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Questions/Answers about our online Searchable Database

The newsletter article published last month about our online searchable database drew some good questions so I thought I would take this opportunity to offer clarity on one of the questions. Other questions will be addressed in future issues.
Q. What exactly is in that database?
A. The short answer is indexed obituaries, primarily from area newspapers and other records worthy of having an index for.
Currently we have indexed over 83,000 obituaries from various newspapers that have made it to the Center over the years. Some obituaries have come from places as far away as southern California and the eastern seaboard, we have obits from Colorado, South Dakota, Wyoming, Kansas and a few other states as well. We don't actively seek out obituaries from outside the panhandle region but if one is brought into us then we'll add it to our online database so we'll always have the ability to find and refer to it in the future. Although 85,000+ indexed obituaries may seem like a lot, we estimate that we've only indexed maybe a third of our collection!
Also included in our online database is:
  • 5000+ Memorial cards
  • 1100+ original funeral home records
  • 500+ civic organization records
  • 500+ indexed names from some unindexed books
  • 15000+ indexed burial/cemetery records
  • other misc. indexed records such as marriage records, probate records, land records, photograph collections, et al, etc.
As you can see we'll index pretty much any type of record that we or someone else may need to find in the future. As of this writing our database contains 106,363 records and growing daily.

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Genealogy Roundtable Forum: July 2019

Gretchen Deter : The Westervelt Family Story



Eugene T Westervelt
Eugene T. Westervelt
eldest son of James H. & Lorena A. (Day) Westervelt
The family history of the Westervelts started long before people began settling in the Scottsbluff and Gering valley area. Their story takes us back to 1614 and the “VanWestervelt’s" sailing “across the pond” with hopes of a new life in a new land. Sound familiar? It very well might for many people, but although this story begins much like some of our own, we are confident that you'll be amazed at this family's journey, business ventures, and their overall impact as they made their way across the country to Nebraska to ultimately help settle this region of the state. This story and program will focus on the sons, grandsons and great-grandsons of James Henry Westervelt, a founding father of not only Scottsbluff and Gering, but who also left his mark in Custer County as well. Interested? We hope so. Come join on Saturday, July 20th at 1:30pm to hear the rest of the Westervelt story. Several of the Westervelt descendants will be at the presentation to answer questions. The presenter is Gretchen Deter, a local historian and retired teacher of “Frontier History”. As always, the program is free and open to the public.


What's New:

The following items have been recently added to our collection. Most items, once cataloged, can be located in the Carole Tucker Reading Room:


  • Furnas County, Nebraska : Past and Present
    c1987 - by the Furnas Co., Genealogical Society - 588 p.
  • Ravenna Centennial : 1886-1986
    c1986 - by the Ravenna Genealogical and Historical Society - 292 p.
  • Lakota-English Dictionary
    c1983 - by Rev. Eugene Buechel, S.J. - 853 p.
  • Light on the Prairie : Solomon D. Butcher, Photographer of Nebraska's pioneer days
    c2012 - by Nancy Plain - 113 p.
  • Roadside History of Nebraska
    c1997 - by Candy Moulton - 392 p.
  • Happy Times in Norway
    c1942 - by Sigrid Undset - 230 p.
  • 1946 Prairie Echo : St. Patrick's Academy, Sidney, Nebraska
    c1946 - Mary Jo McIntosh [editor] - 100 p.

Contributions & Donations:

We wish to gratefully acknowledge the recent research material donations and/or financial contributions by the following individuals or organizations. Their contributions and support is paramount to our success and we truly appreciate their generosity.
  • Karolyn "Mattie" Robinson
  • Katharine Nelson
  • Mary "Francie" Warren
  • Nancy Clapp
**The West Nebraska Family Research & History Center was incorporated in the state of Nebraska in 2003 as a not-for-profit, public genealogy and local history research library. Funding provided primarily through donations**
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