Community & Public Service
Joan Keefer has dedicated much of her life to telling the story of Huntington and Huntington County. She has been, and is still, County Historian, initially from 1984 to 1992, and again from 1999 to the present. She has been the County Genealogist since 2008, and served on the board of the Huntington County Historical Society from 2000 to 2006.
She was the creator and department head of the Indiana Room at the Huntington City-Township Public Library from 1978 to 2016, having volunteered for two years prior to joining as a full-time library employee. She organized the Indiana Room from the ground up and continues to volunteer there in her free time.
Her knowledge of Huntington County and its people is unsurpassed. Over the years, Keefer has helped thousands of individuals and organizations research their family and community histories. She has worked behind the scenes on countless projects, conducting research that provides valuable historical context.
Keefer has received numerous local and state awards for her work, including the Lieutenant Governor’s Hospitality Award in 2001 and the Willard C. Heiss Family History/Genealogy Award in 2007 from the Indiana Historical Society. She was selected to represent Huntington County as a Torchbearer in the 2016 Indiana Bicentennial Torch Relay.
Her recall of historical facts and family connections, based only a surname, amazes people. In addition to her work with schools, Keefer has assisted local societies, clubs, colleges, and businesses. Many residents remember her from annual Ghost Walks at the Forks of the Wabash or periodical historical cemetery tours.
She was instrumental in organizing information and materials displayed during the 1988 election campaign of Vice President Dan Quayle. These were later used as the core collection for the Quayle Vice-Presidential Museum in Huntington.
In 2006, Keefer was part of the Huntington County Courthouse Centennial Committee. She was also involved in the preparation of publishing Huntington County Pictorial History book along with several other projects. She has dedicated time to help locate and index the cemeteries of Huntington County, index history books, and also to travel the county to further expand her knowledge of the place she represents. She has spent many days in dusty courthouse basements and traveling for research purposes.
As she was building one of the best genealogy and local history resources in the state, Keefer still took time to raise a family and live an adventurous life. Her research has expanded to surrounding counties, and she continues to network with other well-known historians. Keefer has helped with research for the television show, “Finding Your Roots” and she has worked with numerous government agencies. She continues to share her vast knowledge with all those interested in Huntington County history or genealogy.