IN SOUTHEASTERN INDIANA
What is YESTERYEARS?
Yesteryears is the Family History Research Center I have set up with headquarters here in Historic Vernon, Indiana. I chose Vernon because it is close to my own roots and because it is centrally located to many Courthouses in Southeastern Indiana. I also love it because when I step out my door it is like stepping back in history. Within less than an hour I can drive to many places to do on site research. The area is beautiful, historic and tranquil all the things I was looking for after 40 years in the high pressure world of Electronics Manufacturing.
I have slowly collected photo's of Original Documents from the Jennings County Courthouse, and other sources in the area which along with thousands of pages of printed family histories. I am the County Coordinator for the Jennings, Jefferson & Switzerland Counties on INGenWeb, where I am placing as much data as I can gather. In March of 2011, I started working part time at the Jennings County Public Library as the Local History & Genealogy Associate, and in April became the "Official" Jennings County Genealogist with the Indiana Genealogical Society.
I have become so busy with all the above it is limiting my ability to travel, so I plan to concentrate on Jennings County. I also care for my mother which is keeping me closer to home. I have asked Indiana GenWeb to replace me as County Coordinator for the Jefferson & Switzerland County web sites. I will be happy to refer you to someone who can do research in those counties. I will still be contributing things to those sites as I find them even though I will not be the Coordinator.
Before my move here I spent time at the Indiana State Archives and have copies of some interesting documents on the G.A.R. (Grand Army of the Republic) for this area, also of the list of those who had claims agains the State when Morgans Raiders came through Indiana.
I am inviting researchers to stop by if you are in the area! I can within a few minutes compile for you a map to local Cemeteries, by Township along with a listing of those buried in them, (if they were recorded). I am doing as much as I can at either no charge or a minimal charge. For years I have had to go on trips to do on site research and know it can be expensive, in this day and age I want to help when I can.
If you want extensive work done or large amounts of research there will be a charge, if you just want information on where to go and where to look for what you need just give me a call or e mail me. If you are planning a visit to the area call a little ahead so I can plan to be here and not out "digging for roots".
I will continue to gather as much information as I can including family pictures and records for Southeastern Indiana so check and see what is available. I do have a number of resource books such as marriage index's, and local histories. I have on my computer plus on CD's and Flash Drive's actual photo's of some Courthouse documents and pictures of cemeteries and individual headstones. The bulk of what I have is on southern Jennings County but now that I am in the area more from other areas is being added. If you have family from this area and would be willing to share please contact me, I would love to put it up either here or on one of the INGenWeb County sites.
As I find things for the southeastern counties that I do not have other web sites for I will be adding them to this site - the first is a the list from the Indiana State Archives of Claims for damages by Morgan's Raiders in Scott County. A link is provided down the page to access this information.
Home of Yesteryears - my office is the door to the right in the picture
At trip to Southeastern Indiana is a joy for History buffs, you can take the John Hunt Morgan Heritage Trail where you will learn-At Vernon, for the first time, the raiders were turned back. The Home Guard had taken up a strong position at Vernon on a bluff overlooking the Muscatatuck River. Morgan turned southeast toward Dupont, destroying bridges along the way.My 2nd great grandfather Joseph Ayers was a member of the Paris Home Guards a local militia that was formed during the Civil War to defend the area.
Just a ways down the road is Lancaster, home of Historic Eleutherian College. Which is- a monument to a group of people believing in education, the arts and equality without regard to race or gender. Quite a few of my ancestors were members of the Neil's Creek Anti-Slavery Society which was involved in the founding of the College. The area had many anti slavery activists who helped slaves work their way North on the Underground Railroad. I recently became a member of the group that is working to preserve Eleutherian College, this is a part of our local history that deserves to be promoted and documented. Many of the people who live in Southeastern Indiana do not realize that while our ancestors struggled to make a life for themselves they also struggled to help those escaping from slavery and because of our proximity to the Ohio River this area was critical to that effort. Eleutherian College was ahead of its time in the belief that education was a key to equality. Just as slavery divided our country it divided this area and it was to be expected that much of what was done around Lancaster to help in this cause was not appreciated by some of their neighbors. The founders of the College and those who participated in the Underground Railroad did so at their own peril. Join us in working to keep their sacrifices alive and by understanding them may we all continue to learn.
Another fantastic road tour with choices can be found at Southeast Indiana Trails to Freedom Driving Tour it is a wonderful and educational way to spend your time. Another great driving tour is the Ohio River Scenic Byway which goes from Lawrenceburg to Madison some really beautiful scenery here.
For those who are tracing their Indiana ancestors be sure to check the counties in Southeastern Indiana. Clark, Dearborn, Franklin, Jackson, Jefferson, Jennings, Ohio, Ripley, Scott, and Switzerland . I personally feel that not enough attention is given to these areas where many early entries by pioneers into the state actually happened. Madison and Versailles were easy entry points for those who traveled down the Ohio River, or who came over land from eastern states to what was the the new and wild Indiana Territory. There many types of researchers involved in family searches, I started out just looking for my direct ancestors, then became fascinated with how quickly a family tree could grow, and the history of the areas in which they lived. I love meeting either in person or on line people who are connected either by marriage or just by proximity, I have found learning about your ancestors neighbors and their families can give insight into how they lived and what infulenced them to either move on or stay where they were and put down roots. The study of the old cemeteries tells many a tale of love and loss on the American frontier, so many times I see one child after another who never got to grow up, and imagine how their families suffered with each loss, or the lonely stone of a young wife and child. Then there are the ones where you know the person buried there had a sense of humor, such as one in Jennings County-"I have gone into the hole before but this time was the worse".
If you are tracing your own family roots, I highly recommend using the USGenWeb Project. I decided to become a county coordinator because the site was so helpful to me. I believe in Free Genealogy and with the USGenWeb Project you have access to lots of free information. It is all taken care of by volunteers who post information on their counties at no cost to the user. I know how much work an effort goes into each site. Some coordinators are more able, due to circumstances, than others to have detailed sites, but U.S. and Indiana GenWeb has archives. I go to many county courthouses and wander around old cemeteries, in fact the kids say I need a bumber sticker that says "I brake for old cemeteries" because I can't seem to just drive by one.
Of course I use most all of the other Genealogy sites and am a member of Ancestry.com which is owned by The Generations Network.
This is a picture of a group of Civil War Reinactors in 2006 at Eleutherian College with the gun my 2nd great grandfather Joseph Ayers carried during the time of Morgan's Raid into Indiana
Family History Stuff
Although I love Jennings County, my family is all over Southern Indiana and they of course came from other places to settle there. So on this site I will be placing more about where each of these my Jennings County settlers migrated from and where they went from Jennings as the years passed. My main areas of interest are Jennings County , Jefferson County , & Switzerland County in Indiana and Pendleton County, Kentucky My main surnames are Stewart (my maiden name), Colvin, Ayers & Zener/Zenor. I keep being amazed at what a small community the area in southern Jennings & northern Jefferson Counties were in the 1800's. I have met some really terriffic "Cousins" who also research the area and whose family's mine married into. At one time I thought of the area as a gene pool, with time I have discovered it was more of a gene puddle with so many of the early families connected by marriage. The part of all this research I enjoy is trying to understand the people and the time in which they lived, so rather than saying I am a Genealogist, I just say I am enjoying my Family History. I do many of the same things a Genealogist does and I learned the hard way to list sources because when I first started I didn't and now do I ever wish I could go back and find this or that again or verify something when asked to do so.
Other pages on this site
click on the underlinded words
Southeastern Indiana Research Links
Indiana GenWeb Project Sites
Clark County, Indiana Dearborn County, Indiana Jefferson County, Indiana
Jennings County, Indiana Ohio County, Indiana Ripley County, Indiana
Scott County, Indiana Switzerland County, Indiana
Indiana GenWeb Connecting Counties
Bartholomew County, Indiana Decatur County, Indiana Floyd County, Indiana
Franklin County, Indiana Jackson County, Indiana Washington County, Indiana
Ohio Neighboring Counties
Hamilton County, Ohio Butler County, Ohio
Kentucky Neighboring Counties
Carroll County, Kentucky Gallatin County, Kentucky Trimble County, Kentucky
Boone County, Kentucky