This blog is a starting point. It's not even a first draft — it's the notes you take in preparing for the first draft.
My main sources are (a) local newspapers, and (b) the census, vital and military records available at Ancestry.com. These sources are prone to error. A few of the people I write about (e.g., Henry Chester) attained sufficient local prominence to be mentioned by contemporary historians, such as the Rev. Timothy Horton Ball and Dr. William Frederick Howat. Only a tiny fraction ever attracted anyone's notice outside of northwest Indiana.
But that suits me. Let better historians write in depth about famous people. Here, I am only trying to bring back those who have gone — the thinking, feeling people who lived and worked on these few hundred acres around the Grand Trunk Railroad's Ainsworth depot. I try to supplement the scarce information by speculating about people's thoughts and motives, imaging their emotions and giving my opinion about their actions. They are my neighbors, in space if not in time, and I do like a bit of gossip. I just hope I make clear to the reader when I depart from fact to engage in flights of fancy.
Please be warned that I have a tendency to be facetious. My intent is not to offend. I would joke as much if I were writing about my own family.
I am having fun writing this blog; I hope you have fun reading it. I know it is likely to contain errors; I hope you forgive them.
Navigating the Blog
Order of Entries. Like most blogs, this is in reverse chronological order. You can get to older entries by clicking on the links under "Blog Archive" in the sidebar.
Labels and Index. Below the archive links are the "Labels," which serve as an index. Clicking on a particular label will take you to all the posts so labeled. But I haven't been terribly vigilant or consistent about labeling, so if you don't find what you're looking for, you might want to try the "Search this Blog" function.
Relevant labels also appear below each post. Clicking on a label at the end of a post will take you to other posts relating to that topic.
Organization and Method. When I started this blog, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing or how to go about it. That confusion is reflected in the disorganization of the entries for the first five or six months (I'm a slow learner).
Much of August 2009 was taken up with historical maps of the Ainsworth area going back as far as the 1820s (click on the "maps" label to bring those up).
Up until about February 2010 I was just randomly searching online sources for anything Ainsworth-related, so the chronology is all over the place. Early in February I started methodically reading the Hobart weekly newspapers on microfilm (beginning with 1899), so from that point the timeline becomes a more orderly. But I never let considerations of chronology stop me from posting anything I happen to stumble across if it interests me.
So, all in all, this blog is disorganized and not easy to navigate. Maybe someday I'll figure out a better way of organizing all this stuff. On the other hand, I might want to leave it as it is, as an inspirational example to show that you don't have to be organized, methodical or well informed to do historical research.