Wednesday, June 21, 2017

812. Not Many Major Conferences Close To Indy

It seems that 2017 is not our year. After the IGS Conference here in April, it's slim pickings until 2018. FGS is the closest major to Indiana for awhile. Look around for some good programs at your county societies-lots of folks working hard for you!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Friday, June 9, 2017

810. Mexican War Files Up Next

Now that we have the War of 1812 Pension records under control, we are moving further into the 19th century military arena. Anyone interested in doing a little indexing?

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

808. Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps Now Online

[If you have been using the great collection of Sanborn/Biast maps for Indianapolis on the IUPUI website, you will be glad to see the following collection go live.]

Press Contact: Donna Urschel (202) 707-1639 | Jennifer Gavin (202) 707-1940
Public Contact: Colleen Cahill (202) 707-8540
Website: Sanborn Maps
The Library of Congress has placed online nearly 25,000 Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, which depict the structure and use of buildings in U.S. cities and towns. Maps will be added monthly until 2020, for a total of approximately 500,000.
The online collection now features maps published prior to 1900.  The states available include Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, Wisconsin and Wyoming. Alaska is also online, with maps published through the early 1960s.  By 2020, all the states will be online, showing maps from the late 1880s through the early 1960s.
In collaboration with the Library’s Geography and Map Division, Historical Information Gatherers digitized the Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps during a 16-month period at the Library of Congress.  The Library is in the process of adding metadata and placing the digitized, public-domain maps on its website.
The Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps are a valuable resource for genealogists, historians, urban planners, teachers or anyone with a personal connection to a community, street or building.  The maps depict more than 12,000 American towns and cities.  They show the size, shape and construction materials of dwellings, commercial buildings, factories and other structures.  They indicate both the names and width of streets, and show property boundaries and how individual buildings were used.  House and block numbers are identified.  They also show the location of water mains, fire alarm boxes and fire hydrants.
In the 19th century, specialized maps were originally prepared for the exclusive use of fire insurance companies and underwriters.  Those companies needed accurate, current and detailed information about the properties they were insuring. The Sanborn Map Company was created around 1866 in the United States in response to this need and began publishing and registering maps for copyright. The Library of Congress acquired the maps through copyright deposit, and the collection grew to 700,000 individual sheets. The insurance industry eventually phased out use of the maps and Sanborn stopped producing updates in the late 1970s.
The Library’s Geography and Map Division is among the world’s largest map collections, holding some six million cartographic items in various languages dating from the 14th century to the present.  Some of its most important collections are available online at  Further information about the Geography and Map Division can be found at

Saturday, May 27, 2017

807. Newspaper Sites Multiplying Fast

If you are getting into newspaper searching, the options are increasing daily. Have you looked at these sites?

Monday, May 22, 2017

806. Surname Variations Chart

Lots of sites have good charts and diagrams that you can use in your research. I use the below chart from Family Tree Magazine, especially for my own surname, which has 20+ spellings at least. If the site you are using has a "Aids" type tab, take a look and see if a chart can help you save time and help you figure out a problem.

Friday, May 19, 2017

805. Free GSMC Program Saturday

This should be an interesting and unique look at the Civil War. See you there!

Friday, May 5, 2017

Thursday, April 27, 2017

801. Cyndi Ingle Talks Preserving Your Research May 3

Join the GSMC to learn how to make sure your research is safeguarded. Don't let it disappear!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

800. Lilly Archives Reorganized, But No Public Access

I attended this session at the Society of Indiana Archivists' Conference in Muncie not long ago. Seems like a lot of work to go through to have it just sit there gathering dust. Would be nice if folks who have Lilly employees in their family could go in and research them a bit. Sigh!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

799. New Genealogy Classes In Noblesville

Nancy Massey has announced their genealogy programs and class schedule for May and June.  To see the schedule and register for the classes, go to their online calendar at (enter “genealogy” in the “search” box) or you may register by calling the Indiana Room at the library at 317 770-3236. 

Sunday, April 16, 2017

798. GSMC Goes Topical With IPS Workshop

[The Indianapolis Public Schools are holding meetings this week about closing more schools. Come on down Saturday and see how all that came about. I'm looking forward to presenting this session!]

Friday, April 14, 2017

797. Have We Seen This IPS Move Before?

[I was hired by IPS in 1974, and, between then and my retirement in 2002, my Educational Supply Department assisted in the closing of at least 60 IPS schools. As you can see below, they are still at it. We can only hope that the school records do not disappear as they have for so many of the others. I for one intend to keep on the IPS administration about that very issue. Please join me.]

Media Advisory

myIPS logo
Media Contact
Carrie Cline Black
Media Relations Coordinator

Indianapolis Public Schools Releases Taskforce Report Recommending High School Closings

(April 14, 2017)-The Facilities Utilization Taskforce has released a comprehensive report to analyze and make recommendations on IPS facilities.  Most of the district's seven high schools are at less than 50 percent capacity. The taskforce, convened in September 2016, is comprised of eight internal and eight external members with a combined 220+ years of relevant experience.  This report reflects their thoughtful and careful consideration after analyzing several factors. Moving forward, the district's goal is to create the best learning environment for students, maximize operational efficiency and invest as much money as possible back into the classroom. 

Factors considered by the taskforce include, but are not limited to:
  • Academic Models
  • Building Utilization Rates
  • Utility and Operational Costs
  • Transportation Costs and Length of Bus Routes

The taskforce will present their complete report at the Board of School Commissioners Work Session on Tuesday, April 18 at 6pm at Thomas D. Gregg School 15 located at 2302 E. Michigan St. Indianapolis, IN 46201.  This meeting is open to the public and members of the community can make public comment.

IPS will also spend the next several months gathering input and feedback before making a decision on school closure.  This detailed process includes a series of community meetings to listen to public comments and concerns.  That feedback will be considered as part of the final recommendation to the Board that is scheduled for action in September 2017.

The community meetings will take place:

Wednesday, April 26
Glendale Library
6101 N. Keystone Ave.
Indianapolis, IN  46220
6:00 - 8:00 pm

Monday, May 1
Ivy Tech Culinary Center
2820 N. Meridian Street
Indianapolis, IN 46208
6:00 - 8:00 pm

Thursday, May 11
Zion Hope Baptist Church
5950 E 46th Street
Indianapolis, IN 46226
6:00 - 8:00 pm

Monday, May 15
Haughville Library
2121 W. Michigan St.
Indianapolis, IN  46222
6:00 - 8:00 pm

For more information or interviews, contact Carrie Cline Black, Media Relations Coordinator, at 317-605-3797. For a full copy of the report, go to


Thursday, April 13, 2017

796. Genealogist Helps Catch Some Criminal Activity

[Saw this interesting article on a CBS news feed. Another one for the Genealogy Detectives team.]

                LANSDALE, Penn. -- The feds say a Pennsylvania man has been using a dead boy’s identity for more than 21 years, CBS Philly reports. Authorities got involved after a relative of the deceased used to put her family tree together.

                A woman was getting information on Ancestry last year and her nephew Nathan Laskoski popped up. She saw that he got married and he moved around the country -- from Texas to Mississippi to Tennessee and eventually to Pennsylvania. But the problem is Laskoski died in 1972 when he was two months old.

                Authorities say 44-year-old Jon Vincent escaped back in 1996 from a halfway house in Texas, and went to a cemetery to find someone born around the same time that he was.

                Prosecutors say he picked Laskoski and found his birth certificate, which he used to get a social security number. Authorities say that started 20-plus years of jobs, bank accounts, loans, marriage and divorce as Nathan Laskoski.

                Vincent faces identity theft and Social Security fraud charges. If convicted he’s looking at fines of up to half a million dollars and jail time.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

795. Another Indiana Legislator Exhausted From Creative Idiocy

They think that not only should we pay workers to show up, but now we should pay them extra to work. But, hey, whatever, you can only drink so much coffee, right?

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

794. Reminder On IPS Files: We Need Em! Yes We Do!

Genealogical Society of Marion County

9370 E. Washington St., Indianapolis, IN 46229 [In Memorial Park]


You have a valuable historical record; Let us preserve it.

Indianapolis Public Schools

Class Photos, commencement lists, PTA Bulletins, Program Events, all kinds of material—the older the better—yours, your parents, your grandparents.

[Others schools are good, too; contact us!]

Email us at or call (317) 318-3768

Sunday, April 9, 2017

793. Decatur Township Elementary? Mid-40's?

The Genealogical Society of Marion County discovered this classroom photo inserted in a 1951 Decatur Central High School yearbook donated to them. It looks like a 4th or 5th grade class. If the yearbook belonged to a '51 DCHS grad of the 12th grade, it might be a 1943-44 class. Anyone have any ideas?

Thursday, April 6, 2017

792. Honoring Howard Druly O'Neill, Great-Uncle, WW1

My grandmother's brother, known as Druly, is the tall guy in the back row, second from left. The 19th was a railroad regiment, and Druly worked on rolling stock at the Nevers Depot. He is buried in the Little Rock National Cemetery, Arkansas.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

791. April Classes At Noblesville Library

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

2:15 PM - 3:15 PM  Noblesville Library  Genealogy Classroom 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017 

9:30 AM - 12:00 PM Noblesville Library Computer Training Lab

Registration is open

This "hands on" class will offer a demonstration exploring how to effectively search, one of our subscription databases. We will also explore five free genealogy websites: Familysearch, Findagrave, Rootsweb, US GenWeb, and Cyndi's List. Participants are encouraged to bring family information as there will be time after the demonstration to research ancestors. Each participant will have access to a computer. Basic computer skills are necessary to fully enjoy this workshop. Registration is required.

Event Type(s): Genealogy Classes  Presenter: Nancy Massey

Monday, April 3, 2017

790. Where Is the IPS Archives Room?

    About a year ago, the Genealogical Society of Marion County approved an "IPS-SIG Project" to collect and digitize both student and staff records of the Indianapolis Public Schools. We have had some success in doing this project (Disclaimer: I proposed this project and serve as the Chair.), but the project success is mostly in spite of IPS and not because of it.
    You would think that a public entity whose main reason for existence is education would be more concerned about documents and history. If you think so, you are sadly mistaken. With a few exceptions, finding and getting access to any IPS records is like getting a tooth pulled without Novocain.
   For one thing there is not any central IPS location for their records. There is a little dab here and a little pile there, but mostly very little of anything. Many records that I know from personal experience (I am a retired IPS supervisor.) existed in the not too distant past are nowhere to be found today. My nightmare is that they wound up in a dumpster at the order of a careless administrator.
   During my tenure at IPS from 1973 to 2002, my department participated in the closing of somewhere between 50 and 60 schools, following the Desegregation suit--thank you very much, Federal government! (And, yes, that was sarcasm)
   Try to find any records from those buildings today; if you find any, I'll take my hat off to you. And even more rare is finding a current IPS staff member who cares one way or the other.
    The folks who care the most are a handful of school alumni who have made an effort to gather some student and staff materials and keep them available. We (GSMC) have had great experiences with School 21 and Manual High School, so far, and hope to find other islands of hope.
    What all of us need is an IPS Archive, that could stem the practice of shuffling materials around like unwanted stepchildren.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

788. Sexson Family Reunion, Garfield Park, 1925

I found this interesting photo in a collection donated to GSMC by Beth Smock of Greenwood. This is her father's family, plus probably some of her mother's Picketts, too. No names listed on anything that we could find. Anyone out there have any knowledge of these folks? Many family members were from Lawrence, Orange, and Monroe counties.
[The photo was damaged in storage and we had to repair it a bit for scanning.]

Monday, March 27, 2017

787. Cemetery Survey With Cheap Drones?

One of the major problems for genealogists is locating graves and sunken headstones in pioneer and abandoned cemeteries way out in the boonies. Why couldn't you hang an infrared camera of some kind on an inexpensive drone, then take it in your car and fly it over a site that looks promising? You could transmit the images to your laptop or download them when you land your drone. The graves should show up very nicely with infrared imagery. Sounds like a good market for a startup, right? C'mon, techies, let's get rolling!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

786. History Comes At Ya Fast!

I found this photo as the back of an old postcard. When did the Claypool get demolished? (I didn't get here until the '70's.)

Thursday, March 23, 2017

785. Interesting Attucks Program At Indy Library

One of the most interesting IPS high schools is the feature at the Central Library Saturday. Talk about a snapshot of Indianapolis history! The Indianapolis Public Library is doing some great stuff these days.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

784. Jennifer Grey On Tonight At 10

Let's hope that Jennifer Grey doesn't spend as much time in political rants as Julie Bowen did last week. It's genealogy, people!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

783. Lotsa Indy Genealogy Choices April 8th.

If you're a seriously all-German researcher, take in the below conference. If you're not, you can attend the IGS Conference at the Indianapolis Public Library the same day. Nice, huh!

Friday, March 10, 2017

782. New Northwest Territory Lineage Society

If you have early ancestry in the Northwest Territory (including Indiana), you may want to check out the new lineage group formed by the Ohio Genealogical Society. You don't have to be an OGS member to belong. It's kind of pricy, but it could be a source of pride for you to prove ancestry this early in this area. Go to and take a look.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

780. Looking Forward To Archivists Conference March 31

I joined SIA a couple of years ago; as a genealogist it seemed like a natural fit. Genealogists and archivists are natural partners in the quest for records preservation and digitization. The agenda looks interesting and the information acquired always helps my groups stay informed. See you there!

Friday, March 3, 2017

779. Hoosier History Live Focuses On Shortridge

Listen in tomorrow at noon as Nelson Price and some good guests discuss the history and programs of IPS Shortridge High School. Follow up by contributing to the GSMC IPS-SIG digitizing project.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

778. New Archivist For Catholic Archives

If you research Catholic families in the central/southern Indiana areas, you will have a new resource person when you visit the Archives on North Illinois Street. Maybe she will be a digitization lobbyist and get some good sources online.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

777. Finding Out About Projects Is Tricky

I was browsing on the Indiana Historical Society calendar the other day and noticed that there is a group of Territorial Records being digitized. Where do you suppose researchers can go to keep current on projects like this one? Does the state have a web Press Release location for these? It always seems like these projects are a big secret of some kind. It's a puzzle.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

776. Will We or Won't We Get a New State Archives?

It may be up to you, and you, and you...   Contact your state legislator NOW. This is no longer funny, push has come to shove and all that.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

774. WDYTYA Returns March 5th

TLC Reveals New Celebrity Contributors for Who Do You Think You Are?

The following announcement was written by TLC:

New season premieres Sunday, March 5 at 10/9c

TLC’s Emmy Award-winning series, WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? returns this spring with a new group of celebrities ready to delve into their lineage and get answers to the questions they’ve wondered about their entire lives. Eight new one-hour episodes bring more unexpected turns and surprising discoveries of great historical significance. Executive Produced by Lisa Kudrow and Dan Bucatinsky, the new season premieres on Sunday, March 5th at 10/9c.

This season’s celebrity contributors include:

Jessica Biel makes surprising discoveries that change what she thought knew about her heritage.

Julie Bowen uncovers the story of two relatives whose moral codes are from opposite ends of the spectrum.

Courteney Cox traces her maternal line back seven centuries to the Medieval times to discover royalty in her lineage and an unbelievable tale of family drama.

Jennifer Grey uncovers new information about the grandfather she thought she knew, learning how he survived adversity to become a beacon of his community.

Smokey Robinson searches for answers behind the mystery of why his grandfather disappeared from his children’s lives and finds a man tangled in a swirl of controversy.

John Stamos digs into the mystery of how his grandfather became an orphan, and learns of tensions between families that led to a horrible crime.

Liv Tyler learns that her family is tied into the complicated racial narrative of America.

Noah Wyle unravels the mystery of his maternal line, uncovering an ancestor who survived one of America’s bloodiest battles.

Ancestry, the leading family history company, is teaming up again with TLC as a sponsor of the upcoming season. As part of the show sponsorship, Ancestry provides exhaustive family history research on each of the featured celebrities to help make discoveries possible and build out the story of each episode.

Friday, February 17, 2017

773. Looks Like A Good Event In Brown County

I received this message yesterday from Bill McClintic. It looks like a good excuse to go down to Nashville for the day. See you there.

The Brown County Family Heritage Day

will be on Saturday, March 25 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Brown County History Center, 90 E. Gould Street, downstairs in Hughes Hall. Anyone interested in genealogy is invited to come. There will be family history displays, books on Brown County, a research area with helpers, representatives from surrounding counties, veterans, IGS, and others.

Free admission.

If anyone is interested is displaying for the event please let us know and we will reserve you a table. We hope you can all attend or drop in for a while.

Please announce this at your next meeting or post somewhere for others to read. We will be sending out posters soon.

Rhonda Dunn
Brown Co. Genealogical Society

Monday, February 13, 2017

772. Want Your Family Momentos Duplicated and Preserved?

Here's a good idea that more local genealogical and historical societies and local libraries should adopt. There are millions of historical documents and photos sitting in out of the way places, like file cabinets, closets, cellars, and garages, that would be valuable assets in the search for ancestries. One of the best things about it is that it gets people thinking about what they have stashed away.

Friday, February 10, 2017

771. Citizen Assistance Needed On New Archives Building

I received this message today and it needs to be passed on and acted upon. Lend your voice to the job of getting the new State Archives building funded and built.
Genealogists, use your clout!                      [Disclaimer: I'm a member of the FISA.]

            The Friends of the Indiana State Archives, a non-profit group that supports the State Archives, asks for your help.  We call on SIA members to contact their Indiana General Assembly legislators of both chambers to support funding of a new Indiana State Archives building. 

            This link will help you find your legislators and contact them:

            Here’s the backstory:

 As you know, thanks to you in 2015 the General Assembly approved $25 million to build a new State Archives building.  A caveat was that it was to be funded by sale of rights to cell towers on state-owned land.  In September 2016, then-Gov. Pence announced a multi-million-dollar deal with an Ohio telecom firm to manage the cell towers.  This brought on a loud chorus of complaints from Indiana telecoms for various reasons.  Earlier this week Gov. Holcomb announced the cancellation of the telecom deal.  He said further that he hoped to find funding for the State Archives building in the budget to be passed by this year’s General Assembly. Planning and design work for the new building has been halted since last fall. 

            Your help is needed.  Please contact your legislators to urge support for funding the State Archives in the budget to be passed this year.  Here are some talking points you might use:

*The General Assembly voted to fund a new State Archives building in 2015; now that the Pence cell-tower deal that would have funded the building has been canceled, they need to follow through by funding it in the regular budget

*Since January 1 of 2017, there already have been five (5) leaks in the current warehouse building, including one caused by a bullet and one in the roof of a vault holding vitally important records

*Environmental conditions in the warehouse building continue to endanger State Archives records

*The more they delay, the higher the cost of building

*The State Archives building represents good government and wise management of resources; it is not simply a bicentennial celebration project

*The State Archives building represents an opportunity to build infrastructure for long-term benefit to the state.​

            We ask that persons contact Rep. Tim Brown (Tippecanoe County) to fund the State Archives building.  As chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, he is vitally important in making the state budget. Please take a moment to call, email, or post a letter to your legislators on this important public-policy matter.

            For further reading, here are links to news articles on this matter (most recent on top):

            Please let me know if you have any questions. Thank you.

 Stephen E. Towne, President, Friends of the Indiana State Archives

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

770. Great Genealogy Schedule In Plainfield

The Family History Hounds in Hendricks County have a interesting group of programs on tap for this year. It's a long way from NE Marion County, but I might just have to take in a few of these! How about you?

Sunday, February 5, 2017

769. IGS Conference Coming To Indy In April

I'm going head-to-head with Tony Burroughs in Session 2. Hope I get a few folks! See you there.
You can register online at the IGS website via PayPal. See URL below.

Friday, February 3, 2017

768. Do Hoosiers Use The Chicago Archives Branch Enough?

We have a great records repository right on our doorstep. Do Hoosiers go there very much? I don't recall many conversations at meetings and conferences about researching there. Most conversations relate to the main Archives in D.C., like the one below. Shouldn't we take another look, since it's so close. Do you have  a good Chicago Branch research story? 

Thursday, January 26, 2017

766. Ever Visit Ireland?

If your ancestry includes any Kelly's in the Emerald Isle, take a look at this chance to visit the island and to maybe find some relatives. Unfortunately, I have lots of Irish connections, but no Kellys.


Muintir Uí Cheallaigh

Kelly Clan Gathering

19-21 May 2017

The Armada Hotel, Spanish Point, Co Clare, Ireland will host Kellys, Kelleys, O’Kellys and Ó Ceallaighs at their 12th biennial gathering

The weekend’s programme will include:

v Key speaker from Australia, Aidan Kelly, the Clan’s chief recorder on genetic genealogy, will be presenting the latest analysis of the Kelly ‘Y-DNA Study’

v Talks by Local Historians

v Guided tour of places of local interest around the Wild Atlantic Way and the stunning Burren countryside

v Gala Dinner

Reconnect with old family and friends and make new ones.

Join us for this festive weekend.

Phone: +353[0]86 3296475

Sunday, January 22, 2017

765. Keeping Up With DNA?

If you want a practically painless way to keep up to date on genealogy DNA developments, you might want to attend some of the sessions listed below. A lot of knowledgeable folks are available to answer questions.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

764. Historical Society Active In Genealogy

The Indiana Historical Society seems to be getting into genealogy with both feet lately. My attitude is "The More the Merrier." Judy Russell is always good (IGS featured her at their conference in Terre Haute not long ago), and GSMC had Tina Beaird in town in October for a great series of presentations. Time to pencil in some events on your calendar!