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Summers, 90, completes history on Elizabeth

Summers, 90, completes history on Elizabeth
Summers, 90, completes history on Elizabeth
Catherine Summers of Elizabeth looks up information in her latest book, 'The Life and History of the Town of Elizabeth, Indiana.' (Photo by Jo Ann Spieth-Saylor)

Leafing through the spiral-bound book, Catherine Summers of Elizabeth said it was her ‘best one’ yet.
‘The Life and History of the Town of Elizabeth, Indiana’ is the latest published by the 90-year-old Harrison County native.
‘It took years to put together,’ said Summers, whose passion is doing genealogy for herself and others.
Summers said many people who were doing deed research didn’t know how, so she decided ‘I’d do it for them.’
Her interest goes back to about 1967. This newspaper featured Summers’ enthusiasm for genealogy in November 1977.
Since then, Summers has published several books, including ‘Dam No. 43,’ ‘The McRae Families of Harrison County and Their Ancestor Family History,’ ‘Harrison County Churches,’ ‘Rose Wood Boat Landing and Vicinity,’ ‘Looking Back from the Corydon Republican Newspaper’ (co-authored with Estylle Phillips), and, her first book, ‘Bits and Pieces ‘ Narrative of Churches, Schools and Religious Movement in Posey, Taylor and Boone Township.’
Summers said, ‘They all have things for everybody.’
When Summers completed ‘The Life and History of the Town of Elizabeth,’ shortly before Christmas, she ordered 20 copies. Since then, she’s had 116 more copies of the book printed.
‘I think the reason it’s selling good is because I’ve got so many good pictures,’ she said. (She took some of them.)
There are many early school pictures in the book. Other pictures, like the one on the cover that dates prior to 1900, were borrowed.
The book contains information about South Harrison Park, which, Summers believes, holds ‘two little towns (Elizabeth and Laconia) together.’
Summers acknowledged that she got a lot of help in producing her history book, and she hasn’t forgotten who provided those valuable bits of information. ‘Anything you borrow, you’ve got to give it back,’ she said.
She has other advice for those who may be thinking about publishing a book.
‘There’s a lot of things you have to know to do a book,’ she said. Just remember, ‘You’re not going to do the first one just right. It takes time and time.
‘You have to get people to trust you,’ she added.
Another important ingredient, especially when it comes to history or genealogy, is to make sure the facts are correct.
‘Some of oral history is passed down from generation to generation,’ but it isn’t always accurate. ‘See how much you can prove’ through documentation, she advised.
Summers faults the Internet for some of that. ‘It puts out a lot of information, but it may not be accurate,’ she said, adding that information from overseas is more apt to be correct.
She doesn’t use the Internet. She uses her computer primarily for playing solitaire. Another pastime is reading the latest issue of ‘Ancestral News,’ to which she has subscribed for years.
Although she’s lived her entire life in the Rosewood area along the Ohio River, Summers said she learned more details about certain events that happened in southern Harrison County while researching her book.
‘It really gives you an idea of … what was going on,’ she said.
What did Summers enjoy most about producing her latest book? ‘Getting it done,’ she said with a laugh.
Summers’ eyesight is failing slightly. She has no plans to write another book, but she has toyed with the idea of compiling a history about Sugar Grove, an old dance hall where people from the city went on weekends. ‘I have to make myself quit some of that,’ she said.
Copies of the $32-book are available at Dee’s Beauty Boutique in Elizabeth.