Depending on the size and age of one’s family, you may personally know everyone within the most recent two or three generations, or you may only know a select number of those relatives. The latter is more likely if within a generation or two there were many progenies for one couple – think eight or more. In researching this newest familial connection between materials in our collection and a staff member, this was noted as a factor.
When looking up the surname Gilliom for my colleague, Michael, I quickly took note of an Indiana Attorney General with that name, Arthur L. Gilliom. I wanted to find something a little different though. I located the name Gilliom in a series of negatives of cartoonist, Art Gilliom, and his work. These were taken for Gilliom to be profiled in the Indianapolis Star Magazine on January 12, 1947, the first ever issue (v.1, no.1) of the insert publication! Art, better known in later life as Dr. Arthur V. Gilliom, was the son of the Attorney General noted above. Art left cartooning to pursue dentistry.
We are lucky to have Indiana State Dental Association records in our collection. I knew from his obituary that Arthur V. Gilliom was affiliated with the group, so I was curious. Though I had to do some digging, I found one reference to Dr. Gilliom in their journals, specifically in the September 1953 issue. There are likely more references, but I opted not to look further this time.
So, if you’ve been following this blog series, you know what my next question is, are my coworker, Michael, and Art related? I had some information on Michael’s family. With that knowledge and the help of Ancestry Library Edition and digital newspaper databases, it proved easy to locate his Gilliom line. Michael’s grandmother was a Gilliom. Hulda Gilliom was the younger sister of the Attorney General, Arthur L. Gilliom. Their parents were Peter and Rachel (Lehman) Gilliom. The Gillioms were a large family with Rachel bearing 14 children, 11 of whom survived into adulthood. Michael’s grandmother, Hulda, married Menno Stauffer in 1923, losing the Gilliom surname to her line thereafter.
This is the closest connection (yet) between a collection item and a staff member, without the staff member being aware of the item we have. Michael and Art are first cousins, 1x removed, meaning that Michael’s dad, Fred/Fritz, and Art were first cousins. Fred’s mother and Art’s father being siblings as noted above. Though Michael knew of this branch of the Gilliom family, he did not personally know Art. His father, Fred, however, knew his cousin when they were younger. He did not recall Art’s cartoonist career before going into dentistry though.
I have huge doubts that I will find a closer familial relationship within our collections without the item being deposited by the staffer or their direct line family member. Only further investigation of other staff surnames will tell though!
Check the IHS blog site for previous installments of the Are We Related series and other great content.