JOPLIN, Mo. —
When researching your family history, plan to visit local colleges and universities. Those institutions often have archives that will be helpful in your search.
Before traveling to the archives, do an Internet search to become familiar with the types of resources available through the school. Also, call to make an appointment with the archivist who is in charge of the collection.
Missouri State University in Springfield is a good example. It has several special collections that might be helpful.
One is the Ozarkiana Collection that has resources about the social, cultural, political and economic history of the Ozarks. Another collection is the Katherine G. Lederer Ozarks African American Collection that includes more than 7,500 documents and 2,500 photographs that pertain to black history.
The George A. Spiva Library at Missouri Southern State University also has several great resources, one of which is the Daniel Stewart Collection. That set includes many books and articles as well as more than 1,000 maps that pertain to the lead and zinc mines of the Tri-State Mining District.
An extraordinary archive collection is found at the State Historical Society of Missouri, located on the campus of the University of Missouri-Columbia. The society has thousands of resources that pertain to the history of the state and the people who have lived there. One set is its Manuscript Collection. My favorite set is the newspaper collection.
Before traveling to the archives at Columbia, first prepare a list of ancestors who lived in Missouri, the dates during which they lived there, the areas where each lived and the towns that were nearby. Also, make a list of dates of births, marriages, deaths and other milestones in your ancestorÕs life. Also, make a list of the towns and the counties in which each was located.
Upon entering the newspaper archives, check the file cabinets and find the towns that were close to the places your ancestors lived. Next, find the microfilm for the newspapers in that town during the time period that each ancestor lived there. Using your list of milestones, find the issues that were published around those times.
For the rest of the day, you will be rewarded with a treasure trove of obituaries and other helpful articles.
Suggestions or queries? Send to Frankie Meyer, 509 N. Center St., Plainfield, IN 46168, or contact: frankiemeyer @yahoo.com.