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 Newspapers.com.

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

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 Newspapers.com.

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 Newspapers.com.

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 Newspapers.com.

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

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 Newspapers.com.

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 Newspapers.com.

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.

Using maps in genealogy research

Maps are an incredibly useful tool for genealogy and local history researchers. They can show insights into how people lived that are not readily apparent through other documentary sources. They can be used to help untangle research questions and show off your research in new ways. Maps are also fun to use in research; they are often colorful and provide a level of visual interest not often found in written documents.

Maps show how people lived in and experienced their world

Southern Indiana as surveyed in 1815. Image from the Indiana State Library Digital Collections.

Maps are a useful snapshot of how a place was at a specific point in time. Looking at modern maps can be useful in your research, but an old map can show you how an area appeared at the time your ancestor lived there. Whether you are looking at a river that has changed its course or the expansion of a city over time, contemporaneous maps illustrated the environment that people of the past would have seen on a daily basis and also give you insight into how they lived. For example, you can see the distance people traveled to reach stores, entertainment venues and places of worship or see how close they lived to their friends and neighbors.

This 1887 fire insurance map shows the Indiana State Capitol Building bounded on the east and west by Tennessee and Mississippi Streets. These streets are now called Capitol Avenue and Senate Avenue.

If your ancestors were rural dwellers, you might be interested in rural route maps. Although these often do not name the residents of each house, you may be able to identify the households using census records. Soil survey maps are also of interest, as they show the soil type and quality for an area and may provide insight into the types of crops that were grown in a region.

Weather maps are also interesting to researchers. You can use them to look at weather patterns for a region or to find the weather forecast for your ancestors’ birthdays, weddings or other major life events. From the early 20th century on, weather maps were often published in newspapers on a daily or weekly basis. You can also use newspapers to find articles on significant weather events, such as tornadoes, hurricanes or blizzards.

Average temperature and rainfall for May; Indianapolis Star, May 3, 1936, page 34.

Topographical maps primarily show geographic, rather than man-made, features. They were invented to depict three-dimensional features such as mountains, hills and valleys in a two-dimensional medium. For family history researchers, these maps show how geography may have influenced settlement patterns and how people interacted with one another. For example, families who lived just a few miles from one another may not have socialized much if they were separated by steep hills or a large river.

Topographical maps are available digitally from the United States Geological Survey. They include the most recent maps, as well as historic maps.

Boundary changes, or how to move while standing still

Virginia as it appeared prior to the creation of West Virginia. Map published by S. Taintor & Co., Rochester, NY and Philadelphia, PA, 1862.

On June 19, 1863, the people of Charleston went to bed in Virginia. The next morning, they awoke in West Virginia. Were they sleepwalking? Abducted by aliens? No, on June 20, 1863, West Virginia became a state and thousands of people were suddenly living in a new place without even moving.

Most boundary changes are not quite so dramatic and involved either the establishment of a new county or the redrawing of county or township lines as population levels grew over time. One of the best resources for tracing boundary changes in the United States is the Atlas of Historical County Boundaries hosted by the Newberry Library.

Make your own maps!
There are many mapping apps and software available online, in both free and paid versions. You can use these to make your own maps that document information relevant to your ancestors. That may include mapping migration routes, cemeteries, land ownership or other geographic information.

For example, the map above shows Indiana cities and towns that a family lived in between 1800 and 2000. The different colored pins denote different branches of the family. These pins show how the family moved and interacted over the years.

The map above shows select cemeteries between Paragon and Martinsville in Morgan County, Indiana. The family members who are buried in these cemeteries were all rural dwellers and locating their exact residences has proved difficult. However, by mapping the cemeteries used by the family, we are able to narrow down the area where they lived. If you are having trouble locating cemeteries, Find a Grave provides the geocoordinates of almost every cemetery they have indexed, which makes pinpointing the cemeteries a breeze.

Looking for maps? You’re in the right place
Do you need a plat map? Highway map? State park map? The Indiana State Library has digitized a wide variety of Indiana maps, which are available through our Digital Collections and are available to researchers everywhere.

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

PAM files, a ‘hidden’ source of genealogical treasures

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why use the Indiana State Library? Researchers, teachers and students, we’re here for you!

Here at the State Library, we do a variety of things. Our library’s print and online resources cover a wealth of subjects and the assistance we provide gives patrons and data users a vast array of options for finding answers to their questions. Librarians and staff here are cross-trained in assisting with answering questions about genealogy, Indiana history, general reference, data about Indiana, specifics about library usage and research in federal and state government documents, among other topics.

Our library fits a few different categories.

  1. We are considered a research library, and many of our employees have belonged to the ACRL, the Association of College and Research Libraries. Although we are not an academic library – a library associated with a college or university – we do provide access to several in-depth special collections such as our Genealogy, Indiana, Rare Books and Manuscripts, cage and Holliday collections. The State Library is a research library in the broader sense of the term.
  2. We are considered a special library by the American Library Association definition because we are a library that operates within a state government. If you view the history of the library, you’ll see that we were originally created to serve our state legislature. The library’s mission has grown over the years. For a brief period beginning in the 1930s, the library was part of the Indiana Department of Education. We now serve under the executive branch of state government and we are open to the public.
  3. We are also a government information library. Several of our librarians consider themselves to be government information librarians. We handle requests about federal and state government documents and data on a regular basis. The government documents collections here include our Federal Depository Library Program collection, our Indiana state documents collection and our State Data Center collection.
  4. Our focus is on Indiana history. Many of the patrons we serve are looking for the history behind a certain person, group of people or Indiana location. Our history resources include original census records going back to the first census in 1790, county histories and maps of Indiana available from before statehood in 1816, rare family history volumes from residents of Indiana and surrounding states and the largest collection of Indiana newspapers in the world. Indiana history is one of our specialties here, so Indiana State Library staff are happy to help with history questions. Our building is also a living historical artifact. Built in 1934, it contains beautiful architectural details that you’ll need to visit to see. Contact us for a tour of the State Library!

*A friendly research tip, while you perform your research here, remember to collect information on the sources you view. This will ensure you do not repeat research you’ve already done and it helps while you’re creating citations for your reference lists and works cited pages.

In addition to our research collections, we also house the Indiana Young Readers Center and the Talking Book and Braille Library, both services of federal library programs through the Library of Congress – the Indiana Center for the Book and the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled, respectively.

Last but not least, the Indiana Historical Bureau shares our building and is a part of our organization. The Bureau manages the state markers program and runs a highly educational research blog. Their website contains excellent resources for educators here.

The Indiana State Library and Historical Bureau can also direct you to additional resources at the Indiana Archives and Records Administration, a partner agency. Discover more about its holdings here.

This blog post was written by Katie Springer, reference librarian. For more information, contact the Reference and Government Services Division at 317-232-3678 or submit an Ask-A-Librarian request.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Back to the future, 1950s Style

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Or use Ask-A-Librarian 24/7.

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

Books to inspire your next family history project

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, how did I do it?

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

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

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

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

The Circle, Dec. 19, 1952, page 9

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

The Circle, March 7, 1952, page 8

And a photo of my grandmother.

The Circle, July 1956, page 14

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

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

The Circle, Dec. 19, 1952, page 8

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

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

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

Other online Indiana company employee newsletters to explore:

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

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

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

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

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

Understanding and accessing Indiana state censuses and other enumerations

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

Indiana Territorial Census, 1807

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

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

Enumerations of African Americans

Harrison County Register of Negroes and Mulattoes, ca. 1850

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

School enumerations

School enumeration, Fulton County, 1896

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

Enumerations of registered voters

Index to Registered Voters, Pike County, 1919-1920

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

Enumerations of soldiers, widows, orphans and/or pensioners

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

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

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

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

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