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Museum Hours: Tues-Sat 10am-4pm    (812) 332-2517COVID-19 Updates

New Resource: Monroe County Birth Index, 1882-2014

This new index is a compilation of indexes to original birth records created at the Monroe County Health Department and edited by Lee Ehman (library volunteer). This index currently is not in print form, but can be found on our website. Of note for family researchers is the entry for mother’s maiden name, a sometimes

Historical Population Counts for Bloomington and Monroe County

As we prepare to celebrate the Indiana Bicentennial in 2016, and Monroe County’s Bicentennial in 2018, it is interesting to look back at the growth in our population. Congress is mandated by the Constitution to take an enumeration every ten years for apportionment of the House of Representatives, thus we have the U.S. Census. The first was taken in 1790. The early census records were really a basic count of the voting population (i.e. white men over 18 years of age). Throughout the decades, additional  questions have been added. (My favorite brief history is “History and Organization” CFF-4 of the Factfinder for the Nation series: https://www.census.gov/history/pdf/cff4.pdf).

Discovering Indiana’s “Drowned Towns”

At one point in time, the Salt Creek Valley was a rich bottomland that was home to hundreds of farming families. This folk community was close-knit and self-reliant, and its residents prided themselves on hard work, family values, and cultural heritage. In the early 1960s the Louisville branch of the Army Corps of Engineers began work on the Monroe County Reservoir, which effectively forced farmers off land that had been in their families for generations. When the reservoir was built more than 300 homes—along with 3 schools, 10 churches, 8 cemeteries and the last 3 covered bridges in the county—were either relocated or washed away, only to become “drowned towns.” These displaced families were left to struggle with how to regain a level of normalcy and comfort after the tragic loss of their homes and livelihoods.

A home in Elkinsville, Indiana after the start of the reservoir construction.

Locating African American Gravesites in Monroe County

Join the Cemetery Committee on Sunday, March 15th (2pm-4:30pm) at Rose Hill Cemetery for a hands-on program. You are invited to help assess tombstones of African Americans whose gravesites have been identified by hardworking volunteers who conducted research on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Participants should meet at the circle-fountain at 2pm. Water and snacks

Unique Map Found in the MCHC Research Library

Submitted by Lou Malcomb (library volunteer):

Many of us who volunteer and use the Research Library at the Monroe County History Center treasure the many unique resources it holds. However, we often assume many of the published materials are simply duplicates of items held at the Monroe County Public Library or the IU Libraries. So, when I discovered a couple of rare maps while doing a routine inventory of the map collection, I was thrilled.

The Love and Crime of Clinton Thomas Hovious

David Lemon, one of our volunteers shared a very interesting story he uncovered while researching his family. His discovery is detailed below:

Clinton Thomas Hovious Clinton Thomas Hovious – Michigan City, IN Prison

“If all genealogists research their family long enough they usually find some interesting characters in their family tree. I suppose Clinton Hovious would probably be considered a ‘black sheep’ in most families. I consider him a spicy addition to our otherwise mostly boring family.

State Library Resources in Danger

The Indiana legislature has recently introduced a state budget bill that proposes massive cuts to the State Library’s Budget. This 24% cut would entail the dismantling of the Genealogy department. The State Library’s genealogy collection is one of the largest in the Midwest. These resources are relevant to many genealogists working in Monroe County. The

Spend MLK Day with the Cemetery Committee

Join the Cemetery Committee on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (Monday, January 19th) from 9:30am-3pm at the Monroe County History Center. Learn how to use census records, burial records, and other resources to identify where members of the Bloomington African American community are buried in our local cemeteries. Snacks and lunch will be provided.

Welcome to our Blog

Welcome to the Monroe County History Center Research Library blog. For a couple of years we have sent bi-monthly newsletters to our patrons. This blog is an attempt to update that practice. It will allow us to post more regularly and flexibly, ensuring that news from the library will reach the public in a more

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