Lincoln census introduction

  • History of the Census
    Lincoln, Nebraska was a major distribution center for thousands of German immigrants from Russia. While many families made Lincoln their permanent home, others eventually journeyed on to neighboring towns and states. A young student of sociology at the University of Nebraska, Mrs. Hattie Plum Williams, became interested in this ethnic group and made these people her prime area of study. She realized there were inaccuracies in the 1910 Federal census due to the language barriers and a reluctance on the part of many to trust the "officials." Hattie Plum Williams decided to conduct her own comprehensive census among the Germans from Russia living in Lincoln.

    The survey was begun in the late fall of 1913, after the "beetfielders" had returned to Lincoln from their summer jobs in the sugar beet fields. Williams continued working on the census until it was time for the workers to return to the fields in the spring of 1914. She resumed again in the fall of 1914 and probably continued into early 1915. This census is unique because it is the only known census ever made of Germans from Russia in any American community.

    The information collected by Hattie Plum Williams was used to write her sociology dissertation, A Social Study of Russian Germans, which is available for loan through the AHSGR library or for purchase from the online purchase page.
  • Questions on the Census

    Name of person
    Relation to number 1
    Speaks English
    Age at last birthday
    Single, Married, Widowed or Divorced
    Number years of present marriage
    # of children born to mother
    # of children now living
    Place of birth of the person
    Place of birth of the person's father
    Place of birth of the person's mother
    Year of coming to Lincoln
    Year of immigration to U. S.
    Whether naturalized or alien
    When Naturalized
    Where Naturalized
    Trade, profession or work done by this person
    For whom do you work
    # of years in beet fields
    Employer, Employee or self employed
    Whether out of work 1 Apr, 1913
    # od weeks out of work in 1912
    Able to read
    Able to write
    Attended school since 1 September, 1912
    Own or rent home
    Own free or mortgaged
    Ticket to USA prepaid
    Name of Pastor
    Number of years in Russian Army
    Whether blind (both eyes)
    Whether deaf and dumb
    What newspapers do you take

  • About these Records

    Over may years, Gerda Stroh Walker and Delbert D. Amen transcribed the data from the original census lists to individual family sheets. Every effort was made to type all data exactly as it was given on the original census. No attempt was made to correct the spelling or interpret the intent of the census takers, who seem to have used a great deal of phonetic spelling. 

    There are errors and omission in the census. Some families are listed on two or more census sheets. This is due to some overlap in the areas assigned to each census taker or because a family moved during this period. Some people are missing from the census. This may be because they were out of town, moved from an area where the census takers had not yet covered to one where the census was completed, or because the families refused to provide any answers. Those scattered throughout Lincoln, and not in one of the major areas of concentration of Germans from Russia, may have been overlooked. Some incorrect information is due to a misunderstanding on the part of the census taker or because the informant elected to give incorrect answers.

    Delbert D. Amen indexed these family group sheets according to the home village of the heads of household. Every effort was made to list all place names correctly. After each village names the area or province in which the village was located is indicated. The exact location of some Russian villages is unknown. This index was originally published in 1984 edition of Clues, Part 2.

  • Acquiring Copies

    Copies of the family group sheets listed in the index may be requested from AHSGR. Please send your request to the attention of the Reference Staff at AHSGR, 631 D Street, Lincoln, NE 68502-1199, or by email at For information on charges, please refer to the Research Services Page.