An old proverb states that "the eyes are the windows into the soul." A genealogy corollary is that "a photo is a window into the lives of your ancestors."
I love old photos, whether they are portraits of my ancestors or historical photos for the period when they lived. And it is important to a complete research that one attempts to understand the environment that surrounds our ancestors' lives if one wants to truly appreciate what they went through.
So where can they be found? Obviously the best resource is our own photo albums and those that our relatives possess. But what about other resources? Many archives, historical societies, libraries and genealogical societies have collections of old photos. And in the past few years there has been a massive movement towards making these historical photo collections available online. Some have search capabilities where you can actually put in a surname or a location, name of a building or historical event and find what is available.
For the state of Nebraska, what collections are available for you to browse and/or search online? Here is a list of sites to start with. Please feel free to add in the comments other online resources that you might be aware of in the state.
Please be aware that there may be very strict rules regarding downloading or other use of the images that you may find. Copyright and other legal protections may be in force. Make sure that you read the limitations of use for any image that you find in these collections and wish to download and/or copy. It is your responsibility to adhere to the rules for all of these collections.
Please note that links to these sites may change in the future. The author (me) will not be constantly checking and updating these links, so if you find a broken link, please use your favorite search engine to locate the new link.
(Updated June, 2020; recently added links are in BOLD)
- Adams County Historic Photos
- Bellevue University Photo Archives
- Boyd County Photos
- Buffalo County Pictures
- Butler County Photo Album
- Cheyenne County Photos
- Crawford Photo Gallery
- Creighton University Historical Photos
- Custer County Photos
- Douglas County Photo Collection
- Durham Museum Photo Archive
- Early Lincoln Photos
- Hastings Tribune Archived Photos Index
- Historic Omaha Photo Collection
- History Nebraska
- Indian Congress Photos 1898
- Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Online Catalog
- Millard Town Memories
- National Archives - Digital Photograph Collections
- Nebraska Ancient Faces
- Nebraska Dead Fred
- Nebraska GenWeb Photo Project
- Nebraska History Photos
- Nebraska Memories
- Nebraska Old Family Photos
- Nebraska Penny Postcards
- Nebraska State Historical Society - Photo Collections
- Nebraska State Historical Society - Lincoln
- Nebraska Studies Photos
- Nebraska Vintage Photos
- Nebraska Western Trails Photos
- Nebraska, DP.LA Photos
- Nebraska, Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Black-and-White Negatives
- Nemaha County Photographs
- Omaha Medical College Photographs
- Omaha Photo Collections
- Omaha Public Library Photographs
- Omaha Sun Photo Collection
- Prairie Settlement
- Red Cloud Image Galleries
- Smithsonian Images
- Table Rock Historical Society Photograph Collections
- Thayer County Photo Album
- Umoho Indian Heritage Photographs
- Union College Heritage Collections
- University of Nebraska Medical Center Photographs
- University of Nebraska Omaha Photo Archives
- University of Nebraska-Lincoln Photo Collections
- Vintage Nebraska Photos
- Washington County Historical Association Gallery
- Wayne State College Historical Photos
- YMCA of Greater Omaha Photo Collection
For historical photos from other states as well as articles about photo research, please visit the Photos page.
Good Luck and Happy Hunting!