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Genealogy   Tags: family_history, genealogy  

A guide to genealogy resources at Omaha Public Library and links to genealogy elsewhere.
Last Updated: Nov 12, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

General genealogy Print Page

Trial of Omaha World Herald database!


Omaha Public Library is currently offering a public trial of the newly digitized Omaha World Herald, from 1885 up to 1983 (from 1983 you have access to the electronic version through our NewsBank database). Try it out and see what you think! If you are trying it from home, you will be prompted to enter your library card number and PIN for access.

This trial will end Dec. 31, 2014 unless we can raise the funds to purchase the database. If you would like to contribute, call the Omaha Public Library Foundation at 402-444-4589 or email

Databases @ OPL

  • Ancestry Library Edition  
    The Ancestry Library is one of the best collections of family history research guidance, finding aids, and digitized historical images on the Internet, including the US and Canadian censuses. Library Edition includes international records. In-library use only.
  • HeritageQuest Online
    Research materials for tracing family history and American culture, including census images, family and local histories, the PERSI index to genealogical periodicals, Revolutionary War pension file images, the US Serial Set, and Freedman's Bank records.
  • Free Databases on
    A list of all the databases at Ancestry that you can access free from home WITHOUT a subscription (though note that you can access ALL of Ancestry Library Edition's databases from inside any Omaha Public Library branch).

Government documents

Omaha Public Library has been a federal depository library since 1880, so it has an extensive collection of government documents of all kinds at the main library. A list of some of the resources most useful to genealogists can be found on our website. Other documents not listed can be found in restricted areas on the second floor of the main library (request materials from staff), and include such things as USGS topographical maps and reports and records of different Nebraska institutions dating back to the 1800s.

Government Documents


Enjoy @ OPL!

Cover Art
The Family Tree German Genealogy Guide - James Beidler
ISBN: 9781440330650
Publication Date: 2014-03-14
Explore Your German Ancestry! Follow your family tree back to its roots in Bavaria, Baden, Prussia, Hesse, Saxony, Wurttemburg and beyond.

Cover Art
Scottish-German Links, 1550-1850 - David Dobson
Call Number: GENREF 929.3 Dobson 2011
ISBN: 9780806355535
Publication Date: 2011-01-01

Cover Art
From Bremen to America in 1850 - Clifford Neal Smith
Call Number: GENREF 929.343 Smith
ISBN: 9780806352268
Publication Date: 2005-01-01
The compiler extracted the names in this Simmern Kreis/Rhineland-Falz booklet from two articles published in Germany in 1935 and 1938. In this work, the author has arranged the names of several thousand immigrants according to hometown of origin and, thereunder, by the county of destination. In most cases, we learn the emigrant's name, year emigrated, occupation, date of birth, and frequently, the city or state of destination.

Cover Art
Germans to America and the Hamburg Passenger Lists - Roger P. Minert; Kathryn Boeckel; Caren Winters
Call Number: GENREF 929.343 Minert 2007
ISBN: 9780788436505
Publication Date: 2007-01-01
Arrival and departure records from two of the best German immigration sources available today. This large-format book is arranged in tables and contains complete instructions for use.

Genealogy at OPL

Genealogy Room
Genealogy Room
The Genealogy Room houses over 8,000 genealogy reference books. While there is an emphasis on Nebraska and Iowa, the collection is of national scope, and includes some international references as well. New materials are constantly being added. The genealogy collection includes vital records indices, cemetery indices and transcriptions, census indices, family genealogies, county and town histories, and countless other useful sources. For library holdings, check the OPL online catalog.


Microfilm Reader
Microfilm Room
The Omaha Public Library's microfilm room houses both dozens of historical local newspapers on microfilm and over 7,000 reels of census microfilm, as well as marriage records for Douglas County (1856-2005) and a few other Nebraska counties, church and cemetery records, and some other historic records. The library owns the entire federal census through 1860, and its long-range goal is to acquire all reels for all released US federal censuses (currently up to 1940). OPL already owns the entire census and Soundex for Nebraska through 1930, and the entire census through 1930 for 17 other states: Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, North and South Dakota, Oklahoma, Utah, and Wyoming. In addition, it is well on its way to completing other states.


3rd Floor Reference Research Assistance
Omaha Public Library staff are ready to assist researchers at all times. For details about the reference assistance we provide for researchers unable to visit in person, see Local Research.


Genealogy links

  • Cyndi's List
    Extensive, searchable index to genealogy sites on the Internet, subdivided into categories
    Enormous collection of online genealogy resources from the Church of Latter-Day Saints, including how-to guides, indices, digitized images, and user-submitted family trees
  • Local History and Genealogy at the Library of Congress
    Genealogy and history resources at the Library of Congress
  • National Archives
    How-to articles about conducting genealogical research, information about records retained by the National Archives, and finding aids for federal records. Knowing how a person interacted with the government is key to a successful search
    Portal to a wide variety of free, user-submitted data and other genealogical resources of all kinds
  • Genealogy Trails History Groups
    Network of free genealogy and history websites similar to Rootsweb, covering all states of the US and offering transcribed data and other research information
  • USGenWeb Project
    Free genealogy websites covering all states of the United States
  • WorldGenWeb Project
    Portal to genealogical resources for countries around the world, managed by a non-profit, volunteer based organization dedicated to providing free access to genealogical and historical records
  • GenForum
    Online genealogy message boards for surnames and locations
  • 52 Weeks To Better Genealogy | GeneaBloggers
    Genealogy blogs
  • Find A Grave
    Millions of tombstone transcriptions provided by volunteers
  • Online County and Town Histories
    Very convenient list of links to digitized county and town histories found on the internet, organized by state and county
  • Obituary Times
    Index to obituaries around the country.
  • Black Book Online
    Portal site providing easy access to many kinds of free public records.
  • Searching for Your Genealogical Records
    Useful links for those beginning their genealogical research.
  • Family Genealogy & History Internet Education Directory
    Scholarly directory of worldwide internet resources maintained by V. Chris and Tom Tinney, Sr.
  • Research Forms
    Keep yourself organized with these forms you can print off.
  • Family History Forms
    Nice set of printable pedigree charts, family group sheets, research logs, and other forms to keep organized with.

Genealogy CDs available for viewing at W. Dale Clark Library

OPL has a collection of genealogy CDs donated by the Greater Omaha Genealogical Society and available for viewing at a a dedicated computer in the third-floor genealogy room at W. Dale Clark Library. The list of available CDs can be viewed here or requested at the third-floor reference desk.


In the news

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Deals of the day!

  In honor of Veterans' Day, Fold3 is offering free access to all its World War II collections, from Nov. 10-30. Check it out!


  Local events

  • Friday, Nov 14, 2014: Genealogy Club
    10 a.m.-noon, Abrahams Branch, 5111 N. 90th St., Omaha. 402-444-6284. Preregister.

    Come do your research, exchange tips, and talk with experienced genealogists.
  • Saturday, Nov 15, 2014: Using Historical Postcards in Your Genealogical Research
    11 a.m-12:15 p.m., W. Dale Clark Library, 215 S. 15th St., Omaha. Meeting Rm 2-3. 402-444-4826. Preregister.

    Historical postcards offer valuable clues for genealogists. Researcher Lynne Farr will show how to use them to solve research puzzles
  • Sunday, Nov 16, 2014: Genealogy Writers' Group
    1:30-3:30 p.m., W. Dale Clark Library, 215 S. 15th St., Omaha, Meeting Room 1. No registration required, just drop in!
    Interested in writing up your family history? Share tips and get feedback from other writers. Contact: Tricia,
  • Wednesday, Nov 19, 2014: GOGS Monthly Meeting
    7 p.m., Nebraska Methodist College (Josie Harper Campus), 87th & Burt, Omaha.
    Lynne Farr will talk about DNA and genealogy.
  • Friday, Dec 5, 2014: Genealogy Work Group
    10 a.m.-noon, Millard Branch Library, 13214 Westwood Lane, Omaha. Computer lab. Preregister.

    Join a group of genealogy enthusiasts to work on your personal research and exchange tips with others. An instructor will be on hand.
  • Friday, Dec 5, 2014: GO-PAF Meeting
    7 p.m., LDS Center, 11027 Martha St., Omaha.
    Come and discuss genealogy software and other tools.
  • Saturday, Dec 6, 2014: Family History Holiday Crafts
    2:00-3:00 p.m., W. Dale Clark Library, 215 S. 15th St., Omaha. Meeting Room 2-3. 402-444-4826. Preregister.

    Make heritage-themed gifts to give your family this holiday season.

The Source

The Source

The Source: A Guidebook to American Genealogy, by Loretto Dennis Szucs and Sandra Hargreaves Luebking, has been referred to as "the genealogist's bible," and for good reason. It offers detailed, comprehensive, and well-indexed information about almost every kind of record researchers of American genealogy might ever need to consult. Ancestry, its publisher, has digitized the most recent edition (2006) and made it available free online.

Other guides

Check out these related subject guides!

Omaha History
by Lynn Sullivan - Last Updated Nov 19, 2014
Resources for Omaha History
3,221 views this year

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