In fact, one of the indexes included on the new site was created more than fifteen years ago when ISA’s conservator, Elizabeth Hague, was a volunteer at the Archives. While working on indexing the Marion County Coroner’s Inquests, she came across the case of William Cluck, and was fascinated by the letters found in his file. Cluck was jailed for the murder of his wife and killed himself while in jail.
The testimony of one of the doctors attending him included the line “I saw death stamped upon his countenance.” The eloquent letters stuck with Elizabeth for years, but she couldn’t remember Cluck’s name. Once the new index site was created, she was able to search by keyword and find the case. Searching by keyword is just one of several increased search capabilities that the staff are excited about.
The previous Indiana Digital Archives site was made primarily with genealogists in mind – a user could perform a basic name search, but there were not any other search avenues. With the Research Indiana Indexes, users can browse through entire indexes, search by keyword, or use the filters to see all of the results from a particular county.
The new site includes all of the collections that had been completed after the launch of the old site. In addition to the Marion County Coroner’s Inquests, some other collections included are Marshall County Court records, Foster Parent Applications, and Veterans’ Grave Registrations and naturalization records from several additional counties.
Some index projects, like the Supreme Court cases, are always being updated and additional cases will be added as they are indexed. The Indiana State Archives staff are really excited that this project is finally live, and look forward to seeing what kinds of discoveries users make.
[Thanks to the Society of Indiana Archivists Newsletter]