Posts Tagged ‘Wichita Public Library’

And This Brother Came to Kansas – Tombstone Tuesday – James and Elizabeth (Conver) Kline

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.

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James & Elizabeth (Conver) Kline - buried Ryan Township, 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.

“Are You Related to Barack Obama?”

by Sherry Stocking Kline
Written for the Wichita Eagle’s Active Life Magazine – February 2009

Want Your Family Tree Researched?  Get Famous!

Probably no one knows better by now than Barack Obama and his family that if you want to have your family tree researched for you, just become famous and run for office.

There is a fascination with knowing more about famous people, especially our presidents, and even those who didn’t vote for Obama want to know more about him and his family.

There are websites, blogs, and numerous articles devoted to discovering, talking about and arguing about Obama’s family history, even going so far as trying to determine what ethnic percentage he has of Caucasian, African, and Arab in his ancestry.

Marsha Stenholm, retired genealogy librarian at the Wichita, Kansas Public Library, said there is a great deal of interest in Obama’s Kansas roots from journalists, television anchors, and individuals.

Are You Related to Barack Obama?

Are you related to Obama?  You may be.

Obama’s family has ties to several cities and counties in Kansas, including Wichita in Sedgwick County, Argonia in Sumner County, El Dorado and Augusta in Butler County, as well as Chautauqua, Howard, Labette, and Johnson Counties.

“Obama has ties to El Dorado and Wichita,” Stenholm said, “and if you go back another generation, his great-grandparents and great-great grandparents have ties to Wichita and Argonia in Sumner County as well.”

According to Stenholm, Obama’s mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, (who was named for her father), was born in Wichita, possibly in St. Francis Hospital, in 1942. Her father, Stanley Armour Dunham, was born in Kansas in 1918 to Ralph Dunham and Ruth Lucille Armour. Her mother, Madelyn Lee Payne, was born in Wichita in 1922 to parent’s Rolla Charles Payne, who was born in Olathe, Kansas and Leona McCurry, born circa 1897 in Kansas. According to Federal Census resources, Stanley Armour Dunham worked in the furniture business.

Obama’s Great-Grandfather Born in Argonia, Kansas

“Obama’s great-grandfather, Ralph Waldo Emerson Dunham was born in Argonia, Kansas,” Stenholm said, to parents’ Jacob William and Mary Ann (Kearney) Dunham, and are on the 1900 Federal Census in Dixon Township Stenholm said the census records are available online at www.ancestry.com or at the Wichita Public Library.

By 1909, Stenholm said that Wichita City Directories indicate the family was living in Wichita. They also showed up in the 1910, 1920, and 1930 Federal census, where Jacob was listed in 1910 as a manufacturer of drugs in a drug store, in 1920 he was listed as a pharmacist in a drug store, and in 1930, he was listed as a physician in a medical business.

In 1915, Ralph married Ruth Lucille Armour, whose parents were Harry Ellington Armour and Gabriella Clark, who appeared in the 1910 and 1920 Federal Census of Wichita, Sedgwick County, Kansas, and in the 1930 Federal Census are listed as living in El Dorado, Butler County, Kansas.

Obama’s Grandma Toot born in Kansas…

Two different sources have Madelyn Lee Payne, Obama’s grandmother “Toot” born either in 1922 in Wichita, Kansas, or in Peru, in Chautauqua County, Kansas, to father Rolla Charles Payne, who was born in Johnson County, Kansas and Leona McCurry Payne, born circa 1897 in Kansas. The 1930 Federal Census lists seven-year-old Madelyn living with her parents in Augusta, and her father’s occupation is listed as a bookkeeper for an oil company.

Are you related to Obama?  Whether you are or not, you may find researching Obama’s family ties at http://genealogy.about.com/od/aframertrees/p/barack_obama.htm fascinating. And if your name is Dunham, Payne, Armour, Stroup, Kearney, Holloway, Clark, Overall, McCurry, Wright, Black, Wolfley, Abbott, Creekmore, Wright, or Allred, you might just want to take a quick look into your family history and see if you, too, have ancestral ties to our new President.

Sidebar
Wichita Public Library
223 S. Main
Wichita, KS 67202
(316) 261-8500

“Complete Idiot’s Guide to Genealogy” by Christine Rose and Kay Germain Ingalls

“Unpuzzling Your Past: The Best Selling Basic Guide to Genealogy” by Croom

“Tracking Your African-American Family History” – David T. Thackery

Hit the Library Before You Hit the Road!

by Sherry Stocking Kline
First published “The Family Tree” column in Wichita Eagle’s “Active Life” magazine – May 2004.

Before you hit the road this summer with ancestor files tucked into a suitcase and your favorite family tree program loaded onto your laptop, be sure to make one more stop at the library.

Librarians and volunteers experienced in searching for and finding lost ancestors can help you locate resources locally, so doing your homework before you head out the door can save you a lot of time when you get to your destination.

“Some of the information you need may be here at the library,” said Michelle Enke, City Historian, Wichita Public Library, “we have all of the Kansas State and Federal Census, and the complete 1930 census for Oklahoma.” Enke added that other states’ census are available; check http://www.wichitagensoc.org/ for other records and microfilm.

According to Enke, a helpful new tool for Kansans is the Kansas Library Card. The library card will give you access to the Heritage Quest website where you can find U. S. Census images, the Periodical Source Index (PERSI), and more than 25,000 genealogy and history books.

Midwest Historical and Genealogical Society Library is another “must stop” for before-you-go research. According to volunteer Sue McGuire, MHGS has many out-of-state books, more than 600 quarterly newsletters from different states and counties, county histories, and family genealogies.

Search the on-line catalogs of your destination libraries and check on-line at FamilySearch.org for books and resources that you might be able to order at your library or at the Family History Library of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints at 7011 E. 13th and read ahead of time.

To speed up research in all libraries, learn the Library of Congress numbering system used in academic libraries and the Dewey Decimal numbers for the state/city/county area(s) that you wish to research, Enke said.

“The Dewey Decimal number for Wichita, Kansas is 978.1861 all across the nation,” Enke said.

Before you leave home, make sure that you have the addresses and hours of libraries, courthouses, and cemeteries that you wish to visit. It’s also a good plan to call the Chamber of Commerce in your destination areas, get their hours, addresses, and ask for the names and phone numbers of the local funeral homes.

Both Enke and McGuire rely on Everton’s “Handybook for Genealogists” to get courthouse and library contact information. Enke added that another important resource is the “International Vital Record’s Handbook” listing where each state’s vital records are kept.

And before McGuire or Enke hits the highway they take the information super highway to the USGenweb site to find state and county information.

“Each county web site is different, but many have library addresses, lists of books, courthouse hours, and maps/directions to the cemeteries,” Enke said.

“I prepare as much as possible,” Enke said, “I use the library, the Internet, make phone calls, ask questions, and I make sure that I have my ancestor’s names, dates, and places. It saves time and effort once you get there.”

Before she leaves home, McGuire makes a list of what she wants to find: obituaries, marriage records, land and court records, etc., packs her family group sheets and creates a what-happened-when-family-timeline to double check facts when she arrives at her destination.

“My husband and I spend a lot of time on our summer travels going to cemeteries and courthouses,” McGuire said, “I’ve been to Missouri and several places around.”

“You always have something to search for,” McGuire said, “that’s all a part of the fun of it.”

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