Nebraska Court Records

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United States Gotoarrow.png U.S. Court Records Gotoarrow.png Nebraska Gotoarrow.png Court Records

Record Synopsis

Court records are usually searched after other records have already been investigated, but they should not be overlooked. Court records can establish family relationships and places of residence. They often provide occupations, descriptions of individuals, and other excellent family history information.

Many of your ancestors' names will be found in court records—perhaps as defendants, plaintiffs, witnesses, or jurors. They may have participated in cases involving probate, naturalization, divorce, debt, adoption, guardianship, licenses, appointment to public offices, taxes, civil and criminal lawsuits, property disputes, crimes, or many other matters brought before a court.

Because of their great importance to family history research, see "Nebraska Probate Records" and "Nebraska Naturalization and Citizenship" for records of those courts. Divorces are discussed under "Nebraska Vital Records."

Unfortunately, court records tend to be difficult to use. The records are usually not well-indexed, there are many records, court names and jurisdictions changed, and they use many legal terms and abbreviations. For further information see United States Court Records

Locating Court Records


The Nebraska State Historical Society offers an online index to Nebraska Prison Records, 1870-1990 that has been compiled from Nebraska Board of Pardons and Parole registers and includes prisoners from the state penitentiary as well as both the men's and women's reformatories. It only contains the names of those inmates who appeared before the Board of Pardons and Paroles, however, and thus is not a complete listing of prisoners.

The Family History Library (FHL)

The Family History Library has copies of many published court records and indexes. The library also has microfilm copies of indexes, minutes, dockets, and orders from many local courthouses. The library does not generally acquire copies of the complete case files or packets. The holdings of the Family History Library are normally listed in the Place Search of the Family History Library Catalog under one of the following: