Many genealogists seem to be overwhelmingly insular in their outlook about research. The concept that "my people came from [fill in the blank]" seems to permeate their interests and outlook. It may well be that your family came from Pennsylvania or New York or even Germany or Scandinavia but the reality of researching records is that records pertinent to your family's history may be located practically anywhere. Are you prepared to say that you know for certain that none of your extended family members including all of your cousins to the nth degree live in Kansas? Are you also prepared to maintain that none of the records containing information about your family are not hidden away in the archives and libraries of Kansas?
The Kansas State Historical Society established in 1875, has served as the State Record Archives since 1905 and has records gathered since 1854. Here is a list of their online collections:
- Kansas Memory
- Territorial Kansas Online, 1854-1861
- Civil War on the Western Border
- Digital newspapers
- Ancestry.com for Kansans
- National and State Historic Register
- Kansas Historic Resources Inventory
- State government publications
- Kansas Legislators Past and Present
One of the most impressive collections of resources is found in "Kansas Places." Here is a list of the resources available from the website.
- Post Offices The database can be searched by date, town or county to find every known Kansas post office with its dates of operation.
- Little Known or Extinct Towns of Kansas ("Dead Towns") Index of approximately 4500 Kansas towns from the territorial period to ca. 1940.
- Townships in Kansas In Kansas, townships are a government entity larger than a town or city but smaller than a county.
- Counties Brief histories of current and former Kansas counties with a map showing their location and links to additional resources.
- Cemeteries in Kansas, 1906 A list of Kansas cemeteries, published in 1906, that gives the cemetery location, but not the names of the people buried there.
My point in highlighting Kansas records and those of other locations is to emphasize the need for genealogists to broaden their perspective about where important records might be located and to be more aware of the opportunities that exist for research into the various parts of the world. True, we all have only a certain limited amount of time in our lives to do research, but it helps to know that there are a lot of places to look. When we get discouraged or tired, we can become rejuvenated when we find a new place to look.