Our ancestors are the landmark by which we know the way

By Liz Johnson/Staff Writer for Living 50-Plus

Family historians are a rare bunch. They know their family lineage and are often able to ramble off birth and death dates, marriage dates and tidbits about the family few others know.

They know the family traits, such as, “You have the Rains’ feet,” or, “Those green eyes and red hair are because our ancestors were from Ireland.”

Sometimes a family resemblance traces down several generations. My own son is the spitting image of my maternal grandmother who died in 1918. They could have been twins. Truly, the leaves of ancestry don’t fall far from the tree.

Most towns have a group of researchers who gather to study the local genealogy, collect new information and share common info with each other. They are devoted to the integrity of the facts they collect and are always eager to learn something new, a new source for history and oh, sharing those old family stories.

Ray County Genealogy Association is one such group – dedicated to its research, whether together or apart – for the greater good of accurate historical accounts.



At a recent meeting, member Terri Sickles, who previously worked at Midwest Genealogy Center in Independence, spoke about the resources available at MGC –

Sickles’ first piece of advice echoed that of historian DeNelda Jongerius, the subject of the Sept. 2 edition of Living 50-Plus.

“Know what you’re looking for at MGC,” said Sickles, “or it can be overwhelming. Do your homework before your go. Check out the research guide online.”

She also offered the following suggestions:

Sign up for and attend MGC’s free classes. One class is called Walkabout at MGC. This is a guided tour of the facility and what it has to offer.

To access MGC’s computers to visit or Fold 3 (historic military records), a patron must have a Mid-Continent Public Library card.  MGC has free WiFi, so personal laptops and tablets may be brought into the center. Patrons are responsible for their own personal items.

A MCPL library card also entitles a patron to access many of the center’s databases from the comfort of  home.

Food is not permitted inside MGC in the research area. There is a lounge available, as well as lockers for personal possessions. Cost is 25 cents, that is refundable at the end of that day’s visit.

Staff does not do research for genealogists. Staffers are available to assist in finding sources within the center where researchers can find what they are looking for. However, appointments may be made with a staff member for a genealogy consultation for a fee.

The MGC website has classes and blogs that are very helpful teaching tools for researchers.

Copies are 10 cents each. Patrons may also bring a flash drive and save information for free. Researchers may also use a camera, cell phone photos or hand-held scanner.

Users can check out a CD and listen to it on computers or in the car.

Most of the MGC’s books are one of a kind and cannot be checked out. If a book is available for checkout, it will have a label on its spine stating so. Books without the label must be used within the confines of the library.

Ray County Library is in partnership with MCPL, thus enabling patrons of RCL to use the genealogy center’s resources.

The complete story is in the Friday, Sept. 16, 2016 Richmond News.

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