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Big Changes at the Indiana State Library and Archives

Indiana House Bill 1001 (the State Budget Bill) includes a proposed 24% cut in funding to the Indiana State Library. According to State Librarian Jacob Speer, the proposal includes elimination of the Genealogy Department at the State Library and a 10% reduction in ISL staff.

The Genealogy Department at the Indiana State Library has more than 100,000 items devoted to Indiana and almost half (49%) of the reference questions that come to the Indiana State Library are for research from the Genealogy collection.

The cuts are likely related to an announcement from October 2014 that the Indiana Commission on Public Records had approved a contract with Ancestry.com. The contract would involve digitizing more than 13 million birth certificates, death certificates, and marriage records. With such records soon available through a private entity, the state presumably saw no need to continue staffing for the data through the state library.

The digitized versions of records older than 75 years will start becoming available to Hoosiers in 2015, according to a release from the governor’s office, with completion expected by 2016. Gov. Pence estimates the partnership saves state taxpayers more than $3.2 million in indexing, scanning, and online access costs. The online records will be available free through the State Archives but not initially. There is a three-year embargo so Ancestry.com can recoup its costs. However, the State Archives will be able to provide public access to the records at its Indianapolis location once the records are digitized.

The digitization of older records presumably influenced the decision to propose staffing cuts, but questions remain about whether the reduced staff will be able to manage and index current and future records for digitization.

Indiana House Bill 1001 was not all gloom and doom for the Indiana State Library. Gov. Mike Pence’s proposed budget includes $50 million from long-term cell tower leases in order to help finance Indiana’s 2016 bicentennial plans. Those plans include the construction of a new state archives building ($25 million) and the creation of an education center at the Indiana State Library ($2.5 million). Some of the $2.5 million would also be allocated to repair a tunnel that connects the building with other downtown facilities.

According to a state “request for information” issued in August 2014, the state will seek to renovate an existing four-story landmark at 777 N. Meridian Street and a build a similar structure to the south that would serve as a state-of-the-art storage space. The Neoclassical limestone building at 777 N. Meridian Street was vacated in 2014 by the Indiana office of the American Legion and officials have identified it and adjacent land as the primary option to house the archives. The existing building and the new addition to the south would each be 36,000 square feet.

The state’s archives – including thousands of documents from the state’s founding – are currently stored in a dilapidated building at 6440 E. 30th Street. They have been there since 2001 as a temporary measure but ended up remaining at the site. The current facility has no climate control.

The new additions would house the original 1816 and 1851 state constitutions, all laws passed by the legislature, as well as other official state documents. The total number of documents number more than 300 million pages.

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With a new year coming on us, please consider renewing membership with the Claybourn Genealogical Society (CGS). Anyone who is interested in genealogy and history can become a member. Dues for a yearly membership is $20 and permanent Membership is available for a one-time payment of $100 (click here for a list of permanent members). Easy online payment through PayPal is available here to the right. All donations and memberships are tax deductible.

Each year CGS requires about $320 to cover website hosting and research fees (click here for the most recent operating statement). Therefore donations in addition to, or in lieu of, membership dues are welcome and help a great deal.

In 2015 we plan to complete and publish a magnificent single volume history of the family in book format. The final product will include all of the information currently on the website plus additional never before seen photos. Your donations will help with publishing costs.

Founded in 2009, CGS is the world’s leading resource for Clyburn / Claybourn / Claiborne / Clayborn / Claybourne family history research. Although our name says Claybourn, we provide expertise and research for numerous family lines, from eighteenth-century colonial Virginia through twentieth-first-century biographical research. We maintain an award-winning website, Claybourn.org, as the online repository for more than 5,000 searchable names. CGS is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charity that is open to the public.

Lloyd Claiborne Weir

We are excited to announce the addition of information concerning Lloyd Claiborne Weir (known as “George”). He was born to Sarah Frances Claiborne and DeWitt Franklin Weir on 15 December 1920 in White County, Arkansas. In World War II he served as crew chief and master sergeant of the B-24 Liberator Hot Stuff, the first heavy bomber in the 8th Air Force to complete twenty-five missions in Europe in World War II and, after completing thirty-one missions, was selected to return to the United States on 3 May 1943 to tour the country and help sell war bands. That spring of 1943 Lt. Gen. Frank M. Andrews needed to get back to Washington, D.C. He was Commander of the European Theater of Operations and known as the father of the Air Force. General Andrews knew Hot Stuff’s pilot Capt. “Shine” Shannon and chose to fly back to the United States with him.

Hot Stuff had a scheduled refueling stop in Iceland but crashed into a mountain in bad weather that day on 3 May 1943. All onboard, including George Weir, were killed except the tail gunner. The real purpose of General Andrews’ travel was that he was going back to Washington, D.C., to be blessed by Congress and the president, awarded his fourth star, and formally named Supreme Allied Commander in Europe to lead an assault across the English Channel. Because of his death, the job was assigned to Gen. Dwight David Eisenhower nine months later in February 1944.

In a subsequent diary entry a fellow soldier wrote, “I don’t see how anyone could have been a better crew chief than George. He went beyond the call of duty in working on his plane. Time meant nothing when things needed to be done. The plane was a living thing to him and long after the most severed inspector would pronounce the plane fit, George would still be out there tinkering around making little adjustments, polishing the interior, and looking things over. . . . He was everything a good soldier should be — loyal, capable, and industrious.”

The Hot Stuff crew and those on the flight with Gen. Andrews are memorialized online here with stories and several videos. Jim Lux, a friend of a surviving member who had missed the flight the day it crashed, worked hard to memorialize the crew and their history. He led an effort to dedicate a plaque at the site with plans and hopes of a future memorial monument by the wreckage near Grindavik, Iceland.

Preserve the Pensions

The Pension Records from the War of 1812 are among the most requested documents at the National Archives. Unfortunately, these fragile documents are in urgent need of digitization. In support of this monumental task of digitizing 7.2 million pages, Ancestry.com has provided a dollar for dollar matching grant, so every dollar you contribute will make four more pages accessible and free for everyone. Click here to donate or learn more.

Battle of Perryville

On this day 152 years ago our ancestors took part on both sides of the Battle of Perryville in Kentucky in the American Civil War. Over twenty percent of those engaged in the battle were either killed, wounded, or went missing, making it one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War.

On the Union side was James H. Claybourn, William P. Claybourn, Joe Boggs, and Jasper B. Scott, each with Company H of the 80th Illinois Volunteer Infantry Regiment.

Fighting with Confederates against them was Pleasant T. Claiborne. Although Pleasant and his father John opposed secession, Pleasant had been conscripted into Confederate service against his will. In fact, Union soldier Jasper Scott was Pleasant’s brother-in-law, married to his sister Millie Claiborne. Not long after the battle Pleasant was captured and taken prisoner. Given the deplorable conditions for prisoners on both sides, those captured often died of disease, malnutrition, and abuse. Such was the case for Pleasant who died on January 9, 1863. He is buried at the Soldiers’ Rest C.S.A. Cemetery in Vicksburg, Mississippi.

One great irony is that had any of Pleasant’s Confederate compatriots succeeded in killing James, the family’s genealogical information might never have been compiled. Thus, Pleasant would have survived the battle, but most historical evidence of his very existence would have died.

The Union victory at Perryville marked a turning point in the War. Confederate forces retreated into Tennessee, and Kentucky remained in Union possession for the remainder of the War. Just as important, the victory stalled Europeans from recognizing the Confederacy and rejuvenated Northerners enough to continue supporting the War in the 1862 elections.

Highslide JS Highslide JS Highslide JS
James Harrison Claybourn
(1843-1920)
William P. Claybourn’s
headstone in Butte, Montana
Pleasant Claiborne’s headstone with erroneous spelling
501(c)(3) Status

The Claybourn Genealogical Society has received confirmation that it is exempt from federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Click here (pdf) for the IRS notice. As a result, all donations to CGS are tax deductible. Click here for more information about donating and membership.

The Arkansas Claibornes

John B. Claiborne (1812-1874) is a patriarch for one of the main branches of the family, with others originating from his two brothers William Divine Claybourn (1819-1896) and James T. Clayborn (1822-1900). These three brothers all settled in different regions of the country and also spelled the surname differently, and as a result they represent a sort of fork in the road for the family’s history.

William and his children lived in southern Illinois and fought and shed blood supporting the Union during the American Civil War. James and his family lived in Tennessee but remained loyal to the Union throughout the conflict.

John moved from Tennessee to Arkansas in 1859 just before the war broke out, and because some of his sons fought for the Confederacy we have long believed that his branch supported the southern cause. However, recent findings from the Southern Claims Commission now conclusively support that John had in fact remain an ardent Union supporter and suffered much because of it. Additionally, while three of his sons and a son-in-law did fight for the Confederacy, two of them were conscripted (or drafted) against their will. You can now read about these many fascinating updates through the pages of John and separate pages of some of his children:

John B. Claiborne (1812 – 1847)

  1. Matilda Francis Claiborne (1838 – 1888)
  2. John H. Claiborne (1842 – 1932)
  3. Arthur Smith Claiborne (1847 – 1936)
New Updates

Thanks to the ongoing work by Patricia Brown (a descendant of Sally Claybourn), we have new updates for several branches:

  • William and Mary Claybourn: William (“Bill”) was a Civil War veteran and fought alongside his brother James for about three years in the 80th Illinois Infantry Regiment. He and his wife Mary moved via covered wagons to Kansas, and then to Montana. Numerous of their descendants are listed in detail.
  • John and Ellen Claybourn: John was a Civil War veteran. He and his wife Ellen moved to Minnesota and each lived there to be 90 years old. Many details of their descendants are provided, including separate pages for three of their children listed below.

    • Mourten and Nellie Claybourne: This couple had a falling out with other members of the family and as a result purposefully changed the spelling of their surname. Many details of their well-educated descendants are provided as well, including some who are members of CGS.
    • Leslie William Claybourn: He was married at least three times. Over the years he patented over 200 printing processes and throughout his life was considered a printing process pioneer.
    • John Geronald Claybourn: John was a giant among engineers of his era. He rose in the service of the Panama Canal to become superintendent of the Dredging Division. He was also involved as a consultant in river and harbor improvement projects in several countries, primarily in Latin America.
  • Ephraim and Mary “Jennie” Claybourn: As with other members of the family, Ephraim was instrumental in construction of the Panama Canal and was eventually made superintendent of all floating equipment. Details of his many descendants are provided as well.
Renew Your Membership

The Claybourn Genealogical Society (CGS) invites you to click here and renew your membership for 2014.

CGS works hard to preserve the family’s history through detailed biographical sketches, archived letters and photographs, and publishing historically relevant items for dissemination among the family and public.

Promoting and protecting our family’s history is a big job and can only be accomplished with the support of people like yourself who care about the past, who know that our history defines our future, and who believe that CGS has a rich and colorful history that should never be lost, forgotten or even temporarily misplaced.

In 2014, we will continue to improve our website and embark on an ambitious plan to publish all of the material in one comprehensive book. These efforts can be costly, along with the normal expenses associated with web hosting and research fees.

By becoming a member today, you will join others helping to keep our family’s historical knowledge alive for today and tomorrow. Individual memberships begins at only $20 and permanent membership is available at only $100. Click here for more.

New Permanent Members

We’re happy to announce that Carol Claiborne Johnson and Janice Claiborne Kollander, both daughters of Harry E. Claiborne (1917-2004), have joined CGS as permanent members. Click here for a list of all permanent members and ways you too can join CGS and support our preservation of history.



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