Clay County, Nebraska Genealogy

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United States Gotoarrow.png Nebraska Gotoarrow.png Clay County

Clay County, Nebraska
Map of Nebraska highlighting Clay County
Location in the state of Nebraska
Map of the U.S. highlighting Nebraska
Location of Nebraska in the U.S.
Founded February 16, 1867
County Seat Clay Center
Address Clay County Courthouse
111 W. Fairfield Street
Clay Center, NE 68933
Phone: 402-762-3651
County Website

Clay County, Nebraska genealogy and family history research page. Guide to genealogy, history, and courthouse sources including birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, wills, deeds and land records, Civil War records, family histories, cemeteries, churches, tax records, newspapers, and obituaries.


County Information

Clay County, Nebraska Record Dates

Beginning Dates for Major County Records[1]
Birth Marriage Death Census Land Probate
1871 1860 1871 1871

County Courthouse

County Clerk has birth and death records 1917-1918, marriage and land records from 1871 and military records 1921. Clerk District Court has divorce and naturalization records. County Court has probate records. [2]


Henry Clay.JPG

Clay County was part of the Louisiana territory and therefore ruled by both the French and the Spanish in its early history. After the Louisiana Purchase and the formation of the State of Nebraska in 1867, Clay County was formed on February 16, 1867. By 1871 the westward migration brought families from the eastern seaboard of the United States to the open prairies of Nebraska and Clay County. In the 1870s two railroad came to Clay county and with them came many immigrants, including a large colony of Germans from the coastal regions of Russia, British and Irish immigrants eager to homestead the prairie land. The county is named after 19th century U.S. Speaker of the House, Henry Clay. [3]

Parent County

1867 Clay County was created 16 February 1867 from unorganized territory.
County seat: Clay Center. [4]


The county seat for Clay county is Clay Center. The county was named after Henry Clay, a famous American statesman, member of the United States Senate from Kentucky and United States Secretary of State in the 19th century.[5]

Boundary Changes

Record Loss

There is no known history of courthouse disasters in this county.


Populated Places [6]

  • Clay Center
  • Edgar
  • Fairfield
  • Harvard
  • Sutton
  • Deweese
  • Glenvil
  • Ong
  • Saronville
  • Trumbull (partial)
Census-designated place
  • Inland
Unincorporated communities
  • Eldorado
  • Verona
  • Edgar
  • Eldorado
  • Fairfield
  • Glenvil
  • Harvard
  • Inland
  • Leicester
  • Lewis
  • Logan
  • Lone Tree
  • Lynn
  • Marshall
  • School Creek
  • Sheridan
  • Spring Ranch
  • Sutton

Neighboring Counties



Tombstone Transcriptions Online Tombstone Transcriptions in Print List of Cemeteries in the county Family History Library
WorldCat Billion Graves
Tombstone Project
Nebraska Cemeteries
Billion Graves
See Nebraska Cemeteries for more information.


Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1860 165
1870 54 −67.3%
1880 11,294 20814.8%
1890 16,310 44.4%
1900 15,735 −3.5%
1910 15,629 −0.7%
1920 14,486 −7.3%
1930 13,571 −6.3%
1940 10,445 −23.0%
1950 8,700 −16.7%
1960 8,717 0.2%
1970 8,266 −5.2%
1980 8,106 −1.9%
1990 7,213 −11.0%
2000 7,039 −2.4%
2010 6,542 −7.1%
Source: "".
State Census Records
Federal Census Records

Federal Censuses were taken for Nebraska starting in 1860. For links to Federal census indexes, see Nebraska Census.

For tips on accessing Clay County, Nebraska Genealogy census records online, see: Nebraska Census.


Church records vary significantly depending on the denomination and the record keeper. They may contain information about members of the congregation, such as age, date of baptism, christening, or birth; marriage information and maiden names; and death date. For general information about Nebraska denominations, view the Nebraska Church Records wiki page.



Land and property records can place an ancestor in a particular location, provide economic information, and reveal family relationships. Land records include: deeds, abstracts and indexes, mortgages, leases, grants and land patents.

See Nebraska Land and Property for additional information about early Nebraska land grants. After land was transferred to private ownership, subsequent transactions were usually recorded at the county courthouse, where records are currently housed.

For more information see Nebraska Land and Property

Local Histories

Local histories are available for Clay County, Nebraska Genealogy. County histories may include biographies, church, school and government history, and military information. For more information about local histories, see the wiki page section Nebraska Local Histories.

  • History of the State of Nebraska. Cutler, William. 1882. Chicago, IL.: The Western Historical Company, A. T. Andreas, Proprietor. Available online at:

Maps and Gazetteers



Early migration routes to and from Clay County for European and African American settlers included:


Revolutionary War
Civil War


For information on Nebraska newspapers, see Nebraska Newspapers.

Nebraska Newspapers Online

Nebraska Newspaper Catalogs


In most counties in Nebraska, probate records have been kept by the county judge. They include wills, fee books, claim registers, legacy records, inheritance records, probate ticklers, and dockets. The records are available at the county courthouse.

The FamilySearch Catalog lists films of probate records. To find the records for this county, use the Place Search for Nebraska - Clay - Probate records.

Online Probate Records


Nebraska tax records complement land records and can be used in place of censuses before 1820 or to supplement the years between censuses. There may be gaps of several years in the records.

Vital Records

Vital Records consist of births, adoptions, marriages, divorces, and deaths recorded on registers, certificates, and documents. A copy or an extract of most original records can be purchased from the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services or the County Clerk's office of the county where the event occurred.

Marriage Records

Online Marriage Records Indexes and Images

Societies and Libraries

County, Township and City Societies


  • Clay Center Public Library
    117 W Edgar St
    Clay Center, NE 68933-1427
    Phone: 402-762-3861
    Fax: 402-762-3861 (call first)
    Library Director: Cheryl Green

Family History Centers

  • Family History Centers provide one-on-one assistance and free access to premium genealogical websites. In addition, many centers have free how-to genealogy classes. See Family History Center for more information. Search the online FHC directory for a nearby family history center.



  1. Alice Eichholz, Ancestry’s Red Book: American State, County and Town Sources, Revised ed. (Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1992), 452-465. At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27rb 1992
  2. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Clay County, Nebraska page 429, At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  3. Kansas Collection Books
  4. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
  5. accessed 09/29/2016
  6. Wikipedia contributors, "Clay County, Nebraska," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,,_Nebraska, accessed 29 July 2016.
  7. National Park Service, "(Auto Tour Route) Maps" in Oregon National Historic Trail at (accessed 18 July 2011).
  8. National Park Service, "(Auto Tour Route) Maps" in California National Historic Trail at (accessed 18 July 2011).
  9. National Park Service, "Auto Tour Route Maps" in Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail at (accessed 18 July 2011).