29 January 2016

Vanderburgh County (Indiana) Documentary Treasures Found!

Just a month ago we published, Though not common -- rare documentary treasures are found in unexpected places, and a few weeks ago I came across this exciting story, Timeless Treasures: County Records from Early 1800s Found.

A funny element of the new story is that the found documents were found under “Miscellaneous.”  I have often found in the Freedmen’s Bureau records and in other collections, that there is often a lot to be found in things labeled Miscellaneous.

In the newest find, records older than previously known to be extant were found and preserved in remarkably good condition.

... In December, Gowen was sifting through the county’s off-site warehouse in search of some records needed to fulfill a citizen’s records request. In hopes of finding those records, Gowen picked up and opened two tin boxes.

Those boxes were labeled ‘miscellaneous.’

What appeared to be a random assortment of records turned into something that was nothing short of remarkable.

“I was definitely surprised. The oldest documents that we have handled on a frequent basis are dated 1819,” Gowen said. “I’ve seen literally a handful (of records) from the 1840s. To date all the way back to the founding of the county was pretty shocking. These are the earliest records I've seen."
While some of the records are from 1823, most of what Gowen found date back to the months that followed the county’s formation in January 1818...

Again, we are reminded that records are still being found today that were created a century or two ago.  It also reminds us that you never know what you might find in something called “miscellaneous.”  I can’t promise it will always be a historic find and you still might find something valuable to your research.

Have historic records “re-surfaced” or been “found” in your community recently?

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