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About Land Grant Connects

Nebraskans preserve, protect and take pride in our land. Here's one more reason to celebrate that strong connection to the land – nearly 135,000 of the state's almost 50 million acres helped establish the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, a land-grant university. From the mid-1800s on, this is a robust story of true grit leading to the glory in Nebraska's flagship university we all share. Find out more about Nebraska, its people and its value for higher education.

Process

Inspired by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach's inaugural work www.landgrant.iastate.edu, Nebraska Extension set out to tell its own land-grant legacy story. Records are not the same from one state to another. The Nebraska project took these steps:

  1. Find land-grant parcels in handwritten, mid-1800s records. These were in the archives of the Nebraska State Historical Society as confirmed by the Nebraska Board of Educational Lands and Funds. Each of the parcels found on the lists developed by Nebraska and approved by the federal government was entered in the project database by county, land tract (which quadrant the parcel was in), land description (section, township, range) and the number of total acres in that parcel.
  2. Cross-check the database totals. Summary records of the University of Nebraska Board of Regents and other references were consulted to assure data collection was on the right track.
  3. Verify the database. County online scans of parcel-by-parcel deeds provided this information for most counties. Some required checking written records.
  4. Search for current owners. Proceeding county-by-county and using online databases, each parcel's land description was entered to find owners.
  5. Reach out to current owners. Nebraska Extension contacted owners to determine interest in being featured on the Land-Grant Connects website and honored at county and state fair celebrations.
  6. Continue contacting current owners. Over the next several years, add more stories to the website to celebrate the connection between Nebraska's land, its flagship university and its people.

Acknowledgments

Together with university staff, including Nebraska Extension professionals, representatives from the following entities were instrumental in moving this project from a dream to reality:

  • County Registers of Deed
  • Iowa State University Extension and Outreach
  • Nebraska Board of Educational Lands and Funds
  • Nebraska Library Commission
  • Nebraska State Historical Society

Two graduates of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, under the administrative supervision of Nebraska Extension, were involved. The project was coordinated by Jane Schuchardt ('74). Data collection was accomplished by Anya Graubard ('19).

Disclaimer

Data were collected using 1800s handwritten records housed by the Nebraska State Historical Society and verified by records maintained by the Registers of Deed in counties. Care was taken, including a verification process, to assure data accuracy. Given the nature of the data, errors may surface. Please report them in the feedback section of this website.

Privacy

By default, no landowner information will be displayed on this site without permission.

Landowners are offered the opportunity to "opt in” and tell their story about the land. Opting in means a writer from the university would contact landowners for an interview, resulting in their stories being included on the website. Any information shared in the story (family names, city/county, etc.) will then be publicly accessible and searchable on the site. If you own land that was once a part of these historic parcels and would like to share your story, please let us know through the feedback form.

References

Board of Educational Lands and Funds, Nebraska. RG006. http://www.nebraskahistory.org/lib-arch/research/public/state_finding_aids/lands_funds_bd.htm, 6/6/2007.

Gieseke, Carole. Iowa State's land-grant heritage. Visions, Winter 2018, pp 10-11.

Hachiya, Kim. Dear old Nebraska U: Celebrating 150 years. Lincoln, NE: Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska, 2019.

Horton, Agnes. Nebraska's agricultural-college land-grant. Nebraska History, Nebraska State Historical Society, Volume 30, March 1949, pp. 50-76.

Knoll, Robert E. Prairie university: A history of the University of Nebraska. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 1995, pp. 14-21.

Lang, Russell C. Original land transfers of Nebraska: How the west was almost given away. Baltimore, MD: Gateway Press, c2001, pp. 70-89 (Chapter 9 – The Land Grant College Act of 1862.)

Manley, Robert N. Centennial History of the University of Nebraska. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 1969, pp. 3-11, 320. http://unlhistory.unl.edu/exhibits/show/manley-centennial

The land-grant tradition. Washington, DC: Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, 2012.

http://unlhistory.unl.edu/exhibits/show/nebraska-land-sales

https://www.landgrant.iastate.edu