Search Local are posts covering the free digital collections available from libraries and archives in Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio. It is published twice monthly.
Floyd County, Indiana, despite being one of the smallest counties in the state, is located on a major migration route, along the Ohio River across from Louisville, Kentucky. Located in New Albany, the Floyd County Public Library’s Indiana History Room provides access to its materials using a variety of interfaces on its Special Collections page.
The first interface option is the Special Collections Catalog to search among finding aids for 177 archive collections and 10,814 photo collections. The photos are accessible from the site, but the finding aids are to inform the user of what is available to research at the library. The archive collections range from family papers, clubs and organizational records, church minutes and records, and business and township records and ledgers. If interested in access to the material, contact the library on the Special Collections Catalog page.
The keyword search permits the use of quotation marks to find words grouped together (i.e. “Main Street”) and an asterisk (*) to replace more than one letter in a keyword (i.e. Mar* for Mary, Marge, Margaret, etc.). For example, searching for “Culberston Home” yielded sixteen results. Among them was a finding aid for the Culbertson Home for Ladies collection that explains the history of the home and that the library has five boxes of material from 1922 to 1971, including administrative, property, and financial records, meeting minutes, resident applications, and agreements. Also among the results were photo collections ranging from 1895 through 1980. Several of the photo collections held multiple images.
Another interface to search within the Special Collections is the Floyd County Library’s digital collection accessible through Internet Archive. Among the 58 fully digitized items available are city directories for Louisville - New Albany for 1845, New Albany covering 1848 to 1906, and New Albany – Jeffersonville ranging from 1884 to 1920, with some gaps in the coverage. Other materials include family bibles, history books, a scrapbook, and a Portland Ferry Company account book for those crossing the Ohio River from New Albany, Indiana and Portland, Kentucky.
The final interface is specifically for searching New Albany and Floyd County Newspapers on the Newspaper Index. Type in a name or a keyword to discover an abstract record with a full citation including newspaper title, date, day, page, section, column, and others named in the article. Even without seeing the article though, the abstract provides some pertinent details. For example, when searching for Wilma Berkley, we discover three key index entries for the New Albany Tribune. A photograph, dated 9 July, appeared in a wedding article on 10 July 1960. Others mentioned in the article were William Berkley (the groom), Wilma Renner (her maiden name), and Wilma Berkley (her married name). Wilma Renner Berkley’s obituary on 14 February 1992 stated that she was a resident of Lanesville and native of Kansas and a second obituary on 16 February 1992 said that she was buried at Martinsburg Cemetery. To request an article, contact the library on the Special Collections Catalog page.
One never knows what can be found at the local library, as demonstrated by the Floyd County Public Library’s Special Collections. Take the time to see if your local library has freely accessible genealogical material available and remember to Search Local!