This year’s trip was to Indiana to research ancestors and visit cemeteries. We left Omaha on Sunday, April 12, 2015 in a car that we had rented. We decided that it was best to rent a car ….if you have a break down on your trip you can just call and get a car switched out as opposed to being held up somewhere waiting for your car to have expensive repairs done…and mom was looking forward to driving something different. I went out to the rental agency to pick it up and the car that I reserved had a broken windshield that needed to be repaired so he upgraded me to a Ford Escape. Most people would be happy for a free upgrade but the Escape would use more gas and it was the exact same vehicle that mom owns! So much for trying out something different! It was a nice vehicle though so there wasn’t too much to complain about . We drove all day with a stop in Genesco, Iowa for lunch at Sweet Peas. Once we crossed over into Indiana we started noticing some beautiful and some not so beautiful barns.
We arrived at Rensselaer, Indiana around evening and found our Holiday Inn Express and checked in. We headed in to town in search of dinner and a drink. There was only one place that we could have a drink. It was a little smoke filled bar…yes, they do still allow smoking in Indiana…at least in bars. We had a drink and went next door for dinner and then called it a day.
Monday we were to meet Harvey W to begin some research on Robert B. Overton and Isaac Byres. These are two of my 3 x great grandfathers. I had met Harvey through www.INGenWeb.com and the Jasper County Cemeteries page. I had asked him about a cemetery and he had volunteered to go up and take some pictures for me. We had conversed several times throughout a two year period and when I told him we were coming to Rensselaer he lined up the entire day of places for us to do research and offered to get us to each place. Spending the day with Harvey was probably one of the highlights of our trips. It was so nice to be able to go into libraries, courthouses, and churches and even out in the country to a private cemetery with someone local that can speed up the process for you. We started out at Jasper County’s beautiful courthouse. We found that each courthouse had different rules and levels of security. At Jasper County we had tougher security than an airport. We went through the metal detectors, had our bags completely searched…and I do mean completely…the guy there opened every little tiny zipper in my purse and wallet and thoroughly searched every nook and cranny! It was almost funny. After copying land records at the courthouse we went to lunch with Harvey. Next stop was St. Joseph’s college library where newspapers were stored. We looked through the papers for an obituary for Isaac but did not find one. We moved on to the United Methodist church for marriage records. We came up empty handed again. The last thing on the list was to see if we could get out to Saltillo Cemetery. It sits in the middle of someone’s private land and we were hoping that we would find someone to give us permission to go in. When we got there we noticed that there was a fence with a padlocked gate on the property. We went back to the nearest farm houses to look for someone and after several attempts finally found a neighbor. He called the owner for us who was not around but told him to go ahead and take some bolt cutters and cut the chain off of the gate and let us drive back in to the cemetery. We couldn’t believe it but felt so lucky. We drove about a quarter of a mile back and found the cemetery. Isaac’s stone is broken but you can still read it. We spent some time taking pictures and then headed back to town.
The last stop was the local library where they had a nice genealogy section.
We wanted to take some more time and go to a couple of neighboring county courthouses to check on some additional records. We decided to stay one more night in Rensselaer and move on the next morning.
For dinner Monday night “The Farmhouse” at Fair Oaks Farms came highly recommended. You can check this place out at www.fofarms.com. This was a beautiful place and we learned a lot about how the entire facility runs on cow and pig manure. They are very eco-friendly and humanely treat their animals. You will have to go to the site and read about them. The farmhouse had wonderful food and we really enjoyed out night here.
Tuesday we went to Winamac, IN where the Pulaski County courthouse resides.
At this courthouse just one county over there was no security at all, we were able to walk right in. We met a really nice lady there that worked at the courthouse but who had a love for genealogy and she gave us some suggestions on what to look for next. We did not come up with anything in Winamac but enjoyed the stop to see the courthouse.
We moved on to Peru, Miami County, IN for a stop at their courthouse. I found a deed at this courthouse to Isaac Byres land that listed the name of his wife on it. Census records only listed her as Polly. I also found a marriage record for Isaac and Margaret (Polly) Byres that indicates that she must have been a second wife. The marriage was in 1847 and on the 1850 census record that lists the two of them I find eight Byres children all born before 1847.
From Peru we traveled on to Fort Wayne IN and found a room at a Best Western Plus. We drove over to Ohio so Mom could add Ohio to her list of states that she has found a geocache in (see the notes at the end of this blog for more on that) and then we went out for a cocktail and dinner. Somehow spending all day driving or working in a courthouse demands a cocktail at the end of the day.
Wednesday we spent the entire day at the Allen County Library downtown Fort Wayne. They have a beautiful genealogy library wing and we had so much fun looking through the collections. We couldn’t believe how fast the day went. They even have a coffee and sandwich shop in the library so that you don’t have to leave when you get hungry. I highly recommend spending time here if you ever get the chance.
From here we drove on down to Anderson, Madison County, IN. Here we were hoping to research the Rains and Roadecap (sometimes spelled Roadcap or Rodecap) families from my mom’s side of the tree. In the counties of Henry and Madison we have Henry and Lydia Myers Roadecap, Ahasual Raines and Mary Elliot Raines, and their children who married in Madison County, Joab Raines and Mary Martha Roadecap. I will spell their names the way they are spelled in the family bible that we have.
When we got there it was still light out so we decided to search out the first cemetery that was on our list. We would be going to Middletown, Henry County, IN. It was the final resting places for Henry Roadecap and his wife Lydia Myers my 3 x great grandparents. They belonged to the Upper Fall Creek Church of the Brethren. We stopped at the local library that just happened to be open late and the librarian was able to give us directions out of town to the cemetery and church. The church is still in existence today although probably not the same building. The cemetery we were looking for was across the road from the church. Pictures of Henry and Lydia’s stones have never made it to findagrave.com so we were anxious to see if we could find them. This was a big cemetery and there wasn’t a directory. We looked for the oldest section of the cemetery and stumbled right up to the stone. It looked like someone had recently replaced the stone and Lydia’s previous stone was leaning up against it.
We felt like the ancestors were leading us right to them.
When we drove back through Middletown we noticed a historical society so we decided that would be our first stop on Thursday. We went back towards our hotel which was another Best Western Plus…and stopped at a Montana Mike’s for dinner.
Thursday morning we hit the ground running because we had a lot of area to cover. We started at the Middleton Historical Society. They had old newspapers and we found an obituary for Henry Roadecap. Henry had been married twice and there was an interesting note in the news about his death. It said that Henry had a will and that the estate amounted to about $6,000 to be divided among his children. It then stated that there was an ante-nuptial contract drawn up between Henry and his second wife in 1882. Who knew that they were doing prenuptials back in 1882? Now we wanted a copy of his will! Henry died in Madison County so we headed over to Anderson, IN to the courthouse to look for the will. When we got to this courthouse there was security to walk through but not as invasive as Jasper County.
We were able to find a copy of Henry’s will.
We also wanted to look for a marriage record for Henry’s daughter Mary Martha Roadecap to Joab Raines. We have an obituary for Mary stating that she and Joab married on 5 May 1867. This same date was also listed in “The Wine Family in America” book but their first son, Frank, was born on 6 May 1867. This mystery did not get solved on this trip. We did not find a marriage record for them at the courthouse. Did they really marry one day before the birth of their first son or was this a typo?
We decided to check the Henry County Courthouse for the marriage record just in case they would have married there. We drove over to New Castle, IN and at this courthouse we had to turn around and take our cell phones back to our car as they were not allowed in the courthouse. We searched for the marriage record in question but struck out again.
Mom had visited with the librarian that worked in the genealogy room at the New Castle library so we were to meet with her next. We headed over to the library and were impressed with their genealogy collections. We found marriage records for Henry Roadecap and his second wife, Maria Showers. We also found a marriage record for Ahasual Raines and Mary Elliott. We had two more cemeteries that we wanted to visit and were able to look them up and found directions to the first one.
We headed out again and this time went to Knightstown, IN to Glen Cove Cemetery to see if we could find Joab and Mary Raines. We got there and the office was open. They were able to tell us that they were buried there but they had no way of knowing where. The old part of the cemetery had never been plotted out so they only knew who was there but not where. Someone had put a picture on findagrave.com so we at least knew what shape of stone to look for. We did find them but they were not in as good of shape as they were when pictured for findagrave.com. They were tilting and Joab’s was really hard to read now. We paid our respects and moved on.
We had been having good luck finding the cemeteries that we wanted to visit. We had one last cemetery to go see before leaving the area. It was northeast of Anderson, IN in Hartman Cemetery by Moonville, IN. This cemetery is listed in findagrave.com as a cemetery but there are no interments listed here. Mom looked up the cemetery on the historical society site and it gave geo-coordinates so we plugged them into the Garmin and headed that way. When we first got there we didn’t see the cemetery but then I spotted it behind someone’s place with no access to it without going through someone’s private property. We found a gentleman mowing his yard so mom asked him about it and he directed us down the road to a different neighbor. We went down to that house and were lucky enough to have someone come out of the house to talk to us. She (Sharon) told us access was from yet another neighbor’s land but that she had six dogs and that we wouldn’t want to walk over there unless she was home to take her dogs in. Great. Sharon called the other neighbor for us and she told us it was okay to go on over and that the dogs were in. Sharon walked over with us just to make sure all went well. We were able to cross just fine and go in. It was a small cemetery so we found Ahasual and Mary Raines in a short amount of time. We spent a few minutes paying our respects. We thanked Sharon and headed up the road. It had been a long prosperous day and we were heading to Lafayette, IN to spend the night.
Friday morning we got up and hit the road for Omaha. We spent more time on the way back pulling off at exits so mom could grab some Munzees. We pulled into Omaha about 7:30 p.m. Another genealogy roadtrip was in the books! We were sorry to see it end.
Notes: More on Geocaching can be found at www.geocaching.com. It is an activity where someone puts a log sheet for you to sign at different locations. A lot of the time these are put somewhere that has some historical significance and other times they are random areas. You are given coordinates to follow with a GPS to help you find them.
More on Munzees can be found at www.munzee.com. It is “the 21st century scavenger hunt that you can play using your smart phone.” For this game a sticker is placed in different places and when you find it you scan it with your phone to earn points. Again you use the GPS features of your phone to locate the sticker.