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Genealogy Research Tips Sub

Explore the Digital Cemetery

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The Johnson County Library has launched a new version of the Digital Cemetery, a Web project that provides burial information from local cemeteries. The site allows users to locate graves of loved ones or ancestors by searching through the surname or cemetery indexes which can be searched or browsed alphabetically.  Each individual record includes information gleaned from the headstone and  photographs of the stone itself.

Try it now »

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Want to learn genealogy? Here's your chance!

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Get started with basic concepts of genealogy research and become familiar with census research online by taking our Introduction to Genealogy class. Various genealogy databases and websites will be demonstrated.

Introduction to Genealogy
Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2011 from 7 to 8:30 p.m.
Central Resource Library, Carmack Community Room

Register online now »

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Research Tip: Native American Research with Access Genealogy

Newly linked from our genealogy research page is an excellent resource, Access Genealogy. It provides links to genealogy information resources by state, but what really sets it apart is the content for Native American research.

Native American information is notoriously difficult to find and Access Genealogy is a welcome addition to the genealogy research landscape.

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Research Tip: Free Genealogy Research Handouts

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The Central Resource Library's Genealogy Department offers a selection of handouts pertaining to genealogy research in Johnson County and in the KC metro area. Some come from the National Archives and others from other institutions in the Library's service area.

Stop by and help yourself!

 

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Research Tip: How the Genealogy Collection Grows

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Ever wonder how the Genealogy Collection is updated? There are several sources:

  • Librarians select and purchase new books each year.
  • The collection grows through donations, including kind donations of people who may no longer need their own copies of books, as well as from the estates of avid genealogists who have requested that we receive their collections upon their death.
  • Each year, the Johnson County Genealogical Society purchases a significant number of books that are housed with the library collection.

You can see the new items that are added to our collection throughout the year by visiting the New Books shelf in the Genealogy Department at the Central Resource Library.

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Research Tip: Local Cemeteries

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If you are interested in local Johnson County cemeteries, here are two valuable Web sites for you:

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Research Tip: How to Mine Genealogical Journals

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A part of Heritage Quest called PERSI (Periodical Source Index) could be a gold mine for you. Search under People or Places and find a list of articles in genealogical journals. When you find an article that interests you, request a photocopy through the Library's Interlibrary Loan services, usually at no cost. To make a request, go to the Interlibrary Loan request form, log in with your library card and PIN and click on "Make a Request - Photocopy."

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Research Tip: Don't Forget the Local Library

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Contact the local library in the city and/or county of your ancestors to learn what materials are available for genealogical research. Resources may be online or in print, and staff at the local library may be able to make suggestions or assist with research at their local institution.

This tip was suggested by Curt Witcher, Genealogy Center Manager at the Allen County Public Library, at a recent seminar of the Johnson County Kansas Genealogical Society. Check their Web site for upcoming events!

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Register for the Genealogy Lock-In

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Tuesday, Oct. 13 marks the first day of registration for the next genealogy lock-in. On Friday, Nov. 13 from 7 - 10 p.m. the Central Resource Library will be open after hours just for genealogists taking part in the lock-in. Registration is absolutely required and space is limited. Volunteers will be available to assist and a tour of the genealogy department will be offered. In addition, a 45 minute class on Ancestry Library Edition will be available. Register online or by calling (913) 495-7514.

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Research Tip: Immigration Records for Castle Garden 1820-1892

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If you have ancestors who entered the U.S. through New York between 1820 and 1892, take a look at CastleGarden.org. Castle Garden, the New York immigration port prior to the opening of Ellis Island in 1892, is easy to search. Here are a few hints:

  • Try using the asterisk (*) as a wildcard when having trouble with variations in spelling; e.g., N* gets several versions of Nick, Nic, Nicholas, etc.  
  • Once you find the name/ship/date of an ancestor, try searching that surname on the same ship and date to see if several members of a family traveled together.

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Research Tip: Getting the Most from Ancestry

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If you use Ancestry Library Edition (ALE) at your local library, you may be missing a lot of valuable information by limiting yourself to the Federal Census only. ALE includes many other censuses. The state censuses of Kansas and Iowa, plus others, are now available online. In addition, try the Military, the Immigration and Emigration, and the Birth, Marriage, and Death databases. There's a wealth of information waiting for you.

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Research Tip: Civil War Ancestors

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If you have Civil War soldier ancestors, take a look at this online photo collection created by John Jackson of Chanute, Kan. John is currently photographing every Civil War veteran's grave in Kansas.

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Research Tip: Finding Obituaries

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If you know the date and place of your ancestor's death, his or her local newspaper is the best place to check for an obituary. The Library's Interlibrary Loan Department can request the newspaper, often on microfilm, for your review. If you know the name of the newspaper, it's easy to make your request online. If you need some help finding the local newspaper(s), contact us at (913) 495-9131 or www.jocolibrary.org/contact.

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Research Tip: Make Genealogy Research a Part of Your Upcoming Vacation

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When making travel plans, schedule a visit at your ancestor's county courthouse to research land, marriage, probate, tax and possibly naturalization records.

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Research Tip: Open House and a History and Genealogical Society Fair

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In honor of the grand opening of the new National Archives & Records Administration (NARA) buildings in Kansas City, NARA will hold an Open House and a History and Genealogical Society Fair on Saturday, May 23, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. This event will include tours of the new facility, exhibits, performances by the 312th Army Band, booths representing various history and genealogy groups in the Kansas City area, and activities for the entire family. The location is 400 W. Pershing Rd., Kansas City, MO.

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Research Tip: Printing Your Research

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If you use the genealogy databases and Web sites at the Library, and you want to print some items you have found, feel free to ask genealogy staff or volunteers for advice on the printing. They are experts on using these resources and can often help you print the largest and clearest copy possible. There are some special tricks for printing specifically from Ancestry and HeritageQuest already written up and available at the Genealogy Desk.

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Research Tip: Local Genealogy Materials

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Did your ancestors live in any Missouri or Kansas counties? In the past year, the Library has purchased genealogy materials from about a dozen counties from those states; more will be added to the collection in 2009. If you would like to suggest Missouri or Kansas counties that interest you, please contact Lora F. at (913) 495-9131.

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Save the Date! Upcoming Genealogy Lock-In and Spring Classes Announced

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Several genealogy classes and the popular lock-in at the Central Resource Library are on the schedule for this spring. Check the online schedule for dates and to register online or by phone. Or pick up a schedule next time you are in the Library.

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Upcoming Genealogy Classes

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Two genealogy classes will be offered in January to help you get started and make progress researching your family history...

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Research Tip: How can I find records for my ancestor who was in jail?

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The December 2008 issue of Family Chronicle, which can be found on the periodical rack in the Genealogy Department at the Central Resource Library, includes a helpful article entitled "Jail, Prison and Criminal Records." The author, David A. Norris, points out various sources of records and explains prison systems. Pay us a visit and take a look.

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Research Tip: Genealogy Journals at the Library

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Take advantage of the wealth of popular genealogy journals and magazines available on racks and shelves in the Central Resource Library Genealogy Department. Current titles on display include Everton's Genealogical Helper, Family Chronicle, Family Tree Magazine, Internet Genealogy and the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, plus many more titles.

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Research Tip: Take a Class from a Genealogy Expert

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October is a good month to learn about genealogy...

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Research Tip: Need Research Help?

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Planning a trip to the Central Resource Library and need some assistance? Genealogy volunteers and Library staff are happy to help with genealogy research most days of the week, including weekends. We recommend calling ahead to make sure that someone is available. Contact us at (913) 495-9100 and ask for the Genealogy Desk.

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Research Tip: Tour the New Midwest Genealogy Center

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Would you like to tour the new Midwest Genealogy Center in Independence? The Olathe Public Library has invited interested Johnson County Library patrons to join their bus tour on Thursday, Aug. 28, 1 - 5 p.m. We will enjoy a bus ride to the new facility, a tour of the building, some time for research in the new library and a bus ride back to Johnson County.

Cost is $8.50, in cash or by check to Olathe Public Library. Contact Lora Fitzgerald at (913) 495-9131 to register.

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Research Tip: Family Reunions & Family Histories

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Going to a family reunion? If so, this is a perfect time to remember those old family stories. Take along pen and paper and jot down those favorite stories, take lots of photos and even create your family tree...

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Research Tip: Can't Get Enough? Join Us at the Genealogy Lock-In

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Enjoy an evening of research with other genealogists and with volunteer assistance on Friday, July 11, 2008. The Central Resource Library will be open for your researching pleasure after hours from 7 to 10 p.m. There will be a genealogy tour and a special class on using Ancestry Library Edition. Registration required, beginning June 2. Call (913) 495-2400 or register online. Space is limited, so register early.

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Research Tip: Upcoming Class Xploring Genealogy

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Learn to start researching your family history and organizing your materials. Use of the federal census as an essential tool will be demonstrated, along with other genealogy databases available from home and/or inside the Library. Join us on Wednesday, May 28 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Central Resource Library. Register online or by calling (913) 495-7514.

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Research Tip: Alert! Family Bible Found. Is It Yours?

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A local genealogist has discovered a family bible, published in 1815, with several pages of family history hand-written in the front including surnames Russel, Wilcox, and Vanpaten. If this might be YOUR family bible, please call Lora at (913) 495-9131 for more information.

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Research Tip: The National Genealogical Society Conference is Coming to Kansas City

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Kansas City will host the 2008 National Genealogical Society Conference from May 14-17 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel...

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Search Tip: Finding People

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When searching a database like Ancestry, HeritageQuest, or any other that offers a search function, try searching by only the Given Name if you are not finding the Surname you want. Sometimes an unusual Given Name can turn up surprisingly good results.

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Research Tip: Keeping Track of Your Family Questions

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Try keeping a "To Do" list of research questions. Be prepared for your next trip to a library, courthouse, even a family visit, by keeping a log of family questions you have not yet resolved. You will gradually be able to cross off some and, of course, always add new ones.

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Research Tip: Learn More about Ancestry

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Ancestry Library Edition (available at all Johnson County Library locations) is a rich collection of resources for research. Make the most of this treasure trove...

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Research Tip: Documenting Family Memories

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If you anticipate seeing extended family members during the holiday season, be sure to have Family Group Sheets (Excel or PDF) on hand as well as a notebook to record new data, stories, and other discoveries.

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Research Tip: Obituaries for Soldiers

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Historically, when a soldier was killed overseas in wartime, his or her obituary often did not appear until the body was returned to the U.S. This could have been several months or years after the actual death.

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Research Tip: Orphan Train Depot

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A new link has been added on this page under Web Sites for the National Orphan Train Complex, located in Concordia, Kan. Learn about this movement, which took place from 1854-1929 and was so significant in the lives of many mid-westerners.

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Research Tip: Learn more about genealogy research at these September events

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