Finding your people

Find your people and learn about your family’s history at the library. We have all the tools, resources and expert staff to help you discover if you really are related to the King of Spain.

Begin your journey of genealogy discovery in the Dr. Phillip and Betty Baker Genealogy Center, located in the Topeka Room on the library’s second floor. Our team of genealogy experts, led by Sherri Camp, will provide tips and tools, starting with a pedigree chart (a family tree), which helps you organize your information into generations. Begin with yourself and work backward, documenting your parents, grandparents, great grandparents, etc. Add as much information as you can.

The next step is to collect personal family records and family possessions. This could include: the family Bible, photographs, yearbooks, school records, letters, wills, birth certificates and pension records. Also document your family’s customs (holidays, cultural celebrations, etc.) and stories. Put this information into your chart.

Next, interview your relatives. Document what you learn on your pedigree chart and family group charts. Keep track of notes on a research log. Ask for family records, match names to pictures, get biographical information, ask questions about events mentioned in letters and stories, and ask about the origins of stories.

Once you have collected as much information as you can from family members, use the Baker Genealogy Center tools available in print, online or on microfilm. Access popular research tools such as, Heritage Quest and America’s Obituaries. The Genealogy webpage also has free genealogy printable worksheets and links to search our obituary index and then request obituaries. If you need the Ancestry Library Edition, it can be accessed while at the library.

Other resources you have access to:

The genealogy team, back row: Griff Argo, Miranda Ericsson, Luanne Webb, Meredith Snepp, Travis Garwood; front row: Luella Minner, Sherri Camp

  • local yearbooks
  • family histories
  • obituaries
  • census records
  • marriage indexes
  • cemetery indexes
  • military records
  • plat and insurance maps
  • passenger lists
  • naturalization records
  • Topeka city directories

As the library’s communications editor Ginger helps spread the word about all the amazing library resources, services and staff. She loves reading fiction and is working to keep her To Be Read list under 100. Ginger is also a volunteer at Helping Hands Humane Society.