The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

February 10, 2013

St. Mary-of-the-Woods records online


The Indiana Historical Society’s Historic Document Preservation Program, working with the Sisters of Providence Archives, has made available, in digital format, the first of two entrance books that record the earliest women who joined Indiana’s St. Mary-of-the-Woods religious order.

The book can now be read online at The records begin with St. Mother Theodore Guerin, as well as the five sisters who came with her from France. The entries include each woman’s religious name, birth name, date of birth, place of birth, and parents’ names, as well as her date of death.

“Some indicate that the woman left voluntarily, while a few indicate that a woman was ‘sent’ home.” The first entrance book ends with No. 3,306, Sister Evelyn Therese, who was born Oct. 3, 1918, in Chicago as Catherine Hickey. (Although unfamiliar with the website’s format, Calameo, I was able to read the hand-written entries.) A posting of other interesting previous Archives News items can be accessed directly at

Indiana conference

It is not too early to start making plans to attend the Indiana Genealogical Society’s annual conference on April 27 at the Monroe County Public Library in Bloomington, Ind. D. Joshua Taylor, president of the Federation of Genealogical Societies and a researcher for the genealogy TV show, “Who Do You Think You Are?,” will be the featured speaker. The topics that Taylor will cover will be Forward Ho! Beginning Midwestern Research; Creating Your Personal Family History Website; Online Resources for Colonial America Research; and New Tools & Ideas in Research.

It should be noted that Curt Witcher, manager of The Genealogy Center at the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Ind., also will be a speaker. His topic will be “Mining the Mother Lode: Using Periodical Literature for Genealogical Research.” (His talk is sure to stress the importance of using PERSI, the index to genealogical periodical publications, which was created at ACPL.)

Indiana librarians can receive Librarian Education Units for attending various sessions.

To learn conference details and/or register online, visit

IGS membership

One of the advantages of a membership in this society is being able to access several databases that are available only to members at Members also receive discounts on events, such as this conference.

Tombstone tip

Genealogy in Time magazine, an online newsletter at, suggests a simple way to read an old tombstone. Bring a bottle of water to the cemetery and sprinkle some water on the lettering to make the inscription more legible. The website provides the scientific explanation of why this procedure works. Genealogists only need to know that water will not damage the stone.

“This technique is particularly useful if you want to get good photographs of old tombstones. It is always a good idea to wet the tombstone first.”

Queries, as well as a general exchange of genealogical material that readers would like to share, will be printed in the column for free. Contact Joan Griffis by e-mailing