Census Takers Wanted

Census figures for the year 2010 will give an updated view of the population of Nebraska and of its agriculture and industries. The state has been included in all federal censuses from 1860 to the present. The Grand Island Independent of March 1, 1890, reprinted from the Nebraska State Journal a brief article on practical preparations for the census of 1890, including the pay scale for government-hired enumerators:

“The new census supervisor for the First district of Nebraska, the genial Tom Cooke, is now comfortably ensconced in the rooms of the district clerk and the United States marshal in the government building [in Lincoln]. . . . Mr. Cooke said: ‘The work of taking the census will be commenced on June 1 and must be completed by July 1, and in cities of over 10,000 inhabitants enumerators will be expected to complete their work during the first fifteen days of June.

“I intend to sub-divide the First district into enumerator’s districts and each enumerator will have from 2,500 to 3,000 people. The districts will be divided so as to comply as nearly as possible with the ward or voting precinct lines. In the country districts I propose to appoint one enumerator for each voting precinct. . . . [T]hose who desire to be appointed enumerators must make written application containing the applicant’s name, postoffice address and the ward or precinct in which he resides.’

“‘The compensation of enumerators will be as follows: Two cents for each living inhabitant, 2 cents for each death, 15 cents for each farm, 20 cents for each establishment of productive industry, 5 cents for each surviving soldier, sailor or marine or the widow of each soldier, sailor or marine.’

“‘It is desired that persons who may be tendered appointments as enumerators should be given to understand distinctly that if they accept such appointments and qualify as enumerators, they cannot without justifiable cause refuse or neglect to perform the duties of the position. Having assumed the office they cannot retire from it at their own pleasure.'”

Dr. Edgar Z. Palmer, author of a 1951 article in Nebraska History on the 1890 census, concluded that there was some misreporting, designed to inflate the population figures of some cities of southeastern Nebraska. The original records were later destroyed by a fire in Washington. Only a fragment of the general population schedules and an incomplete set of special schedules enumerating Union veterans and widows are available today.


John M. Thayer appeared on the list of Union veterans and widows of veterans that survived a 1921 fire that destroyed most census returns of 1890. Thayer served two full terms as governor of Nebraska 


Become a Member!

Our members make history happen.

Join Now

Other Publications

The Bachelors’ Protective Union of Kearney

When the Bachelors' Protective Union gave a gala reception for two of its newly married, former members and their brides in March of 1890, the social club for young, ...

U.S. Weather Bureau in 1890s Nebraska

The U.S. Weather Bureau was established by an act of Congress on October 1, 1890. It took over the weather service that had been established in the office of the Chief ...

Canning the Way to Victory

During American participation in World War I the U.S. Food Administration, under the direction of Herbert Hoover, launched a massive campaign to persuade Americans to ...

The Shoemaker’s Ashes

"Edward Kuehl, one of the most peculiar characters that ever lived in Omaha, or anywhere else, was found dead in his bed last night in the back room of his place of ...

Crazy Horse Surrender Ledger Foreward

Red Dog, an Oglala Lakota who lived at the Red Cloud Agency, Nebraska, 1876-77 (Nebraska State Historical Society   In the summer of 1876, following the ...

Darryl F. Zanuck

Darryl F. Zanuck Darryl F. Zanuck (1902-1979), a native Nebraskan, produced some of Hollywood's most important and controversial films. He helped found 20th Century Fox ...

The Burlington’s Profitable Pork Special

Nebraska railroads were much concerned with developing an adequate economy in the areas they served. The Burlington, for example, had a long history of caring for the ...

Bungalow Filling Stations

After the giant Standard Oil Company was broken into thirty-four separate companies in 1911, the newly independent Standard Oil of Nebraska dominated the state's market ...

The Bull Fight

This is the perfect time of year for a visit to the old fishin' hole. But a group of fisherfolk from Plainview discovered that this bucolic pastime sometimes has ...

Buffalo Soldiers West

African-American soldiers on the western frontier are the focus of an exhibit at the Nebraska History Museum in Lincoln. Buffalo Soldiers West, on loan from the Colorado ...

Protection for Buffalo

The extermination of the buffalo on the Plains occurred largely between 1870 and 1885. The Nebraska State Journal of Lincoln on February 1, 1874, editorialized in vain ...

Buffalo Hunting

In late October 1877 young Rolf Johnson and three friends left their homes in Phelps County, Nebraska, for a buffalo hunt in northeastern Colorado. The hunt was not very ...
About History Nebraska
History Nebraska was founded in 1878 as the Nebraska State Historical Society by citizens who recognized Nebraska was going through great changes and they sought to record the stories of both indigenous and immigrant peoples. It was designated a state institution and began receiving funds from the legislature in 1883. Legislation in 1994 changed History Nebraska from a state institution to a state agency. The division is headed by Interim Director and CEO Jill Dolberg. They are assisted by an administrative staff responsible for financial and personnel functions, museum store services, security, and facilities maintenance for History Nebraska.
Explore Nebraska
Discover the real places and people of our past at these History Nebraska sites.

Upcoming Events

View our new and upcoming events to see how you can get involved.

Become a Member

The work we do to discover, preserve, and share Nebraska's history wouldn't be possible without the support of History Nebraska members.

History Nebraska Education

Learn more about the educational programs provided at our museums, sites, and online.

History Nebraska Programs

Learn more about the programs associated with History Nebraska.

Latest Hall of Fame Inductee

The Nebraska Hall of Fame was established in 1961 to officially recognize prominent Nebraskans.

Listen to our Podcast

Listen to the articles and authors published in the Nebraska History Magazine with our new Nebraska History Podcast!

Nebraska Collections

History Nebraska's mission is to collect, preserve, and open our shared history to all Nebraskans.

Our YouTube Video Collection

Get a closer look at Nebraska's history through your own eyes, with our extensive video collections.

Additional Research Resources

History Nebraska Research and Reference Services help connect you to the material we collect and preserve.

Support History Nebraska
Make a cash donation to help us acquire, preserve, and interpret Nebraska’s history. Gifts to History Nebraska help leave a legacy and may help your taxes, too! Support the work of History Nebraska by donating to the History Nebraska Foundation today.

Volunteers are the heroes of History Nebraska. So much history, so little time! Your work helps us share access to Nebraska’s stories at our museums and sites, the reference room, and online.