Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Research Trip Notes : Jay County, Indiana

Back on Guy Fawkes Day, I treated myself to a birthday present of genealogical research in Jay County, Indiana.  It was a productive day.  Over the next few weeks I hope to digest the data and update my database with my finds.  

At the Jay County Health Department, I was able copies of death certificates for the following ancestors : Cora Belle (Metzner) Haley, Eli Weldon Haley, William P. Wehrly, Mary Keziah (Chew) LeMaster, and John Adam Metzner.  These were ones that had been identified as missing from my files as I worked through the Exploratory Analysis series.  The health department provides for $ 4.00 a "Geneology Death Record", complete with mis-spelling of genealogy.  At least it is better than nothing, more on that later.

At the Jay County Clerk's Office, I was able to have the most productive and fun research experience.  I had lists of items that I wanted to research from my previous trips to Jay County, and once I found the boxes where the originals were kept, the clerks let me pretty much have free reign.  I was able to make several copies of court cases, though they did charge $ 1.00 per page.  I was hoping to use my Flip-Pal, but it would have been too time consuming and of course nothing I wanted to copy was very small.

At the Jay County Public Library, I searched newspapers during the time period of the Dillinger Terror Gang crime spree, hoping to find mention of a local connection to Harry Pierpont.  I did manage to find an article that stated the gang had passed through the Loblolly area.  I also found an article about Arthur LeMaster's grocery store, and the death notice of a potential Haley relative.  The reporting during the time period of 1933-34 was fascinating with all of the stories of robberies, union strikes, jail breaks, etc.

At the Jay County Historical Society museum, I was able to obtain copies of plat maps from 1881 and numerous marriage returns from the clerk's office.  The society had obtained the original marriage returns and have placed them in plastic sheet protectors and are keeping them in binders in the museum.  This find was a gold mine, as it was much cheaper to make copies here ($0.25) than at the clerk's office.  The society is staffed by volunteers, but their museum is one of the best local history museum's I've seen.  They are working on digitizing many of the local records as well.

Over the next few weeks, I intend to post some of these findings to the blog. A few of them added additional family members and provided areas for further research.
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