Florence McGlasson Gabelmann Memorial Library
A Joint Project of the Kansas Society of Land Surveyors and the Kansas State Historical Society
The Florence McGlasson Gabelmann Memorial Library was established on October 8, 2004, at a reception held at the Kansas State Historical Society. The reception was attended by members of the Gabelmann family; the Board of Directors of the Kansas Society of Land Surveyors; the Executive Committee of the Kansas State Historical Society, Inc.; Kansas State Historical Society staff; and members of the Kansas State Board of Technical Professions, as well as other invited guests, to witness the transfer of nearly 100 rolls of microfilm to the Kansas State Historical Society.
The Lopata Foundation donated funds for the digitization and databasing of the documents copied from the National Archives. This donation was received in three installments to coincide with the completion of different phases of the digitization, databasing and production of master discs. Cameron Howell, RLS, was in charge of this project. Additional information on the project is available on the Kansas Society of Land Surveyors web site.
The data set to be used had to be as error free as possible. It was decided to use only original General Land Office (GLO) Kansas plats and field notes from the National Archives. This would provide a "pristine" data set and eliminate additional transcription errors. The data could be acquired in microfilm format. This would be easy to convert, store, and ship.
When the digitization project was completed, the National Archives microfilm was given to the Kansas State Historical Society Archives Division to form the core of the Florence McGlasson Gabelmann Memorial Library, named in honor of the mother of the donors. While the Historical Society has always had paper copies of the plats and notes from the GLO, this provides the first microfilm set in Kansas containing the complete notes for the State as originally created.
It is estimated that the availability of these notes and plats could result in annual savings of more than $250,000 in survey research costs alone. Every section in Kansas was surveyed under the direction of the GLO. The stones, stakes, and pits that were placed in the 1800s still control all property today. All land surveys, including platted subdivisions, are ultimately based on these corners.
The importance of this project, however, goes beyond mere surveying utilization. During the course of the project additional users were identified. Many professions, including geographic information systems, have expressed an interest in this project. Geography and natural resource personnel can identify and accurately plot ancient stream banks and terrain conditions. For the naturalist, tree masses and species are available. Soil quality and terrain types are also listed in the notes. Genealogists can use the records to locate original tracts and patents not available elsewhere. Historians can accurately plot trails and roads as shown on the original plats.
At the present time, the Library consists of the following items:
- The Kansas rolls of "Township Plats of Selected States," National Archives microfilm T1234, rolls 23-31.
- The Kansas rolls of "Field Notes From Selected General Land Office Township Surveys," National Archives microfilm T1240, rolls 117-181.
- Kansas survey plats. Wichita, Kan.: Kansas Society of Land Surveyors; Leavenworth, Kan.: Duke West Intergraphics, 2005. 32 CDs.
The microfilm is available for use through interlibrary loan. The CDs may be used in the Reference Room at the Kansas Historical Society's State Archives Division.
Information about the GLO Project courtesy of the Kansas Society of Land Surveyors.