Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness is Back

Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness (RAOGK)

Our volunteers have agreed to do a free genealogy research task at least once per month in their local area as an act of kindness. While the volunteers of Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness (RAOGK) have agreed to donate their time for free, you MUST PAY the volunteer for his/her expenses in fulfilling your request (copies, printing fees, postage, film or video tape, parking fees, etc.) if they ask for it.
RAOGK is a global volunteer organization.  Our volunteers take time to do everything from looking up courthouse records to taking pictures of tombstones. All they ask in return is reimbursement for their expenses (never their time) and a thank you.
At one time there were thousands of volunteers in every U.S. state and many international locations, and helped thousands of researchers. We are trying to rebuild the RAOGK site. It will take a little more time to get it back to its former glory. So Please spread the word and volunteer to help others!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

2015 KCGS Annual Meeting and Conference

KCGS Annual Conference will be held June 20, 2015 with Wichita Genealogical Society as co-hosts in Wichita, KS. Please visit our website for program and registration information. 
Featured speaker will be Kathleen Strader Brandt Professional Genealogist / Consultant / Speaker. You can see Kathleen's work on TLC and NBC: Who Do You Think You Are? with Tim McGraw (appears on episode), Reba McEntire, Ashley Judd, and Chris O'Donnell; on PBS: Finding Your Roots; CCTV Biz Asia; and, in AARP and Jet Magazine.  Ask about the You Are A Pioneer series as presented at Stephens College, Columbia, MO, Feb 2014, and is referenced in Genealogy Online for Dummies, 7th Edition, 2014. Engaged in forensic genealogy, she is a licensed Private Investigator (MO). She recently compiled and authored Colored Marriages of Saline County, MO., released April 2014.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Researching Ancient Native Americans in Kansas

On Monday, February 23rd, at 6:30 p.m., Donald Blakeslee, Professor of Anthropology at Wichita State University, will present “Researching Ancient Kansas Native Americans” to Sumner County Historical and Genealogical Society members and guests at the Good Taste Chinese Buffet, 1311 E. 16th St., Wellington.  No cost for the program; guests are welcome.  For possible weather cancellations, contact Jane Moore at 620-447-3266 or the restaurant at 620-399-8401.
Blakeslee said that he specializes in the history of the Great Plains with a special interest on the Walnut River basin during all time periods. His current research could, in his words “rewrite the Great Bend culture.” The Great Bend Aspect, as archaeologists call it, refers to ancient Native American people, particularly the ancestral Wichita tribe, who lived in several regions of the state, including Cowley County, from about 1425 AD to the early 18th century.

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