Progress, nostalgia and the Hoosier farm wife

Over the course of the 20th century, innovations in technology revolutionized the lives of rural dwellers throughout the United States. Many authors documented these changes and the effects they had on rural society. Among them were Hoosier authors Gene Stratton-Porter and Rachel Peden, who wrote about their own everyday lives and experiences. Writing in Adams County, Stratton-Porter documented the natural world in novels and non-fiction alike. Her work showed the effects of the demand for increased farm acreage as woods were felled and swamps drained to create new farmland. Peden, a Monroe County resident, wrote a long-running column for the Indianapolis Star as well as several books. Writing from the mid-1940s to the mid-1970s, she captured the end of one era in rural life and the beginning of another.

Advance Rumely combine-harvester, ca. 1920; Advance Rumely trade catalog, Indiana Pamphlets Collection, Indiana Division, Indiana State Library

One of the greatest technological innovations of the twentieth century for farmers was the mechanization of farm equipment, which made field work faster and easier. With the increased productivity of the new farm equipment, farmers could work larger acreages, enabling them to realize larger harvests and thus larger incomes. They often reinvested their money in their farms, purchasing more and bigger farm equipment, adding electricity to their homes and barns and increasing the types of equipment and appliances they owned.[1] The new technology also changed the farm equipment industry, as improvements to the equipment kept the farmers coming back to buy the latest machines.

Michael O’Halloran by Gene Stratton-Porter

Despite the practicality of the farm machinery, some farm wives resented having to roll their extra income into the purchase of tractors and corn pickers while they had to do without modern appliances in their homes. Early machinery purchases accentuated the traditional gender roles, as the male head of the household often controlled the family expenditures. Stratton-Porter addressed this inequality in “Michael O’Halloran,” in which Michael explains to a farmer that:

“if there was money for a hay rake, and a manure spreader, and a wheel plow, and a disk, and a reaper, and a mower, and a corn planter, and a corn cutter, and a cider press, and a windmill, and a silo, and an automobile—you know Peter, there should have been enough for that window, and the pump inside, and a kitchen sink, and a bread-mixer, and a dish-washer; and if there wasn’t any other single thing, there ought to be some way you sell the wood, and use the money for the kind of summer stove that’s only hot under what you are cooking, and turns off the flame the minute you finish.[2]”

Although somewhat exaggerated for dramatic effect, Stratton-Porter’s statement illustrates the resentment women felt when their desires appeared to be of secondary importance within the family. Even women who understood the need for machinery thought that the emphasis farm experts placed on the need for the latest machinery was ridiculous. What farm women really wanted were electric appliances to make their housework more convenient and allow them a better standard of living. Through rural electrification projects, over 90 percent of farms in the United States had electricity by 1960, up from 10 percent in 1935.[3] Like farm women across the country, most Hoosier women got electricity during this time. For these women, finally getting what they had wanted and waited for so long was an “unbelievable dream.”[4]

Rachel Peden’s “The Hoosier Farm Wife Says” column documented rural life and entertained readers of the Indianapolis Star for nearly 30 years.

For farm wives, their new household tools brought one major advantage: less time spent on housework and more time spent on leisure. Prior to electrification, women spent much of their day preparing meals on a wood-fueled stove, doing laundry with a washboard or hand-cranked wringer washer and mending clothes by hand or with a treadle sewing machine. Their housework was labor-intensive and very hands-on. By purchasing appliances to aid them in their work, rural women bought more free time for themselves.  They could also multitask more effectively. For example, automatic washing machines allowed women to put their laundry in the machine and then go do other tasks while the clothes were washed.[5]

At first, modern conveniences were wonderful luxuries. As time progressed, however, women came to view their appliances as necessities.[6] They described their appliances as something they could not live without. Although some women felt that their appliances were making them lazy and causing them to complain about minor inconveniences, they also overlooked the fact that this process of the normalization of luxury occurred throughout the past. The wringer washer and wood stoves that twentieth century farm women abandoned were once considered great luxuries by their grandmothers and great-grandmothers, accustomed as they were to washboards and open hearths.[7]

As farming became more mechanized, specialized, and commercialized, the higher expenses required to keep up with the technology caused many farmers to give up farming and seek other employment.[8] For those who stayed, the technological changes led to less cooperation among members of rural communities as combines and store-bought food replaced shared tasks such as harvesting or butchering. As rural communities and rural work changed, rural dwellers reported a loss of the sense of community that they had shared in the past.[9]

Hoosier communities were not immune to this trend. Before mechanization, the men of the community would get together and harvest each farmer’s crops, each man bringing his own wagons, horses and hand tools, while the women gathered to prepare meals for the workers.[10] Despite having more social opportunities in the latter part of the twentieth century due to improved cars and roads and more leisure time to join clubs and other social groups, farm women still regretted the loss of the annual harvest time. Harvest lingered in women’s minds as something good that they had lost because working together built community in a way that a social club never could. When the members of a rural community engaged in a difficult, yet essential, task that no one family could accomplish by itself, the members of the community learned to rely on one another in a way developed only through hard work toward a common goal. This spirit of interdependence created community between often-isolated rural dwellers and created a web of social support and goodwill as farm families knew they could turn to their neighbors in times of trouble or hardship.

By the end of the twentieth century, many rural dwellers expressed fond feelings toward the “good old days,” particularly in reference to what they saw as a simpler rural life before machines, off-farm jobs and commercial farmers. Much of this nostalgia stemmed from their memories of the past and things they missed from their old lifestyles. Although no one missed the harder work of the past, many farm women saw the complications and losses of the modern world and wanted to return to the simpler times of their youth.[11]

This blog post is by Jamie Dunn, genealogy librarian. For more information, contact the Genealogy Division at (317) 232-3689 or send us a question through Ask-a-Librarian.

[1] Rachel Peden, “Tractor Makes Possible Luxury of Riding Horse,” Indianapolis Star, January 15, 1964, page 12.
[2] Gene Stratton-Porter, Michael O’Halloran (New York: Doubleday, Page & Company, 1915), 356.
[3] David B. Danbom, Born in the Country: A History of Rural America (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006), 222.  United States Department of Agriculture, “Rural Electrification,” United States Yearbook of Agriculture, Washington, D.C., 1940.
[4] Rachel Peden, “Summer Lightning Jumps out of the Cold Storage,” Indianapolis Star, February 12, 1965, page 14.
[5] Rachel Peden, “Now Home Making Has Become a Luxury Work,” Indianapolis Star, May 13, 1953, page 14.
[6] Katherine Jellison, Entitled to Power: Farm Women and Technology, 1913-1963 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1993).  The entire book documents the shift in perspective from luxury to necessity.
[7] Rachel Peden, “Man’s History Written in Tools of Yesteryear,” Indianapolis Star, January 6, 1964, page 14.
[8] Rachel Peden, “Progress Arrives as Farmers Depart,” Indianapolis Star, February 22, 1961, page 14.
[9] Mary Neth, Preserving the Family Farm: Women, Community, and the Foundations of Agribusiness in the Midwest, 1900-1940 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995), 181.
[10] Rachel Peden, “Silo Filling Day is Red Letter Occasion,” Indianapolis Star, September 30, 1947, page 14.
[11] Rachel Peden, “Too Much Efficiency is Mighty Depressing,” Indianapolis Star, August 18, 1958, page 12.

What do the Genealogy Division of the Indiana State Library and the popular book series “Outlander” have in common?

Would you like to learn more about your ancestral heritage? Do you think you might be of Scottish descent? Are you more than slightly intrigued with the popular historical fiction book series “Outlander,” a time-travelling series that commences in the Scottish Highlands in the years 1743 and 1946 and written by author Diana Gabaldon?  Did you know that Gabaldon included many real-life historical people in her book series? The start of season three of the hit TV show “Outlander” will air on Starz on Sept. 10, 2017 and will closely follow the third book, “Voyager,” so now is a great time to do some research.

Come visit us in the Genealogy Division of the Indiana State Library and dig into your own Scottish genealogical heritage. You might also want to come and research the many historical figures woven into the “Outlander” books. Who knows? You might find that you have Scottish Highland ancestors who fought in the last Jacobite Uprising of 1745 that culminated at the Battle of Culloden in April of 1746. The Jacobites were strong supporters of the Catholic Prince Charles Stuart monarchy. They were fighting to restore the House of Stuart to the British throne, then controlled by the Protestants in England. 1,500-2,000 Jacobites were killed or wounded on the moors of Culloden in the Scottish Highlands in a massacre that was concluded in less than an hour.

In our Genealogy Collection, I recently discovered the beautiful family tree of William Cumming and Sarah Coppage. Underneath their names and family crest it reads:

“Born in Inverness about 1725, made a prisoner at the Battle of Culloden, reached Maryland the year thereafter, married Sarah Coppage, of an old Eastern Shore family, who died in 1765, became a large landed proprietor in Frederick County, and died near the end of March, 1793, at his home in the Linganore Hills.” From William Cumming ~ Sarah Coppage Family Tree

Cumming family crest and motto

One can only imagine my surprise at discovering this family tree in our Genealogy Collection, as I’m a loyal follower of the “Outlander” books and television show where the Battle of Culloden figures heavily in the second and third books of the series. In the first book of this series, “Outlander,” it is 1946 and one of the main characters, Claire Randall, unknowingly “goes through” an ancient stone circle in the Scottish Highlands and is transported back in time to the year 1743 where soon thereafter, in order to save her life, she very reluctantly marries James (Jamie) Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser. In time, she learns to love Jamie but on the cusp of the Battle of Culloden in 1746, Jamie takes his now pregnant wife, Claire, to the stone circle and makes her return to her own time, because he believes he will die on the battlefield.

Forward to the second book, “Dragonfly in Amber,” in 1968 and Claire and Brianna, her daughter with Jamie, are in Scotland piecing together genealogical records to ascertain who survived the Battle of Culloden. They are mainly searching for information about the character, Jamie Fraser, Claire’s love, who fought in this battle and was thought to have died alongside his clansmen.

Much to Claire’s surprise and shock, her research shows that Jamie was not killed on the battlefield as she had believed for the past twenty years. Thus, in the third book, “Voyager,” they conduct a deeper genealogical search into what became of Jamie Fraser. Through diligent work, Claire and Brianna discover that Jamie was imprisoned as a traitor to King George II of England, along with many other Highlanders after the Battle of Culloden. Further, they find a newspaper article written by A. Malcolm, one of Jamie’s pseudonyms, and printed in 1765, Edinburgh, Scotland. With agonizing deliberation, Claire decides to return to the stone circle to be transported back to 1765 Edinburgh in hopes of finding Jamie. This sets the beginning of the book, “Voyager” and the upcoming season three of the TV show, “Outlander.” By the end of “Voyager,” Jamie and Claire have landed on the shores of the American Colony of Georgia in the year 1767. They eventually settle in the colony of North Carolina and later in subsequent books, they become involved in the American Revolution. Not surprisingly, many of our Scottish ancestors arrived in America under similar circumstances.

So, let’s take a look at Scottish emigration to America.

“Scottish immigration to the Americas during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries tended to be spasmodic and generally small-scale, with certain notable exceptions. These exceptions consisted of several attempts to establish independent Scottish colonies, and, on several occasions, the mass transportation of political prisoners.”1 History has shown that after 1747, around 1,600 men, women and children were put on ships to the colonies in America as indentured servants. William Cumming, whose family tree was noted previously, was one of these political prisoners sent to the American colony of Maryland.

The earliest known Scottish emigration to America dates to Colonial times around 1650.

“There seems to have been a continuous trickle of emigrants across the Atlantic from the mid-seventeenth century onwards to staff the tobacco warehouses in Virginia… or as felons banished to the Plantations. Economic forces generally determined emigrant routes from Scotland: Ships sailed to Georgia and the Carolinas for cotton and rice, to the Chesapeake for tobacco, to the Canadian Maritimes for timber and carried with them innumerable emigrants, many as indentured servants.”2

The Scottish people left their homeland mainly for economic, religious and political reasons.

“If the origins of your Scottish ancestors are unclear, no matter where they went, you can draw useful insights from accounts of migration to the area where first they settled. It is extremely important that you identify the ancestor(s) who made the trip, but almost as important is an understanding of the context of their migration. Knowing the place of first settlement is particularly important because its history may offer clues about the region, perhaps even the parish, of birth.”3

Back to William Cumming: In 1775 he served as a private in the Maryland Line of the Continental Army, defending his new homeland, America, against the British Soldiers and Loyalists in the American Revolution. The Maryland Line was a formation in the Continental Army. It was formed and authorized by the Second Continental Congress which met in Philadelphia, June 1775. William Cumming received a land grant for his service as a Patriot.

At the Indiana State Library, we have hundreds of books, maps, microfilm and resources available to research your Scottish ancestors and/or research and learn more about the historical characters of the “Outlander” series. We can show you how and where to locate genealogical information about your ancestors worldwide, not just in Indiana. Come in and let your origins catch up to you!

Some obvious and “not-so-obvious” historical people in the “Outlander” book series:

Prince Charles Stuart: Charles Edward Casimir Maria Sylvester Stuart, the Young Pretender, son of the Old Pretender, James III of Scotland, VIII of England. Heir to the exiled Catholic royal dynasty.
James Stuart: The Old Pretender, James III of Scotland, VIII of England. Exiled Catholic monarch.
Simon Fraser: Lord Lovat, The Old Fox
Simon Fraser: Lord Lovat, the Young Fox
Flora MacDonald: Helped Prince Charles Stuart escape from Scotland to France after the Battle of Culloden.
Farquhar (Farquard) Campbell: Highlander who immigrated to the American Colony of North Carolina.
Archibald Bug: Highlander who immigrated to the American Colonies. Presented a petition for Patent of Land, 320 acres in North Carolina, 1740.
Clanranald: A prominent Jacobite chief.
George II: King of England
George III: King of England
Comte St. Germain: A member of the French Court; a noble with a reputation for dabbling in the occult. Charles Stuart’s business partner.
Lord Kilmarnock: One of the Jacobite earls, later executed for treason.
Louis XV: King of France
Duke of Perth: A commander in Prince Charles Stuart’s army.

There’s so much more to genealogy than names, places and vital statistics. Once this general information is known about an ancestor, then it’s time to “dig into” their lives. It can be fun and very interesting to learn about the history of the time period and the places your ancestors may have lived as well as the historical events in which they may have participated. Delving into your cultural heritage might shed some light on a family custom or heirloom that has been passed down through time. Once ancestors have been traced back to when and where they departed to America, the reasons for emigrating can be studied and give a fuller picture of your ancestor’s life, and consequently, yours, also.

Learning about the “rest of the story” can practically bring one’s ancestors to life!

This blog post was written by Alice Winslow, librarian, Genealogy Division. For more information, contact the Indiana State Library Genealogy Division at (317) 232-3689 or email awinslow@library.in.gov.

1. Dobson, David. “Directory of Scots Banished to the American Plantations, 1650-1775.” Baltimore, MD. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc. 1983.

2. Dobson, David. “Ships from Scotland to America, 1628-1828.” Baltimore, MD. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc. 2004.

3. Irvine, Sherry. “Scottish Ancestry: Research Methods for Family Historians.” Provo, UT. Ancestry. 2003

A letter from Afghanistan

In the Harriet L. Paddock collection, in between folders of genealogical research on the Paddock and other families, is a letter from Bill Castor to Harriet’s father William S. Paddock. During the latter part of 1954, Bill decided to take a trip to Afghanistan, a place that had long fascinated him. In his letter he also recounts his travels through the region including his time spent in Tehran, Iran after the 1953 coup.

The following correspondence is available in the Indiana Digital Collections.

Harriet L. Paddock taught in the Business Department of Butler University for 28 years. She attended Indiana State University, graduating in 1929. She later received her master’s in education from Harvard University and a doctorate from Indiana University.

Her collection of genealogical research and correspondence relating to the Paddock, Lewis, Rea and other families is available to view in the Genealogy Division on the first floor of the library.

“This blog post by Sarah Pfundstein, genealogy librarian. For more information, contact the Genealogy Division at (317) 232-3689 or email spfundstein@library.in.gov.”

Last call for night owls

Join us for another exciting evening of Genealogy for Night Owls tomorrow, May 17, 2017 from 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. If you aren’t able to make it to the Indiana State Library to research your family during our regular hours, aren’t sure where or how to get started on your family history or just want to put in some extra hours of research, Night Owls is the perfect opportunity.

We have an evening of fun planned, including an informative tour and sessions available with experts from the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Indiana Chapter of Palatines to America, professional genealogist Betty Warren, the Genealogical Society of Marion County, the Indiana African-American Genealogy Group and the Central Indiana DNA Interest Group. And…it’s free!! Registration is required by today, May 16, 2017. You can register online here.

Future genealogy webinars

Did you make a New Year’s resolution to get started on your family history? Are you wondering how to begin or where to start? The Indiana State Library (ISL) Genealogy Division wants to help you stay on track and meet your goal this year. Perusing your family history can be fun and rewarding. However, for the beginning genealogist, research can be difficult and many wonder how to get started. ISL can help you with this goal.

The Genealogy Division has created a brand new webinar that will be available online in the coming months. This webinar will help you tackle the beginning steps in genealogy research. The webinar will be recorded and available on ISL’s website. Once the webinar is published you will be able to access the recording free and on your own time. Learn about records sets, how to get started and why you might be having road blocks; all from the comfort of your home. Topics to be discussed include the basic principles of genealogy research, where to start and what information you can find in different records. Be sure to check out our website for updates on this and future webinars.

In the meantime, please browse our current collection of webinars and videos.

This blog post was written by Crystal Ward, librarian in the genealogy department. If you would like more information about this webinar or other genealogy events, please contact the genealogy department at 317-232-3689. 

Finding Indiana birth, marriage and death records online

Birth, marriage and death records form the core of genealogical research. They document the basic facts of a person’s life and familial relationships. However, finding these records can be difficult, particularly as one traces one’s family farther and farther into the past. With that in mind, here are a few pointers to help you find your ancestors’ vital and marriage records:

  1. Know what records are available

Birth certificate of Bernece Tipps, 1908. “Indiana Birth Certificates, 1907-1940,” Ancestry Library Edition. Accessed January 17, 2017.

Indiana did not issue birth and death certificates until 1882 and such records were not mandatory or collected at the state level until 1907. So, before 1882, there are no government-issued certificates recording these life events.

Under Indiana law, birth records are not available to the public for 75 years to protect privacy and identity. If you need a more recent record, see the Indiana State Department of Health Vital Records division for information on how to proceed. If you are researching birth records pertinent to an adoption, see the Indiana State Department of Health for more information on obtaining records.

Marriage records, on the other hand, were issued in each county from the establishment of that county. Because couples could not get married without a marriage license, these records tend to be complete all the way back to 1816 and even a bit before that in certain counties.

  1. Know where to find records

Death certificate of Violet Edwards Commer, 1959. “Indiana Death Certificates, 1899-2011,” Ancestry Library Edition. Accessed January 17, 2017.

Birth and death records are available at the health department in each county as well as the Indiana State Department of Health (1907 forward). There is a small fee to obtain a copy, but a non-certified “genealogical copy” is usually cheaper and sufficient for genealogy purposes.

Marriage records are available at the clerk of court’s office in each county and also at the Indiana State Department of Health (1958 forward). Once again, there is a small fee for copies as well as the option for a non-certified copy.

If you need a copy of your own records, you will need to contact the county where the records were issued. The county of issuance is the only office permitted to certify a record.

  1. Know what research aids are available

Marriage record of Abraham Michael and Winna Smith, 1845. “Indiana Marriages, 1811-2007,” Family Search. Accessed January 17, 2017.

There are a number of databases online that have indexes or full digital images of birth, marriage, and death records. Some are available for free, while others require a subscription or a visit to a library with an institutional subscription.

Database Title Date Range Record Type Source Availability Coverage
Indiana Birth Certificates 1907-1940 Full records Ancestry Library Edition In library/
subscription
Statewide
Indiana Births 1882-1920 Index Ancestry Library Edition In library/
subscription
67/92 counties
Indiana Death Certificates 1899-2011 Full records Ancestry Library Edition In library/
subscription
Statewide
Indiana Death Index 1882-1920 Index FamilySearch Online 67/92 counties
Indiana Deaths 1882-1920 Index Ancestry Library Edition In library/
subscription
67/92 counties
Indiana Marriages 1810-2001 Full records Ancestry Library Edition In library/
subscription
Not statewide
Indiana Marriages 1811-2007 Full records FamilySearch Online Not statewide
Indiana Marriage Certificates 1958-2005 Full records Ancestry Library Edition In library/
subscription
Not statewide
Indiana Marriages 1780-1992 Index FamilySearch Online Not statewide
Indiana Marriage Index 1800-1941 Index Ancestry Library Edition In library/
subscription
Not statewide
Indiana Marriages Early 1800s-1850 Index Indiana State Library Online Statewide
Indiana Compiled Marriages 1802-1892 Index Ancestry Library Edition In library/
subscription
Not statewide
Indiana Marriages 1958-2013 Index Indiana State Library Online Statewide
Marriage License Public Lookup 1993-present Index Indiana Office of Judicial Administration Online Statewide

A list of these databases is also available as a downloadable PDF on the Indiana State Library’s Indiana County Research Guides page.

This blog post is by Jamie Dunn, genealogy librarian. For more information, contact the Genealogy Division at (317) 232-3689 or send us a question through Ask-a-Librarian.

Indiana State Library website named to Family Tree Magazine’s list of best state websites for genealogy in 2016

We are pleased to announce that the Indiana State Library (ISL) website was recently named to Family Tree Magazine’s list of “75 Best State Websites for Genealogy in 2016.” This list appears in the December 2016 issue of Family Tree Magazine and it can also be accessed for free here. The list honors the best websites specializing in genealogy research for each of the 50 United States. No matter where your ancestors lived within the United States, this list will be of immense help in tracing your American ancestors.

From Family Tree Magazine:

Indiana State Library: Genealogy Collection 

In the Site Index at the left, [on the ISL Home Page] click on Databases and Indexes and scroll down to Resources Provided by the Indiana State Library. There, search indexes to marriages (1811-2013), commercial newspaper death listings, biographies and newspapers. Indiana Memory has digitized images of many resources, including county histories, oral histories, plat books, city directories, photos, newspapers, yearbooks and more. The VINE database has local history and vital records from libraries, historical societies and genealogical societies.”

ISL has subscription databases that can be accessed within the library, including, but not limited to Ancestry Library Edition, Fold3, Heritage Quest, NewspaperArchive and Newspapers.com. There is also a lengthy list of resources that can be accessed remotely. A few of those resources are: Hoosier State Chronicles, Indiana Biography Indexes, Marriage Indexes, Indiana Memory, World War II Servicemen, Indiana State Library Digital Collections and Indianapolis Newspaper Index, 1848-1991.

Indiana has 92 counties and ISL has innumerable resources for each county. Resources could include vital records indices, marriage records, county histories, county maps, wills and probate records, city directories, newspapers on microfilm, court records, mortuary records, church records, tax records, cemeteries indices and census records.

Be sure to check out the Genealogy Webinars and Videos webpage for further resources and tutorials.

The best method for obtaining help with your family history research or finding answers to questions about the genealogy collection is through our Ask-A-Librarian service. You can submit a question through this email service 24/7 and a librarian will get back to you within two business days.

Patrons are also directed to look at the genealogy FAQ’s webpage for answers about the genealogy collection, about beginning genealogy research and miscellaneous genealogy questions. In addition, patrons have the ability to view the ISL’s Instagram pictures, YouTube videos, Facebook page, tweets and Pinterest boards, all accessible with one click on any ISL webpage. Just look for the social media icons. Who knows, you just might find a genealogy tip that will knock down your own brick wall!

We hope everyone will agree that the ISL genealogy website is very deserving of being placed on the Family Tree Magazine’s list of “75 Best State Websites for Genealogy in 2016!”

This blog post by Alice Winslow, librarian, Genealogy Division. For more information contact the Genealogy Division at (317) 232-3689.

November is International Jewish Genealogy Month

The International Jewish Genealogy month is celebrated during the Hebrew month of Cheshvan. For 2016, the civil dates are Nov. 1 to Nov. 30, 2016. At the Indiana State Library we have many resources to help you start or further your Jewish genealogy research.

“Avotaynu Guide to Jewish Genealogy” (G 929.102 J59a) is a comprehensive book that’s great for both beginners and more intermediate researchers. The book covers not only how to get started, but it also contains research topics such as Holocaust records, Jewish naming patterns, the history of surnames and variant place names. The guide also includes different resources, both within the U.S. and internationally, appendixes containing charts and mini how to guides and maps.

guide-to-jewish-genealogy

“Sourcebook for Jewish Genealogies and Family Histories” (929.2 102 J59z) is a bibliography of family sources sorted by surname. It also lists whether the information can be found in an institution or general work. Additionally, it cross-references variant spellings due to pronunciation.

jewish-cemetery

“A Field Guide to Visiting a Jewish Cemetery” (G 929.102 J59s) is a great resource for someone interested in Jewish cemeteries and deciphering their family’s graves. The guide goes into detail about the meanings behind monuments and tombstones and their decoration, where a person might be buried in the different sections of a cemetery and simple translations.

judaica-slavic-realm

“Judaica in the Slavic Realm, Slavica in the Judaic Realm: Repositories, Collections, Projects, Publications” (G929.102 J59sLa) covers Jewish collections found in Russian and Eastern European institutions often overlooked by researchers. It could be particularly helpful to those doing research in the former Soviet empire.

These resources, along with others, can be found in the Indiana State Library online catalog.

Digital Collections from the Genealogy Division

The Genealogy Division at the Indiana State Library shares items from its collection through Indiana Memory.  We add new items monthly, focusing on our Bible records, but also featuring interesting items from our Genealogy Manuscripts.  Digitizing items from our collection allows the items to be more widely shared and helps to preserve delicate items through less exposure to light and handling.

Here are just a few recent additions:

1 laughing baby

We don’t know much about this laughing baby, but he is adorable! (Photo from the Jackman collection)

2 Stout Field airport

Stout Field in Indianapolis is an airport built in 1926 and used during World War II by the U.S. Army Air Corps. It is now the Joint Forces Headquarters of the Indiana National Guard. (Photo from the Katherine P. Mondor collection)

3 court document

One of the oldest original documents in the collection is this court document from 1545 in Somerset, England. (Document from the Hadley collection)

4 mortality schedule

The full set of U.S. Census Mortality Schedules for Indiana, 1850-1880, document individuals who died during the census year in Indiana.  They are organized by year, then by county.

#YourStory at Midwestern Roots 2016 Conference

The Midwestern Roots Family History and Genealogy Conference will be held July 15-16, 2016 at the Indianapolis Marriott East. Preconference events take place on July 14. You won’t want to miss this event hosted by the Indiana Historical Society!  This year’s conference is appropriately themed, #YourStory.  The conference is excited to host Jennifer Alford, Jen Baldwin, Lisa Louise Cooke, CeCe Moore, Juliana Szucs, Curt B. Witcher and many more distinguished national, regional, and local speakers!

Midwestern Roots

The opening session on Friday by Curt B. Witcher, Your Story, Our History: The Power and Value of Story, will surely have attendees excited about our place in state and national history.

CeCe Moore will launch the Saturday sessions with her presentation, Telling Stories with DNA from “Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.”

Pre-conference activities include a variety of workshops offered in addition to research opportunities at any number of local genealogical research facilities including county libraries, area museums, and national organizations. Look for a complete list of facilities on the conference website.

The conference will host more than 30 sessions, many of which will spotlight online resources and changing and emerging technologies that are impacting the way genealogists research their family history. In addition, there will be sessions discussing legal genealogy, DNA, the use of Evernote in genealogy, African-American genealogy, finding female ancestors, how to work your own “genealogical cold case,” “metes and bounds surveys,” treasures at the National Archives, and genealogy and GIS, just to name a few.  You can view the brochure with a complete listing of speakers and sessions here.

Once again, the conference will host the Family History Market and Book Fair, allowing ample time in the schedule to peruse the resources from national, regional, and local history exhibitors in the Exhibit Hall.

Whether your time permits attendance for all three days or just a portion of the conference, you will find a registration option to suit your needs.  Librarians may earn continuing education credits from this conference.

To learn more and to register visit indianahistory.org/midwesternroots  or call (317) 232-1882.

Register before June 30, 2016 for early registration prices!

Follow @IndianaHistory on Twitter and stay up-to-date on Midwestern Roots with the hashtags #MWR16 and #YourStory.

Alice Winslow Librarian, Genealogy Division