by Sherry Stocking Kline
Written for FamilyTreeWriter.com - October 5th, 2009
Though family and family history has always been important to me, I have my father-in-law to thank, at least in part, for my interest in researching genealogy.
My Father-in-Law Got Me Started…
It was my father-in-law who put the bug in my ear that “he sure would like to know more about his family” though he also let me know at the same time that he was afraid to find out.
Like many families, there was a ‘story’ involved. Three brothers, or some such number, and one went this way, one went another, they had an argument, and they never spoke again.
The Brothers Argued and Never Spoke Again?
The story that Pop, my father-in-law had heard was that the brothers came west, and then they argued on the way, and one came to Kansas and they never spoke again. And Pop was afraid that I might find something about his grandfather that would be, well, really embarrassing, so though he really wanted to know, he was more than a little hesitant.
He probably knew that the mystery would be a challenge that I couldn’t resist, and he was right.
I Was Clueless When I Began to Research…
I began to research. And it’s funny now how clueless I was when I started. My first trip to the library I was simply opening up Pennsylvania genealogy books looking for the Kline name, hoping to get lucky!
Kline isn’t all that common here, so I had no idea that Kline (meaning ‘little man’) is pretty much the German version of Smith in Pennsylvania.
Bless her heart, Marsha Stenholm (now retired) of the Wichita Public Library took me under her wing, and we actually found a little info that first trip, and oh, my gosh, I was hooked!
James Ran in the Cherokee Strip Land Rush Race…
Here is the tombstone for Pop’s grandfather and grandmother. They came from the Venango County area in Pennsylvania, and made a stop in Illinois and also in Iowa, leaving farms there to come to Caldwell, Sumner County, Kansas to make a run in the Cherokee Strip Land Rush Run into Oklahoma. When they did not win any land in that race, they settled near Milan, Sumner County, Kansas.
James and Elizabeth Conver Kline are buried in the Ryan Township/Milan Cemetery in Sumner County, Township Cemetery, Milan, Sumner County, Kansas.
And though I did find that the siblings may have had some disagreements, it seems as though several kept in touch with one another, even after they all re-located to their new homes in the west.
Still a Work in Progress…
Even though Pop is gone now, this is still a ‘work in progress’ and I’ve connected with other distant branches of the family, and they’ve added much to the family tree information.