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  • One-on-One Consultations for March!

    Sunday, Feb 18, 2018

    Have a brick wall in your research? Would you like a greater understanding of some aspect of your research? The Genealogy Center is offering 30-minute personal research consultations with a staff member on some troublesome aspect of your research from 2PM to 4PM on Monday March 19, 2018 and Tuesday, March 27, 2018. Call 260-421-1225 or email Genealogy@ACPL.Info for an appointment, requesting a Consultation and providing basic information concerning the nature of your quandary. A staff member will be assigned and a time established for your consultation. Be sure to bring your research notes to your consultation.

    Space is limited, and pre-registration is required. Register today!

    The Genealogy Center, 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM

    To register, call 260-421-1225 or send us an email.
    Consultation 1

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • HOLLYWOOD AND THE GENEALOGIST: FAMILY RESEARCHERS DEPICTED IN ART AND FILM

    Friday, Jan 26, 2018

    By John D. Beatty,CG

    How have artists and film-makers depicted genealogists in their respective work? It’s a fair question, given the booming interest today in family history and the extent to which genealogy has been integrated in modern American culture. By a recent estimate some 11.2 million people in the English-speaking world have undertaken genealogical research (http://www.genealogyintime.com/articles/how-popular-is-genealogy-page03.html). Tracing ancestors has given rise to a $1.6 billion industry and has become the second-most popular reason to search the Internet. Many families across America and the British Isles have at least one family member who is interested in genealogy. So the question posed seeks to determine the degree to which art has imitated life, both on canvas and on the screen.

    To be sure, the question remains problematic to answer and has been seldom addressed in any formal way. François Weil and Michael Sharpe, historians of genealogy, fail to mention the visual arts in their respective cultural histories of the pastime, and there are few studies of the images of genealogists. They are rarely a subject for artists, and when they have appeared as fictional characters in films, especially before the 1970s, they played only incidental roles in eccentric, snobby, or dysfunctional veins. In the last forty years a dramatic transformation in genealogy has occurred, however, and in at least a few instances on the silver screen, these roles have been more positive, reflecting the evolution of public attitudes about family history and those who undertake it.

    Daughters of Revolution by Grant Wood, 1932 (Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati)
    Daughters of Revolution by Grant Wood, 1932 (Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati)

    One of the earliest known artistic depictions of genealogists is Grant Wood’s 1932 painting, Daughters of Revolution. Intended as satire, the work was created in response to the opposition Wood had faced five years earlier when working on a commission to construct a stained glass window for the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Finding domestically-produced stained glass was inadequate for his work, he decided instead to use German-made glass, which earned him the ire of the local DAR chapter, who objected to German glass in a work meant to honor American war veterans. Wood completed the window, but it was not dedicated until 1955. He complained at the time that the DAR was “trying to set up an aristocracy of birth in a Republic,” and he sought revenge through his art. In his painting he juxtaposes the faces of aged women, whom he deemed self-important, against the backdrop of a famous painting of Washington crossing the Delaware created by the German artist Emanuel Leutze. Wood intended to depict the genealogical-minded women as hypocrites for their opposition to his window.

    Cinematic portrayals of genealogists are equally rare. In the few times they have appeared on screen, their roles (in most cases) have been peripheral. One of the earliest depictions occurred in the 1942 B-movie, Castle in the Desert, which starred Sidney Toler as the detective Charlie Chan. In the opening sequence Professor Gleason, an elegantly-attired genealogist with a moustache and walking stick, arrives at the forbidding desert mansion of Paul Manderley, a peculiar, affluent man with a patch covering half his face. Manderley’s wife Lucy introduces Gleason as a genealogist who will “tell us about the monkeys in our family trees.” He makes the mistake of inquiring about Mrs. Manderley’s descent from the notorious Borgia family, but she admonishes him that the two things “we never talk about” are her family and Paul’s accident (a strange warning, given that he had been hired to trace their genealogy). Her branch of the Borgias, she said, “didn’t go in for poison.” Moments later, the genealogist dies after drinking a poisoned cocktail, and the plot of the film is thus established. Gleason’s character here is so superficial that there is little opportunity for meaningful development other than to show him as well-mannered but elitist. The underlying message here is that genealogy was something that only interested the upper classes and involved the lineages of famous families. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mBtPu2qF2so&t=302s

    Castle in the Desert movie poster, 1942

















    Castle in the Desert movie poster, 1942
    (https://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/34621/charlie-chan-volume-5/)

    This elitist view of genealogy came up again in 1961 in an episode of The Andy Griffith Show titled “A Plaque for Mayberry.” The mayor of the little town summons Sheriff Andy and his hapless deputy, Barney Fife, to his office, where he introduces them to two ladies of the so-called Women’s Historical Society. The ladies, elegantly dressed in mink stoles and pearls, inform the men that they are attempting to trace the descendant of a Revolutionary War hero, Nathan Tibbs, who had played a pivotal role at the Incident of Mayberry Bridge, an event that supposedly had turned the tide of the war in Washington’s favor. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ACxYT0pMj9c&t=566s) They seek access to the town records so that they can identify his only descendant, who likely lives in the town. How they know that the soldier has only one living descendant prior to doing research is not explained. The bumbling Barney believes he is that descendant, but the ladies, who are the sole keepers of genealogical knowledge, discover that the true descendant is Otis Campbell, the town drunk. While the genealogists serve again only as incidental characters, they support the view that genealogical research is a blue-blooded occupation and those who pursue it do so only to find links to prominent forebears.

    Still photograph from “A Plaque for Mayberry,” The Andy Griffith Show 1961.

















    Still photograph from “A Plaque for Mayberry,” The Andy Griffith Show 1961.
    (http://mayberry.wikia.com/wiki/A_Plaque_for_Mayberry)

    The 1960s brought other depictions of genealogists in more prominent roles. Not all were elitist, but they were invariably quirky. In the 1969 comedy-drama, The Sterile Cuckoo, Liza Minnelli plays Pookie Adams, an eccentric, unstable teenager who stalks a fellow student played by Wendell Burton, with whom she eventually has a relationship. While not a genealogist per se, Pookie has a love for cemeteries and takes her boyfriend to a graveyard, where she extols the ability to find stories of the departed by reading their epitaphs. “Sometimes you have to get away from the noise, you know?” she says as she invites him in, adding later, “Great spot, huh?” Later in the film it becomes evident that Pookie has deep emotional problems, and the two break up. Minnelli won an Academy Award nomination for her performance, but her flawed character suggests that cemeteries were not places that psychologically-healthy people ever visited. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yL5lb7V6PNY).

    The cemetery scene from The Sterile Cuckoo, 1969, with Liza Minnelli and Wendell Burton.



     













    The cemetery scene from The Sterile Cuckoo, 1969, with Liza Minnelli and Wendell Burton. (http://lecinemadreams.blogspot.com/2013/02/the-sterile-cuckoo-1969.html)

    Another film from 1969, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, featured George Lazenby as the iconic James Bond and Telly Savalas as his arch-enemy, Ernst Stavro Blofeld. The plot features Bond going undercover as a genealogist in order to investigate Blofeld’s claims of nobility. Oddly, it also involves studying his earlobes (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Q8ch2ARXIg). Bond goes first to the College of Arms to investigate his own genealogy and is presented with a coat of arms. To the film’s credit, the College served as an advisor, and its staff presented the Bond character with an authentic coat of arms belonging to an actual Bond family. Later, dressed in a kilt and posing as genealogist Sir Hilary Bray, Bond visits Blofeld’s headquarters, where, at dinner, he is surrounded by beautiful women intent on seducing him. He announces, “I’ve never had much to do with the young ladies,” a cover that attempted to cast doubt on his sexuality. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_m4hj5fIvIg). True to form, Bond later romances various women, but his version of Sir Hilary, even if only feigned, promoted a view of genealogists as effete elitists, a campy profession that attracted only eccentrics. 

    A still from On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, 1969, featuring George Lazenby as James Bond.
    A still from On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, 1969, featuring George Lazenby as James Bond.
    (http://lifebetweenframes.blogspot.com/2012/03/on-her-majestys-secret-service.html)

    By the late 1970s, the explosion of interest brought about by Alex Haley’s novel, Roots, changed the public perception of genealogy as a pastime and transformed the image of genealogists in a way that made them more mainstream. Roots shattered the notion that genealogy was only for the blue-blooded. The image of an African American man discovering his ancestors symbolized for many that anyone could undertake such research – and that there was no social stigma in doing so. In the 1979 television mini-series, Roots: The Next Generations (a sequel to the 1977 original), Haley’s character, played by James Earl Jones, travels to Africa and unearths clues from a griot that his ancestor, Kunta Kinte, belonged to a tribe in Gambia. The discovery brings elation and emotion for the persistent genealogist: “I found you, Kunta Kinte, I found you!” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PfcpxetTHr0). Unlike Pookie or Sir Hilary, Haley was a real person who appeared frequently on talk shows in the 1970s, and he embodied a sense of normalcy that had eluded earlier caricatures of genealogists. Jones played him with a booming voice and a sensitivity that showed no sign of weakness or eccentricity.

    James Earl Jones as Alex Haley in Roots: The Next Generations, 1979



















    James Earl Jones as Alex Haley in Roots: The Next Generations, 1979
    (https://www.google.com/search?q=james+earl+jones+alex+haley&tbm)

    In spite of the success of Roots, genealogists remained scarce on the screen for the remainder of the twentieth century and into the twenty-first. The field of genealogy may have expanded, but screenwriters took little interest in creating such characters. Indeed, a whole industry of genealogical fiction blossomed in the last forty years, with genealogists as protagonists who solve mysteries, but none have made it into film. Genealogy, when it has been depicted, often assumes a magical quality. For example, when developing the complex world of the wizard Harry Potter, author J. K. Rowling created intricate genealogies for her characters extending back two centuries. Viewers are given a glimpse of an elaborate tapestry of the Black family in the 2007 film, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. The genealogy is not explored at length on screen, and none of the characters are genealogists. Nevertheless, the tapestry serves as a prop that establishes Sirius Black, Harry’s friend, as part of an old, pure-blood wizard family. Harry is amazed by the elaborate pedigree, but it serves only as a minor plot device.

    Daniel Radcliffe and the Black family genealogy in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, 2007






     





    Daniel Radcliffe and the Black family genealogy in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, 2007
    (https://anmysite.com/top/harry-potter-black-family.html)

    In the 2006 film, The Da Vinci Code, the genealogy theme is more fully developed, even though none of the characters are genealogists. Tom Hanks plays Robert Langdon, a professor of religious iconology at Harvard, who studies clues in Leonardo Da Vinci’s painting of the Last Supper to reveal the identity of the Holy Grail, which, in the film, is embodied in the character of Sophie Neveu, the last living descendant of Jesus and Mary Magdalene. Genealogical research plays an important role in the film, though little of it is actually shown on screen. Hanks’s Langdon is a robust man of action who solves historical problems, even if the ancestors being researched are famous.

    Tom Hanks as Robert Langdon in The Da Vinci Code, 2006












    Tom Hanks as Robert Langdon in The Da Vinci Code, 2006
    (https://lifeand100books.com/tag/the-davinci-code/)

    Popular television shows, such as Who Do You Think You Are, Genealogy Roadshow, and Finding Your Roots, have brought new media attention to the search for ancestors. The latter program features Harvard history professor Henry Louis Gates as the host, lending an authoritative legitimacy to researching genealogy as both a profession and pastime. To the credit of these programs, they discuss ordinary ancestors, even if they display their links to famous living people. The process of research takes place off-screen and is greatly minimized, but they do provide some insight into research methodology, even if the producers keep it to a minimum.  

    The evolution of the image of genealogists reflects the larger transformation of the genealogical field in the popular mind. Its professionalization has played a role in that change, but its democratization as a pastime of the masses has proved even more influential. Don’t expect genealogists ever to become commonplace on the silver screen even if they have shown up increasingly on television. When writers do create fictional genealogical characters, let us hope that they are complex and diverse and devoid of the stereotypes that have afflicted so many other fictional representations of similar professions. Genealogists are problem-solvers, and we can only hope that future screenwriters will see them in that light.
     

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Finding Free Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps Online - January 10, 2018

    Wednesday, Dec 27, 2017

    Make your winter errands count by combining an afternoon event from our WinterTech 2017-2018 slate with the evening Allen County Genealogical Society of Indiana meetings, the second Wednesday of each month.

    In January, WinterTech offers"Finding Free Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps Online," on Wednesday, January 10, 2018 2:30 pm – 3:30 pm, in the Discovery Center. Created to provide insurance agents information concerning the areas for which they would offer insurance coverage, the Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps are a valuable resource for historians and genealogists who wish to learn about the neighborhoods in which their ancestors lived and conducted business. Many maps have been digitized and are online at free websites, but finding these resources can be challenging. In this session, Delia Cothrun Bourne will demonstrate what the Sanborn maps can provide and techniques for locating them.

     And remember, WinterTech is offered in the afternoons of the Allen County Genealogical Society of Indiana’s monthly meeting, so stay to hear ACGSI Members will present Great Discoveries and Unique Ancestors, in Meeting Room A at 7:00 p.m.

    Melissa Tennant will finish the series with "On the Record: African American Newspapers" in February. For more information, see the WinterTech 2017-2018 brochure. To register for any of these free events, call 260-421-1225 or email Genealogy@ACPL.Info.
    SanbornBlog

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • One-on-One Consultations for January!

    Thursday, Dec 21, 2017

    Have a brick wall in your research? Would you like a greater understanding of some aspect of your research? The Genealogy Center is offering 30-minute personal research consultations with a staff member on some troublesome aspect of your research from 2PM to 4PM on Wednesday January 17, 2018 and Tuesday, January 30, 2018. Call 260-421-1225 or email Genealogy@ACPL.Info for an appointment, requesting a Consultation and providing basic information concerning the nature of your quandary. A staff member will be assigned and a time established for your consultation. Be sure to bring your research notes to your consultation.

    Space is limited, and pre-registration is required. Register today!

    The Genealogy Center, 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM

    To register, call 260-421-1225 or send us an email.
    Consultation 1

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • WinterTech for December: Using Evernote for Your Genealogical Research

    Saturday, Dec 02, 2017

    Make your winter errands count by combining an afternoon event from our WinterTech 2017-2018 slate with the evening Allen County Genealogical Society of Indiana meetings, the second Wednesday of each month.

    For December, WinterTech offers "Using Evernote for Your Genealogical Research," on Wednesday, December 13, 2017, 2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m., in the Discovery Center. Cynthia Theusch will discuss Evernote, a digital notebook that interfaces between your computer, smartphone, and tablet. She will show you how to enhance your notes with links, checklists, tables, attachments, and audio recordings. Even handwritten notes are searchable. So come and learn how Evernote can help you in all areas of your family history research. And remember, WinterTech is offered in the afternoons of the Allen County Genealogical Society of Indiana’s monthly meeting, so stay to hear Curt Witcher discuss “The Genealogy Center Online,” in Meeting Room A at 7:00 p.m.

    Delia Bourne will continue the WinterTech series in January with "Finding Free Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps Online" and Melissa Tennant will finish the series with "On the Record: African American Newspapers" in February. For more information, see the WinterTech 2017-2018 brochure. To register for any of these free events, call 260-421-1225 or email Genealogy@ACPL.Info.
    EvernoteBlog

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • One-on-One Consultations for December!

    Wednesday, Nov 08, 2017

    Have a brick wall in your research? Would you like a greater understanding of some aspect of your research? The Genealogy Center is offering 30-minute personal research consultations with a staff member on some troublesome aspect of your research from 2PM to 4PM on Wednesday December 6, 2017 and Tuesday, December 12, 2017. Call 260-421-1225 or email Genealogy@ACPL.Info for an appointment, requesting a Consultation and providing basic information concerning the nature of your quandary. A staff member will be assigned and a time established for your consultation. Be sure to bring your research notes to your consultation.

    Space is limited, and pre-registration is required. Register today!

    The Genealogy Center, 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM

    To register, call 260-421-1225 or send us an email.
    Consultation 1

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Make Time for WinterTech!

    Wednesday, Nov 01, 2017

    As the cold months start here in Indiana, and any journey from home may entail overcoats, snow tires and ice scrapers, we tend to make every outing count, so for the winter months, we schedule our programs for the same day as the Allen County Genealogical Society of Indiana meetings, the second Wednesday of each month. Join us this winter, and keep warm by the glow of your computer!

    WinterTech 2017-2018
    sessions include:

    Using Google Earth for Genealogy
    Wednesday, November 8, 2017 – 2:30 pm – Discovery Center – John Beatty
    Google Earth is the ultimate program for viewing satellite images for places all around the world. This session will examine ways family historians can use Google Earth. It will show some of the ways to customize images, overlay them with historical maps, and use them for illustrating family histories or conducting land research.

    Using Evernote for Your Genealogical Research
    Wednesday, December 13, 2017 – 2:30 pm – Discovery Center – Cynthia Theusch
    Evernote is a digital notebook that interfaces between your computer, smartphone, and tablet. Enhance your notes with links, checklists, tables, attachments, and audio recordings. Even handwritten notes are searchable. Learn how Evernote can help you in all areas of your family history research.

    Finding Free Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps Online
    Wednesday, January 10, 2018 – 2:30 pm – Discovery Center – Delia Cothrun Bourne
    Created to provide insurance agents information concerning the areas for which they would offer fire insurance coverage, the Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps are a valuable resource for historians and genealogists who wish to learn about the neighborhoods in which their ancestors lived and conducted business. Many maps have been digitized and are online at free websites, but finding these resources can be challenging. This session will demonstrate what the Sanborn maps can provide and techniques for locating them.

    On the Record: African American Newspapers
    Wednesday, February 14, 2018 – 2:30 pm – Discovery Center – Melissa Tennant
    Since the “Freedom’s Journal” was first published in 1827, local and regional African American newspapers have been documenting the lives, experiences and histories of African Americans. In this session, we will explore the “African American Historical Newspapers” and “Accessible Archives African American Newspapers” digital databases and discover additional resources for locating these informative records.

    To register for any of these free events, call 260-421-1225 or email Genealogy@ACPL.Info.
    WinterTechBlog

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • One-on-One Consultations for November 2017

    Saturday, Oct 28, 2017

    Have a brick wall in your research? Would you like a greater understanding of some aspect of your research? The Genealogy Center is offering 30-minute personal research consultations with a staff member on some troublesome aspect of your research from 2PM to 4PM on Monday, November 27, 2017 and Thursday, November 30, 2017. Call 260-421-1225 or email Genealogy@ACPL.Info for an appointment, requesting a Consultation and providing basic information concerning the nature of your quandary. A staff member will be assigned and a time established for your consultation. Be sure to bring your research notes to your consultation.

    Space is limited, and pre-registration is required. Register today!

    The Genealogy Center, 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM

    To register, call 260-421-1225 or send us an email.
    Consultation 1

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Dr. Carla Peterson to Speak on November 1, 2017

    Thursday, Oct 26, 2017

    Dr. Carla L. Peterson of the University of Maryland will deliver "Struggling for Racial Equality: African American Literary and Political Activism in the Antebellum North," on Wednesday, November 1, 2017 at 101 Neff Hall, Indiana University-Purdue University campus, Fort Wayne, at 7:00 PM.  Dr. Carla L. Peterson, Professor Emerita at the University of Maryland, College Park, is an expert in nineteenth-century African American literature, culture, and history. A Guggenheim fellow, Dr. Peterson counts among her numerous scholarly publications the books Black Gotham: A Family History of African Americans in Nineteenth-Century New York City (Yale University Press, 2011) and Doers of the World: African American Women Speakers & Writers in  the North (1830-1880) (Oxford University Press, 1995). Sponsored by the Indiana University Consortium for the Study of Religion, Ethics and Society.
    Peterson

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Family History Month 2017 - Soldiers, DNA, Photos & Mortuaries

    Tuesday, Oct 24, 2017

    Alas! Family History Month 2017 is almost history! But there’s still a few good opportunities for fun and learning:

    Saturday, October 28, 2017 – 10:00 AM – Discovery Center
    Why Should I Look at Revolutionary War Pension Records? – Melissa Tennant
    Pension records are a valuable source for learning more about your Revolutionary War ancestor. Understand Revolutionary War pension records better by discovering how to access these files and what information is available in the documents.

    Sunday, October 29, 2017 – 1:00 PM – Discovery Center
    DNA Results: What Does Your Ethnic Pie Chart Mean? – Sara Allen
    Television commercials advertise that a DNA test can help determine your ethnicity, but what does your ethnic pie chart result really tell you? This session will explain how each of the major DNA testing companies calculates your ethnic estimate and how to interpret the results.
    Oct image
    Monday, October 30, 2017 – 6:30 PM – Discovery Center
    Who, What, Where? How to Look at, Analyze & Organize Your Photographs – Kay Spears
    Discover how to examine photographs with an eye to identifying time period and location; annotate images with family stories and facts; and organize your digital treasures.

    Tuesday, October 31, 2017 – 2:30 PM– Discovery Center
    Death Business: Searching Funeral Home Collections – Melissa Tennant
    Utilizing the funeral home collections available at The Genealogy Center, this session will explore funeral home records as genealogical sources for discovering ancestors


    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Fmily History Month Week 4: Nancy Hanks, Homeschoolers & Midnight Madness!

    Tuesday, Oct 17, 2017

    Week 4 of Family History Month 2017 is right around the corner! Mark your calendars for:

    Sunday, October 22, 2017 – 2:00 PM – Meeting Room A
    The Search for Nancy Hanks: A Historical Wild Goose Chase, Mitochondrial DNA, and the Maternal Ancestry of Nancy Hanks Lincoln - Richard Hileman
    Abraham Lincoln was conspicuously silent about the family of his mother, Nancy Hanks. Her ancestry has been the subject of intense interest and has been hotly contested. In 1909, false names for her parents were carved into the granite of the Lincoln Birthplace Memorial. The most recent biographies of Lincoln still give mistaken accounts of her ancestry. The Nancy Hanks Lincoln mtDNA Study and new historical evidence reveal the surprising truth Lincoln concealed about his mother's family and ancestry. Richard Hileman, a retired trial lawyer and avocational genealogist, will give this presentation sponsored by the Friends of the Allen County Public Library.

    Monday, October 23, 2017 – 6:30 PM – Discovery Center
    Using Vital Records & Their Substitutes – Delia Cothrun Bourne
    Vital records are the Holy Grail of genealogical sources. However, birth and death records were not commonly recorded until the 20th Century, and even the availability of marriage records depends on the locale and culture. This presentation will explain what can be found in a vital record and what other sources may be used when the official record is missing.

    Tuesday, October 24, 2017 – 6:30 PM – Discovery Center
    Evaluating Published Genealogies and Family Histories – John Beatty
    When reading a family history, how do you know whether the information it contains is valid? This presentation will offer some critical tools for evaluating published genealogies and family histories, providing a framework for testing the information they contain against other sources.

    Wednesday, October 25, 2017 – 6:30 PM – Discovery Center
    Using FamilySearch for Your Family History – Melissa Tennant
    Learn the search techniques that can maximize your FamilySearch.org experience and discover the millions of records available on this free website.

    Thursday, October 26, 2017 – 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM – Discovery Center & The Genealogy Center
    Family History Morning for Homeschoolers – Allison DePrey Singleton
    Many parents want their children to be interested in their families’ histories, but fostering that interest may be a challenge. The Genealogy Center can engage parents and children alike with a Family History Morning. It is a program with one classroom-style lesson and guided research time to explore the collection. Each child will receive a worksheet to complete, tailored to his or her age, experience, and grade level.

    9:00 AM – 9:10 AM – Arrival, Getting to the Discovery Center – 2nd Floor Main Library, The Genealogy Center
    9:10 AM – 10:30 AM – Beginning Genealogy Program: Online and Printed Sources – Discovery Center
    10:30 AM – 10:40 AM – Break
    10:40 AM – 11:50 AM – Individual research with assistance from librarians
    11:50 AM – 12:00 PM – Sharing coolest discoveries and prizes

    HomeschoolerBlog2017 
    Friday, October 27, 2017 – 6:00 PM – 12:00 Midnight – Discovery Center & The  Genealogy Center
    Midnight Madness Extended Research Hours
    Ever wished to be locked in the library at night with all of the goodies at your fingertips? Well, stay up late with The Genealogy Center staff for extra research time and a little bit of learning!
    6:30 PM – Be Prepared! – Delia Cothrun Bourne
    After years spent on your family history, have you considered what will become of your research after you can no longer continue? Get some simple ideas for organizing your material for a future donation.
    7:30 PM – What’s in the Collection? Tour and Introduction to The Genealogy Center Collection – Allison DePrey Singleton
    Join us on a brief tour of The Genealogy Center where you will be introduced to our massive physical collection. This tour will give you a better idea of where to look for that fantastic book you located in our catalog. *Please be prepared to stand and walk for half an hour.
    8:30 PM – Who Went Where and Did What: A Look at Directories – Curt Witcher
    This presentation will highlight various directories in The Genealogy Center collection and the types of data one may find.

    Midnight-Madness

    Saturday, October 28, 2017 – 10:00 AM – Discovery Center
    Why Should I Look at Revolutionary War Pension Records? – Melissa Tennant
    Pension records are a valuable source for learning more about your Revolutionary War ancestor. Understand Revolutionary War pension records better by discovering how to access these files and what information is available in the documents.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • What's Next In Family History Month 2017?

    Wednesday, Oct 11, 2017

    It’s time to plan for Week 3 of Family History Month 2017! Mark your calendars for:

    Sunday, October 15, 2017 – 1:00 PM – Discovery Center
    Genealogical Research in Colonial New England – John Beatty
    The New England states hold some of the earliest and most complete records of any American region. Many Americans can trace their ancestors to the Mayflower or to other early immigrant ships. This presentation will feature numerous records available, both in print and online, that will help you explore the history of this area.

    Monday, October 16, 2016 – 6:30 PM – Computer Classroom
    GIMP - GNU Image Manipulation Program, Part 2 – Kay Spears
    Explore a FREE option to Adobe Photoshop. We will look at GIMP and the tools which may be used to change, restore, and touch up your old photographs. First session was on Monday, October 9, 2017. There will be hands-on time, so bring a USB drive containing your photos and be prepared to have some fun.

    Tuesday, October 17, 2017 – 6:30 PM – Discovery Center
    Migration Routes & Trails Across America – Delia Cothrun Bourne
    Learn the routes of your roots—where your ancestors traveled and how they got there! This presentation will discuss major migration trails and sources to learn more about them.

    Wednesday, October 18, 2017 – 7:00 PM – Meeting Room B
    Computer Interest Group Meeting – Allen County Genealogical Society of Indiana
    Attend this meeting to discuss your technological discoveries and issues.

    Thursday, October 19, 2017 – 6:30 PM – Discovery Center
    Explore the Life of a Parent or Grandparent – Sara Allen
    This session will include a case study on how to research the life of a person who was alive in the early twentieth century, such as a parent or grandparent. We will use timelines and checklists, as well as delve into how to use online databases, print materials, and records in archives and court houses to complete the project.

    Friday, October 20, 2017 – 2:30 PM – Discovery Center
    Digitization in The Genealogy Center – Cynthia Theusch
    Take a virtual tour of the equipment in The Genealogy Center that one may use to scan documents. Five different types of machines will be featured.

    Saturday, October 21, 2017 – Anytime from 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM – The Genealogy Center
    Genealogy Scavenger Hunt: Family Fun in The Genealogy Center – Allison DePrey Singleton
    Scavenger Hunt
    Have you heard of The Genealogy Center but haven’t had the chance to check it out? This is your chance to introduce you and your family to what The Genealogy Center has to offer in a fun and unique way. The scavenger hunt will show you different aspects of the Center while teaching how to get started in family history research. You are welcome to complete the scavenger hunt anytime from 10:00 AM until 5:00 PM. There are prizes for completing the hunt.

    Saturday, October 21, 2017 – 10:00 AM – Discovery Center
    Finding Johnny Reb: Researching Your Confederate Soldier – Delia Cothrun Bourne
    Locating information on a Confederate soldier can be difficult, but not impossible. Explore some of the standard and not so standard sources that are available to assist in your search.


    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Family History Month Continues!

    Thursday, Oct 05, 2017

     Week two of Family History Month 2017 has almost arrived and it’s time to mark your calendars for:

    Sunday, October 8, 2017 – 1:00 PM – Discovery Center
    Immigration Process Before Entering in the United States – Cynthia Theusch
    Participants will learn what their ancestors experienced at Castle Garden, and later Ellis Island, before being allowed into the United States. This part of the immigration experience can shed new light on our ancestors’ lives.

    Monday, October 9, 2017 – 6:30 PM – Computer Classroom
    GIMP - GNU Image Manipulation Program, Part 1 – Kay Spears
    Explore a FREE option to Adobe Photoshop. We will look at GIMP and the tools which may be used to change, restore, and touch up your old photographs. The second session will be on Monday, October 16, 2017. There will be hands-on time; so bring your photos and be prepared to have some fun.

    Tuesday, October 10, 2017 – 6:30 PM – Discover Center
    A Rare and Valuable Gem: PERSI – Melissa Tennant
    This presentation will highlight where one can find the “Periodical Source Index” (PERSI), the most comprehensive subject index to genealogical periodicals. Discover the terrific indexing and images available at the site, how to get copies of articles cited in the periodical index, and the dramatic things that are happening with PERSI at FindMyPast.

    Wednesday, October 11, 2017 – 7:00 PM – Meeting Room A
    Resources for Researchers: Today and Tomorrow – Curt Witcher
    Hear about new materials—print and virtual—in The Genealogy Center as well as shifting strategies for enhancing access to family and local history resources wherever they may be. The focus will be knowing about the resources available and how to access them.

    Thursday, October 12, 2017 – 6:30 PM – Discovery Center
    Finding Pre-1850 Era Ancestors – Sara Allen
    We know how challenging it can be to trace pre-1850 ancestors due to the lack of data in the census and the scarcity of sources identifying women and children during this time frame.  This session will explain cluster research and the use of sources such as tax records, different census records, and probate records to find these elusive ancestors.  
    Speakeasies
    Friday, October 13, 2017, 7:00PM – 9:00 PM – HT2, 10212 Chestnut Plaza Drive, Fort Wayne, IN 46814.
    Speakeasies, Juice Joints, and Blind Pigs: Prohibition History and YOU! – Allison DePrey Singleton
    How did Prohibition affect producers of alcohol, drinking establishments, and the Average Joe who wanted a cocktail?  Learn about the history of Prohibition, how it affected Hoosier producers and establishments, and sample a few period appropriate cocktails made from better stuff than Bathtub Gin!  Grab your fedora and feather boa, and dress the part to learn, have some giggle water, and be over the moon. Register for this event at Eventbrite.

    Saturday, October 14, 2017 – 9:30 AM – 4:00 PM – Discovery Center
    Beginner’s Day – Delia Cothrun Bourne
       9:30 AM – 10:30 AM – Beginning Your Family History Exploration
    Join us as we discuss beginning steps and sources, such as census, vital records, and more!
       11:00 AM – 12:00 PM – Continuing Your Family History Exploration
    Explore more useful sources from the court house, as well as military records and passenger lists. Learn the importance of documenting what you find and how to verify information.
        1:30 PM – 2:30 PM – Introduction to Ancestry & Family Search
    The largest subscription database and the largest free database! Discover the basics of using these two great sources for family history research!
       3:00 PM – 4:00 PM – Other Online Sources
    Now that you have been introduced to the big online sites, meet some of the other subscription sites The Genealogy Center offers, as well as our own free databases!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Family History Begins Sunday, October 1st!

    Thursday, Sep 28, 2017

    The Genealogy Center has made Family History Month one of the highlights of the year for more than a decade, and 2017 continues this tradition with a slate of exciting events that will expand your knowledge base and pique your interest. Here's an overview of the first week:

    Sunday, October 1, 2017, 2:00 PM, Discovery Center
    An Afternoon of Storytelling – Curt Witcher & Aaron Smith
    Spend an afternoon enjoying a variety of stories. Hear firsthand the power of story and how we can help each other tell the stories of our lives. It may just inspire you to tell your stories!
     
    Monday, October 2, 2017, 6:30 PM, Discovery Center
    Beginning Genealogy in the 21st Century – Delia Cothrun Bourne
    Learn the importance of organizing information you already know and learn how the data in records helps make a more complete picture of your family. Also explored in this session will be the most important online sources – free and subscription – available in The Genealogy Center.
     
    Tuesday, October 3, 2017, 6:30 PM, Discovery Center
    Pennsylvania Genealogy: Doing Research in the Keystone State – John Beatty
    Pennsylvania is an important state for genealogical research. Many families entered through Philadelphia and lived in the outlying counties before migrating to other colonies and states. This introductory-level presentation explores the basic digital and published sources for Pennsylvania, including vital records, religious congregational records, land, military, tax, and probate records, and secondary sources.

    Wednesday, October 4, 2017, 6:30 PM, Discovery Center
    Top 10 Historical Records Collections on Ancestry.com – Melissa Tennant
    This presentation will highlight the Historical Records collections available on Ancestry.com. Advice on how to effectively use the largest genealogical website will benefit your efforts to find the most information about your ancestors.

    Thursday, October 5, 2017, 6:30 PM, Discovery Center
    DNA Interest Group Meeting – Sara Allen
    Have you done a DNA test for genealogical purposes? Do you completely understand the results you received? Do you need advice in interpreting your results? Are you interested and wonder what the best test is for you? Come to the DNA & Genealogy Interest Group Meeting to share and learn from each other!

    Friday, October 6, 2017, 2:00 PM, Discovery Center
    Repeating Recipes: Food and Family History – Allison DePrey Singleton
    Food can be directly related to remembrance. An old family recipe can illicit memories of family gatherings, holidays, and/or a particular family member. This presentation will explore why family recipes are important to family history and how to preserve them for future generations.

    Saturday, October 7, 2017, 9:15 AM – 4:00 PM, Meeting Rooms A, B, C
    A Day with CeCe Moore
    See https://www.acgsi.org/event.php for more information and to register.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Closed for the Day: Friday, September 29, 2017

    Saturday, Sep 23, 2017

    The Genealogy Center, as all Allen County Public locations, will be closed all day Friday, September 25, 2017 for Staff Development Day. We will reopen for regular hours on Saturday, September 30th, at 9 AM.
    Untitled

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Help Us Plan for the Future!

    Tuesday, Sep 05, 2017

    As the Allen County Public Library undergoes the strategic planning process, we are beginning to seek out information. We will be asking a lot of questions to people and organizations who use our libraries and services, as well as those who don’t. We are also asking for your feedback on matters about the larger community that we serve.  We want to know what kind of community you want to live in.

    The Genealogy Center's community is much larger than the boundaries of Allen County, but we need the input of our long-distance community also. Please take a few minutes today to take the survey, and let us know your thoughts! The survey closes September 17, 2017, so take this opportunity now!
    Onlinesurvey004

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • One-on-One Consultations for September 2017

    Friday, Aug 18, 2017

    Have a brick wall in your research? Would you like a greater understanding of some aspect of your research? The Genealogy Center is offering 30-minute personal research consultations with a staff member on some troublesome aspect of your research from 2PM to 4PM on Tuesday, September 12, 2017 and Wednesday, September 13, 2017. Call 260-421-1225 or email Genealogy@ACPL.Info for an appointment, requesting a Consultation and providing basic information concerning the nature of your quandary. A staff member will be assigned and a time established for your consultation. Be sure to bring your research notes to your consultation.

    Space is limited, and pre-registration is required. Register today!

    The Genealogy Center, 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM

    To register, call 260-421-1225 or send us an email.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • A Tintype by Any Other Name – Is Still a Tintype.

    Monday, Aug 14, 2017

    by Kay

    Ah, the lowly tintype.
    While they may not be as rare as an ambrotype or as dynamic as a daguerreotype, their importance to the history of photography cannot be ignored. Why? The tintype was an affordable method of recording history, and it opened up vistas in the United States like no other photography method before. You may know the term tintype by other names and there is a reason for that. Maybe you have heard them referred to as melainotypes or ferrotypes. Well, either name is ok to use. Why all the different names? In 1852 Adolphe Alexander Martin invented the tintype, but he didn’t patent it. Early photography was continually growing and reinventing itself. In 1854, a chemistry professor from Kenyon College in Ohio, Hamilton Smith, was working with a process he called melainotype – he patented that process in 1856. Around the same time a rival manufacturer, Victor Griswold, came up with a similar product which he had named ferrotype. When Griswold took out his patent in the U.S, he used the name tintype. In the United Kingdom it was still the ferrotype.

    The tintype was a variation of the ambrotype, but instead of a glass plate, a thin sheet of iron (ferro) was used. This inexpensive sheet of iron proved to be less fragile than either the ambrotype or daguerreotype.

    Now, let’s take a look at some of our tintypes. And, just so you know, I have no idea who any of the people are in the images. The most we can hope for is to establish approximate dates for our tintypes. Before we begin our examination of our tintypes, remember that we have the patent date of 1856 as a starting point. The height of their popularity was between 1860 and 1870, but tintypes continued to be used long after the 1880s.

    The first tintype we are looking at is an earlier one and I’m basing that on two things: the clothing the people are wearing and the fact that the tintype is in a metal frame. When tintypes were first produced, they were encased in frames just like an ambroytype or daguerreotype. Later on these frames became paper. There were even special tintype albums created for inserting the photograph. The couple in this photograph are wearing clothing which can be dated between 1863 and 1865. She is wearing a dress with an obvious hoop skirt, her sleeves are narrow at the shoulders and fuller as it reaches her wrist. Her hair is parted down the middle and she is wearing some sort of headdress. She may have curls on the back of her head or that could be part of a headdress, it’s too dark to tell. The man is wearing a long jacket which was popular during the Civil War. Combining the clothing with the frame of the tintype leaves me to conclude this was taken between 1863 and 1865.



    The next photograph is of a woman and a baby. As you can tell this photograph has been damaged over time. The glass was broken and there was some kind of grunge covering the frame. After removing the glass, it became obvious how much the glass protected the image. The left side of the image, which had been covered by glass, remained in pretty good shape. There is the beginning of corrosion where the image was exposed. This is also an early tintype. Based on what the woman is wearing – the bonnet, lace cap, and bell shaped sleeves – I would say this image was taken between 1863 and 1865.

    The next two photographs I have grouped together, however I’m only guessing that they belong together. The reasons I believe they are a couple is because of the backdrop, the chair and the carpet are the same. I’m dating the photographs between 1883 and 1884. Those dates don’t allow for much wiggle room, but I’m basing my guess on the woman and her amazing bustle. For some inexplicable reason, the bustle was popular for a long time, from approximately 1869 to 1890. All through that time the bustle was constantly changing and it can be categorized into the early, middle, and late bustle periods. If you have a woman who is wearing a bustle in one of your photographs, you can come awfully close to pinning down a date. Of course, this all depends on how current her fashion sense was. She could always be lagging ten years behind current fashion styles. There are numerous fashion plate books which can be used as references, Godey, Journal des Demoiselles, and Revue de La Mode. Our woman’s dress has a high collar, fitted bodice, and a bustle which is high in the back. The sleeves of her dress do not have the little puff at the shoulder which became popular in the late 1880s and eventually morphed into mutton sleeves. While her hair isn’t as elaborately coiffed as was popular during this period, her bangs are frizzed. Men are a little harder to place in a time period based on their clothing. But I believe this man could fit into the 1883-84 time period

    Now for some interesting images. The first one is of a man and woman and it appears to have been taken outside, not in front of a fake backdrop. The couple are leaning against a fallen tree. He has a bowler hat, which was popular in the 1880s. He also is wearing a tie, not a bowtie and the knot in the tie is small. She has a hat with giant feathers. Her bodice is fitted and she appears to be sitting on her bustle. I’m going to place this image sometime between 1880 and 1884, but because the top of her shoulders do not have any puff, I’m not placing it later. I’m not sure why this image was cut into its shape. Was there someone else in the photograph they cut out or did they have some kind of odd shaped frame? I guess we will never know.

    The next interesting image is of a baby. The reason I picked this image is because when you look at old photos don’t take everything at face value. Look closely at the cloth behind the baby – do you see the bottom of a dress? Now look at the top – do you see the shoulders peaking from behind the dark cloth. I am assuming that is the mother standing behind the baby holding it up. Rather innovative.

    Let’s talk a little about the traveling photographer. Once it was discovered that the tintype process was so much easier than the others, the business of the traveling photographer appeared. These people traveled the country, over land and water taking numerous photographs of people and the scenery. Some even traveled the big rivers and even had large houseboats with all the conveniences of a studio. Often they were called Professors. These photographers could reach people who were not able to visit cities where photography studios were available. This brings me to our next group of photos.

    When going through the photographs I started to notice some similarities. Look at these three photographs – notice anyone familiar? Yes, the guy with the mustache and cocky hat is in all three photographs. And, I might add, with different women. Could mean nothing, they could be related – who knows. These three photographs along with a number of others all have the same feel about them. I suspect they were all taken by a traveling photographer, maybe at a fair. Notice in the one photograph our mustache man is seated in a fringe chair. Well, that fringed chair was a widely used chair with a sliding back and could be purchased for $15.00. It was widely used until around the late 1870s when it lost its popularity, however traveling photographers still used it. Those bustles the different women are wearing lead me to think these photos were taken between 1883 and 1885. And, the mystery of who the man with the mustache is will continue on.

    Now on to the last image. And, who said our ancestors didn’t have a sense of humor. I know you’ve seen something similar at fairs and exhibits that are still around today. You stick your head into a hole behind a bad painting of a guy lifting weights, take the photo and everyone has a laugh. Well, I bet there are some interesting things you may not know about this “drop” cloth. There is a patent. Yes, someone took out a patent for the "Photo-caricature backgrounds." That someone was a man by the name of Cassius Coolidge, who also went by the name Kassius Koolidge and signed some of his art works “Kash.” The patent number is 149,724 and it’s a page long. Included with the patent is an illustration which shows just how to go about putting someone's head through a hole. The interesting thing about the patent is that in the sketch is a drawing of some kind of little animal, probably a dog. When Mr. Coolidge presented his patent, he also presented 158 drawings which were to be used and I am guessing that the backdrop in our photo is one of those. There is a patent number of 23 on our photo and a date of April 14, 1874, which is when Mr. Coolidge’s patent was granted. There is also that strange little dog or cat in this image. I have seen several tintypes with comic backgrounds and a number of them have that strange will animal in them. I suspect that the ones which have that particular little animal in them were Coolidge’s design. I am assuming a photographer would have to purchase copies of Coolidge's backdrops. I’m guessing that this photograph was taken between 1875 and 1890. Oh by the way, you may have seen some other famous pieces of art created by Cassius Coolidge – the Dogs Playing Poker series. You just never know what you’re going to find when you look at old photos.

    Sources used:
    Photographs Archival Care and Management by Mary Lynn Ritzenthaler and Fiane Vogt-O’Connor
    The American Tintype by Floyd Rinhart, Marion Rinhart & Robert W. Wagner

    Hairstyles, 1840-1900 by Maureen A. Taylor
    Bonnets and Hats, 1840-1900 by Maureen A. Taylor
    More Dating Old Photographs, 1840-1929 by Maureen A. Taylor
    Godey, Journal des Demoiselles and Revue de La Mode fashion plates
    C.M. Coolidge, Process of Taking Photographic Pictures patent No. 149,724
    George Eastman Museum, https://eastman.org/
    PhotoTree, http://www.phototree.com/

     

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • A Grave Matter in Indiana

    Thursday, Jul 27, 2017

    Cemeteries tell us much about who came before us. The size, shape and documentation vary by religious groups, time period, and location, but all cemeteries are important outdoor museums. Jeannie Regan-Dinius, Director of Special Initiatives for the Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology, will discuss the state of cemeteries in Indiana, what is being done at various levels to protect and restore them, and what we can do to help. Join us for this informative program on Saturday, August 26, 2017, at 10:00AM in the Discovery Center!

    For more information, see the brochure.

    To register for this free event, call 260-417-5462, or send an email.

     

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • One-on-One Consultations for August 2017

    Sunday, Jul 16, 2017

    Have a brick wall in your research? Would you like a greater understanding of some aspect of your research? The Genealogy Center is offering 30-minute personal research consultations with a staff member on some troublesome aspect of your research from 2PM to 4PM on Wednesday, August 16, 2017 and Tuesday, August 22, 2017. Call 260-421-1225 or email Genealogy@ACPL.Info for an appointment, requesting a Consultation and providing basic information concerning the nature of your quandary. A staff member will be assigned and a time established for your consultation. Be sure to bring your research notes to your consultation.

    Space is limited, and pre-registration is required. Register today!

    The Genealogy Center, 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM

    To register, call 260-421-1225 or send us an email.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center