This summer I had the privilege of doing research in the field and visiting two wonderful county genealogical societies–the Smoky Valley Genealogical Society in Salina, Kansas, and the McPherson County Archive, which is a part of the McPherson County Old Mill Museum in Lindsborg, Kansas. Research problems were answered that couldn’t have been otherwise.
The Smoky Valley Genealogical Society has all kinds of records, such as citizenship, mortality records, military records, school records, township assessments, probates, photos of headstones in cemeteries, a few family bibles, and more. They have produced a number of indexes for the county, including marriages, deaths and interments, probate records, obituaries, biographies, and a few other collections. Many of these items are available to search online through Ancestry.com. It is exciting to search the items in person, but if you cannot make the trip, a research team is available to do research for a fee.
While at the Smoky Valley Genealogical Society, I tried to find a death of an individual. We knew that she was alive in the 1900 census but not alive in the 1905 state census of Kansas. By using the list of residents in the Smoky View Township in the tax assessment records, her death was narrowed down to between May 1902 and May 1903. Hopefully, a Swedish American newspaper will mention her death and burial. It is nice to have the time period reduced from five years to one year.
The McPherson County Archive also has a gold mine of information, and most of it is available online at their website.
Indexes of census records, vital records, probates and wills, naturalizations, obituaries, cemeteries, maps, and a few miscellaneous records are available online. By contacting the archive at the McPherson County Old Mill Museum, you can order records from the indices for a fee. There are also many other records available to search at the archive.
The Old Mill Museum and Archive have many volumes of a Swedish-American newspaper called Lindsborg Posten which was published in Lindsborg, Kansas. It was enjoyable to search through the actual newspapers rather than view microfilms. Here a death was found which stated that the person had died the previous Saturday and was buried on Sunday. By calculating from when the paper was printed, a death date was determined. So far a death date has not been found for this person in any other record.
When doing research, always consider using local county genealogical societies as one of your sources, whether online, in person, or by requesting their services. They are getting better and better. Great results are possible.