Henry County Genealogy Alliance is brand new. My personally founded genealogy group, East Central Indiana Genealogy Alliance (ECIGA), disbanded in December 2018. From those ashes, HCGA was born. HCGA exists under the umbrella of the historical society. I’m not sure Henry County has ever had a formal genealogical society, to be quite honest.

HCGA will have one live webinar this year AND a one-day seminar.

Question for my genealogy-focused followers: What topic would you like to join for a live webinar where you could ask questions of the presenter? What kind of speakers would you be interested in seeing at a one-day seminar?

Please share your ideas! Help me brainstorm!

Genealogy Do-Over~Week 9

NOTE: Life got in the way and I totally fell behind! It happens!

Week 9: 27 Feb – 5 Mar 2015

* Conducting Cluster Research
To me, cluster research = FAN club, dubbed appropriately by Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG. I’ve mentioned it before here. That will direct you, hopefully, to a much better explanation of this concept. And, the FAN club concept does make sense. I’ve used it several times and have had good results. For instance, I researched and found information on Aaron Ballard’s neighbors in Henry County, Indiana, who mentioned him as being a kind, helpful man. Also, I’m still fleshing out the relationship between Paul Mayer and Casper Zeph, mentioned earlier here. Were they related or just friends?

* Organizing Research Materials – Documents and Photos

My state of organization, at this point, would be best described as so-so. I really need to take a month off work and focus on organizing all that I have amassed but how realistic is that? I have 2 days off a week and those are spent with family, groceries, volunteer work, or other meetings/appointments. My goal *should* be to spend an hour on organizing as soon as I clock out (I work at home, so I could get right on it).  Actually, my documents are organized in so-so fashion; my pictures are a disaster. I used to scrapbook a lot and had sat down and organized every single photo we had into a giant box with dividers. Then, the box got knocked to the floor and all the pics scattered everywhere. They were put willy-nilly back into the box. That was, well, more years ago than I’d like to admit. I pulled the box out yesterday and put it on my list of things to-do, reorganize it!

IHS Focus Group for New Traveling Museum

I had the wonderful opportunity to sit on a Focus Group hosted by the Indiana Historical Society in my hometown regarding a traveling museum.  Their plan is to buy an actual tractor-trailer and then be able to visit all 92 Hoosier counties. So, they are visiting four towns around Indiana to gather ideas and suggestions on what to put in the traveling museum. An exhibit will remain 3-4 years and then they will change it up.

There were about 20 of us gathered, and it was a lively discussion. When you get together with folks interested in history and/or genealogy, every conversation comes with a story, which is great! One lady in attendance had worked with a traveling museum on a much smaller scale, catered toward children, and she related that most times when city kids came to visit they were shocked to find that ham came from pigs! They literally thought it just came from WalMart! Another suggestion was an exhibit that appealed to a person’s 5 senses. We came up with some excellent ideas for the olfactory sense! 😉 In regard to kids, I thought it would be interesting to open their eyes to how things used to not be so “easy” as they are now, e.g., telephones. Put an actual rotary phone out and have them dial that, maybe have it rigged up to go to an actual recorded voice. Someone else suggested cranking a car to get it to start!  A lot of great ideas were bandied about. I can’t wait until this is up and off the ground so I can visit!



Above: The broad categories were discussed in more detail.


Above: The husband and I went out for a Valentine’s date afterward.

Genealogy Do-Over~Week 2

Week 2: 9 Jan-15 Jan 2015

*Setting Research Goals

  • Who was John Ford’s birth family? Particularly his 12 siblings’ names. For females, I need to find marriage records for Genesee Co, NY, and surrounding areas for female Fords of that time. I do have a list of male Fords that could possibly be brothers.
  • Who was John Ford’s first wife and his three children with her? I know he married a Mary Hill in 1831 in Ohio, and his first son Lyman was born in 1832 (my 2nd-great-GF). There were 2 other children, but something happened to the first wife and 2 other children. I haven’t found anything that explicitly says Mary died or that John and Mary divorced. On the 1840 census in IN, John Ford is living with Mary, Lyman, and one of the other children in a county on the Ohio River so cholera is always a possibility. John remarried in 1847 in Ohio so sometime during the 1840 census and his remarriage in 1847 something happened to his first family.
  • In the process of this research, I’ve found that John had a younger brother named Lyman. John and Lyman were in Ohio in the early 1830s and both married then.  Lyman moved to Indiana (on the 1850 census) for a time after that, to the county next to John’s, but then returned to Ohio by 1860 where he lived the rest of his life. In 1850, John was in California during The Gold Rush, working as a trader. In 1860, he is back on the Indiana census. It is interesting to note that Lyman was married in Washington County, PA, where Archibald Bennet had enlisted as a Frontier Ranger during the Revolutionary War…more connections! Lyman lived in Monroe County, OH, and John married Mary Hill in Gallia County, OH, both very close to Washington County, PA. Furthermore, John married his second wife Caroline in Noble County, OH.

*Conducting Self-Interview

  •  Completing Family Group Sheets: My own is done but I need to work on aunts, uncles, and cousins, will focus on Fords at this time.
  • Need to create my autobiography. Can I fit it all onto 1 page? Not sure.

*Conducting Family Interviews

  • I plan on asking members of a family Facebook group to share what they know about the family, their memories. Also need to set a 2015 reunion date. This is not the Ford family, though.
  • See if I can find a Ford Family group on the internet to share info with. Darn near impossible.
  • Get my Dad to take a DNA test! (He’s a Ford.)

ETA: At the end of Week 2, I have accomplished completing Family Group Sheets for each generation of my Ford line back to John Ford. I did this in RootsMagic7 with the help of censuses. John Ford had a total of 8 known children (3 from his first marriage and 5 from his second marriage), his son Lyman had 10 known children, his son Joseph had 4 known children, his son Harold had 1 known child, and his son is my dad with 2 daughters. FindAGrave dot com was a big help in this endeavor, especially for folks more than 50 years gone.

Evidentia: You and I come face to face tomorrow! I’m taking my laptop to the library where I can get some serious work accomplished!

John Ford

John Ford is one of my Civil War ancestors.  He is my 3rd-great-grandfather.  He was born in Verona, Oneida County, New York, on 9 June 1808.  He died in Hymera, Sullivan County, Indiana, on 23 September 1884.

From what I’ve been able to glean about his life, he visited at the very least 7 states during his lifetime, one being California.  I don’t know which states he passed through to make it out west so 7 is a conservative figure.

Thankfully, he wrote an autobiography for a county history book and included many details about his life. I found this in the History of Greene and Sullivan Counties, State of Indiana (it’s a .pdf file that I created):


He was a very active man during his lifetime, it seems. I’d like to learn more about his childhood and his parents and siblings and his first marriage (see forthcoming post regarding Genealogy Do-Over Week 1). I’ve been working on finding documentation to prove each of his statements in his autobiography; some I’ve found, others don’t exist, and I still have a lot of research to do with this family.

*Was going through some indices on FamilySearch dot org for New York Land Records and stumbled across a grantee/grantor of Nathaniel Ford (John’s father) from Archibald Bennett in 1816 in Genesee County!! Huge find! Later, while researching Archibald Bennett, I found his Revolutionary War pension application from when he was living in Decatur County, Indiana, in 1837; guess who one of his witnesses was? None other than John Ford!!! John Ford attested that Archibald’s date of birth was 12 January 1762 at the mouth of the Antietam Creek in Maryland.As it turns out, Bennett’s Rev War claim for pension was rejected. He was a member of the Frontier Rangers.

Society of Indiana Pioneers

I’ve been a member for 1 year now after having my 3rd-great-GF proven as an Indiana pioneer (having resided in Henry County before 31 Dec 1840). With the state’s bicentennial nearing in 2016, I felt the need to be more active somehow.

An opportunity has presented itself!

I will be volunteering (manning the SIP table for an hour) at an upcoming genealogy fair in Indianapolis. The Saturday following that is the annual meeting of the SIP, which I also plan to attend.

If you have an ancestor who was in Indiana in the early 19th century, check out their website. The date of residency is different for different counties, and you can find that info on the website. If you don’t have an Indiana pioneer ancestor but are enamored by Hoosier history, you may also join under an associate membership.


Saturday Night Genealogy Fun-Back to School Memories

Unfortunately, I don’t get to see the challenge until Sunday morning due to the time difference. 🙂 My posts will usually be after Saturday, but they’re so much fun to take part in!

Here is the link to Geneamusings.com SNGF mission:


Here is your assignment if you choose to play along (cue the Mission Impossible music, please!): 

1) It’s almost time for the new school year to start in the Northern hemisphere, and for most children that meant a new grade, a new teacher, and perhaps new friends.

2)  Tell us about some of your elementary school memories when you were a child.  What are your memories of starting school in a new year?  Who were your teachers?  How did you get to school?  Who were your best friends?  What subjects did you like best?  What extra-curricular activities did you participate in?  Make up your own questions if you’d like!

3)  Share your memories in your own blog post, or in a Facebook or Google+ post.


My school memories:

I attended an older brick 3-story schoolhouse for kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grades (1976-1978). I remember celebrating America’s bicentennial in ’76, though I was only 5 years old. At that school, they had lunch brought in every day (no cafeteria on the premises), so you had to walk down a set of steps to where the hot tables were set up, pick up your lunch, and go back up the stairs to wherever your classroom was. My classroom was at the top of the stairs, just to the right, so you’d think nothing awful could happen. Wrong! Of course, the floors were wooden in the classrooms, and the day they served us peas, I tripped over a floorboard and peas scattered everywhere! If the building was still standing, I’m sure there’d be a pea lurking somewhere in that room. That happened in 2nd grade. A new school was built, and I attended there from 3rd through 6th grades. What I remember most about those days was winning the spelling bee in 5th and 6th grades and loving to write. Once on the playground, even though I wasn’t playing, a kickball hit me square in the face and caused a nosebleed. My best friends then were Milli Lodge and Kim Loveless. Also, they built this new school directly across the street from where I lived. I always walked to school, even to the old brick school, which was a few blocks away (safer times, I guess). I do remember my 1st grade teacher getting on me about “organization”!

Seventh grade was in another old brick building, and we were the only kids in it. There was only one 7th grade so all the town’s elementary kids were thrown together for the first time. I didn’t do very well in science the first semester, so my mother made me stay after school most days the 2nd semester and I wound up earning all A’s. Kim Loveless was emerging as my best best friend by this time.

Eighth and ninth grades were in a separate building, next to the high school which housed 10-12 grades, connected by a breezeway. The junior high, as it was called, was much more modern than the 7th grade building. This building had an indoor pool, which was part of the PE curriculum. I loved to swim and feel comfortable in the water. I joined marching band in 9th grade, playing clarinet. Huge adjustment; it was like having an actual job with no pay. Excellent introduction to the real world!

High school went by in a blur. I was still in marching band, worked on the school newspaper, and was editor of the yearbook my senior year. Had a real job by this time, waiting tables at a nearby family restaurant. Was closer to my boyfriend than my best friend Kim. Hindsight: I should’ve stayed closer friends with Kim and spent less time with the boyfriend.

Then, it was off to college! Where I had not a clue of what I wanted to do.

I’d like to mention here that all through primary and secondary schooling, I truly hated history. I did. It was dry and boring and I just couldn’t relate to it. I found out at the Midwestern Roots 2014 conference that something they are doing for Indiana’s upcoming bicentennial is creating a textbook for high school aged students in Indiana about Hoosier history. I have got to get my hands on one of those! Mr. James H. Madison was one of the authors/collaborators on it so my guess is it’ll be a good read. This is big news for Indiana because the only grade that the kids study Indiana history is in 4th grade. Hopefully, this will motivate some kids into Indiana history careers. I truly wish that when I was in high school we would’ve had this text.


Saturday Night Genealogy Fun!

Please see Mr. Randy Seaver’s post:


I chose my great-grandfather Thomas Mayer, born in 1881. Divide his year of birth by 80, and my “roulette number” is 23.51. I rounded up to 24, which led me to a 2nd-great-GF, Dr. Amos Benton Ballard. He was born on 24 February 1840 in Indiana and died on 23 July 1897, also in Indiana.

Three facts about Dr. Amos Benton Ballard:
* He shared his day of birth with a younger brother, both born on 24 February.
* He earned his medical degree in 1873 in Cincinnati, and I have his sheepskin degree.
* Not sure if this is a fact, but a child was listed in his obituary that I have no proof of…working on that!
* For fun, he was married 3 times, the 3rd wife being my 2nd-great-GM.
* Before being a doctor, he was a teacher, preacher, and dentist!

Upcoming Conference

I’ll be attending the Midwestern Roots 2014 Family History and Genealogy Conference in Indianapolis, IN, sponsored by the Indiana Historical Society later this month. I am excited about this because I actually have a hotel room in the hotel where the conference is being held!!

I am also excited about the offered sessions. I’ll be attending 5 sessions on Friday and 5 on Saturday, plus spending time at the IN State Archives the Thursday before and attending the Friday night dinner.

At the Archives, I plan to do research on 3 of my ancestors who served in the Civil War and check into more naturalization records. Some of the sessions I plan on attending are:

Building a Research Toolbox
Finding Females
Managing Your Genealogy Data
Future Technology and Genealogy

The theme of the conference is: “Exploring Frontiers: What Would Your Pioneers Have Tweeted?” Actually, I like this idea and I did think about what my ancestors would’ve tweeted:

Maternal grandfather: He was a loud blowhard, so he would’ve used Twitter for all its worth. He was also a photographer, so I’m sure he’d tweet a lot of pictures. He also was interested in our family history so maybe he would’ve used Twitter to find cousins? His tweet: “I love my Caddy although I work for the UAW. Now look at this picture of it!”
Maternal grandmother: She could not have cared less about what Twitter was, just so long as she had a cup of coffee and a cigarette. Tweet: “…”
Paternal grandfather: See above, minus the cigarette. Tweet: “…”
Paternal grandmother: I think she would’ve used Twitter for recipes and fashion. Tweet: “Just made the best blackberry pie! Found a new apron pattern in BH&G!”

Watch for upcoming posts on my time at this conference!

Research Plan, Part 2

Research Plan


I visited the Wayne County Courthouse (Indiana) today to follow up on my research plan on finding naturalization/citizenship info on my 2nd-great-GF, Paul Mayer. First, I had checked some online info where the state of Indiana has digitized and indexed these records, but he wasn’t listed. At the courthouse, they had a card file, and he was there. We pulled the naturalization book and found the above. Underlined in blue is his declaration of intention, dated 7 Oct 1859. His certificate of citizenship was granted in 1867. I have yet to find a date of immigration or a date of arrival for him, but now I have a solid date of him being in Richmond. This certificate mentions him having 2 competent witnesses. Next up, when I have more time, is searching court records (if they exist) about his court appearance and checking city directories.

I like driving to Richmond. We take the National Road, and my favorite town along the drive is Centerville. In fact, I wouldn’t mind living there!

Centerville IN: