Kansas first gained white settlers during the first half of the 19th century. When the Kansas-Nebraska Act was passed in 1854, settlers quickly flooded into the new American territory and its population exploded. In 1861, when Kansas attained statehood, it entered as a free state during the opening months of the long Civil War.
While my family never ventured further than the northeastern area of the United States, my husband’s family was much more adventuresome. Therefore, I’ve made several, but not many, forays into Kansas records.
Kansas has many counties, so I’ve not covered each one, but if a local library came up early in a search, I’ve included it on this list. If your county of interest is NOT listed here, be sure to do your own local search for libraries, local archives, genealogical/historical societies and museums in the area.
Here are the best of the free online resources:
Kansas Online Genealogy Resources – FamilySearch wiki, which is always the best place to begin!
Kansas – The Family History Guide (FamilySearch)
Kansas Genealogy – on Access Genealogy with a wide variety of links
Digital History – Bleeding Kansas
Digital History Project – Territorial Kansas Online
Kansas Historical Society – Some vital records are online.
KSGenWeb Project – run by volunteers with links to all Kansas counties. Some county sites are chock full of great material, while others are quite sparse. Definitely worth visiting to see what has been posted.
KU Digital Collections – includes Kansas Sanborn maps, Kansas Collection Photographs and University Archives Photos, among other links.
Midwest Genealogy Center – has a Kansas collection in addition to other states in the Midwest. Much is not online, but this is a great library to contact about Kansas roots.
Town or County Websites:
Coffeyville Public Library – houses the Montgomery County Genealogical Society’s collection, but the material isn’t online.
Crawford County Genealogical Society
Olathe Public Library – Genealogy & Local history
SCKLS Digital Library Initiative – Includes links to historical materials and currently covers Barber, Butler, Cowley, Harper, Harvey, Kingman, McPherson, Reno, Rice, Sedgwick, Stafford and Sumner Counties in south-Central Kansas.
Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library – There are a variety of links to local material including Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway Prior Service Records from 1859-1935 and Grand Army of the Republic (GAR records must be viewed in the library) records.