Saturday, August 18, 2012

Indiana Genealogist and other Hoosier records on line

My favorite from the June issue of Indiana's online quarterly, Indiana Genealogist (IGS members only), is Ron Darrah's instructional article on the Civilian Conservation Corps of the 1930s. It had never occurred to me that CCC workers' records would be at the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis! The June issue also includes a delinquent tax list from Jasper County for the mid-1870s. Better that than no tax list at all...

Two other Indiana online sources are easy to miss but well worth finding:

Deep in the Indiana Historical Society web site are on-line companion articles and databases related to various articles that have appeared in their print semi-annual, The Hoosier Genealogist: Connections. These companions are basically well-annotated small databases grouped in three bunches under the heading "On-Line Connections":
Regional Sources and Stories with items from 27 counties including "Jasper County, Voters Listed in Poll Book for Fourth Precinct, Rensselaer, 1932 Primary"; 
Genealogy Across Indiana, with ten items including "Hoosier Baptist Records, 1809-2006"; and
Family Records, with ten items including "Family Genealogy Extracted and Compiled from the Kidd Family Papers, 1815-1887."
New items are to be added in September from La Porte, Hancock, and Switzerland counties, along with more Baptists and Armstrong family papers.

The Indiana Genealogical Society's blog brings word of a newly digitized resource, "Early Vincennes, 1732-1835."  It's hosted at Wabash Valley Visions and Voices, which has many other interesting sources as well, both pictures and text. "Early Vincennes" has 738 items, mostly court and probate cases, which are genealogically and historically valuable at any date, but especially from this early.

This digitization is a great boon to early Indiana researchers. It's now possible to view these images without driving for hours or days to the courthouse. The images are beautiful and clear and can be magnified. Each item is briefly described, and many have dates indicated.

Unfortunately, some information is lacking and organization erratic. I have found no overview explaining where the original papers came from, which makes it difficult to cite them properly. The items are in alphabetical order by the last name of the plaintiff or decedent (although some are inexplicably filed differently -- all but two pages of John Light's probate are listed under "evk"). The only way to learn what other names are contained in each item is to read the documents. Filed under "N" for Northwest Territory is a 271-page "minute book" for the Knox County Court of Common Pleas, 1796-1800. Another book for the same court covers the same years and is called by the same name, but a glance inside reveals that it provides a complete narrative of significant cases, as opposed to the day-by-day record of proceedings called a "minute book." Petitions are listed under P, and recognizance bonds under R, regardless of the names of those involved. Look for criminal cases under U, because the plaintiff was the United States. Bottom line: no researcher can casually say that so-and-so is "not found" in these records.

Navigation within the chosen CONTENTdm(R) system is no picnic either. The only way to view all of a page within the two multi-page books is to activate the thumbnail and move the red box around on it. In order to leave the court book and resume browsing the other 737 items, I had to leave the Vincennes collection altogether and start over from the main page. Once back in the Vincennes collection, even if I remembered that those books were on page 27 (doubtful!), there is no quick way to navigate from 1 to 27.

 All that said, it's still better than what was available before.

Ron Darrah, "Did Grandpa Serve in the 'Tree Army'?," Indiana Genealogist, vol. 15, no. 2 (June 2012):15-17 ( : accessed 11 August 2012).

1934 image from Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, National Archives and Records Administration; 20th Century History ( : accessed 13 August 2012).

"Early Vincennes, 1732-1835," Wabash Valley Visions and Voices 
 ( : accessed 11 August 2012).

Harold Henderson, "Indiana Genealogist and other Hoosier records on line," Midwestern Microhistory: A Genealogy Blog, posted 18 August 2012 ( : accessed [access date]). [Please feel free to link to the specific post if you prefer.]

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