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Let’s talk family history……….

Family history has become so much more than Grandma making notes in her diary or shoe boxes filled with scraps of paper and news clippings. To begin with, it is now in a fast race with coins and stamps to take over as the number one hobby in the world.  There are many reasons for this but the first is the availability for records to be found online as opposed to driving accross the country and digging in an old courthouse. While that still holds some appeal to many genealogists, it really isn’t practical or feasable.  Several other reasons include the yearning to reconnect with their roots and wanting to find the family medical history. I also think that the media marketing blitz from has spurred many people to wonder about their own journey story.  It isn’t always as easy as the commercial makes it sound, but  if a newbie  finds a couple of items easily…..they are hooked!  The more that are looking, the easier it will be for the rest of us.

The Knight Museum & Sandhills Center Heritage Room is a centralized location to find information on Alliance, Hemingford, Box Butte County and much of Western Nebraska. We have a wonderful working relationship with our local public library, County Courthouse, local newspaper,  City Offices and anywhere else you might think a record could be. Our files are an ongoing project which include a wide variety of accumulated records. When approached to do a research question, our staff and volunteers use a 21 item check list that includes:

1.  Marriages

2. Delayed Birth Records

3. Court Records

4. Divorces

5. Cemetery Books  (28 cemeteries)

6. Birth Records

7. Funeral Home Records (3 Funeral Homes)

8. Prairie Poineers Book index

9. County Histories  (10 area counties)

10. Media Sources (all Box Butte County newspapers on microfilm)

11. 1939 Ball-Phillips Book Index

12. 1904 Western Nebraska Compendium Index

13. Box Butte County Naturalization Records

14. Surrounding Town Histories

15. School Annuals ( ALliance, Hemingford & St. Agnes)

16. Newspaper Souvenir Editions

17. Misc. Indexes (Soldiers, Patent, 1897 Tax List, Catholic Church & Farmer’s Tax List)

18. Land Records (only available at the courthouse, we can check if we have time)

19. Private Collections held here

20. Files (includes: Family, Topics, Occupations, Schools, Churches, Groups & Early BB County Families)

21. Other sources in the area that we can refer you to

As you can see we have an extensive collection of resources available and are more than happy to share these with researchers across the country. Let us hear from you and see if we can help with your personal journey story. Contact us at


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17th Annual Tree and Wreath Festival

Box Butte General Hospital donates “sweet” wreath.



Make plans to attend the 17th Annual Christmas Tree & Wreath Festival at the Knight Museum and Sandhills Center located at 908 Yellowstone from December 1st through December 8th!  The hours of the festival are 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Saturday, December 1st; 1:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Sunday, December 2nd; 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Monday, December 3rd through Friday, December 7th and 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, December 8th when the silent auction concludes.

 This year’s festival will feature approximately (68) two-foot trees and (30) twenty-two inch wreaths decorated by local individuals and businesses.  The trees and wreaths are available for purchase by using a bid process in a week-long silent auction.  Bidders may obtain a bid number at the reception desk with the bids beginning at $30.00.  On Saturday, December 8th the person with the highest bid gets to take the respective trees and wreaths home!  The Knight Museum and Sandhills Center would like to invite your school, civic group, lunch group or social club to come enjoy the festival. Refreshments will be served daily!

 A “search game” will be of interest to those who like an adventure!  A little blue gem has been remotely hidden in each tree entry.  See if you can find all of them by only using your eyes!

 A  People’s Choice award will be given to the most popular tree and wreath which will be determined by penny votes.  Drop your loose change in the penny jars of your favorite tree and wreath to vote!  People’s Choice voting will conclude on Friday, December 7th to allow the winners to be posted on the final day of the auction on December 8th.

 Entertainment will be provided each day of the festival.  The entertainment schedule is as follows:

 December 1 –  2:00 p.m.  Alliance Middle School Show Choir

December 1  – 6:30 p.m. Dan Marquez & Friends – Piano and vocals

December 2 –  2:00 p.m. 7th Street Dance Studio

December 2 –  6:30 p.m. Sue Dimmitt & Students – Piano

December 3 –  6:30 p.m. Teri Dugan & Shon Townsend – Vocals and Guitars

December 4 –  6:30 p.m. Alliance High School Harmonics – Show Choir

December 5 –  6:30 p.m. Larry Leinweber – Vocal and Guitar

December 6 –  6:30 p.m. Barbie Beck and Family – Vocals

December 7 –  6:30 p.m. Terri Collins and Students – Piano, Guitar and Vocals

December 8 –  3:00 p.m. St. John’s Brass – Brass Ensemble

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Local Artist Joe Lamay 1914-2004

Joe LaMay’s art speaks to many people with it’s diverse variety of chalk, oil, pen and ink, these are  just a few of the mediums displayed in the Knight Museum & Sandhills Center Theater from now until early 2013. While many have long enjoyed his art they  may not know he also dabbled in cartoons and illustrations. The story of Joe’s late in life jump in to acadamia at Chadron State College, his family Christmas cards, his first painting and his last unfinished painting of a Paris street  will impress you with his talent and perserverance. The Knight Museum & Sandhills Center is proud to show the private collection belonging to his children so stop by for a visual treat.

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Hoffland & Antioch Nebraska

If you drive east on Highway 2 and zing by Antioch, no wait did you blink and miss it? Well if you ever wanted to know more about this interesting ghost town, come to the Knight Museum & Sandhills Center on Thurs. Oct 25th and listen to Ken Messersmith talk about Antioch and Hoffland Nebraska in the early Days. Ken, who was born in Antioch and Becky Herian will provide some interesting commentary on the early history of these two towns on the prairie. See ya there at 6:30 p.m.  in the Theater.

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School has started, are you smarter than a 5th Grader?

Well here we are  back to school again but it makes me wonder if kids are the only ones that should be learning? I hazzard a guess that we should all be trying to learn something new once in awhile.

For me that is some new gem about my widespread family like the long ago ancestor that lived with his family of 6 in a one room house and toiled at a job that barely paid $20 a month or the missing child in a family that you find died on the trip across the sea and was buried overboard. These stories are heartbreaking but do answer a question. It also makes us all realize how lucky we are and what a blessed life we have now.

Learning also encludes the computer. If you have not entered your valuable family research to a computer yet, now is the time. There are many great programs available and they seem to realize that not everyone is Bill Gates trained so most are very user friendly. Once you take the leap you will find the ease of sharing materials outweighs any strain of inputting data. You just have to think on the terms that Grandpa is now data!

We are always available to help with any genealogy questions. If we don’t know the answer, we can find someone that does. Now go learn something…..

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