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
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.
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.
Anna Mae’s Oldest Grandbaby
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Anna Mae’s Oldest Grandbaby
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. ]
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.
Anna Mae’s Oldest Grandbaby
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.
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Anna Mae’s Oldest Grandbaby