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Genealogical society needs new home after 30 years at Union College in Lincoln
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Genealogical society needs new home after 30 years at Union College in Lincoln

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Genealogy section at Union College

The Lincoln-Lancaster County Genealogical Society's section at Union College.

The Lincoln-Lancaster County Genealogical Society is looking for a new home for its 8,000-piece collection.

The society has housed its resources for 30 years in the Union College library after its start in 1976 in a member's basement.

The college will be turning the space it has dedicated to books, DVDs, magazines and microfilm owned by the society into a student tutoring center, according to Michael George, president of the society.

The collection includes items like a 1924 Tobias telephone directory, a 1963 Thunderer yearbook from Pius X, the book "Abie to Yutan: Nebraska's pictorial history" and an index to the marriage records of Lancaster County from 1866-1893.

George said they have until mid-March to find a new place or the collection will be held in storage. 

Society board member Prudence Sadler said the society hopes to find a place before then.

"One of our missions is to provide resources for the community to research genealogy," she said. "If all of our stuff is in boxes, it takes away from one of our core missions."

George said that not having an answer for what will happen to the society's resources has been hard for members.

"It's a really big change," he said. "We've been here for 30 years, and, for a lot of our longtime members, it's very sad to leave."

But, George and Sadler are trying to make sure the society ends up in a good place.

"We've been making an active effort to reach out to places that we think we might be a good fit," Sadler said. "We've reached out to at least 30 organizations and have been taking recommendations from the community."

She said they want to keep the library local, but have looked at locations outside of Lincoln and Lancaster County.

"We still have hope we will find somewhere that's a good fit, and we won't be giving up any time soon," Sadler said.

If the Genealogical Society doesn't find a new home, George said members might have to make some hard decisions.

"Worst-case scenario is the collection will be split up and sent to different places across the country," he said. "It's not something we're wanting to consider right now. We want it to be a resource for Nebraskans and Lincoln and Lancaster County residents."

Reach the writer at 402-473-7241 or sbernt@journalstar.com

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Samantha Bernt is a Fremont native and a junior at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln majoring in journalism and broadcasting. She joined the Journal Star in 2019 as a reporting intern.

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