As a young girl, growing up in Goshen IN, I came in contact with many of my close family, but knew little about anyone beyond my immediate family and/or my family heritage. For many years I went on about life knowing little about anyone other than a few close cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents. Then I met my husband who had a keen interest in his family’s history and he became interested in mine as well. Since this is a joint-venture between him and me, from here on I will refer to “we” in this introduction. This interest spilled over to me as well, and when we made trips to my childhood home in Indiana we went to the local county courthouse, getting what information was there. We discovered a vast, extended family that I knew nothing about, many who had left the area years ago.
Moving to Northern Utah in the early 1980’s, we were able to spend a great deal of time in the LDS Family History Library in Salt Lake City, digging out knowledge on both mine and my husband’s family names. Then, in the late 1980’s we started a decade-long trek to county courthouses all over the Western United States, doing on-site research, with original court documents, on a number of family names. During that ten-year period we visited nearly 1000 county courthouses. That included every county courthouse in fourteen states and some in nine other states. The records we reviewed included marriage records, civil and criminal court records, probate records and, where available, birth and death records. We also went to an unbelievable number of libraries where we gathered information from published local histories, census records and newspaper archives – mostly obituaries. We visited lots of cemeteries, as well. We also interviewed a good many family members along the way. My family names researched were AUGHINBAUGH, FODGE, HAPNER, HOSHAW, HOUSE, JUDAY, KNOOP, METHOD, OTT and ROOKSTOOL, plus a number of variations on those names.
All this was long before the internet and the avalanche of genealogy sites available today. We looked at some of these sites, but, early on, made the conscious decision that we had so much data from original source documents that we should concentrate on our on-site research rather than use second-hand data from the internet. That being said, there are two sites that we have used to some advantage. They are the Social Security Death Index (this was available in libraries before widespread use of the internet) and FindAGrave.com. We have used these sites primarily to verify information we already had and to add information to our findings when their information appeared to be realistic. To be completely honest, there have been times when we have made calculated assumptions to come to our conclusions, but we have attempted to enter only verifiable facts.
Family histories involve the Five W’s. Who, What, When, Where and Why:
Who – Usually we know the Who, but on occasion we may not know either the first or last name. In those instances we have indicated the part of the name we don’t know with ______.
What – Most genealogies concentrate on the usual birth, death and burial information. We do, as well, but whenever we have found interesting biographical data such as occupation, hobbies and interests, we have included it in our display.
When – Included whenever known.
Where – The Where’s are extremely important, especially when doing research. One has to know where to look for information. For that reason, as you will notice, we have emphasized the “Where’s” in the display of information on my relations. Two things must be mentioned in that regard. First, a lot of the places a person lived when they died was derived from the Social Security Death Index, and may well be where the final check was sent, not the actual place of residence of the deceased. Second, I am well aware that Syracuse IN is in Kosciusko County, but many of my relations were born, lived and died in Elkhart County just across the county line from Syracuse, but were listed as Syracuse in Elkhart County. There may be other instances similar, where the person lived, was born, or died near a town, just across the county line.
Why – Sometimes obvious, but most times not. One has to walk in their shoes to know most of the Why’s.
To say there are no errors in our presentation would be a huge understatement. We have done our best to minimize those, both of a factual nature and typographical, as well. We have reported what we have been able to find, but there’s so much we don’t know about our ancestors and have been unable to find. There may be places where you can add missing information you would like included. Whether a correction of something we have reported in error or information we don’t have, you may email Bill at firstname.lastname@example.org. Indicate who you are and give supporting documentation. Anything deserving correction or inclusion will be addressed as time permits.
Finally, I want to express my appreciation to all those who gave me information included in this history, altogether too numerous to mention here, but included in the list of citations, where applicable. And to my husband, Bill Lee, who, without his help and perseverance, this project would never have gotten off the ground and finally reached this website presentation. The final coding of this website was provided by Jake Lambert. Many thanks, Jake.
By the way, there are nearly 11,000 names in the list. Although the primary names are listed above, there are only about 3,000 persons listed with those names. The other 8,000 are names related to those 3,000 by marriage, or other reasons. Enter a name into the system. Any name! You may be surprised at what comes up.
LaVonne (Fodge) Lee