The Kansas Council of Genealogical Societies will hold its 43rd annual Genealogy Conference from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on June 10 at Grace Community Church, 1600 S. Anderson in Newton. The event is co-sponsored by the Harvey County Genealogical Society.
"Whether you are a genealogy pro or simply interested in your family history, this conference will be both informative and enjoyable," said KCGS Conference Chairman Darren McMannis.
At the Genealogy Conference, attendees can register four surnames to connect with others who are researching the same names.
"Genealogists, as a whole, are a fun group of people," McMannis said. "It's a good place to find out what other people have done to find their ancestors. It's easy to network with people."
The keynote speaker for the conference will be Billie Stone Fogarty, president of the Association of Professional Genealogists and former president of the Genealogical Speakers Guild and the Oklahoma Genealogical Society.
"We're really fortunate to get her in here," McMannis said. "This session is going to be a good one for people whether they are familiar with genealogy or just starting out, because she's going to be talking about general places to look as well as specific hints if you've got brick walls you haven't been able to move past."
Fogarty's sessions include "Land Runs, Lotteries and Homesteads," "Trails of our Ancestors," "Salute Our Veterans" and "Share Your Research Without Putting Relatives to Sleep."
"Land Runs, Lotteries, & Homesteads" will cover America's unusual settlement history, from Indian tribes' relocation to cattle trails, railroads, European settlers, land runs and lotteries. Fogarty will share about the Homestead Act, the rectangular survey system, the unique land openings, the process for obtaining land and the records available to find your ancestor's role in these events.
"Salute Our Veterans" looks at the federal, state and county level military records born out of war that can assist genealogists. Newspaper articles and periodical accounts can provide a genealogical goldmine to the researcher.
"Moving from the settlement and founding of our homes to the defense of those homes, we have a significant collection of records to examine due to the large number of times the U.S. has had to defend her borders," Fogarty said.
Finding military and homestead records can give you a clearer picture of your ancestor's life.
"It'll put a lot of meat on the skeleton — a lot of information about the person, not just who they were," McMannis said. "Where they settled, how they made the trip to Kansas and what they experienced along the way."
Examining the ways your ancestors might have taken as they migrated to new homes, "Trails Of Our Ancestors" gives an overview of routes that may lead you to new discoveries about your ancestors, as it shows the most well traveled paths that our ancestors took to settle America.
"From Indian trails to the King's Highway and beyond, the story of how America was settled is a fascinating glimpse into the lives of our ancestors," Fogarty said. "The day will feature some of those well known trails and may help the family historian figure out from where that brick wall ancestor traveled."
"I'm excited about that, because the trails aren't usually talked about — how people actually wound up coming from the East Coast and making their way here," McMannis said. "When people came to Kansas in the late 1800s, that was kind of a different Harvey County than it was in the early 1900s and than it certainly is today."
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"People do a lot of research, just for fun, but then it winds up in boxes and then it eventually gets lost," McMannis said.
McMannis will present "The Chisholm Trail and Those Cowboy Days in Kansas" as a special extra session, in which he will highlight tales of cattle drives and shootouts that occurred in the area.
"I'll talk about some stories from along the trail," McMannis said. "It'll be some of the stories from around Harvey County related to the cowboy days and the cattle trail coming through."
Vendors on site during the conference will include PhotoTree, LeClair's Genealogy and the Kansas State Historical Archives Advisory Board. Attendees can register for door prizes from the Harvey County Register of Deeds office.
The cost for the Genealogy Conference is $55 for those who register by June 4. The cost includes a syllabus and catered lunch by Water's Edge Restaurant of Hesston.
For more information about the Kansas Council of Genealogical Societies or to register for the Genealogy Conference, visit http://www.kcgs.us. Registration forms can also be picked up at area libraries or the Harvey County Register of Deeds office at 800 N. Main St. in Newton.