Cultivating a family history garden

Spring has arrived and many genealogists will be putting their research aside to spend more time outdoors, but did you know you don’t have to choose one over the other? Take your genealogy outside by growing plants with ties to your family heritage.

Children working in a garden during World War I. From the Indiana State Library Digital Collection.

In addition to reaping the benefits of spending time in nature and beautifying your outdoor space, gardening with ancestors in mind brings family history to life. It may come naturally to those who don’t even realize starting the seeds an aunt passed down or planting grandma’s favorite tomato variety is a connection to their heritage. Others may be interested in learning more about the flowers, fruits and vegetables their ancestors raised so they can grow them as well.

The simplest way to get started is by taking inventory of your own memories and noting plants which are meaningful to you and your family. For example, my grandmother grew grapes and hot peppers in the backyard garden of her small ranch-style home in Speedway. In the limited space she had, she chose those specific plants for a reason. She probably learned to raise them from her own mother while she was a young girl. Planting them in my garden doesn’t just remind me of my grandmother’s loving kindness, it’s a connection to those ancestors that passed along their knowledge of growing those plants for generations.

Next, reach out to family members and ask about their gardens or what they remember growing in their childhood. In these conversations you may discover that your relatives still have access to some prized family favorites. They may be willing to gift you a clipping from a raspberry bush that’s been in the family for generations or share seeds from prize-winning pumpkins. Maybe you’ll learn there are treasured plants at the family homestead that you could transplant into your own space.

After harvest jubilee, ca. 1929. From the Indiana State Library Digital Collection.

Before you abandon your genealogy research to start planting, use it to learn about the crops ancestors once grew. There are many helpful resources to search for information. For example, the U.S. agricultural censuses inventory the livestock and produce raised by farmers. If your ancestors are from Indiana, the 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880 Indiana agricultural censuses are available at The Indiana State Library on microfilm. Ancestry Library Edition can be searched for free on the library’s computers and includes agricultural censuses from various other U.S. states. For example, I learned from this 1860 Pickaway County, Ohio agricultural census my ancestor grew corn, oats, potatoes and wheat on their farm.

1860 U.S. Federal Census Agricultural Schedule. From

The U.S. federal census is another potential resource. For example, the 1920 census of Kosciusko County, Indiana identifies Frank Stellingworf of 52 Chapman Road as a celery farmer. While it is often overlooked, it’s rare to have a holiday meal that doesn’t include one or more dishes with celery as an ingredient. It was also commonly grown by Dutch immigrants, like Mr. Stellingworf. If you have Dutch ancestors that grew celery, you could connect to that heritage by growing it in your garden.

1920 U.S. Federal Census. From

In another example, Oscar Fredrick and Ora Poe are listed on this 1920 Knox County, Indiana census as melon farmers. There are few things sweeter than fresh Indiana melon in the summertime.

1920 U.S. Federal Census. From

The library’s newspaper databases include news about local farms, gardeners or gardens. By searching these databases, you may learn interesting tidbits about your family, like that your relative grew the largest pumpkin, planted the sweetest strawberries or raised the fattest carrot in their town. For example, Earl Grider is shown below with an impressive ten-pound cucumber that is taller than his 3-year-old son.

The Republic, Aug. 19, 1964. From

Mike Vulk, is pictured standing inside of the plot he grew on a small strip of land on Maryland St. in 1934. He didn’t allow the lack of a yard to stop him from growing carrots, beans, cabbage, and corn in his city garden.

From the June 23, 1934 Indianapolis Times:

“Trucks and automobiles whiz by Mr. Vulk’s garden daily; just across the street, workmen in a factory have watched its progress with interest. But Mr. Vulk doesn’t think it anything unusual. He eyes the green, flourishing rows of vegetables with satisfaction.


‘A fine garden!’ Mr. Vulk comments. ‘There’s many a good kettle of soup that will come out of that garden.’


And the scarecrow doesn’t answer a word.”

Indianapolis Times, June 23, 1934. From

During wartime, many people planted Victory Gardens to support the effort and supplement groceries. Victory Gardens were reported on in the newspapers frequently to promote them within the community. According to this article in Evansville Courier Sun featuring a lovely Mrs. Kenneth Miller working in her Victory Garden while inexplicably wearing fine clothes and pearls, “Mrs. Miller digs into the soil which she hopes will fork over plenty of corn, beets, potatoes and what have you in the vegetable line to chase away the ration point blues.”

Evansville Courier Sun, April 22, 1945. From

County histories often include details on early farm life and the local flora and fauna. By researching the history of the area you may discover the plants your ancestors were likely to encounter or grow. For example, “The History of Hancock County, Indiana; Its People, Industries and Institutions” by George J. Richman describes the principal crops, soil types, native plants and animals and area farms. The Indiana State Library has numerous county histories in the collection, and you may find some digitized online you can read for free on websites such as or

There are few things more satisfying than harvesting fresh ingredients from your own garden and incorporating them into family meals. Pass those memories on to the next generation by preserving your connections to those home-grown foods. Books like, “From the Family Kitchen: Discover Your Food Heritage and Preserve Favorite Recipes” by author Gena Philibert-Ortega and “Preserving Family Recipes: How to Save and Celebrate Your Food Traditions” by Valerie J. Frey offer insights and ideas on how to share that history with your family.

Now is a perfect time to share the gift of your garden with your loved ones while connecting it to your family story.

However you choose to celebrate springtime with your family, I wish you a very happy and fruitful season!

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

Finding original marriage records

Historically, original marriage records in Indiana were held solely by the county clerk’s office that issued the original record. So, if you need a copy of an original record, your best bet is to contact the county. But, if you’re not sure which county or you just need the information from the record but not the record itself, there are other sources for these records.

John Parrish and Florence Heaton marriage certificate, Marion County, Indiana, 1916. Katherine Parrish Mondor collection, Genealogy Division, Indiana State Library.

Why 1958 was an important year
In 1958, Indiana began to file marriage records at the state level rather than just at the county level. So, one copy of the record was retained at the county clerk’s office while a second copy was sent to the Indiana Department of Health. This makes it easier to locate more recent marriages, because the Indiana Department of Health can search all 92 counties at the same time.

Indexes vs. records
Many of the Indiana marriage records available to researchers at the Indiana State Library are indexes rather than record images. For example, Ancestry Library Edition currently does not offer scans of marriage records for Indiana. Instead, they offer indexes to the records that summarize what the record contains. FamilySearch offers both indexes and record images; however, while the indexes can be accessed freely from home, to access the images you will need to be at the Indiana State Library or another FamilySearch Affiliate Library or Family History Center.

FamilySearch’s Indiana Marriages database has over 1.2 million records.

You can also search our Indiana Marriages 1958-2021 index on Indiana Legacy, which is available at home to researchers for free.

These limitations are applicable to both very old records and more recent records. So, whether you are doing genealogy research or looking for your own record, you will have to work within the parameters of the databases.

Where else to look?
One issue that the librarians here at the State Library have noticed is that the indexes are not always correct. Verifying the correct county that issued a marriage record can be tricky, but we’ve developed a few tips to help you narrow down your search.

First, look at where the couple was living when they got married. The farther back in time you go, the less likely it is that a couple traveled to get married. Also, in order for a county to issue a marriage license, one of the members of the couple was supposed to live in that county.

If you’re not finding a marriage record in the index, or you think the index may have incorrect information, you can also search newspapers. For years, local newspapers included a list of marriage licenses issued in the county, usually on a weekly or biweekly basis. This can help you determine which county actually issued the license you need and also confirm the approximate date of the marriage. You can use Hoosier State Chronicles to search Indiana newspapers for free from home, or if you visit the Indiana State Library you can access, NewspaperArchive, and the Indianapolis Star.

Marriage licenses listed in the Terre Haute Weekly Gazette, April 16, 1885.

For recent marriages, you can also check the Marriage License Public Lookup. This database covers the entire state from 1993 to the present. It is updated regularly, and new marriages typically take two weeks or less to appear in this index.

What about certified records?
Only the county clerk and the Indiana Department of Health can issue certified copies of marriage records. Any record you obtain from a genealogy database will not be certified and cannot be used for Social Security, Real ID or other official business.

What if I’m really stuck?
You can contact the Indiana State Library through our Ask-a-Librarian service and we will do our best to locate the marriage you’re seeking.

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

Opera was his life, but genealogy was his swan song: William Wade Hinshaw

If you run with the genealogy crowd, you may be familiar with name William Wade Hinshaw as the author of the Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy. What you might not know is that during his lifetime, he was known as an opera singer.

William Wade Hinshaw was born in Providence Township, Hardin County, Iowa on Nov. 3, 1867 to birthright members of the Religious Society of Friends (Quaker), Thomas Doane Hinshaw and Anna Harriet Lundy. The Hinshaws were members of the Honey Creek Monthly Meeting in Hardin County, Iowa.

The birthright membership of William Wade Hinshaw’s parents gave them automatic membership in the Religious Society of Friends, due to being born of Quaker parents. The Hinshaw family had been Quakers since the early 1700s in Ireland, coming to the American colonies in the mid-1700s and settling in North Carolina. The Lundy family had been Quakers since the late 1600s, with the arrival of Richard Lundy in Pennsylvania.

Honey Creek Meeting House.

Thomas Doane Hinshaw family. William Wade Hinshaw on the left.

Playing the cornet at 9 years of age and then leading a brass band at 13, Hinshaw was educated at the Chester Meeting School and later attended the New Providence Friends Academy in Hardin County, Iowa.

In 1893, he attended Valparaiso University in Indiana, graduating in 1890. While attending Valparaiso University, his love of music deepened. In his own words:

Valparaiso University Alumni Bulletin, June 20, 1930.

While attending the university, he also managed to direct a Methodist Episcopal choir. This is where he met Anna T. Williams, a member of the choir.

William A. Pinkerton at his desk.

In 1890, the newborn graduate made his way to Chicago, meeting with William A. Pinkerton – son of Allen Pinkerton and successor to the Pinkerton Detective Agency – to secure a job directing a church choir. The Landmark magazine details that meeting.

Page 96 from The Landmark, the monthly magazine of the English-Speaking Union, Volume VI, 1924.

1893 was an eventful year for Hinshaw. In the summer of that year, he performed for the first time on a public stage at the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893. He probably sang as part of the Apollo Musical Club – of which he was a member.

Then, in September of 1893, he married Anna T. Williams, the woman he met while directing a church choir in her hometown of Centerville, Iowa.

1894 was the year of the birth of his first child, Carl W. Hinshaw, and the year that he landed a new job as a music instructor at Iowa College, Grinnell.

Estherville Daily News, Aug. 9, 1894.

While Hinshaw was the head of the Music Conservatory at Valparaiso University from 1895-1899, his wife Anna attended the university and became a mother to William Wade Jr. in 1899.

In 1900, the Hinshaw family was living in Chicago and William had listed his occupation as opera singer, as by then he was singing with the Castle Square Opera Company.

Abilene Weekly Reflector, Feb. 27, 1902.

Throughout the 1900s, he directed and taught at the Hinshaw School of Music, part of the Chicago Conservatory of Music.

Auditorium Building, Chicago, Illinois.

According to the 1905 Chicago City Directory, Hinshaw the music instructor was living on the ninth floor of the Auditorium Building. Hinshaw must have found this location of residence convenient as he also performed in the building’s theater as part of the Apollo Musical Club.

On Nov. 30, 1905, Anna died of pneumonia, leaving the care of their four children – three boys and a girl – to William. The Hinshaw family made their home in Valparaiso, Indiana after her death.

However, by 1909 things were looking sunnier, as Hinshaw was the owner of his own opera company.

The Enid Daily Eagle, Oct. 3, 1909.

By 1910, life was even better when Hinshaw debuted at the Metropolitan Opera House on Nov. 16, 1910 in a production of Tannhauser.

Chicago Examiner, Aug. 14, 1910.

For all of 1910, William Wade Hinshaw is the talk of the town.

Advertisement from The Morning Chronicle, June 10, 1910.

The Silver Messenger, Oct. 4, 1910.

The Star, Nov. 16, 1910, page 3.

Sheet music, 1911.

In December of 1910, he met Mable Clyde at tea held at her parents’ home in New York. By March of 1911, the couple were engaged to be married. The marriage made the society page.

The Inter Ocean, April 30, 1911, page 29

Hinshaw was singing at the Austrian Das Rheingold Festival in the summer of 1912. He would return to New York in October to perform again with the Metropolitan Opera.

The steamship George Washington, baritones Antonio Scotti, Pasquale Amato and William Hinshaw, Oct. 29, 1912.

On March 16, 1913, he played Carnegie Hall. He followed that performance the next year in April and May when he appeared on Broadway in a production of the “H.M.S. Pinafore.”

Music News, Volume 5, Issue 1, 1913.

Broadway production of the “H.M.S. Pinafore,” 1914. White Studio (New York)  Museum of the City of New York. Accession number: F2013.41.2658. William Hinshaw as Captain Corcoran (left).

In July of 1914, Mr. and Mrs. Hinshaw were in Berlin, Germany. Mr. Hinshaw was singing with the Paris Opera at the Theatre des Westens.

The Fargo Forum and Daily Republican, July 4, 1914.

Theatre des Westens, Berlin Germany, German postcard.

However, if you know your history, you may already suspect what event is coming up. World War I was declared on July 28, 1914. A fellow American musician returning from Germany, reported to the Musical Courier:

Musical Courier, Aug. 19, 1914 page 23.

Musical Courier, Aug. 19, 1914 page 23.

In August of 1914, U.S. Consular Officers in Europe were authorized and advised to issue emergency passports to those U.S. citizens stranded in Europe after the declaration of war. The emergency passports issued to those stranded provided citizenship verification for protection and the paperwork needed to safely seek passage back to the United States.

That August, Hinshaw applied for an emergency passport.

Hinshaw’s emergency passport application, August, 1914.

After first securing passage for the Hinshaw children earlier in September, Mr. and Mrs. Hinshaw left Rotterdam on Sept. 23, 1914 and arrived in New York on Oct. 2, 1914.

In 1916, he established the Hinshaw Opera Prize of $1,000 for the composer of a new American Grand Opera. If won today, the prize amount would equal $23,000-$24,000.

Chicago Examiner, Dec. 30, 1917.

During the 1920s and 1930s, he was the director of his own opera touring company. Throughout his career as an opera singer, he supported and sang English opera, which are operas that have been translated into English from French, Italian or German to make them more accessible to an English-speaking audience.

While Hinshaw’s children found a home base in Ann Arbor, Michigan with their aunt Lydia Fremont Hinshaw Holmes, their father established his home in New York City with his wealthy in-laws.

William Wade Hinshaw’s father-in-law was William P. Clyde, owner of the Clyde Steamship Company. The Clyde family lived on 5th Avenue in a house formerly owned by Andrew Carnegie. According to the 1920 census, 26 people were living in the house – 13 of those being servants. Of the remaining 13 persons – besides Hinshaw who listed his occupation as opera manager – their occupations are listed as “none.”

King’s Handbook of New York City, page 100, British Library.

Cover page of the program for Cosi Fan Tutte, 1922, Multnomah County Library, digital gallery.

The Evening News, March 23, 1926, page 4. 1926 – First American Mozart Festival in Cincinnati, Ohio.

The Clyde family home, William Wade Hinshaw’s residence in the 1920s. Wurts Bros/Museum of the City of New York. Accession number: X2010.7.2.14118.

Michigan Daily, May 10, 1931.

The 1930s found Mr. and Mrs. Hinshaw living in Ann Arbor, Michigan. William owned a music shop, and he spent the last two decades of his life actively researching genealogy. Involved in family research by at least 1923, perhaps, as he stopped traveling for opera performances and settled down, he now had more time for genealogy research. He was assisted by genealogist Edna Harvey Joseph in his research of Quaker monthly meeting records for his family genealogy. She suggested that with all the money and time spent gathering monthly meeting records for his family, that perhaps entire monthly meeting records could be copied – not just those that pertained to his ancestors. This suggestion eventually results in the creation of the Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy.

The research that would result in the encyclopedia was underway by at least 1934, as reported by the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting. The first volume of the encyclopedia was published in 1936 by the Edwards Brothers of Ann Arbor and distributed by the Friends Books and Supply House of Richmond, Indiana.

Advertisement for the Friends Book and Supply House from the Richmond Palladium, April 28, 1921.

Having started so late in life on his genealogical endeavor, at his death in 1947, most of Hinshaw’s obituaries across the nation are headlined by the fact that he was the father of California Congressional Representative Carl Hinshaw. Secondary to his time as an opera singer – if genealogy is mentioned at all – Hinshaw is called an amateur genealogist.

However, at least one obituary highlighted his contributions to the world of genealogy research:

The Fairmount News, Dec. 11, 1947.

The Fairmount News, Dec. 11, 1947.

The Fairmount News, Dec. 11, 1947.

William Wade Hinshaw’s life presents this lesson for established genealogists and anyone temped to pursue family history: However many passions you have in life, there is always time for genealogy.

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

Resources in the Indiana State Library Collection
Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy; call number: ISLG 929.102 F911h, Volumes 1-6

Genealogy Manuscript: Edna Harvey Joseph collection 1851-1969; call number: Mss G ISLG G.053

Ancestral Lineage of William Wade Hinshaw; call number: Pam. ISLG 929.2 H UNCAT. NO. 1

Online resources
Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy, Volumes 1-3

“The Lundy Family and Their Descendants of Whatsoever Surname : with a biographical sketch of Benjamin Lundy”


October is Family History Month

October was designated Family History Month by the Senate in September of 2001. Senate Resolution 160, sponsored by Orrin Hatch, and cosponsored by 84 other members was passed unanimously on Sept. 26, 2001. Hatch noted, “Genealogy is currently the second largest hobby in the country and is very unique in that it crosses over all religions, ethnic backgrounds and age groups. Essentially, we are all immigrants to this country. Our ancestors came from different parts of the globe and by searching for our roots, we come closer together as a human family.”

Here are some of the resources we provide at the Indiana State Library to assist you during Family History Month.

The library subscribes to several databases, including Ancestry Library Edition, Fold3, American Ancestors and Fire Insurance Maps Online. We are also a Family Search affiliate library, which allows patrons to access civil, church records and digitized books in the Family Search catalog. Additionally, we provide several databases outside of the library, including Indiana Legacy and the Indiana State Library Digital Collections.

Photograph of a Barnard family reunion, 1950. Indiana State Library Digital Collections.

We have the largest collection of Indiana newspapers on microfilm in the state available in our Indiana Division, along with access to, Newspaper Archive and the Indianapolis Star. Indiana newspapers on are available to Indiana residents through INSPIRE, and our Hoosier State Chronicles database is available to everyone.

Explore our print materials
The Genealogy Division has over 50,000 titles in our collection. In addition to our family histories and various state, county and city records, you can learn how to identify photographs, cite genealogy research, organize and conserve your family papers and genealogy materials and learn to read document a variety of languages. Also, check our online catalog, both the Indiana Division and our General Collection have materials that could be useful to someone researching their family.

The Parrish family, circa 1920. Indiana State Library Digital Collections.

Manuscript collections
While you are taking a look at our print materials, you may also want to look through our manuscript catalog. There are over 5,000 collections from both the Rare Books and Manuscripts Division as well as the Genealogy Division. You might find letters, diaries, photos or completed research on your family.

Try to knock down a brick wall
If you have a brick wall or are just unsure of how to continue researching part of your family, we might be able to help. The Genealogy Division offers 30-minute one on one sessions to go over a particular query or topic. The library also offers an Ask-a-Librarian service where you can submit your questions and they will be answered by one of our librarians.

Hopefully, these resources will assist you on your genealogical journey.

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.”

Indiana’s Dutch roots

The names Banta, Demaree, Terhune, Voris and Van Arsdal are familiar to many Hoosiers. The roots of these names lie in an intrepid group of pioneers who immigrated from Pennsylvania to Kentucky in the late 18th century. The group was led by Hendrick Banta, who was seeking to form a colony that would preserve Dutch culture, language, and religion.

Hendrick Banta was descended from Epke Jacobs, who came to the then Dutch colony of New Netherland in 1659 from the village of Minnertsga in the Friesland province of the Netherlands. He was accompanied by his wife, Tietske Dircksdr (also spelled Sistske Dirksda), and five young sons. After first setting in what is now Flushing, Queens, the family had relocated to Bergen County, New Jersey. The first recorded instance of the surname Banta came in 1696, as the family had previously followed the Dutch tradition of patronymic naming. For example, Epke Jacobs was Epke, son of Jacob. After the British gained control of the Dutch colonies in America, settlers adopted the practice of hereditary surnames. It appears that “Banta” was the name of the farm in the Netherlands owned by Epke Jacobs’ grandparents.

New Netherland, 1600s. Courtesy of the New York State Library Digital Collections.

Epke’s great-grandson, Hendrick, or Henry, was born in Bergen County in 1718, and married Rachel Brouwer, or Brower, in 1738, with whom he had six children. Rachel died in 1749, and Hendrick married Antjin, or Ann Demarest, in 1751. The couple went on to have 13 surviving children. Hendrick’s concern that the Dutch community was being influenced by other cultures led him to move his family first to Somerset County, New Jersey, and then onto Conewego outside of York, Pennsylvania.

By the 1770s, the area that we now know as Kentucky was opening to settlement. However, getting there was far from easy. Settlers faced two treacherous options. The first involved crossing the Appalachian Mountains via the Cumberland Gap. The second used the Ohio River, and this was the route taken by Henrick Banta and his travelling party. The group included 12 of his 19 surviving children and 19 of his grandchildren, many of whom were younger than 12-years-old. As well as Hendrick’s immediate family, representatives of the Van Arsdale, Demaree, Riker, Westervelt, Voris and Dorland families were part of the travelling party. The first part of the journey began in late 1779 with a 200-mile trek to the source of the Ohio River near what is now Pittsburgh. They traveled in canvas covered wagons drawn by horses or oxen, also transported sheep, cattle and hogs. Here they constructed flatboats, which they then used to float down the river to the Falls of the Ohio River near Louisville, Kentucky. The journey was nearly 600 miles through dense forest and took about nine days to complete. The Banta party arrived on April 6, 1780.

A flatboat floating down the Ohio River. Engraving by Albert Waud.

They first settled near the Ohio River, in many cases using the lumber from the flatboats to build cabins. However, the Native Americans in this area were hostile to European settlers, and the group moved southeast to Harrodsburg in Mercer County. In 1786, Squire Boone, brother of Daniel, sold over 12,000 acres of land in Henry and Shelby Counties to the Dutch. This became known as the Low Dutch Tract. Individual families were given 200 acres of land, but the entire tract was held collectively by the Low Dutch Company.

The Old Mud Meeting House, Harrodsburg, KY.

Despite Hendrick’s best efforts, members of the Dutch colony began to intermingle with settlers of other backgrounds and religion. In 1795, he and other elders of the community wrote to the leadership of the Dutch Reformed Church with a plea for a minister to be sent out to them. Indeed, two of Hendrick Banta’s sons became Baptist preachers, and others joined the burgeoning Shaker movement.

Hendrick Banta died in 1804, and in the following years large numbers of settlers left the original Low Dutch Tract, including many who moved to southern Indiana as well as Johnson County. One of the many descendants of these settlers was David Demaree Banta, who was the first dean of the Indiana University Law School.

To learn more about Indiana’s Dutch roots, please contact the Genealogy Division at the Indiana State Library. They can be reached at 317-232-3689 or by using the Indiana State Library’s Ask-a-Librarian service.

This post was written by Laura Williams, genealogy librarian at the Indiana State Library.

Walking in your ancestors’ footsteps – Genealogy road trip tips

While doing genealogy research it’s common to imagine what your ancestor’s day-to-day life was like. You may find yourself wondering what shops they visited; where they worshiped, mourned and celebrated; or what sights and sounds existed where they lived. You may even feel a sense of connection to where your ancestors dwelled and a desire to immerse yourself in the area’s history.

John P. Parrish – Image from Indiana State Library Digital Collection.

Have you ever thought about how nice it would be to peruse the archives in your ancestral hometown and dig into your family history research? Answers to your most puzzling genealogical questions may be hiding on a dusty shelf of a local repository. Precious records that can’t be found online may only be available at the area courthouse or archives.

If you engage in this type of thinking, consider a trip to your ancestor’s hometown. Walk in their footsteps, learn about local family history and explore a new destination all at once!

Here are some quick tips on how to make the most of an ancestral trip:

Research in advance and make note of any addresses, business names or towns where your ancestors lived or worked that you are interested in visiting. Census records, newspapers, atlases or city directories are useful in determining locations. If you are researching where your ancestor immigrated from look for naturalization records, passenger lists, vital and other types of records to help you identify their place of origin.

Elenor Carter and other family members – Image from Indiana State Library Digital Collection.

Learn the local history to gain an understanding of what it was like for your ancestors in their lifetime. Websites like Family Search and Internet Archive have a variety of free local history books in their digital collections to read on your home computer. Search your local public library catalog to see if they have books that you are interested in. The Indiana State Library, for example, has numerous county histories within the collection. Just search the library’s catalog to explore our holdings.

Dry goods store – Image from Indiana State Library Digital Collection.

Identify the research topics of interest, the types of records you would like to find and the locations where they are held. The Family Search Research Wiki has information on where records are held by location. Then, visit the websites of the local library, archive, genealogical or historical society. Sometimes they offer research guides with information about their holdings. For example, the Indiana State Library has a variety of guides including this handy list of genealogical resources at the library by Indiana county.

Arndt home on Stolpe, Germany – Image from Indiana State Library Digital Collection.

As with any trip, it’s a good idea to make a list of the items you will need to bring with you. For a genealogy trip some additional items to include are:

  • Flash drive or storage device to save research.
    • Tip: Don’t forget to backup any items that you save as a failsafe in case you lose or damage a storage device during your trip.
  • A camera to take photos of gravestones, sites and landmarks.
  • A notebook, laptop or tablet to organize your research.
  • If you have living relatives that agree to an interview, think about bringing recording devices along.
    • Tip: You could use a smartphone app to serve this purpose but consider a back-up method in case of tech issues, such as a handheld recorder.
  • Research that you’ve already done or important documents to which you will need to refer.
  • List of locations you wish to visit.
  • List of research goals.

Emma Powers, Grace Gossett and Margaret Gossett – Image from Indiana State Library Digital Collection.

Call or email the library, archive or genealogical society in advance to give them a heads up about your visit. Some locations require appointments, and it is helpful to learn about their rules for visitors ahead of time. Be prepared to provide them with the specific questions you are trying to answer or research goals. This way you will know what to expect when you arrive. After all, there will be so much to see and do!

If you are considering a trip to the Indiana State Library, reach out to us by phone at 317-232-3689 or by using our wonderful Ask-a-Librarian service. We are happy to help.

Cpl. Thomas answering telephone – Image from Indiana State Library Digital Collection.

Would you like to learn more? Pick up a copy of the following books to help you prepare for your trip:

“Visiting Your Ancestral Town: Walk in the Footsteps of your Ancestors” by Carolyn Schott is full of great suggestions and advice to make the most out of your trip!

For more specifics on how to conduct research during your trip, pick up a copy of “Searching on Location: Planning a Research Trip” by Anne Ross Balhuizen.

Those with German ancestors may be interested in reading “Researching in Germany: A Handbook for your Visit to the Homeland of Your Ancestors” by Roger P. Minert.

Safe travels!

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

The rise and fall of a city cemetery: Greenlawn Cemetery, Indianapolis

Photo of Greenlawn Cemetery, ca. 1920. “A Transcript of the Grave Stones Remaining in Greenlawn Cemetery Indianapolis.” Indianapolis: Emmerich Manual Training High School, 1920.

The Genealogy Division of the Indiana State Library recently digitized our records pertaining to Greenlawn Cemetery in Indianapolis. These records were created in the early 1920s to document the remaining graves in Greenlawn before they were removed. Many of the records come from the company that owned the land at the time. However, the most interesting part of the records are the photographs, which were created by staff and students at Emmerich Manual Training High School as part of a class project.

Greenlawn Cemetery in 1898. “Insurance Maps of Indianapolis, Indiana, Volume 1.” New York: The Sanborn-Perris Map Co. Limited, 1898.

A new city needs a new cemetery
Greenlawn was the first public cemetery in Indianapolis. Established in 1821 near the White River and present-day Kentucky Avenue, many of the earliest residents of the city were buried here. As the main city cemetery, Greenlawn served as the final resting place for everyone from those buried at public expense to prestigious Hoosiers Indiana Governor James Whitcomb and early settler Matthias Nowland.

A Long, Slow Decline

Indianapolis death records from September 1872. Greenlawn is referred to as City Cemetery in these records. “Death Records Indianapolis, Indiana 1872-1874.”

By the 1860s, the trustees of Greenlawn became concerned that the cemetery was nearing capacity. They could not purchase adjoining land due to encroaching industrial and commercial development. Despite concerns about overcrowding, burials continued in Greenlawn for another 30 years, although more and more families chose to purchase plots in the newly developed Crown Hill Cemetery.

The last burial in Greenlawn took place around 1890. By this point, the cemetery was already deteriorating. Vandalism and flooding from the river, along with neglect by the cemetery caretakers, resulted in many broken and missing tombstones and unidentifiable graves.

Greenlawn in the early 20th century

Among the events held in Greenlawn Cemetery Park was a ragtime concert by the Indianapolis Military Band. Indianapolis Star, July 31, 1904.

Public complaint about the condition of the cemetery led city and cemetery officials to move many of the remaining graves to Crown Hill and to seek other uses for Greenlawn. By 1904, part of the land had been reclaimed as a park. Although events and concerts took place there, the park did not garner much popularity with the public. In an article published on Nov. 22, 1908, the Indianapolis Star referred to the area as “Neither a first-class cemetery nor a first-class park” and proposed that the remaining graves be removed and the area converted to a “modern park.”

Newspapers reported on what was being done at Greenlawn throughout this time period. Indianapolis Star (l-r) July 7, 1907; Nov. 15, 1911; March 4, 1917.

Plans for the expanded park never materialized, but redevelopment of the land continued. In 1907, the Vandalia Railroad sought to build tracks across another section of Greenlawn. Over the next decade, more graves were cleared to make way for the railroad, cutting across the northern section of the cemetery.

Industrial expansion

The former Greenlawn area in 1927. Most of the cemetery has been overtaken by railroads and industrial development, while the city retained ownership of a few parcels on the river. “Baist’s Real Estate Atlas of Indianapolis.” Philadelphia: G. W. Baist, 1927.

By the 1920s, manufacturing and industrial sites on the White River took an interest in expanding onto the Greenlawn site. During this time, the few remaining legible grave markers were documented and the records deposited at the State Library before the last visible traces of Greenlawn Cemetery were removed. Although future construction would continue to turn up evidence of burials, even into the 21st century, the cemetery largely slipped out of public memory just as it disappeared from the public eye.

More images from Greenlawn ca. 1920. “A Transcript of the Grave Stones Remaining in Greenlawn Cemetery Indianapolis.” Indianapolis: Emmerich Manual Training High School, 1920.

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

Finding that old time religion… where to find ancestors’ church records

When searching for church records for ancestors, sometimes figuring out where the records are located can be a challenge. The first step is to know the religion or domination, but, what if the religion or domination is unknown? Luckily, there are a few tricks that can help find answers.

Note the place of burial. Is the cemetery your ancestor is buried in associated with a church? Obituaries can list the church location of funeral services as shown in the example below.

Muncie Evening Press, Muncie, Indiana, Friday, Feb. 6, 1914, page 10.

Clues can also be found in marriage records. Look for the name of the officiant performing the marriage ceremony. When examining a marriage for the officiant’s name, it is useful to know the abbreviations that are sometimes used in the in record; M.G. indicates a minister of the gospel, J.P. is for a justice of the peace.

If your ancestors were married by minister of the gospel, research the officiant to see what church he or she is affiliated with. Sources to help find a minister’s affiliation include county histories, city directories and the online List of Pastors and Ministers – with their denomination and years and location of service.

Below is the minister of the gospel’s name: Augustus Eddy. He has signed this marriage record in Dearborn County.

“Indiana Marriages, 1811-2019,” database with images, FamilySearch, Dearborn, 1846-1854, volume 8, image 5 of 652; Indiana Commission on Public Records, Indianapolis.

Eddy’s name is noted in the “Growth of Methodism” chapter in a Dearborn County history.

“History of Dearborn County, Indiana: Her People, Industries and Institutions, with Biographical Sketches of Representative Citizens and Genealogical Records of Old Families” by Archibald Shaw, page 387; call number: ISLI 977.201 D285s 1980, Indiana State Library.

“History of Dearborn County, Indiana: Her People, Industries and Institutions, with Biographical Sketches of Representative Citizens and Genealogical Records of Old Families” by Archibald Shaw, page 388; call number: ISLI 977.201 D285s 1980, Indiana State Library.

Surprisingly, migration routes can be the path to discovering an ancestor’s religion or domination. An ancestor who moved from Pennsylvania to the Carolinas to the Midwest (e.g., Indiana and Ohio) may mean that the ancestor was a Quaker. The Religious Migration web lesson from Family Search provides additional information on these types of migration patterns.

The next step is locating the records. Of course, there are databases such as Ancestry and Family Search.

To find church records in Ancestry; first, select the Search tab, from the Filters list select Directories & Member Lists, next select Church Records and Histories. In the Keyword field add the domination to limit the results. (Don’t forget Ancestry is FREE to use at the Indiana State Library!)

Family Search has some helpful tools for searching Indiana church records through their database. The Indiana Church Records wiki provides tips and links for finding and searching church records in the state of Indiana. Family Search also has a collection of Indiana Quaker (Religious Society of Friends) meeting records.

Stephen P. Morse – famous for his map tools – has provided a list of one-step links for accessing church records through Family Search, the list is organized alphabetically by state.

The next obvious places to find church records are libraries. At the Indiana State Library, you can search the online catalog for Indiana church records. Here is a list of suggested search terms for finding church records in the State Library’s catalog:

  • Church records and registers – Indiana
  • Catholic church – Indiana
  • Lutheran church – Indiana
  • Quakers – Indiana
  • Society of Friends – Indiana
  • Baptists – Indiana
  • Indiana Church History
  • County name (Ind.) registers

Other tools provided by the Indiana State Library; a bibliography of Selected Church and Religious Genealogical Resources and Resources Listing a Variety of Denominations.

The Indiana State Library Digital Collections can be searched at the library or at home. To search, select advanced search, then enter the search term “church.” Finally, from collection lists checkmark Religion in Indiana.

Indiana State Library manuscripts holdings has a Baptist church history collection. To make an appointment to view the collection please send an email to the State Library.

The Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center has a collection of church records through their free online Fort Wayne and Allen County Resources (scroll down to see the church records).

Other agencies that may have church records are genealogy and historical societies. The Monroe County History Center’s library has a Church Index for the years 1818-1900, the index is searchable by surname or church name. A resource available from The Indiana State Historical Society is a series of articles about Hoosier Baptists.

Sometimes church records can be found in universities or colleges archive collections, particularly if a university or college was founded by religious group. For example, many Hoosiers have Kentucky ancestors. The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary Archives has the History of Gilead Baptist Church, Hardin County, Kentucky, 1824-1924 and biographical data re Elder Warren Cash of Virginia and Kentucky, 1760-1849 – view a copy of it online.

The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary also happens to have a collection of Indiana Church Histories, 1834-1991. An in-person visit is necessary to view these records.

Here are some examples of where to find church records by the type of church:

African American churches

Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, 200 Sixth Street, Richmond, Wayne County, IN. Photo: Library of Congress.

A fine repository for information about African American churches in the South is The Church in the Southern Black Community. Some of the oldest African American churches established in Indiana were African Methodist Episcopal churches, and the Indiana Historical Society provides the (Indianapolis) Bethel A.M.E. Church Collection.

If searching Family Search for African American church records, try searching: “African American church records name of state.”


Merritt Place Methodist Episcopal Church, Indianapolis. Photo: Indiana Memory.

The United Methodist church provides a guide for searching ancestors that belonged to the United Methodist church. If searching for ancestors that belonged to the United Methodist Church in Indiana, the DePauw University Archives and Special Collections are keepers of the Indiana United Methodist Church Archives.

There is also the Indiana, U.S., United Methodist Church Records, 1837-1970 available through Ancestry.

Roman Catholic

Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Indianapolis. Photo: Indiana State Library Digital Collections.

To find Roman Catholic records for ancestors, start by contacting the church (parish) of interest. The Archdiocese of Indianapolis provides some guidance for Roman Catholic genealogy search in Indiana. The Archdiocese of New Orleans has provided access to records for the years 1718-1815 online. The Archdiocese of Boston and American Ancestors have partnered to provide records for the years 1789-1920 online (registration for a free account with American Ancestors is needed to view the records).

Quaker (Religious Society of Friends)

A map of the locations of the meetings, constituting Indiana yearly meeting of Friends. Image: Indiana State Library Digital Collection.

Quaker Archives for the state of Indiana can be found in the Friends Collection and College Archives at Earlham College. Try searching the Friends Manuscript Series record group, Friends Record Group and Names. When visiting the archives in person, please make a research appointment via email three business days before arriving.

For Quaker research outside the state of Indiana, try the Haverford College Quaker and Special Collections. To research in person, contact the staff via email before a visit. Researching at home, try Haverford Colleges’ online obituary index: the Quaker Necrology Database. To search index, select “obituary index” located on the top bar of the page.

Protestant Episcopal Church

St. James Church, South Bend, Indiana. Image: The Church Record, April 1895, page 2; Indiana State Library Digital Collections.

A healthy collection of online records for the Protestant Episcopal Church can be found from the Protestant Episcopal Church of Northern Indiana Archives.

To find Church records in other states besides Indiana; try the Colonial Society of Massachusetts for many online Massachusetts church records. The New England’s Hidden Histories: Colonial-Era Church Records contains an online collection of Congregational church records for early New England. For online Maryland church records covering all denominations, there is The Bob Fout Collection of Frederick County, MD Church Records.

Finally, a useful source for all things religious there is the Duke University Divinity School’s Divinity Archive.

Hopefully, these resources and search methods will help you discover your ancestors’ church records and aid you in your overall genealogical endeavors.

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

Identifying the current locations of unmarked photographs

Finding photographs without a location or identifying information can be frustrating. Fortunately, there are several ways to locate where a photograph was likely taken.

Sarah Malsbury home
A house with distinctive architecture may be easy to spot on Google Maps. The home of Sarah Malsbury has a somewhat distinctive roof line. Searching for Sarah in Ancestry Library Edition produces a 1900 census record, listing her location as Sycamore Township, Hamilton County, Ohio. When viewing an image of the actual record, the city location is written as Silverton Precinct, Rossmoyne.

Home of Sarah (Stickel) Malsbury, from the Indiana State Library Digital Collection.

The 1910 census lists an address as being on Highland. When looking at the Rossmoyne area on Google maps Highland does not seem to exist anymore. There are a few blocks that appear to have older homes scattered in between newer, more uniform construction. Zooming in on a house located on Pine Road reveals a possible candidate. A Google Street View image shows a house that is strikingly similar to the one in the photograph down to the fence in front. A 1914 atlas of Hamilton County, Ohio available on the Cincinnati Public Library’s digital collection contains a map of the Rossmoyne area. On the image, the road now known as Pine Road is labeled Highland confirming that the house on Pine Road is the house in the image.

Rossmoyne, Google Maps aerial photo.

Closeup of Pine Road, Google Maps.

8468 Pine Road, Rossmoyne, Google Maps Street View.

Rossmoyne, 1914 Hamilton County Atlas courtesy of the Cincinnati Public Library.

Carter family home
In the case of the image with the Carter family taken in front of a house, there was one clue on the back of the photo: the name of the photographic studio with the location of the studio. Another clue was a vague description on an envelope containing multiple photographs including the group photo. The description given was “Grandfather Richard’s house – Frankfort.”

Carter family, from the Indiana State Library Digital Collection.

The photograph is part of the Dr. Floyd Raymond Nicolas Carter Collection, so other information about the family could be gleaned from other photographs and materials in the collection. A second photograph had an older woman along with three other adults in front of the same home. Based on information in the collection, the search was narrowed down to the Frankfort area in Indiana.

Elenor Carter at other family members, from the Indiana State Library Digital Collection.

Starting with Ancestry Library edition, I was able to find the census record for Richard Carter in the 1880 census, but no address was recorded for the house. Richard died in 1883, his wife Eleanor Carter died much later, in 1901. Checking the 1900 census, I was able to find Eleanor and Marion, one of her children. The address was listed as 402 W. Clinton St. Entering the address on to Google Maps I found an open area of land with a grassy space closest to the street and a parking lot behind that. When viewing the address on Google Street View I also noticed a walkway going from the sidewalk out to the street. The other two homes on the block both have them leading up to their stairs. It is likely a house once occupied that space. Checking later Frankfort City Directories showed one of Eleanor’s grandchildren occupying the home after her death.

Digitized copies of Sanborn fire insurance maps for Frankfort are available through the Fire Insurance Maps online database at the library. I was able to check both the 1906 and 1927 Sanborn map and confirm the existence of a home at 402 W. Clinton Street with the same approximate shape as the one pictured.

402 W. Clinton St., Google Street View.

1906 Sanborn fire insurance map.

1927 Sanborn fire insurance map.

Evansville outhouse
Another interesting photo is one of an outhouse on the streets of Evansville after the 1937 flood. The photo is part of the Kulenschimdt collection and one of several photographs and postcards with images of the 1937 flood. Checking the downtown area of Evansville on Google Maps, I looked for taller buildings in the hope that the store in the foreground was still standing. After several attempts to locate the building, it appeared that it had possibly been torn down. I then checked for online images of the downtown Evansville area during that time period to see if one would have either building pictured.

Men’s outhouse during the 1937 Evansville flood, Indiana State Library Digital Collection.

In a separate tab, I started a search for department buildings in Evansville focusing on the building in the background. After searching for a bit, I was able to figure out that the building in the background was Siegal’s Department Store. A check of Google Maps Street View showed a building that looked remarkably like the one in the photograph. I was also able to locate an older image of Siegal’s on the website Historic Evansville.

Downtown Evansville map.

From there, I was then able to find the name of the building located in the foreground. The building was the Lahr, and later Schears Department Store. A photograph from an article in the Evansville Courier Press shows both buildings in 1961. Another photo from the Willard Library’s Karl Knecht collection shows the Lahr/Schears building around the time of the flood.

Schears Department Store, Willard Library Karl Kae Knecht collection, 799.

When trying to locate the current location of an older photograph with little-to-no information, there are multiple tools one can use to try and find where the photograph was taken. Research of the area and the persons in the photograph along with trial and error may help identify otherwise unknown photographs.

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.”

Hoosier occupations in the U.S. census

In the Genealogy Division of the Indiana State Library, I learn about fascinating people and their equally fascinating jobs each day by researching U.S. census records. Those who live and work in the Hoosier state are eclectic individuals with wide-ranging career choices. It seems fitting to highlight some of the quirky, adventurous and even adorable occupations that I have found over the years:

Frank Liebtag
Frank Liebtag, a 5-year-old boy living at 905 Eugene St. in Indianapolis in 1910, was probably a delightful little clog dancer. About a year earlier, he was voted prettiest baby in the baby show at the Marion County Fair. There is no mention of him dancing for the judges, but I have a suspicion that may have been what won them over.

Indianapolis Star (Indianapolis), Aug. 20, 1909. Available from ProQuest.

Hellena Thiers
Hellena Thiers, a 33-year-old woman residing with family in Fulton County in 1880, toured the country as a “celebrated lady aeronaut” during her career as a balloonist. She directed the construction of a balloon named General Grant that was taken to Woodward’s Gardens amusement park in San Francisco in 1879.

It was a dangerous profession. It is reported in the Oct. 16, 1878 Angola Herald that after a cancelled balloon race between Theirs and a Professor Harry Gilbert, he was injured in a crash when he took to the air during bad weather conditions. “Thence the air-ship veered to the top of another tree, striking with such force that it was ripped wide open, and descended like a ball of lead…”

Angola Herald (Angola, Ind.), Oct. 16, 1878. Available from

San Francisco Examiner (San Francisco), June 12, 1879. Available from

Nellie Pine
In 1870, a Mrs. Nellie Pine from South Bend was practicing as a clairvoyant physician. Her services were advertised frequently in the local papers at the time.

In the July 1, 1867 New Albany Daily Ledger, someone going by A. Citizen writes advertising her services, “Are you sick? Yes, I am sick, and sick of humbug Doctors…Go and see Mrs. Pine if you want health; I have proved her power.”

New Albany Daily Ledger (New Albany, Ind.), July 05, 1867. Available in Newspaper Archive.

Professor Zoe Zoe
Another clairvoyant going by the name of Professor Zoe Zoe got into a bit of trouble shortly after he was enumerated in the 1900 Terre Haute census.

He was arrested for stealing the ring of Laura Wright, the woman he was lodging with at the time. This tongue-in-cheek article from the Evansville Courier mentions the census by incorrectly reporting:

An enterprising census enumerator got Zoe Zoe’s real name before the fortune teller was taken back to Terre Haute, but nobody else did as none of the police officials are able to perform his feats and give names unless the person will talk – and Zoe Zoe wouldn’t. The local police do not think the Terre Haute officials have a very strong case against the clairvoyant, and expect to see him back here lifting the veil for gullible Evansvillians at a liberal price per lift.

In reality, the suspected thief’s true identity remained a secret, even to the census enumerator.

Evansville Courier (Evansville, Ind.), June 14, 1900. Available in

Naitto Sisters
Circus performers were enumerated at the Fair Grounds Hotel on April 8, 1940. Walja Yu, also known as Ala Ming or Ala Naitto, came to town with her family to perform a high wire act.

In the newspaper article below, she is shown walking the wire with her sister, Nio. “Sisters who walk a straight line, are the Naittos, who do new and startling feats on the tight wire in the middle ring of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Combined Circus…They are the only girls in the world accomplishing somersaults on the tight wire.”

Evening News (Harrisburg, Pa.), May 25, 1938. Available in

Chester and Jewell Austin

Chester and Jewell Austin, in Randolph County in 1930, listed their occupations as barnstormers, a term for those that performed airplane stunts such as wing-walking and parachuting. Based on the description in the April 27, 1930 Star Press, their act was quite the sensation. Chester would hang from a rope ladder as he picked a handkerchief up from the ground. Jewell was a parachute jumper, and she piloted the plane used in the act.

The Star Press (Muncie, Ind.), April 27, 1930. Available in

Palladium Item (Richmond, Ind.), Aug. 23, 1929. Available in

Joseph Burkholder
It’s likely whoever reported Joseph Burkholder, a 47-year-old in 1870 Whitley County, Indiana as, “too lazy for anything,” was having a little bit of fun at his expense or didn’t think much of his work ethic. Either way, the enumerator recorded the disparaging comment and now its history.

David A. Readfield
In 1850 in Marion County, a Mr. David A. Readfield has the perplexing title of pain killer listed as his occupation. What does a professional pain killer do for a living?

After a bit of research, I found out he was likely the same individual listed in the Nov. 4, 1852 Indianapolis Daily State Sentinel as a distributor of Perry Davis’ Vegetable Pain Killer. It was a mixture of opium, alcohol and other various ingredients. It was marketed at the time to both adults and children to treat pain caused by anything ranging from cuts and bruises to cholera.

According to the notice in the paper, Redfield had an injunction against him for not paying debts owed as an agent of Davis’ Pain Killer. This bit of trouble may be why he is not listed as a pain killer on later censuses.

Indianapolis Daily State Sentinel (Indianapolis), Nov. 4, 1852. Available in Newspaper Archive.

Monroeville Breeze (Monroeville, Ind.), Sept. 24, 1885. Available in

Cheerful Gardener
It’s fitting that a man with an attention-grabbing name like Cheerful Gardener would have an equally noteworthy career. Surprisingly, he wasn’t actually a cheerful gardener by profession. He, his wife Mary and a boarder named Violet Clement were elephant trainers for the circus in Miami County in 1930. He trained them to do a number of tricks, including carrying people about with their head in an elephant’s mouth. Cheerful later moved to Los Angeles to train elephants for Hollywood films. He was inducted into the International Circus Hall of Fame in Peru, Indiana where one of his uniforms is on display.

Portage Daily Register (Portage, Wis.) July 11, 1921. Available in

Here are some other interesting Indiana occupations from U.S. census records:

U.S. census records are available through these online resources:

In addition, the library has a guide to the Genealogy Division’s Census Collections by State if you prefer to see what the library has in other formats, such as print or microfilm. You never know, you may learn you have an acrobat, clairvoyant or other remarkable profession in your own family tree!

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