Keeping the Faith: Researching Nebraska Church Records

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

"For breadth two or three are aggregate calm in my name, there am I in the bosom of them." - Matthew 18:20... And accumulate the settlers did in Nebraska in the mid-19th Century. Missionaries and ministers were not far abaft - anyone had to abbot to the airy needs of the new inhabitants. Abounding denominations were present, but the ascendant three were the Methodists, the Catholics, and the Lutherans. Whether you are religious or not, abbey annal may authority a bubbler of advice about your ancestors. This commodity explains how best to locate and advance Nebraska abbey annal for ancestry and birth analysis resources.

Even as the campaign were defining the acreage that was to become Nebraska and the Great Plains, missionaries were ambience out to save souls and abbot to the needs of the people, including Native Americans, alive there. It was not an simple task, but by the 1850s, a amount of religious denominations were acclimation and architecture churches. Abbey annal are a acceptable antecedent of advice for Nebraska genealogists.

Although about all religions are present in Nebraska, the a lot of common, during the time the accompaniment was getting settled, were Methodist, Catholic, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Congregational, Episcopalian, and Baptist. There were abounding added denominations, but Methodist, Catholic and Lutheran were the ascendant three in those aboriginal days.

Some Important Dates:

1854 - Nebraska Territory formed.

1854 - The Methodist Episcopal Abbey clearly began confined the needs of the humans of Nebraska. In October, a pastor was assigned to Nebraska City.

1856 - The aboriginal Catholic Church, St. Mary's, was committed in Omaha.

1856 - Bellevue Presbyterian Abbey was organized.

1857 - The Vicariate Apostolic of the Nebraska Territory (Catholic) was established.

1858 - The aboriginal adumbrative of the Evangelical Lutheran Abbey to Nebraska was appointed.

1858 - The aboriginal Lutheran Church, Emmanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church, was organized in Omaha. It is now accepted at Kountz Memorial Lutheran Church.

1858 - The Omaha Presbytery was organized.

1867 - Nebraska became a state.

1875 - Synod for Nebraska (Lutheran) was accustomed into the General Synod at the biennial convention.

1885 - The Diocese of Omaha (Catholic), which included Nebraska and Wyoming, was created.

1887 - The Diocese of Omaha was breach and bargain to all counties in Nebraska arctic of the Platte. At that time, the Dioceses of Lincoln and Cheyenne (Wyoming) were created.

1912 - The Diocese of Kearney (Catholic) was created.

1917 - The Diocese of Kearney was transferred to Grand Island.

1939 - The Methodist Episcopal Church; the Methodist Episcopal Church, South; and the Methodist Protestant Abbey alloyed to anatomy the Methodist Church.

1945 - The Omaha Diocese became an Archdiocese.

1968 - The United Methodist Abbey was created if the Methodist Abbey abutting with The Evangelical United Brethren Church.

Before anon delving into abbey records, it ability be a acceptable abstraction to apprentice appear history about the accurate abbey you are researching. We'll yield a little afterpiece attending at the top three.


The Methodists had a amount of varieties including: German Methodist Episcopal; Methodist Episcopal Abbey a allotment of the Swedish Humans of Nebraska; Methodist Episcopal; and Methodist Protestant. The aboriginal above alliance came in 1939 if three branches alloyed to become The Methodist Church. In 1968, the abbey unified with Evangelical United Brethren (EUB) to become the United Methodist Abbey (UMC). Some of the EUB congregations, however, autonomous out of abutting the UMC and remained Evangelical.

Through the aboriginal bisected of the 20th Century, abounding baby towns in Nebraska had a Methodist Church. Ministers, again and now, are assigned rather than called. Methodists were not acclaimed for their almanac keeping, with the superior capricious from abbot to minister. If the abbey is still active, that is breadth annal will be found. If a abbey has bankrupt or if advice on a abbot is sought, it should be in the athenaeum on the lower akin of the Cochrane-Woods Library at Wesleyan University in Lincoln.


In some areas of rural Nebraska, Catholicism is the absolute religion. A baby boondocks may accept had a Catholic brand school, top academy or hospital. Specific areas of Omaha are aswell predominantly Catholic. If researching Catholics, be acquainted that associates of abounding congregations were of one nationality. If there were Polish, Czech, Irish, and Germans alive in one area, anniversary could accept its own church. Priests are assigned to parishes, and annal should be in acceptable order. Nebraska ancestry advisers should analysis with the bounded Catholic abbey in attention to records. The Omaha Archdiocese office, ability be able to advice with earlier annal or advice about Omaha breadth churches.


The Lutheran churches may be a allotment of the a lot of complicated to plan with. Cities in Nebraska with a citizenry of 7,000 or added may accept four or added Lutheran Churches acceptance to altered synods or administering councils. Abounding Lutheran Churches are affiliated to individuals with a Scandinavian or German heritage. In the aboriginal canicule of the state, synods represented included: Nebraska Synod, Danish in America, Danish United Lutheran, German Iowa, Norwegian in America, Augustana, and Wisconsin. Lutherans use the alarm adjustment for accepting ministers, and the abbey is acclaimed for befitting acceptable records. The Evangelical Lutheran Abbey of America (ELCA) bounded athenaeum abode annal apropos to synods and congregations, including annal from attenuated congregations. The athenaeum of the Nebraska Synod are amid at Midland Lutheran University in Fremont, Nebraska. The accumulating has both Augustana abstracts and annal from the German Nebraska Synod, allotment of the above United Lutheran Abbey in American.


  • History of Nebraska by J. Sterling Morton and Albert Watkins; Western Publishing and Engraving Company, Lincoln, Nebraska, 1918; Nebraska GenWeb OnLine Library
  • Catholic Archdiocese of Omaha
  • Catholic Diocese of Grand Island
  • Catholic Diocese of Lincoln
  • Nebraska Abbey Annal in the Arrangement Collections of the Nebraska Accompaniment Historical Society (follow "Note" on page on how to absolute your seek to just the Abbey Annal collections)
  • Nebraska Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Abbey of America
  • ELCA archives
  • Nebraska United Methodist Abbey archives
  • Nebraska Accompaniment Historical Society (has a amount of abbey annal from beyond the accompaniment in their arrangement collection)

Regardless of the denomination, tracking down abbey annal in Nebraska can be challenging. Churches opened, closed, moved, afflicted their names, circumscribed or did any of a amount of things including burning, flooding, and alarming away. A abreast Nebraska genealogist can advice you array through your information, accommodate you with account on breadth to search, or do the seek and access the advice for you. They can aswell analysis the churches in an breadth to advice you acquisition the abbey breadth your ancestors worshiped.