FAQ

1. What’s up with the spelling? Readers will notice that some of the spelling in these letters are, to be blunt, atrocious. This is not me. I attempted to preserve the spelling and syntax as accurately as possible against the original. However, readers should note that photocopies from microfilm are not always that clear, the handwriting is not always stellar and sometimes the spelling was so bad that a given word was unfathomable. Therefore, in some cases, I was forced to use context along with general word shape and in some few cases experience with the writer’s writing style in order to glean the best transcription from a jumble of nonsense. Therefore, if some small parts are not 110% accurate against the original, I do beg the reader’s indulgence.

2. Can you post the original, handwritten letters? You will not at any time see a scan or image of any of the full, original letters posted to this blog. These are transcriptions only. The reason for this is that the microfilm copies technically belong to the Indiana Historical Society and they are bound by specific rules, sometimes set out by the donor of the collection. Therefore, I was given very specific instructions on what I can and cannot post. I can post the transcriptions and the graphics from the stationery, but not a scan or image of the entire letter. If you wish to view the original microfilm, they can be found at the Indiana Historical Society in Indianapolis. Their website is www.indianahistory.org. You can request copies via email or visit to view the microfilm in person. Please reference “Letters of Forder and Hubbard Families Microfilm Collection F90” when making your request.  Photocopies are available for a fee.  The original, original letters were returned to their owners after being photographed to microfilm in 1963 and their current location or owners are unknown. 

3. Is this the complete “Letters of Hubbard and Forder” collection? No. More letters existed going as far back as 1860 within the collection and as far forward as 1867. I largely requested letters starting when William Forder joined the 10th in 1862 and going through his and Jim McMullen’s time of service with the unit and stopping in 1865. Most of the letters are from them, but I included a few from other family members that relate directly to war conditions of the time.

4. Do you have any photos of William, Sarah or anyone else? Not at the time this blog was established but if any come to light, I will be sure to make a supplemental posting of them or include them in a letter post if I am so permitted.

5. Was your ancestor James actually friends with William? Why transcribe letters from someone you are not related to? As indicated in the first post to this blog, it is possible that James and William crossed paths and even worked together. Just because William doesn’t mention James in a letter does not mean that a connection was not possible, it’s just not confirmed. However, I volunteered to transcribe this section of the collection because I felt it would give me good insight into James’ day to day existence.

6. Are you going to transcribe the rest? This was a volunteer project that held personal interest for me, which is why I targeted only letters relating to William and Jim McMullen’s service periods as they were contemporaries of my ancestor. With the demands of my current day job and other projects, I don’t have the spare time to transcribe the rest at this time. However, that doesn’t rule out future possibilities.

7. Some letters are undated. How do you know when they were written? Unfortunately I don’t. For now we have to assume that any letters were kept in relative order by their keepers through the years and scanned in that order. Therefore, any undated letters are included in relation to the other letters in the collection and will be posted the day after the previous letter.

8.  How will we know when the next post/letter is coming?  Can you post more frequently or regularly?  The release of letters is timed to the date they were written on.  Sometimes there are gaps in the timeline for the letters.  I’m hoping that the supplemental information will help fill in some of the bigger gaps but otherwise, we are all bound by the writing schedule of William Forder and company.  Please take lack of updates up with them.

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Credits

I wanted to take a brief moment to acknowledge a few contributors to this blog.

The first credit should go to Kate Scott and the References Services Department at the Indiana Historical Society for providing me with photocopies of the letters and giving permission for me to create this blog. They are the official holders of this collection on microfilm and Kate has been an enthusiastic supporter of my project since I first emailed about the letters. If you enjoy these letters, please consider visiting their website at www.indianahistory.org and becoming a member or making a donation to their mission.

Second, design credit should go to Alysia Robinette for lending her graphic design skills to this project. Not all the letters photocopied cleanly and some came in with some fantastic letterhead that I desperately wanted to preserve and use. Also, she was determined that this blog looked better than “just a bunch of text” and made it so.

Credit for help with supplemental information goes to my Aunt Clara Carlson who leveraged her subscriptions to genealogy websites and an unwavering and intense interest in history to assist in this project.

Design and Transcription supervisors are Morgana and Scorn who have ensured that all letters were typed with cat-warmed hands and that nobody sat at a desk for too long without a nose or tail in their face.

I also wanted to acknowledge the Forder and Hubbard families and William Max Norris who loaned this collection to the Indiana Historical Society in 1963. Without their preservation of these documents, we would not have them today. If any of you see this blog and wish to send me any additional historical information on your family, please feel free to do so.

And of course full credit should be given to William, Sarah, and Jim and all the “rest of the friends” for writing to each other and thus recording a first hand account of the history they lived.

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