Saturday, April 26, 2014

Keeping Interest in a Genealogy Society.

Program - On the Trail of Henry Cross, Stonecarver

It has been up to me as President to keep our members interested in coming to our meetings, not to mention attracting new members. Our Society had grown stale and our meetings were humdrum. Yes, we had interesting speakers and of late more modern topics to present. That only goes so far, at least in my opinion. If I belong to a Club or Society I want to do fun things and share my accomplishments. I’m sorry to say we’ve lost some of our older members the past couple of years, but hopefully we’ve lost the old order of being a humdrum society. I want my genealogy buddies to enjoy being in a club, to enjoy doing the type of things that I do, and to learn and do new hands-on techniques.

Of course, there is always going to be one or two members that don’t like change. Then I also have to think of those that are not able to go out and do more active things like cemetery hopping. So I, as President, have to learn to balance all these different personalities and physical types. So we give them a mix of different types of programs. A couple of years ago I started taking our meetings out into the county in different locations so that maybe we could draw in new members. It also let the locals get an idea what our Society was about. Every on-location meeting was very well attended, so much better than our stay-at-home meetings.

So last year we instituted a new Summer-on-the-Road series of programs/activities. It was a big hit. We’re going to do that again this year, but with an overall theme – Summer of Cemeteries. Once the idea was presented among our members we’ve had multiple questions and comments. We’re still in the planning stages, but we plan to go up to October as long as the weather holds. We’ll have a sit down portion for the older folks with a short program or talk. Then we’re off to our local cemetery for some fun. In June we’ll have our Annual Picnic with a visit to Greenlawn Cemetery. In September or October we plan to visit the Deckard Cemetery. Plans for the other months in between haven't been set yet.

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Ohio Migrations to Brown County

Otho H. Roberts and Rebecca Pittman-Roberts

There's always something I've wondered about, but there hasn't been much written on the story. Why was there such a mass migration, or at least it seems so, of Ohio natives to Brown County, Indiana? Our county started out at a very early time in our state's history becoming a county in 1836. During that time a great influx of pioneers came in from the southern states such as Kentucky and Tennessee. There seemed to be a still period afterwards where these pioneers settled down, started a new government, created communities, and developed their land into something that could sustain their families. Then the Civil War came and went and Brown County citizens lended their support. Then all of a sudden another mass migration followed from eastern Ohio counties. What triggered this new mass migration? I know there are histories of that time talking about migration routes and stories of individual families that moved here. That still doesn't answer the question, "Why?"

Doing a search on Google there are a lot of short references to the Ohio migrations in the late 19th century. There are stories of migration routes such as the National Road and the Ohio River. Is there anything else written on the subject about why and what triggered this sudden migration. At least is seems like it all occurred within a short time span. By the end of the 1800s Brown County's native population seemed to be split almost entirely down the middle with half from Kentucky who came in the early 1800s and the other half from Ohio who came in the late 1800s. It seems to me that this would be a good story to tell. Nearly all of the Ohio immigrants came from the eastern counties of Brown, Belmont, Monroe, Washington, and Noble Counties. These counties that are along the Ohio River it's not too hard to imagine that the Ohio River was the main route of transport. But then why would they get off in Indiana and head straight for little, hilly Brown County? Some stories say that Brown County looked more like their old home with the hills and valleys. The terrain can be rough though and farming mainly contained in the more fertile valley soils. Some of my family names that came from these regions are Pittman, Roberts, Reeves, Truex, Skinner, Hoover, and Clark. This doesn't count all the Ohio natives that these families married into and lived next to. They all seemed to move together in a mass. Possibly studying old newspaper accounts would be helpful too.

If anyone can recommend a good historical account of this migration period please post your comment.