The Pottawattamie County Genealogical Society

A Brief History

The Pottawattamie County Genealogical Society (PCGS) was formed in the fall of 1992 with the intended purpose to preserve, protect and provide information to the general public on any topic related to the history of the county or the heritage of their families.

After our initial meeting, the PCGS set upon the task of strengthening our membership; gaining our Iowa incorporation status; the acquisition of a Federal 501 (C) 3 non-profit certification.

In January 1994, the PCGS established the Frontier Heritage Library and Museum.  Our first and most important objective was arranging for the acquisition of a vast collection of Pottawattamie County records, books, documents and artifacts discarded by the county in 1974.  With this task accomplished, the society began retrieving the collections from their various storage sites throughout our county.   Numerous truckloads of material were relocated to the temporary site of the library at the First Bank Building in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

These enormous collections were completely unorganized; unindexed; unpreserved and unavailable for researching by the public.  Our generous volunteers have spent countless hours devoted to the above tasks and in 1998, the majority of these collections were made available and could be utilized by the citizens of our community and the vast number of tourists visiting our Library and Museum each year.

In addition to these marvelous resources, citizens, members and libraries from our local area and around the country, bound themselves to our goals and purposes and delivered countless additional collections to our library.  In 1998, our inventory embraces one of the best historical and genealogical collections in the area and our museum contains numerous delightful and educational artifacts reflecting the history of our vicinity.  Both aspects continue to expand at an extremely rapid pace as word of our success unfolds.

In conjunction with these activities, the society sponsors various seminars, workshops, educational classes, programs and study sessions relating to heritage research and historical topics, as well as preservation methods.  We continue extending to the public through a weekly television show on Cox Cable Omaha entitled In Pursuit of Memories and expand beyond this avenue through the World Wide Web Internet service, Iowa Gen Web Project.

Our organization also publishes a monthly newsletter entitled the PCGS News and a quarterly historical magazine, The Frontier Chronicle.  Some of our current publications include:  The Biographical History of Pottawattamie County, Iowa 1891; The History of Pottawattamie County, Iowa, 1907; The Walnut Hill Cemetery Records; Fairview Cemetery Records; St. Joseph Cemetery Inscriptions; Index to the Death Records of Pottawattamie County, 1880-1919; The 1885 Standard Atlas of Pottawattamie County; The 1902 Illustrated Atlas of Pottawattamie County; The Abstracts of Pottawattamie County Probates, Early to 1925 Adding to this list has been a continual effort since 1994.

Our museum has collected and preserved, among various items, the only known copy of the 1925 Anniversary Issue of the Nonpareil Newspaper focus section relating to the history of Council Bluffs, Iowa; an original land document of Ezekial Downs, early settler in 1851; the Original Set of ten Sanborn maps; several Cedar Blocks used in the construction of the Lincoln Highway; numerous items relating to the history of fire in our community and many other valuable artifacts.

We have many goals for the future, but first and foremost at this time is providing a permanent home for our collections and artifacts which is adequately accessible to the public.  In 1997, our facility attracted hundreds of visitors from our local area, as well as out of state.  With the increased tourist attractions in Council Bluffs, we expect to double or triple our attendance in 1998 and have already experienced difficulty in available space to accommodate our visitors, and many of our items remain in storage until we can appropriately display them.

PCGS Membership If you have any connection to Pottawattamie County, why not join the Pottawattamie County Genealogical Society today?
PCGS Member Web Pages Links to the  web pages of PCGS members and some of the names they're researching. 
PCGS Publications The society has many publications available for purchase. Check here for an updated list.
By-Laws of the PCGS The rules the Society lives by.
Classes and Seminars An calendar of classes and seminars to aid you in your research.