Look-ups for Elkhart County, Indiana and Michiana vicinity

If anyone needs a lookup at the Elkhart Public Library or at the Elkhart County
Genealogical Society’s library in the Elkhart County Historical Museum,
let me know. I will be happy to help out.  I can also do look-ups at the courthouse, when time permits.

I love going out to the cemeteries too…so if the Find A Grave volunteers
aren’t fast enough, let me know. I’ll go out and get the picture of the gravestone and will try to obtain an obituary to go along with the gravestone.


22 Responses to Look-ups for Elkhart County, Indiana and Michiana vicinity

  1. Anonymous says:

    My name is Jeff Hire and I am in the process of trying to piece together my family history. As near as I can tell, I can trace back my family to William B. Hire who is buried in the Hire family cemetery south of Goshen. I currently own a family farm that is classified as a centennial farm and have been cleaning out the house and have found many old records and belongings. I could really use some help to confirm what I think I know as far as lineage. I would like to ultimately find out more about my families lineage and be able to apply for sesquicentennial status for the farm.

    I would appreciate any guidance to get me going in proper direction if at all possible.

    Jeff Hire

    • hoosierbeth says:

      Jeff, I would be happy to help you find information on your ancestors. Check back this evening or tomorrow, and I will have information for you. I’ll do a quick check to see what is available, and then we can research from there.

  2. Anonymous says:


  3. hoosierbeth says:

    Here’s a start…..I am going to the library tomorrow to do some research, and while I am there, I’ll check a few resources that may help us out. But in the meantime, I checked the resources I have at my house.
    I found reference to John Hire and his wife Mary Blue in one of the Elkhart county history books. I believe that is part of your line. I have Blue ancestors who came from Ohio, just as your Hire family, and we may be distantly related. My Blue line married into the Ralston family.

    I pulled out my Index to the Plat Book of Elkhart County, Indiana, and found David, Rachael (wife of David), Thomas J., and William B Hire in the index. The book shows that four Hire family members were born in Benton Twp., Elkhart County, Indiana.

    David was born in 1842
    Rachael (his wife) was born in 1846
    Thomas J, was born in 1857
    William B. was born n 1838

    Index to Names in the Historical Directory
    Elkhart County, Indiana
    From the Platt Book of Elkhart County, Indiana
    Complied by Patricia K. Johnson
    Elkhart County Genealogical Society
    P.O. Box 1031
    Elkhart, Indiana 46515-1031

  4. hoosierbeth says:

    First two questions 🙂

    What we need to qualify for the homestead award is documenting the first family member who owned the farm all the way to you, correct?

    Do you still have the orignal information from becoming a centennial farm, such as the transfer of ownership form one generation to the next?

    On another note, I found out that your Hire line and my Ralston line both married into the same Blue family from Ohio! What a small world!! We’ll ‘worry’ about that another day~~

    On to the sesquiecentennial status!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Hi Beth,
    Again, thanks for your help!

    I have pictures from the 60’s with the centennial sign on the farm and I am pretty sure it is registered through somewhere in Elkhart county so I would be able to track it back through there.

    Right now as far as I can tell this is the ownership starting with me.
    Jeff Hire
    Arthur Hire
    Herald Hire Sr.
    Harry Hire
    Thomas J. Hire ( I have tax records from 1907 showing his ownership)

    I think with the exsting Cetennial status it should make it will help to track up to that point making the whole process easier. I’ll find out who the farm is registered through and let you know. Genealogically, before Harry Hire is where I have hit the wall. I have some ideas through oral and written history but it has been hard to piece together.

    Again I appreciate your help!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Hi Beth,
    The farm is registered through the Elkhart County Agricultural Society as a Centennial farm. I am having trouble finding contact info online for the organization. If you know it I could do some leg work next week during a day off.

    Small world around here…I met a cousin once paying a bill at the JCPenny at the Concord Mall years ago. Considering I grew up in South Florida it was interesting!

    Many thanks again and I would very much like to repay your help one of these days!!!!!

  7. hoosierbeth says:

    The contact information I found online for the applications, ect…is this link:
    which is the Indiana State government website. I tried to Google the “Elkhart County Agricultural Society”, but they must not have a website.

    I checked the Hire cemetery listings in the Elkhart County cemetery books at the library today. This is valuable because it will tell us what the birth and death dates are for each person. In addition, it tells us the different families that belong together.

    I also found an obituary for William Hire, which is probably Thomas J Hire’s father. If I am correct, they called Thomas J. “T.J.” because I found an obit for him also, listing his father as William Hire.

    T.J. Hire
    Funeral services were held today for T.J. Hire, who died in Ligonier Tuesday evening after an illness of two hours from heart disease. Mr. Hire, who was 70 years old, was a son of William Hire, one of the early pioneers of Elkhart County. T. J. Hire was born on the old homestead and acquired a large acreage of land, a part of which remains in the original timbered lands, which he took great pride in preserving. He leaves a wife, son daughter, and four grandchildren.
    The Elkhart Truth June 18, 1926 (page #2)

    William Hire Dead
    William Hire 70 years old, father of County Councilman Rudolph Hire, died last night at his home in Benton township, where he was a pioneer resident.
    The Elkhart Truth Monday December 28, 1908

    William B. Hire
    born March 18, 1820
    died Dec. 27, 1908

    William’s wife:
    Born Dec 18, 1857
    Died June 16, 1907

    I calculate Thomas J’s birth year at 1856.

  8. hoosierbeth says:

    I have some more ideas that I will check out for you. I will report my findings here either tomorrow or the next few days. We’ll see if we can get a preliminaryfamily tree together. 🙂

  9. Anonymous says:

    Hi Beth,
    I had a chance to make it to the County building to day and was able to track back ownership to 1891. Past that I had to move to the Deed book where I ran out of time and was having trouble searching through it anyway. I have a day off next week so I’ll try again then.

    I was able to trace ownership back to William B. Hire and Elizabeth Hire who passed it on to T.J. who passed it to Harry and so forth up to my wife and I. This all is falling into what I thought it would look like and I am frankly pretty excited about finally being able to piece some of the history I could only speculate about. I have a hunch that I will be able to track back one of the four original parcels to William B.’s original homestead.

    This morning I was able to track down the president of the Elkhart County Ag society and was told they don’t keep any records as far as she knew concerning centennial status and all the officers etc. from that time period have passed.

    Take a look at this link as it has been what I have basing a lot of my research off of. The Henry Hire mentioned as a son of William B., I have an old photo album of him in the army where he is mentioned as “Uncle Henry”. I have also found an old wallet with William Hire’s name in it. I was having trouble distinguishing William B. from William, who I think is his Grandson, up until today when I found the transfer records. If you scroll up a few pages you can see a picture of William B. and one of his Sons, Rudolph, etc., cool stuff.


    Again I appreciate your help and any info on family etc is very appreciated.


  10. hoosierbeth says:

    I used that book to help me figure out names when I started to look around. The problem was, I didn’t know who was connected to you. Now since I know those are your folks, I can find some more research for you. I am happy that you were able to contact the chairman and found your way to the land office. I may be going to Ft Wayne tomorrow to go to the library, and if my plans go through, I will bring the Hire notes and look up some ideas I have on your family, too. I will be there all day, so I know I’ll have time to look up my research along with yours, and probably a few others. LOL.

    Probably Sunday or Monday I will post what I found from my trip. I have a genealogy program where I can plug all the names in and make a pedigree and a book form of all the information we have accumulated. If you would like, I would be happy to make one for you and send it your way. But, we have a little while to go to get everything in place, just something to think about.


  11. Anonymous says:

    Cool, I would be very interested in pedigree and book of my family. I appreciate all the help you have given me and please let me know what I would owe for it.

    Thanks again!

  12. hoosierbeth says:

    Jeff, I haven’t forgotten you, kiddo!! After this weekend (Christmas) I will start to organize what I have found and post it here.

  13. Anonymous says:

    No problem, thanks again for your help!!!

  14. Sarah says:

    I just found your website while researching my ancestors, who attended and are buried at the Yellow Creek Frame/Brick Cemeteries. I have an ongoing mystery that I would really love some help solving. My Great-Grandpa was Irish, according to his surname (Neely) and he self identifies as Irish/German on census records. However, he was raised a Mennonite and I think they were Mennonites for at least 2 generations before that. I’m very curious about my Irish Mennonite family and want to learn more but these lines have been very elusive. Any chance you can do some digging around in Elkhart Co. to see if you can find anything on them?

    His name was Amberson Burns Neely and he was born in Wakarusa, Elkhart Co. in Feb 1881. He died in Minnehaha Co., SD in Nov 1934. I believe he left the Mennonite faith- he struck out to South Dakota when he was 18 or 19 and is buried in a Protestant Church.

    His parents were James Burns Neely, born Nov 1834 in Ohio (county unknown) and died March 1896 in Olive, Elkhart Co., Yellow Creek Frame Cemetery

    and his Mom: Frances Weaver, born Aug 1844 in Pennsylvania and died March 1923 in Goshen, IN, buried in Yellow Creek Brick West Cemetery

    I think James Neely was an auctioneer, and he married twice- his 2nd wife (not my line) was Elizabeth Bally.

    Any help you could provide would be very appreciated! My direct email is: sarahpf81@gmail.com thank you!

    • hoosierbeth says:

      Hello Sarah!
      I would be happy to look around the county here for you! I live in the area you are talking about, the cemeteries and Wakarusa is right down the road from me. I checked your surnames with my own resources here at home, and I will be going to the library tomorrow to check some more resources for you. I have some information on the Yellow Creek Mennonites, which I will post and pass along to you, also. It will give you an idea of what your family was doing (maybe even thinking) in that time.
      I found Fanny Neely’s obituary, but I see you already have that from me checking Find A Grave. If the weather co-operates, I can go take headstone pictures for you either this weekend or a couple weekends later. I will look for obituaries and see if I cannot find some other documents and certificates (microfilm) that will help your family search.
      Thanks for posting and including me in “the hunt”!

  15. hoosierbeth says:

    Sarah…I went to the Elkhart Public Library and found obituaries and cemetery listings for your family. I also checked the WPA Death Index for the county and found death dates which may help. I found old newspaper articles on what the family was doing in the 1900’s-1930’s, which I will email you all of this information either this morning or tonight.

    I will be going back to the library to check a few more records for you. The only “problem” that I found, was the fact there was no mention of Amberson, just everyone else in his family. I will keep looking for you….I have a few ideas that I haven’t checked on as yet.

  16. Sarah says:

    Wow thanks so much for checking all that! And yes, you’ve had the same trouble I have! Amberson’s death certificate from south dakota does show his mothers name was “Fannie W” and his birth place was Elkhart Co. IND. That’s all I had to go on- so I found this family that was Frances Weaver and a father with the last name of Neely. While I guess you could call that circumstantial evidence at best, I also figure how many families could there be with a Mom’s first name of Fannie and a Fathers last name of Neely?? I’ve only found this one. But yes, finding any further evidence that Amberson was a member of this family has been hard to come by- he’s not even on the census records! Not sure what to make of all that and it just adds to the intrigue of this family line. I’m very much looking forward to seeing everything you have found!

  17. Sarah says:

    Oh I wanted to add that I have used genealogy DNA tests to confirm that I AM related to other descendants of people above Fannie Weaver so I’m 99% certain that she is my great grandma- I didn’t want to leave the impression that I’m only theorizing she’s my great-grandma. But rather something odd was happening socially- not sure if the sect they belonged to shunned? Was he shunned?? I thought the Mennonites didn’t do that…. or maybe he went to live with another relative for some reason? My Grandma was orphaned when she was 13 and Amberson (her father) traveled a lot for work (he was a US Marshall for the Dakota Territory) so she knew literally nothing about her Father’s family (not even that they were mennonite!). So we’re trying to piece this family story together from scratch. Thanks again!

    • hoosierbeth says:

      If Amberson and family belonged to the Yellow Creek Frame/Brick Church, there was a splitting in the congregation in 1872. Jacob Wisler was the first Mennonite preacher in Elkhart County. In doctrine, the Wislerites do not differ from the main body of the Mennonite religion. But~~ in practices and customs, they are extremely conservative in dress, language, forms of worship, and social customs.

      With that being said…the congregation split up and two young progressive ministers took over and I think that is how Yellow Creek Brick Mennonite congregation grew from. The more traditional folks stayed across the road in the Y.C. Frame Church. Maybe the family did have some “trouble” during that time when the church was going through changes?

      I’ll try and see if I could find some old church records from that time concerning the Y.C. Mennonite Churches. Maybe Amberson might be mentioned in some of them.

      • hoosierbeth says:

        Jacob Wisler was the leader of the Yellow Creek Mennonites…I should have included that in the first place. I’ll write more tonight and I will email the stuff I found tonight, also.

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