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Here's a preview of what can be found in the Society's rather extensive research center -- a veritable gold mine for historians and genealogists. Spend an afternoon or two "treasure hunting" with us and see just how profitable it can be. 

We provide valuable research tools like those listed below.  Click on the records you interested in to see a list of specific items for each category.

Family Surname Files Obituary Index & Files
Newspapers on Microfilm Population Census
Maps & Atlases Books & Biographies
Pictures Marriage Records
Microfisch Schools
Military Notes Funeral Records
Early Probate Records Poor Farm Record

Family surnames are alphabetized in cabinets and a file will often contain more than one surname.  These files will contain information such as:  newspaper articles, history information, alumnit pictures and other information.

These microfilm records include the following county newpapers:
Custer County Chief - Custer County Republican - Custer County Beacon - Ansley Argosy/Herald - Sargent Leader - Comstock News - Mason City Transcript - Merna Messenger/Post Card - 
Anselmo Enterprise - Callaway Courier - Arnold Sentinel - Oconto Register.

Obituaries in the Custer County Chief are indexed in a card file, and the smaller newpapers are indexed on the computer and the website.

Microfilm of almost any other newspaper published in the state can be ordered for your use at CCHS through a special arrangement with the Nebraska State Historical Society (NSHS).

In addition to finding wedding, obituary, and other such valuable stories about your Custer County ancestors, you'll find gems like these which hint of the social climate of the times.
  NOTICE   In the old days, papers didn't worry about saying "alleged" or otherwise pussyfooting around the facts, did they? Based on these items from the Mason City Transcript, the publishers of yore did not fear being sued for libel. Consider the series of letters a county resident wrote to the Custer County Republican in August of 1885. One of those long, vituperative letters called Sheriff Foote an "old hypocrite with other bad qualities." The writer advised the people of Broken Bow "to stop the traffic of the infernal stuff [liquor] by law if they could, but if they found the law would not reach the case, to stop it at all hazards, even if they have to hang the devil that sold it." 
  The party who took the plow from the Lazy Hollow school house is known to us, and he is requested to return same and avoid trouble.-Lazy Hollow School Board 
   March 21, 1929
  The notorious Ed Penn of Broken Bow is in trouble again. This time he is in jail awaiting trial in district court on a charge of burglary. He entered the house of one Maggie Clerk, a woman of questionable reputation, and stole her valise and rifled it of a few trinkets of jewelry and about $5 in cash. If they can only get Penn into the state pen it will be a good thing for Custer county. -- January 14, 1897   

The Society's holdings include the following census records on mircrofilm:

Custer County:  1880 - 1885 - 1890 (Special Veterans Census) - 1900 - 1910 - 1920

Complete Nebraska Census:  1860 - 1870 - 1880  (Some Nebraska counties:  1885 & 1890 veterans census)

Iowa:  Complete 1880  |  Indiana:  1850 Randolph Co. & 1860 Jefferson Co.  |  Ohio:  1850 Morgan Co. & 1860 Marion Co.

In addition to Custer County and Nebraska census information, you can have the Society order microfilmed census reports from other counties and other states. 

While the format of these census reports varies a little, generally the information includes family members living in the home at the time of the census, their age, state or country of birth, and occupation.

The obituary index for the Custer County Chief, consists of a file card system sorted by surname.  Once you find a name in the index file, you can then look up a copy of the obit in the "Obituary File", which is sorted chronologically.

The obits in other county newspapers are indexed on the computer, as well as the website.  Once you find a person on the index, you can look up the obit on microfilmed copies of the indicated newspaper.

We are constantly adding to our digitized index of obituaries and to our collection of full-text digitized obituaries. When you visit our research center in person you will find newly created tools to make your obituary search more productive.

The following maps and atlases are included in the society's holdings:

Custer County:  1885 - 1904 - 1914 - 1938 - 1943 - 1950 - 1951 - 1964 - 1969 - 1972 - 1978 - 1985 - 1994

Nebraska:  1860 - 1870 - 1880 - 1885 - 1904 - 1914 - 1951 - 1964 - 1969

We also have some assorted pages of township maps from other states.

Town Centennial Books:  Ansley - Arnold - Berwyn - Broken Bow - Callaway - Climax - Doris Lake - 
Dry Valley - Lomax - Mason City - Merna - Norwegian-Round Valley - Sargent - Victoria Creek/Anselmo - Wescott Church - Westerville

Place Name Books

County Histories:  History of Custer County (1919, Gaston & Humphrey) - Pioneer History (Butcher, 1901 & reprinted by Sage Books with a small 1904 book) - Pioneer Stories (Purcell/ Custer County Chief, 1936).  A vew other counties are also available.

State Histories:  1882 - Andreas;  1906 - Morton;  1909 - Alden;  1918 - Morton & Watkins;  1931 - Sheldon.  A few other states are also available.

These pictures include scenes of sod houses, frame houses, people, towns and schools.  Many of them are unidentified, so if you recognize any of the people or places, please let the staff know.

A few of the early marriage records are indexed in a card file, with the actual records at the court house.  The indexed records run from approximately 1880 - 1916.

Some pictures of schoolhouses and students.

Annuals:  Broken Bow - Callaway - Comstock - Ansley - Berwyn - Merna - Arnold - Gates

Some military lists are available:  Civil War - Spanish American War - WWI - WWII - Vietnam

Records from the Ansley Mortuary are available for the years 1914 - 1952.  These records are indexed.

A card file index of the early probate records is available.  The records are filed at the court house.

These records are indexed and may show dated, names, birth, death or age.

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For more information contact our curator at
Custer County Historical Society, PO Box 334, 445 S. 9th Avenue, Broken Bow, NE 68822 | 308-872-2203
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