Library provides help on genealogy

The Best Times Digital Edition

By Patti Combs

Two popular hobbies for seniors are gardening and genealogy.

The place many people go for family history research and genealogy support is the genealogy desk at Central Resource Library, Overland Park. The desk is staffed with volunteers from the Johnson County Genealogical Society (JCGS).

During the closure of this library location due to construction upgrades, these in-person services are temporarily unavailable through the end of 2021. However, there are a wide range of free JCGS and Johnson County Library online resources, Zoom programs and activities which are now available at your fingertips from your home computer or device.

For those looking for a little extra help with either basic genealogy or DNA and genetic genealogy, free one-on-one online sessions are offered that can be booked in advance. To sign up for an appointment, go to for a link to the Signup Genius page to view the available appointment times and make a reservation. A volunteer will email a personal Zoom meeting link to you prior to the scheduled date.

Johnson County Genealogical Society monthly meetings are currently taking place on Zoom rather than in person, the fourth Saturday of the month and are free and open to all. If you are not a current genealogical society member and would like to attend, visit JCGS’s website for more information on how to register and receive the meeting link. The Summer JCGS National Speaker Series from 10 a.m. to noon on the following dates features national experts on topics of interest for beginners as well as seasoned genealogists:

  • Aug. 28, “Beyond Ancestry - Overlooked and Underused Subscription Sites,” Luana Darby
  • Sept. 25, “Researching Ancestors of Color,” Renate Yarbrough Sanders
  • Oct. 23, “Writing Ancestral Stories Your Relatives Will Want to Read,” Pam Vestal
  • Nov. 27, “Breaking through Genealogy Brick Walls: Success Stories,” JCGS members

To learn more about a specific topic or area of interest, consider joining one of these monthly special interest groups which meet online via Zoom. Meetings are facilitated and usually last an hour or 90 minutes with interaction from participants.

  • Genealogy Research
  • Irish Special Interest Group
  • DNA & Genetic Genealogy
  • Writers Group
  • Genealogy Scrapbooking
  • FamilySearch
  • Family Tree Maker Software
  • RootsMagic Software
  • Legacy Genealogy Software

Beginning genealogy class

Get started in family genealogy with this Zoom class from 10 - 11:30 a.m., Thursdays, Sept. 16, 23 and 30. Focus will be on the basics of effective searching, recording and organizing what you find. Genealogy websites and software programs will also be discussed. To sign up or for questions, send an email with your name and phone number to

Both Johnson County Library and the Johnson County Genealogical Society offer a variety of resources available 24/7 on their websites. Visit for library genealogy databases accessible from home or other library locations with a library card and PIN.

Forms and informational flyers for beginner genealogists may be found by clicking on the Genealogy Essentials tab on and printed at home.

Patti Combs is communications clerk at Central Resource Library.