Friday, August 29, 2014

454. How To Do A Cemetery Restoration

    If you want to see a good, high quality cemetery restoration, you should attend the Bell Cemetery event on September 14th. The Caroline Scott Harrison Chapter of the DAR seems to have pulled out all the stops in volunteer time, professional help, and money to make this happen.
    When you look at the condition of many (most?) pioneer cemeteries across the country, perhaps more committed groups should emulate the DAR and restore a site of their choosing. My SAR Chapter here in Indy has done little to nothing in the last few years in this area--much to my regret.
    Anyway, stop by Perry Township, take a look, and thank CSH and the Trustee's Office.

Monday, August 25, 2014

453. Finding Genealogy In The ISL Indiana Division

    I research a lot at the Indiana State Library, but it still frustrates me that so many of the useful genealogy resources are nowhere near the Genealogy Division and are so hidden on the closed shelves.
    High school yearbooks are a case in point. I only found out recently that ISL even has a collection of yearbooks. They are not on open shelves, not in the Genealogy Division, and not very obvious on the Library website. Sometimes I feel that you have to do your best research just finding what the building holds for genealogy.
    Anyway, here's another resource you might use for Indiana research. [Note: The Indianapolis Public Library has hundreds of yearbooks and they are digitizing them very quickly and placing them online--the State Library has not discovered scanners yet, I guess. The Genealogical Society of Marion County has hundreds of yearbooks on open shelves, and the Indiana Genealogical Society has hundreds of yearbooks scanned and on their website.]

Friday, August 22, 2014

452. Do Genealogy At The University!

    I guess our little hobby is continuing to go mainstream, as IUPUI is getting into the business. It's doubtful, though, if you can get a B. A. in Genealogy degree. Ah well, tomorrow is another day, and, incidentally, most local genealogy societies will do this for you for free.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

451. Indiana Migration: Sullivan Ctr., Zionsville, Aug. 26

    Things are really hopping, genealogy wise, this week and next. I've been invited to present a program on Indiana migration next Tuesday for the Boone County Genealogical Society. Hope you can make it. It's free, and, if you come a little early, you can scope out some of the great genealogy materials at the Sullivan Library and Museum.

"Populating Hoosierland": Migration to Indiana

Tuesday, August 26  6:30 pm

Sullivan Munce Cultural Center, 
Hawthorne Street, Zionsville

Presented by the Boone County Genealogical Society

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

450. Kosciusko County Is Model Genealogy Library

    If you want to see what a local county genealogy library should be, and frequently is not, you should pay a visit to the Kosciusko County Historical Society Museum in the old County Jail in Warsaw.
    I had an opportunity to browse the library last Saturday, when KCHS invited me to present a Civil War genealogy program. I can only say Wow! The collection, obviously the work of a committed and talented group of volunteers, really tells the story of Kosciusko County ancestors. Makes me regret not having relatives in that part of the country.
    If you're in the area sometime, drop in and say hello. The jail museum tour is worth the trip all by itself. If you have KC family materials, you should make sure these folks have a copy for their collection. [And thanks to Sharon Susec and her crew for the invitation.]

Sunday, August 17, 2014

449. Medical Genealogy Program, Carmel, Aug. 27

What Killed Your Ancestors?

Carmel Clay Historical Society
Wednesday, August 27, 6:30 p.m.

Carmel Clay Public Library Program Room
55 4th Ave. SE, Carmel, IN.

            Genealogists and interested family members look at tombstones and historic records to gather information about how their ancestors lived and died. But sometimes the ailments of the 1800s don’t do anything but leave more questions than answers. Ague? Brain fever? Dropsy? Spotted fever? What were these diseases?

            Join us for a discussion of the typical diseases and causes of death that “plagued” our 19th century American ancestors.  Learn more about these ailments and where to look for the answers with Virginia Terpening, former director of the Indiana Medical History Museum, and James Dillon, MD.

Friday, August 15, 2014

448. Civil War Spies, Central Library, August 23

     If you are a Civil War geek...and I know how many of you are out should attend what looks like an interesting program to be put on by the Marion County Historical Society next Saturday.
     It features a topic not usually associated with the military---intelligence! But it will be presented by the highly-qualified Steve Towne, so I have high hopes. See you at the Central Library.

Detectives and Spies: U.S. Army Intelligence Operations in Indianapolis During the Civil War

Saturday, August 23rd, 2:00-3:30 pm

Central Library - Special Collections Reading Room, 6th Floor

Presented by the Marion County Historical Society

            The U.S. Army responded to growing threats to its integrity arising from desertion, draft dodging, and armed resistance to the draft in the Midwest during the Civil War by creating detective bureaus to collect intelligence on armed secret organizations that impeded the Union war effort.  Army detectives and spies successfully infiltrated these groups and foiled plots to raise insurrection and release Confederate POWs.  Stephen Towne will show how Indianapolis was a central hub for Army intelligence operations.
            Stephen E. Towne is Associate University Archivist at IUPUI.  He has published extensively on Civil War-related topics.  His latest book, Surveillance and Spies in the Civil War:  Exposing Confederate Conspiracies in America’s Heartland, is forthcoming from Ohio University Press.

Please visit our website at
We are interesting in any feedback related to our programs or ideas about future events.

We can be contacted via email at

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

447. Visiting Kosciusko County For Civil War Program

    I'm going to be spending Saturday w-a-y up north in Kosciusko County presenting a program on doing Civil War genealogy. This will be at 1:00 pm at the Historical Society, 121 N. Indiana St., in Warsaw. The program is free, so come on in.
    Some Indiana locations I visit a lot, Fort Wayne, for instance. Duh! But others not so much. I probably was in Warsaw once about ten years ago, so I am looking forward to this revisit. My spouse and I often use these engagements as a good excuse to have a day trip--visit local sites, eat lunch at a non-chain restaurant (not as easy as you might think), maybe browse a couple of antique stores looking for some Indiana history materials.
    I understand we are going to be in the old County Jail (below). I guess if I mess up the talk, I'm in real trouble!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

446. Worker Bees Should Attend Night Owls

     If you are one of those wonderful folks that work five days a week and try to squeeze genealogy in among your free hours, you might drop in at the State Library next Wednesday. A number of experienced folks will be standing by (including your truly representing the Genealogical Society of Marion County) to help answer your genealogy questions--including those famous "brick walls". See you there.

Genealogy for Night Owls

August 20, 2014 5:30 - 8:30 p.m.

Beginning your genealogical research can seem like a daunting task, which is why the Indiana State Library is hosting a unique event to help Hoosiers discover their family history. Genealogy for Night Owls is a chance to get one-on-one assistance from State Library subject experts. The event will include opportunities for extra research time, library orientation and collection tours, Ask-An-Expert sessions, and more!

Registration is required by August 15 for this unique and free event at the Indiana State Library. 

Friday, August 8, 2014

445. Lost Opportunities At Midwestern Roots and State Fair?

     I worked a shift at the State Fair yesterday for the Genealogical Society of Marion County. It was Indiana Heritage Day, and we had a long row of booths to do meet-and-greet time with fairgoers. I think it was a real shame and a huge missed opportunity for lots of Indiana historical and genealogical societies.
     The booths were free, fair admission was free, you could park at several outside locations and ride a free shuttle bus to the gate, and yet GSMC was the only genealogical society at the event. The Indiana Historical Society and the German Heritage Society were the only historical groups there. A Civil War and a WW2 group had booths. The other tents had state government departments.
     Many genealogical societies lament the lack of interest among local folks, lament the missing members, lament small attendance at meetings, and on and on. My question is: Where are their outreach programs? It doesn't do much good to preach to the choir--you have to convert the heathens! Not that we're calling our prospects heathens, of course. Many of them just do not know our groups exist.
     We, as genealogical and historical societies, need to get out into the community. Talk to citizens about their ancestry. Remind them that they are the end result of many centuries of survivors and reproducers. Ask them about their stories and let them know we can help them find their ancestors. How many Indiana community events are there every year and how few genealogy booths do you find?
    Midwestern Roots was the same as the Fair; hardly any local genealogy groups were there--at the largest genealogy gathering in the state this year or next! Why not? The world wonders....

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

444. Do You Know Claumer Bosse?

                 The Department of Natural Resources was contacted recently by the Franklin Township Historical Society in Marion County with a little problem:

                “A few weeks ago, some friends of mine, who live at 6110 South Franklin Road in Franklin Township, Marion County, were digging in their backyard when they struck something hard. They decided to dig it up to see what it is and it turned out to be the top half of a headstone. The person's name was Claumer Bosse and he/she was born in 1805 and died in 1871. 
                They contacted us at the Franklin Township Historical Society, and we now have possession of the headstone at our meeting house.  As a member of the Society, I know that the “Bosse” last name is not known to the township, but just to make sure, we checked our “Called Home” book and didn’t find this person listed there.  
                In addition, we have no record of a cemetery ever being on this property.   I also checked Find-A- Grave and couldn’t find anything there, either.  Then I contacted the Indiana State Library to have them check their records, and they couldn’t find any record of this person, either, so they referred me to you.  We think this headstone may have been the victim of vandals.
                So my question is, do you have any record of a Claumer Bosse in any of your cemetery records? Any help you can give us on finding out where this headstone came from would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.”

 If you have any knowledge of this individual or this burial, contact:
Jeannie Regan-Dinius
Director of Special Initiatives
402 West Washington Street, W274
Indianapolis, IN  46204

Sunday, August 3, 2014

443. Movement on State Archives?

    I heard from several folks yesterday afternoon that the President of the Friends of the Indiana State Archives stood up at the Saturday banquet of Midwestern Roots and announced that there is a plan or movement or some such idea to relocate the State Archives to the War Memorial Mall.
    The "plan" as I heard it was to remodel the building recently vacated by the Indiana Department of the American Legion (the red tagged rectangle below) and move the Archives there. The building would be expanded to match the American Legion National Headquarters to the east.
     I had not heard of this idea before, but it makes a lot of sense. An existing building could feasibly be remodeled by the Bicentennial date, and the new construction could be well underway. [Frankly, I like that idea way better than the proposed site along the canal!]
     The new location is close to the Central Library with a covered parking garage, and also close to lots of street parking--and thankfully far away from the Statehouse congestion.
      Sounds like a winning concept to me. Now if they can just arm-wrestle the money out of the penny pinching General Assembly. If anyone asks you to lend your support to this idea, I encourage you to jump on board. Let's hope the announcement wasn't just a lot of smoke...

Saturday, August 2, 2014

442. Midwestern Roots 2014 Conference WrapUp

     I have the impression that the Midwestern Roots Conference this weekend was a roaring success for the Indiana Historical Society. Folks seemed to be wall-to-wall at nearly every session I attended and the hallways, dining areas, and vendor hall were crowded both days.
     Warren Bittner and Lisa Louise Cooke were two speakers I had never heard before and both were excellent. As is usual these days, technology received heavy attention from many presenters, including the above two, plus blogger guru Thomas MacEntee, Daniel Poffenberger of FamilySearch, and others covering, Fold3, and digital newspapers. Curt Witcher of ACPL gave a rousing after-lunch look at the crowdsourcing obituary project of FamilySearch.
     The vendor area seemed heavy on lineage societies and light on commercial booths. Book vendors were really scarce. (A sign of the times, I suppose.) There were several libraries, including the Newberry in Chicago. County genealogy groups were notably absent, with the exception of the local Marion County folks. The Monroe County History Center was there.
      The syllabus CD is good for lots of handouts and references, and was well worth the admission cost almost by itself. I thought the Friday salad lunch was iffy, but the Saturday cold cut buffet was way better.
      It is always nice to visit with so many other genealogists who share your particular affliction, and this event was full of opportunities for that. All-in-all, a successful get together and a fitting farewell for Margaret Bierlein. Good going, IHS!

Midwestern Roots will be back on July 14-16, 2016, during Indiana's Bicentennial year. See you then.