Polk County, Nebraska Genealogy

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United States Gotoarrow.png Nebraska Gotoarrow.png Polk County

Polk County, Nebraska
Map of Nebraska highlighting Polk County
Location in the state of Nebraska
Map of the U.S. highlighting Nebraska
Location of Nebraska in the U.S.
Founded January 26, 1856
County Seat Osceola
Address Polk County Courthouse
400 Hawkeye Street
P.O. Box 276
Osceola, NE 68651
Phone: 402.747.5431
County Website

Polk 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

Polk County, Nebraska Record Dates

Beginning Dates for Major County Records
Birth Marriage Death Census Land Probate
1871 1860 1870 1870

County Courthouse

County Judge has probate records. County Clerk has marriage and land records. [1]


Parent County

1856 Polk County was created 26 January 1856 from York County and unorganized territory. County seat: Osceola [2]


Polk County is the fourth county west of the Missouri River.[3] It was named after President James K. Polk. [4]

Boundary Changes

Record Loss

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


Populated Places [5]

  • Durant
  • Osceola
  • Polk
  • Shelby
  • Stromsburg
  • Swedehome
  • Canada
  • Clear Creek
  • Hackberry
  • Island
  • Osceola
  • Platte
  • Pleasant Home
  • Stromsburg
  • Valley

Neighboring Counties



Beulah Cemetery (north of Swede Home)

Blue Ridge Cemetery (north of Gresham)

Graceland Cemetery (Shelby)

Hoffer Cemetery (southeast of Stromsburg)

LaClede Cemetery (north of Polk)

Osceola Cemetery

Pilzno (St. Mary) Cemetery (140th & P Roads)

Pleasant Home Cemetery (west of Polk)

Polk Cemetery

Sacred Heart Cemetery (Shelby)

St. Andrew's Catholic Cemetery #1 (north of Osceola, no longer used)

St. Andrew's Catholic Cemetery #2 (north of Osceola)

St. John's Lutheran Cemetery (north of Shelby, by the river)

Stromsburg Cemetery

Swede Home Cemetery

Swede Plain Cemetery (east of Stromsburg, or north of Polk)

Union Cemetery (south of Shelby)

Valley German Methodist Cemetery (north of Osceola)

Wesley Chapel Cemetery (northeast of Osceola, northwest of Shelby)

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 19
1870 136 615.8%
1880 6,846 4933.8%
1890 10,817 58.0%
1900 10,542 −2.5%
1910 10,521 −0.2%
1920 10,714 1.8%
1930 10,092 −5.8%
1940 8,748 −13.3%
1950 8,044 −8.0%
1960 7,210 −10.4%
1970 6,468 −10.3%
1980 6,320 −2.3%
1990 5,668 −10.3%
2000 5,639 −0.5%
2010 5,406 −4.1%
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 Polk 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.

Online Land Records

For more information see Nebraska Land and Property

Local Histories

Local histories are available for Polk 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 Polk 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 - Polk - 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


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. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Polk County, Nebraska page 433, At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  2. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
  3. http://genealogytrails.com/neb/polk/ accessed 09/29/2016
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polk_County,_Nebraska accessed 09/29/2016
  5. Wikipedia contributors, "Polk County, Nebraska," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polk_County,_Nebraska, accessed 1 August 2016.
  6. Jim Tompkins, "The Oregon Trail 1841-1848 Map I" in Oregon Trail Landmarks at http://www.oregonpioneers.com/OTMap1.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).