Sunday, September 27, 2015

609. Don't Overlook Free Community Newspapers

[If I were you, I would spend a few minutes each week scanning through the free community newspapers that appear around your area. It’s amazing how many items they run that can help you in your genealogy. The below four articles appeared in one week’s time here in Indy, and I bet I missed some in other papers.]

Postcard Collection At Indianapolis Main Library
                Many of our ancestors used postcards as a sort of early Twitter or Facebook. I know I have several in my genealogy resources, including one from France during WW1. Postcards can tell lots of little details about our early family members.
                The Indianapolis Public Library has over 800 postcards from the local area in their Special Collections Room on the 6th floor of the Main Branch on St. Clair Street. Some of the cards go back into the 1890’s. They just received a WW2 collection from Fort Benjamin Harrison.
                The nice part about this collection is that it has been digitized and can be viewed online at Of course, if you are the traditional sort, you can actually look at the real McCoy at the library itself. Postcards also contain some great historical sites in and around the city.
Indianapolis Public Library Adds Historic Township Yearbooks Online
                For several years the Indianapolis Public Library has been digitizing high school yearbooks from the Indianapolis Pubic Schools, and now they have begun supplementing that group with township high schools.
                The library has now scanned a number of issues of the Ben Davis Keyhole, the North Central Northerner, and the Warren Central Wigwam. You can access these items at

I.H.S. Digitizing Panoramic Photographs
                The Indiana Historical Society has received a grant to digitize 500 panoramic photographs from its archives. These photographs, which are often several feet wide, were taken with special movable cameras that were popular in the 19th and early 20th centuries. (Some of these are still working. I was in one of these taken at a military reunion only a few years ago.)   
                The I.H.S. project, to be completed by April 2016, will include images from about 23 Indiana counties and many photography studios. In addition to the Historical Society website at, the images will be on the Indiana Memory site and the Digital Public Library of America site. This should be an interesting group of images; keep these in mind.

                [These three items excerpted from articles in the Senior Life newspaper, Oct. 2015.]

Who Lived In My House?
                There is an interesting article by Steven R. Barnett of the Irvington Historical Society in the September 25 issue of the Weekly View newspaper. Mr. Barnett talks about tracing the lineage of your residence using city directories and then following up about the previous residents using, Find-A-Grave, and local historical societies. Want to try a special genealogy task?

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