Candle and Books (EKIS)

Behind the Scenes . . .

In the Early Kansas Imprint Scanners (EKIS) workshop, volunteers use scanners to make electronic copies of materials such as books and photographs, proof any text, and then add web designs to include these works in the Kansas Collection. Here's a look at what the volunteers are up to, behind the scenes:

       Notes from around EKIS:
         More recognition from the Encyclopedia Britannica, the
         Andreas (Cutler's) History of the State of Kansas, the
         Andreas (Cutler's) History of the State of Nebraska,
         Orphan Trains of Kansas,
         and EKIS projects in progress

       Volunteer Spotlight:   Meet Connie Dipasquale

Notes from around EKIS

In the last issue of Voices, we reported that the Encyclopedia Britannica had started an Internet Guide and reviewed 65,000 websites for possible inclusion in their guide. KanColl was one of the only 1% of these which were rated with two stars, as "Exceptional." Since then, the Encycopledia has revised their site, calling it "eBlast" and using a five-star rating system for 125,000 reviewed websites. In this latest review, KanColl has been awarded four stars. In addition, a number of individual selections received one and two star ratings, including Connie DiPasquale's "Orphan Trains" and Dick Taylor's "Summerfield" (both two stars).....

The Andreas/Cutler's History of the State of Kansas project is ever nearing completion. Rosana Whitenight, who has transcribed so many pages for us, finished Douglas county, the last county chapter in the book. Roger Pyle finished a section of the "Territorial Days" chapter. This leaves barely fourteen pages (in a book of over 1600 pages!) still being transcribed......

Work also continues on the Andreas/Cutler's History of the State of Nebraska. Ted and Carole Miller finished the long "Nebraska as a State" chapter, and a names index has been added for Johnson county.....

Connie DiPasquale, contributor and curator of our "Orphan Trains of Kansas" gallery, is keeping very busy! The Topeka Genealogical Society has invited her to speak at their March meeting, and to do a mini-seminar at their state conference in April. The Kansas State Historical Society has also asked Connie to write an article for their spring publication......

Elsewhere in the EKIS workshop, Rebecca and Ray Lewis finished transcribing Capt. Randolph Barnes Marcy's Thirty Years of Army Life on the Border, scanned by George Nelson. Mark Dunn has joined the EKIS workshop, lending his skill in web design; Mark contributed the wonderful photographs of Virgil, Kansas, including the breathtaking view of the Flint Hills featured in this issue. Lloyd Nichols, who contributed his great-grandfather's Civil War diary to KanColl, is also pitching in as a volunteer to help with web design. John Maier has continued working on the Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition; all chapters have been scanned and John is now concentrating on editing. James E. Stafford is contributing an illustrated story of his mother (and the Editor's grandmother), Margaret Young Stafford, who left the United States as a young woman to start her new life in Chile with her husband Jack. The photographs for this history were painstakingly scanned and edited by Rick Housh. And many more works are in progress!

Volunteer Spotlight:   Meet Connie Dipasquale

The work Connie Dipasquale has done with "Orphan Trains of Kansas" has touched many people -- orphan train rider descendants, children and young people learning about the orphan train movement, and so many more. As we have gotten to know Connie, we've found that she is a warm, generous person who is never too busy to answer any request from our readers, a tireless worker, and a thoughtful and always cheerful friend. It is our great pleasure to introduce Connie to you -- unless, of course, you're one of the many people who have written and gotten to know her through "Orphan Trains of Kansas." Then you already know! For those of you who don't know her yet, Connie writes:

     "I'm a native Topekan (Kansas, that is). Born ... well, let's just say I spent my early years watching Whizzo on TV (other native Topekans will know what time period I'm talking about smiling face symbol).

     "During the weekday, I'm a 'mild-mannered university secretary'; and during my time off (when I'm not pursuing Orphan Train information, playing with my 2 dogs, scouring the local antique malls and flea markets, or reading a book) I help my husband with his business... promoting dirt-bike (motorcycle) races. We promote and put on several races each year, and also ride dirt-bikes recreationally ourselves.

     "I became involved in Orphan Train research quite by accident. My dad came home from a doctor's appointment one day and handed me a copy of the Smithsonian magazine that had an article on the orphan trains in it. His comment to me was 'You might find this interesting since your grandmother was on an orphan train.' Needless to say, I was fascinated! After quizzing mom and dad about her (unfortunately, they didn't know much about g-ma's [grandma's] early days), I was then faced with the difficult task of where to turn for additional information. About this same time, a slow trickle of information on this subject was making its way out to the public. There were researchers in Nebraska and Missouri who were getting an occasional notice in the newspapers, and the Orphan Train Heritage Society of America (OTHSA, which was in its infancy) was also making the papers. I joined OTHSA, and began sending out letters in search of g-ma's 'roots'. Slowly, veeeeery slooooooowly, pieces of the puzzle would come back to me. A few years later, The Kansas Orphan Train Reunion Group was formed with the intention of holding an annual Kansas reunion for Orphan Train Riders (and their descendents) who came to Kansas. Naturally I went! And got involved! And I served two years as Secretary to the Kansas group.

     "About the time my tenure as Secretary was ending, I found myself becoming 'better acquainted' with the Internet and the possibilities it offered in genealogical research. So, I started 'surfing'. But no matter where I looked on the internet, there just wasn't OT information anywhere to be found. I'd send out electronic queries wherever I thought there might be a connection (surname search pages, orphan registries, etc.) but generally I found myself educating everyone else about the orphan trains and their history, rather than getting answers to my own queries. Then, one day during another 'surfing' session, I came across 'The Kansas Collection' and all its wonderful stories. On a whim, I fired off an e-mail to them asking if they would be interested in a story about an Orphan Train Rider that had come to Kansas. I received a very enthusiastic YES! This was quickly followed by an inquiry as to whether I would be interested in helping create a 'Gallery' of Orphan Train information. Now it was my turn to respond with an enthusiastic YES!

     "So, I started pulling together information, stories, lists, etc. about Orphan Trains in Kansas and sent them off to Susan Stafford. She took this information, worked some of her wonderful technological computer 'magic', and the Orphan Trains in Kansas gallery was born."

-- Connie DiPasquale

NOTE: Connie continues to provide information to the "Orphan Trains" Gallery, which is one of the most-visited areas in KanColl. The Encyclopedia Britannica's Internet Guide ("eBlast"), gave a separate entry and rating of two stars to "Orphan Trains of Kansas," in addition to its review of KanColl. She has been contacted by movie and television producers for information on orphan trains, young people preparing presentations for National History Day (several have advanced far in the competition), and the Kansas State Historical Society for an article on orphan trains for their magazine. Her work on the orphan train movement and the Gallery have stretched far beyond the borders of Kansas, and we thank her for her lasting contributions to this area of history, and to the lives of the people she has touched. ~Editor.

Voices 'Contents'     KanColl     EKIS