Filson Favorites: Researcher Jennifer Armstrong, History Sleuth with Heart

Researcher Jennifer Armstrong

Researcher Jennifer Armstrong

The Filson has many wonderful and intelligent researchers, but every so often one comes in that really grabs your attention.  Such was the case with Jennifer Armstrong.   Over the past year, Armstrong has repeatedly visited The Filson archives, researching on behalf of the Home of The Innocents, a community institution dedicated to caring for abused, abandoned, and neglected children.  Between 1882 and 1920, 220 infants and young children who died while at the home were buried in Cave Hill Cemetery in unmarked graves. When the current president of The Home of the Innocence as well as concerned citizens became aware of these long-forgotten graves, they immediately began raising money to erect a memorial marker.  It has been the work of volunteers, namely Jennifer Armstrong, to discover the names of “Louisville’s forgotten children” to be engraved on the granite memorials.

A loan analyst by day, Armstrong volunteered countless hours at the Filson piecing together historical clues to identify hundreds of children.  She searched in the Protestant Episcopal Orphan Asylum Records, scrutinized microfilm of vital records, and dug through Pearson Funeral Home records, all the while deciphering nineteenth century handwriting and keeping tedious notes on her findings.  In the end Armstrong identified all but one child, who she says will remain “known only to God.”

A public unveiling and dedication of the two memorial markers will be in Cave Hill Cemetery this Sunday, November 1 at 2:00 pm.

Thank you Jennifer, for not letting these children be forgotten in death, as they often were in life.

Filson Historical

13 comments on “Filson Favorites: Researcher Jennifer Armstrong, History Sleuth with Heart

  1. Judy Johnson

    So proud of her and all of her hard work! Her heart is huge and she put her all into this project.
    Really proud for her to call me MOM!!!!

  2. Emily M Prather

    WOW! What amazing work for an inimitable cause. Jennifer is truly one of a kind!

  3. Mark Mulloy

    Thank you Jennifer for the extraordinary commitment of your time to these precious children.

  4. Ann Raible

    Jennifer is truly a special person. Her love, concern and dedication to this project is a true indication of just how wonderful she is to us all.

  5. Lisa Cobb

    Jennifer worked so hard and never wanted attention for her efforts and hours of voulunteering to do the research to “find” the children. The dedication ceremony was a wonderful event with over 200 in attendance. She is responsible for many of their names which will be remembered forever at Cave Hill.

  6. Linda Speed

    As co-chair of the Children’s Memorial Marker Committee which raised the funds to erect the markers on the graves of these “forgotten children”, I could not be happier that Jennifer read an article in the paper two years ago about the project and called me to see how she could help. Thanks to her tireless dedication (and sacrifice of numerous vacation days to do research!) all but one of our children now is named on the markers – ensuring that they will now always be remembered. Thank you, Jennifer!

  7. Kristina Nally

    I have known Jennifer for 5 yrs now and she is truly one of the most kind hearted genuine people I have ever met. She is fabulous at everything she does from being a mother, daughter, wife and friend she doesn’t lack passion or compassion in any part of her life. Her tenacious mind kept her in line with what her heart had passion for and that is, children. She has inspired me in more ways then she will ever know and as a result I have recently submitted paperwork to become a volunteer myself for the home. She’s a modern day Saint! To know her is to love her. Congratulations to Jennifer and every one affected by her work.

  8. Debbie Richardson

    This truly give me chills that you have been able to give such importance to so many innocent. Thank you.

  9. Jeremy

    Jennifer is one of the greatest people I have ever known and I am so proud of her. Thank you for recognizing how special she is noting her wonderful contributions.

  10. Mark McClintock

    To add one’s voice of strength to the cries of the overlooked is saintly. To be a voice for the forgotten who have no voice is divine. Thank you, Jennifer, for your selfless service to God’s children and your inspiration to all of us who seek to welcome rather than ignore them!

  11. Chris Conver

    Fabulous, Jennifer! I know how important it is to me that folks know my name, and now you have returned that privilege to some deemed “forgotten.”

  12. Phyllis Skonicki

    Jennifer, Thank you for you hard work, these children are part of our history and what a loving way to honor them! I’m so proud of you for your commitment to this project.

  13. Julie Spencer

    What a beautiful gift. Jennifer really is one of a kind.


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