Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Research trip part 3: Moving on to IN

After the exhilaration of being able to go to the gravesite of one of the earlier Bromagem family members, and actually the first time I've been able to visit a Bromagem grave period, I moved on to Eastern Indiana. I started at the Randolph County Courthouse in Winchester, IN and had some success finding Bromagem land records there, specifically evidence of James Bromagem's (son of Elias whose stone is shown in the previous post) financial problems. I had heard from a cousin that there was such evidence but didn't have the copies myself. Now I do.

In Winchester I also ran into what could be a possible lead in the Mary J. Braden/Hawkins Bromagem maiden name issue. I found someone named J. Park Braden listed in the land deed index and the name stuck out. Mary J and James Bromagem's eldest child, Eliza/Lida Bromagem Van Wormer, had a son named J. Park Van Wormer. There was no indication in the deed that he was any relation to Mary J. but it's something I am going to try to pursue to see if maybe he could be a younger brother/cousin, anything related to her. J. Park isn't exactly the most common name around so I'll keep you posted on the status on that.

I also was able to take a look at marriage applications for Randolph County for my Mother-in-Law. Her Phillips family has Randolph County roots and I was able to take a look at all of the wonderful info included on these applications. Randolph County started recording applications for marriage licenses around 1882 and they are indexed and available through the County Clerk's Office. This date is not the standard for all counties so you must check with your particular location's Clerk's office for more info. There are two parts to each application, one page with the groom's info and one page with the bride's info. Included are the couple's parents names, locations, if the parents are living or deceased, whether this is the first marriage for each person, when and where they were born, and more. Obviously these are great resources when searching for marriages that occurred in Indiana during the latter part of the 19th c.-early part of the 20th c.

From Winchester I went to the Jay County courthouse, but didn't find too much there. I wish I had taken photos inside the courthouse though. It had a gorgeous stained glass ceiling surrounded by painted scenes from Indiana history. That was probably the best part of that courthouse :) That, and the pop machine that had cans for 50 cents.

I made a quick stop at the Wayne County Indiana courthouse to do some more searching for my Mother-in-Law's family and found a great deed where the grantor was the widow of the earliest generation of Turners in this country from her line. The widow was dividing up the property to her children after the death of her husband and their father and because of that, it included the names of several of their sons and daughters so we can compare that list of children with those that we already had. Very helpful indeed!

One thing I must say about Indiana courthouses is that they are expensive. At each of the three courthouses I visited copies were $1.00 per page which can get extremely costly. So be ready to take notes in the form of abstracts and/or transcripts if you have the time. Most also did not allow digital photographs to help combat the copying cost so that's not going to be an option either. Also, the original deed books are at the courthouses so you may want to come prepared with your own gloves to protect your hands, as well as the delicate pages. The Randolph County Recorder's office provided gloves, in both mens and ladies sizes, but I did not see them available at any other location that I visited.

So overall it was a great little trip. I got tons of copies and have some leads to work with too. I also learned a little bit more about some of the records available, the marriage applications were a new resource for me since my own Indiana relatives arrived before their use. So now I can start trying to follow up on some of these new leads, hopefully something will come of them!

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