By Connie Hocking Ι May 23, 2015

Like many of you, my family and I took time over the Memorial Day weekend to visit cemeteries where we placed flowers in honor and respect for those have gone before us. Our trek took us to Dispatch, Kan., where the two cemeteries straddle the Smith and Jewell county lines. When my kids and their cousins were young, we would all pile into the back of Grandpa’s camper and take a bumpy ride over the chalk roads to get to Dispatch. The same stories would be told year after year, a new one occasionally added to the mix. We heard about Grandma Anna’s trip from the Netherlands to America in 1855 and how, in her later years, she would tell her son, “James, it’s time to go to the well,” which meant she was ready for a bottle of home brew. The well kept it cool. It was a chance to show my granddaughter and her cousins where their great-great-great-great-great-grandmother is buried and explore the Dutch side of their heritage.

Now back at work, if I feel the need to reconnect with my grandparents, I can go to the stacks and look for 978.123 Cawker. This is a volume about the early families of Cawker City area and includes a picture of my great-grandparents with 10 of their 12 children as well as my grandparents’ wedding picture. Or I can pull 978.154 R495L, a book about the Rice County Centennial. In it I’ll find my other grandfather in his baseball uniform taken in 1903. He was a great pitcher and recruited by the New York Yankees. Salina Public Library has much more than Saline County history. Starting at 978.11, you can find regional history for much the state. The Campbell Room has even more volumes of these local histories which provide an invaluable glimpse into those lives of earlier Kansans.

Should your appetite for genealogy be whetted, the library is the place to come. Barbara has a Genealogy Club that meets on the third Thursday of each month, September through May. There are also local genealogists who come in twice a month to give one-on-one help.

Databases available at Salina Public Library include Genealogy Connect, Heritage Quest Online, American Ancestors and Five Civilized Tribes Online. All of these can be accessed from your home computer or on any computer at the library. Ancestry Library Edition is available from any library computer. Printing is available at 10 cents per page.

Salina Public Library has microfilm copies of the Salina newspapers dating from 1967 to the present day, as well as film from newspapers for Gypsum, Brookville, Assaria, Falun and other area towns. There are also film reels of Kansas and Federal Census records dating back to 1860. Through our Interlibrary Loan services, we can borrow newspaper microfilm from almost every city in Kansas. The Kansas State Historical Society has 55,000 reels of film available for viewing. The library has two microfilm readers available for your use. Printing from these readers is also available.

In addition, Newspaper Archives, which can be accessed through library computers and also your home computer, allows the search of newspaper pages dating back to the 1700s. It includes tens of millions of pages! The Salina Journal is indexed from 1951 to the present.

Tracing your family tree is probably a little more complicated that the Ancestry leaf leads you to believe, but you never know. We found our 4th great-grandfather, Captain James Browning, who served in the American Revolutionary War, is the a 6th great-grandfather to President Barack Obama. It’s interesting to see where those branches will lead!