Love found and lost in the Hoosier State

One of the tasks I have as a librarian with the Indiana State Library is fact checking the Indiana Legacy’s Indiana Marriages Through 1850. I fact check the marriage index by searching the Indiana marriage records that are available through the Family Search Affiliate Library database.

When searching for the marriage of Columbus C. Pease and Rachel Conger in Dearborn County, I found supplemental material; a poem written by Judge A. J. Cotton, the judge that solemnized the marriage.

In this gay world of fruits and flowers

There’s nought that some will please

But twill be seen this damsel fair

At least is fond of PEASE

I believe the poem came naturally to Judge Cotton, as he seems particularly inspired by observations in his community as demonstrated by his published book of poetry, “Cotton’s Keepsake: Poems on Various Subjects; To Which Is Appended a Short Autobiographical Sketch of the Life of the Author, and a Condensed History of the Early Settlements, Incidents, and Improvements of the Country, From the Early Settlers Themselves.”

When it came to adding a little something extra, it seems that Indiana marriage officiants in the 1800s couldn’t help themselves. When searching for the marriage of Samuel H. Owen and Mariah L. Hitchcock of Floyd County, I found the Reverend B. H. Hickox drew love birds as an addition to the marriage seal.

Close-up of the love bird seal.

Sometimes, it was a spouse who took creative liberties. A rhyming notice from David Andrews appeared a few times in The Western Sun and General Advertiser newspaper during the month of May 1840.

Historically, when a woman deserted a marriage, a husband could claim that he was not financially responsible for anything the wife may purchase by credit. David was sure to notify all that he was not responsible for any of Maryann’s debts.

In Knox County, Indiana on Sept. 13,1825, a David Andrews and a Mary Ann McFadden were married, this very well may be the same couple that had marriage woes in 1840.

David seems to have had trouble with his whole family as there appeared ads in the same newspaper for a David Andrews and a George Andrews that had runaway, however these ads did not rhyme.

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

“Cotton’s Keepsake: Poems on Various Subjects; To Which Is Appended a Short Autobiographical Sketch of the Life of the Author, and a Condensed History of the Early Settlements, Incidents, and Improvements of the Country, From the Early Settlers Themselves” by A.J. Cotton, Indiana State Library, call number: ISLI 977.201 D285c 1977.

“Cotton’s Keepsake. Poems on Various Subjects”
“Our Land Our Literature” – Alfred Johnson Cotton
“Strangers to Us All: Lawyers and Poetry” – Alfred Johnson Cotton
“Wiggles and Squiggles”

Helpful online legal resources available from the Indiana Courts website

Many, or perhaps even most, public librarians in Indiana know that forms for filing for a divorce in Indiana are available at the Indiana Supreme Court Self-Service Legal Center. The forms are divided into four categories: with children with an agreement on all issues, with children without an agreement on all issues, without children with agreement on all issues and without children without an agreement on all issues. But, did you know resources for a number of other legal issues can be found on the Indiana Courts’ website, either at the public courts portal or at the self-service web page?

In addition to divorce, the Indiana Courts web pages also provide helpful information about child support guidelines. Furthermore, parenting time guidelines, a calendar and a child support calculator are available. The Self-Service Legal Center also contains sample forms for expungement and links to help with mortgage foreclosures. A page on small claims court provides a video to watch before making a decision to go to small claims court without an attorney, as well as a link to Marion County Small Claims Court (damages limited to $8,000) rules and forms and a handbook on how to handle small claims court cases outside of Marion County. Information on how to apply for a marriage license is also available.

When you share these resources with patrons seeking assistance with legal research, remember to steer clear of practicing law. Avoid telling the patron your opinion or what you think they should do by using an appropriate disclaimer such as “I can’t offer you any advice. You would need to see an attorney to get legal advice on your individual situation.”

Additional resources:
Indiana Child Support Hotline
(800) 840-8757
Automated payment information is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Customer service representatives are available from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday.

Indiana Parenting Time Helpline
(844) 836-0003
Help is available from 12 p.m. until 5 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday. Staffed by licensed attorneys who can provide education about parenting time guidelines, information about visitation questions and relevant referrals for assistance.

This blog post was written by Cheri Harris, certification program director/legal consultant, Indiana State Library. Cheri can be reached by email.

Indexes moving into Legacy

The librarians in the Indiana Division are working hard to move two of our most used guides into the Indiana State Library’s Legacy database. Legacy is a searchable database for many of our library’s indexes. The Newspaper Holdings guide and the Biography Index are moving.

Newspaper Holdings on Microfilm: The state library has the largest collection of Indiana Newspapers on microfilm. While digitization allows access to old newspapers online, we continue to archive Indiana newspapers on microfilm. This searchable index will allow users to search our microfilmed holdings by title, city, county or date range. Until all the records have been moved, it’s still advisable to use the online holdings guides.

Biography Index: The Biography Index points users to biographical sketches of Hoosiers from dozens of print sources available in our collection. Originally on cards located in the Great Hall, they were later scanned and put online. Now the index is making a new home for itself on the Legacy platform. We had stopped indexing about 15 years ago, but this new platform will allow us to once again grow this amazing resource.

Original location of the Biography Index.

Legacy can now be found via direct link on the main page of the library’s INSPIRE website.

Stay tuned!

This blog post was written by Monique Howell of the Indiana Division at the Indiana State Library. For more information, contact the Indiana State Library at (317) 232-3670 or Ask-A-Librarian.


First Comes Love, Then Comes Marriage, Then Comes… Marriage Records?

One of the most exciting and challenging aspects of genealogy is locating original records that document your ancestors’ lives. Finding original marriage records are no exception to this.

Unlike birth and death records, marriage records in Indiana date back to the establishment of each individual county. To this day, original marriage records are kept by the Clerk of Courts office in each of the 92 counties. If you know the date and place of your ancestors’ marriage, the research is easy: contact the county and request the record. What if you don’t know when or where your ancestors were married? What if the county where they got married doesn’t seem to have the record? Where do you go next? Continue reading