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Ask a Research Question

There is no charge for requests by phone or email to check our card catalogs, indexes, and finding aids to determine if we have resources on your topic, as time permits. Admission to the research room is free.

Works Progress Administration libraryIf you are unable to visit in person or need additional research assistance, there are several options available to you.

  • Interlibrary loan
  • Basic search $
  • Private researcher $

Our staff will complete basic searches for the following fees, but can only do a limited amount of work (please see examples below):

Staff research fee (payable at time of request):
$15 for one obituary when date and place are known
$20 for all other in-state requests
$25 for all other out-of-state requests

Kansas residents can ask their local library to borrow our microfilm collections on interlibrary loan. For requests that require more research than our staff can provide, we may direct you to a private researcher in this area, or you can contact them directly.

You may submit a question by email to:

reference@kshs.org

If you would like to charge your research request to a Mastercard or Visa Card, please contact our reference staff by phone at 785-272-8681, ext. 117, from 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. Please do not submit credit card information in an email request, since we cannot ensure the security or privacy of your information.

Requests submitted by U.S. mail should include payment and be addressed to:

Kansas Historical Society
Reference Department
6425 SW 6th Avenue
Topeka, KS 66615-1099

Please include your full name, mailing address, phone number and e-mail address (if available) with all requests. We will respond either by e-mail or U.S. mail in the order the request is received. Our staff check our email every day except Sunday, so please do not keep re-sending your message. Please see our frequently asked questions page also, for more information.

Some examples include:

  • Searching for a maximum of one name or event in Kansas newspapers when the patron can provide:
    • name of person and type of event
    • date of the event
    • location
  • One Kansas census search.
  • One company's articles of incorporation or 2 corporate annual reports. Large requests will be billed the staff research fee per half hour, plus postage, handling and tax. We cannot always handle these requests on a rush basis. For more details on these records, see our corporation filings and annual reports page.

You will receive a written reply to your request whether we are able to find anything or not. Our reference fee includes up to five photocopies and postage. We can't guarantee that the information you are seeking will be found, but we still charge for the search time involved. Because we receive a large volume of requests, it can sometimes be several weeks or more before we can respond to letters, emails and faxes.

For prices for additional photocopies or special format copies, plus postage and handling, please see our photocopy services page. All copy work will meet current copyright law and preservation standards.

Any child who requests general information on Kansas history will receive a free packet that includes a map, brochures and information on Kansas historic sites.

When requesting information:

Please do:

  • Include your name and address in the letter and make sure it's legible.
  • Use only standard abbreviations and those recognized by the U.S. Postal Service.
  • Ask a specific question.
  • Ask for information on a specific individual, not an entire family.
  • Enclose a legal size (#10), self-addressed stamped envelope.
  • If writing to a specific individual on the staff, include the person's name in the address on the envelope.

Please don't:

  • Send pedigree or family group sheets and ask the reference staff to fill in the blanks.
  • Ask for 'everything' we can find.
  • Send a blank check for payment.
  • Send the same letter or email to more than one staff member or department.  We will refer you if necessary.