State Research Guide: Indiana
9/1/2007
With our guide, finding your Hoosier State family is a slam dunk.

Say “Hoosier,” and the guy sitting next to you thinks of Indiana basketball. If he's from those parts, he might exhibit signs of Hoosier Hysteria. But the word hoosier was around way before basketball. Indiana historian Jacob Piatt Dunn speculated in a 1907 study that it came from an Anglo-Saxon word meaning “hill.”

Regardless of its origins, though, hoosier became a term for small farmers. It first appeared in print when the Jan. 1, 1833, Indianapolis Journal ran John Finley's poem “The Hoosier's Nest.” Now it's part of Indianans' identity. Your Hoosier ancestors' heritage is as intriguing as their nickname, and a range of resources hold their stories.