Women’s Improvement Club Indianapolis, Indiana

1225_wic

 

I was doing some research on one of my maternal lines. I came across a death certificate for my Great Aunt Frankie, who died June 30, 1933 of tuberculosis. Tuberculosis (TB) or consumption is a bacterial condition that usually affects the lungs.   I reviewed the document and the names of the parents lined up, as well as the location of the birth.  As I was reviewing the location of death I saw, “Women’s Improvement Club” 535 Agnes Street. I found that curious. I had never heard of that club before.

After an internet search I came across a wonderful YouTube video of an interview conducted with Wilma Gibbs Moore, Archivist, Historian & Librarian (Indiana Historical Society) concerning the Women’s Improvement Club of Indianapolis and it’s importance to the African American Community.  To watch that interview click on the following link.  Women’s Improvement Club

Frankie lived in Brightwood at the time so this would have been close to her home. According to my research individuals who suffered from TB were removed from their homes so that others would not become ill. The treatment for TB in the 1930’s was fresh air and protein to build up their immune system. If that was not successful sometimes portions of the lung were removed.

The Woman’s Improvement Club (WIC) was established in Indianapolis in 1903. According to its constitution, the purpose of the organization was “mutual improvement of its members, the care of tubercular persons, and all other uplift work.” The organization was especially active in the care of local black tuberculosis patients, establishing an outdoor camp at Oak Hill in the Brightwood area in 1905. Founded by Indianapolis journalist and elocutionist, Lillian Thomas Fox, the club’s early roster boasted the names of community activists, Ida Webb Bryant, Ada Harris, Rose D.
Hummons, and Beulah Wright Porter. The WIC was a life member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored
People.
Sources: Materials in the collection.
Ferguson, Earline R., “The Woman’s Improvement Club of Indianapolis: Black Women Pioneers in Tuberculosis Work, 1903-1938,” Indiana Magazine of History, September, 1988.

Source : https://indianahistory.org/wp-content/uploads/womans-improvement-club-collection-1909-1965.pdf

Genealogy is more than just birth and death dates. It’s fleshing the person out, so to speak to really share what their lives were like and how they impacted them and their families.

Take Care,

Anna Mae’s Oldest Grandbaby

Nichelle~

How to build your Family Tree

State Flag Louisiana

I was recently inspired during a trip to one of the states of my ancestors, The Great State of Louisiana. Louisiana is also know as “The Sportsman’s Paradise”.  Growing up my  grandfather, Thomas Cleveland (II),  was an avid hunter and fisherman. He kept hunting dogs and routinely went away to hunt with his friends. He would come back with venison and fish.  I grew up seeing deer heads on the wall of his home. (Any PETA members or animal rights activists  please hold your emails. This was my grandfather’s pastime, not mine. )

As with most things that occurred when I was young, I didn’t question much of it. It was just my normal.  Later on I learned that Southern Louisiana has very specific and varied terrain that lends it to hunting and fishing.   My grandfather was born in Louisiana and later move up North to Indiana.  He is pictured below, the photo was taken sometime during 1959.

Thomas

 

I was about 5 years old when I first visited Louisiana. Rapides Parish to be exact which is in the central portion of the state about 200 miles north of Orleans Parish where New Orleans is located. Louisiana was originally settled by the French and retains a lot of French influences.   Louisiana is dived into  parishes not counties. The parish seat of Rapides is Alexandria.

Rapides Parish spotlight

 

 

I have known the name of my 2x’s Great-Grandfather, Rev. Robert Cleveland and his first wife Serena Ellick Cleveland for a long time.  I had estimated his date of birth as circa 1856. Previously I had not been able to locate any records surrounding his death. While visiting Louisiana I felt compelled to go back over my research and hopefully find when and where he died.

 

Genealogy – New Orleans Public Library   From the main page I followed a link that I thought might be helpful.

Louisiana State Archives, Research Library
One of the finest genealogical resources in the state.  Then the next.

  • Louisiana Vital Records
    Search for New Orleans marriage certificates and Louisiana death certificates, through the Louisiana State Archives’ databases.

And finally

Louisiana Death Records

You can search the Louisiana Death Records Index Database and order certified copies of death certificates for deaths that occurred in Louisiana more than 50 years from the end of the current calendar year. Photocipies of death certificates are delivered by mail for $5 each, and certified copies are delivered by mail for $10 each.

LOUISIANA DEATH RECORDS
About this Service
This service only issues certified copies of microfilmed death certificates for deaths that occurred in Louisiana between 1911–1967. The database also contains older death records for some parishes, such as deaths that occurred in Jefferson parish before 1911, and deaths that occurred in Orleans parish as early as 1804. Microfilmed death certificates may not be available for many of these older records. For example, searching for a death that occurred in Orleans parish between 1804–1818 may produce results taken from the official Orleans parish death index, but individual death certificates for this period do not exist in the archives. We regret that we cannot issue certified copies of death certificates for deaths that occurred in Orleans parish during this period.

 

I was pretty confident that his death occurred during this time frame that the records recovered.

I used a basic search with his name, that garnered 5 results. See below.

Results Robert Cleveland

I felt confident about the 1st result since it was the correct parish.  I was excited but wouldn’t know if it was a match until I received a copy of  the certificate.  I then filled out the form and mailed in my $5 check to the State of Louisiana. In about a week the death certificate arrived in the mail.

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One week later it arrived!

Each clue gives us more questions. The death certificate gave m the names of his mother and Father. I’m very excited! I’ll be adding this to my family database and sharing my findings with the family. Always teaching always sharing.

 

Take Care,

Anna Mae’s Oldest Grandbaby

Nichelle ~

 

 

 

Resources – Varied

As I talk with genealogists or teach classes people will frequently ask me, “Where did you find that (information)?” or “Where did that come from?”. As a historian,  genealogist and librarian I consistently document my sources. It’s important to give credit to the person who found the info or transcribed the document. It’s also great to look for other clues in the same repository. Similar to a great fishing hole. If the fishing is good, you want to return in the hopes of finding more fish or clues about your ancestors.

I’ve lived most of my life in Indianapolis, In. I have a lot of knowledge about that city. The terrain, streets, buildings, events and etc.  My background knowledge of Indianapolis makes research much simpler.

My Paternal line migrated from Kentucky. I visited several times but did not spend any extended time in that state. Therefore my knowledge was limited. As I began to research my paternal lines, lack of knowledge in that area was a real hindrance to my research.  At the time it wasn’t practical to move their or even visit frequently. My solution was to begin researching on Rootsweb.com .  Rootsweb.com was an independently owned and operated consortium of multiple websites, mailing lists (list servs) and message boards. The topics were broken down by states, counties, areas (ie South-Central Kentucky) and surnames, etc. [Rootsweb is now owned by Ancestry.com .  The people that compile the information has not changed all over the site, but in some areas. I am not being paid to advertise for Ancestry.com or Sandi Gorin . I just want to illustrate who owns and or is creating the information. ]

map with ky outline

Around, 1998 (est.) I joined the SC-KY Listserv (South Central Kentucky) SOUTH-CENTRAL-KENTUCKY@rootsweb.com, .  This gave me an opportunity to learn about the area, boundaries, terrain, schools, names of families,etc.) overtime. This helped me to connect to other researchers with information that has helped me during my research , as well as documents etc.

This morning while reading an entry from Sandi Gorin I read the transcription that is listed below.  This tells a little about the climate of Barren County, KY for enslaved persons.

“We’re back at the city meeting again on Saturday, 9 June 1810. This will be a short meeting with John GORIN, Henry CRUTCHER, Will T BUSH, Danl. CULP & John BIRD present.

The only thing on the agenda was appointing the Tax Collector who was Charles HARVEY. He got a 2nd responsibility though that likely could give him grey hair – he was appointed to take care of the Public Spring. The board then adjourned to meet on the 15th.
And, on the 15 the same trustees gathered for business. Charles HARVEY had to be sworn in and post his bond. David WALKER Jr was his surety. While he was there, the tax rate was decided – 25 cents for every tithable and 8 cents on every $100 worth of property.
A continuing problem had to be discussed. Wm T BUSH & John BIRD had to walk around and take notice of all nuisances and obstructions in the city streets and report to the Board. They might get prematurely grey over this also!
Safety was of a great concern in these early days so the Trustees decided to set up a Watch. Joseph WINLOCK & John MATTHEWS Jr named Captains of the Watch and William GRAY, Joel SHAW, Archibald MILLER, William CRUTCHER & Will MARSH Jr were suggested to assist. They had come in to the meeting it appears and they all volunteered.
Some rules and regulations about the Watch were set next. Anyone caught outdoors after 10 pm and couldn’t show why he needed to be walking about would be held and come before the Justice of the Peace the next morning and fined not more than $2.00. (There is an old expression about small towns that they rolled up the streets at night – this definitely was the case here!)
Also the slaves – if more than three were collected together, unless they are all the property of the same man, and not found on their quarters and were disorderly – the Watch man to note this and they to be whipped at the order of the Captain, not more than 15 lashes. So sad. 
Also they could not be out after 9pm with the same penalty. It was the fear that the slaves were gathering and planning an escape or some harm. Adjourned.
We’ll jump ahead, a meeting was planned in July but for some reason they didn’t meet until 10 August 1810. The same Trustees attended and some bills had to be paid: Charles Harvey was to pay Henry CRUTCHER for buying that minute book & working on the Spring – $28.00. Thomas DICKINSON was paid $3.00 for his services as a Commissioner; the Judges and Clerk were paid $2.75 each for an election and W MARSH was paid
$4.75 for acting as the Clerk. Charles HARVEY was paid 10% of the taxes collected. The Clerk (MARSH) was the person authorized to collect fines imposed and paid $1.00 a day for his services. He had to find his own paper that he needed.
Danl CULP and John BIRD were next appointed Commissioners to superintend
the repairing of Cross Street from the sign post to Thomas GOODALL’s – this section to be bridged over the mud.
They closed with another ordnance: “Be it ordained by the Board of  Trustees of the Town of Glasgow that any person or persons who have a  Dwelling House Kitchen or shop within said Town not having a brick or Stone Chimney Shall have a good Calked (caulked) chimney to be at least eighteen inches above the Comb. of said House and to have a good Stove.
If one of the citizens shall fail to build their chimney as described above described within There, after being notified, shall forfeit & pay the sum of Ten Dollars. Also, all black smiths, nailers, gun Smiths, silver smiths & copper smiths within the said town shall have the Top of their Shop Chimneys arched over and any who may be notified by any of the Trustees and fail to comply with the above ordinance within this month after being so notified shall forfeit and pay the sum of five dollars.”
The Board then adjourned. /s/ Jno GORIN.

 

Anna Mae’s Oldest Grandbaby

Nichelle~

The Power of Photographs

I just read a wonderfully powerful story. One that would not have been possible with out photographs.   The heroine of the story is Annie Correal,  a reporter for the New York Times.  I am so happy that she took the time to rescue this precious photo album and return it to the family members it was connected to. It was quite a lengthy search.

I hope that the photographs I take today, will continue to tell the story of my family.  It’s also a cautionary tale about labeling pictures with dates, full names and locations.

Read it for yourself and tell me what you think.

Love & Black Lives

 

Speaking Engagements

Nichelle M. Hayes

I am available for speaking engagements, consultations, family reunions and other genealogical events, Black History Month, African American History, Black Culture & Literature. Please contact me to schedule a meeting or a phone conference. No project is too small.

Prepare now for your Family Reunion Have you been meaning to gather your family but were always too busy?  I can help you gather the family history you already have and help create a plan for gathering more information and more importantly ways to share it with your family.

Family Reunion projects could include:

  • Family Tree Display
  • Family History Workshop
  • Pre-reunion Research
  • Customized Options

Nichelle
Anna Mae’s Oldest Grandbaby

New Database will help African Descended Researchers

New Database to help break the 1870 Barrier

The recent crowd sourcing of the Freedmen’s Bureau and other databases that have connected research that was previously hard to find will be a boon to people researching their African Roots. Great news for 2018!!  Check it out and share your results. I can’t wait to dive in.  Follow the link above for details!

 

Anna Mae’s Oldest Grandbaby

Nichelle~