Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Pawnee City Historical Society

The Pawnee City Historical Society, in Pawnee City, Nebraska is primarily a museum site, with more than 20 historic buildings and many exhibits.  They have recently acquired a building which they call their genealogy building, but haven't had time to really do much with it except house AMERICORPS volunteers this summer. This building is pretty much only open by appointment and a very nice lady came on a Sunday afternoon to open it up and spend about an hour (without air conditioning!) with me. 

What they have:
  • Cemetery records, including directories and maps for Cincinnati and DuBois, and the actual burial records for the Pawnee City cemetery
  • A booklet, written in '70s, about the history of Cincinnati and DuBois, for sale for $7. (This same booklet is available at the Beatrice library, which is only helpful if you can get to the library.)
  • Some digitized photographs 
  • Some old land record books from the courthouse.  The courthouse still has the Grantor and Grantee indexes and the Deed books, but the historical society has the old books that are organized by legal land description.
  • A few school graduation and county fair souvenirs, mostly hidden behind glass
I got the sense that these folks know how to run a good historical museum but are in uncharted waters when it comes to offering a good genealogy library.  There have given in to the temptation to create "displays" on the flat surfaces, which makes it hard to work with the cemetery records, and the land books are in a back room until someone figures out how to work with them.  If they can find a local genealogist to give them a little advice, though, I expect they'll put together a great resource.

I entertained myself on the drive back to my hotel thinking about what a visiting genealogist really wants from a local library...

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