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40th Parallel

We often see the words “In the beginning” when reading a book, fairy tale or the Bible. However, have you ever thought of a place as a beginning? When we think of place in our genealogy research, there is always someplace ‘before’. It may be one of our brick walls and we don’t know where it is, but we do know there is a ‘before’.

Thus, to say that my husband and I took a road trip to the “Place of Beginning” seems really strange. Most of the land found in the states of Kansas and Nebraska was part of the Louisiana Purchase. However, it was the 1854 Kansas-Nebraska Act that set this area on the road to statehood. This act also established the 40th parallel as the boundary line between Kansas and Nebraska.

The passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act prompted surveying to define the beginning points for establishing the ranges, townships and sections. Since we had recently visited the Point of Beginning – or the 6th Prime Merdian marker to our West, we decided to visit the monument marking the 40th parallel on the Missouri River Bluffs. This marker was established in 1855 to mark the Kansas Nebraska border.

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