Volunteering – Carnival of Genealogy

by Sherry Stocking Kline
January 14th, 2009

Yes, I’d be glad to…?

When someone asks for my help I tend to say “yes, I’d be glad to…” though frankly in the last couple of years I’ve had to learn how to say “I’d love to, but I just can’t.”  With only 24 hours in a day, no matter how I try to stretch it there needs to be time to sleep in there somewhere.

Possibly the most important ‘job’ I volunteer to do as Vice President of the Sumner County (Kansas) Historical and Genealogical Society is to find speakers that are interesting, informative, and that reflect county, state, national, and sometimes international history. And an important part of that is to try to find speakers that will attract new people into our group so that it will grow.

The Lord provides…

Finding fascinating people who will ‘speak for their dinner,’ even at a steak house, isn’t always easy but when our members ask me how I do it I usually answer “The Lord provides…”  Once, during a casual conversation standing in line at Wal-mart I met a talented woman who just happened to be a Native American speaker. Several months later she brought us a very interesting informative program.

In November 2009, Tuskegee Airman Major George Boyd shared his fascinating story with us, and this week I will connect with our speaker, Jim Baumgardner, author of the historical children’s fiction “Sarah” books, interview him, write a press release, and send it out to eight newspapers, two cable television stations, one radio station, and so many people by e-mail that my internet provider threatens to shut me down for spamming.

This summer, on June 19th in Wellington, Kansas, our county will host the Kansas Council of Genealogical Society meeting, (you’re invited!) and we’re working to prepare and promote that already.

Video-Tape the Gen Society meetings….

About a year ago, I started video-taping the SCHGS programs with my camcorder and our city’s cable station re-plays most of our programs on the local channel in the months following.  My goal is to have a library of DVD’s that members can check out and re-watch, and that we can share with elderly members who can no longer attend meetings.  (this is something that I think other societies might be interested in trying to do!)

Transcribed Cemetery Information…

In 2003, my husband and I walked a (small?) cemetery of several hundred people, transcribed the stone information, entered it into a database, and shared the information locally with the SCHGS Center as well as published it in “Mayfield: Then & Now” a small-town history book that I co-authored with Elaine Clark. I plan to re-walk the cemetery this year to make new additions, and take photographs of some or all of the stones while there. And I try (but fail miserably) to share all the tombstone photographs that I take with www.deadFred.com.

Because my name is in the paper often, and because I like to help others research and preserve their family history I get phone calls out of the blue asking for help.

I get to meet fascinating people…

How many hours do I volunteer each month?  It varies, but more than I have time for and less than I’d like to. But when we get photographs and memorabilia back where it belongs, locate tombstone(s), farmsteads, historic bridges, or the reporter finds info about the old one-room schoolhouse that he needs to polish up an article, it’s all worthwhile.

The most rewarding part for me is that I get to meet, interview, and get acquainted with some very interesting people and hear some fascinating and little-known family and historical stories. I get a sense of satisfaction knowing that I’ve helped preserve (and possibly share) another small piece of history.

As someone I interviewed a few years back about photograph preservation told me:

“The best you can do is to preserve it so the next generation can preserve it again…”

17 Responses to “Volunteering – Carnival of Genealogy”

  • Dear Sherry
    Reading through your blog was interesting and I admire your volunteer work. What caught my attention was the interview comment you posted on preserving for the next generation so that they can preserve it again. I have very strong feelings about this and I agree that the current generation must preserve their history, their living moments and their legacy and pass it to the next generation. In this day and age when we chase thousands of friends on line we do not take a moment to reflect on our past and share it with the people most important in our lives. Keep uo your good work

  • Thank you, Sanjay, for stopping by and leaving me a note.

    Your note is much appreciated and you are so right.

    We forget to preserve and pass down our own history. And if we don’t, someday, somewhere, some family historian/genealogist just like us will be wishing that we had.


  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Kevin Berdan and Mike West, D Runner. D Runner said: Volunteering – Carnival of Genealogy http://bit.ly/7x2lOg […]

  • Congratulations Sherry! Your article has been chosen as the Feature Article in the Carnival of Genealogy which will be published later today. I really enjoyed your article and I wish I lived anywhere near Kansas so I could attend one of your meetings! Thanks for a great read!

    • Oh, thank you, Jasia! I’m very honored! First that you would choose my article, and second that you would love to come to our meetings! This month (next Monday, Jan 25th) children’s historical fiction writer, Jim Baumgardner, author of the “Sarah Books” series (www.sarahbooks.net) is coming to speak! We are all excited!

      Bless you for your kind words and for choosing my article! It has totally Made my Day! Woo Hoo!

  • Sherry,
    Congratulations on writing the first “Feature Article” in the Carnival of Genealogy. Your idea about videotaping society meetings is so fantastic I can’t believe I’ve never heard of anyone doing it before. I hope you will consider participating in the Carnival of Genealogical Societies. This week I’ll be announcing the Call for Submissions for the first edition deadline on March 7, 2010.

    • Oh, Thank you! I would be most honored to do this! I would also be very happy to write up a blog post on getting started taping the programs, too, and building a DVD library for the group if you think that would be beneficial to others!

      Once again, thank you! I am honored to be chosen for the Carnival of Genealogy! I would love to put a COG logo on my blog, too!

      Thanks much!

  • You are truly good, inside and out. But that is no surprise to those of us who know you.

    Congratulations! Jasia has always had a good eye.


  • Joan:

    You make me want to live in Kansas — right next to you. Now that’s saying a lot from one who frets when not in sight of my mountains.

    • Oh, my, that is high praise! And I feel blessed to receive it. I know what you mean. I Love the mountains, and often think I could live in them happily. But when I went off to college after high school, I went to Kansas State University, nestled in the picturesque Flint Hills, I kept looking at the hills, and feeling almost ‘claustrophobic’. I was used to living on the farm then, looking out our kitchen window, and being able to see for a looonnng ways. I got used to it, finally, and I do love the hills and mountains, but my roots are pretty deep here.

      Thank you so much for stopping by. Blessings to you.

  • Love hearing the activity surrounding Kansas genealogy. And yes, the Lord does provide.

  • Congratulations, Sherry, on having the featured article on Jasia’s CoG! I enjoyed reading about the projects you are involved with in Sumner County. I particularly liked the fact that you have videotaped the meetings of the Historical and Genealogy Society and made DVDs. I look forward to reading your proposed post about getting started taping the programs, and building a DVD library. I think that could be very helpful to me in my work as Historian of the 50 Year Club of my high school alma mater. Thank you so much for sharing your expertise with the blogging world.

    • Thank you, Judith! I appreciate your kind and thoughtful words, and appreciate you ‘stopping by’, too. I will try to work on that post for next week, telling how I got started taping the programs, and what I use (and what I’d like to use as well, as I need to update my equipment to digital).

      You have a big task as the historian of your 50 Year Club! But it’s do-able. I’m learning how to use a program that is making things a lot of fun for me, but I’m still in the early learning curve on that! But next week I can start blogging about it.

      This week, I’m getting ready for my mom’s 98th birthday celebration at her home! Exciting.

  • J.M.:

    Congrats on being the featured post for this edition on the COG! It’s a great post that makes me want to join you in volunteering!

    • Thank you so much for the kind words! We would be very happy to have you join our society!!! And I’m sure there are societies near you that would be very happy to have you! Our small county has 4 or 5 historical societies/groups. The Caldwell, Kansas group, with its cowtown history is a very active group, too.

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