Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Every name index to first La Porte County IN court records

(cross-posted on La Porte County Genealogical Society blog)


In Court In La Porte is an every-name index to the first legal proceedings in La Porte County, Indiana, containing more than 800 distinct surnames. Compiled by Harold Henderson, it indexes every personal, business, and place name mentioned in Complete Record Book A (June 1833 to April 1837), Judgment Docket A (June 1833 to June 1838), and Minute Record A (June 1833 to October 1836). A very limited amount of relevant genealogical information is included, such as when an individual stood bail for someone else's payment or performance of a duty.

This book is a finding aid, not a substitute for the records themselves. The original handwritten books (with handwritten indexes of plaintiffs only) are in the office of the La Porte County Clerk and should be consulted for legal and genealogical information. Also in the clerk's office are microfilms of the “loose papers” for certain cases.

The legal proceedings offer glimpses of many aspects of life on the frontier more than 170 years ago: fights, liquor sales, gambling parties, road building, timber cutting, slander, divorce, death, murder, and – above all – debt and the repayment of debt. These proceedings may also provide unique information on the whereabouts of early settlers who do not appear in census or property records. It is hoped that this index will encourage genealogists to make court records a regular part of their research.

In Court In La Porte: An Every-Name Index to the First Legal Proceedings in La Porte County, Indiana (La Porte: compiler via blurb.com, 2011). 246 pages, soft cover, 5x8. $20, Indiana sales tax included; 25% donated to La Porte County Genealogical Society. Shipping & handling $5 if needed. Available from the compiler at hhsh@earthlink.net, or with slightly different pricing through blurb.com.

A professional writer since 1979 and professional genealogist since 2009, Harold Henderson has published genealogical articles in Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Utah, and the National Genealogical Society Magazine. He maintains a blog, “Midwestern Microhistory.” He serves on the boards of the La Porte County Genealogical Society and the Association of Professional Genealogists; moderates the Transitional Genealogists Forum on-line discussion list; and is the Indiana Genealogical Society county genealogist for La Porte.

La Porte County Indiana commitment book

(Cross-posted on La Porte County Genealogical Society blog)


As government and society evolved in the 1800s, it was the thinking that government had a proper role in providing for the good of those who were out of the norm or from whom society needed protection. As a result, Indiana built prisons, insane asylums, and homes and schools for the feeble minded, the deaf, the blind, the epileptic, and the orphan. These governmental actions left a paper trail in the courthouses. A new book abstracts these records in La Porte County. The earliest entry of the 565 entries found was 13 October 1848. No records after 1920 were abstracted.

The compilers searched numerous records in the county clerk's office, including Court of Common Pleas Order books A-E and additional books covering 1869 to 1873; all Circuit Court Civil Order books from B to Z and 1 to 40; and Insanity Record Books 6, 7, 11, 12, and 13. Civil Order Book A and Insanity Record Books 1-5 and 8-10 are missing.

Pictures of pertinent Indiana institutions are included.


La Porte County, Indiana, Commitments to Benevolent, Educational, and Reformatory Institutions and Related Guardianships, 1848-1920, compiled by Dorothy Palmer and Mary Wenzel (La Porte: La Porte County Genealogical Society, 2011). 98 pages, soft cover, comb bound, 8 1/2 x 11. $20 through http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~inlcigs/booksales.htm

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Pearls from the past . . . week

Miami County, Ohio, marriages 1807-1865

The Inner Life of Empires:An Eighteenth-Century History by Emma Rothschild -- the British Empire of the 1700s told through the Johnstone family. Bernard Bailyn says, "An extraordinary book, weaving back and forth between microhistory and the greater world..."

Kimberly Powell separates two Louis Volants -- one of them J. K. Rowling's great-grandfather -- in the most substantive and carefully argued blog post I've seen anywhere lately.

Do you feel a need to watch train wrecks? My favorite SW Michigan blog reviews a new book on Michigan train disasters 1900-1940, and draws a useful research lesson I had never heard of before.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Mid-20th-century war resource

The St. Joseph County (Indiana) Public Library has an on-line "Service Notes" database indexing almost 40,000 newspaper mentions of local people "who were being drafted, entering the service, being promoted or sent to different locations" between 1941 and 1979. It's in two parts, one for WWII, the other for Korea and Vietnam. Each can be browsed if you specify how to sort the list and a particular branch of service. The results will give name and address, but any underlying newspaper items must be retrieved from either microfilm or clipping files in the library in South Bend.

Obviously this sort of database is just a start on research, and equally obviously it won't help if your person of interest came from somewhere else. But check your relevant library -- they may have a similar card file or index that hasn't made it on line yet!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Kansas Sanborn Maps!

If you have Kansas people and have yet to discover what a window on the past Sanborn fire-insurance maps can be, you do have a treat coming! The KU library has put up 5,245 full-color map sheets, free on-line, from Abilene 1884 to Yates Spring 1912. Enjoy!

More information about on-line availabilities at my earlier posts on the subject -- just search on "Sanborn."

Hat tip: Internet Scout Project