Affiliation gives genealogists better access to family history

Thursday, August 29, 2019
See the key? That means the information contained in this file at the "Family History Library" of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Salt Lake City, Utah, is locked and restricted. The Southwest Nebraska Genealogy Society library in downtown McCook is now an affiliate library of the FamilySearch genealogical libraries. Genealogists who have come across the "Key" icon in their FamilySearch research may now be able to access the locked records using SWNGS computers. Hundreds of FamilySearch affiliate libraries are helping extend FamilySearch services to millions of patrons worldwide. FamilySearch manages the Family History Library in Salt Lake City and more than 5,000 family history centers throughout the world.
Connie Jo Discoe/McCook Gazette

McCook, Neb. — The Southwest Nebraska Genealogy Society announces it is now an affiliate library of the "Family History Library" of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Salt Lake City, Utah.

With this new affiliation, researchers using the SWNGS library in downtown McCook are now able to access digital genealogical collections that are otherwise accessible only at the Salt Lake City library or at one of more than 5,000 FamilySearch family history centers worldwide.

Chris Christensen of Curtis, an avid genealogist and a volunteer at SWNGS, is excited about the new capability, and says the new affiliation is "the next best thing to going to Salt Lake City."

According to fellow SWNGS volunteer Sherrie Dack, SWNGS is one of only four libraries in Nebraska with the FamilySearch affiliation. The other three are the Omaha Public Library, the West Nebraska Family Research History Center in Scottsbluff and the North Platte Public Library/North Platte Genealogy Society.

Chris says that if someone has researched within the the FamilySearch library catalog and discovered that some records have limited access or are restricted or locked out, those records may no longer be locked out with the new affiliation of the genealogy library in McCook. "Come to SWNGS, use our computers and see them here," he says.

"This affiliation gives us access to restricted records," Chris said. "They haven't been restricted for nefarious reasons. Some have copyright restrictions. Some church records are restricted. Many records in England, Germany, France … in Eastern Block countries, are restricted."

These records aren't available on home computers, Sherrie said. They're available only at an affiliate library, or in Salt Lake City or at a FamilySearch family history center, Chris explained. Genealogists may be able to unlock the restricted images of the FamilySearch records they want to view with a visit to the SWNGS library.

Sherrie said, with a mischievous twinkle in her eye, "This will save you a trip to Salt Lake City. But, I would still recommend a trip to Salt Lake City."


The Southwest Nebraska Genealogy Society library is located at 110 West C in downtown McCook, on the second floor of the Merit Building at the corner of West First and Norris Avenue. Use the door on the north side of the building (about half-way between Norris Avenue and the alley to the west), and walk up one flight of stairs or use the elevator. Turn right at the top of the stairs, to Suite M-3.

Society officers are proud of having collected “everything published on Red Willow County.” Their collection includes scrapbooks, compiled from 1882 to the present, containing births, marriages, obituaries, anniversaries and reunions. The society houses original district court records books, as well as many original marriage applications and licenses.

The library also includes easy-access indexes for marriages, burials, probate and land records; and has access to 2,000 digital genealogy books on its computers.

Records include those from Chase, Dundy, Hayes, Hitchcock, Frontier, Red Willow, Gosper and Furnas counties.

The library is open Tuesday and Thursday, from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. No appointments are necessary; walk-ins are welcome.

For more information on SWNGS services and research assistance, call (308) 350-0126; e-mail at; or go to the new-and-improved website,

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