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Northwest Missouri State University


Student Spotlight

Victoria Luke was among three Northwest students who recently presented their genealogy research at the Missouri Conference on History annual meeting. (Submitted photo)

Victoria Luke was among three Northwest students who recently presented their genealogy research at the Missouri Conference on History annual meeting. (Submitted photo)

May 29, 2019

History students present genealogy research at state conference

Three Northwest Missouri State University students gained deep insights about their family histories and genealogy and presented research papers this spring at the Missouri Conference on History annual meeting in Kansas City, Missouri.

Victoria Luke, Aubrey Walker, Maddison Haynes presented their papers at the conference in March as part of a panel to highlight research strategies and techniques used for genealogical research. Their papers shed light on the micro-family history of the Midwest and provide an overarching view of Midwestern families.

The students completed the papers as part of coursework with Associate Professor of History Dr. Elyssa Ford in spring 2018. They are student teaching in the fall and intend to complete their bachelor’s degrees at Northwest in December.

Luke said she and her classmates were motivated by a desire to learn their family histories in addition to learning effective research skills they can apply to their future teaching experiences. 

Her paper, “Discovering the Unknown: The Wheelbarger Story,” detailed the process of discovering her family roots and incorporated historical context to provide perspective and insight into her family’s past. She examined birth certificates, passenger lists, obituaries, and other documents while analyzing respective time periods to evaluate historical background. Her research brought to light the ways families traveled from different parts of the world to reach the United States in hopes of a better life.

“The research process was grueling,” she said. “However, I am beyond grateful for it because it helped me learn how to use multiple sources and resources. As a future educator in social science, I can use this research process to help my students learn how to research and not to just rely on family stories, but rather government documentation and proof.”

Haynes’s paper, “Interesting and Unfortunate: The Denn-Lausted Family History,” discussed the family’s struggle to establish roots in the U.S., despite a dark past that aligned with immigration, the Great Depression and the World Wars. Like Luke, Haynes relied on several family documents as well as historical context from newspapers.

“Despite the dark moments of the past, all family stories deserve to be told, or one day they will no longer exist,” Haynes wrote.

Walker’s paper, “Resilient Roots,” examined and tracked the roots of the Schlencker-Slankard family from 1616 in Wuerttemberg, Germany, to the Midwest region of the U.S. She conducted a quantitative analysis of the Shlencker-Slankard’s genealogical history and an analysis of geographic and historical context.

“The perseverance of the Schlenker-Slankard family to tackle the struggles of emigration, the revolution of a new nation, and the Civil Rights Movement shows the resiliency of one Midwestern family’s roots,” Walker wrote. “In modern day America, where the current generation faces many political issues of the Second Amendment, immigration and increased racial tensions, these resilient roots are good to have.”

For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
mhorn@nwmissouri.edu | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468