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Finding Indiana’s Latino Stories

July 27, 2018

  • 25 individuals with an age range of 43 to 100 years
  • 1,947 minutes of audio
  • 3,935 miles traveled
  • 1,200 pages of transcripts
  • 100 years of documented history into a 188-year-old collection

In the fall of 2016, I started traveling around the state for the Latino Collecting Initiative. I talked to 25 pioneering individuals who sat down with me for hours telling me their family or personal stories. Meeting and talking to groups and individuals to begin to build this collection of culture, contribution and community has meant so much to me.

Everyone in the collection has contributed to his or her local community, region or state. As my family’s unofficial genealogist/historian, I have experience tracking families through genealogy. With the transcripts, if the information was available, I tracked individuals and families through genealogical research and incorporated this into the transcripts. This was the best part. I did a preliminary search before the interview and presented them with the information. I unknowingly helped solve a family mystery from the 1930s, and I confirmed an age of a grandmother who died at the age of 104 and not at the age of 102 as previously recorded. How cool is that?

Ten of these stories will be featured in our upcoming exhibit, Be Heard: Latino Experiences in Indiana. Come see Be Heard and share in their experience and learn about the Latino community of Indiana. Photos and stories shared have not been exhibited publicly or shared outside of their family or community circles. The story of Latinos in Indiana has not been told in such depth within our state’s 200+ year history.

Be Heard: Latino Experiences in Indiana is open from July 28 through Nov. 3, 2018.

Nicole Martinez-LeGrand is the multicultural collections coordinator in the Archives and Library department. In her position, she enjoys doing day-to-day research but particularly enjoys genealogy research. She enjoys the thrill of connecting people to their past. She’s an adrenaline seeker of a unique kind.

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