phillips Miller                                         Roseburg, OR              Wallace, NE
Carl W. Moss                                                   Denver, CO                  Holt County
Tom Oldham                                                    Orleans
Alberta Phinney                                               Ogallala                        Nebraska panhandle
Myron Reese                                                   Farragut, IA                  Johnson Co. 
Estella Robare                                                 Sparks                         
William F. Ryan                                               Jackson                        Jackson, NE                            
H. Bernice Shanklin                                         Alliance                        Alliance, NE
Ang Shonka                                                     Omaha                                    
Mrs. Clifford Winterquist                                  Grant                            Perkins Co., 
My Folks and the One-Room Schoolhouse
Most of the stories in this book are very short and do not give much detail. 
Donna Beatty                                                 Arnold
Emilie Bird                                                      Beatrice
Leola Bowers                                                 Ft. Collins, CO
Dorothy Carmann                                          Riverdale                    
Olga Huntemann Feyerherm                         West Point
Nellie Gilg                                                      Atkinson
Hazel Hill                                                       Polk                                         Polk County
Bessie Lanz                                                   Bassett
Virginia Oates                                                Exeter
Lorraine Priddy                                              Stratton                                               
Pearl Shockley                                              Owensville, MO
Gladys Sybrant                                              Bassett                                    
Frances Hoyt Trail                                         McCook                                   northwest Nebraska
Delores Utecht                                               Wayne                                                
Inez Warren                                                   Syracuse                                 

October 9, 2022 By: Laura Mattingly
Share Those Old Photos!
It is always a shame to see old family photographs for sale in antique stores. Looking at a photo of someone's Great Grandma in her cute curls looking at you with that sweet smile makes me sad to think someone doesn't know how cute a little girl their Great Grandma was. The number of old unidentified photos is overwhelming. Still, I would much rather see them in antique stores than have them thrown in the trash.
An online search for "identifying old photographs" can lead you to information to help identify them, along with comparing the photo with the information from your family tree. Ask anyone who might know something about the photo or people in it. Also try a Google Reverse search and check online family trees and Find A Grave if you have some identifying information to go on.
Old photos should be copied and distributed as much as possible. First they need to be digitized. This can be done simply with a phone camera or other digital camera, or for a better image have them scanned. Check your local copy and print or office suppy stores to see if they offer digitizing services. Don't forget to also digitize any information that might be on the back side of the photo, the handwriting could be a big clue. 
Share your identified photos in online trees at Ancestry or My Heritage (both subscription sites) or Family Search (free). You can also add to a persons Find A Grave memorial if they have one. Use social media accounts to share old photos with as much information as is known. Include not only the place where the photo was taken, but current location of the actual print and all known provenance. Facebook has several groups dedicated to returning old photos to descendants of family. Forgotten Faces in Time and Nebraska Family Photo Identification are two examples. Blogging and Instagram are another great way to share old photographs. Using hashtags like "#OldPhotos" or "#VintagePhotos" will help people far and wide to find them.
Recently I connected with a new-to-me distant cousin through my blog. From her I received a photo where for the first time ever I believe I saw the faces of my 2nd Great Grandparents and my 3rd Great Grandfather. It's an incredible feeling to be able to put a face to names that have been in my tree since I started this hobby! This cousin knew only that the photo belonged to the SPANN family somehow. Though we can't positively identify the people in the picture, we feel sure we were able to determine everyone in it based on sex and ages of those in the family!
Many of the old photos I have once belonged to my NEGLEY family who lived in Eldorado, Nebraska in the 1890's through 1920's. Many of them are not pictures of relatives, but believed to be friends and neighbors of my family. I have shared some on my blog and have heard from a few people who could identify them. All of the photos in this post are unidentified, likely of people who once lived in southern Hamilton or northern Clay counties in Nebraska.
Take the time to make sure there are names & other known information on all of your photos! Keep some available and identify the people in a few whenever you have a little time. Try to make a point to share an old photo some way or another at least once a month. One you share may help someone else identify one of theirs, and you could be making them VERY happy! And if nothing else, find an antique dealer who will buy them. 
August 19, 2022 By: Beth Sparrow
Local Histories
A gem of a resource for genealogist is local history books. Often these have information about what goes on in the town, city or county. Many have names of the people who have lived there.
Usually these have the history of the town or area, including early settlers, first mayor or town government and other information. It might list the town’s organizations and clubs, schools, businesses, health care systems, churches, senior centers, libraries, town celebrations, cemeteries, notable people and some include family histories written by descendants.
So how do these get written and where do we find them?
Sometimes a local group will write one. Sometimes there is a reason like an anniversary and a committee will get together and write one. Sometimes one person or two will take on the project and write the whole thing. Has your hometown (either where you currently reside or where you “grew up”) had one in the last 50 years? If not, it’s probably time to do it. You might be just the person to help tackle this job. Do you know the town history well? Can you write reasonably well? If you think it’s too big of a job for just you, get a history friend to help.
Get a table of contents figured out with some of the topics I listed. Figure out how to organize the book. Figure out how to publish it, self-publish, e-book, etc. Will people pre-order copies, or will you just order a certain number and then reorder if needed? If you don’t know a publisher, talk to your local newspaper as I’m sure they can help you out.
So you’ve read this far, and you are saying “writing this isn’t for me”, but where can I find these? Usually these history books are at the local library where the book is about. Hopefully the librarian hasn’t thrown them out because it’s not circulating material. Can’t get to that library? Try interlibrary loan. Or check on for the name of your book. Don’t know the name? Just put in the town and state and see what comes up. There may be books you didn’t even know existed. When you click on the book title in WorldCat, you can find the closest library to you that has the book.
If it’s quite old, also try Google Books, Hathi Trust and even local newspaper digitization sites. The site where our local newspapers are (Advantage Archives, formerly Advantage Preservation) also has the town history books. This is rare, but possible.
Hopefully this helps in your search for local history books. If you do write one, be sure to remember the Nebraska State Genealogical Society library for a place to donate one. Also check our library out to see if we have that town history you want. Members can “rent” books from our library for a few weeks for just the cost of shipping.
Happy searching and reading.
Beth Sparrow, who is currently trying to finish her county’s history book as an update for the last fifty years.
March 13, 2022 By: Laura Mattingly
Doniphan School Kids
If you were lucky enough to find a school record book with information on your ancestors, would you keep it? Fortunately for some people, someone did just that. Until last year's junk jaunt when Tammy Hendrickson, NSGS Area Rep, found this teachers record book in Cairo. She gave the book to me as it appears all the children lived in Doniphan, Hall county, which is my area. Although no specific school is mentioned, likely, this is from District #26. It covers the years 1933-1937. Meredith Haggard taught for the first two years, then Gertrude Fay Marsh was in charge of the classes. Their pay started at $450 for the 1933-34 school year and increased to $540 in 1936-37.
Some of the information included in this record book include each child's birth date, some notes of vision impairments and vaccinations. Nearly every child had some cavities in their teeth. There was an outbreak of chicken pox in January, 1934, cases of measles and whooping cough in January/February, 1935 and small pox in January, 1936. One child had the mumps in April, 1936. There are notations of children missing school for funerals or "visiting", and a year-end summary of each child's progress. At the end of the 1934-35 school year, the children went to Grand island for a picnic. At the back of the book is a list of visitors to the school. 
I plan to offer this to either the Hall County Historical Society or Stuhr Museum, but before I do that, I'll post here a little of the information on these students. I have done no other research on them. 
Jack Baird, son of Cash Baird, attended all four years begining in the First Grade. He took an extended 3 week vacation in September/October of 1936.
Bernard, Dolores and Naoma Graham, children of Clifford Graham. In 1934 Bernard was in Third Grade, Dolores in Second and Naoma started First Grade, but Naoma dropped from the roll in November. The family moved to Hastings in March, 1934. 
Ivora Jones, daughter of Ivor Jones, was in 7th Grade in 1933-34 and graduated in 1935. She missed school twice for funerals in 1934-35. Her younger sister Jeannine, began school in 1934, but is not listed as a student in the 1936-37 school year. 
Children of Howard L Marsh, Ruth, Edith and Jane Marsh, attended this school for only the first two years of this book. Ruth in the 5th and 6th grades, Edith grades 3 and 4 and Jane grades 1 and 2. There is no mention of any relationship to Gertrude Fay Marsh, who began teaching the year after these girls left. 
Mary Elizabeth Laughlin, daughter of Robert McLaughlin, was a 6th grade student in 1933-34 and graduated in 1936. 
Margie Trotter, daughter of Arthur Trotter, was in 6th grade in 1933-34 and moved to Grand Island in April.
New students in 1935-36 included Gene Boltz, son of August, in 1st Grade. His sister, Irene, started school in 1936-37.
The children of Nobel G Hurst, who came to this school in the 1934-35 school year were Beulah in 3rd Grade and Joyce, in 1st grade. 
"Buddy" or Gerald Jones, son of W Scott Jones, started 1st Grade in 1934-35 and attended through 1937. 
Bonnie Jean Montgomery, daughter of Walter, entered 1st Grade in 1935-36 and moved to Minden in March of 1936.
Elden and Jane Orcutt, children of Fred Orcutt, started school April 20th, 1937. Jane was a 4th grader and Elden a 3rd grader.