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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: Apr 16, 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 for access.

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'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
Tracing Your Irish Ancestors - John Grenham
Call Number: GENREF 929.109415 Grenham 2012
ISBN: 9780806318974
Publication Date: 2012-05-01
An indispensable guide to what records in Ireland are available online; where they are; and what they mean.

Cover Art
Irish Church Records - James G. Ryan (Editor)
Call Number: GENREF 929.3415 Irish 2001
ISBN: 9780953997404
Publication Date: 2001-12-31
This book details the records of each of the 8 major Irish denominations and their value for family history, and for church and local history. The locations of the records of each church, and guidelines for their access, are provided.

Cover Art
A Guide to Tracing Your Dublin Ancestors - James G. Ryan; Brian Smith
Call Number: GENREF 929.1072041835 Ryan 2009
ISBN: 9780956362414
Publication Date: 2009-11-30
A comprehensive guide to family history research in Dublin City and County. It describes how to best use the records available, and where they can be accessed. The library now has similar guides for other Irish counties.

Cover Art
Advanced Genealogy Research Techniques - George G. Morgan; Drew Smith
Call Number: 929.1 Morgan 2014
ISBN: 9780071816502
Publication Date: 2013-08-20
A professional genealogist reveals how to get past brick walls in research and unearth hard-to-find ancestors. The book covers a variety of software programs and specialized genealogy tools and shows you how to create an online genealogical research log to preserve data found and organize it in ways to help you understand what you've uncovered.

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.
  • 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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Deal of the day

Fold3To commemorate the beginnin of the US Civil War in April, 1861, Fold3 is offering free access to all its Civil War documents from April 14 through April 30!  Don't miss this opportunity to check out its great resources!


More good news for those with Canadian ancestors! The 1921 Canadian census has been indexed and is now providing free access to it.


  Local events

  • Sunday, Apr 20, 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, tlpiatt
  • Friday, May 2, 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, May 2, 2014: GO-PAF Meeting
    7 p.m., LDS Center, 11027 Martha St., Omaha.
    Come and discuss genealogy software and other tools.
  • Friday, May 9, 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, May 17, 2014: Free Genealogy Classes: Newspaper and Courthouse Research
    9:15-noon, Mormon Trail Center, 3215 State St., Omaha. Preregister at 402-706-1453 or

    Part I: Black and White and Read All Over.

    Part II: What's at the Courthouse besides Vital Records?
  • Saturday, May 17, 2014: Letters Home: A Reading for All Ages
    2-4 p.m., W. Dale Clark Library, 215 S. 15th St., Omaha. Preregister, 402-444-4826.

    From the Civil War to modern conflicts, soldiers have been writing home from the front for centuries. Join us for an intergenerational reading of such letters.
  • Wednesday, May 21, 2014: GOGS Monthly Meeting
    7 p.m., Nebraska Methodist College (Josie Harper Campus), 87th & Burt, Omaha.
    Lynne Farr will talk about DNA in genealogy research. Open to all!

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 Apr 12, 2014
Resources for Omaha History
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