During my trip to Ft. Wayne for the Federation of Genealogical Societies conference this year, I was able to spend quite a bit of time at the Allen County Public Library. My main focus was on my Heerdink, Diefenbach, Stiker, and Crow families – because they were concentrated in Indiana. And I’ve heard rumors that if you are looking to do Indiana research, the ACPL is the place to be. (It doesn’t hurt that there’s also a Dunkin’ Donuts right at the entrance).
I found several books of birth, marriage, and death record indices that included all four surnames (and the ridiculous number of variant spellings). I was just clicking away, taking pictures of each page of interest and making notes of what I found and where I found it (I was being such a good girl!). Sorting through them all after I got home is a whole other story …
Then I pulled up my list of microfilm that I prepared ahead of time using the ACPL’s Microtext Catalog. I found several rolls of microfilm for Posey County birth records. On these, I was able to retrieve the birth records for my 2nd great grandparents’ children … all but one. Child #6 – sandwiched in between children #5 and #7. (Yes, the children are numbered – not named – in the records). His birthplace and his exact date of birth continue to elude me.
I honestly believe I could have spent several more days in the library and still not gotten to everything that might be useful in my research. Clearly, I need to plan another trip.
When I returned home, I began putting together the massive amounts of new information I obtained. With the indices, I was able to round up a grand total of 37 marriages for these families – just for Vanderburgh County. With the handy-dandy PDF request form I found on the Willard Library website, I filled out a form for each record I was requesting, complete with Book and Page numbers. (Protip: avoid carpal tunnel syndrome by filling in your contact information on the form and THEN making your copies. Don’t ask me how I know). I mailed those off yesterday.
Because the cost for each (non-certified) record was only $1, and I was making so many requests at one time, I sent a little more than required and put a note in with my requests advising the Clerk’s Office staff to put the extra money to use in whatever way they saw fit. I also put all the requests in order by Book number and then by Page number to make it easier for them to retrieve. I have found that if you are pleasant and help make their job easier, the clerks are more likely to make sure you get everything you want.
So now I wait. The specified turnaround time for records requested under the Freedom of Information Act (which these are) is 7 days. I included in my letter that because I was making such a large request, I would completely understand if it took longer. But I really hope it doesn’t!
Once I get the marriage records, I am hopeful that I will be able to match children with parents and make some sort of sense out of these families who ALL chose to name their children from a pool of 8 names. I’m glad my dining room is completely empty right now … I’m gearing up to go all John Nash on my research in a week or two!
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