Just what is Genealogy? Very briefly, it is Family lineage and History.
Back in 1979, two community-minded Leavenworth residents decided it was time to record the vital statistics of Leavenworth County, before books deteriorated completely, more gravestones were destroyed, etc., and the history of our area became lost forever. So they set out with a task before them, to make records of the past more available to those people who were searching for their "roots" in Leavenworth County, Kansas.
These men were Mr. Erwin Baker and the late Mr. Charles Pierce, who were cofounders of the Leavenworth County Genealogical Society.
Leavenworth County Genealogical Society was chartered in December 1979 at a meeting at the Leavenworth Public Library (now Carnegie Arts Center) and became the 33rd genealogical society in Kansas.
Mr. James Hathaway, then director of the Leavenworth Public Library, supplied the meeting room and assisted in organization of the society. He was well aware of the value of a library's genealogical department, and the number of patrons who would come from far and wide to use it.
By-Laws were drawn up and the Leavenworth County Genealogical Society became incorporated as a nonprofit organization on November 21, 1980. Mr. Baker and Mr. Pierce spent countless hours of hard work, as they walked all the rural cemeteries in Leavenworth County and recorded all the information from grave markers. This information was computerized and now furnishes a most important part of the society's holdings, and a well-used source for research. Later Mr. Baker computerized indexes for the cemeteries within the City, also.
Many business people in Leavenworth believed in the project, and became charter members in order to provide support and help to Mr. Baker and Mr. Pierce, to get the society established.
Mr. Hathaway's library staff was most helpful in directing patrons in use of the materials within the library, and in ordering microfilm which was available for rental, copying maps, etc. Our thanks to Nettie Rehm, Mildred Bailey, Virginia Callahan and others.
Later, meetings were held at Planter II, where the room was on the first floor and more easily accessible. Member Frances Vendy lived there.
After the Leavenworth Public Library was moved to its present location, there came the many contributions of materials. Gladys (Paul) Carnahan for many years held the honorary title of "Historian" of the Lansing, Nine Mile, and Delaware areas, where she lived most of her life, as did her ancestors. Genealogy was the "love of her life" and much of her private library was donated to the Leavenworth County Genealogical Society.
Daughters of Johanna (Engle) Baum also donated the extensive records of their mother's studies. She was an ardent DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) member and genealogist. Many, many members and friends of the Leavenworth County Genealogical Society have given copies of their family history books and other materials, which have resulted in the sizeable genealogy library of the Leavenworth County Genealogical Society today.
Please visit the Kansas Room where Librarian Kim Baker and her staff graciously cooperate with Leavenworth County Genealogical Society. Listing of specific material available will be found later in this story.
As in any organization, those who accept the duties and obligations of officers are to be commended. But there can't be an organization without members-at-large, so many loyal people have contributed to twenty years of successful operation of Leavenworth County Genealogical Society. Support from Leavenworth County Historical Museum is appreciated.
Leavenworth County Genealogical Society has always published a quarterly newsletter. Just recently we were awarded an honor from Kansas State Genealogical Society for outstanding newsletter for the years 1998 and 1999. Thanks to Editor Debra Graden.
Compilers of this article wish to express sincere thanks to members and friends who took the time to send congratulations and well wishes.
It was a wonderful inspiration that brought Mr. Baker and Mr. Pierce to establish Leavenworth County Genealogical Society, for it has helped countless number of people throughout these past twenty (almost twenty-one) years.
Many, many thanks, Erwin and Charles . . .
Mildred (Dorhn) Stuckey