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This web site is the culmination of a great deal of research, effort and and no small amount of “genealogist’s obsession.” Trips to Minnesota, Indiana, and Ontario. Countless hours spent hunched over musty record books. None of this would have been possible without the help and support of a great many people all of whom I owe a great debt of gratitude. Here, finally, I get to publicly thank some of the kind souls who aided in the quest.
Heading the list is my family, who have since passed, who supported this project both emotionally and financially. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Anne and Bob Johnson – my mentors. Anne did done so much research in Shelby Co., Indiana that it’s hard to find a piece of paper referencing the Walker or Deitzer families that doesn’t have her name on it. When I met Bob and Anne I was a beginning researcher, making every mistake it was possible to make. They graciously shared with me their years of experience and dedication not to mention their many resources. I would not be the researcher I am today without them.
Maurice Holmes – “That’s pronounced Morris” he said. “I’m just not the MauRICE type.” Maurice is an icon to Shelby County, Indiana researchers. Long before automation and word processors, Maurice poured over courthouse records, transcribing as he went. The bookshelves of the Shelbyville-Shelby County History Room are lined with the fruits of his labor. His contribution to Shelby and Rush County history is voluminous and anyone researching there is surely indebted to him. Sadly, Maurice passed away 24 Sep 2004. He will be sorely missed.
The librarians and historians of the Shelbyville-Shelby County Library Genealogy and History Room. An almost infinite source of knowledge about the area fueled by a tremendous passion for the history of the area. They were fundamental to many of my genealogical breakthroughs with the Shelby County, Indiana Walkers and Woodards.
Baker City historian W. David Samuelson. Not only did he share every thing he knew about Hotel Baker and Baker City, Oregon but he’s the one responsible for bringing me into the digital world. It was on his advice that I invested in my first digital camera – a tool that has proven invaluable. Hats off to you David!
Tippecanoe Press of Shelbyville, Indiana, who let me download images from my digital camera to a CD so I could reuse the memory card. This was not a standard service, they just agreed to do it to help me out. No one there had never done this before and neither had I (it was a new camera) so it took awhile but we eventually figured it out how to do it. I took about 1000 pictures that trip – mostly of headstones- and couldn’t have done it without them.
New Found Family
Relatives uncovered during my research, many through postings on genealogy message boards. All of these people welcomed me with open arms and eagerly traded information with me. They have become friends as well as “long-lost second cousins”. All of them have shared photographs and memorabilia from their ancestors bringing to life people who were dead long before I was even a glint in my mother’s eye.
- Bonnie, her sister Francis, and the entire Dight and Minus clan. All have been so wonderful helping me piece together the family history, providing wonderful family stories and welcoming me into the family so warmly.
- Barbara and her siblings, descendants of the enigmatic Lydia (or Elizabeth as they know her). A family historian herself, Barbara has been key in the quest to solve the Lydia Mystery.
- David, also related to the Jamieson family. A wonderful leprechaun of a man (can you say that of an Englishman of Scots descent?) who contributed to the Lydia research.
- Vicki, related through Lydia, a crazy woman with an unlimited collection of family stories.
- Kathy descendant of James Ward, shared many wonderful old documents and ephemera of the Ward’s as well as her family lineage.
- Chris who added valuable information about William Hartley and his descendents.
The County Clerks
Genealogists are hard on County Clerks. We try not to impose too much but let’s face it, we show up out of the blue, dig through their records, ask innumerable questions, hog the copier and just generally get underfoot. In some offices, you can’t get the books yourself so the poor clerk has to lug huge dusty tomes back and forth while you try to piece the clues together. “I’m sorry… could I see the birth registers for 1910 just one more time?” Honestly, I have never encountered an unhelpful clerk but the ones below deserve a special mention. I spent countless hours in their offices tying up their time and they all were unfailingly nice not to mention helpful way beyond the call of duty.
- Beverly Oliver and Susie Horning of the Shelby County Public Health Dept. These poor women. Due to privacy laws, I was unable to look at the old vital record books myself. They had to look up each name on my list (over 75 people) and read the allowable parts of the entries to me over the counter. Sadly, I have learned that Beverly passed away in 2004. She was an avid historian and genealogist and author of Shelbyville: A Pictoral History.
- The wonderful women of the Shelby County [Indiana] Clerk’s and Land Records Offices. I ran two microfilm copiers out of toner at that land records office. That can’t have made them happy but they never complained.
- The Rush County [Indiana] Public Health clerk. I sat in this women’s office for two solid days pouring over books. I’d look through every book, get new clues and then have to ask her to pull out every book again. Not only didn’t she get mad, she was downright friendly, offering all kinds of research suggestions.
Genealogists are also hard on their friends. Let’s face it – it’s difficult to get interested in somebody else’s long dead relatives. Some friends, though, will valiantly pretend it’s fascinating stuff despite what they may really think.
“Now remind me again… Lydia is your great grandmother on whose side of the family? …the mother of the actress, right?”
Now that is a true and noble friend!
Genealogists with web sites, on the other hand, are even worse. Not only do we make our friends listen to all the latest research news but we now add:
“Carol, you have an English degree don’t you? How are you at editing?”
“Dave, didn’t you say you’ve used content management systems before? Do you know how to… ?”
All of my friends have been very supportive and for that I am extremely grateful. Certain ones, however, have been called on to help so much that they deserve a special mention if only because they refrained from killing me.
- Jane P. – long time, long distance friend who has been a constant source of support and research suggestions, particularly in the quest for Lydia. Full credit goes to Jane and Cathy for the Muir’s of Canada research.
- Cathy H. – a friend of newfound family Cathy is a consummate genealogist and computer wizard. None can make Google and Ancestry dance like her. Several of the major Lydia breakthroughs are due to her dogged research and insights.
- And last, but most certainly not least: Carol Davis – editing, research and the ability to listen to me talk about the web site for an entire lunch without letting her eyes glaze over.