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Native American History: Something to be proud of

Editor's Note: On his midwestern genealogy blogsite, Midwestern Microhistory, journalist Harold Henderson wrote about how impressed he was with the Whitley County Historical Society's recent decision to hire Dani Tippmann for the directorship of the local museum. Henderson seems impressed with a community that would value Tippmann's hereditary link to an early Native American born in that county. Henderson is also impressed with the amount of local tools Whitley County residents or those with genealogical ties to the county will find at the Whitley County Historical Society's website. Thanks to Becky Wiseman at kinnexions for the mention in her blog as well as to Harold Henderson for the mention in his. -- JZR

What follows is Henderson's message:

History and Change in Whitley County, Indiana

The other night I was reading a 2003 article in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly (available online to members) by Elizabeth Shown Mills. Recapping the history of genealogy in the US, she explains how, after the Civil War, "Genealogy became a tool of ideologies and prejudices rooted in concepts of blood, heredity, race, and stock," often claiming or implying that northern Europeans were genetically better than others.

After that immersion in an unpleasant past, it was a a breath of fresh air to find Becky Wiseman at kinnexions pointing to a recent Talk of the Town profile of Dani Tippmann, the incoming director of the Whitley County History Museum. Tippmann is a member of the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma; a distant uncle is Little Turtle, who fought on the losing side against Gen. Anthony Wayne in the Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794. Besides having older-than-the-oldest-old-settler credentials, Tippmann's been extensively involved in local and regional history activities.

And if you click over to the Whitley County Historical Society's site and scroll down, your jaw may drop (as mine did) to see the number of genealogical records and indices available on line for this county just west of Fort Wayne.

Sigh. How could my ancestors and relatives have skipped over it altogether?

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