Muncie Genfest helps find past, present and future family
Becky Monroe of the Yorktown Mount Pleasant Historical Society sits next to volumes of county records during Genfest at Carnegie Library. Photo by Rick Yencer
By Rick Yencer
MUNCIE, IN - Jim Jobe came into Carnegie Library Friday afternoon looking to use a computer and came out talking about his ancestors who were Scottish kings and queens of long ago.
That was just one element of Genfest at the downtown institution built with the money of millionaire Andrew Carnegie more than a century ago with a wall sized painting of Wheeling Avenue and the old Delaware County Courthouse in 1891 by noted Indiana artist Ottis Adams. The events continues today with talks about preserving records, photographs and garments.
More than 50 people came to find their ancestors and talk with historians, genealogists and researchers for the annual event that features eastern Indiana genealogy. Carnegie is rich in historic documents and records besides a depository for microfilmed newspapers and other artifacts. Many of the local government papers, including court records, property deeds, death certificates and other book bound information were saved and brought to the downtown library.
And online is vast websites like ancestors.com and world vial records.com, says librarian Sara McKinley, where people can find their past and present and even chart their future. And Facebook and Twitter also are tools to find family too, she said.
Ginny Nilles, executive director of the Muncie Public Library, said the annual gathering help people find their ancestors besides give them a chance to explore the history and culture of Muncie and eastern Indiana. There were plenty of historic groups on hand besides record keepers, map makers and researchers ready to talk about the past.
Becky Monroe, who oversees the Yorktown Mount Pleasant Township Historic Society had plenty of century old pictures including the stick built Cammack United Methodist Church that was built in the old town in 1893 and was replaced by the present church in 1984. Her brother, Woody Sears, and his wife, Emily, preside over the church.
There also was John Palmer, a retired librarian from South Bend, who has his collection of old maps from Indiana and his fatherland, Germany, for sale. Palmer comes from Germany a few generations ago and inherited the maps from his grandfather who was an accountant.
Mike Mavis, of the Delaware County Historical Society. was manning the group's exhibit of all those historic downtown buildings that have been demolished. The group still maintains the Mary Moore Youse House while the East Central Neighborhood is home to the Emily Kimbrough historic site.
Karen Vincent, collections director for the Minnetrista Cultural Center, will be the main event Saturday, talking about preservation technics and also giving a glimpse of Ball family history. Minnetrista has more than 2,000 linear feet of Ball Brothers and Ball family records besides all those artifacts stored in the south Muncie Ball warehouse.
Minnetrista also has that Civil War Exhibit that has letters from Thomas Jefferson Brady, an ancestor of Muncie's first mayor, John Brady, Muncie was born in 1865, the year the Civil War ended. And his daughter, Elizabeth, was married to Frank C. Ball, one of the original Ball Brothers who built Muncie as a manufacturing center and left it as an institution of health care and higher education.