Monday, January 19, 2015

Native American Research - Sunmer County Historical & Genealogical Society

On Monday, January 26th, at 6:30 P.M., Michelle Enke, Wichita Public Library, will present “Researching Your Native American Ancestor” and will share tips and hints for finding your elusive Native American Ancestor in the Wichita Public Library’s extensive Native American Collection to Sumner County Historical and Genealogical Society members and guests meeting at the Good Taste Chinese Buffet, 1311 E. 16th St., Wellington.

Thursday, January 8, 2015



Encourage membership and volunteerism in your Society by promoting this unique and rewarding benefit your members!  As a member of the Kansas Council of Genealogical Societies, your organization can offer an exciting award package to your members that involves recognition from your local Society, State recognition from KCGS, and National recognition through KCGS from the Corporation For National & Community Service and the Points of Light Foundation.

There are 3 levels of recognition.  1) You can recognize local volunteers no matter how many volunteer hours they give in a year's time.  2) At the State level, KCGS will recognize (at no cost) all your volunteers who give at least 48 hours in the year to genealogy and family history projects (that averages just 4 hours a month).  3) Through your certification, KCGS will offer the National Award (3 Levels - Bronze, Silver, & Gold) based upon the following PSVA award criteria:
Hours By Award              BRONZE              SILVER               GOLD
Kids (5-10)                       26-49                     50-74                     75+
Teens (11-15)                   50- 74                    75-99                    100+
Young Adults (16-25)    100-174                 175-249                  250+
Adults (26 and older)    100-249                250-499                 500+

Thus, your adult members can easily earn the National PVSA Bronze award package by completing 100 hours of Volunteer Service between January 1 and December 31.  This would average out to only about 2 hours each week.  There is also a special Lifetime Achievement Award when 4,000 volunteer hours are reached, no matter how many years it may take.

The full Awards package consists of a personal Thank You letter from the KCGS President, a personal Congratulations letter signed by the President of the United States, a personalized Certificate of Achievement, and an official President's Volunteer Service Award pin.  You will distribute these awards to your volunteers and recognize their service to your organization however you see fit.

How Does This Work?
1.  As a member of KCGS, simply send your organization name & contact information in a note to Darren McMannis, the KCGS Volunteer Awards Coordinator (Email  In return you will receive an electronic and paper master volunteer record-keeping form, a press release you can use in your local newspaper, and sample ideas for getting the word out to your members.
2.  Start encouraging your members to record their volunteer time.
3.  Encourage new members to join in order to take advantage of this Award program.  Those in your county who are active in genealogy or history but who are not current members may be prompted to join in order to participate.
4.  Develop volunteer projects for your members to participate in.  KCGS will keep you supplied with new ideas, and step-by-step volunteer guides for a variety of projects (newspaper transcription, cemetery documentation, etc).
5.  In January of 2016, collect all volunteer record sheets, certify that the work being reported is "reasonable and consistent" with their involvement in society projects, and certify that each individual meets the National requirements if receiving the National award:
  • Recipient(s) must be a United States citizen or a lawfully admitted permanent resident of the United States.
  • Awards are issued for volunteer service only; additional levels of participation with the organization (i.e., charitable support) are not a factor considered for the award.
  • Court-ordered community service does not qualify for the award.
  • Volunteer Service must be with projects directly or indirectly connected to the overall purpose of your local Society or Museum, or in achievement of the purposes of the KCGS; primarily, in promoting genealogy and family history research, collection and preservation of genealogical and historical records, assisting others in their research, educating others in any aspect of family history, etc.
6.  Submit a summary and certification to KCGS for each award recipient along with payment for the National Awards package.  The actual fee is determined by the Points of Light Foundation and is currently $ 5.50 for the Award letter, certificate, and pin.  The cost is $ 8.00 if you prefer the Medallion & Ribbon instead of the Pin for your members.  KCGS will pay shipping fees.  Also, KCGS will provide you with several ideas and sample letters to assist you in raising donations, if needed, to pay for the cost of these awards.    While you cannot charge the recipient for this cost, this can be provided for in many other ways.
7.  KCGS will send you the State & National awards when they arrive, along with a Press Release to honor your volunteers, as well as any corporate sponsors of your local volunteer efforts during the previous year.
That's it!  Even if you're not entirely sure you will want to participate in the full National Presidential Volunteer Service Award at this time, you will at least want to encourage your volunteers to record their time so that you and the KCGS can recognize their annual efforts.
In an age when the typical Genealogy & Historical Society is struggling and being forced to adapt to new technologies, getting your County resources compiled and online is essential.  The Kansas Council of Genealogical Societies wants to help your organization remain viable and thriving in today's world, preserving the past for all future generations.  The KCGS Volunteer Awards program is one way we can support you in your mission and at the same time promote recognition of the tremendous contributions made by all of the Genealogy and Family History volunteers in Kansas.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Donald O'Toole

Donald O'Toole, husband of long time KCGS secretary, Shirley O'Toole, passed away December 30 in a Topeka Hospice. He had been ill with the virus that is spreading throughout Kansas.   Don touched the lives of all of us at KCGS as well as other citizens while he served as a pilot in the Kansas National Guard.

Services for Don will be held January 10 at 10 a.m. at the Museum of the Kansas National Guard, 6700 S.W. Topeka Blvd., (the main entrance of Forbes Field) Topeka, Kansas.

Please keep Shirley and the family in your thoughts and prayers.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

FamilySearch Copy Service

The Family History Library Volunteers, in Salt Lake City, will make copies of their digitized records and e-mail them back to you.  This is a wonderful service and it's free! See policies and instructions at

Friday, June 27, 2014

Wichita Genealogical Society Annual Conference

 October 11, 2014 - Wichita Genealogical Society Annual Conference, 9:00 am – 3:45 pm, (doors open at 8:15); Eugene M Hughes Metropolitan Complex,  5015 E 29th St N, Wichita, Kansas.
Our Guest Speakers are John Philip Colletta, one of America’s most popular genealogical lecturers and Michelle Enke, Local History Librarian at The Wichita Public Library and manager of the Lawrence & Lucile Wulfmeyer Genealogy/Special Collections Center located in the WPL downtown library. 
For additional information and to download registration forms, see our website:

Monday, April 14, 2014

Wellington, Kansas Tornado - May 27, 1892

On Monday, April 28th, Jim Bales, local historian and President of the Chisholm Trail Museum Board, will present the program “A Turning Point In Sumner County: The 1892 Wellington  Tornado”, a program about the 1892 tornado in Wellington, and how it affected Wellington’s business and the growth of the city, to the Sumner County Historical and Genealogical Society members and guests at the Wellington Senior Center, 308 South Washington, Wellington at 6:30 p.m. Contact Jane Moore at 620-447-3266 in case of inclement weather.

On May 27th, 1892, when a tornado hit the fast growing new town of Wellington, Kansas, there was no radar, no tornado sirens, no trained tornado spotters, and the tornado took everyone by surprise.

“About where the Memorial Auditorium was it took out an area about 2 blocks wide there,” Bales said, “That was probably the widest spot.”

There were no radios or televisions,” Bales said, “And people on the south side of town woke up the next morning and didn’t even know anything had happened.”

Bales has photographs of the damage. Lots of photographs. Using a Powerpoint presentation with maps and photos, Bales will track the path that the tornado took through Wellington, twisting through the new and bustling downtown area, cutting a two-block-wide swath in places, coming down at about West Harvey and the Rock Island tracks, and heading  east towards the area of “B” and “C” streets.

Thirteen people died. More were injured. Buildings, banks, and homes were destroyed, and one man was picked up along with the timber that had him pinned down, and then dropped him off, mostly uninjured, about where Roosevelt school is now.

Bales will tell the stories that go along with the tornado, and will also talk about the lasting effect the tornado had on the city. According to Bales, Wellington had just gone through a big growth spurt following the end of the cattle drives and the beginning of large wheat harvests, and the tornado had a long-lasting and very negative impact on the growth of the city.  

 “At that time, Wellington was growing faster than Wichita, and we had a population of 12,000 people” said Jim Bales, “We lost several businesses and banks in the tornado and Wellington never did recover.”

Monday, March 17, 2014

Sumner County Historical & Genealogical Society

On Monday, March 24th, at 6:30 p.m., Vickie Stangl, Andover, will present the program “Etta Semple – Kansas Free Thinker” to Sumner County Historical and Genealogical Society members and guests at the Wellington Senior Center, 308 S. Washington, Wellington.  In case of inclement weather, contact Jane Moore: 620-447-3266.

Stangl was required to do a “piece on a Kansas person” for her Master’s degree at Wichita State University, and after reading about Etta Semple, she became fascinated, and asked her instructor if she could “write about this heretic in Ottawa.”

Stangl said that Etta Semple, born near Quincy, Illiniois in 1855, had views that were considered radical for the time.
Stangl said that Semple was a humanitarian, and had a state of the art sanitarium, but she was also an activist.
 “She and her second husband were active in the labor movement,” Stangl said.
“I began reading her newspapers and I was fascinated,” Stangl said, adding that she worked on her thesis for three years.

Stangl said that Semple died in Ottawa of influenza in 1914.