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Beginnings

In the beginning …

In the beginning of my genealogy journey, I had

  • weekend trips to spend with my grandmother, Winnie Crawford, in Dodge City
  • my grandmother’s curiosity about her own family history; a family history filled with lots of unknowns – questions needing answers
  • my grandmother’s collection of family photos and memorabilia from both her CURREY family and her husband’s CRAWFORD family
  • my mother-in-law teaching me how to create a pedigree chart and a family group sheet — and giving me some blank forms
  • my grandmother Briles’ collection of photos and family memorabilia for the BRILES and MENTZER sides of the family
  • paper, envelope and stamps to write letters — and learning to enclose a SASE (self-addressed stamped envelope)
  • my first genealogy how-to book: The Researcher’s Guide to American Genealogy by Val Greenwood, copyright 1973
  • a great aunt, Gladys Crawford, who had compiled our Crawford genealogy
  • copies of pages from family Bibles — Crawford, Currey, Mentzer
  • a cousin, Max Briles, who had compiled a genealogy of the BRILES family
  • a subscription to Genealogical Helper — and thus needing more envelopes and stamps
  • likely my second genealogy book: The Handy Book for Genealogists — and a need for more stamps
  • a librarian’s knowledge of card catalogs, periodicals, microfilm and manuscripts
  • access to Kansas census and newspapers at the research center for the Kansas State Historical Society – and more forms – forms to record census information this time
  • Census indexes – big clunky books with small type — and 1920 Census Soundex – an index to the 1920 census records based on how names sounded.
  • more trips to Dodge City — not only to see my grandmother, but for research at the Kansas Genealogical Society library – which also housed the Kansas DAR library, and research at the Kansas Heritage Center and at Boot Hill
  • membership in the Kansas Genealogical Society (at Dodge City) and the Topeka Genealogical Society
  • two bus trips to the LDS library at Salt Lake City with Ruth Keys Clark and genealogists from around Kansas and a family vacation with a couple of days at the library
  • research trips to the public library at St. Joseph and the Northwest Missouri Genealogical Society library for access to records for the grandmother’s Hutchinson and Harding lines
  • day trips to Independence, Missouri to access U.S. census records at the genealogy library hosted by the Mid-Continent Public Library in Independence and Kansas City, Missouri (now the Midwest Genealogy Center)
  • PERSI – index of all of those genealogical society publications
  • access to microfilm of a large variety of records delivered by the mail man to my house courtesy of the American Genealogical Lending Library – need for a larger postage budget
  • Father Wempe and his push to form a genealogy society in Nemaha county, Kansas
  • participation in genealogy events at the state level as member of the board of the Kansas Council of Genealogical Societies
  • our first computer and the genealogy program: Personal Ancestral File (PAF)
  • compact discs (CDs) of records

And then came the Internet

And now we have DNA and all of the tools associated with it to help us identify ancestors.

Even though the tools have changed over the years, the foundations that my mother-in-law taught me over 40 years ago are still needed today. I don’t know where my genealogy research will go in the future, but it has been a fantastic ride to get here.