At the August meeting, La Porte County Genealogical Society members and visitors enjoyed a record-short ten-minute business meeting, followed by Fern Eddy Schultz's program on early La Porte County photographers, based on her extensive collection of their work and investigation of their lives.
The earliest photographer she knows of in La Porte itself was John Hunter, in 1848 -- just nine years after the process was invented. Early photographers were often called "photo artists," and at least one in this county embellished his photos by painting on them. Westville had resident photographers in 1862 and 1866.
Schultz would be much happier with these photographers if they had dated more of their photos. She also reported that a correspondent from out of state saw the program announcement, and sent her a photo taken by an old-time La Porte photographer. She had known of this photographer's existence from his city directory listing, but she had never seen his work before.
The contest to name the society's newsletter continues. Editor and judge Les Chadwick (firstname.lastname@example.org) has received some entries and welcomes more. The new name will take effect with the first issue of 2011.
Ten entry forms to qualify for residency certificates have been received.
Next month's meeting will feature Dorothy Palmer and Gloria Arndt on two movie stars who came from Michigan City. Upcoming programs after that will cover Chicago's Newberry Library (October), a Black History Month presentation postponed from February (November), the annual dinner and awards presentations (December), and an informal auction of materials brought in by members (January).
BONUS ITEM FOR BLOG READERS: There was lots of informal conversation around the table after the program. One of the conversations touched on the value of old plat maps for spotting landowners. Later on, back home, I discovered that Ancestry.com has indexed and digitized a good many of these, including La Porte County landowners for 1874 and 1892, browseable or searchable by name. (Yes, you can just plug in the name you're searching for, and search the whole country at once, but it had better be an unusual one!)
I do not know if this database is available when you access Ancestry from the library. If someone finds out before I do, let me know or add a comment here.