This week I’ve been traveling through Indiana, making my way to South Bend for a wedding tomorrow morning.
I’ve been doing a little sightseeing along the way, visiting family grave sites and other points of interest. I’ll write more about that later, but today’s visit to the Kosciusko County Museum and Research Library deserves special mention.
My g-g-grandparents Charles F. and Mary R. Nelson lived in Kosciusko County 150 years ago, so I made a special effort to visit Warsaw, Indiana, the county seat.
The museum is housed in the old county jail, which in itself is a fun visit, but it also contains a research library for genealogical purposes.
I never expected to find hundreds of pages of research – charts, letters, newspaper clippings, obituaries, marriage and birth notices for the Nelsons of the area going back almost 200 years.
Over a couple of hours, I had a great time looking through the materials and talking with the museum staff.
If you follow my “Civil War Diary of Charles F. Nelson” blog, you may remember that it’s based on my g-g-grandfather’s war diaries. At one point, we went on a hunt of the museum’s war collection for the original diaries, of which I have a copy. A reference in one of their catalogs lead us to believe that they are there at the museum, although we could not find them. It would have been awesome to actually have held them.
Among the files, I found a handwritten letter from my own grandfather – a correspondence with the distantly-related Iva Nelson, who collected most of the research and donated it to the museum.
This letter mentions my parents, my cousins, my siblings and me! Who would have thought?
It’s a strange and wonderful feeling to visit an ancestral hometown and find yourself.