26 November 2014

Attending Church in Nebraska in the 1880s

Testimony in homestead records is like testimony in virtually any record: one never knows what details will be mentioned. That's especially true when affiants are trying to prove specific points--any detail that helps to prove their case may be included. 

And so Renke Kaiser thought that the Bureau of Land Management needed to know that Jurgen Ehmen attended church weekly.

This 1887 era statement by Renke Kaiser in the homestead application of Jurgen Ehmen indicated that Kaiser saw Jurgen and Jurgen's family in church every Sunday.Church wasn't important to the Bureau of Land Management. What was important was that Ehmen was on his claim constantly and living there. If Kaiser saw Ehmen weekly in church, then Ehmen was obviously living in the area.

Kaiser didn't indicate which church, but it shouldn't take too much work to determine what churches were within close distance of both Kaiser and Ehmen.  Officials weren't interested in the specific church attended by Kaiser and Ehmen. Genealogists are.

Note: this image was taken from "Nebraska, Homestead, Records, 1861-1936."