Genealogy – Prologue

Prologue magazine is a quarterly publication of the National Archives and Record Administration (NARA).  Along with the many historical events covered in the publication, there is a monthly feature called Genealogy Notes in every issue.  Genealogy Notes was published for the first time in the summer of 1989 and has covered many topics over the years.

I have listed some sample article titles from recent Genealogy Notes below.

v.45: no. 3/4 2013 – Ancestors from the West Indies: A Historical and Genealogical Overview of Afro-Caribbean Immigration, 1900-1930s

v.45: no. 2 2013- “We’re still alive today” A captured Japanese Diary from the Pacific Theater

v.43: no. 3 2011 – Leaving the Army During Mr. Madison’s War: Certificates of Discharge for the War of 1812

v. 42: no. 2 2010 – 68,937 and Counting: Searching Inmate Case Files from the U.S. Penitentiary at Leavenworth, Kansas.

Some articles may be read online or the print issues are available in the Government Documents Department at Forsyth Library. There is also at least a partial online index to the online Genealogy Notes available.


Affiliate Library of the Family History Library

CertificateThe Special Collections Area of Forsyth Library is now an Affiliate Library of the Family History Library, which is located in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Affiliate Library status allows patrons to request most microfilm and microfiche that is listed in the Family History Library Catalog.

The library provides microfilm readers that allow patrons to print the images/pages from the microfilm. The microfilm can be viewed during the hours that the library is open, including evenings and weekends. Anything ordered through this service has to remain in Forsyth Library.

The fee for ordering microform is $5.50 for each microfilm and fifteen cents for each microfiche. The loan time is 60 days which includes shipping time to and from the Family History Library.  This assumes 15 days shipping time each way, so the patron will have about 30 days to view the microfilm. There is a $5.50 charge for renewal of the microfilm for an additional 45 days. Microfiche are considered “indefinite loan” and do not need to be returned.

Patrons can refer to the Family History Library Catalog at to search for microfilm to be sent to our library from the Salt Lake Distribution Center. Patrons need to come in to Forsyth Library’s Special Collections Room (Room 122) on the main floor to place the order and make payment during the hours that the room is open, which is 8:00-4:30 Monday through Friday.

If there are any questions, please contact Patty at or 785-628-5901.


Who Do You Think You Are? Part 2

This past weekend, my sister, Cindy, and I spent a few hours in De Witt, Nebraska doing research on our ancestors. The local historian graciously shared her time showing us where our family homestead was located, and the cemeteries where our ancestors are buried, and she pulled newspaper and obituary files and books for us to look through at the De Witt Historical Society and Museum. She also took us to her home and fed us a very good lunch!

Both Cindy and I brought cameras, and we utilized them to take pictures of pages from a number of historical books. The books were very old, and one has to be careful with handling them. My sister also took pictures of some items hanging on the walls of the museum.

An option to viewing the actual books is to look and see if they have been digitized and are available for viewing online. Heritage Quest Online, a database which is available free to on-campus users through Forsyth Library’s web page, has over 25,000 books digitized. Heritage Quest is also available free to people who have the Kansas Library Card – see

Other online sites that offer digitized books include the following:
Google Books –
Internet Archive –
BYU Digital Collections –

Two of the books that I used for research at the historical society are available for viewing online in Internet Archive. See the following:

Portrait and biographical album of Gage County, Nebraska: containing full page portraits and biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county (1888) at

Joseph Ellis

Joseph Ellis, my great-great grandfather

Biography of Joseph Ellis

History of Gage County, Nebraska; a narrative of the past, with special emphasis upon the pioneer period of the county’s history, its social, commercial, educational, religious, and civic development from the early days to the present time (1918)

George Grant, my great-great grandfather, was one of the early settlers in Gage County, as seen on this page from the above-mentioned book.

George Grant

Early settler in Gage County, Nebraska

Visiting cemeteries can be a great way to find information on your ancestors, even if you may already have their birth dates and death dates. Many family members are buried in the same plot, and other extended family members can probably be found not far away. Here are some tips for doing cemetery research from –

My sister and I both took cameras to the cemeteries that we visited. We got some really nice pictures of the gravestones, and we can use those pictures later on to look at the inscriptions as we input information into our genealogy software program or onto genealogy forms. See the following web page for tips on using cameras in cemeteries –

The cemetery signs vary from simple to elaborate as is the case here:

Rose Hill Cemetery

Oak Grove Cemetery

The following picture shows the grave site of my great-great grandparents, Annie and George Grant.

Grant Tombstone

Many thanks to Doris, the local historian who helped Cindy and me throughout the day. Our trip to find out more about our ancestors was rewarding and fun. I am looking forward to doing this again in the future.


Who Do You Think You Are?

A show by this title airing on NBC on Friday nights has awakened my interest in genealogy. I had been working on my family genealogy for awhile and then took a break from it for over a year. While using a couple of weeks ago, I found a family tree that had traced family members back to the 1600’s in England. I am now corresponding with the person who had that family tree on Ancestry, and as a result, I now have pictures of the church in England where my ancestors attended. In return, she was excited to hear from me, because I have information on a family line that she had been trying to find without success.

Using the information from the family tree I found, I am now looking for sources such as census records and birth, marriage, death and burial records. The Internet has really opened up the way people can research their family records, but as is the case with the Internet, sometimes the information that other people may have about your ancestor(s) can put you on the wrong path. It is very important to do your research using primary sources.

Who do you think you are? Once you start researching your family, you may be surprised to find out that your ancestors came from Europe or Russia or Africa. Maybe there is someone famous or even some royalty in your family line.

Genealogy is a fun hobby for older folks, but young people should start learning about their family history, especially if your grandparents or great-grandparents are still alive. They will have stories to tell you, and they will have information to give you so that you can start researching your family tree.

The following tutorial is an excellent source to get you started on your way to finding out who you are! – Click on “How to Start Researching Your Family Tree”.

Forsyth Library has a subscription to Heritage Quest which provides census records, Revolutionary America era records, and Freedman records. See the library’s database page to access Heritage Quest –

Look for more information in future blog posts, but in the meantime, if you have any questions regarding family history, contact me at 628-5901 or email