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Russell Frehse Genealogy Center

Kay Aitch Ess: 1932 Depression Era Yearbook

A very special Kay Aitch Ess yearbook - handmade by students in 1932 - has now been digitized and is available online. During the depression, the school could not financially fund a traditional yearbook, so the students took matters into their own hands. The actual yearbook is kept by the East Noble School Corporation, but the Kendallville Public Library now has an online copy (link below), and a hardcover copy in its Russell Frehse Genealogy Center. 

1932 Kay Aitch Ess Yearbook

Forker Scrapbook

The fragile scrapbook of Emma (Strater) Forker, which resides in the Kendallville Public Library’s Russell Frehse Genealogy Center, has been scanned and is now available online. It contains primarily newspaper clippings from The News Sun, representing a 30 year period in the early to mid-20th century. The clippings span topics from weddings to bank robberies to World War II. Mrs. Forker died in 1951 at the age of 103. At the time of her death, she was the oldest resident in Noble County, and a descendant of Frances Weeks Dingman, the first permanent white settler in Kendallville.

Main Scrapbook

Club Collections Now Available 

Historical records of local clubs are now available for use in the Kendallville Public Library's Russell Frehse Genealogy Center.

Information on the Bayview Reading Club, Culture Club, Delphian Club, Matinee Music Club, Garden Club, Charm and Chatter and Quest Club can be found in clearly labeled binders. The binders contain documents, publications, letters, photos, yearbooks and more - some dating back to the early 1900's. Tri Kappa has donated scrapbooks for their organization, as well.

Also new are binders of papers collected by Russell Frehse. His collection covers education, business, physicians, local history and more. These historical documents may be scanned or copied, but not checked out.

Available Resources: (in-library use)
Public Computers
Copy/Scan Services
Family Histories
State and Local History
Phone Directories
Military Records
News Sun Obituaries
City of Kendallville Burial Records
Kendallville Families and Their Homes by Jean Stiver Cochard

Research Tip to Get You Started: Talk to your living relatives to find out as much of your family's story as you can. Gather names and dates, which will help guide you as you compile information. The most important thing is to at least know the name and city of residence of one person in your family who was alive in 1940. That's the most recent public census, and it's a great place to start.
Need help getting started with your family research? Contact Adult Services Manager Leah Dresser at 260-343-2017 or

About Russell Frehse:

11/9/1909 - 2/11/2005

To honor Kendallville historian Russell Frehse's contribution to local research and genealogy, the Kendallville Public Library named its Genealogy Center after him when the South Park Avenue building opened in 2007.

Mr. Frehse was born in Dubois County near Huntingburg on November 9, 1909, to Wesley and Amelia Frehse. He came to Kendallville at the age of 10 and attended the one-room Roberts School House east of Kendallville as a boy, and later the old Riley School on Riley Street. He graduated from Kendallville High School, class of 1928, and attended Indiana University and earned his Bachelor of Science degree at the School of Commerce in 1936.

He was a U.S. Army veteran, serving from 1942 to 1945 in World War II. He held the rank of Staff Sergeant with the 353rd Bomb Squad.

For 33 years, he worked for the Pennsylvania Railroad in the sales department as a buyer of right of way. He worked in Grand Rapids and Detroit, MI; Indianapolis, IN; Cincinnati, OH; Roanoke, VA; and Charleston, WV before retiring in 1970.

Mr. Frehse was a member of the Noble County Historical Society and was instrumental with Main Street, Kendallville, being placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2003. He was a member of the Faith United Methodist Church and was named Citizen of the Year for 2003.

Much of Mr. Frehse's collection of research now resides in the Kendallville Public Library's Russell Frehse Genealogy Center.