Johnson County Genealogical Society
Johnson County
Genealogical Society
and Library, Inc.
Portraits from Stanley, KS only identified by
Preserving KANSAS genealogy and its rich history at the crossroads of the Santa Fe, California and Oregon trails.

Harvard Digitized Colonial Collection

The Colonial North American Project at Harvard University is now offering access to digitized images of all known archival and manuscript materials in the Harvard Library.  From the 17th and 18th centuries, Harvard is capturing the treasures held in twelve different repositories.  The website will be updated continuously so be sure to check back often for new uploads.

November Monthly Meeting

Old Red Dallas Co TX Courthouse
No, they're not just the anchor of the county seat. They are more than those beautiful buildings in the town
square. They are full of history and information for genealogists.  Char Mitts will tell us all about court houses and the records they hold - treasure troves for the mining of facts, figures and gossip. 
Trivia - anyone know the name of this old beauty and where she is located?

RR Retirement

Be one of the first to use the Midwest Genealogy Center’s Quick Look! This new and exciting feature provides online access to some of MGC’s resources. One of the resources you can search is inactive pension claims from the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board, which contains over 1.5 million records. Search the index by name and/or date. If you locate a resource, you will have an opportunity to request it from the source organization. In addition to the Railroad Retirement Pension Records, you can also find obituaries from newspapers like the Kansas City Star and Independence Examiner. Records currently indexed include obituaries, vital records, indexes for books within MGC’s collection, and more.

What can you expect after a search? Searches will yield an index that will allow you to request a full record. For U.S. Railroad Retirement Board Pension Claims, you will be directed to the National Archives. For all other collections, MGC staff will fulfill your request. The link to this great new feature is found on MGC’s main web page here. Have fun searching and watching MGC’s digital collection grow!

2015 Annual Seminar

It was a rousing success! We were 120 strong, all enjoying George G. Morgan at the beautiful Ritz Charles.  We learned about "Bringing "Em Back to Life," "Dissecting Obituaries," "Alternate Records You May Have Never Considered," and  "Clues in the News."   George shared that he has his own final arrangements set up - including the epitaph on his tombstone. Here is our version of that idea. Be sure to join us next October for Lisa Louise Cook at the 2016 Annual Seminar!

Certified, Accredited, Professional?

It is overwhelming. Looking at all those initials after their names. Many folks are confused about the differences between genealogical credentials and those who offer professional services. Debbie Wayne Parker, CG and CGL, has a discussion which covers the credentialing and professional organizations in the U.S. governing the field of genealogy.  The discussion is aimed at those interested in becoming credentialed genealogists, those considering hiring a professional, and genealogical event planners who need to understand the many of initials following a name.

Using the Library of Congress Online

The Library of Congress (LOC) is a dream destination for many U.S. genealogy researchers, but most of us can’t get there in person. Here are 4 ways–all online–to access the mega-resources of the Library of Congress for genealogy. From our 2016 Annual Seminar speaker Lisa Louise Cook:  LOC Online

2015 Brings Changes to Our Meeting Space

The Central Resource Library, where the Johnson County Genealogical Society normally meets on the fourth Saturday of every month, is planning a major remodel during 2015. The library has canceled all meetings during 2015. We have found an alternative meeting space for the year. 
Starting JANUARY  2015 the monthly JCGS Saturday meetings will be held at:

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
7100 Hadley
Overland Park, KS
The Hadley location is very handy and has plenty of parking. It is just a block east of ANTIOCH on 71st Street on the SOUTH side of the street. We cannot bring in any food or drink!

Want to Help?

    News is out that there is a call for help with indexing an incredible new database. Judy Russell, The Legal Genealogist, sent this notice:
Help index these amazing records!! If you had ancestors anywhere south of the Mason-Dixon line after the Civil War, step this way Into the richest, deepest, broadest set of genealogical records you may ever find - the records of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands — an agency that became known as the Freedmen’s Bureau.  What, you say? Your family doesn’t fall into the category of freedmen? You have no African-American roots?
    No matter. Because that record set extends far beyond its name to just about anyone who lived or worked in the south in those years right after the Civil War. And a major new initiative to make these records more widely accessible to researchers is getting underway — and it needs our help.
First off, the records. They are amazing, for descendants of all the slaves and all the slaveowners who struggled to redefine themselves, their lives and their communities after the war. And for descendants all of the members of those communities who weren’t themselves slaves or slaveowners but whose lives were impacted by that struggle to redefine life after the war. And for descendants of the legions of southerners who weren’t slaves or slaveowners before the war, but who simply needed government help after the war. And for descendants of the legions of government workers and officials and teachers and relief workers who worked for the bureau. In other words, for just about anyone who lived or worked in the south in those years right after the Civil War.
    You can read more about it at Family Tree's announcement here and at Amazing progress can be made with citizen participation just as was accomplished with the 1940 census!  Be a part of making this history.

Changes at the Central Resource Library

   Changes are taking place during 2015 at the Johnson County Central Resource Library, 9875 W. 87th Street in Overland Park. These changes will impact all who use the Genealogy Department and its holdings and services. Most of the Central Resource Library will be closed to the public for remodeling and will be inaccessible through the remainder of 2015. This means all genealogy books, periodicals, all newspapers on microfilm, and the volunteers who faithfully staff the Genealogy Desk, will be unavailable.
   What exactly does this mean for the Johnson County Genealogy Society ? As many of you know, the Society has already changed the location of its monthly meetings. During all of 2015, the meetings have been moved from the Carmack Room in the library to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at 7100 Hadley in Overland Park. This new temporary meeting space is comfortable and well located, and offers the use of a large screen and projector for presentations. The first meeting held there in January was very well attended, so it looks like everyone got the message.
   In addition, the temporary closing of the library means there is no person available in the library to help genealogists with the use of databases, suggestions for further research, newspaper articles from local newspapers, or with locating local obituaries. No microfilm or film readers/scanners will be available during this time. All of the branch libraries will be open for their regular hours, but none of those has microfilm or film readers.
   However, while you cannot have access to the Genealogy Department for the remainder of 2015, you can still use the library genealogy web page ( from home and from the other branch libraries. If you usually go to the CRL to access the Ancestry Library Edition website, for example, just visit any other branch to do that.
   If you sometimes visit the CRL to get help from a volunteer at the Genealogy Desk, you may want to attend the JCGS monthly meetings and ask for help there, or contact one of the mentors found in the Quarterly publication or through  If you sometimes use to ask a question through the Society, you may continue to do so, but with the understanding that some questions cannot currently be answered if the resource needed is unavailable due to the remodeling.
   Once the remodeling is completed and the CRL is reopened, probably early in 2016, we will be able to enjoy the many changes and improvements in the building. Of special interest to genealogists will be an updated and redesigned Genealogy Department with some very nice improvements. You can take a sneak peak by clicking on this link for a tour.

Change in Dues for JCGS

As genealogical and historical societies have been doing all across the nation, JCGS has, for the most part, gone to an electronic version of our quarterly publication. In 2014-2015 we tried to make a mailed quarterly available for $5.00 more per year but this has not proven viable. As of June 1, 2015 any new dues or renewal memberships requesting a mailed paper quarterly will be $10.00 above the basic membership price.  This has been a very thought out process and the board has decided that this change is necessary.  We feel very good that JCGS is doing well and that we are so well supported by the membership. Thanks for your continued support.

Free Videos From RootsTech 2015

DNA Adoption Group Celebrates Two Years

birthday candles
But, "I'm not adopted" you might say. That's ok. This no-less-than-fantastic group of folks has a lot to offer anyone, espeicially newbies, regarding learning about DNA and genealogy.  Karen Corbeil and Diane Harmon-Hoog started out a few years ago and their idea has evolved into a gem of a resource for folks in search of kin and folks looking to learn about what to do with their DNA results.  They have attracted several other helpers in the form of curriculum writers, search angels, computer geeks, instructors, and genealogists to build their educational offerings.  All of this is an altruistic labor of love for wanting to help peole connect with their roots. They are ALL volunteers. Such an honorable gift to the world. There are very modest fees for the classes and possible scholarships for those that may not be able to pay. Any contributions and fees go to supporting the infrastructure - website, servers, etc. Their website,, is loaded with free information about DNA and its use in finding roots. Go take a look. They have brief classes for $5.00 on the specific lab (FTDNA, 23 and Me, and Ancestry) tests and longer courses on using tools to work with your results. Happy Anniversary, Happy BIRTHday, and many good wishes for your continued thriving.  

Free DNA Presentations

The coordinators of Genetic Genealogy Ireland 2014 have made the various presentations available for free on YouTube.  The lectures were sponsored by Family Tree DNA and organized by ISOGG volunteers.  Here is a description of the lectures.  Thanks to the Genetic Genealogy Ireland sponsors, coordinators and presenters. There are more than 30 presentations available and something for everyone.  Take a look. Even if you are not Irish you will learn from these programs!

Hoosiers Digitize!

The state of Indiana has made an agreement with to digitize 13 million birth, death, and marriage records. They estimate it would have taken the state over a decade to complete this task and Ancestry estimates that it will be completed by the state's bicentennial in 2016.  Read more here.

WDYTYA 2015 DNA Videos Available Now

The DNA videos from Who DoYou Think You Are 2015 are already available in You Tube.  Click here to get an overiew by Dr. Gleason of what is available. 

What Can WORLDCAT Do For You?

Take a few minutes and visit the genealogy orientation page for Worldcat, the online, worldwide library catalogue. WorldCat provides information about library materials, where they are available and links to digitized versions of library materials. WorldCat is the world’s largest bibliographic database. It contains information about more than 210 million items owned by 10,000 libraries around the world. Constant growth makes WorldCat a rich resource for genealogists who seek primary source materials.

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Upcoming Events
Courthouse Research and Records
Saturday, Nov. 28th
10:00 am
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 7100 Hadley Overland Park, KS
KC Legacy Users Group
Saturday, Dec. 5th
9:00 am to 11:00 am
Olathe Family History Center at 15915 W 143rd St Olathe, Kansas
We Love You Kansas! History Fair
Saturday, Jan. 9th
10:00 am to 2:00 pm
Antioch Library, 8700 Shawnee Mission Pkwy, Merriam, KS 66202

FGS Events Listing
Want to know what's going on where? The Federation of Genealogical Societies has a listing of member events. JCGS is one of the member societies of FGS. Go take a look on our links page under NATIONAL listings.

Mailing List
If you are a current member or are joining JCGS you will automatically receive the email notices and do not have to sign up here. This sign up is for visitors.
Subscribe to our mailing list

Our neighbor Wyandotte County
New link under Kansas City Area Libraries
Trowbridge Research Library & Archives

Genealogy in Time Magazine
Link to the Most Recent Genealogy Records for the United States. Go to the LINKS page on the left menu and look for it under RESOURCES

Go to our LINKS page and find a new section on DNA. If you have more suggestions let us know.

Need Forms?
The Midwest Genealogical Library has pdf forms that you can download and fill in on your computer. Most of the forms that you find out there are just downloadable forms that you print out and write on. Go look under RESOURCES on our LINKS page.

Great Value!
Ever want to know what $1,000 in 1860 is worth today? Go check out MEASURING WORTH under RESOURCES on our LINKS page.

On the EVENTS and LINKS pages you can easily sort the listings. At the top of each page is a drop down box. Open the box and you will find the categories from which to choose! You can find what you are looking for quickly.

Need Help?
You may contact us at any time for help with the website.
JCGS web team