Dawson County, Nebraska Genealogy

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United States Gotoarrow.png Nebraska Gotoarrow.png Dawson County

Dawson County, Nebraska
Map of Nebraska highlighting Dawson County
Location in the state of Nebraska
Map of the U.S. highlighting Nebraska
Location of Nebraska in the U.S.
Founded January 11, 1860
County Seat Lexington
Address Dawson County Courthouse
700 N Washington St
Lexington, NE 68850
Phone: 308.324.5606
County Website

Dawson 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

Dawson County, Nebraska Record Dates

Beginning Dates for Major County Records[1]
Birth Marriage Death Census Land Probate
1871 1870 1871 1871

County Courthouse

County Clerk has marriage records from 1873. County Court has probate and court records. Clerk District Court has divorce and naturalization records. Register of Deeds has land records. Veterans Service Office has military records. [2]


Parent County

1860 Dawson County was created 11 January 1860 from unorganized territory. County seat: Lexington. [3]


The county of Dawson was thought to have been named after Jacob Dawson, the first postmaster in the settlement of Lancaster; further research has indicated that the honor may actually belong to Pennsylvania Congressman, John L. Dawson, writer of the homestead bill of 1854.[4]

Boundary Changes

Record Loss

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


Populated Places[5]

  • Cozad
  • Gothenburg
  • Lexington
  • Eddyville
  • Farnam
  • Overton
  • Sumner
Census-designated place
  • Willow Island
Unincorporated communities
  • Buffalo
  • Darr
  • Josselyn

Neighboring Counties



Christ Cemetery - Gothenburg

Cottonwood Cemetery - Cozad

Cozad Cemetery - Cozad

Evergreen Cemetery - Lexington (north east)

Fairview Cemetery - Cozad

Gothenbury Cemetery - Gothenburg

Grace Cemetery - Lexington (west)

Hewitt Cemetery - Lexington (west)

Hillside Cemetery - Buffalo

Jewell Cemetery - Sumner

Mount Hope Cemetery - Lexington (east)

Overton Cemetery - Overton

Park Valley Cemetery - Eddyville

Pleasant View Cemetery - Gothenburg (south east)

Rose Hill Cemetery - Buffalo

Saint Ann's Cemetery - Lexington (east)

Saint John's Cemetery - Buffalo

Saint Patrick's Cemetery - Eddyville

Salem Cemetery - Gothenburg

Sumner Cemetery - Sumner

Walnut Grove Cemetery - Cozad (north west)

Willow Island Cemetery - Willow Island

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


Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1860 16
1870 103 543.8%
1880 2,909 2724.3%
1890 10,129 248.2%
1900 12,264 21.1%
1910 15,961 30.1%
1920 16,004 0.3%
1930 17,875 11.7%
1940 17,890 0.1%
1950 19,393 8.4%
1960 19,405 0.1%
1970 19,771 1.9%
1980 22,304 12.8%
1990 19,940 −10.6%
2000 24,365 22.2%
2010 24,326 −0.2%
Source: "Wikipedia.org".
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 Dawson 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.

  • Records of the American Lutheran Church, Gothenburg, in Evangelical Lutheran Church in America database at Archives.com ($).



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 Dawson 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.

Maps and Gazetteers



Early migration routes to and from Dawson 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 - Dawson - 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

  • Cozad Genealogy Club
    Wilson Public Library
    P.O. Drawer C
    910 Meridian Ave
    Cozad, NE 69130
    Phone: 308-784-2879
  • Dawson County Genealogical Society
    514 E. 8th St
    Cozad, NE 69130
  • Gothenburg Historical Society
    P.O. Box 153
    520 Ninth St
    Gothenburg, NE 69138


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), Dawson County, Nebraska page 429, At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  3. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
  4. http://genealogytrails.com/neb/dawson/ accessed 09/29/2016
  5. Wikipedia contributors, "Dawson County, Nebraska," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dawson_County,_Nebraska, accessed 29 July 2016.
  6. Jim Tompkins, "The Oregon Trail 1841-1848 Map II" in Oregon Trail Landmarks at http://www.oregonpioneers.com/OTMap2.jpg (accessed 18 July 2011).
  7. "Oregon California Trails Association" at http://octatrails.micromaps.com/ (accessed 18 July 2011).
  8. "The Pioneer Story: The Mormon Pioneer Trail" in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at http://lds.org/gospellibrary/pioneer/pioneerstory.htm (accessed 18 July 2011).