Kansas Genealogy and Ancestry Research

This page will provide you with information that will help you in your genealogy and ancestry research for the state of Kansas. It includes a timeline for the state, when the state began recording vital records, what US and State census records are available, a map of the counties in the state and link to page showing when counties were formed, and links to a variety of genealogy and ancestry resources for the state of Kansas.

Kansas History Timeline

There is much more interesting history timelines available (I’ll include the links below), this is just a short timeline list.

1541 – Spansh explorer Francisco de Coronado visit what is now Kansas searching for gold.

1682 – Frenchman Robrt Cavelier de La Salle claims the territory for France.

1803 – The United States purchases the territory as part of the Louisiana Purchase.

1804 – Lewis and clark pass through Kanssas on their way out west.

1821 – William Beckness pioneers the Santa Fe Trail from Missouri to New Mexico across Kansas.

1840’s – Settlers begin to travel across Kansas on the Oregon Trail heading to the west coast.

1854 – The Kansas Territory is established by congress with the Kansas-Nebraska Act.

1854 to 1859 – A number of violent clashes occur between pro and anti-slavery groups. It is called Bleeding Kansas.

1859 – Kansas outlaws slavery.

1861 – Kansas is admitted into the Union as the 34th state.

1930s – Kansas is hit by a massive drought and a series of dust storms called the Dust Bowl

1954 – The Supreme Court rules that segregation in the schools in unconstitutional in the landmark Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka Civil Rights case.

Kansas Vital Records

The recording of births and deaths began at the statewide level in July 1911. Marriage records are on file from 1 May 1913 as are divorces from 1 July 1951.

Divorces that occurred prior to 1951 are in the office of the clerk of the district court in which the case was filed.

Territorial records of marriages and deaths located in Kansas newspapers from 1854 to 1861 were published in several issues of volume 18 of the Kansas Historical Quarterly (1960). Births and deaths were published in volume 19 (August and September 1961), and marriages were published in volume 21 (Summer 1955): 445-86. 

The Guide to Public Vital Statistics Records in Kansas (March 1942) can be found online. You can view or download the book from this link. FamilySearch.org has a section on How to Find Kansas Birth Records at this link

There are more collections and indexes listed in the links below.

Kansas Census Records

Population Schedules

  • Indexed’1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930
  • Soundex’1880, 1900, 1910 (Miracode)

Mortality Schedules

  • 1860, 1870, 1880 (indexed)

Industry and Agriculture Schedules

  • (Agriculture) 1870, 1880 There are two online agricultural indexes of Riley County Kansas 1925 Decennial Agricultural State census and Riley County, Kansas State Census, 1915 available at Ancestry.com.

The research center at the Kansas State Historical Society has all the federal population censuses for Kansas, as well as the 1880 and 1900 Soundex and the 1910 Miracode.

Ancestry.com has digitized images of the entire U.S. Federal Census Schedules 1790-1940 and created searchable indexes for the images. This collection can be accessed at U.S. Federal Census Collection. (Membership may be required) and Kansas State Census Collection, 1855-1925.

Kansas Counties Map

Kansas Counties Map
Kansas Counties Map

Kansas Genealogy and Ancestry Research Links

Ancestry.com has the following Kansas vital record collections (subscription may be required)

FamilySearch.org has a variety of collections available for free online:

Ancestry.com – Kansas State Census Collection, 1855-1925

Kansas Family History Research – written for Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.

Kansas Counties -When they were formed, parent county(ies), Birth, Marriage, Death, Land, Probate and Court begin dates.

FamilySearch.org – How to Find Kansass Birth Records

Kansas Vital Records – links to Kansas vital record sources organized by county

Guide to Public Vital Statistics Records in Kansas (1942) – you can view the book or download from this link.

Kansas Historical Society

Kansas Genealogical Society & Online Library

Kansas Genealogy Trails

Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness – Kansas

Kansas GenWeb Project

AccessGenealogy – Kansas Genealogy

GenealogySpot – Kansas

Kansas History Timeline Links