I became involved with the cemeteries of Sumner County during my senior year of college at Wichita State University. WSU is located in Sedgwick County (just to the North of Sumner County), and our lab handles some of the forensic anthropology cases for area counties.
My professor, Dr. Peer Moore-Jansen, assigned me a project: locate all of the old pioneer cemeteries located near rivers in Sumner County. Apparently, human bone fragments were found in a river. It was determined that the bones were eroding from an old grave. My professor and I were not able to pinpoint where the bones were eroding from, but as a result of this project, I found a new interest: the wide variation between the local cemeteries.
I graduated with my B.A. and continued with graduate school. At WSU, a thesis is required for an M.A. degree. As long as one has to do a thesis, why not do a thesis on something that is interesting? As you can probably guess, I am choosing to study the cemeteries in Sumner County, Kansas.
My goal is to compare and contrast the various socio-cultural groups and their resulting cemeteries to determine whether or not there are any variations in infant mortality rates, life span, death rates, etc.
I contacted the Sumner County GenWeb (yes, I am also interested in genealogy) to see if somebody was working on indexing the cemeteries. I was referred to the Sumner County Genealogy Society where I met Lora Topinka. Lora is my right-hand (wo)man with this project. She has helped me so much by reading old cemetery registers to me, walking the cemeteries, researching old newspapers, and proofreading documents for accuracy.
I agreed to make a web site so as many people as possible could benefit from my work. Like I mentioned previously, I, too, am interested in genealogy, and I find it very helpful when I can look at cemetery records on-line. This web page, which by the way is my first web page, is by no means complete. Please consider adopting a cemetery.
I could not have made it this far without the help of Lora Topinka who has spent countless hours with me, Sherry Kline who advised me on matters related to hosting my site at RootsWeb, and other members of the genealogy society who have contributed bits and pieces regarding the local cemeteries/local families. I also wish to thank my husband, Danny, for standing by me throughout this whole project, and for not laughing at me (too much) for making numerous blunders in the process of making this web page. Please consider joining the Sumner County Historical and Genealogical Society.
This page was created by Cindy Ball and is now maintained by the Sumner County Historical & Genealogical Society