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Historical Newsletter
March 1998


Norman M. Krivosha of Lincoln was elected president of the Nebraska State Historical Society Board of Trustees at the board's January 10 meeting. Krivosha is former chief justice of the Nebraska Supreme Court and currently executive vice-president, secretary, and corporate general counsel for Ameritas Life Insurance Corporation of Lincoln. Elected first vice-president was Walter M. Duda of Duda Realty Company of Omaha. Dr. William C. Pratt, professor of history at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, is second vice-president. Maurine Roller of Alliance was reelected treasurer.

New board members taking office in 1998 were Keith Blackledge, North Platte, former editor of the North Platte Telegraph, and Dr. G. H. Grandbois of Omaha, chair of the Department of Social Work at Creighton University. Blackledge was elected to a three-year term, and Grandbois was appointed to a three-year term by Governor Nelson. The Board of Trustees includes twelve elected members and three appointed members.


Guests at the annual legislative reception January 9 included contributors to the Plains Power: Nebraska-made Vehicles exhibit now showing at the Museum of Nebraska History.

Tom and Judy Lutzi of Lincoln are the owners of the unique, three-wheeled Fascination automobile built in Sidney in the 1970s. Nelson Rediger and his son Dean, both of Lincoln, stand in front of their 1931 Model A Ford, which was manufactured at a Ford assembly plant in Omaha.



Lincoln will host an all-day session of the State Historical Records Advisory Board (SHRAB) on Wednesday, April 8. The Lincoln gathering is the second of five meetings to be held in Nebraska during 1998. The meetings are being funded by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).

After a brief overview of the SHRAB's historical records strategic plan titled Insuring Nebraska's Documentary Heritage, the morning session will feature a grant-writing seminar. The afternoon will be devoted to a program on paper preservation.

The Museum of Nebraska History, 15th and P Streets, is the site for this meeting, which begins at 9:30. For more information about this or other upcoming SHRAB meetings, or to obtain copies of Insuring Nebraska's Documentary Heritage, contact Andrea Faling at 402-471-4785.


The Library/Archives Division will be locating some collections into new warehouse space in the former K Street power plant in Lincoln during March and April. This move will provide much needed storage space in which to house newly acquired records. Most of the manuscripts and public records collections not on microfilm will be inaccessible during this period. Please inquire about the availability of collections before your research visit. We should resume normal reference service by April 13. Thank you for your patience.

Researchers needing access to specific materials during this time should contact library/archives staff at 402-471-4772 to discuss availability of materials.

By Cindy S. Drake, Library Curator

Family History and the Younger Generation

My interest in genealogy did not develop until I started working at the Nebraska State Historical Society more than twenty years ago. Today my seven-year-old son has been exposed to family history from a maternal great-grandmother (now deceased, but he remembers her), as well as from being in videos with his Grandma Drake at the grave of her grandparents in Colorado.

Family members and teachers have access to more types of materials today to interest children and young adults in family history. They include books, videos, television programs (such as Ancestors), genealogy software, and Web sites. All types of stores sell bound books in which family members may write their family history and information about their lives for their younger relatives. Unlike a notebook, these books are not conducive to adding additional material such as photographs, mementos, etc., but please use them if they will encourage you to preserve information for your descendants.

In programs I have given for middle and high school students, I encourage the use of printed interview questions that students give to older relatives to record information about their families. I tell the students that if they do not have any interest in this family material now, they should keep this item with their keepsakes from school. This way they have the information for the future when they may decide to pursue genealogy as a hobby and the older relative is no longer living.

If you are an educator who would like to develop a class project on family history, you may contact me for a handout I prepared last year (and recently updated) entitled Family History and the K-12 Student. (I will also share this with others who are not teachers.) Three reasons teachers should be encouraged to engage students in family research are (1) it can be fun; (2) it can help young people strengthen family solidarity; and (3) it can help in learning history.

Preparation is the key in doing family history with students. Teachers need to be aware that a familiarity with their own family history helps in pursuing this topic with students. In cases where students may have a problem doing a project of this nature (divorce, adoption, etc.), teachers must be prepared with alternative research projects that follow the same theme.

Teachers with students who have mainly Nebraska ancestors should have a copy of our Reference Guide #1 titled, A Guide to Genealogical Research at the Nebraska State Historical Society. Because we interlibrary loan our newspapers, students could check old newspapers for births, marriages, and obituaries of their family members. Requests for copies from records in our library/archives are available by mail. Teachers and students must be aware that fees are not waived for school projects. The prepaid fee is $5 to interlibrary loan one roll of microfilm (through your library), or a letter request with the $5 fee for a search of one record by our library/archives reference staff.

Teachers or students who want to use our facilities in person should be aware that with our limited space, equipment, and staff we cannot accommodate large groups of students doing family research. Small groups need to make advance arrangements with the head of reference services. As stated previously preparation is needed to undertake this type of project.

If you have any questions about preparing a unit on family history, you may contact me at the Society for more information, 402-471-4786.

New Acquisitions of Interest to Genealogists

The Royal Lineage of the Hamlins, arranged by H.F. Andrews. . .republished by Ernest C. James with some modifications. (Descendants in Valley County).

Ancestors and Descendants of the James Family: The Hamlin Family and Co-Lateral Families, written by Ernest C. James. (Family in Valley County).

Ancestors: A Beginner's Guide to Family History and Genealogy, by Jim and Terry Willard.

Some Goodwin and Kieffe Families of New York, Wisconsin and Nebraska, compiled by William R. and Helen K. Houk. (Family in Adams County).

Our Family, organized and assembled by Emily Harris. (Helmkamp family in Lancaster and Loup Counties).



"Board Development and Strategic Planning" is the title of four workshops offered by the Nebraska State Historical Society to be held at sites across the state in April 1998. The workshops will provide training for volunteers and staff of local historical organizations, and other interested individuals. Lawrence Sommer, director of the Nebraska State Historical Society, and Sandi Yoder, executive director of the Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer, Grand Island, will be the instructors for the workshops.

These workshops focus on two areas critical to the sound administration of any museum or historical society-the governing board and strategic planning. An effective board is an essential element of any well-managed museum or historical society. Discussion will include recruitment of board members, duties and responsibilities of a museum board, board and committee structure, board member orientation, and board evaluation. The workshop will also focus on issues and approaches to museum long-range planning and master planning for museum facilities.

The workshops, sponsored by the Historical Society's Education and Statewide Services Department, are scheduled at the following locations: April 7, Central Park Shelter House, 10th and Yellowstone, Alliance, hosted by the Knight Museum; April 9, Stuhr Museum, 3133 West Highway 34, Grand Island, hosted by the Stuhr Museum; April 14, Cass County Museum, 646 Main Street, Plattsmouth, hosted by the Cass County Historical Society; and April 16, Elkhorn Valley Museum, 515 Queen City Boulevard, Norfolk, hosted by the Elkhorn Valley Historical Society. Hours for each workshop are 9:30 A.M. to 3:30 P.M. (local time). The workshops are free and open to the public. Lunch will be provided for a minimal cost at each workshop.

For information or a registration form, please contact John Schleicher, statewide services coordinator, Education and Statewide Services Department, Nebraska State Historical Society, Lincoln, 402-471-2634 or 800-833-6747, email statesrv@www.nebraskahistory.org.


This could have been a national headline in 1896, 1900, and 1908 when William Jennings Bryan of Nebraska was a candidate for the office of President of the United States. Bryan lost all three of his campaigns for the presidency. But in a recent straw poll conducted as part of the exhibit, Keeping the Faith: William Jennings Bryan's Campaigns for the Presidency at the Museum of Nebraska History, Bryan came out on top in the number of votes cast for candidates who ran in the election of 1900.

During 1997 museum visitors were asked to cast their ballots for actual candidates from the 1900 election after viewing the Bryan exhibit. Many votes were cast by school children visiting the museum. The 1900 election straw poll was preceded in 1996 by a straw poll featuring the candidates in the presidential primary and general elections of that year.

In the museum's straw poll, Democrat Bryan won with 598 votes, 128 more than the second place finisher, Republican William McKinley, who had 470 votes. Prohibition Party candidate John G. Wooley came in third with 124 votes. Museum visitors were also asked to select the vice-president by a separate vote. Republican Theodore Roosevelt came out far ahead in first place in this race with 760 votes, compared to only 216 votes for Democrat Adlai E. Stevenson in second place. Socialist Party candidate Job Harriman came in third with 158 votes.

To learn more about the presidential races of 1896, 1900, and 1908 and the life of one of Nebraska's best known leaders, visit Keeping the Faith: William Jennings Bryan's Campaigns for the Presidency, which remains on view at the Museum of Nebraska History.


NSHS employees receiving service awards January 12, 1998, for length of service with NSHS: Five years - Director Lawrence Sommer, Marian Bailey, Amy Koch, Kris Riggs, Robert Selzer, Linda Shanks, and Edwin Heiden (who has a total of twenty-seven years with the state of Nebraska); Ten years - Teresa Fatemi, Alice Messenger, and Donald Ofe; Fifteen years - Karlyn Anderson, Patricia Lutzi, and Bob Puschendorf; Twenty years - Cindy Drake, Deb McWilliams, R. Eli Paul, Steve Ryan, and Richard Spencer; Thirty years - Gayle Carlson and James Potter.

The twenty employees recognized have a total of 270 years of service to the Nebraska State Historical Society.


This year, 1998, will be a year of celebration for the Washington County Historical Association/Museum located in Fort Calhoun, the oldest county museum in the state of Nebraska. The association purchased an early 1900s bank building in 1937, spending a year in preparation for its opening in 1938 as a county museum. The original building has since had two additions. In recent years the association has acquired the Fred Frahm home in Fort Calhoun and the only remaining town hall in Washington County, located in Fontanelle.

Numerous celebrations will be held throughout 1998 to commemorate the sixtieth year in operation.


March 12: Lincoln Corral of Westerners.
Speaker will be Curt McConnell, author of Great Cars of the Great Plains. Ramada Plaza Hotel, 9th and P Streets, 6:30 P.M. Call Margaret Allington, 402-488-5698, for reservations (required).

March 19: Brown Bag Lecture,
"Autobiography of Red Cloud: A Modern Detective Story," by R. Eli Paul, senior research historian, Research and Publications Division, NSHS. 12 noon at the Museum of Nebraska History, 15th and P Streets, Lincoln. Free and open to the public.

April 9: Lincoln Corral of Westerners.
Program by Susanne George, University of Nebraska at Kearney, author of Kate M. Cleary, A Literary Biography. Ramada Plaza Hotel, 9th and P Streets, 6:30 P.M. Call Margaret Allington, 402-488-5698, for reservations (required).

April 16: Brown Bag Lecture,
"Crazy Horse," by Tom Buecker, curator, Fort Robinson Museum, NSHS. 12 noon at the Museum of Nebraska History, 15th and P Streets, Lincoln. Free and open to the public.

The NSHS Library/Archives and administrative offices will be closed on Easter Sunday, April 12.

The Museum of Nebraska History exhibits will be open April 12.

In observance of Arbor Day, the NSHS Library/Archives and administrative offices will be closed Friday, April 24 through Sunday, April 26. The Museum of Nebraska History exhibits will be open regular hours all three days.

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Last updated 15 June 1998

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