Steps – Family Finds

For this week’s prompt I thought I’d share some favorite family photos that include steps. While writing this post I discovered the term “stairs” typically refers to a collection of steps in a stairwell. With that definition in mind, just one of my photos can be called stairs. I then discovered a “stoop” is a set of steps terminating at a landing in front of a door. So, most the pictured steps here are really stoops: front-, side- and back-door varieties. Who knew, there was so much to know about steps?

Read the Full Post, Steps – Family Finds

Groups – Family Finds

Among my archive of old photos are several featuring groups of school children. A few have the names of the children written on the backs, although not necessarily in any order. I am sharing these group photos in an attempt to connect with descendants of the children. And, for the photographs that have no names, I am hoping someone will be able to identify one of their ancestors from the information I do have about the schools, or their date and location. Please share these group photos with anyone having ancestors from the places identified.

Read Full Post: Groups – Family Finds

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:

TC Howe HS:

Tipton HS:


Pearl Jane Osborne
Shortridge HS – 1913

Robert Lowell LaFara
TC Howe HS – 1943

Earl Lincoln LaFara
Tipton HS – 1908

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

Read More

The Marriage of David and Jennie Osborne

When I was growing up there were family stories that were often repeated and therefore taken as fact. Since becoming interested in genealogy, I have learned that source documentation for accepted facts is very important.

Documenting Family Oral History, One Story at a Time

When I was growing up there were family stories that were often repeated and therefore taken as fact. Since becoming interested in genealogy, I have learned that source documentation for accepted facts is very important. To that end, I have set out to find supporting sources for our family oral history. One story that was often shared was that of my paternal grandmother’s parents and how they met and married.

David and Jennie Osborne, 1917
David and Jennie Osborne, 1917

My great grandfather, David Louis Osborne (DLO, 1848-1942), was a widower with two young sons in 1886 when he married Marzella Warbington ( Jennie, 1857-1918) in Minneapolis on the 27th of May. The story we were told was DLO was working as a wall paper hanger in Minneapolis and had placed his sons in an orphanage and Jennie was working at that same orphanage as a teacher. They met, hit it off, got married. David was then able to take his sons from the orphanage since he had a wife to look after them while he worked. It seemed like a neat little story that illustrated some of the difficulties of the late 19th century for a widower with children and no family in the area.

I decided to start my search for sources with the most essential facts, the place and date of marriage: Minneapolis, May 27, 1886. [1] Then I decided to find the orphanage, figuring there would not be too many in Minneapolis at that time. I contacted the Minnesota Historical Society for help, they found no children named Osborne in their records for that time period, also no teacher named Warbington. But, the MNHS said they did not have archives from every orphanage in the general area. I thought perhaps if I found my great grandmother or great grandfather in the Minneapolis city directory I may be able to surmise one, or both, lived near the orphanage and I could narrow my search. I found no one named Warbington, or other similar name, in the directories. I did find David L. Osborne, paper hanger, in two Minneapolis city directories, 1886 and 1887 [2][3]. I had expected to find him in earlier directories since his first wife had died in 1883 [13]. I knew he was living in Indianapolis at the time of the death of his first wife, so when did he go to Minneapolis and place the boys in the orphanage? I checked the Indianapolis directories and found him in the 1884 and 1885 [4][5] issues. Then I looked for Warbington in the Indianapolis directories. There she was in the 1886 directory [6], Jennie Warbington – attendant Orphan Asylum. Not in Minneapolis, it was Indianapolis! (I also found her brother Joseph Warbington, with whom she was probably living when not at the Orphan Asylum, at 24 Hutchin’s Block [6].)

Indianapolis Illustrated, 1888

The Indianapolis Orphan Asylum (IOA) was originally located at the northeast corner of E. 13th St. and College, this location is now below the interchange for I-70 and I-65. Most of the records from the IOA are archived with the Indiana Historical Society (IHS). Using the IHS online index, I was able to identify archive BV3680, Record of Children Admitted to IOA 1885-88 [7] as a likely place to search for my great uncles, Louis and Rollin Osborne. The archives are not digitized, this is a case that required a visit to the IHS library to view the original materials. From the archived ledger I found the following:

Page 3, June 9 [1885]  Louis Osborn age 6 years, Raliegh [sp] age 5 have received today. They have brought by Mrs. Miller 188 1/2 E. Washington St. Their mother is dead. Their father will pay $1.00 per week for each of them.

This was a ‘wow!’ moment for me. I recognized the address of this Mrs. Miller, DLO had lived there in 1881 [8]. I checked the 1881 Indianapolis city directory and found Mrs. Miller to be Euphemia Miller, widow and landlady. Presumably, DLO had remained friends with his former landlady since, in 1885, he was living at 317 E. St. Clair [5]. But, who knows, perhaps he was back on Washington St. in June 1885. Nonetheless, it seems Mrs. Miller was helping him with his boys. Had she perhaps been caring for them since their mother died in June 1883 [13]? Another search of the records told a different story, one I had not expected. My great grandfather had been married to another woman during a portion of those intervening years. DLO married Miss X [I won’t use her name] in February 1884 [9]. Presumably, the new Mrs. Osborne was caring for the boys, but in June 1885 they were placed in the IOA. That led me to discover that in May 1885 the 24 year old Mrs. Osborne had made an initial filing for divorce [10]. In December 1885, DLO and his wife had made the final filing for divorce [11]. The final filing mentions 2 boys being in the IOA. The divorce was granted by Judge Howe on February 4, 1886 [12]. In the IOA archive [8] I found the following entry:

page 9 Feb. 27 [1886]  Louis & Raleigh [sp] Osborne were taken this evening by Mrs. Miller at their father’s request.

So my family oral history was partially true, my great grandmother did work at the orphanage where my great uncles briefly stayed. But, it was in Indianapolis, not Minneapolis. I suppose because DLO and Jennie Warbington married in Minneapolis [1] it was presumed they met there, too. In fact, they undoubtedly met at the IOA. It’s hard to say exactly when the couple went to Minneapolis, but it was sometime before the 27th of May, 1886 that they found themselves there, presumably with Louis and Rollin. Why? Well during the 1880’s Minneapolis was growing at a quick rate and I’m sure skilled tradesmen were in demand for the booming home building industry.

Marriage Liscense for David and Jennie Osborne
Marriage Liscense for David and Jennie Osborne

A closer look at the marriage certificate reveals ‘DL Osborne of the county of Hennepin in the state of Minn’ and ‘Jennie M Warbinton of the county of Indianapolis state of Indiana’. Perhaps DLO had gone to Minneapolis on his own, maybe right after the divorce? And Jennie, and perhaps the boys, went later, but before the 27th of May. The marriage was performed by the Reverend David Morgan, his church was the ME Church at the corner of 24th St. and 23rd Ave. S., which was just a couple blocks from where DLO was living (2007 22 ½ Ave. S.). Also, the witnesses were two neighbor ladies, Mrs. and Miss Graber of 2019 23rd Ave. S. This suggests to me that DLO had been in the neighborhood long enough to establish a connection to the local church and neighbors. I’ll probably never know, but I am glad to know the facts behind the story.


2007 Milwaukee Ave
2007 Milwaukee Ave., photo by Bob Roscoe

DLO and Jennie stayed in Minneapolis just a couple years, but long enough for the birth of their first child, Martha Grace Osborne was born March 14, 1887. The little house they lived in at 2007 22 ½ Ave S. is still standing! The address is now 2007 Milwaukee Ave., it’s in an Historic District and the house was rehabilitated during the 1970’s.


[1] “Minnesota Marriages, 1849–1950.” Index. FamilySearch, Salt Lake City, Utah

[2] Minneapolis City Directory For 1886-7, p609, C Wright Davison, Publisher

[3] Minneapolis City Directory For 1887-8, p754, C Wright Davison, Publisher

[4] Indianapolis, Indiana, City Directory, 1884, p243, R.L. Polk & Co., Publishers

[5] Indianapolis, Indiana, City Directory, 1885, p258, The Bowen-Merrill Co., Publishers

[6] Indianapolis, Indiana, City Directory, 1886, p384, R.L. Polk & Co., Publishers

[7] Indiana Historical Society, Archives BV3680, Record of Children Admitted to IOA 1885-88

[8] Indianapolis, Indiana, City Directory, 1881, p420, R.L. Polk & Co., Publishers

[9] “Indiana, Select Marriages Index, 1780-1992” FamilySearch, Salt Lake City, Utah

[10] “The Indianapolis News” 18 May 1885, p4, col2, above fold

[11] “The Indianapolis News” 25 December 1885, p3, col3, below fold

[12] “The Indianapolis News” 4 February 1886, p3, col1, above fold

[13], memorial# 137794538

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