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April 24, 2023 By: Catherine Renschler
Definitions of Words in Land Records
Definitions of words related to Nebraska land records

Cadastral map            A map showing land boundaries.
Cash Entry Files         A National Archives file containing the paperwork for cash land sales.
Deed                           A written legal document transferring property ownership.
Escheat                       Land ownership that defaults to the government.
et al.                            Latin for “and others.”
et ux.                           Latin for “and wife.”
Grantee                       The buyer.   
Grantor                        The seller.
Homestead                  A tract of land obtained from the government under a homestead law.
Homestead Act           1862 act giving land to settlers who lived on it and made improvements for five years.
Kinkaid Act                  1904 act giving homesteaders 640 acres in 37 Nebraska sandhills counties.
Indenture                     A word for contract or agreement.  
Land Entry Case File  A file related to a parcel of land kept by the General Land Office.
Patent                          The document showing initial transfer of land from the government.
Plat Map                      A map showing parcels of land. 
Preemption                  A filing for the right of first purchase of land.
Preemption Law          1841 act allowing settlers to claim and purchase government land.
Quitclaim Deed           A seller releases all rights or claims to a property. 
Range                         A north/south line running east/west from a meridian. All of Nebraska is either east or west
                                    of the 6th Principal Meridian. 
Section                        A parcel of land measuring one square mile or 640 acres.
Timber Culture Act     1873 Act giving land in exchange for planting trees. 
Township                    A unit of land measuring six miles by six miles.
                                  Townships are measured north/south from a base line.         
Tract Books                Index by township and range of first purchasers of federal land.     
Warranty Deed           A deed in which the grantor guarantees his clear title.          
March 30, 2023 By: Beth Sparrow
NSGS Annual Conference Coming Soon
The NSGS Annual Conference is coming soon, so you need to register soon! 
If you are mailing it in, please do so as soon as possible. Our deadline is April 10. 
The conference is April 21-22 in Kearney, and we have featured speaker Tina Beaird. She will be speaking on sharing and preserving your family history. Our breakout sessions are packed with interesting topics. Friday we have "Involving Youth in Genealogy" or "Kearney's 150 Years: Its History and the Celebration". Both sound great, so it's hard to choose. Friday Tina will teach us how to write our family story, addiing social media to our genealogy repertoire, and how to preserve those family heirlooms. We have a delicious lunch planned and you can socialize with people who love family history, and whose eyes won't glaze over! 
Saturday we start the day with our annual meeting where we will vote on some by-law changes. After that, Tina will teach us how to do oral interviews, and then later we get to learn about treasures in Midwest repositories. Our breakout sessions in the morning include preserving cemeteries or Germans from Russia. Our breakout session in the afternoon is audience particpation. We are having discussion groups, so come learn from all those attending. We have board members leading the discussion groups on (a) cemeteries, burial records and land records, (b) beginning DNA and courthouse records or (c) newspaper searching, blogging and writing. We're excited to try this format of sharing our knowledge and learning from attendees! 
Lunch is provided both days. For your free time Friday evening, the Archway Monument has agreed to stay open late for our group. If that doesn't interest you, I'm sure we can socialize at the hotel. 
We also have door prizes, free books and materials, and vendors! 
If you live in Nebraska or northern Kansas and like genealogy (family history), this is for you! 
You can register online. Just click on "events" at the left, "annual conference" and then the link in gold. 
Please register by April 10th. We have to turn in numbers for meals. 
Hope to see you there! 
February 15, 2023 By: Laura Mattingly
Make Plans For RootsTech 2023!
Are you ready for RootsTech? Are you REALLY ready? In just 2 weeks the genealogy conference-on-steroids will begin on Thursday, March 2nd at 9 AM Central Standard Time. The first thing you need to do if you haven't already is register!  Be sure to set up your account so that you can create your playlist of sessions to watch.
If you will be traveling to Salt Lake City to attend the conference in person, have a fantastic time! For those like me who will be attending virtually, make sure to plan your schedule around the live sessions! 
So to get REALLY ready, grab your electronic calendar or pen & paper and go to the website. On the RootsTech home page, scroll down to "Already Registered for RootsTech?" and browse the sessions for either In-person or Virtual. You can also go to "New Sessions Coming" to view a few or  "All New Sessions". You can search the list for certain topics, or filter by Content type, Language, Speaker and Year. There are 185 sessions for 2023, but you can still watch webinars from the past four years of RootsTech. Look through the 2023 sessions to create your watch list. When you see a topic you're interested in, click on the "+" sign on the right and it's added to your list. If you change your mind, click the red "X". To view your playlist, click on "Menu" in the top right corner of the page and see "My Playlist". 
Back on the home page you'll see "Road to RootsTech Series" where you can watch short videos with tips on what to expect. 
Scrolling below New Sessions, you can watch Past Keynote Speakers, or Most Popular Past Sessions. These can also be added to your playlist. There are links to the Sponsors, and videos for Latter-day Saint members. Also some pages specific to different regions of the world. 
If you have an account at Family Search and have entered your information into the FamilySearch Family Tree there, you need to try some of the "FamilySearch Experiences" next on the home page. "Try Relatives at RootsTech" will show you how many relatives you have who are also registered to attend RootsTech. Click "View Relatives" and see the names listed on the left. The map shows where in the world they reside. (I personally have over 8,000 relatives attending so far!) How many fellow NSGS members do you see? If you click on the name, you will have the option to message them, show your relationship, or contact them. You can look at these relatives by Location, Ancestor or Family Line or Search for a name.
Back on the home page under FamilySearch Experiences, "See Contributors" shows you others who add information to your relatives in the FamilySearch Family Tree. Have some fun with the "Try Shared Surnames" or "Find Famous Relatives" activities. 
Other questions you may have about RootsTech might be answered on the FAQ page which you will find listed in the Menu at the top right corner. Also listed in the menu is a link where you can go shopping! So plan ahead and make the best of RootsTech 2023!
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.