BLOG – WPA Babies
When we changed the Fountain County Indiana GenWeb site to a new program, hubs grabbed the WPA births and deaths as jpgs for quickness. Didn’t really think that if they weren’t typed, they’d not be searchable. Found that out too late, so in late December 2020 we decided to retype and actually rework the WPA births. At the end of July 2021, we finally finished them. We worked almost every day on them (great covid project since we had to stay home anyway) most often 10-12 hours on them. Now, they are basically finished although I decided it would be a good idea to go back one more time and smooth things out.
The two main goals were to type it in better order (example: J. Smith; John Smith; JL Smith – all same father, so we would make them all John L. Smith) and to find names for all the “blank” babies – there were so many. Definitely a mistake, we didn’t keep track of how many named and the ONLY one I had the original list from and the completed list was the Y’s so here is an overview of those so you can kind of get the feel of the project. Keep in mind, these were based on the WPA listings of the Fountain County Births but now is MUCH improved and way beyond the original.
There were 89 original WPA births for Fountain County. We added 27 other children proven born in Fountain County within the 1882-1920 time frame of the WPA records. There were 23 unnamed babies – we found names for 15 of those (note: often the reason they were unnamed is they passed at birth – if we could find that out, we noted that). We fixed much parental information – examples: mother Myrna Borgart was Myrta Bogart; --- mother --- Bannon was Christina; father Ed was John Edgar).
When we added births, we gave two proofs (most were from Death Records, Marriages, Social Security Applications, WWI & WWII draft papers, and FindAGrave) if at all possible – rarely could we only find one.
Spellings and consistency were other goals, too. I do an OTD (On This Day) for the Fountain County Genealogy Facebook page so this made it perfect to include many of these folks in the OTDs.
Jim Zach, my hubby of 53 years has been amazing. He did all the retyping of the project (plus did the Death Records on his own with a tiny bit of help from me) and some of the research. I did the majority of that, but he would try to find things on his own before I took the search into Ancestry and other genealogical search areas.
It was a rewarding and fun project on a whole, but so sad in other aspects, such as when the babies would pass (so many had no burial places which REALLY bothered us – unmarked graves in the backyards??). One gal had 9 children in the 1900 census but only two living. That was so sad and there were many examples similar.
After completing the project, I'm still not satisfied with it so now, we're going back over it, smoothing it out and making one last effort to name those little ones and/or discover what happened to 'em!
Mostly, we found the little ones grew-up, became mothers, nurses, teachers, military personnel (Generals, Lts, lots of Sgts we found), doctors, businessmen. Many left; many stayed, and we were proud of them all!
Fun way to get to know the community, people, and area – definitely a worthy project !!!