Future – Family Finds

A Look Back at 2021

Before I look to the future, I’d like to take a look back at 2021. First, and foremost, I managed to write a post for each of the 52 prompts for Amy Johnson Crow’s challenge, “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.” [1] In addition to writing every week, I also challenged myself to read the posts of other participants. I read, and left comments, for at least 5 other posts every week. It got tougher towards the end of the year as participants dropped out! With the aid of the WordPress and Blogger readers I was able to keep up with over 30 other genealogy bloggers. A benefit I had not anticipated was learning new methods and resources these other bloggers highlighted. Below is my list of favorite and most read blogs.

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Changes – Family Finds


Several of my ancestors have surnames that change over time. Often, the name change was to conform to American characteristics. The surname changes I have documented are, for the most part, taking a German pronunciation and phonetically adapting it to American-English. There are a few methods that can be employed to find records of the variant spellings of surnames. Most search systems allow the use of so-called wildcards, usually the asterisk (*) and the question mark (?). Many indexed document databases, particularly genealogical and library systems, support the more sophisticated Soundex Code for surname searches.

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I have successfully used the Soundex Code to search indexed documents and databases for surnames that have changed spelling over time. The Soundex Code is a 4 character alphanumeric, it consists of one letter and three numbers. The characters represent the first letter plus, up to 3 consonants of the surname. The table at right defines the number associated with the consonants. Notice that H, W, and Y are not included and will be ignored in the surname unless they are the first letter. If the surname has few consonants then the code is filled out with zeroes. [1, 2]

Soundex Code
1B F P V
2C G J K Q S X Z
3D T
5M N

These rules apply as well:

  • Treat double letters as singles, in other words, use one number for consecutive consonants that are the same.
  • Except for 0 (Zero), there should never be two of the same number next to each other in a Soundex Code, including if the second consonant has the same as the first letter.
  • Soundex Codes are always 4 characters, this means for longer surnames some consonants will be ignored.
  • Surnames with prefixes Mc or Mac are considered part of the surname. However, prefixes such as Van, De, La etc. should be considered both ways.

Do You See A Resemblance?

While working on a family photo project I decided it would be fun to compare side-by-side my father and his parents at similar ages.

Comparing High School Senior Photos

While working on a family photo project I decided it would be fun to compare side-by-side my father and his parents at similar ages. Below is an image of my father flanked by his parents. All three photos were taken to commemorate their senior years in high school. The photo of my father, Robert, was taken about the time he turned 17 years old in 1942. He graduated from Thomas Carr Howe High School in Indianapolis in the spring of 1943. The photo of my grandmother, Pearl, was taken when she was 19 years old. She graduated from Shortridge High School in Indianapolis in June of 1913. The photo of my grandfather, Earl, was taken when he was 19 years old. He graduated from Tipton High School in Tipton, Indiana in the spring of 1908. Do you see a resemblance between Robert and his parents? Robert was 2.5 years younger when he graduated high school than his parents were when they graduated. But, I think the ages and poses are similar enough to see the family resemblance. These photos were not among my personal collection, I found them online! Many yearbooks have been scanned, including those from the high schools mentioned above.

Shortridge HS: http://www.digitalindy.org/cdm/landingpage/collection/shs

TC Howe HS: http://www.digitalindy.org/cdm/landingpage/collection/tchhs

Tipton HS: http://www.tiptoncountylibrary.org/services/genealogy/yearbook/


Pearl Jane Osborne
Shortridge HS – 1913

Robert Lowell LaFara
TC Howe HS – 1943

Earl Lincoln LaFara
Tipton HS – 1908

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In 1913, Shortridge HS was still at its original location on N. Pennsylvania St. between Michigan and North Streets. The school is the large building on the left of the map.

Thomas Carr Howe HS opened its doors at 4900 Julian Ave. in 1937 where it operates today as a grades 7 to 12 community school. Howe HS sits on property adjoining the Pleasant Run in the Irvington neighborhood.

In 1907, Tipton County opened its new high school on the southwest corner of Main and W. North Streets. For many years Tipton HS was located in the residential neighborhood north of the downtown Tipton business district.

It may be of interest to note, the Shortridge HS class of 1913 was considered very large for the time, 258 seniors graduated. The commencement speaker was Dean of the University of Chicago, Percy Boynton. By contrast, the Tipton HS class of 1908 was just 26 graduates and the second to graduate from the ‘new’ school. Howe HS was a fairly new school in 1943, there were about 250 seniors that year. Of course, the United States involvement in World War II was in its second year by spring of 1943, and my father, and many of his classmates, had already enlisted and were only waiting to graduate before shipping out. The impact of the war can be read in the yearbook, there were a Victory Club, fundraisers, and scrap metal drives.

Shortridge and Howe high schools are in Indianapolis, Tipton HS is about 40 miles north in Tipton, Indiana. Shortridge HS closed at this location and moved north to Meridian and E. 34th in 1928.

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David L. Osborne: His Indianapolis Homes

My great grandfather, David Louis Osborne, lived at over 20 addresses around Indianapolis between 1876 and 1942. I decided to document the current condition of his former homes.

Mapping Old Addresses

In case you did not know, addresses can change over time. My great grandfather, David Louis Osborne, lived at over 20 addresses around Indianapolis between 1876 and 1942. The early years were downtown, then the near northeast suburbs and finally Irvington. Street names and addresses of 100 years ago do not match those of today, old atlases and the city ordinance records are useful reference tools to determine modern addresses.

This is a good example of (mostly) NOT finding what I set out to find.  Over the years of researching my great grandfather, I came to realize he lived at MANY addresses during his adult life.  I thought it would be interesting to see all the old buildings and homes where he lived in my hometown of Indianapolis.

David Louis Osborne 1935

David Louis Osborne

Between 1876 and 1942 my great grandfather, David Louis Osborne (DLO), lived at 23 addresses in Indianapolis, I decided to document the current condition of his former homes.

1876 17 Fletchers Block17 Fletcher’s Block

This address does not now exist. Based on information on the 1887 Sanborn Map this address is likely the southeast corner of College and Fletcher Ave. DLO had ‘rooms’ at this address while working as a paper hanger.

218 E. South St.1878 218 E. South St.

This is now an empty lot between S. New Jersey St. and Virginia Ave. John Dennis, father of Susie, also lived with the young couple.



1880 338 S New Jersey338 S. New Jersey St.

This address no longer exists, it is now a part of the Lilly Research Campus. It was just north of E. McCarty St.



188 E Washington St.1881 188 e washington

DLO must have liked this place, he lived here twice. He was a boarder, probably lived upstairs above the bakery on the main floor. New construction now sits at this site. The modern address is 380 E. Washington.


1882 51 huron51 Huron

The modern address is 625 Lexington Ave., the second building west of College. The two huge evergreens in the photo hide a massive garage, not a house. DLO was working as a paper hanger for Cathcart, Cleland and Co.


70 N State Ave.1883 70 n state ave

This address no longer exists, based on the old Sanborn maps it would have been on the southwest corner of State and Market, now an empty lot.


1884 34 n walcott34 N. Walcott St.

This address is now 46 N. Walcott, it’s the southwest corner of Walcott and Ohio, now an empty lot.


317 E. St. Clair St.1885 317 e st clair

This home was next to the firehouse on E. St. Clair, just west of Massachusetts Ave., it’s now a parking lot for the Firefighters Museum. The modern address would be 627 E. St. Clair St.

1891 113 oak ave113 Oak Ave.

This street was renamed Edison about 1900, the house was just north of what is now E. 10th St. This location is now home to an electric substation.


17 Omer St.1892 17 omer

Omer was renamed 11th St., this house was not on the 1887 map. The modern address is 1319 E. 11th St., it’s now an empty lot.


1893 100 stoughton100 Stoughton

Street renamed 12th St. before 1898. This address may now be 1604 E. 12th St., on the northeast corner at N. Newman St., about a tenth of a mile east of Brookside. According to daughter Pearl’s birth certificate, she was born at this address.


174 Eureka Ave.1895 174 eureka

This address no longer exists. Eureka ran between Michigan and 10th St. It was renamed N. Tacoma Ave. about 1898. The modern address is either 910 or 916 N. Tacoma Ave. The duplex at 910 is pictured.

1898 916 n tacoma ave
914 N. Tacoma Ave.

This address no longer exists. It’s either the north half of the duplex at 910 N. Tacoma or the house at 916 N. Tacoma. The house at 916 is pictured. DLO lived here from about 1895 (174 Eureka) to 1906.

538 N. Keystone Ave.1907 538 n keystone

DLO lived here about three years, it is now a parking lot for IPS #15.


1910 1102 n bevilleave
1102 N. Beville Ave.

The northwest corner with E. 11th St., now an empty lot. DLO lived here about 10 years. Jennie passed in 1918, that’s when daughter Pearl moved in with her husband Earl LaFara and toddler Lois.

5929 Julian Ave.1921 5929 julian

This is the third house west of Arlington. Living here also are the LaFara’s and daughter Sadie.


1922 105 johnson105 Johnson Ave.

DLO bought this lot about 1920 and built the house that still stands. He lived here about 5 years with daughter Sadie who bought the house from him for $3000 in 1925.


27 N. Campbell Ave.1925 27 n campbell

Living with the LaFara family. DLO split his time between here and the GAR post. The LaFara’s were at this address for about 4 years.

1930_572NIllinois512 N. Illinois St.

This address no longer exists, there is a large parking garage now. This was ‘Fort Friendly’, the GAR post where DLO was a member and caretaker during this period.

36 S. Ritter1931 36 s ritter

DLO lived here for several years with the LaFara’s, daughter Pearl owned the home that is next door to IPS #57.

1939 33 n sheridan33 N. Sheridan

DLO lived here briefly with the LaFara’s after they sold the home on S. Ritter.


115 S. Ritter Ave.1940 115 s ritter

The third house south of Julian. DLO lived here at the end of his life with the LaFara’s, he shared a room with his grandson, Bob. They were renting the home.


1942 crown hill cemeteryCrown Hill Cemetery

The final resting place, DLO purchased 4 plots at the time of Jennie’s death in 1918. The other two plots hold Earl LaFara and Sadie Osborne.

My main obstacle was reconciling old addresses to modern addresses. Indianapolis went through a large scale overhaul of the street naming around the turn of the 20th century.  I found a book online that contained the Indianapolis ordinances up to 1904, there is an entire section regarding street naming changes.

Find this book on Google Play Books: The General Ordinances of the City of Indianapolis

Even with this information I still had some difficulties reconciling all the old addresses. So I searched out old maps. I found two online from the late 19th century that were particularly helpful.

Visit the online IUPUI University Library’s Sanborn and Baist Map Collection

With these reference tools I was able to assign modern addresses to those from over 100 years ago. Next, I went looking for the buildings and homes. What I found was at first disappointing, then I decided to have a sense of humor about it given the facts could not be changed. Of the 22 addresses I have for my great grandfather in Indianapolis, 13 are vacant lots, parking lots or modern buildings. The houses still standing are the most recent addresses from the 20th century.


DLO Indy Map