Category Archives: Family History

The Legacy of Figueroa Printers, Indiana’s First Spanish Language Newspaper

The early Mexican communities of the 1920s in Indiana Harbor (East Chicago) and Gary were socially active and culturally vibrant. Early laborers came to Northwest Indiana and Chicago around 1918, recruited as foreign laborers to work in war-relief-related industries during World War I via Departmental Order No. 52461/202. The 1920s saw an increase in arrivals […]

Pistol Packin’ Pastor: Part 2

This is Part 2 of the story of Wilbur Gibbons. To read part 1, click here. On Wilbur Gibbons’ 1918 draft registration card, he listed himself as a minister. Although he had been ordained in the Presbyterian church under the pretense that he would be working among the Apache in Arizona, he and his family […]

Pistol Packin’ Pastor: Part I

Figuratively speaking, the landscape of historical collections is strewn with Rabbit-Holes. Like Alice in Wonderland, if you choose one and jump down it, you never know when or where you’ll end up. Or who you’ll meet. As a processing archivist, I’m often the first to discover a particular hole and begin to map it out. […]

Are We Related?: Belcher

Welcome to the second installment of my Are We Related series. You can view the first blog about the Herndon family here. In this series, I am looking at surnames in the IHS collection and determining if a shared surname in my own line has any known ties. When I began working at the Indiana […]

Are We Related? – Herndon

As a librarian and historian, I explore various aspects of history and have become more and more fascinated by family history over the years. While perusing various collection materials, I see many different surnames, some of which are familiar to me as family names I have researched. One such name is Herndon. It is most […]

The Largest Syrian Colony Outside of New York

Below is an excerpt from a recent article in the IHS publication, Traces. By 1900 there were vibrant Arabic-speaking communities across Indiana, including in Indianapolis, Terre Haute, and Michigan City. But Fort Wayne was special, at least according to its Syrian residents. Alixa Naff, who developed the Smithsonian Institution’s collection on Arab American history, wrote […]

Dancing the Blues with Hoagy Carmichael

A few years ago, I walked into the Indiana Historical Society (IHS) carrying a box of family photos. Among my photos was one of Hoagy Carmichael (1899-1981) with my late mother-in-law, Myrtle Goldfinger (1917-2011).  At the time, I knew nothing about the photo beyond what I had heard from family members: Myrtle had been a […]

2022 Centennial Business Awards

In 1992, the Indiana Historical Society founded the Historic Business Register to recognize Indiana companies continually in business for a century or more to encourage the preservation of historically significant business-related archival materials, and to develop an awareness of Indiana’s rich business and industrial heritage. Since that time, more than 500 companies have been honored […]

One Roof, Two Churches: Shared Faith of Mexican and Black Catholics During the Segregation Era

Segregation in all its forms, shaped how and where certain populations lived, shopped, played and worshiped. This is more noticeable in large urban centers, easily supported by population density. A symptom of this is seen in auto-segregation or self-segregation, mostly among ethnic or religious groups. In the Midwest, examples of this can be seen in […]

Fiestas Patrias Parade and Indiana’s First Mexican Queen

Every September in Indiana Harbor (East Chicago), Lake County, Indiana there is an annual parade and events for Fiestas Patrias, a celebration of Mexican Independence Day. The earliest record of this Hoosier staple celebration of Mexican heritage was in 1924. The Times reported on August 21, 1924, a planned September celebration of Mexican Independence being […]