What Will I Do on Summer Vaca?

We are on a balanced schedule in our school district now.  While I love having an extended Spring and Fall Break, I must say that I really do desire the time to actually be lazy in the summer.  We have just over a month and a half of summer break.  And while I should be delighted to have that time, I am already finding that it is already filling up.  So I am nervous about not getting in a genealogy trip.  I need to start planning now.  But here’s the problem.  I have so many places I would like to go that I’m not sure where I should focus.  Here are some of my options:

Trip 1: To Springfield and then Keithsburg (Mercer Co.), Illinois

This is more for Andrew’s family.  His Nelson branch ends here.  The problem is that we have no death date for James A. Nelson.  James was born in Kentucky, moved to Indiana where he married Sarah Heaton.  The two of them soon moved to Keithsburg and as far as I know this is where James ended.  Sarah is widowed by 1870.  James is found in the 1860 census.  So where is this guy?  He would have been 47 when the Civil War started, so I doubt that is what happened to him.  Anyway…the point is…I’ve hit a brick wall with this guy.  I am hoping a visit to the capital and the town where he lived might shed some light on this guy.  Pros:  1. Close to Indiana.  Not the longest drive in the world.  2. Right on the Mississippi River, so that could be awesome.  3. I have always wanted to go to Springfield and see all the Lincoln stuff.  Cons:  1. Keithsburg floods…and badly.  I believe that many Mercer County records have been destroyed. 2.  Not the most exciting drive in the world.

Trip 2:  To Union County, South Carolina.

This is my ultimate brick wall.  This is as far back as I have gotten in my Brown family.  Alexander Brown was born in here in 1761 to unknown parents.  He married Sarah Benson and moved up to Darke County, Ohio where some Browns still live today.  Of all the family limbs that I have wanted to trace back to the origin country, this is it.  It’s my surname!  Come on!  There was some speculation that Alexander may have been a Quaker and moved up to Ohio to get away from the slavery issues that plagued the south, along with many other Quakers at this time.  As we all know, Quakers were among the first people to denounce slavery and act on it, even in the north.  Good old Quakers.  I would probably need to stay in a town between Columbia (the capitol) and Union (county seat of Union County) to have the best chance of finding information.  Pros: 1.  I LOVE the south.  In fact the southeast part of this country is one of my favorite places to visit, mostly for the landscape.  I find it extremely beautiful.  And I don’t mind the heat.  2. It’s the Browns!  3. There seems to be plenty of cheap places to stay between Columbia and Union, particularly in Newberry.  Sumter National Forest is nearby, and might require a visit.  Cons:  1.) It’s much farther than Illinois.  2.)  It might be more difficult to find someone interested in going with me (mainly Andrew who hates the hot hot heat).  3.) If no one has figured out Alexander by now, can I? 

Trip 3:  Binghamton, NY and Guilford County, NY

This is an area that my Lacey/Burch/Burtch branch lived and worked.  What is most interesting about this area to me is that my gg and ggg grandfathers were architects here.  Many of the buildings that still stand in Binghamton were designed by them.  I also have quite the little mystery with my gg grandfather Mister Bascom Taylor Lacey (AKA B.T. Lacey).  He was 90 years old and living in East Stroudsburg, PA in 1956.  I am guessing he didn’t do a ton of moving around before this. He is not buried with his first wife (who was not even provided a headstone) and I can’t seem to find where his second wife is buried either.  I thought that because he family business (and much of the family themselves) were based in NY that I would be able to find some info on him after his death in Binghamton.  I could be totally off-base here.  Pros:  1. I know with certainty that the buildings my people built are still standing.  I will get to stand in them and admire up close.  2. It’s a very pretty drive to NY with the potential for lots of little stops along the way.  3. This B.T. Lacey mystery is driving me nuts and I would love to know where he was finally “laid to rest”.  Please someone find me a flipping obituary!  4. I could maybe combine it with the PA trip that I plan on definitely taking in July.  Cons:  1. Once again, a long drive.  Who knows how much gas will be this summer.  2. New York = expensive.  I know it’s not the city, but the closer you get to the east coast the higher the prices generally.  3. I am going to NYC this Memorial Day.  Going again seems a little overkill.

Places I will definitely be visiting:

  • Darke County, Ohio (Brown fam)
  • Rush County, Indiana (Boyce fam)
  • Wabash, Indiana (Oyler fam)
  • Marshall County, Indiana (Reed fam)
  • Hendricks County, Indiana (Sparks fam)
  • Eastern PA (my mother’s whole side of the family)

So…any ideas you guys?  Anybody know of any more pros and cons of each location?  I could use a little help deciding.

Thanks for sharing, Girl Scouts!

Early on in the history of this blog I wrote a post about how the Girl Scouts devoured a cemetery that I REALLY wanted to go to.  I had a sneaking suspicion that within this cemetery lay quite a few of Andrew’s old family, including great great great great grandparents.  I finally got the guts to confront this nasty Girl Scout camp, “Camp Dellwood” (I am using finger quotes…as I am typing this…as difficult as that sounds).  I had the help of my trusty cemetery-stomper friend, Jumwaltie (the spelling has been altered protect the innocent).  Jumwaltie has been a trusty friend in cemetery-stomping for years, and as far as I am concerned…things better stay that way.  We call it “cemetery-stomping” but we don’t actually stomp on them.  It just a crass/shortened way to describe driving around and visiting graveyards.  We don’t jump on headstones or anything weird like that.  Anyway…I digress.

Jumwaltie joined me on our trip.  She played navigator to my driver.  Thank heavens she did, because even as I was driving my car sickness was making we woozy.  Uncool.  Road trips are my favorite thing in the world and this situation seems to be getting worse.  Navigating (reading anything) makes it all ten times worse.  Anyway, Jumwaltie got us to Camp Dellwood.  We drove in the front entrance and the “park ranger” was washing his car in his driveway.  I met him and said that I heard there was a cemetery back in the camp that I was eager to visit.  He seemed nice enough, possibly annoyed, but definitely nice.  The gatekeeper allowed us through.

Old Union Cemetery on the west wide of Indianapolis, Raceway Road, located inside Camp Dellwood.

About 500 yards into the camp the cemetery was on the left.  It seemed pretty well maintained, especially considering the age of many of the headstones.  What I found out was pretty awesome.  Andrew’s great great great great grandfather was buried there.  His name was John Hornaday.  His family relocated from Chatham County, North Carolina and ended up in western Marion County and Eastern Hendricks County.  In fact, Hornaday Road runs just north and south just 2 miles west of the Old Union Cemetery.  This is the cool part..

Andrew’s grandmother, Dorothy Boyce Nelson, was John’s great great grand-daughter.  She was also a girl scout troop leader.  According to her she used to spend many a nights camping at Dellwood with her troops.  I haven’t talked to her about it, but chances are she had no idea she was camping directly next to where her great great grandparents had been for 100 years already.

Headstone of John Hornaday at Old Union Cemetery

Just goes to show that the girl scouts are good for way more than just Samoas (although they are kind of the best).  Thanks, girl scouts, for sharing in my family history.

It was a good start to an all day trip.  More to come.  Learn how Jumwaltie is convinced that my Andrew and her man-friend are somehow related.

 

Sunday’s Obituary – Death, Destruction, and poor George Norris

During a visit to the Indiana State Library two weeks ago I came upon an amazing amount of information over both Andrew’s family as well as my friend Amy.  The first story I came upon was about Amy’s great great great grandfather, who it turns out died in a horrible grisly accident.  The local newspaper in Washington, Indiana (Daviess County) held back no specifics about the gory details…so obviously I have to post it:

Jan 21, 1887

Death and Destruction

Wrought By the Explosion of a Portable Engine Boiler

“Jack” Norris Torn to Pieces by a Flying Fragment of Iron.

Four Other Men Seriously Injured – Complete Details of the Terrible Accident

Hurled though space!

A sickening mass of living, quivering flesh, mangled beyond recognition, and scarcely a resemblance to humanity.

Such was the sad end of poor Jack Norris.  One of the best known saw mill men and engineers in the county and a man that everybody in northeastern Daviess County knew and respected.

The accident that deprived him of life after fifty-two years residence in Daviess County, happened at twenty minutes after 9 o clock Thursday morning in Barr Township, ten miles northeast of this city.

Norris operated a portable saw mill, and had been running his mill on the farm of Clay Doane, just north of Henry Sefrit’s place, and near the Harrisonville road, since last spring.

The mill worked a force of four or five men when in operation, including Mr. Norris who was the engineer.  His sawyer was his son, John Norris, Jr. The boiler and engine of the mill were purchased about three years ago, and had been used almost constantly from that time.  The engine was about a 16-horse power.

Thursday morning the men went to work as usual, the force consisting of “Jack” Norris, his sons, John and Elbert, Lewis McAtee, and Thomas Murphy.

They were a little later starting than usual Thursday morning.

Clay Doane, owner of the farm where the mill stood, was hauling wood that morning, and he and his team stood on the bank of a little creek or “branch” that runs near the mill.  Shortly after nine o’clock Mr. Doane was startled by a terrific explosion, and for an instant the air about the mill was filled with the debris of the wrecked saw mill – boards, logs, splinters, pieces of iron, parts of the boiler, and coals of fire from the furnace.

The most horrible flying object, however, was the dismembered and mangled body of a man, which was shot through the air and surrounding tree-tops for a distance of more than 100 yards.

The body was that of Jack Norris.

He had evidently been standing at the side of the boiler when it let go, and a section, weighing a thousand pounds, had carried him in its flight through space, tearing his head from his body and reducing his form to shapeless and bleeding mass in the twinkling of an eye.

Hi body was split open, and from it, yet quivering with life, some of his internal organs were torn from their places and strewed along the terrible track of the heavy piece of boiler plate, which swept through the air with irresistible force, cutting limbs from trees 30 or 40 feet from the ground, and splattering their inanimate trunks with the brains and blood of the luckless engineer.

Having exhausted its force, the mass of iron fell in the road 100 yards from where it started, and a few feet further on lay the lifeless remains of Norris, who was mangled beyond recognition. 

Bits of his flesh, hair, and beard were found sticking to the pieces of boiler.  Death, of course, was instantaneous, and he was killed as suddenly as if he had been prostrated by a bolt of lightning.

The other men who were working in the mill were all more or less injured.  John Norris Jr., the sawyer, had an arm broken, but was not rendered unconscious.

Elbert Norris, aged 18, Willis McAtee, aged 35, and Thomas Murphy were all prostrated by the force of the explosion, the breath knocked out of them, and each more or less seriously hurt.  Elbert Norris’ hurts were of the most serious character and may yet prove fatal.  He has a dangerous scalp wound, and was bruised about the body.

Clay Doane was the only man about the mill who was not injured.  He stood within 100 yards of the mill when the explosion occurred, and says the shock did not affect him, nor even frighten his team.  All the occupants of the houses in the neighborhood, however, felt the shock.

Mr. Doane was, of course, the first on the scene of the shocking accident, and he cared for the wounded as best he could till aid came.  The body of the dead man was put in as presentable shape as possible under the circumstances, and conveyed to the deceased’s home, near St. Mary’s.  The wounded men were also taken home, and their injuries attended to.

Based on plat maps and the description given in the article I believe I was able to work out where the accident took place.  Just north of the Amish school (north of Cannelsburg) on County Road 775 East, south of County Road 400 North.

Assumed location of accident where George "Jack" Norris died, north of Cannelsburg, Indiana

Jacob Yazel’s 30 Pound Liver

Unfortunately while I’ve been on break I have only had one day where I was able to make it to the Indiana State Library.  It was, however, a great visit.  I learned a lot of interesting info.  I was mostly looking for obituaries for Andrew’s family.  The goal is to get as many copied and recorded with the information transferred into my tree as possible.  It was amazing how helpful it was to fill some holes in my mom’s branch while out in Scranton.

Here was one of the most interesting stories I found.  I will just transcribe the entire news story from the Bourbon News Mirror in Marshall County on June 13, 1907:

“Last Thursday morning an operation was performed on Jacob Yazel, who lived near Inwood, for the purpose of locating the trouble he was having and seeking a remedy.  The operation was performed by Dr. McClure, of Inwood, and Dr. Shaffer, of Chicago, a son of Dr. Shaffer from Rochester.  When the surgeons had finished opening the abdomen of Mr. Yazel it was discovered that the outside of the liver was so hard that it was almost impossible to insert surgeons’ needles in it and when it was possible to do so the inside of the organ was spongy, thus indicating a condition that was incurable.  The wound was sewed up after the surgeons had made an exhaustive examination and though the patient rallied nicely it was seen he was not long for the world and on the following morning, about 6:30, he died.  The liver was so diseased that it was estimated to weigh almost 30 pounds.  The operation lasted 40 minutes.  Mr. Yazel had been ill for some weeks and all the physicians could do was to insist on the operation.  A few days before his death he sent for Attorney Thomas, of this place, and had his will made, leaving the farm and personal property to his wife.  He explained that he had made up his mind that he had to be operated on and took the will making as precaution, fearing he would not be able to survive it.  The deceased was about 65 years of age and was well knowsn and respected and leaves besides his wife a family of children, grown, who are all doing well.  The funeral was held Sunday. ”

A 30 pound liver?  My husband made the point that my dog is 30 pounds.  Now, this is a newspaper from 1907 and accuracy was never a strong point of sensational journalism.  But even a 20 pound liver would be amazingly impressive.

The other thing I love about this article is that it was front page news!  A surgery of one of the residents was front page news.

Anyway, it is sad that he died of liver failure at a young age, but this was an interesting bit of history that I enjoyed reading.

This is a photo that was THOUGHT to be Jacob Yazel.  If anyone out there sees this and knows otherwise, please respond.  I am guessing he is the one seated.  He would be around the right age.

Possibly Jacob Yazel and Family

Jacob Yazel is Andrew’s Great Great Great Grandfather in this way.  Andrew Nelson, son of > Gloria Reed, daughter of > James Reed, son of > Edna Faye Seymour, daughter of > Maude Yazel, daughter of > Jacob Yazel!

Friday I’m in Love

As I was walking around the IU Auditorium with two of my besties (who both worked with me there in college) I began to feel sorry for anyone who didn’t go to Indiana University.  I fell in love with the campus all over again, just as I do every time I visit.  I don’t know that IU is the best school in the world, but it’s got to be one of the most beautiful, and I think that counts for something.

Yesterday was a day of loving all over southern Indiana…but let’s start at the beginning.

A few weeks ago, a couple friends of mine, who have both been mentioned in previous posts, decided that we needed to take a trip down to Bloomington.  We all worked there together during college at the IU Auditorium box office and we wanted to visit with our old boss and co-worker.  I could seriously go on and on about how working there was one of the best things I ever did in my life.  Most of us that worked there probably can.  I made amazing friends there that I can’t imagine not having in my life now.

Sorry, I’m gushing.  I told you.  I loved it there.

So we planned on Friday.  Of course, anywhere I go I have to figure out if there is some cemetery or site I can visit to further my genealogical study.  Well, it turns out that one of my friends, C-Dogg B-Dizzle, has her roots in Southern Indiana!  I have made some mention of her Bloomington connections in previous posts, but C-Dogg had never done any research with me herself.  This would be perfect!

Stop One – Yogi’s Grill and Bar, Bloomington, IN

Good old Andrew let me borrow his car (which is way nicer than mine) to take the trip south.  We got to Yogi’s just in time.  I kind of wish now that I had taken a picture of the alcoholic beverage menu board.  It was amazing.  I forgot how cheap it is to drink in Bloomington.  We met up with Marge and Stacy and had a great old time talking about who is doing what now and what is new in the Auditorium, Theatre, and ticketing worlds.  I had my “usual”.  It was awesome.

Stop Two – White Oak Cemetery, Bloomington, IN

I have already been to White Oak Cemetery, and was lucky to have already searched the whole thing over to find C-Dogg’s family here.  Her Brosman family had been in the area for generations and happened to be buried in a neighborhood I love, just blocks from the last apartment where I lived in B-ton.

She got out her own camera and started snapping away at Brosmans that just sort of littered the west side of the cemetery.

C-Dogg, getting shots of all her Brosman kin.

We noticed something strange about the headstones at the cemetery.  While many of the stones are professionally made, and have amazingly stood the test of time, there were quite a few that were definitely hand-carved.  Here were some of my favorites:

Florence Hunter born July 20, 1888 and died January 15, 1911. Cutlery (I believe they are all butter knives) is holding her headstone "in place". What is this all about?

Woodrow Minks, born Jan 10, 1915 and died Oct 25, 1926. Notice the backard 'S' in "son". Weird, right? We saw a few with the letters carved in backwards.

And we moved on.

Stop Three – Erin’s Dream House, West of Bloomington, IN

We hopped in the car and headed toward our next stop, which is sort of my dream house.  I have visions of retiring early and running a bed and breakfast in the country, but close enough to a big city or town that I don’t feel like I am necessarily separated from the wider world.  A few months ago I noticed a house in southern Indiana (we won’t even get into my house hunting obsession) that fits that description perfectly, and I want it, now.  It’s an 1890 Queen Anne that is begging for someone to love it up.  The interior is filled with original woodwork, staircase, doors, hardware on doors, hardware on windows, and then some.  It is for sale for only $65K.  I tried to convince C-Dogg to do it, since I could live vicariously through her…but she didn’t take the bait.  I think she was scared off by the fact that the home is currently uninhabitable and would probably take $50-$75k to get there. Maybe Jumwaltie would do it.  She seemed excited about it as well.

"Buy me, Erin! If you can't save me, I'll die!" This is what this house says to me.

Somebody tell me how to make this happen for myself.  Thanks!

Stop Four: Burch Cemetery, between Stanford and Cincinnati IN, on SR 225 N

I honestly cannot believe we found this place.  We had google map directions and everything and still drove right past it.  We initially decided that it must be in the woods, and in someone else’s property, and we might have to just give up on this one.  I’m glad we didn’t.

I’m glad I turned around.  As we drove slowly back we noticed this narrow gravel drive that looked like someone’s driveway.  “I guess I’ll try this one!”, I said, as we chugged up a very steep hill, gravel splashing out from the tires behind us.  And then there is was….out of nowhere.  It had a gate around it and everything.  Somebody must be tending the property cause it was not overgrown.  We were elated to find it.

We found a whole cemetery full of some of C-Dogg’s distant relatives in here.  Unfortunately the one we were really hoping to find, a man who had actually fought as a Revolutionary War soldier, was absent from the party.  C-dogg snapped some more pictures and we hopped back in the car.  We prepared for the steep descent and were on our way to the next stop.

Stop Five – Union Bethel Cemetery, Richland Township, Greene County, IN

After a few little wrong turns we finally found this quaint little cemetery.  We found C-Dogg’s ggg grandfather who moved with the whole family to Indiana from Pennsylvania.  It was one of the easiest to find headstones in the whole cemetery, in fact.

One thing we found strange about this cemetery was that there were ornamental plantings in front of a lot of headstones, which were actually difficult to move enough to see the inscriptions.  I’m not sure I understand the point of planting in front of a headstone.

We didn’t stick around in this one for very long because we mentioned to Stacy, our old co-worker, that we would love to come back to the Auditorium before we left town again.  We were running a little late.

Stop Six – The beautiful IU Auditorium, Bloomington, IN

If you haven’t seen a show here then you’re missing out.  The murals in the front halls, painted by Thomas Hart Benton are reason enough just to make a visit.  We were thrilled to hear that they turned the jankety old University Theatre (which had been closed for years after opening a new Theatre building) into IU Cinema.

Sadly, we didn’t make it back onto campus on time and missed seeing the inside of the new cinema, but I’m so excited that it exists.  On thing that was shocking and amazing was that they reopened along the north side of the Auditorium.  The entire time we went to school there this space was filled with fencing and construction trucks.  In fact, we were just reminiscing about the day a woman got stuck at the stop of one of the construction fences and was afraid to climb down.  Now it is cleared out and beautiful. There is even a new statue of Hoagy Carmichael (who is from the area) out there with some benches and beautiful gardens.

We all sighed, collectively, and were grateful for our alma mater.

Thanks, IU and Bloomington.  You’re kind of the best.

Stop Seven – Ice Cream on Kirkwood, Bloomington, IN

Duh.

Stop Eight – Home, Indianapolis, IN

One of my favorite things about Bloomington was driving to and from Indianapolis, because it is a gorgeous drive.  It’s better to do it at certain times of the day.  Dusk in summer is the absolute best, especially on this most humid days when you can see the air just sit over the fields.

And the Weekend Has Yet to Begin…

I feel like I’m on a bit of a permanent vacation these days.  I know it’s not true.  I go back to work soon.   I’m also doing some work from home in between to keep us off the streets.  Not that my monetary contributions to the household really do anything but pay my students loans…

This sob story is for another time.

Anyway, I have been enjoying lovely little weekday trips.  I had one yesterday and one today…both with a little ancestry research in the mix.

Here is yesterday:

A few weeks ago I was at the Indiana State Library (which, as you remember, I have mad love for) and found out that a group of my ancestors, the Staudts, came from Wolfersweiler, Germany.  Is that not the best name for a town?  It might be.  So I also discovered that a woman by the name of Burgert had written a number of books and pamphlets over German immigration to the United States.  So I looked to see if the one about Wolfersweiler was anywhere in a library near me, and it was, kind of.  It was in Anderson.

Anderson is a sleepy little town NE of Indianapolis, known for a few things:

You might not know this about me, but I love the pony races.  I looked at this as an opportunity to take a trip and see some horsies.  I called up a couple dependable adventureres:  My younger sister, ‘Lil Amy, and my trusty friend in genealogy, we’ll call her Jumwaltie.  They were excited to join me on this trip.

We got to Anderson, drove through the downtown, and all got kind of sad.  It was a bit mopey.  The library was kind of awesome though.  And it was right next door to a Rax!  I haven’t seen a Rax since about 1990, which is when they all closed in Indianapolis.  I still get a little reminiscent and teary-eyed thinking about the plastic alligator cups that came with the kids meals.  They were so great.  Anyway…

We find the Indiana Room very easily at the library and I found my book within 2 minutes of stepping foot in there.  It is a very well organized space.  I got the information I needed…and then looked around to see what everyone else was doing.  Jumwaltie was looking up some of her own family from Bucks County, Pennsylvania and found some birth records.  Lil Amy was doing her favorite research activity, hunting down death records of absolute strangers.  She finds the way people died to be very interesting (and sometimes amusing).  The most interesting record she found was in one of the Marion County, Indiana books.  One little boy was killed by a streetcar right outside of where Lil Amy used to live downtown.  He was 6.  I’m guessing this sort of thing happened a lot.

We also found a very interesting book, which included the inbound and outbound records for the Indianapolis Asylum for Friendless Colored Children.  This was an institution that was opened in Indianapolis by the Quakers in 1870.  Some of the information in there was amusing, some was devastating.  Often children would be taken there if their parents couldn’t care for them (especially if they were sick).  So their in-date might be 3/21 and then on 3/23 it will say that they died.  This happened a lot.

Here is one of my favorite titles of the day, because it was just so tragically blunt:

I had to thumb through this one for a minute. You have to.

After getting some questions and a few dirty looks from a lady who worked in the Indiana Room, we decided to head to the track and get our betting on.

I won’t go into the specifics of how that part of the trip went, but I did come out a winner (and by “winner” I mean I broke even).  Julia won in one race.  Lil Amy won in at least one.  I bet on the girliest-named horse, just for Andrew (like he asked).  That horse did not win.

On the way home we were talking about cemeteries (because we would be visiting a few on Friday) and Lil Amy said there is a cemetery near Julia’s house that she LOVES to visit, and can we please go?  We will LOVE it.  It’s SO CREEPY.  So we agree to go.  Then she started explaining how we get there.  Then it started sprinkling.  I started to wonder if this was a good idea.  It didn’t matter.  She thought it was.

Directions for visiting West Cemetery in Hamilton County.

  1. Park at Walgreens at 96th and Allisonville
  2. Walk west down 96th street, and to be safe stay in the grass (which is not comfortable in sandles currently)
  3. Turn onto the gravel road
  4. Follow the gravel road till it kind of ends
  5. Follow Lil Amy down what seems to be potentially a deer path to the edge of some woods.
  6. Walk into the woods and look for a sort of clearing.
  7. See headstones and walk towards them
  8. Trip on a headstone as soon as you get into the “cemetery” because it is completely covered in overgrown 3 foot tall grass.  It does look as though someone has tried to kill the grass immediately surrounding the center of the cemetery cause it’s now 3 foot tall brown grass.
  9. Start flailing your arms wildly because you realize you are being attacked by giant mosquitoes that have never tasted human blood and are very intrigued.
  10. Look as quickly as possible at headstones that might be interesting and try to remember how you got in and desperately seek out an exit route.
  11. Exit out the obvious, open way that you did not come in because you couldn’t see it.
  12. Seek out a new deer path which hopefully doesn’t have as many stickers and itchy, sting-y plants.  Continue swatting the bugs that have followed you out of the woods.  Note:  These bugs will probably “bug” you till you get to your car again.

Now, I don’t want this all to be negative.  This would be a great place to go when it is not July.  It certainly reminded me of that cemetery search I went on with Andrew about a year ago, where we ended up climbing barbed wire just to get to the edge of a cemetery that was so overgrown we could hardly see anything.  This little bit of 96th Street is still amazingly beautiful.  They are probably developing it very soon, which makes me sad.  If they do I wonder what will happen to this little cemetery in the middle of the woods.  According to findagrave.com this little cemetery was part of the farm that once belonged to John W. Becker.

I wanted nothing more than to get in the shower.  I almost asked Walgreens if they had one in the back.  I figured I would be home soon enough.  I dropped off Jumwaltie.  Then Lil Amy wanted ice cream.  How do I say “no” to that?  I don’t.  We went.  Brics.  That’s all I have to say.  If you’re in Indianapolis, go here.  Now.  Put down whatever you are doing now, and go eat at this shop.

Then I went home…and showered…for longer than was probably appropriate.  It was a good day.  An adventurous day of research is always a good day, especially when it involves gambling at a horsetrack.

 

Ode to The Indiana State Library

Ok, so I’m not actually going to write “an ode” cause I don’t do poetry; but I want to express my love and gratitude for this place which gives me a place to nerd up when the weather and/or my car isn’t eager for me to travel very far.

Now, I’m not talking about the Central Library.  I love that library for a completely different reason.  In fact, sometimes I wish I lived in that library.  Everyone who lives or visits Indianapolis should go up to the 6th floor and just enjoy the view facing south towards the Circle.

Central Library in downtown Indianapolis. Amazing library. Go there now if you haven't been yet.

On the exterior, Indiana State Library seems like the frumpy sister of the Central library but there are amazing resources there.

Today is a great example of reasons I love the State Library.  This is what happened, in order.

1.) I parked out front on the street.  There is almost always street parking out front.  And the tops of the meters were removed!  There were no “no parking” signs.  So that means Free Parking!  And it was!  I did not get a ticket.

2.) I went inside and had no problem finding an open easy place to sit.  The library is generally known for being a haven for homeless people.  I don’t generally have a problem with this, but it can be an issue with space.  Downstairs the only usable computers are hooked up to genealogy research sites and THAT is the only reason they are used.  This is not the biggest hit with the homeless population of the city.

3.) I had been researching a branch of my family, the Staudts (or Stoudts…or even Stouts) and found a book on the internet that would be so very helpful.  It didn’t even occur to me until I got there today that the State Library might actually have this very random family history called “Stoudts and Allied Families”.  And they did!  And I used it.  And it was so very helpful.  For those interested, I found out that my Staudt family came from Germany, a little village called Wolfersweiler.  Sounds awesome, I know.

4.)  It sounded as if there was a scuffle in the entry way about mid-way through my research there, and I had no worries.  There are capable security guards at the library whenever they’re open.

5.)  I asked the librarian a question.  Now, this seems like a silly reason to like a library, but I’m kind of shy about asking strangers questions because I hate sounding stupid.  But honestly, everyone who goes to this library is so geeked out on genealogy it makes me feel more comfortable.

6.)  As I was leaving I noticed a flier with information about presentations they’ll be doing over the course of the next month.  What is really amazing is that it’s free!

In addition to what happened today, other things that get me all excited about the State Library include:

  • The insane collection of newspapers from pretty much every county in the state, and even some nearby states.  I use these regularly, especially for obituaries and marriage announcements.
  • The fact that it’s across the street from the Indiana Historical Society, which also has a small but pretty cool library.
  • Records, records, and more records.  I can get lost in all those deeds, wills, death records, marriage records…it’s all very exciting.  Most of it is sorted by county and very easy to find.

For those who are interested in visiting the Indiana State Library I recommend checking out their website because the hours can be kind of weird; and there are some days they are just not open.

 

 

The Summer Flits Away

I’ve been pretty sick, kids.  It’s been a nasty month ’round these parts.  Tissues….everywhere.  I’m here to tell you though, that I am back.  And I will be blogging regularly again.

Moving on…

For those who are genealogy buffs out there, do you feel like a vacation/trip is wasted if you don’t have a genealogy stop somewhere along the way?  Even just a little cemetery where you wanted to grab a picture…  I really shouldn’t feel this way, but I kind of do.  Andrew and I have been trying to plan a little summer trip which is drive-able and not insanely expensive.  We also wanted to go somewhere new.  It’s been awhile since we’ve gone to Michigan, and neither of us have ever been to the Upper Peninsula (the UP).

Painted Rocks, Upper Peninsula, Michigan - Where we will hopefully be spending a few days this summer.

As soon as Andrew mentioned it I thought, “Yeah!  The Painted Rocks!  That would be super cool.”  Then I immediately began trying to figure out if anyone on the tree is from Michigan.  Not really.  But what about the rest of the route… Wisconsin?  Nope.  Not there either.  Chicagoland area?  Not so much.  I got a little mopey and unexcited about it.  Does this happen to anyone else?  I am committed to making this trip happen this summer, and I am going to get over it (or move the driving route to cover the Wabash area of Indiana).

Onto other news…

We are able to plan a small trip (versus our move into the poor house) because I finally got a teaching job!  Woot!  I will be teaching High School social studies (most likely History).  So I will actually be adding to the household income.  As of now, my income has been paying my student loans, and little more.

The summer is getting away from me though.  I start Orientation on August 2, which means that I have a short window if I want to get any ancestry trips before school starts.  And then I have to fit in the other lovely parts of summer: parties, cocktails on the patio, dinner with friends, walks in the park, and grilling.

Summer, I could just eat you up.

This is going to be a busy summer. They always are these days.

A Return to Daviess County

Months ago I made my first trip to Daviess County.  I posted about it in December here.

My friend Amy was back in Indianapolis, taking a vacation from New Orleans (huh…).  We decided last fall that we just hadn’t gotten enough of this area and that we would have to come back.  So that’s what we did this weekend.  It was a delight.  We learned a ton!  We found many many tombstones of family members.  We visited the home churches of Amy’s family.  We even danced in a cornfield and in a Dairy Queen drive-thru.  It doesn’t get much better than that on a chilly spring Saturday.

Stop 1: GOP Conference Cornfield

We left Indianapolis early after a delightful breakfast at Sister’s Restaurant.  We took I-70 over to Cloverdale and went south all the way to Washington.  The drive was beautiful.  The weather was weird.  Super cloudy and eerie, and then the clouds would go and it was bright blue skies, and then back to grey and sad, then BLUE!  We got pretty close to Washington when we saw a sign for a Historical Marker down another road.  We stop for all historical markers.  So we turned down a small country road, crossed some RR tracks and ended up at a marker in the middle of a cornfield.

We learned from the marker that the GOP had a rally/conference/meeting in this cornfield during the elections in 1938.  We also discovered that they buried a time capsule at the site that is not to be opened till 2038.  I loooove time capsules (or at least the idea behind them), so needless to say I got really excited.  As I was lying on the ground, posing for a picture with the time capsule spot I saw a dead turtle near my head and ran away.  Bleh.

I might be too excited about this time capsule. I kind of want to show up for this opening in 2038. I wonder if the neighbors would think that was weird.

We then walked on the dusty road a bit and smelled the air because it was so so so clean.  It was absolutely silent.  I forgot now nice it is to be in the country sometimes.  We attempted to enjoy the country by dancing and playing airplane in the road.  It was enjoyable.  It worked.

Erin airplaning

 

Amy dancing

We drove through a couple of small towns of note:

  • Freedom, Indiana – Home of an Indiana libertarian that Amy heard speak, who moved here because the name of the town was “Freedom”.  Gag.
  • Elnora – Sad.  This town looked like it had seen better days.
  • Newberry – Cute but very tiny town.

We finally got to Washington and Amy got us to the library without any help of a map.  Amazing!  Yay Amy!  I think she has such a good memory of how to get there because of the stress I caused her trying to get there last time.

Stop 2:  Washington Public Library, Washington, Indiana

Simply put, this is a beautiful Carnegie library.  It’s just so pretty.  The exterior is solid and the interior is broken into small rooms, but somehow still feels open and airy.  I loved it.  We came here last time we were in town and got here 15 minutes before it closed because it closes at 2 on a Saturday!  What use is that?

We camped out at a room in the genealogy section on the other side of the bookshelf from a serial grunter.  We knew exactly how successful his research endeavors were going based on the grunting.  He was often confused, frustrated, and then every once in awhile successful (these were a higher pitched grunt-more of a sigh).

We began scanning the shelves and immediately found histories of the Arvin family, which was the maiden name of Amy’s grandmother.  There was even a published book about the entire history of the Arvin family in the area and how they got there.  It was pretty amazing.  We found her great grandfather, great great grandfather, and so on.

Now, one thing about my friend Amy is that she is really Catholic.  Like we’ve been working on her tree for a while now and I hadn’t found a single relative of hers yet that was not Catholic.   It’s a part of her identity.  I can only imagine a tragedy unfolding if she ever found out she wasn’t 100% Catholic (oh…the guilt).  Then the Arvin book did what I was supposed to keep secret if I ever found out.  Henry Arvin, the man who brought the family to Indiana was a Catholic convert (a 400 pound one at that, who was too big to farm) and was most likely Baptist before he converted to his wife’s religion.  Amy went through a series of facial transformations that had me laughing so hard I thought I was going to run the grunter out of the room.

This is her actually finding the text that he was a convert. When she gasped I grabbed my camera.

Feeling the shock.

Attempting to deal with the news.

After the discovery of the Arvin information we continued to find information of the family in wedding records, church records, and county information.  It was a pretty successful trip despite the fact that we only had 3.5 hours there.  Before we left I used the information we got from our research there to plot out the next portion of our trip.

Stop 3: St. Peter’s Church – Montgomery, Indiana

St. Peter's Cemetery in Montgomery, Indiana

We headed to St. Peter’s Church in Montgomery, a large church in a tiny town.  The older part of the cemetery here was much larger than that of the rest of the cemeteries we visited that day.  It was on a hill and quite scenic.  We were able to find quite a few people named Arvin, including a grandparent!  Win!

As we were driving out of Montgomery, we saw a sign for an Amish Village down the street.  Obviously we had to go.  We turned a corner and there was an entire “village” of white buildings with a couple buggies and some horses.  There were also a TON of older folks milling around the grounds and shopping.  What we came upon was Gasthof Amish Village.  There was a hotel, a bakery, an antique shop (maybe more than one), a restaurant, buggy rides, nature, and more.  We walked around in sort of a stunned, open-mouthed stupor.  Where did this come from?  Where are we?  Is that singing?  What is this place?  We gave up trying to figure out most of the answers to these questions and continued onto Cannelburg!

Stop 4: Cannelburg, Indiana (again!)

We visited Cannelburg the last time we were here and loved it.  We had to go back to see the Catholic Church and see if we missed a cemetery that might have been there.  All Saints Catholic Church was there and we decided that those parishioners were most likely buried in St. Peter’s.  We revisited our favorite Cannelburg landmark, the Cannelburg Jailhouse.

Amy got gutsy, got out, and decided to give a little peek inside said jailhouse to find out what’s going on in there.

Amy being brave.

Turns out it was just a shed.  Boo!  I think she was hoping to see some shackles and a tin cup for water.  No such luck.

Stop 5 : St. Mary’s Cemetery (unplanned)

This was unplanned because this church has burned and is no longer listed on any maps.  In fact, the cemetery that is adjacent to the burned church is not even listed on Google Maps.  I have looked for it since and cannot find it again!  Well, I’m glad we turned around and followed the signs toward St. Mary’s because we found a ton of Amy’s relatives there.  For those of you looking for this place, the church (no longer open) and cemetery are located at County Road 1200 East and County Road 350 North, on the NW side of the intersection, just south of West Boggs Lake. The most important things we found here were numerous McAtee graves.

St. Mary's Cemetery - Headstone of Daniel McAtee, Amy's 4th great grandfather

We loved that we found this place without planning for it.  The opportunity presented itself and we had to go.  And it was awesome.

Stop 6 – St. Martin Church and Cemetery, Whitfield, Indiana

Based on Google Maps I was pretty sure Whitfield was going to be a small town.  I was right.  I’m pretty sure Whitfield consists of the church and a couple of houses.  The church is a pretty white building, reminiscent of New England country churches.   The Anticipation service was going on at St. Martin while we were visiting the cemetery and when church was out we were able to actually go inside.  It was an older church and the interior was cozy and simple.  The churchgoers seemed friendly and didn’t look at us like we were criminals, which was nice.  Amy was convinced that most of these people were probably her cousins.  She was waiting to get invited home to meet the relatives.

St. Martin Church, Whitfield, Indiana

We found the one grave we were really hoping to find, that of Anna Dell (McAtee) Arvin.  This is Amy’s great grandmother.  She was delighted to find it.  It wasn’t until we got to St. Martin that she felt any sort of connection to the area.  Earlier, as we were driving away from Montgomery, I said, “It’s so weird that your people are from here…isn’t it?”  And she said, “I was just thinking that.  I feel like no connection to this.”  But she loved St. Martin, and now wants to go to the Hog Roast they’re having this summer.

Stop 7 – Hindostan Falls, AKA Disasterland

Things had been going too well.  Other than a Mexican food lunch and stomach issue, the trip had been too perfect.  So something had to go awry.

When I looked at the map, I noticed that heading away from Whitfield and driving towards French Lick we could make a little stop in a town called Hindostan Falls.  There isn’t anything left of the town anymore (which used to be the almost the same size as Louisville back in the earlier part of the 19th century).  It’s now a small recreational area.  That would be nice, right?  No.  It wasn’t.

The drive started out fine, till we saw two cars pulled off on the side of the road.  It looked like a back country drug deal.  I’m sure it wasn’t, but I made a joke about it and Amy got stressed.  Then the County Road we were on turned into a gravel road.  Amy got more stressed.  A bridge showed up ahead of us and she said, “You’re not taking my car over that, are you?”  I really considered turning around because she looked like she was going to have a panic attack.  Then as I was getting ready to switch into reverse, a truck pulled up behind us.  “Welp, looks like we have to go over!”.  And we did.  And it was fine.  The road turned back into pavement and it seemed like we were out of the woods.  I wasn’t aware that we would soon be in the mud.

Brooks Bridge - On the way to Hindostan Falls.

Southern Indiana has seen its fair share of flooding this spring.  I was not, however, aware that there were still flooding issues.  The street began to look dirty, then muddy, then mud.  Like there was no street.  Just mud.  I soon realized that if I stopped the car, we would probably stay stopped for good.  So I very very carefully maneuvered the car into a U-turn and started going back the way we came.  The man in the pickup truck was walking towards us with two kids.  As we got closer, I rolled down my window as I slowly rode by and said, “This mud is horrible!  I had no idea!”.  He said, “Just be careful, I looked over at the river and all of a sudden my truck was off the road.”  I realized that they were walking cause their massive truck got stuck.  I realized there was nothing we could do for these people.  If we stopped we would stay stopped.  We had no phone reception.  We couldn’t help push that thing out, they needed a massive truck for a tow.  Their only chance was to get to one of the neighboring houses, and luckily there were a few nearby.  I just kept thinking, “Move on!  Save yourself!”

Driving out of the mud. Ugh. Muck muck muck.

We finally got back to pavement and decided to NOT go back towards the scary bridge.  We passed a church that we were convinced was called “The Church of the Gross” because they had a very unfortunate graphic designer for their font.  It was, in fact, called the Church of the Cross.  We laughed…a lot.  We soon made it to French Lick. (sigh)

Stop 8 – French Lick, Indiana

When is French Lick not a good idea?  Never.  Both Amy and I love French Lick.  We stopped by the French Lick Winery for dinner and had a wine tasting while we were waiting for our food.  Neither of us bought any wine, but I was definitely tempted.  After dinner Amy was very interested in a mini-Blizzard from Dairy Queen.  And who am I to say “no” to Dairy Queen?

Amy played DJ during our entire trip and did a pretty good job throughout.  When we got to Dairy Queen she really hit her DJing high point.  She turned on the new Justin Timberlake and Timbaland song, Carry Out.  If you haven’t heard this song, I would highly recommend it.  I was skeptical of it myself, but after watching the ridiculous video I was completely won over.  We danced.  The guy behind us was very amused.  And then MotownPhilly came on.  It was kind of awesome.  We listened to three fabulous dance tunes before we got our mini-Blizzard.  We didn’t mind waiting.

Post blizzard we headed back towards Indy.

Stop 9 – Home

Dead dead deadski.  Home and to bed.

 

 

 

 

Newsflash: Women may not be human!

So I was on an obituary hunt yesterday.  It was a drizzly nasty Saturday morning and I thought it was the perfect time to head on down to the Indiana State Library for a little research.  While I only found one obituary on my list of six hopefuls, I had a great time scanning the articles in these newspapers that ranged from 1884-1930.

Every once in awhile I would come across an article that was so funny I had to write it down.  I am going to report on my favorite two.

If you know me, then you know that I am a Groundhog Day fan.  Not just the movie, but the actual holiday.  Don’t get me wrong, I also love the film Groundhog Day and am a full-fledged fangirl of Bill Murray.  Many of these newspapers will have just one line notes about, “Ms. Taylor is visiting her sister in Podunkville this week.” or, “Mr. Smith saw the first robin of the spring on his farm.”  The one-line response that The Zionsville Times had on February 7, 1884 to the groundhog prediction was, “The ground-hog had no reasonable excuse for not seeing his shadow.”  That was it.  Nothing else to the opinion.  Some things don’t change, including that crazy ground-hog.

The Danville Republican from March of 1897 had a really interesting report on a meeting that took place in Macon (maybe Georgia?  they didn’t specify).  The headline read, “Is Woman a Human Being?  This question gravely discussed at a Bishop’s Council at Macon.”  It was completely serious.  It let us know that while the discussion was held, no real pressure was put on anyone to feel one way or another.  If you feel they aren’t…then you are entitled to that opinion.  Awesome.

Another amazing thing about some of the older papers, the snake oil remedy ads.  Amazing.  Some papers they’ll take up half of most pages!  I love it.

I rolled through microfiche for hours and totally lost track of time.  I realized it was time to go when my stomach was growling so much I was actually in pain.