Discover your family’s story


WELLINGTON – The Sumner County Historical and Genealogical Society in Wellington will host “Discover Your Family’s Story with Michelle Enke.”

Enke is manager of genealogy special collections at the Wichita Public Library’s Advanced Learning Library in Wichita. The presentation will be at 6:30 p.m. Monday at Cowley College, Short General Education Center, Room 113, 2208 Davis-White Loop, Wellington. 

The program is free. For those who would like to order a meal to take to the meeting, the Tiger Eatery will be open until 6:30. Tiger Eatery menu: 

For more information, visit or contact the SCHGS at 620-440-4245 on Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; after hours, call Jane at 620-447-3266 or Sherry at 316-833-6161.

When Enke began her career at the Wichita Public Library in 2002, the volumes and historical resources in the genealogy department numbered approximately 13,000. 

In July 2019, the Kansas Daughters of the American Revolution donated approximately 6,000 books and genealogical/historical resources previously held by the KSDAR Library at Dodge City to the Advanced Learning Library in Wichita. Enke said that that donation brought the number of volumes and resources available to more than 46,000.

“It took one and a half years to catalog and shelve the whole DAR collection,” Enke said. “But as soon as each volume was catalogued, it was added to the shelves, and available for research.”

Enke stated that a few of the most fragile and rare volumes are behind locked doors, but are listed on the catalog, and in the future will likely be digitized by volunteers and offered online.

Everything is on the catalog, so researchers can do keyword, author and title searches on the collections in the library.

“The DAR records include information that encompasses the entire United States and goes back to Colonial era times,” Enke said. “The vast majority of libraries in the United States only have local resources. It’s rare to have a collection like this that covers the entire United States.”

Enke’s PowerPoint presentation will share what kinds of things you might expect to find in a genealogy department in a public library, how to find those resources, and tips for doing research.

Along with the DAR records, Enke said that the library has both Revolutionary War and Civil War volumes that include regimental rosters and histories, more than 2,000 family histories, and a large collection of local, yearbooks.

“Many of Kansas earliest settlers were Civil War soldiers,” Enke said.

To honor those early Civil War era soldiers and today’s service members as well, Enke said that for approximately the past five years, library volunteers have been locating and collecting obituaries for the service men and women buried in Sedgwick County from the Civil War era up through the Vietnam War era.

“Kansas was a ‘soldier state,’” Enke said. “A lot of the Civil War soldiers were the movers and shakers and business owners of the town.”