Photograph family record of Henry Curtis and family

Chart after repairs and cleaning

This remarkably complete “Photograph Family Chart” shows the parents and children of Henry Curtis and Elizabeth Bever. The chart was created by J. Boller Sexington and is not dated. Although many examples of charts similar to this exist in libraries and private collections, this chart is unique in that every photograph slot is filled. The decorative elements on the chart are a mix of watercolors and ink.

This chart recently underwent minor repairs in the library’s conservation lab to clean the chart itself as well as straighten the photographs. As seen in this before photo, many of the images had moved with time and been reattached with tape. Also, the top edge of the chart had sustained several tears.

Back of chart before repairs

In order to repair the chart, all the photographs had to be removed. Once removed, the photographer’s marks as well as background details in the images were revealed.  These details provided more information about the family, but sadly, most people were not identified. The photographs are a mix of tintypes and albumen prints, primarily from photographers in Illinois. Some were cut down to better fit in the chart.

Selected images from the chart

Once the chart was cleaned and repaired, the photographs were remounted – without tape! – and realigned. The chart is now available to researchers in the Genealogy Division of the Indiana State Library.

Curtis family in the 1860 Census.  Illinois.  Tazewell County. 1860 U.S. Census, population schedule. NARA microfilm publication M653, roll 232. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Record Administration, n.d.

Further research on the Curtis family revealed that Henry was born in New York, while Elizabeth was born in Ohio. They married in 1838 in Fountain County, Indiana, and lived in Indiana until about 1850, when they moved to Illinois. They eventually settled in Tazewell County, Illinois, where most of the photographs were taken. Since many of the photographs are unlabeled, they images may be of Henry and Elizabeth’s children, or they may be of later members of the Curtis family.

As named on the photographic chart, Henry and Elizabeth’s children were: Henry, Martha, Michael, Hiram, Margaret, Phebe, Mary, Thomas and Emily. Henry was the son of Joseph Curtis and Martha Mattison and Elizabeth was the daughter of Michael Bever and Margaret Zumwalt.

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

Reading outside the genealogy box

Genealogist and family researchers often use indices, original records or newspapers, in their quest to complete a family tree. However, there are a lot of books of interest to genealogists for the pure enjoyment of the subject. These books might not help locate an ancestor but they will inspire a love of family history research and perhaps get a researcher excited about researching again after taking a break.

With this thought in mind, I decided to buy a few books that are related to the subject of genealogy but were not research materials. When I look for books to purchase to help genealogists research I often come across books that look really interesting, but not super helpful to researchers. Then I started to think outside of the box of traditional research materials.

Perhaps you are stuck in rut with nothing exciting or interesting to read. Well, now is the time to read outside of the box and take a look at some books that might inspire you.  The Genealogy Division of the Indiana State Library now has a small circulating collection for you to check out. These new purchases are kept in the Genealogy Division as part of the display called “Reading Outside The Box.” We are asking you to read outside the genealogy box and give these books a chance. We think you might like them and find them interesting.

The books featured in this blog, “Queen Victoria’s Gene: Haemophilia and the Royal Family” by D.M. Potts and W.T.W. Potts, “Roots Quest: Inside America’s Genealogy Boom” by Jackie Hogan and “The New York Times Book of the Dead: 320 Print and 10,000 Digital Obituaries of Extraordinary People,” are currently in our collection and available for check out via Evergreen.

This blog post was written by Crystal Ward, librarian in the genealogy department. If you would like more information, please contact the genealogy department at (317) 232-3689. 

Take a tour of the Indiana State Library

Did you know that you could take a guided tour of the beautiful Indiana State Library and Historical Building? We offer three different tours: an architectural tour, where you can learn more about the many architectural features of the building; a researcher’s tour that will take you behind the scenes to point out facets of our various collections; and a tour for family historians. This is not a “how-to-research” session; instead, this is your opportunity to have an in-depth tour of the facility’s genealogical holdings.

The library was originally established in 1825 and housed in various locations until 1934. The library was one of first six state libraries established in the nation. Originally intended to meet the needs of the General Assembly and other state offices, the volume of materials and expanded public services has made it a premier research facility. Housed in the various statehouses, by the late 1920s the collection had grown so large that materials were being stored in hallways of the capitol. In 1929, the General Assembly raised a special tax to fund construction of a separate building and construction began in 1932. The building opened in 1934 at a final construction cost of $982,119.87. The building is now on the National Register of Historic Places.

Designed by the architectural firm Pierre & Wright, the Indiana limestone façade of the building is Neoclassical Revival in style, but with strong Art Deco influences. The exterior includes bas-relief panels with carvings by Leon Hermant of Chicago. The panels tell the story of the settlement and development of Indiana with different types of citizens: an explorer, soldier, pioneer, farmer, legislator, miner, builder, constructor, manufacturer, educator and student.
The interior walls are Monte Cassino sandstone, quarried from St. Meinrad in Southern Indiana, and Indiana walnut, giving the library warm colors. The stairs lead up to the Great Hall with a 42-foot barrel vaulted coffered ceiling.

The Great Hall has five stained glass windows containing 3500 pieces of glass designed by artist J. Scott Williams. The center window depicts Indiana becoming a state with images of William Henry Harrison, Anthony Wayne, a Native America and the Indiana State flag.
The other four windows depict the transmission of knowledge throughout history, oral traditions, picture writing, illuminated manuscripts and Gutenberg reading a printed page.

There are four murals in the building also by J. Scott Williams, Song of the Indian Land, Indiana Gift of Corn, Winning of the State and Building of the State
The Great Hall has elaborate Art Deco lighting with a marble floor with small brass squares representing coins of many foreign nations.

The owl, a symbol of wisdom, is at the Senate Ave. entrance to the library and Art Deco owl heads are on display throughout main rooms.
The History Reference Room and browsing rooms feature walnut veneer paneling and stenciled concrete beam ceilings with printers’ marks used as a trademark by printers and publishers.
In 1976, a $4,985,072 addition was built and in 2000 this part of the building was renovated to accommodate modern technology. The main public entrance was changed to Ohio St.
To meet the educational needs of young Hoosiers, the library added a Statehouse Education Center and an Indiana Young Readers Center as bicentennial projects.
So, plan a tour of the Indiana State Library, have your picture taken next to Garfield and maybe your tour guide will show you the normally-closed 18-foot wooden pocket doors!

Both the building and the collections of the Indiana State Library are well worth seeing. To arrange for your class, organization, department or group to tour the Indiana State Library, please call the library at 317-232-3675 or 1-866-683-0008. Tours may take place Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and must be arranged at least two weeks in advance.

This blog post was written by Marcia Caudell, supervisor of the Reference and Government Services Division at the Indiana State Library. Contact the reference desk at 317-232-3678 for more information. 

Tips, tricks and mobile apps… oh my!

There’s a plethora of mobile apps available these days that can be of great benefit in your genealogy research. Here are just a few suggestions recommended by professional genealogists. This list is by no means exhaustive. Have fun picking and choosing which apps will work best for you!

All things note taking, organization and management

The Notes app on your iPhone, iPad and iPod touch allows you to quickly write a thought manually or ask Siri to start a note. You can also create a checklist, format a note, add attachments, add a photo or video, pin a note and scan and sign documents.  You can use iCloud to update your notes on all of your devices. Access Apple Support here for tips and instructions on using the different features of Notes. Available only on Apple iOS.

Google Keep is compatible with iPhone and Android. It is pre-installed on most Android devices with the Google services enabled. You can take quick notes, make lists, standard checklists, pin notes, color code notes, use voice notes, share notes, set reminders and it syncs with your Google account, thus syncing across devices. Available on both Apple iOS and Android.

Evernote can handle all types of notes including typed text, audio, photos, videos, content from websites and a lot more. Imagine finding a great article or document about an ancestor on the internet; it can easily be saved with Evernote. You can save parts and even full pages from the internet. Evernote is free if using it on one or two devices. If you need to use Evernote on more than two devices, or upload more than 60 MB a month, there is a paid plan available. Available on both Apple iOS and Android.

Trello is a free project management app that makes it easy to organize, write, collaborate and deal with task management. It uses customizable boards, lists and cards to help with organization and visualization of everything on which you’re working. You can upload photos, videos and files to share. Trello lets you add power-ups like apps of calendars, Evernote, DropBox and so much more. Available on both Apple iOS and Android.

GedView “is a viewer and recording tool for your genealogy database when you are out and about researching local records, or visiting locations such as graveyards looking for information. It acts as a way to quickly check up on family relationships, dates and locations of events, sources of information and view your notes, or record newly found information while out researching. You can either build your tree directly on your device, or can import a GEDCOM file from any genealogy application/service.” Available only on Apple iOS.
Price: $4.99

Google Drive comes with 15GB of free storage space. You can have all of your files within reach across your devices. “All your files in Drive – like your videos, photos and documents – are backed up safely so you can’t lose them. Easily invite others to view, edit or leave comments on any of your files or folders.” Available on both Apple iOS and Android.

A Drop Box Basic account is free and includes 2 GB of space. You can also earn more space on your Dropbox Basic account. Using Dropbox is like using any folder on your hard drive but the files you put into Dropbox will automatically sync online and to any other devices linked to your account. DropBox can be used as a backup for your documents, photos, etc. Available on both Apple iOS and Android.

All things about researching records of ancestors and creating a family tree

Genealogy research apps are a fantastic way to do research on-the-go. The following free apps are highly-recommended:

Ancestry
FamilySearch Tree
FamilySearch Memories
My Heritage

For those not familiar with these apps, Family Tree Magazine recently covered the basics regarding the use of the apps. The article can be read here. All apps are available on both Apple iOS and Android.

All things photo, video and audio

Google Photos allows for basic photo editing. Google Photos uses facial recognition as opposed to tags. Photos are organized by date so they are easily found by using the timeline. You can create photo books and albums, which are shareable. You have unlimited cloud storage of photos less than 16 megapixels and video shot at 1080p or lower. If you need to store larger images or higher resolution video, you can do this for a fee. Google Photos is also a great app to use for backing up your photos. Available on both Apple iOS and Android.

PhotoScan by Google Photos is another free app that allows you to scan those old family photos and documents you may come across unexpectedly. The app takes four images of an item and “stitches” the four images together to give you a composite image that is comparable to an image you would get using a flatbed scanner. Google touts that PhotoScan can “create enhanced digital scans, with automatic edge detection, perspective correction and smart rotation.” Available on both Apple iOS and Android.

CamScanner is a mobile scanner that makes it easy to scan, archive and share anytime and anywhere. This app has the ability to auto enhance images and to perform auto edge cropping. It also features optical character recognition (OCR) and supports syncing between your devices. Available on both Apple iOS and Android.

Adobe Photoshop Fix is extremely helpful to use with those old family photos that might need some restoration. The spot heal tool will correct small blemishes and a clone stamp tool will fix larger or more serious image problems. There is also a smooth tool to use when there is graininess in a photo. A variety of editing tools can be found in the adjust tool. Available on both Apple iOS and Android.

Storypix allows you to create a video with audio narration from one or several photos. You can also add scenes, use the zoom function and add text captions to enhance your story. Your new video is also shareable. Available on both Apple iOS and Android.

Adobe Spark is a free graphic design app that allows you to create web pages, video stories and exciting graphics. With graphics you can add text and apply design filters to your photo. With web pages you can assemble words and images into beautiful web stories. Video stories allows you to easily add photos, video clips, icons and your own voice. Available only on Apple iOS.

All things miscellaneous

Find A Grave is the world’s largest grave site collection. “Find the graves of ancestors, create virtual memorials or add photos, virtual flowers and a note to a loved one’s memorial.” This app allows you to search or browse cemeteries and grave records looking for ancestors. Available on both Apple iOS and Android.

Billion Graves is an interactive app for genealogists all over the world. “The goal of BillionGraves is to create digital maps of every cemetery near you.” If you want to participate, “collect photos and map out your entire local cemetery or just portions of it. Others can see what you’ve mapped and use your work as research. In turn, you can access the locations and information for graves other people have mapped. Within this app, you can collect photos of headstones around you and upload the photos. The more people who map grave sites, the more easily future genealogists can find the ancestors they’re looking for.” Available on both Apple iOS and Android.

Pinterest is described by its CEO as a “catalog of ideas” or a visual search engine. “It is part search engine, part organization tool, and part social media site…” Here is a great article from Family History Daily titled, “Why You Should Start Using Pinterest for Genealogy Right Now (and How to Do It).” Available on both Apple iOS and Android.

“For your digital book and document collection, the app Book Crawler is a helpful tool for research and organizing. Book Crawler is a great tool to gather information about sources such as author, publication and publish dates that may be hard to find. Within this app, you can log, search and organize publications. The built-in ISBN scan can record bar codes of any books you may be interested in at a bookstore or library. Book Crawler can access your local library’s database to check the availability of books you want to check out. But at its soul, this app can help you view and organize your collection.” Available only on Apple iOS.

Google Translate is great for family history. You use your phone’s camera to hover over text in a foreign language or you can take a picture of the text. Google Translate will translate and write out the text for you in your language of choice. It can translate between more than 100 languages. You can also translate entire websites. Available on both Apple iOS and Android.

Google Earth lets you explore the world from above with satellite imagery, showing 3-D buildings in hundreds of cities and 3-D terrain of the whole earth. Take a look at the towns where your ancestors originated. Available on both Apple iOS and Android.

Feel free to share any other mobile genealogy apps that you find helpful.

This blog post was written by Alice Winslow, librarian, Genealogy Division of the Indiana State Library.

Real ID and Indiana marriage records

In 2013, the federal government issued minimum standards of documentation required for individuals to obtain a state-issued ID or driver’s license. These standards were known as Real ID. The standards have been phased in over time, but beginning in October 2020, Real ID-compliant identification will be required for certain activities, such as boarding an airplane or entering a federal building. For more information on Real ID, check out these articles from the Department of Homeland Security and the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

Included in the list of required documents to obtain a Real ID is documentation of legal name changes. This includes name change due to marriage. So, if you changed your name when you got married, you will need to provide a certified copy of your marriage license when renewing your ID. This includes all marriages, even if you are now divorced.

Photo courtesy of the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

If you do not have a certified copy of your marriage license, you can obtain one from the Clerk of Court’s office in the county where you obtained your marriage license. In Indiana, only the county clerk’s offices are able to provide certified copies.

If you do not remember where you obtained your marriage license or if you have contacted the county and they cannot find the record, you can search for your post-1958 Indiana marriage license in several places, depending on the year of marriage.  The Indiana State Library’s Indiana Legacy database includes the “Indiana Marriages, 1958-2017” index. As the title suggests, this index contains all marriage licenses issued in Indiana between 1958 and 2017, including the names of both parties, the marriage date, and the county that issued the license. This database does contain some known OCR issues, so if you find an error in a record, please let us know so we can correct it.

For marriages that took place between 1993 and the present, you can also check the Indiana Supreme Court Division of State Court Administration’s Marriage License Public Lookup. This database is updated regularly and includes marriages as recent as two weeks ago.

If you have an Ancestry.com account or if your local public library has Ancestry Library Edition, you can also search the Indiana Marriages, 1917-2005 database, which contains full scans of Indiana marriage records from the Indiana State Archives. Be aware that this database’s title is somewhat misleading, as the scans actually cover 1961-2005.

Unfortunately, there is not a statewide index to Indiana marriages pre-1958. The most complete sources are on FamilySearch, the Indiana Marriages, 1780-1992 and Indiana Marriages, 1811-2007 databases. These databases are free for you to use at home, but you will need to create an account.

If you are having trouble locating your marriage license through these resources, please contact the Indiana State Library Genealogy Division at 317-232-3689 or Ask-A-Librarian.

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

Preserving Indiana family history one county at a time

Last year the Genealogy Division at the Indiana State Library began a project to repair and rebind heavily worn and used materials in our print collection. We sent many books to the bindery, and made some Indiana county materials temporally unavailable. We worked quickly with our local book binding company to make sure that most materials were out of circulation less than a month. Last year we worked on Indiana print materials from counties A-C. This year we will again send out materials that are in need of some specialized care from our local bindery. For a short period of time, some print books in the Indiana counties from C-F will be temporarily unavailable. The counties affected are Clinton, Decatur, Daviess, Delaware, DeKalb, Elkhart, Fayette and Floyd.

Here is an example of the well-worn condition.

This ongoing project helps to ensure that our print collection will withstand the test of time and heavy use by family researchers. We understand that this might limit the availability of some materials that might be helpful to your genealogy research. This project will begin again in the first part of April and the items should be back by the first part of May. While some books from each county are sent out, not all books from that county will leave the library. If you plan to research in these particular counties you will still have plenty of books to choose from, as well as, our excellent databases and some online services that can help fill in the gaps. Researchers in these counties are encouraged to contact Crystal Ward before April, should you like to use these books before access is restricted.

The picture on the left is an example of how the books look when they leave the library and the finished product when they return is on the right.

We understand that this might be inconvenient to some and we are working as fast as possible to get the books back to the library. If you would like to know more about book binding and book repair, I have included a few links to some valuable information.

The Guild of Book Workers is one of my personal favorite organizations. They are the national organization for all the book arts. They have helpful guidelines on book binding but also promote book binding as an art form.

The Society of Book Binders is another good organization specializing in book binding.

If you check out the Indiana State Library preservation web page you will find many valuable resources about book repair and preservation.

This blog post was written by Crystal Ward, librarian in the genealogy department. If you would like more information, please contact the genealogy department at (317) 232-3689. 

New year, new genealogy resolutions

If your New Year’s resolutions for 2019 include genealogy research, the Indiana State Library Genealogy Division can help! Whether you are starting your research for the first time or are a seasoned researcher, we have many resources and ideas for you. Here are just a few ways you can get started in 2019:

Read a genealogy book

Besides family histories and ethnic and geographic-based genealogy resources, the Indiana State Library also holds many books that cover the various practical aspects of genealogy research, such as genetic genealogy, organizing your research and research techniques. Check out our catalog for a selection of holdings.

Watch a webinar

The Indiana State Library offers free prerecorded webinars on genealogy topics such as Genealogy 101, vital records and wills and probates. Taught by Genealogy Division librarians, these webinars provide an overview of research techniques and resources with an emphasis on the materials and databases available at the state library.

Check out a new-to-you digital resource

Cited by Family Tree Magazine as being among “…the best state-focused websites for genealogy,”[1] our many digital resources can help with your research. As an added bonus, many of these resources are accessible from home.

  • The Indiana State Library Digital Collections contain full scans of materials from our collection, including manuscripts, family bible records, maps, Indiana government documents and more.
  • Hoosier State Chronicles contains nearly a million fully-searchable digitized Indiana newspaper pages covering a wide time period and geographic area.
  • Indiana Legacy collates many of our databases in one convenient search interface, including the Indiana Biography Index, the Indiana Marriages 1958-2017 database and the Indiana Newspapers on Microfilm holdings guide.
  • Indiana County Research Guides provide an overview to genealogical research in each of Indiana’s 92 counties, including a summary of our print materials and links to free online resources for each county.

Ask a librarian

The librarians at the Indiana State Library are available to answer your research questions even if you can’t visit the library in person. We offer an Ask a Librarian service where you may email or live chat with a librarian. We love to hear from our patrons and would be more than happy to consult our resources or provide research tips regarding your genealogy, whether you are just starting out or are working on a long-term brick wall.

[1] Rick Crume, “Cyber States,” Family Tree Magazine, December 2018, 18-21.

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.

2018 Genealogy and Local History Fair recap

On Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018, the Indiana State Library was abuzz with genealogists and representatives from historical organizations, genealogical societies and libraries, who were all in attendance for the 2018 edition of the Genealogy and Local History Fair. The theme this year was “Digging Up the Dead,” as we learned how to examine, decipher, and interpret death records, death research and other interesting facets of mortality in history.

Lisa Alzo during one of her three presentations.

Internationally-known speaker Lisa Alzo presented “Murder, Mayhem and Town Tragedy,” “Cause of Death: Using Coroner’s Records for Genealogy” and “Diseases, Disasters & Distress: Bad for Your Ancestors, Good for Genealogy.” Sarah Halter, executive director of the Indiana Medical History Museum, presented “What Killed Your Ancestors?,” which examined 19th century medicine, the accuracy of information and names of certain diseases and what they mean.

Sarah Halter presenting “What killed your ancestors?”

In between sessions, attendees were able to mingle with fellow genealogists, vendors and exhibitors, as well as explore the beautiful Indiana State Library building and view the library’s most recently-installed exhibits. “The Practice of Medicine” and “The Business of Death” are both currently on display in the first floor Exhibit Hall and in the second floor Great Hall of the state library. In addition to items from the library’s collections, “The Practice of Medicine” showcases items on loan from the Indiana Medical History Museum. If you happened to have missed the Genealogy and Local History Fair this year, there is still time to catch these great exhibits, which will be on display through the end of January 2019.

Attendees browsing vendors in the Great Hall.

We hope to see you at the next Genealogy and Local History Fair on Oct. 24, 2020, as we focus on “The Women in Your Family Tree,” while commemorating the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage and examining the sometimes hard-to-research half of your family tree.

This blog post was written by Stephanie Asberry, deputy director of public services, Indiana State Library.

Genealogy for kids

Are you looking for a fun, meaningful and ongoing activity you can do with your children? Here’s an idea the whole family will enjoy and it just might turn into a lifelong adventure! Why not get the family involved in some genealogy research by connecting your children to their grandparents, great grandparents and other ancestors down the line?

First of all, it is best to define genealogy in easy to understand terms. It’s the story of the family members that came before them. Explain that these people are their ancestors. Genealogy entails tracing back your family lines and studying your family history and family relationships. It is the story of where they lived, who they married and how many children they had. Genealogy can begin with a search for the vital records of ancestors. These records include the dates and places of birth, marriage and death. Ask children why these might be called vital records and why they are considered so important.

Ask your children, “If you want to discover your own genealogy and family history, who do you think you should start with?” Should you start with grandparents? Parents? Of course, they should begin with themselves because they know the most about themselves. It is also logical to start with themselves to be able to see how they connect to other family members down the line. A packet, “My Journal: All About Me,” can be accessed here. Finding out facts and other information about you and your family involves research and a good researcher should gather the appropriate supplies to help them be successful. They will need a notebook or paper and pencil to write down the information they find. A folder will come in handy to hold the notebook and any papers. Some optional items might include a computer, a camera or a video or audio recording device. The linked packet also contains helpful definitions related to genealogy and helpful websites and books. A list of starter questions to ask family members is included in the above mentioned packet. Children should also be encouraged to come up with some of their own questions to ask about the things they would like to know regarding their family members.

Kids will have fun answering questions about themselves and recording the information. Once they have answered the basic questions about birth date and where they were born, they can then delve a little deeper with answering questions like, “My name was chosen for me because…” or “I was named after…”

Their next steps will involve asking questions about parents. It’s important for children to know that it’s okay if they are not able to find out information about a parent or grandparent. It’s good to emphasize that everyone has one or more “holes” in their family genealogy that can’t be filled in at the moment. Some searches for family members can be ongoing for many years. Encourage children to just continue on with the family members they do have information about.

Now it is time to move on to gathering information about grandparents. Sometimes a visual chart can help children understand the connections between themselves and their parents and grandparents. Explain that maternal grandparents are the parents of the mother. This is easy to remember with the “ma” at the beginning of the word maternal, as in your “ma.” The paternal grandparents are the parents of the father. This is easy to remember with the “pa” at the beginning of the word paternal, as in your “pa.”

A very basic beginning family tree example.

By learning about grandparents and understanding what their lives were like, children learn and understand more about themselves and their immediate family. Hopefully, children will discover that they share some of the same traits, characteristics and talents that a grandparent might have. Helping children see similarities and connections will make it fun and relevant for everyone.

An interesting project that children will enjoy is gathering pictures of family members at approximately the same age and making comparisons between the family members.

A baby picture comparison of a grandfather, two of his children and three of his grandchildren.

As mentioned before, the linked packet has a list of suggested questions to ask. Questions such as “What kinds of games did you play?,” “What part of childhood do you think most about now?,” “How is the world different today than it was when you were growing up?” and “What is the most important thing that has happened to you?”

At this point, much information has been gathered. The concept of a family tree or pedigree chart can now be introduced. Some people show their family history using a family tree or a pedigree chart, which are diagrams of the members of a family. With each of these, lines are used to show how people are related. For example, the lines show people who are married or have children. There is an unlimited variety of family tree and pedigree chart templates that can be downloaded for free from the internet.

Example of a family tree.

Example of a pedigree chart.

For older children, you can now add in a discussion and some research about the immigration of ancestors. With the subject of immigration currently in the news daily, there could be some great discussions about immigration in the past and present. Ask about the connections between immigration and genealogy. Probe a bit and ask what they think are some of the causes for people immigrating in the past and now. Perhaps life may have become too difficult in their native country. It could be because of lack of means for earning an income and needing to live in a place where there would be better work opportunities available. Immigrants come because of violence, war or religious persecution in their native country. They may come looking for a better life and future for themselves and their children. They may come to join other family members that came before them.

For many of us, all of our long ago ancestors were immigrants to North America at some point in time, with the exception of those who are full-blooded Native Americans. The immigration story of each of our ancestors is part of each person’s family history. It can be powerful for children to learn about their ancestors’ struggles and stories of survival.

It’s important to ask children questions before, during and after their research. It will help deepen their critical thinking skills. Bloom’s taxonomy of learning progresses from remembering, understanding, applying, analyzing, evaluating and creating. Helping children engage in higher level thinking skills will help them develop into stronger learners and critical thinkers.

Here are just a few example questions that could be asked:

  • How can I connect this information to my own life? How are my ancestors similar; dissimilar?
  • What would you do if you lived in another country in 1800 and could not find a job to support and take care of your family? Explain your answer.
  • Why do you think your ancestors settled in a particular region or city? Explain.

I hope these tips will help you engage your children and family by facilitating a personal connection to learning about your family’s past. I also encourage you and your family to check out the genealogy titles for kids featured throughout this blog post. You can find the titles and authors by clicking on the pictures.

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.

Crown Hill Cemetery

There is a book about Crown Hill Cemetery that I recently ran across in the Indiana State Library’s collections. The book has a particularly long title – “The Origin, Organization and Management of Crown Hill Cemetery with Observations on Ancient and Modern Modes of Burial, together with a List of Officers, Corporators and Lot-holders for 1875” – but it was the latter part of the title that piqued my interest. A list of lot-holders sure sounds like a useful resource for researchers looking for names of the earliest purchasers of burial plots. There are also two later editions of the book published in 1888 and 1896, containing growing lists of lot-holders.

Organized in 1863, Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis was incorporated as a non-profit, non-denominational and non-sectarian cemetery with a board of thirty corporators. At the time, there was a critical need for a new city cemetery for Indianapolis. The old Greenlawn Cemetery had become inadequate for future expansion and its proximity to the flood-prone White River was no longer desirable. The collective civic-mindedness of James Blake, Calvin Fletcher, Sr. and James M. Ray helped them form a group to select a site and draw up plans for a new cemetery. The Daily State Sentinel newspaper announced the June 1, 1864 formal dedication of Crown Hill Cemetery and that a public sale of lots would then begin on June 8, 1864.

 

The 1875 edition of the book, with 65 pages, was issued in both a plain cloth binding and also a more ornate embossed cover with gilded edges. The 1888 edition was issued as a paperback pamphlet and expanded to 92 pages. Unlike the 1875 and 1896 editions, there are no photographs in the 1888 edition.

The 1896 edition expanded in both page size and length to include 217 pages, mostly consisting of lot-holder names, and it originally included a folded map of the cemetery grounds.

The map is dated 1895 and the Indiana Division’s copy will require some conservation treatment before it is ready to be digitized. However, the entire 1896 book can be viewed at Internet Archive.

In all three volumes, the surnames are only arranged alphabetically by the first letter and are not in strict order. After a bit of hunting, I was pleased to find my ancestor, George Buchter, listed in all three editions as the owner of Lot 57 in Section 16. Keep in mind that finding a person’s name listed in the books does not imply that person was living, dead or buried in the lot. His wife Barbara was buried there in 1871, and George died in 1879 and was buried there. His children continued to use the family burial lot until 1945. Since these books are not lists of all the burials in the cemetery, better resources for discovering all Crown Hill burials are Find-A-Grave, the Crown Hill burial locator or the Crown Hill office.

For more information, read the facts and events on the timeline of Crown Hill history. View select photographs of tombstones and buildings at Crown Hill in the Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology’s digital collection available through Indiana Memory. Take a look at the April 1896 article in Park and Cemetery, a monthly journal devoted to parks and cemeteries. Even in the nineteenth century, Crown Hill was nationally recognized as an excellently planned and maintained cemetery, as it remains today.

This blog post was written by Indiana Division Librarian Andrea Glenn. For more information, contact the Indiana Division at (317) 232-3670 or “Ask-A-Librarian.”