Sunday, November 08, 2009

Annual Fall Research Trip

It's hard to believe that it has been a year since my last fall research trip, but this year instead of heading north to the Allen County Library I decided to focus on my paternal lines in Jay County Indiana and do some on site research.

My agenda for the day included plans to visit the Jay County Library, the Health Department and the Clerk's office. If time allowed, I wanted to revisit the Salamonia and Mt. Zion cemeteries.

The main focus of this trip would be the surnames of LEMASTER, HALEY, METZNER and WEHRLY. I hoped to visit the courhouse to collect some marriage certificates that I hadn't collected on previous visits.

One thing that I hadn't planned on was the road construction taking place on highway Indiana 26. Because I had to change my route, I was about 45 minutes later than I expected in arriving at the library.

The Jay County Public Library is a very modern facility. I had never been to this library, and was pleased to find that their Indiana Room had a microfilm reader with a printer.

The library had quite a collection of local directories, county history and funeral home records. There were plenty of local sources to research, but I wanted to stay focused and not get too distracted. What I hoped to gain from the visit to the library were obituaries from the local newspaper. The library has quite a collection going back to the 1880s.

By scouring the microfilms and checking the vertical files, I was able to obtain the following genealogy treasures from the library:
  • The obituary of Luman Walker LEMASTER, my paternal 2nd-great grandfather, from the November 18, 1931 edition of The Commercial Review
  • The obituary of Barbara Isabel LEMASTER, my paternal 2nd-great grandmother, from the February 7, 1930 edition of The Commercial Review
  • The obituary of Mary Jane KIMBLE, my paternal 2nd-great grandmother, from the January 15, 1916 edition of The Commercial Review
  • The obituary of Luman Walker LEMASTER Sr., my paternal 3rd-great grandfather, from the February 27, 1927 edition of The Commercial Review
  • The obituary of William P. WEHRLY, my paternal 2nd-great grandfather, from the January 16, 1909 edition of The Commercial Review
  • The obituary of Cora B. HALEY, my paternal great-grandmother, from the April 29, 1955 edition of The Commercial Review
  • The obituary of Luman Cooper LEMASTER, my paternal great-grandfather, from the February 13, 1933 edition of The Commercial Review
  • The obituary of John Adam METZNER, my paternal 2nd-great grandfather, from the December 5, 1895 edition of The Daily Commercial
  • A biography of Lon J. WEHRLY, a 1st cousin 3 times removed, prepared for the Citizens Historical Association of Indianapolis and located in the vertical file
  • A history of the Mt. Zion Church, where my HALEY relatives were members, prepared by Madonna Miller, located in vertical file.
My next stop was the Jay County Health Department, where I hoped to locate a death certificate for Luman Cooper LEMASTER and his wife, Barbara Isabel (WEHRLY) LEMASTER. I had decided before my trip only to seek these two certificates to reduce expenses.

Arriving at the Health Department, I was told by the gentleman at the desk that the lady who handles death certificates was at the bank and would be back shortly. Engaging in small talk, I mentioned that my brother worked for the Hamilton County Health Department and this gentleman, Dave, knew my brother and thought highly of him.

When the clerk, Peggy, arrived back at the office and began to take the information about the death certificate I wanted, she stated that she had LEMASTERs in her family. After figuring out which LEMASTER I was related to, we discovered that we were second cousins, once removed. She had typed up some genealogy papers for her mother, and promised to send me a copy. I gave her a copy of my work business card, but this would be a good time to have had one just made for genealogical purposes. She was able to find Luman but not his wife in the records. I gave her the date again for Barbara and told her I was sure that she had died in Jay County, and then I looked at the obituary I had just located at the library....she had died at the hospital in another county.

For only $4.00, I received a copy of a 'genealogy record' of Luman's death certificate, which did give me his cause of death, cancer of the bladder. Information in hand and having met a new cousin, I was off to the courthouse.

The Jay County Clerk's office has the marriage records going back to 1836 in the large bound books. On a previous trip to the courthouse, I had made a copy of my grandparents' marriage license, and on this trip I wanted to try to obtain copies of marriage records for as many of the direct ancestry and aunts/uncles as I could. The costs are fairly reasonable, only $1.00 per page.

Before making this trip I had prepared a list of all of the marriages in my database that occurred in Jay County, Indiana. I had highlighted those that were in my direct lineage as the ones I would be willing to spend money on today to document. Thanks to the helpful staff at the clerk's office, I was able to obtain copies of the following marriage records:
  • The marriage of my 2nd-great grandparents, William P. WEHRLY and Olive Jane SMITH, which occurred August 5, 1866 in Jay County. This corrects my database, which had their marriage occurring on August 4.
  • The marriage of my 2nd-great grandparents, John Adam METZNER and Clara MOULTON, which occurred November 13, 1864 in Jay County.
  • The marriage of my great-grandparents, Luman Cooper LeMASTERS and Barbara Isabel WEHRLY, which occurred November 13, 1886 in Jay County. This clarified some confusion I had about the date in my database.
  • The marriage of my great-grandparents, Eli Weldon HALEY and Cora Belle METZNER, which occurred July 21, 1888 in Jay County, Indiana.
  • The marriage of my 2nd-great grandmother, Mary Jane (SHERRICK) HALEY, widow, to her second husband Robert E. KIMBLE on May 8, 1897 in Jay County, Indiana.
  • The marriage of my grandaunt, Mary Annettie HALEY to Galen H. MILLER, on August 23, 1917 in Jay County, Indiana.
  • The marriage of my uncle, Paul W. LEMASTER to Betty E. LANNING in 1952.
  • The marriage of my aunt, Ruth A. LEMASTER to Robert A. CHANEY in 1973.
After leaving the clerk's office, I decided to visit the Jay County Historical Society Museum located on Main Street. My parents had recently been to this museum, and told me that they had quite a collection. This was an understatement. The museum is well organized, and contains not only genealogical information, but local history as well. I will have to schedule a trip just to pursue all of the collections. Wandering around, I did locate a photograph of Luman Walker LeMASTERS along with other Civil War veterans in the Civil War room. I joined the society, and asked if they could scan me a copy of this photograph. I also located my grandfather's high school graduation picture (which I had previously seen) as well as a photograph of Dr. W.A. CHEW, a relative of Salamonia, Indiana.

My grandfather, Ord W. LEMASTER, Madison Twp. High School - 1922

The family of W.A. CHEW, physician of Salamonia, Indiana

My final stops of the day would be to revisit the cemeteries at Salamonia and Mt. Zion. My grandfather LEMASTER's relatives are all buried at Salamonia, and my grandmother HALEY's are buried at Mt. Zion. These cemeteries are within a couple miles of each other. The weather was absolutely beautiful, and I snapped a few photographs of tombstones that I had missed on previous visits. Will add these later to website.

Overall, I was very pleased with the amount of ground I had covered on these families. The key this trip was staying focused on just a few families and not being sidetracked down the rabbit holes of other lines. The courthouse visit and the health department visits were the most critical because they are not available on the weekends. I can return to the library and the historical society at other times and uncover more treasures.

I have a wonderful wife who is understanding of the fact that genealogy is my 'thing', and that I love to take a day off around my birthday for the annual genealogy pilgrimage.

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