Click on the link below to read my latest column in The Indianapolis Recorder. Happy Family History Month!
A few weeks ago, I was researching information in the Indianapolis Recorder on the origins of my church. The Indianapolis Recorder is the oldest running black newspaper in the state of Indiana and one of the oldest in the United States. The Indianapolis Recorder is digitized and completely available online. This makes it very easy to search for names or other key words. Using a keyword search for “Thomas Cleveland”, my Great Grandfather, I subsequently found a picture of my Great Aunt Alma when she was 9 years old. I’m always excited when I find information on my family, even when it’s not what I’m looking for. It was so special to find a picture of my Aunt Alma. She was in her 30’s when I can first remember her. So seeing a picture of her when she was a child, was amazing. This is why It’s so important to know the names of all family members, not just direct ancestors.
The article in The Recorder gave me quite a bit of insight into my family in 1935. There were 7 children in the family at this time. My Aunt Alma being the youngest. The article also indicated my Great Grandfather had been unemployed for several years. This article was written during the Great Depression (which spanned from 1929 – 1939). It’s one thing to read about a historic event. It’s another to read about how it affected your family.
Take time to search the newspapers where your family has lived. You might be surprised with what you find. The picture online wasn’t very clear, and I couldn’t manipulate the image. Fortunately, I was able to access the newspaper on microfilm. I was able to adjust the microfilm so that the picture was clear. Looking at the picture I can see her resemblance to other family members. She’s been gone for several decades, but I still think of her often & miss her. Anna Mae’s Oldest Grandbaby Nichelle ~
Did you miss the show “Roots tracing for African Americans” with Nichelle M. Hayes?
Click here to listen to the podcast https://t.e2ma.net/click/1kxrehb/pbywvjc/h9azxxk
February 9, 2019 Roots tracing for African Americans
Even with renewed, widespread interest in family history research – and the explosion of genealogical tools in recent years – challenges remain for those researching African American ancestry. Many of the challenges involve ancestors who were enslaved during the 19th century and earlier.
As Hoosier History Live salutes Black History Month, Nelson’s studio guest will be one of Indiana’s top experts on African American roots-tracing. Indianapolis-based genealogist and librarian Nichelle M. Hayes is a past president of the Indiana African American Genealogy Group. Currently, she is the leader of the Center for Black Literature and Culture of the Indianapolis Public Library. Nelson will be asking Nichelle to share advice and tips for tracing African American family histories. As a genealogist for more than 25 years, Nichelle conducts workshops about African American family history research and blogs about it and related topics.In a recent blog post, Nichelle described her research into the death in 1933 of a great-aunt who lived in the Brightwood neighborhood of Indianapolis and died of tuberculosis. Information on the death certificate opened doors for Nichelle to learn about her ancestor’s civic life.
“Genealogy is more than just birth and death dates,” Nichelle writes. “It’s fleshing the person out, so to speak.”To people beginning family history research, she recommends: “Start with yourself and work backwards.”In addition to examining U.S. Census data, records related to property ownership, probate and pensions also can be extremely helpful in illuminating the lives of ancestors, Nichelle says.Among the resource books she recommends to African Americans are Black Roots: A Beginner’s Guide to Tracing the African American Family Tree (Simon & Schuster, 2001) and A Genealogist’s Guide to Discovering your African-American Ancestors (Genealogical Publishing Co., 2003).Ancestory.com, another resource popular with genealogists for its extensive database of family tree information, has published Finding Your African American Ancestors: A Beginner’s Guide (2001).With Nichelle on hand to respond to questions from listeners embarking on roots-tracing adventures, we will open our phone lines earlier than usual during this show. The call-in number to the WICR-FM studio is 317-788-3314.
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
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
This will be a quick post. I didn’t want to let a day go by without sharing.
I co-chaired an amazing conference yesterday. The Indiana Genealogical Society (IGS) 2017 with Keynote Speaker Tony Burroughs. This is an annual event that is held at various locations around the state.
Great attendance, amazing conversations with genealogists and invaluable insights from Nationally known speaker and author of “Black Roots” Tony Burroughs. (Look for him on tonight’s episode of “Who Do You Think You Are” TLC 10pm E/9pm CST Smokey Robinson.
Action – (So much info. I’ll be processing my notes for the next month.)