Goodbye CT!

Who is CT?  My dear old friend and co-founder of the West Nebraska Family Research & History Center, Carole Tucker!  When I became interested in genealogy years ago the first place I went to was the Scottsbluff Public Library.  I inquired at the help desk about family history research and resources available at the library, what I was told and eventually learned first-hand was that the go-to person for genealogy in the area was Carole Tucker.  I was given Carole's number and told to call her, so I did.  Without hesitation Carole took me under her wing and led me down a path that would eventually change my life.  So as I sit here writing this a tear wells up in my eye as I remember Carole's interest in my story, my family and my desire to learn where I came from.  Carole's compassion and no doubt her motherly instinct kicked in as she encouraged me, guided me and ultimately helped me to learn about and understand where I came from.  My story is complicated and not really the focus of this article but suffice it to say that Carole was definitely the right person at the right time to help me with my research.  As I got more into my research I began to purchase books and other items that would assist me and that I could refer to at a later date.  Eventually it got to a point where I had too much stuff!!  So what did I do?  I went and talked to Carole Tucker.  Carole of course understood my dilemma as she had basically the same problem...can't throw anything away!  Carole carefully and patiently listened as I explained my plan and what I intended to do with all my stuff; I was going to build a library!  Carole immediately embraced the idea and readily volunteered her large collection of books and other research material to help kick-start this crazy idea of building a research library.  After nearly two years of planning and work we opened our doors to the public on March 1st 2004.  Carole was our first official volunteer and contributor, she spent countless hours helping at the Center, encouraging her family and friends to use this new facility and doing what she could to enhance the collection.  Even as Carole health was deteriorating she was still helping people.  One thing I always said to Carole and it continues to ring true even today is that I wish I could have had a way to download her mind, She knew so much about so many things that had to do with the area, especially Banner County.  A great deal of knowledge has been lost.

I am forever indebted to Carole Tucker, she was a very important person to me and will be missed beyond comprehension.  Below is a copy of her obituary as was published in the Scottsbluff Star-Herald newspaper on Thursday, November 27, 2014, its not specifically mentioned in the obituary but a memorial service will be held in the spring.  So, once again, good bye CT...........Floyd


Carole Ann Tucker, 78, of Brighton, Colo., passed away Nov. 20, 2014. She was born July 26, 1936 in Scottsbluff to Charlie and Irene Jenson.

She attended Flowerfield School for kindergarten, Harrisburg Elementary School for first through eighth grades, and graduated from Banner County High School in 1954 as co-salutatorian. She attended Nebraska Wesleyan University 1954-1955.

In 1954, Carole met Walt Tucker of Scottsbluff while he was home on leave from the U.S. Navy. When Walt returned to his ship, he and Carole wrote to each other every day for the following year. On June 26, 1955, Carole & Walt were married in Scottsbluff. They lived in Providence, R.I., where Walt was stationed. In 1956, Carole returned to her parents’ home in Banner County to await the birth of their first child, Marsha, who was born one month after Walt was discharged from the Navy.

Carole was a homemaker for most of her life. She was always involved in the school’s PTA and was also a Camp Fire Girls leader and a 4-H leader. She dedicated much of her time taking her daughters and later her grandchildren to the zoo, parks, library and the Scottsbluff Monument. She was loved by the neighborhood children and she always made them feel welcome. Carole’s grandchildren and great-grandchildren were the light of her life and they adored her as well.

Carole worked at ABC Nursery for two years in the 1970s and was very knowledgeable about plants and gardening. Her home was always full of houseplants and she always had a large garden, canning and freezing the produce of the garden.

Carole’s greatest passion was genealogy. She began working on her family’s history in the 1960s, storing everything in a large trunk that she pulled out when she had time to write letters. As technology progressed, she began using a computer and other resources. Over four decades, she also helped thousands of people research their own family history. She was a member of Scottsbluff’s Rebecca Winters Genealogical Society for a number of years, serving as President for two of those years. She worked as a non-member volunteer at the Family History Center at Scottsbluff’s Mormon Church from 1987-2004.

Carole also worked a lot on Banner County history, and extracted all the Banner County newspapers dating 1984-1955 when they stopped publishing. She worked on many projects like this so the information would be available to people doing research.

In 2004, Carole helped Floyd Smith, III found the West Nebraska Family Research & History Center in Scottsbluff. She was among a number of volunteers who kept the center open and helped local people as well as people from across the country who stopped in to do research. She volunteered at the center several days a week until moving to Colorado in January 2013. Carole was a wealth of information about obscure details and resources. It meant so much to Carole that she was able to facilitate a family reunion between a local woman and her relatives when they visited Denmark by providing her with critical information through her own genealogical research. She always felt great satisfaction when she could help people connect with their family history and learn where they came from.

Carole made hundreds of treasured friends across the U.S. and even in other countries through her genealogical work. She corresponded with many of these friends over the years and some would come to visit her when they traveled through Scottsbluff. Above all, Carole wanted everyone to know that she cherished her friendships beyond measure, including the lifelong friends she made everywhere she had worked and volunteered.

Carole is survived by: brother, Dean Jenson of Oregon; grandson, Daniel Skubal and great-grandson, Joshua; daughter, Barb (Ken) Eleson; granddaughter, Melanie Eleson (Kevin Schultz) and great-grandchildren, Emma, Devin & Maya; granddaughter, Tassidy Weaver (husband C.A.) and great-grandchildren, Caleb, Kaitlyn and Corey; daughter, Tamara (Bob) Cox, grandson Ian (Michelle) Cox and great-grandchildren, Gabe & Jude; grandson, Carter (Alicia) Cox and great-grandchildren, Iselin & Emerich; grandson Levi (Kristin) Cox; daughter, Carole (Dean) Spurlin, granddaughter, Alissa Tucker (Robert Jager) and great-granddaughters, Sadie Ellbogen and Kaylee Mead; granddaughter, Emily Phifer; nephew, Grant Wittenwyler (wife, Michelle).

She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Walt Tucker; her oldest daughter, Marsha Ann Tucker and her sister, Joan Wittenwyler.

Memorial contributions can be made in Carole’s name to the West Nebraska Family Research & History Center in care of Floyd Smith, III, 1602 Ave A, Scottsbluff, Neb., 69361.


Genealogy Roundtable Forum: Dec 2014

The West Nebraska Family Research & History Center conducts a monthly Genealogy Roundtable Forum on the third Saturday of each month at 1:30 pm. Topics vary in subject matter and length of presentation but are always followed up by a question & answer period. The programs are free and open to the public.

Its December and that means its time for our annual Holiday Open House event!

This year marks our 10th anniversary and thus our 10th holiday open house.  We hope you'll consider joining us on Friday, December 19th as we express our gratitude to our patrons that have contributed to our collection through their financial donations and/or gifts of research material.  Through their generosity we continue to stay open six days per week and continue to provide the services and develop projects we know will benefit genealogy community in a significant way.


A BIG Thank you to Barb Goldman for her presentation on Ellis Island and other early immigrants to the United States.  Barb started her program by discussing America's earliest immigrants, Indians, and then moved on to the early immigrant stations on the West Coast 'welcoming' Chinese and Japanese immigrants, and then briefly touched on how the Chinese were treated.  The majority of her presentation was on the New York stations beginning with Castle Garden and then Ellis Island.  Barb talked about the struggles of the immigrants...what issues caused them to leave their homeland, the struggles of just getting to a port, the horrific conditions on the early ships, the ways they were taken advantage of before they left the ports and when they eventually arrived in the US.  Barb also shared several pictures she took at Ellis Island and relayed some thoughts about what Ellis Island has become.  Finally, Barb told several Immigrant stories as have been documented over time.


What's New:

The following items have been added to our collection and are located in the Carole Tucker Reading Room:

• Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens of Saunders and Sarpy Counties, Nebraska
                         - c1900 - by the Biographical Publishing Co. - 540p

• The Story of Chadron State College: 1911-1986
 - c1986 - by Con Marshall - 232p

•  1949 Anokasan : Chadron State College Annual
                         - c1949 - Terry McNutt (editor) - 110 p

•  1946 Plainsman : Nebraska Wesleyan University
                         - c1946 - Audrey Morris Smith (editor) - 109 p

• Hemingford Cemetery
                         - 8 three-ring binders which contains a nearly complete list of every person buried
                           at the Hemingford Cemetery


Contributions & Donations:

We wish to gratefully and publically acknowledge the recent research material donations and/or financial contributions by the following individuals and/or organizations.  Their contributions and support is paramount to our success and we truly appreciate their generosity.

• Carole Tucker estate

• Knight Museum & Sandhills Center, Alliance, NE

• Alice Reuter

• Bruce Greeb

• Joan Johns 


 **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**



New website to be unveiled at our Holiday Open House, December 19th.  For a number of years I have concentrated my efforts and attention to some other website projects and have essentially ceased development of our own website.  Well, circumstances have changed and I now have had time to reassess our website, identify our needs and begin developing some features that our patrons may be looking for from our website.  There will be a number of changes you'll notice immediately, the first of which will be the new look.  As you click around the site you'll notice that several areas where we did not have content or descriptions has been cleaned up.  Probably the biggest addition to the website is the ability to search our new online database.  We have taken several in-house databases that we have been working on for years and added them to the website.  When a search is preformed, a list of matches is displayed with basic and minimal details.  In order to view detailed information about the individual contained in the search, a membership is now required.  Currently our database contains information on over 150,000 individuals.  We really struggled with whether to charge for access to exclusive content or not, but we feel this is the best way to support our development and recoup some of the costs associated with acquiring original source documents and providing access to them, in addition to other research material and online content.  Membership is not required for in-house use at our facility in Scottsbluff but internet users who want the convenience of remote access will have to become a member of the site.  Future website enhancements will be announced in this newsletter, and of course, we always invite and welcome your comments and suggestions..........Floyd