Shelby County Indiana
Deboard / Debord
The Shelbyville News
By Charles Wilson
January 10, 1998
SEARCH INTO PAST
DIGS UP SURPRISE
Charlene Rosenfeld laid flowers on her great-great-great-great-grandfather's grave in December. The bouquet of lilies, carnations, roses and a Hawaiian protea was probably the first flowers anyone had left there in 150 years or more. George DeBord died in 1840.
DeBord's grave in the old Brandywine Cemetery might have gone another hundred years without any flowers if Marge Roberts hadn't gotten Rosenfeld hooked on tracing her family tree. The two women met through the Shelby County Historical Society about four years ago. Roberts, Morristown, who has been researching her family's genealogy for more than 20 years, got Rosenfeld interested in seeing what she could find out about her own roots.
Roberts tracked down information on Rosenfeld's father's grandfather, who according to family lore, had fought in the Civil War. "It's like I knew him after that," said Rosenfeld. After that, she was hooked. "Genealogy is like a mystery," said Rosenfeld, laying out a 13-generation family tree diagram on the table of her kitchen at 406 Peninsula Drive. "You unearth deep, dark secrets. I've found things my mother never knew."
Her four-year quest has led her to records all over Indiana and the United States, and even into cyberspace. Rosenfeld spends "an inordinate amount of time" every day on the Internet, which has a large, vigorous community of genealogical researchers. Through the Internet, she can trace vital records and post queries to other researchers who may share an interest or even possible ancestry through a particular surname. "Genealogical people are the most wonderful people," Rosenfeld said. "You can ask them if the moon is made of green cheese, and they will say, 'Good luck on your inquiry.'"
Her research led her through archives, libraries and cyberspace all the way back to her family's beginnings in Virginia. Rosenfeld has not traced her ancestry overseas. But the research took an unexpected twist when she started trying to track down her great-great-great-great-grandfather, DeBord.
Rosenfeld, 54, is a Gibson County native. She met her husband, Thomas N. Resenfeld, when he was checking out colleges in southern Indiana to attend after graduating from high school. The pair moved to Shelby County in 1967 to teach at Waldron. Tom Rosenfeld taught for one year before going on to other work and now runs his own business. Char Rosenfeld later retired from teaching.
Early in 1997, a response to one of her inquiries on the Internet led her to DeBord's Shelby County connection. After a wekk of searching local death records, she found out he was buried in Brandywine Cemetery, an old graveyard near the Marion County [perhaps they meant Marion Township?-pmf] line just off Interstate 74. Debord's gravestone, along with many others in the cemetery, had leaned so much over the years that is nearly topple over. But with the help from local funeral director Greg Parks, and a recipe for limestone mortar from local historian an dpioneer enthusiast Ron McDaniel, DeBord's stone was repaired and set upright a few weeks ago.
And then, "I took George flower," Rosenfeld said.
Rosenfeld continues tracing her own family tree, which now spans her ancestors 10 generations back in to the 1600s, to her grandchildren. And she hels other people who are looking for their own roots. The den in the Rosenfels' home on the Peninsula is now a genealogy room. "The room is a mess," Char Rosenfled siad. "I have boxes and folders and booklets everywhere." The Rosenfelds intend to build a new genealogy room upstairs, she said. "It's all Marge's fault," Rosenfled said. "It's like an addiction."
Contributed by Phyllis Miller Fleming
To contact researchers listed above, use the Surname Index