In 1948, the Indy Star and the Indy Commercial newspapers published birth announcements obtained from either the county or from local hospitals. The two papers published identical lists, although sometimes not on the same day, as the Commercial was not published on the weekends.
Carl Litel, a friend of mine who was adopted the day he was born in Indianapolis is 1946, told me that he was able to find his birth mother’s name by looking through the birth announcements in the newspaper that appeared around his birth date. (See Close Calls, Conclusion?). This gave me hope that maybe Benjaman Kyle’s birth may have been announced in the paper, too. Benjaman is a well-known amnesiac who I have been trying to identify for a couple of years now. (See Benjaman’s Wikipedia article for his full story.)
From what I was able to find, a birth was usually announced between one week and ten days after it occurred. Only the names of the parents, the gender of the child, and the hospital where a birth occurred were included in an announcement. The names of the child and his or her birth date were not listed.
Thanks to Monique Howell, Archivist at the Indiana State Library in Indianapolis, I was able to obtain copies of the birth announcements for August 27-September 10, 1948 that appeared in these two Indianapolis papers. I was interested in these dates because Benjaman believes that he was born 29 August 1948. I have been going through each list, carefully looking over the names, especially on the alert for the names Powell, Davidson, and King. (See my previous posts on Benjamans Powell and Davidson Matches, and Parts I, II, III, and Conclusion? of my Close Calls articles. ) I have also been on the alert for the names that I have come across in the families of Benjaman’s 23 and Me Matches.
An interesting name popped up almost immediately. On September 1, 1948, the Indy Commercial announced that a son was born to Harold and Helen Powell. Harold was a mechanic at Hetherington Berner Corp, a metal working facility in Indianapolis. The 1949 Indianapolis City Directory (available through Ancestry.com) shows that they lived at 1009 River Ave. a few blocks west of the White River. We checked a few more directories and found their addresses for later years:
1951 Harold G (Helen C.) Powell 651 1/2 Arbor
1955 Harold G. (Helen C) Powell Model Tool and Die Co. 645 Arbor Ave.
1957 Not listed
1959 Harold G (Ella A) Powell Toolmaker, Ford Motor Co 106 1/2 Arsenal
1960 Harold G (Ruth A) Powell Diemaker, Model Tool & Die Co 216 S Walcott
(We are not sure that the Harold G. who was married to Helen is the same one found in later directories married to Ruth-Ella. If it is, he must have remarried around 1957).
A Powell who had a son around September 1, 1948 was certainly a lead worth following. Monique tried to locate obits for Harold G. Helen C., and Ruth-Ella A., but did not have any luck. I looked in the Ancestry birth index for Indiana for any information on any of these people, but Marion Co. is not in its collection. I checked the census records for Indianapolis, and found a couple of Harold Powells, but could not identify either as the one listed in the city directory. I checked the WWII enlistment records on Ancestry and the family trees, but had no luck there, either.
Monique was kind enough to search a few Indianapolis high school yearbooks. The Library has many in its collection from Arlington, Shortridge, Crispus Attucks, Howe, Arsenal Tech, Washington, and Northwest. Unfortunately, they are not online, and they are not allowed to go out on loan. However, Monique agreed to browse through a few published in the late 1960s when Benjaman should have been in high school, keeping a eye out for Powells.
Here are a few of the possibilities that Monique came up with. Neither of us thought that any of these Powells resembled Benjaman.
Since copies of the birth announcements arrived, I have researched the more unusual names on lists. Using Ancestry.com, and websites such are PrivateEye.com I have identified about 1/3 of the boys, along with their birth dates, and the 1949 addresses of their parents. I show the full below, hoping that someone might recognize someone on the list and provide enough information about him to rule him in or out as Benjaman’s relative. I would especially appreciate hearing from those who have had Y-DNA, mtDNA, or autosomal DNA tests done, and who recognize anyone on the list as a relative.
I plan to post a new list of birth announcements every day or every other day until I run out. A new set of lists covering September 11-20, 1948 is on its way from Monique, and will be posted when they arrive.
If you recognize anyone on this list, please contact me immediately at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Key (showing 1949 addresses, with current zip codes):
Cole = William H. Coleman Hospital for women, 1000 Michigan St., Indianapolis, 46202
Meth = Methodist Hospital, 1604 N. Capital Ave., Indianapolis, 46202
IGen = Indianapolis General Hospital, 960 Locke St., Indianapolis, 46202
Vinc = St. Vincent’s Hospital, 120 West Fall Creek Pkwy N. Dr., Indianapolis, 46208
Date published: 30-Aug-48
Name of parents Child Date birth Hosp Address of parents
Coffman, Starling and Phyllis Brad A 20-Aug-48 Cole
Taylor, Earl & Elsie 14-Aug-48 Cole
Puckett, James & Peggy Cole
Jessup, Herchel & Ruby Cole
Greenberg, Alex & Ellen Cole
O’Sullivan, John & May Cole
Hollander, Sam’l M. & Theresa Charles T. 14-Aug-48 Meth 3237 Broadway
Donahue, John & Meriam Meth
Brown, Milton & Nettie Meth
Dice, Niles & Suzanne Jeffrey N. 22-Aug-48 Meth 44 S. Arlington Ave.
Putnam, James & Dorotha Robert R. 22-Aug-48 Meth 781 E McCarty, Apt 31
Colvin, Joseph & Mary Meth
Dephue, Forrest & Mary Meth
Archer, Norris & Louise Robert W. 22-Aug-48 Meth 2164 E. Raymond St.
Ritter, Harry & Mary Meth
Wills, William & Betty Meth
Flack, Earl & Laura Meth
Barr, James & Mary Meth
Wall, Richard & Joyce Meth
Wilson, Walter & Edna Meth
Heldebrand, John & Mary Meth
Kocher, Clarence & Ruth Myron W. 22-Aug-48 Meth 3915 Fletcher Ave.
For further information:
Benjaman’s Wikipedia article
Benjaman’s Powell and Davidson Matches
Benjaman’s 23 and Me Matches
Benjaman Kyle – Close Calls Part I
Benjaman Kyle – Close Calls Part II
Benjaman Kyle – Close Calls Part III
Benjaman Kyle – Conclusion?
Benjaman Kyle – Indianapolis Birth Announcements 31 Aug & 1 Sep 1948