Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Spring Into Family Research!

New faces continue to arrive in the local history area at the Seymour Library these days. They deserve congratulations for using the end of winter to “spring” into their search for family roots.

They’ve committed the time to start or continue their research – and an increasing number of them have made time for some classes to look for additional research possibilities.

It’s exciting and infectious to watch these individuals make their discoveries! You can see the investments of time pay dividends that can be relied on for years to come – for the researchers and their families.

One of the best rewards from family and local history research is finding explanations for family and/or community tickles, traditions, and taboos. There’s a grain of truth in most stories. Sometimes research reveals the details – maybe not exactly as the story has been told – but still recognizable as the probable source of the tale.


Monday, March 16, 2009

From Little Drummer Boy to Old Pioneer

If you’ve used Heritage Quest Online (HQO), you know the rewards just waiting for you to find the right combination of names, dates and places for family or community history discoveries.

And you probably know that with your JCPL library card you can do that research at home, to use a cliché, in your “jammies” at 3 o’clock in the morning. (If you have any trouble getting logged on, give us a call at the library.)

A great find for me came from locating someone other than a relative (although that has happened as well) … and confirming the story of a Revolutionary War veteran buried in a deep woods about a mile south of the northwestern JC village of Kurtz.

The Owen Township Cemeteries book published in 1990 by the Jackson County Genealogical Society identifies John Edwards (1762 Wales-1836 Indiana) as a drummer in the 8th Pennsylvania Regiment. Information on the tiny Edwards Cemetery was compiled by Mary B. and Malcolm W. Buckner and Lucy C. Arthur in 1987 and updated by Ruth Fox in 1989.

By logging into HQO and going to the Revolutionary War database where I searched the surname Edwards and Pennsylvania, I found 15 pages – images of original documents held at the National Archives (NARA) – in view on my screen. The file includes the NARA file number that accompanies the information published by JCGS.


Friday, March 13, 2009

Orchard & Other Miscellaneous Records

Jackson County once supported many fruit orchards. At least two records, one at the courthouse in Brownstown and both on microfilm at the Seymour Library, may give some insight if your ancestor participated in such an operation.

The miscellaneous record at the courthouse, also on microfilm at the library, preserves agreements such as one made in December 1867 between Howard Cordell and Henry C. Dannettell. The record said Cordell agreed to clear and clean a “passel of land,” about 20 acres, for Dannettell before March 1, 1868, and to plant the “said piece of sand with good grafted … fruit trees in rows 20 feet apart.”

Cordell was to include 300 apple trees and fill leftover space with peach trees in addition to planting two rows of evergreens on the north side to protect the fruit trees from the wind. The owner would pay taxes, Cordell would help with pruning, and the men would share the fruit equally for 15 years.

Should the trees have been producing by 1870 and still producing as anticipated by 1880, it’s possible the agriculture censuses, also on microfilm at the library, would record the results of the harvest.

The information isn’t earth-shaking … but if it’s someone you are researching, these little tidbits would certainly add flesh to the barebones vital statistics.


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Public Records Programs

More government records become available daily online, but local and family history researchers will continue for years to need records not that are unlikely to be online any time soon.

Whether you send a letter or email or plan to make a trip to a facility, you need to know what records may be available and where to start searching for them.

Two upcoming sessions will discuss finding and using public records. You are invited to sign up for one or both when you are in the Seymour Library or by calling 812-522-3412 ext. 243:

Public Records Research, Part 1:
10 am Tuesday, April 7 (Sign up by noon April 2)
Jackson County Courthouse in Brownstown

  • County officials will tell about records in their respective offices
  • Question and answer session on courthouse research
  • Lunch break
  • Courthouse tour

Public Records Research, Part 2:
2pm Thursday, April 9 (Sign up by noon April 7)
Jackson County Public Library, Seymour

  • State and federal facilities and records will be discussed
  • We will try to find answers to your questions


Join Us for Genealogy Chats!

Ever wondered who keeps the Jackson County GenWeb site up to date and growing? Since mid-2005 that has been Sheri Bush, born and raised in Jackson County, now a grandmother researching her own family lines for more than a dozen years.

Come meet Sheri and join us for a bit of genealogy chat at 2 pm Tuesday, March 24, or at 6 pm Thursday, April 2, or both times. Sheri will be talking about her labor of love on the website. She also will talk a bit about using old photographs in genealogy. We’ll all talk about the genealogy things on our minds – maybe share some ideas for breaking through brick walls or for finding the records we want or … well, you tell us what’s on your mind about genealogy.

We'll chat in the downstairs meeting room at the Seymour Library and maybe find a few refreshments to enjoy as we chat. Why not bring your generations chart or another piece of research for follow-up before or after the chat? You never know what you may find!


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Courthouse Records on Microfilm @ JCPL-S

Have you ever wished for the courthouse to be open an evening each week or a Saturday for your research needs?

One of the best-kept secrets around is that the Jackson County Public Library at Seymour (JCPL-S), open 9-5 Saturdays and 1-5 Sundays in addition to evenings and weekdays, has some original records on microfilm.

During the 69.5 hours the library is open for your convenience, you can view microfilm of original images of Jackson County marriage records from 1816 to 1924, wills from 1818 to 1928, probate records from 1829 to 1919, deeds from 1816 to 1924, and deed indexes through 1966.

The microfilm also includes the Negro Register from the 1850s, naturalization records from 1852 to 1899, delayed birth records from 1941 to 1980, the apprentice record from 1884 to 1889, circuit court order books from 1816 to 1924, and one of my personal favorites, the earliest miscellaneous records.

In addition to the Jackson County records, JCPL-S has the Seymour and Brownstown newspapers, various indexes and census records, cemetery records and more on microfilm -- in addition to print and digital collections.

Besides viewing the records, you can print pages either as you find them or enhanced for greater readability, you can download images to a variety of portable digital devices, or you can email the images to your personal email account.

We'll take a closer look at some of these records in future posts. Meanwhile, stop by the library and see what you can find today!