PAM files, a ‘hidden’ source of genealogical treasures

The Genealogy Division of the Indiana State Library has 12,210 PAM files. Wow, that’s a lot of PAM files, but what is a PAM file? PAM is a shorten form of the word pamphlet. These type of files are also sometimes known in other libraries as clipping files, vertical files or family files.

What kind of information can I find in a PAM file?
You can find family information, photocopies of family Bible pages, family trees, newspaper clippings, cemetery information, city information, county information, state information, photocopies of original records, research notes and some genealogical newsletters.

Tracing Your Ancestors in Britain; call number: [Pam.] ISLG 929.12 NO. 3

Where are the PAM files located?
The PAM files cabinets are located by the elevators in the Genealogy Division reading room in the Indiana State Library.

Revolutionary Soldiers in Indiana, A-Z; call number: [Pam.] ISLG 973.34 I UNCAT. NO. 1-3

How can I find PAM files?
You can either search the Evergreen online catalog or browse the filing cabinets.
To search the catalog, try this:

Start with the Evergreen Indiana Advanced Search. For the subject type the last name of the family you are wanting to find plus the word “family.” For the format, select “All Books,” for the shelving location select “Genealogy Pamphlet,” and for the library, select “Indiana State Library.”

Folder title: Scranton (PA) Republican Almanac; call number: [Pam.] ISLG 974.802 S433 NO. 1

To browse the cabinets, first select the cabinet you are interested in browsing. Next, look for your family surname or subject in alphabetical order. A list of subjects and their cabinet locations is below:

  • Family surname cabinets: 929.2
  • United States Military, Revolutionary War cabinets: 973.34
  • United States Military, War of 1812 cabinets: 973.5
  • United States Military, Civil War cabinets: 973.7
  • Geographic locations cabinets, Northeastern states (New England): 974
  • Geographic locations cabinets, Southeastern states: 975
  • Geographic locations cabinets, South Central states: 976
  • Geographic locations cabinets, Kentucky: 976.9
  • Geographic locations cabinets, North Central states: 977
  • Geographic locations cabinets, Ohio: 977.1
  • Geographic locations cabinets, Illinois: 977.3
  • Geographic locations cabinets, Indiana: 977.2
  • Geographic locations cabinets, Indiana Counties: 977.201
  • Geographic locations cabinets, Indiana Cities: 977.202

Enjoy exploring the PAM files, you never know what you may find!

This blog post is by Angi Porter, Genealogy Division librarian.

New military materials in the Genealogy Division Collection at the Indiana State Library

The Indiana State library’s Genealogy Collection has several newly-added resources for people researching their military ancestors in print, along with new items available in the library’s digital collections.

“Finding your Father’s War; A Practical Guide to Researching and Understanding Service in the World War II U.S. Army” by Jonathan Gawne is a nice handbook for someone who wants to learn more about their ancestor’s Army service in World War II.

The book contains a brief history of the army leading up to World War II, along with explanations of the various army units, insignia, awards and terms for those who may not already be familiar with the organization of the U.S. Army. There are also sections that discuss the distinct types of records and where to search for information about an ancestor’s military service.

Both the series “Union Casualties at Gettysburg,” along with “Confederate Casualties at Gettysburg,” a comprehensive record by John W. and Travis W. Busey contain a trove of information for someone researching their ancestors or a unit that fought at the Battle of Gettysburg. The authors organized the volumes by state, then by regiment and unit listing the wounded and the killed. Some entries for the wounded contain biographical information about the individual soldier that goes beyond the end of the Civil War. There are multiple appendixes that go over statistical information, the locations of field, general and convalescent hospitals treating the wounded and burial locations for each side.

In both “Borrowed Identity; 128th United states Colored Troops” and “Voices from the Past; 104th Infantry Regiment, USCT Colored Civil War Soldiers from South Carolina,” John R. Gourdin uses Civil War pensions to create biographical entries that contain surnames along with family relatives, friends, clergy and prominent members of the communities where the soldiers where living when they applied for their pensions.

In the Genealogy section of the Indiana State Library’s Digital Collections several images from the Kuhlenschmidt collection (G118) have been digitized. The images feature Albert Henn, Henry Kuhlenschmidt, and others as they served in World War I.

More photos from the collection can be viewed here, here and here.

The Betty Montoye Collection (G038) contains photographs and postcards from World War I along with the discharge papers for Paul Castleman and Oscar Ross.

More photos from the collection can be viewed here and here.

For more information about these and other new materials pertinent to your military ancestors check our online catalog and Digital Collections page.

Blog written by Sarah Pfundstein, genealogy librarian, Indiana State Library. For more information, contact the Indiana State Library at 317-232-3689 or “Ask-A-Librarian.”

Back to the future, 1950s Style

Hey daddy-o, you’ve got it made in the shade! Word from the bird says something happened recently that’s the living end. If you know what happened, some might say you’re the ginchiest. If you don’t know, you are going to flip your lid when you find out. So, if you’re hanging out in your pad, you might want to hop on the internet and take a look at what all the fuss is about. On April 1, the long-awaited 1950 U.S. census was released to the public with great fanfare! It’s all copacetic now. You dig? You’re a cool cat now that you’re in the know.

Yes, you heard it right. After waiting 72 years, the 1950 U.S. census was just released to the public. Your first question might be, “Why did it take 72 years to be released?” According to The Pew Research center, the most common explanation is that 72 years was the average lifespan at the time this law was established. The U.S. Census Bureau states, “The U.S. government will not release personally identifiable information about an individual to any other individual or agency until 72 years after it was collected for the decennial census.” If you are interested in the nitty gritty of the 72-Year Rule you can visit this National Archives blog titled, “Census Records: The 72-Year Rule.”

Not to dampen the excitement of searching for loved ones and ancestors in the 1950 census, but there are a few things you need to know first. If you’re used to searching the censuses previous to the 1950, you know that it’s a “fairly” easy thing to do by using Family Search, Ancestry, My Heritage, etc. because the previous censuses have all been indexed by names. Currently, this newest census will still need to be indexed to be able to search by names. The indexing is taking place as I write and some say it might be finished by the end of this month. Indexing of the 1940 census took about five months to complete when it was released in 2012.

Near the end of 2020, the National Archives and Records Administration announced they would have a dedicated website for the 1950 census that would include a “name search tool powered by artificial intelligence.” In other words, this AI is “handwriting recognition technology.” Along with searching by name, one can also filter by state, county/city, or enumeration district (ED) number. I was excited to see if I could find my parents and sister on this census. The “census gods” were with me on my very first search, which was on the National Archives site. I popped in my father’s name, city, county and state and his census page came up right away! There was just something amazing about seeing my parent’s names and my sister’s name on her very first census. Unfortunately, my luck ended there on the NARA site with searching for both sets of my grandparents by their names and living in Indianapolis at the time. I had to revert to searching by address and enumeration districts. The AI handwriting recognition technology is off to a great start, and I can imagine it will only improve greatly in the years to come.

A 1950 Census page from Indianapolis, Washington Township, Marion County, Indiana.

Genealogist Steve Morse has a great page to help with locating the enumeration district of your ancestor. The Unified 1950 Census ED Finder was a great help to me in finding the ED’s where my grandparents lived in 1950. Once I discovered the ED and clicked on the number, it took me to a different screen where I could select the viewer I wanted to use: NARA viewer, FamilySearch viewer or Ancestry viewer. I found the Steve Morse site the easiest to use in finding the ED and then being able to choose the viewer right from that page was a stroke of genius! I chose Ancestry and was taken to the beginning of the pages of that particular ED. Then I searched through those approximately 20 pages for the correct address to find my grandparents. One can actually search this way from the 1870 through the 1950 Census using this ED Finder.

Numerous websites have sprung up to help you navigate this census. The online Family Tree Magazine has a great 1950 Census Research Guide. It includes tips on how to prepare for your research and what questions were asked on this census that include household information and employment questions. This article also includes the history and creation of the 1950 census, recording the census, tips and tricks on searching through this census and a list with links to 1950 census research resources.

Family Search has a very informative wiki about this census, Family Search Wiki: United States Census 1950.

If you’re so excited you’re ready to jump out of your skin, you can even sign up to volunteer to help transcribe the 1950 census! WOW, wouldn’t that be a fun thing to tell your grandchildren all about! Family Search is looking for volunteers to help with reviewing by becoming a part of The 1950 U.S. Census Community Project.

Ancestry, along with the other sites are currently indexing the census, but you can still try searching by name or you can explore maps in their 1950 census district finder to help you find your ancestors. You can visit Ancestry’s Welcome to the 1950 U.S. Census webpage for even more resources. Ancestry also released a new tool called the Census District Finder that will help in finding enumeration districts. Here is a short video by Amy Johnson Crow explaining how to use the Census District Finder on Ancestry and a link to a few more short videos about using the 1950 census.

One can also search the 1950 census for free on MyHeritage. Here is a helpful blog on My Heritage, “Jump-Start Your 1950 U.S. Census Research with the Census Helper.” You might also want to take a look at the United States Census Bureau.

In our Genealogy Division, as we’ve been searching for our ancestors, we discovered some fun comments in the “notes” section of the census pages that were written by the enumerators:

“A youngster grabbed the sheet from my lap and had torn it quite badly before it could be taken from her. The last name is spelled Buckanaber. I spelled it as it sounded to me and was incorrect.”

“I know these people. I have reported all information possible at this time as they are in Sarasota, Florida. They make the trip every winter.”

“In my opinion the price value given is about $2,000 to high.”

If you’re waiting with great anticipation for the release of the 1960 census, you’ll have to keep your excitement to a minimum until 2032. I’m pretty stoked about it myself because it will be the first census in which I appear. But for the time being, happy hunting in the 1950 census.

Please contact Indiana State Library librarians and staff. We’re here to help!

Indiana State Library
315 W. Ohio St.
Indianapolis, IN
317-232-3675

Genealogy Division     317-232-3689
Reference Division      317-232-3678
Indiana Division          317-232-3670

Or use Ask-A-Librarian 24/7.

This blog post was written by Alice Winslow, Genealogy Division librarian.

Books to inspire your next family history project

There is no time like the present to celebrate the fascinating lives your ancestors lived, share their stories and discover new approaches to preserving treasured memories. If you are looking for some guidance or need help getting started, here is a list of some great books to inspire your next family history project:

“Finding True Connections: How to Learn and Write About a Family Member’s History”
Interview a family member and share their story with future generations. If you need help, the book “Finding True Connections: How to Learn and Write About a Family Member’s History” by Gareth St. John Thomas includes a comprehensive list of questions to delve into. There are even tips for expanding on questions to gain more meaningful responses. An added benefit to learning about your ancestry is the quality time you get to spend with your loved one. March is Women’s History Month and learning the life story of a female relative can be a great way to celebrate her! You never know what you may discover about her life.

“The Art of the Family Tree: Creative Family History Projects Using Paper Art, Fabric & Collage”
If you enjoy crafting and you want a creative way to show off your family tree, the book “The Art of the Family Tree: Creative Family History Projects Using Paper Art, Fabric & Collage” by Jenn Mason is full of family history crafting inspiration. Preserve your treasured memories as a work of art you can display in your home or give as a gift. Use copies of photos and documents to create wreaths, sculptures, books and more.

“Preserving Family Recipes: How to Save and Celebrate Your Food Traditions”
Nothing sparks memories quite like the aromas and flavors of the foods shared during family celebrations. Even without realizing it as we are gobbling it up, culture and family history is passed down with every bowl full of grandma’s arroz con leche or auntie’s famous molasses cookies. “Preserving Family Recipes: How to Save and Celebrate Your Food Traditions” by Valerie J. Frey offers more than tips for archiving family recipes. You will also learn how to make necessary adjustments to inaccurate recipes, collect oral histories and document food traditions.

“Family Photo Detective: Learn How to Find Genealogy Clues in Old Photos and Solve Family Photo Mysteries”
Break out that box of old family photos to identify mysterious people and places. The book “Family Photo Detective: Learn How to Find Genealogy Clues in Old Photos and Solve Family Photo Mysteries” by Maureen A. Taylor offers convincing evidence those family photos are deserving of more than just a quick glance. Each photo contains fascinating details that, when spotted, give us more information about the lives of ancestors.

“Visiting Your Ancestral Town: Walk in the Footsteps of Your Ancestors”
Plan a voyage to witness the same sights and sounds that your ancestors once did. Town halls, churches or local archives may contain records that help you piece together your genealogical puzzles. “Visiting Your Ancestral Town: Walk in the Footsteps of Your Ancestors” by Carolyn Schott can help you learn how to do genealogical research on your travels in order to get the most out of your trip.

“Organize Your Genealogy: Strategies and Solutions for Every Researcher”
While you are digging through family memories, you can also organize your photos and documents. “Organize Your Genealogy: Strategies and Solutions for Every Researcher” by Drew Smith will provide you with instructions on how to set your organizing goals, save physical documents as digital files, keep track of notes and more.

“The Family Story Workbook: 105 Prompts & Pointers for Writing Your History”
You don’t have to be a professional author to write the history of your family. With the help of “The Family Story Workbook: 105 Prompts & Pointers for Writing Your History” by Kris Spisak, anyone can learn to write their family history. This book also includes other creative ways to share family stories, like through poetry or music.

“The National Geographic Kids’ Guide to Genealogy”
Involve the younger generation in your family history exploration. “The National Geographic Kids’ Guide to Genealogy” by T.J. Resler is an exciting introduction to the topic. In addition to explaining the basics, this book also includes project ideas like building a time capsule, interviewing family members and making your own board game.

If you would like more help researching your ancestors, plan a visit to the Indiana State Library. You can also schedule a one-on-one family history consultation or a family history tour of the building. Click here to learn more about events at the library and how to register for them. Call 317-232-3689 for more genealogy information.

The Indiana State Library is located at 315 W. Ohio St. in downtown Indianapolis. Click here for hours and directions.

This blog post is by Dagny Villegas, Genealogy Division librarian.

Find your ancestors using the Indiana State Library’s Digital Collection of Company Newsletters

Company newsletters can provide details about your ancestors’ lives. The details are not just limited to work life, either. Company newsletters contain wedding and birth announcements, obituaries and reports on employee sports teams, employee clubs and other social events.

The Indiana State Library Digital Collection contains 43 company employee newsletters to explore for information about your ancestors, including: Bell Telephone News, Dodge News, MagnaVoice and Studebaker Spotlight.

To start searching, it helps to know the following: the name of the company – or at least the industry – your ancestor worked for, the residence of your ancestor and the approximate time period your ancestor would have worked for the company. If you do not already know this information about your ancestor, you may be able to find their place of work mentioned in an obituary. Also keep in mind that variations of names could be used in company newsletters, such as initials or nicknames – and don’t forget to search those as well.

I will use my own family as an example of how to search the collection. I knew that my great grandmother worked for Perfect Circle in the 1950s and I knew that the Indiana State Library had the Perfect Circle company newsletter featured in the digital archives; however, I didn’t want flip through each and every issue with hopes that I would find her. How was this going to work? It turned out that it was super easy, barely an inconvenience.

So, how did I do it?

I just went to the Indiana State Library’s collection of Company Employee Newsletters and in the search bar in the upper left hand corner, I typed her name, “Sara Martin.”

My returned results showed three issues of The Circle – the company newsletter for Perfect Circle – at the very top of the results.

I clicked on one of newsletter titles, “The Circle, 1952-12-19,” and I saw the exact page – or pages – where my search results could be found. To the right of the page are the thumbnails of pages in the newsletter that I’ve selected. At the top of the thumbnails is the phrase “2 Results found in.” This lets me know that my two keywords “Sara” and “Martin” were found together on a page. There is also a vertical red bar to the left of the page where those results were found.

On this page, I clicked on the blue expand button at the top right of the page. I can see my search result is a photo of my great grandmother in the EEA Women’s Chorus that was formed at Perfect Circle.

The Circle, Dec. 19, 1952, page 9

I was inspired to try other names from my family, like Brammer and Swank. I found a baby photo of my dad.

The Circle, March 7, 1952, page 8

And a photo of my grandmother.

The Circle, July 1956, page 14

I even found out where the whole Brammer family went for Thanksgiving in 1952.

The Circle, Dec. 19, 1952, page 7 and 8

The Circle, Dec. 19, 1952, page 8

Sometimes what is found isn’t all that exciting, but rather more informative, such as service years anniversaries. The International Harvester 20 years service award for my grandfather is seen below.

I H News, Sept. 9, 1966, page 3; Allen County Public Library Digital Collections

Explore the Indiana State Library’s Digital Collection of Company Newsletters, and I hope with a few easy clicks you will find your family, too!

Other online Indiana company employee newsletters to explore:

Allen County Public Library Digital Collections
International Harvester Employee Publications
The Co-worker (Wolf & Dessauer)
GE News
Candid Camera (General Electric news supplement.)

Ball State University Digital Media Repository
Gear-O-Gram Magazine (BorgWarner Corporation)
IUPUI Digital Collections/Indiana Memory:
AllisoNews (Allison Transmission)

Indiana Historical Society Digital Collections
Bursts and Duds (Crane Naval Surface Warfare Center Newsletters)

Michiana Memory Digital Collection
The Oliver Bulletin (Oliver Chilled Plow Works)
Chatter (South Bend Lathe Works)
Red Ball (Ball-Band, later known as Uniroyal)

This blog post is by Angi Porter, Genealogy Division librarian.

Understanding and accessing Indiana state censuses and other enumerations

Like many states, Indiana conducted state censuses in various years. However, locating and accessing these records can be difficult for researchers. Especially confusing is the varying ways in which the censuses were conducted over time, as this affected what information enumerators recorded as well as where the records came to be stored.

Indiana Territorial Census, 1807

According to John Newman, former State Archivist, many early state censuses were strict enumerations, where the number of people living in a township or county were tallied, but names and personal information was not recorded. Although some censuses in the early to mid-1800s in Indiana did ask for names, they enumerated only males over the age of 21. These records were usually filed with the county auditor in each county and were never collated at the state level.

So where else can we look for enumerated information on our Hoosier ancestors to fill in the gaps not covered by state censuses? There are several options, actually. While the availability of records varies by time period and by county, on the whole these are very useful resources for genealogists.

Enumerations of African Americans

Harrison County Register of Negroes and Mulattoes, ca. 1850

These enumerations cover the 1850s and 1860s and were created as part of an attempt to prevent free African Americans from moving to Indiana and to document those who already lived here. Although these efforts were eventually declared invalid by the Indiana Supreme Court, the records created provide a valuable resource for pre-Civil War African American research in Indiana.

School enumerations

School enumeration, Fulton County, 1896

School enumerations list all the children of school age in a school district, township or county. They were created so that school officials knew how many students they would potentially need to serve and also to help enforce truancy rules. Some school enumerations include just the head of household and the number of school-aged children, while others name each student along with their age and other information. These are particularly useful to genealogists who are researching children.

Enumerations of registered voters

Index to Registered Voters, Pike County, 1919-1920

These enumerations list the people who were registered to vote in a given township or county. The records were kept so that officials knew who was eligible to vote in elections. Since most of the publicly available voter rolls predate the 19th Amendment, they contain far more information on men than women.

Enumerations of soldiers, widows, orphans and/or pensioners

Card index to enrollments of soldiers, widows and orphans, Indiana State Library

Officials conducted these enumerations to determine how many veterans lived in Indiana in various years, as well as the widows and orphans of veterans who were receiving military pensions or benefits due to the service of their deceased husband or father. The largest enumerations took place in 1886, 1890 and 1894 and focused on Civil War veterans. The 1890 enumeration is particularly valuable since the 1890 federal census was lost in the aftermath of a fire.

Other enumerations
These are miscellaneous enumerations that were conducted for various reasons, some of which are no longer known. They often cover only a township or two and may be part of a larger enumeration where the bulk of the records were lost.

To see the Indiana State Library’s holdings for state censuses and other enumerations, please visit our Enumerations Research Guide here.

This blog post is by Jamie Dunn, Genealogy Division supervisor.

The Coate Coppock Estate and estate fraud

If you’ve gone through a box of older relatives’ papers, you may have run across a flyer that mentioned an estate and that the heir of the estate were due millions of dollars. The paper would have mentioned ongoing litigation and that the end of suit was in sight. It would have also asked the reader to help assist with these lawsuits by sending money to the leaders of the suit. Unfortunately, the unclaimed millions mentioned didn’t exist. In some cases, neither did the estate. They were all a scam to fleece people out of their savings with the promises of easy money.

There have been numerous cases of estate fraud over the centuries in the U.S. One of the earliest and most well-known is related to the Anneke Jans Bogardus Estate in New York City. The land in question was a 62-acre farm where Trinity Church currently sits. The first suit was brought in 1749 by a descendant of Cornelius Bogardus who died before the land was sold and did not sign the deed transferring the land. Both the descendant, Cornelius Brower and his son John filed multiple claims with the ruling always going to Trinity.

Flyer from Consolidated Association of Coate and Coppock Heirs

Flyer from Consolidated Association of Coate and Coppock Heirs

Flyer from Consolidated Association of Coate and Coppock Heirs

Other estate fraud cases include the Col. Jacob Baker estate in Philadelphia 1930s and the Sir Francis Drake estate. Approximately 2 million dollars was collected to help settle the Drake estate and the leader of the scam, Oscar Hartzell, was convicted of fraud and sentenced to ten years in Leavenworth penitentiary.

One of the aspects of the scam was fraudulent documents, usually a will or deed created to attach a person to the property in question and would be mentioned at meetings of heirs and in newsletters. False pedigree charts and books were often created as well to connect unrelated persons to one another, only a more dedicated genealogist would find the discrepancies when going through the information. Even after the scam was revealed, the false pedigree information lived on in published family histories.

The Vern A. Carpenter Collection at the Indiana State Library has six folders dedicated to the Coate Coppock Estate. The Coate Coppock estate was hinged on a 99-year lease to property in central Philadelphia that belonged to Marmaduke Coate and Mary Jane Coppock. The lease covered 976 acres in Philadelphia, along with 5,000 acres in multiple counties in Pennsylvania. Fliers were sent out to people making them aware of the “unclaimed” lease and asking them to support the cause. Local newspapers ran articles about meetings of the heirs. Amanda Krell, along with Glen B. Coate, were ringleaders of the scam.

In the folders are papers from Nathan Winterrowd of Fort Dodge, Iowa. Winterrowd was mentioned in a few newspaper articles in 1922 trying to raise money for the estate and get more claimants to join. Numerous signed affidavits from other family members detailing relationships along with other vital information take up most of the first two folders. Correspondence, newsletters and pamphlets about the Coate and Coppock estate are also included.

Letter to Nathan Winterrowd from Glen B. Coate

The other folders contain correspondence to and from Vern Carpenter and different agencies of the U.S. government, FBI, U.S. district attorney for Pennsylvania, U.S. Post Office, Herbert Hoover Presidential library, the Bureau of prisons and the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, along with several other libraries and state and federal agencies.

Carpenter was researching the Wenderoth – and related names – family when he came across Nathan Winterrowd in the newspaper and the Winterrowd connection to the Coate and Coppock estate. He started looking into what the family connection was to the estate. He spoke with one of the original attorneys who managed the estate, Harry S. Monell, who was engaged to Amanda Krell in May of 1920. He mentions Winterrowd and how they had him arrested on a couple of occasions but was generally evasive about what happened to the association after he resigned.

While talking with another genealogist, he was put in touch with a woman, Ruth Quintrell. During an interview, she mentions she attended a Coate and Coppock heirs meeting and after listening to Krell, Quintrell suspected Krell was a fraud. She mailed a check to the association and then sent the returned check along with correspondence to Herbert Hoover, the Secretary of Commerce at the time, thus starting the federal investigation into the Coate and Coppock Association.

Correspondence from Vern Carpenter and Ruth Quintrell discussing Amanda Krell

Carpenter spends his time contacting various state, and federal agencies, libraries and archives looking for information about the case and finding out what if anything happened to Amanda Krell and Glen B. Coate. His first big break is from the Herbert Hoover Presidential library. The library sent him 34 pages from a folder that also contained correspondence into the Baker Estate. After contacting a family member who works for the federal government Vern finds out case files from the Coate and Coppock Estate are held at the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. There are also records from the U.S. Postal Department that go into the investigation of the association.

Photocopies of correspondence between Ruth Quintrell and Herbert Hoover from the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library

Photocopies of correspondence between Ruth Quintrell and Herbert Hoover from the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library

Photocopies of correspondence between Ruth Quintrell and Herbert Hoover from the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library

Photocopies of correspondence between Ruth Quintrell and Herbert Hoover from the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library

Photocopies of correspondence between Ruth Quintrell and Herbert Hoover from the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library

In the end, Carpenter found that the Federal Government had decided against prosecuting Amanda Krell and Glen B. Coate. Instead, they issued a permanent injunction which was why finding records about the case proved to be difficult. In his book “Wenderoth Families of Germany,” Carpenter spends 21 pages going through the documents he found while researching the case.

Photocopied correspondence from Horace Donnelly, Fraud Office U.S. Postal Office

Scams like this still happen today. They are usually better known as the “Nigerian prince” scam.

Blog written by Sarah Pfundstein, genealogy librarian, Indiana State Library. For more information, contact the Indiana State Library at 317-232-3689 or “Ask-A-Librarian.”

These are a few of my favorite books – Eye-catching book titles found in the Genealogy Division collection

As a genealogy librarian, I tend to be around a lot of books. While I am fond of all the books in the Genealogy Division collection, some of them just scream for extra attention from me. The books contained in this post screamed the loudest.

“Very Impudent When Drunk or Sober: Delaware Runaways, 1720-1783”
ISLG 975.1 B792VE

This book features newspaper ads about runaway indentured servants, political exiles, transported convicts and slaves. The ads are colorful, featuring the physical attributes, personalities and clothing of the runaways. An example from the book, page 133:

Thirty Pistoles* Reward. Wilmington, April 8th, 1762. Run-away on about the 27th of last Month from his Bail, and in Debt to sundry Creditors, to the Amount of several Thousand Pounds, a certain Robert Middleton, about 35 years old, 5 Feet 5 or 6 Inches high, of a dark Complection, middling round Vissage, sharp Nose, dark Eyes, chearful Countenance, much pitted with the Small-pox, middling well built, is free and agreeable in Company, forward in talking, Card-playing, and drinking, but not apt to be drunk, snuffs and sings well, but with a strong Voice; when he went-away wore a short black Wig, his Apparel uncertain…

*A pistole was a Spanish coin worth about one English pound.

Western Sun, Volume 1, Number 43, Vincennes, Knox County, 17 September 1808, Hoosier State Chronicles

“Harrison County Indiana Marital Adventures (divorces, adultery and bigamy) 1809-1856”
ISLG 977.201 H323KEA

The information contained in this book comes from the Harrison County Clerk’s Archives. An example from the book, page 11:

…for two and a half years after their marriage she conducted herself so as to preserve his esteem but now has abandoned herself to all the base desires of a prostitute and not regarding her plighted faith and the holy bonds of matrimony to forsake all others and cleave to him only, she has forsaken him only and cleven until all others to whom she could barter her wanton charm. That abandonment to the habits of a harlot and divested of the tender, affectionate sentiments and consortal love which is the crown and glory of a amiable wife, she has most shamefully defiled the marriage bed, by admitting to her illicit contact with profligate men with whom she had repeatedly committed the abominable crime of adultery and that nothing might be lacking to display the contempt of her morals and the state of her manners she still continued to live in a state of indiscriminate concubinage bestowing her lewd favors promiscuously on all who see them. She had commenced producing a brood of illegitimates whose origin is so doubtful that they can claim no man even as a prospective father and are, as it were, brought into the world without a male parent.

“Runaways, Deserters, and Notorious Villains from Rhode Island Newspapers”
ISLG 974.5 T244R V.1
ISLG 974.5 T244R V.2

The two volumes feature newspaper advertisements for runaway wives, thieves, deserters, slaves, and indentured servants. From volume 1, page 150:

William S. Bradlee, my husband, has endeavored to injure me in a public Manner, and circulate Reports the most inconsistent as well as vile. By Reason of his base Conduct, and stealing Articles from the House where I live, he has been turned away from it; and now to avoid Prosecution, has suddenly ran away, spreading his Lies as he went. It is well known that I have lived in a House for a long Time where four Families are closely conntected, all of whom will fully declare that I have never behaved in an unbecoming Manner in any thing, except in keeping with that most worthless of Men. Abigail Bradlee

“Sudden and Awful: American Epitaphs and the Finger of God”
ISLG 929 M282S

This slim book contains American epitaphs for the years 1750-1900. From page 2:

North Andover, Mass.:
Erected in Memory of
Mr. James Bridges
Who departed this life July 17th 1747
In the 51st year of his age.
Being melted to death by extreem heat

A photo of the gravestone can be found at Find-a-Grave.

“Psychic Roots: Serendipity and Intuition in Genealogy”
ISLG 929 J77P
“More Psychic Roots: Further Adventures in Serendipity and Intuition in Genealogy”
ISLG 929 J77M

These two books examine stories from genealogists that experience coincidences, chance and luck – something other than their research skills – that leads them to information about an ancestor.

One of my favorite stories is from the first volume. The story involves a man who locates a portrait of his ancestor. This story can be found on page 188, in the chapter “Being Led.”

The author, Henry Z. Jones, has written many genealogy books about the Palatines, in addition to being a former Disney actor, credited as Hank Jones. He has appeared in “Blackbeard’s Ghost” and “Herbie Rides Again.”

“Curiosities of the Search-room. A Collection of Serious, and Whimsical Wills”
ISLG 929.1 B995C

This book is a 1969 reissue of the original 1880 edition. The book features various wills of time and place. Examples of some chapter titles: “Excentric Wills,” “Puzzling Wills,” “Wills in Obsolete Language and in Rime” and “Vindictive Wills.” On page 103:

Will of Dr. Dunlop. The humorous will of Dr. Dunlop of Upper Canada is worth recording, though there is a spice of malice in every bequest it contains.
To his five sisters he left the following bequests:
To my eldest sister Joan, my five-acre field, to console her for being married to a man she is obliged to henpeck.
To my second sister Sally, the cottage that stands beyond the said field with its garden, because as no one is likely to marry her it will be large enough to lodge her.
To my third sister Kate, the family Bible, recommending her to learn as much of its spirit as she already knows of its letter, that she may become a better Christian.
To my fourth sister Mary, my grandmother’s silver snuff-box, that she may not be ashamed to take snuff before company.
To my fifth sister Lydia, my silver drinking-cup, for reasons known to herself.
To my brother Ben, my books, that he may learn to read with them.
To my brother James, my big silver watch, that he may know the hour at which men ought to rise from their beds.
“To my brother-in-law Jack, a punch-bowl, because he will do credit to it.
“To my brother-in-law Christopher, my best pipe, out of gratitude that he married my sister Maggie whom no man of taste would have taken.
“To my friend John Caddell, a silver teapot, that, being afflicted with a slatternly wife, he may therefrom drink tea to his comfort.”
While “old John’s eldest son was made legatee of a silver tankard, which the testator objected to leave to old John himself, lest he should commit the sacrilege of melting it down to make temperance medals.

From The Beggers Delight, Houghton Library – EBB65, EBBA 3493

“Lost Babes: Fornication Abstracts from Court Records, Essex County, Massachusetts, 1692-1745”
ISLG 974.401 E78S

This book is an index to fornication cases heard in Essex County, Massachusetts by the Court of General Sessions. This court was responsible for administrative and criminal cases. These cases were important to determine the parentage of the child and who would be responsible for the cost of the birth and the future support of the child.

A married couple could be brought before the court if the wife had given birth or were about to give birth to a child. If the child was born less than seven months after the marriage, the couple would be fined. This type of fornication case usually did not result in any lasting disgrace for the couple. There are many examples of these types of cases in the book.

A single woman brought before the court could be fined and sometimes whipped.
Some interesting cases from the book include: Page 2:

Term of Court 7 August 1694
1:75 Bethiah Witt of Lynn, widow, presented. Said she had a child but she was married to Solomon Rogeway, gone to sea, but could not give an account of who married her 40s

Page 36:

4:67 An infant child left at the door of Mr. Thomas Norton of Ipswich, 22 Dec 1721 in the evening, given to Overseers of the Poor

Page 61:

Term of Court 12 July 1737
10:495 William Diamond of Marblehead, shoreman, & Alice Fergusen of Marblehead, the wife of George Fergusen, cohabited three years in evil example to others, not guilty

“Witches, Rakes, and Rogues: True Stories of Scam, Scandal, Murder, and Mayhem in Boston, 1630-1775”
ISLG 974.402 B747si

Though all true, this book reads like fiction. This readable book gathers its information from various sources such as dairies and newspapers.
Intriguing chapters include:

  • “Witch’s Brew: Witchcraft and Possession in Early Boston”
  • “Rogues’ Gallery: Scoundrels, Imposters and Schemers”
  • “Miscellany of Miscreants”
  • “Family Skeletons, Dangerous Liaisons, and Black Sheep”

“Curmudgeons, Drunkards, and Outright Fools: Courts-Martial of Civil War Union Colonels”
ISLG 973.7 A11LCU

This tome contains only the tastiest tidbits selected by the author from the court-martial transcripts at the U.S. National Archives. From Chapter 7, “And a Brandy for my Horse!  – Col. Newton B. Lord,” page 43:

Lord seems to have reserved his most dramatic acts for the home folks. At Brownsville, New York, in his native Jefferson County, ‘in full view of the citizens’ he rode his horse into a bar, procured a drink of brandy for himself and a second brandy for his horse, then fired his revolver into the ceiling. After riding out into the street, where a large crowd of the curious had now gathered, he rode once again into the bar, and ‘repeated his performance.’

Other interesting titles by this author, Thomas P. Lowry, include “Was Grandpa a Freeloader?: Civil War Pension Claims North and South” and “Utterly Worthless (One Thousand Delinquent Union Officers Unworthy of a Court-Martial).”

Note: Original spellings from the sources are kept.

This blog post is by Angi Porter, Genealogy Division librarian.

Get more from Ancestry Library Edition

Ancestry Library Edition is the library version of Ancestry.com, which has one of the largest genealogy collections available online. Their database includes vital records, censuses, city directories and military and immigration records to name a few! Some of the library’s most popular collections are the digitized Indiana marriage certificates from 1960-2005, Indiana death certificates from 1899-2011 and Indiana birth certificates from 1907-1940. Records like these are a goldmine for those with Indiana ancestors.

Ancestry Library Edition is available for free on any of the Indiana State Library public computers. Currently – courtesy of ProQuest and Ancestry – it is also available to many public library cardholders from home until December 2021. Please note that this option is not available through your Indiana State Library card account, but if your public library subscribes to Ancestry Library Edition check with them about getting remote access while it lasts.

In addition to genealogical records, like the Indiana birth, marriage and death certificates, Ancestry also includes an abundant photograph collection to enrich your family history research. Photos bring family history to life and reveal details about our ancestors that we just can’t get from documents. Through pictures we can learn how an ancestor styled their hair, how they dressed, items they had in their home or what their hometown looked like. Here are a few of the unique photo collections you’ll find in the Ancestry catalog:

U.S., Historic Catalogs of Sears, Roebuck and Co., 1896-1993

If you like to imagine the various odds and ends that could have made their way into your ancestor’s home, look no further than “The U.S., Historic Catalogs of Sears, Roebuck and Co.” collection. You can page through these catalogs on Ancestry just like you were holding a print copy. With many of the catalogs containing over a thousand pages each, it’s easy to spend an entire afternoon poring through them. Find bizarre products once sold to consumers, such as the deadly sounding “Arsenic Complexion Wafers” or the “Asbestos Stove Mat” for sale in the spring of 1897 catalog. These catalogs sold more than you could possibly imagine like clothing, tools, games, tableware, candy, houses and so much more!

Fall 1921

Because they were so expansive, the Sears, Roebuck and Co. catalogs are also helpful to date a photo of an ancestor. Flip to the women’s or menswear sections to explore fashions or housewares during certain years and look for similar styles to those represented in the picture.

U.S., School Yearbooks, 1900-1999

Shortridge 1922

Ancestry is home to the world’s largest searchable online yearbook collection. With over 10,000 yearbooks, you are certain to find a photo of an ancestor included. You can also search for a favorite celebrity or flip through the yearbooks from a favorite era. Did you ever wonder what Indiana native John Mellencamp looked like in his high school yearbook photos? Search the collection for his name to find out!

Many of the yearbooks contain details that offer us a glimpse into our ancestor’s personalities. In this Shortridge Annual from 1922 Rezina Bond is described as, “A cute little girl with bobbed hair, who doesn’t like very much to go to school.” Like the Sears, Roebuck, and Co. catalogs, these images and details are useful for dating family photos. One advantage they have over the catalogs is they depict what people actually wore in a specific time and place, rather than the idealized fashions in catalogs.

U.S., Identification Card Files of Prohibition Agents, 1920-1925

Prohibition agents were responsible for enforcing the 18th Amendment, which banned the manufacture, sale and transportation of alcoholic beverages. Their duties included making investigations, arresting bootleggers, closing down speakeasies and breaking up liquor rackets. Sometimes their work even involved run-ins with organized crime.

The collection contains identification card files for prohibition agents, inspectors, warehouse agents, narcotics agents and more. Search for ancestors who worked as agents or browse through the collection to see the faces and names of the individuals who held these positions. Famous prohibition agents such as Isador Einstein and partner Moe Smith, who would wear over-the-top disguises like a gravedigger or opera singer, are represented in this collection.

Motion Picture Studio Directories, 1919 and 1921

1921 Motion Picture Studio Directory

If you are interested in silent film era history, or have an ancestor who worked in the business, the 1919 and 1921 Motion Picture Studio Directories are right up your alley. These directories don’t simply include actors, they also list directors, writers, cinematographers and more. Discover wonderful biographical details like addresses, birth dates, career summaries, physical description and skills. Learn more about your favorite Hoosier actors, such as Pomeroy Cannon from New Albany and Monte Blue from Indianapolis.

U.S., Historical Postcards, 1893-1960

This collection has over 115,000 historical postcards searchable by state, keyword or location. If you are interested to know what your ancestor’s hometown looked like during a certain time you can search here for a postcard of it. This is also an interesting collection to look for historical images of your own city or town. This postcard captures Washington Street, a few short blocks away from the Indiana State Library.

To access these collections and to explore everything Ancestry Library Edition has to offer, visit the card catalog. Hit the search field in the menu along the top of the homepage and select Card Catalog. From there, browse through the collections, use the search boxes or check out the new stuff featured on the page. Filter your results by collection types, locations or dates in the menu on the left side of the page. If you click on Pictures in the left menu, you’ll be taken to most of the collections I’m featuring in this blog post, in addition to the various other photo collections in Ancestry.

I hope you enjoy taking a trip back in time and explore these collections the next time you visit the Indiana State Library or at home while it lasts.

This blog post is by Dagny Villegas, Genealogy Division librarian.

Unusual sources to use for your family’s story

When researching genealogy, a way to make our ancestors’ stories really interesting is to search out each and every nugget of information we can find. When searching for these bits of information, you’ll need to think about who your ancestor was, what your ancestor did, where your ancestor was and when your ancestor lived. Answering these questions can lead you to some unusual resources. Let’s look at some of these resources.

Photo by Benny Mazur. “Notch-ear.” License agreement.

One of the earliest forms of livestock Indiana pioneers kept were pigs. Pigs could be left to roam and forage in the woods and then captured when it was time for butchering. At butchering time, to know whose pig was whose the pioneers would make different notches in the pigs’ ears. The owner of the pigs could then register their stock mark at the county courthouse.

I was fortunate to find my ancestor Absalom Hoover’s stock mark in the pamphlet files in the Genealogy Division of the Indiana State Library. My ancestor’s stock mark looks like this: “Absalom Hoover Stock Mark, a crop off the right ear and a Slit in the left Recorded 11th March A.D. 1835  Saml Hannah Clk” Wayne County, Indiana, Stock Marks, Record A, Mar. 1815-Apr. 1822, call number: [Pam.] ISLG 977.201 W UNCAT. NO. 6.

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

As I found out, my ancestors were not just farmers, but also tavern owners. You may discover that your ancestor was also a tavern owner. To start your search for a tavern owner ancestor, search the Flagon and Trencher Society’s Ancestors lists. Once you have determined your ancestor was a tavern owner, you can search for tavern histories and petitions to open a tavern in court records. My ancestor Enos Veal was a tavern owner in New Jersey. Using the Family Search database – free with registration – I was able to find his tavern petition in the Early Courthouse Records of Gloucester County, New Jersey.

Evelyn Lehman Culp Heritage Collection, Nappanee Public Library, Nappanee, IN.

If you have relatives that lived in Delaware County in Indiana, a fun resource to use is the What Middletown Read database. In this database, you can search by name to see what your ancestors read. For example Maggie Gessell read 115 items, one of which was “When Charles the First was King: A Romance of Osgoldcross, 1632-1649.” There is supplemental information on the database about Maggie Gessell, so from this database alone – I know that Maggie’s mother was Narcissa Gessell, her son was Arthur C. Osborn and she was divorced. From the Transcribed Ledger data on the database, I also know that she lived at 418 E. Jackson St. and was once known as Mrs. Maggie Vance.

The Daily Banner, Greencastle, Putnam County, 9 April 1968 page 1. Contributed by DePauw University Libraries via the Hoosier State Chronicles database.

The places our ancestors lived are full of events that our ancestors experienced. When my father was a teenager in Richmond, Indiana in the 1960s he experienced a gas explosion that could be heard and felt all over town. To find out more about this event, I checked the GenDisasters database. I found the event and discovered that it happened in April of 1968. To learn more about the disaster, I searched the newspaper databases provided by the Indiana State Library. You can search the following databases at the library: Newspaper Archive and Newspapers.com; the Hoosier State Chronicles is available for use from your home. I also could have searched the city of Richmond newspapers on microfilm in the Indiana Division of the Indiana State Library for even more information.

I encourage you to try some of these unusual resources to complete the picture of who you ancestors were and what your ancestors did.

Additional online sources to explore:
Index to Livestock Marks Registered in Hendricks County, Indiana (1824-1848) – provided as a free resource from the Allen County Genealogy Center.
Stock Marks Recorded in South Carolina, 1695-1721
Stock Marks of Tyrrell County, North Carolina 1736-1819
Stock Marks Aren’t Just Brands – Use them to Identify People
Some Early Indiana Taverns – Indiana Magazine of History, Volume 1, Issue 2, June 1905
Tavern Keepers 1797-1862 – Delaware County, N.Y.
Little pilgrimages among Old New England inns; being an account of little journeys to various quaint inns and hostelries of colonial New England
Records relating to Taverns – State of New Jersey Department of State
Tavern Petitions, 1700-1923 – Chester County Pennsylvania Archives

Sources to explore at the Indiana State Library:
“Index to Livestock Marks Registered In Hendricks County, Indiana (1824-1848)” – provided as a free resource from the Allen County Genealogy Center
“Stockmarks, Kosciusko County, Indiana, 1836-1863. Townships: Franklin, Jackson, Plain, Turkey Creek, Wayne, VanBuren,” [Pam.] ISLG 977.201 K UNCAT. NO. 3
“Stock mark record book Warrick County, Indiana,” ISLG 977.201 W295ST
“Pike County, Indiana register of stock marks,” ISLG 977.201 P636HP
“Stock marks [Decatur County, Ind., recorded 1822-1871],” ISLI 977.201 D291S
“Wayne County, Indiana, stock marks, Record A, Mar. 1815-Apr. 1822,” [Pam.] ISLG 977.201 W UNCAT. NO. 6
“Warren County, Indiana : stock marks recorded Oct. 1827 to May 1931,” ISLG 977.201 W286DW
“Curtis Gilbert’s list for marks and brands on stock [taken from his account books at Fort Harrison, Sullivan County, Indiana],” [Pam.] ISLG 977.202 F UNCAT. NO. 1
“Old taverns: an interesting pamphlet descriptive of historic taverns, ordinaries, inns, hotels and houses of entertainment as well as customs and rates,” [Pam.] ISLG 976.901 H323 NO. 2
“The taverns & turnpikes of Blandford: 1733-1833,” ISLG 974.402 B642W
“A sketch of Fraunces’ tavern and those connected with its history,” [Pam.] ISLG 974.702 N567 NO. 1
“Washington Hotel and Tavern ledger, 1789-1793, Princess Anne, Somerset County, Maryland,” [Pam.] ISLG 975.201 S UNCAT. NO. 1
“Taverns and travelers inns of the early Midwest,” ISLI 647.94 Y54t
“What Middletown Read: print culture in an American small city,” ISLI 028 F324w

This blog post is by Angi Porter, Genealogy Division librarian.