Kari Barger

Ryan Schuessler / KCUR

Ask any genealogist – they’ll say researching family history begins and ends with stories: tales from Ellis Island, settling the frontier, fighting in the Civil War. These stories, and more, are all being told over and over again at a library in Independence, Mo. – but if you’re there, all you’ll hear is silence.

“This is the largest free-standing public genealogy library in the United States,” says Cheryl Lang, manager of the Midwest Genealogy Center.