Washington County Historical & Genealogical Society
P. O. Box 31
Washington, Kansas 66968
phone: (785) 325-2198
hours: M-F 9-4, Sundays 2-4, and by appointment (closed during lunch hour)
Undoubtedly the best one-stop resource for history and genealogy in Washington County is the Historical & Genealogical Society, located in Washington, Kansas. Resources include county newspapers on microfilm, obituaries on file, information on city histories, county cemeteries, plat books, census pages on microfilm including Ag censuses (each year ending in "5"), book and manuscript collections, farm directories, miscellaneous family files and genealogies, church and school records. In addition, the staff will provide look-up services, including researches at the county court house including naturalization papers, probate records, marriage licenses, land records, and reports of deaths and births in the county before 1911. Because the non-profit group relies almost solely on donations, expect to pay a small fee for these services.
The group also staffs and maintains the Washington County museum at their address in Washington, in a building purchased by the society in 1981. The museum opened in 1983 with two floors of exhibits. In 1993 the society members purchased a second building just south of the museum which now contains more exhibit space and office space. In 1997 the Washington County Commissioners donated the historic county sheriff residence and jail. Built in 1899, this building will be the future home of the Kansas Law Enforcement Museum, the only one of its kind in the state of Kansas.
The museum is open Sundays from 2:00 - 4:00 p.m., and on weekdays from 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., except for the noon hour. It is closed on Saturdays but can be opened by appointment. It is staffed entirely with volunteers. There are no paid employees at the museum.
Here, specifically, are some of the resources at the museum:
- Newspapers on microfilm (all weeklies)
Haddam, August 1885 - October 1949
Barnes, August 1885 - April 1974
Mahaska, September 1905 - October 1924
Clifton, March 1878 - October 1969
Linn/Palmer, January 1888 - September 2000
Hanover, May 1873 - October 1998
Greenleaf, January 1881 - December 1977
Washington, March 1869 - December 2001
- U. S. Census on microfilm (from 1860 to 1930, excluding 1890) for years ending in "0".
- Agriculture Census reports (1875 to 1925) for years ending in "5".
- Cemetery tombstone records
- Plat books for 1882, 1906, and many years after 1920.
- Various farm directories.
- Over 10,000 school/teacher records and year books.
- Some church records
- City histories, including centennial books for Hanover, Linn, Washington, Mahaska, Haddam and Palmer.
- Miscellaneous family files, genealogies, diaries, histories and letters.
Court house look-ups include:
- Naturalization papers
- Probate records
- Marriage licenses, June 1868 - October 1976
- Deaths, August 1886 - May 1911
- Births, August 1887 - June 1911
- Land records
Minimum cost for look-ups at the museum is $5, and at the court house is $10. Copies generally run 50 cents each, although many court house books, such as naturalization papers, are in over-sized, bound books so copying costs may go higher. The museum staff will contact you before proceeding if the cost goes beyond $10.
The museum also has a limited number of extra copies of city centennial editions which you may acquire. While much of the information is the same as the material on this web site, the books also have pictures, advertisements, and in many cases rosters such as teachers, council members, etc. Books available (and the cost) are Morrowville ($6), Linn ($5), Haddam ($7), The 70th Anniversary Supplement ($5), Washington ($5), and Gospel Hill, the centennial book of St. John's Catholic Church in Hanover ($5).
Finally, the society is constantly adding to its collection. For instance, they continue to purchase microfilm rolls of published newspapers. If you would like to sponsor a roll, which generally holds 2-3 years of newspapers, the cost is $45. Be sure to specify from which city you would like them to acquire newspapers.
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