Wednesday, January 30, 2013

209. Great Indiana County Histories at IMCPL

    With the poor weather and the restricted parking around the State Library, now might be the perfect time to do some Indiana county history research at the Main Branch of the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library.
    Located in the microfilm area on the third floor, the County Histories collection has 262 history titles on film. They even have a printed index for you reluctant techies.
    The library has nice long hours seven days a week with secure indoor parking. Another plus is that, if you bring a flash drive, you can copy as many pages as you want at absolutely no cost--how about that!! Remember how hard it is to photocopy those large atlases or those tightly bound books? No problem here--just move the image around and copy what you want.
     Below are images of the file drawer, the index entry, and the first few items of the printed index. Don't be shy--go explore historical and genealogical Indiana.!

Monday, January 28, 2013

208. Indy's First African-American Doctor

     There is a great article in today's Indianapolis Star on the man believed to be the first licensed African-American doctor in Indiana and Indianapolis, Dr. Samuel A. Elbert.
     Dr. Elbert will get a headstone tomorrow in Crown Hill Cemetery, over 100 years after his death in 1902. The article, on pages B1 and B2 by Star reporter Michael Boren, contains numerous genealogical details of Dr. Elbert's life and that of his family.
    If you do not get the Star, you can probably read the article online at As always, an article like this raises as many questions as answers: Who treated the black community before Dr. Elbert? What other African-Americans became doctors (and dentists!) after he did? Why was he in an unmarked grave? Dr. Elbert was a Bethel AME Church member--do they have more details on him and his family? Is there a book about Dr. Elbert yet? Are other researchers jumping into this task? 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

207. Have Free Methodist Church Ancestry?

Free Methodist Church Resources Here In Indy
              We have an interesting and potentially valuable genealogy resource right here in Indy that I'll bet most researchers have never heard about--the Marston Memorial Historical Center.
            Located at 770 N. High School Road over in Wayne Township, the MMHC is housed in the World Ministries Center of the Free Methodist Church and is a department of the Free Methodist Historical Society.
            I visited the Center last week to check it out for myself, and I was impressed. Director Cathy Fortner gave me a guided tour and helped me with a personal quest. I have an O'Neill family line that were 100-year+ members of a small Free Methodist congregation over in Noble County, Ohio, and Ms Fortner provided me with some clues that I am pursuing right now.
            The Hugh A. White Memorial Library at the Center has thousands of volumes of material of mostly an ecclesiastical nature, but they do have materials from local churches around the country, including newsletters, programs, and directories. There is also a small museum area of FMC items.
            The Free Methodist Church, founded in 1860, is divided into regional Conferences, which have historical archives of their own, and those archives may be good sources of more local records. A large collection of yearbooks contain lots of details on local congregations.
            The Archivist on site here is Kate McGinn, and the Digital Librarian is Kyle Moran. The Historical Center has an active digital presence, including a webpage and a Facebook page.
They are scanning records and photos as rapidly as time and funds permit, and the Library and Historical Center are in the process of expanding.
            If you have Free Methodist ancestors and want to see if the Church has any materials available, either here in Indy or regionally around the country, contact the MMHC via one of the below addresses, visit their website, or drop by in person. Also, if you have inherited any historical materials that pertain to a Church congregation, I'm sure they would be interested in talking that over with you, too.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

206. Dropbox Workshop at IHS, Feb. 16

"Drop and Tap"
Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center

Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013    10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
$10, $8 IHS members
Come see how Dropbox and your tablet can help you in your research. You will learn how Dropbox can help keep your research with you always. Your tablet can be a tool in your genealogy Toolbox. Both will help increase your productivity in finding your ancestors. 
The presenter, Tonya M. Hull is a researcher focusing on Upper Middle Tennessee and African American Research. Hull has over 25 years experience in her own personal research. She is the current President of the Indiana African American Genealogy Group, has attended the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research at Samford University and author of African Americans of Giles County, Arcadia Publishing, 2010.
This class is eligible for 2 technology LEU's
Registration includes admission to the Indiana Experience the day of the program.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

205. Wall Street Journal Covers Genealogy

             Genealogy is increasingly a mainstream occupation, as I realized the other day, when I picked up the Wall Street Journal issue of Wednesday, January 16, and encountered a large article on our favorite activity.
            Titled, "When A Genealogy Hobby Digs Up Unwanted Secrets," the feature article by Sue Shellenbarger relates the stories of a few researchers who discovered some black sheep in their ancestries. One man found a bigamist, another a murderer, a third uncovered a witch.
            The article was fairly extensive and discussed the Internet and DNA and quoted several prominent genealogists. One factoid mentioned was that last year researchers spent $2.3 billion on genealogy products and services. Wow, pretty soon we'll be getting into real money!
            The article ran to about 55 column inches, substantial in modern terms, and I found it an interesting read. You can peruse the Journal in your local library and maybe even online; give it a look-see.

Monday, January 21, 2013

204. Henry Darrah Is Finally A Patriot!

    OK, OK, this doesn't have much to do with IndyGenealogy, but I just wanted to brag a little. This month, after many years of research and frustration, I managed to get my ancestor Henry Darrah certified as a Revolutionary War Patriot with the Sons of the American Revolution. Yes!
    Henry, one of my innumerable Scots-Irish ancestors, was a member of the York County, PA, militia, and that group manned Camp Security in York County, an American-run POW camp during the Revolution. Camp Security held both Burgoyne's and Cornwallis' troops after their respective surrenders. So, whew, Henry is now officially a Patriot, and several of my relatives are chomping at the bit to follow my lead into the SAR and DAR. Go, guys!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

203. Sullivan Library Becomes FamilySearch Afflilate

   I was beginning to wonder if any of the area libraries would take advantage of the FamilySearch Affiliate program, allowing local researchers to expand their film viewing opportunities. Kudos to the SullivanMunce administration in Zionsville for keeping on the cutting edge of genealogy.
   Note the PR release below:
 SullivanMunce Cultural Center Expands Genealogy Resources

            The SullivanMunce Cultural Center announced today it is the newest FamilySearch affiliate library.  The new designation means library patrons will have greater and more convenient access to the wealth of genealogical resources available through FamilySearch.
            FamilySearch is extending access to its collections by circulating microfilms of the historic records through select public libraries.  The SullivanMunce Cultural Center is now one of those libraries.  It is a priceless resource for local residents interested in discovering their family tree.
            According to Paul Nauta, FamilySearch public affairs manager, “If FamilySearch has filmed the records they need, then as far as they will need to travel to view them is the SullivanMunce Cultural Center.”
            There is a nominal fee of $7.50 to order a microfilm.  Once the film arrives, patrons use the microfilm reader at the SullivanMunce Cultural Center to peruse it.  The Family History Library Catalog at can be searched to see available films for ordering. 
            The SullivanMunce Cultural Center is located at 225 West Hawthorne Street in Zionsville, IN; just two blocks west of the brick Main Street.  Hours are Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Please call 317.873.4900 or visit  for more information.

Friday, January 18, 2013

202. You Think You Have Cemetery Problems?

Here in Indiana, we have occasional problems with cemetery preservation. Some cemeteries suffer acts of vandalism, some cemeteries are abandoned and overgrown, some cemeteries are moved without notice or permission. All in all, though, our ancestral graves don't have it so bad. We could live in China.
            The January 16th issue of USA Today carried the story of the tomb flatteners of Zhoukou City in Henan Province. The government paid officials of that area about $500,000 for their 2012 feat of removing over 2,000,000 ancestral tombs in order to recover farmland or building sites. Yes, you read that right--2 million tombs!
            It has sparked a little controversy, some blogging and twittering and rioting, but the graves are gone and the reclaiming is underway. In Indiana that would be half the graves in the state, or probably more. Would we tolerate that? Would Governor Pence hear from us? Would that unite the Red folks and the Blue folks? One would hope so.
            When our genealogy genes compel us to clean up a Hoosier cemetery or two, maybe we should gripe a little less about it and charge ahead willingly. Just keep in mind--The tomb flatteners are always out there!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

201. Funeral Home Records at Marion Co. Society

            Genealogical Society of Marion County

              "Digging for Data in Back Rooms and Basements"

                    Bruce Oakley, Researcher and Funeral Director
              February 9, 2013  1:00-3:00 P.M.
            Irvington Branch, IMCPL

5625 E. Washington Street,  Indianapolis, IN 46219

This program will discuss funeral home and cemetery records, including how to approach these companies and organizations to see what records are available and the reliability of those records.

Bruce Oakley - Funeral Director, President, Oakley Hammond Funeral Home in Indianapolis.
Bruce is a lifelong Indianapolis resident, growing up in the Brightwood area of Indianapolis. He is 4th generation of his family in the funeral business which was started in the Brightwood area in 1905. He became interested in genealogy following a 1994 family trip to Walt Disney World. He is currently Treasurer of the Society of Indiana Pioneers and Treasurer of the Clarence A. Cook Chapter of the Indiana Society of the Sons of the American Revolution.