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  • New Free Allen County Databases

    Friday, Dec 13, 2019

    There are a few new free databases for those searching in Fort Wayne and Allen County!

    First up is the July 1954 edition of Fort Wayne’s Civic Clubs, Trade Associations, Fraternal Organizations, published by the Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce. This booklet provides selected officers and contact information for more than 90 clubs and associations in Allen County, including American Legion Posts, the Chicago Motor Club, Fort Wayne Coal Dealers, Junior Achievement of Fort Wayne, Newcomers Club and the Oldster Newsboys Club. Election months are also noted.

    We also have the 1995-1999 General Electric Partizan Scrapbook, which includes photos of members at meetings, obituaries and funeral memorial cards for members, a history of the organization and other memorabilia, and the January 1996 Report to Mayor Paul Helmke from the Old Fort Collaborative Board of Directors.            

    Stop! Look! Listen! Read a Letter to the Nickel Plate Railroad Company was a 1944 publication by the Fort Wayne Optimist Club demanding the rerouting of the Nickle Plate Tracks through Fort Wayne that claimed that crossings were blocked for 90 minutes during 12 hours each day. 

    We’ve added three sets of Monroe Township School Records including the Monroe Township School Register, 1923-1925, Teacher’s Daily Register, 1869-1880, and Trustees School Record, 1866-1880.

    Two Allen County Land Title Abstracts have been added, the Edgemont Addition, Lot 9 and Timberly Place SD, Lot 3.

    And last, but certainly not least, more memorial cards have been added to the African/African American Historical Society’s Hana L. Stith Collection which now has more than 4000 entries! Great collection and a vast amount of work! Thank you!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • New Free Allen County Resources Online!

    Saturday, Jan 26, 2019

    There are some great new items in our Allen County Resources page, touching on many aspects of life in Allen County, such as schools, sports, religion, government and property, starting with the Fort Wayne Roundball, 1965-66, the first annual basketball preview for the county (see below). Included are photos and rosters for the various high school teams and includes photos of the cheerleaders and advertisements. Sticking with sports, we have Zollner Pistons: 1940-1957 From YMCA to NBA--The Rise and Demise of the Zollner Pistons, which contains information about Fred Zollner, team rosters, All-Stars, and a year-by-year history.

    We also have a few new General Electric Company materials, such as Elex Club scrapbooks for 1953-53, 1953, 1954-1955, 1954-1955 #2, 1955-1956, 1978-1984, a Pen-EL Scrapbook, GE Elex Partizan Scrapbook, 1952-1960 and the GE Elex Quintus Scrapbook, 1978-1983.

    Some new church records now grace our pages, such as Allen County Methodist Church Records for Arcola 1914-2015, Hoagland 1892-1921, and the Sheldon Circuit of the Methodist Episcopal Church, 1879-1891. There is a Faith United Church of Christ 25th Anniversary booklet, 1968-1993, complete with photographs, a booklet for the Golden Jubilee Honoring the Rt. Rev. Msgr. Charles H. Thiele, 1888-1938, St. Peter Church, and a booklet for the St. Peter’s Catholic Church, Diamond Jubilee, 1872-1947.

    Dutch Ridge Remembered--1900, Cedar Creek, Allen County, Indiana recalls the community on Old Auburn Road, just south of the DeKalb County line, and has many families noted and a great map (see below), and Community Development Photos include a number of historic houses arranged by district.
    Dutch Ridge

    You can examine the Park Master Plan Phase I for Fort Wayne, part of the Parks and Recreation section of the Community Development Library, 1974-2002, and see the
    Fort Wayne Board of Park Commissioners Annual Reports for 1925 through 1932.
    And there is the Pleasant Township Road Tax Lists, 1880, and in Fort Wayne City Documents, you can find the Fort Wayne City Inaugural Ceremony, 1960, and Fort Wayne Police Department the 1990 annual report.

    A very useful addition is the Aboite Township School Enumeration, 1866-1895, and we also have the Aboite Township School Trustees Records, 1867-1893, Allen County, Indiana, as well as additional Fort Wayne Public Schools and Public Library directories for 1929-1930, 1933-1934 and 1950-1951.

    We have club records for Morning Star 346, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Theta Upsilon Lambda Chapter, Fort Wayne, 2016, and Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite, Fall Reunion 1928, Valley of Fort Wayne.

    We have Updated Abstracts of Title (Williams Addition), Bercot Addition, Lot 20, Ewing Addition, Lots 5 and 10, and South Wood Park Addition, Lot 83.

    And finally, we have updated the Fort Wayne/Allen County Obituaries Index, which brings the total number of indexed obituaries to 11, 306 and the 2017 Lindenwood burials.

    Anyone researching Fort Wayne and Allen County needs to check out these great sources!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Using Indiana Township Trustee Records

    Wednesday, Dec 26, 2018

    by John

    The smallest level of local government administration in Indiana is the Township Trustee. An elected office since the nineteenth century, the trustee originally exercised responsibility for erecting schoolhouses, employing teachers, building roads, digging ditches, holding elections, maintaining cemeteries, and distributing relief for the poor. They kept a variety of record books in which they recorded minutes of meetings and a variety of other acts that pertained to their official duties. Often these books are filled with names of local residents in a variety of contexts.

    Genealogists today face a variety of challenges in locating township records. In some cases, these volumes may still be in the custody of a trustee, but that is in no way a certainty and the thread of custody may have gotten lost over time. Deemed unimportant, some records have doubtless been lost over the years or destroyed. Conversely, these volumes may be stored in attics, barns, or other locations where former trustees once resided. In the 1980s, the Genealogy Center received a number of records from Jackson Township, Allen County, which a researcher discovered stored in a chicken coop. Genealogists who take the time to examine these township trustee records may find their efforts rewarded with information not found anywhere else. Particularly valuable are lists of local residents who sent their children to school in a given year or the names of students, serving as a kind of census substitute for years when there are no federal census schedules.

    The Genealogy Center recently digitized several record books originally held by the Aboite Township, Allen County, Trustee. They include:

    School Enumeration Records, 1866-1895 
    School Trustees Records, 1866-1893 

    John's Blog Teachers employed

    Going through the records one sees such familiar names as William Hamilton and Thomas Covington, for who West Hamilton and Covington roads are named, as well as lists of all of the parents or guardians who sent children to school.

    What exists for some of Allen County’s other townships? The Jackson Township records, all recovered from the chicken coop, are the most extensive and have either been restored or microfilmed. They include ditch fund records, road supervision records, miscellaneous school reports (1879-1909), school enumerations, cash books, and poor fund claims. Among the more unusual is a so-called “Sheep Record,” in which the owners of sheep, fowl, hogs, and other livestock made claims for those killed or maimed by dogs between 1928 and 1979. Check the library catalog under “Jackson Township Allen County” for a list of the variety of books for this township.

    Other townships have turned in fewer records, but we are unable to say other records are not now extant. A single volume from Lake Township, Allen County, 1842-1846, GC 977.201 AL5La, contains trustee meeting minutes that followed the creation of the township. The pages record the outcomes of local elections and the names of voters as well as constable reports, fee assessments, and records of oaths for such offices as fence viewer and road supervisor. Two original schoolhouse grade books, 1888-1889, GC 977.201 AL5sr, and 1901-1903, GC 977.201 AL5sra, contain records of pupils, the schools they attended, their teachers, and the grades they received.

    The Trustees’ School Record of Monroe Township, Allen County, 1866-1880, 977.201 AL5mou, contains lists of names to whom the trustee disbursed school funds, mostly for the construction of schoolhouses or the purchase of school land. A record book from a single school, the Stephenson School District 1 at Hoffman and Morgan roads, 1923-1925, GC 977.201 AL5mot, records a list of the pupils and their attendance. There is also a Voting Record and Expense Accounts volume, 1858-1872, GC 977.201 AL5monv, for Monroe Township, including a complete list of voters at the poll on 2 April 1860 and the tally of votes for various offices.

    Several volumes from Washington Township, Allen County, are extant, including School Attendance Records, 1904-1907, GC 977.201 AL5scht; the Register of the District 5 School, 1910-1912, GC 977.201 AL5schr; and another School Register, 1919-1925, GC 977.201 AL5schu. Each book is filled with the names of local pupils, their teachers, and grades. On microfilm there is an Enumeration of White and Colored Males over the Age of 21, dated 1901, which serves as a census substitute.

    Finally, a single volume of records from Perry Township School District 1, 1867-1904, GC 977.201 AL5perr, contains minutes of meetings held for the maintenance of the so-called Dutch Ridge Schoolhouse at Chapman and Auburn roads. The volume includes expense account records for repair work to the school, but it has no lists of pupils.

    John's Blog Dutch Ridge School

    We in the Genealogy Center would like to digitize other township trustee records, if they can be located, for any county. We also encourage researchers to explore these little-used sources for information not found in other places. The variety of information they contain should tantalize any researcher.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Lasting Lawyer Legacy Project

    Tuesday, Jul 10, 2018

    The Lasting Lawyer Legacy Project is an ACBA/ New Lawyer’s Section initiative. They have partnered with the Allen County Public Library to capture the stories of the seasoned attorneys whom we respect and whom we admire, and they are now online! Memories include various aspects of modern Allen Count history and are interesting in the extreme! Newest entries include: Steve Adair, Vincent Backs, Sherrill Colvin, Wendy Davis, Donald Doxsee, Denia Ellis, Jim Fenton, Ron Gehring, William Harris, Stanley Hood, Philip Larmore, Stanley Levine, Judge Paul Mathias, Jeanne S. Miller, William F. McNagny, Dawn Rosemond, Judge David Avery, Roger Hultquist, Robert Kabisch, Frank Kimbrough, Mac Parker, Patrick Proctor, Dan Roby, Stanley Rosenblatt, John Schenkel, Perry Shilts, Thomas Shoaff, Dan Sigler, James Springer, Brian Stier, Denny Sutton, Don Swanson,  Josh Tourkow, John Williams, Kenneth Yahne, Mike Yates, and Tom Yoder.
    Lasting Lawyer

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Rotary Club of Fort Wayne Resources

    Monday, Jun 18, 2018

    The Rotary Club of Fort Wayne has donated some of their material to create an archives for the society and we have an entirely new section devoted to these materials. Sections include copies of their newsletters, Rotary Spin and Tickler, and rosters. And now the Archives section includes 25th, 50 and 75th anniversary materials, their constitution and by-Laws, and a timeline from 1905 to 2015.

    There are lots of photos in Rotary Events for 100 PENTX; the Elks Golf Outing and Washington School, 2004; Foreign Rotary Dignitaries, 25 March 2005; Golf Outings, July and August; River Cleanup, 2004; River Greenway Opening, 2005; and events from Washington School I 2004 and 2005.

    Finally, there is Celebrating 100 Years of Service, to observe their Centennial, and fundraising, construction and dedication documents, photos and videos of the Rotary Clock Tower, located on the Library Plaza on Wayne Street.

    Thank you to the Rotary Club of Fort Wayne for allowing us to host their materials!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • New Free African American Databases!

    Thursday, Jun 14, 2018

    We have some fabulous new items in the Marsha Smiley African American Collection!

    Subpages have been added for the African/African American Historical Museum Highlights, Fraternal Organizations, and Spirit Flight. 

    We have new biographies on Judge William L. Briggs, Terra Brantley, Verna M. Adams, Levan Scott, Hana Stith, Edward Elkins, Walter Tharp, Jr., Lionel Tobin, Barker Davie, Jr., Lewis Sims, Rae Pearson, Barker Davie, Marshall White, William Hayden, Eric Wilson, and Veronica Townes in the Crossing Opportunity’s Threshold. These are terrific articles, like the ones for Victor Eugene “Gene” Butler: Community Pharmacist, Owner of Community Care Pharmacy and Helen S. Pickett: 1st Black Female License Mortician in Indiana.
    Smiley AfAm
    There is also a new subheading for Publications which include: Art of the Alabama Road Trip; Condra Leach Ridley; Edna Rowland Williams; Impacting Democracy; Purple Hull Peas Offer Rich Taste, Rich Heritage; Pushing the Color Line: Race and Employment in Fort Wayne, Indiana, 1933-1963; The Children’s Crusade; CitiLink Celebrates Multigenerational Tradition; Eddie Noel; Fort Wayne’s Early African-American Settlers; A Legacy of Trailblazing and Activist Women in Fort Wayne; Robert Hayden; Roma Stewart: Fort Wayne Pioneer Families; Metro Youth Sports, Inc. Celebrates 40th Anniversary; Paying Tribute to Willie Long; Black 1st; Illuminating a Legacy; Johnny Bright: Feats/Feet of Strength; Slavery in New York; Showing Gratitude Where It’s Due; Voice of the Elders: Building a Life in Our Own Community; and the ALA Report; June 23-25; 2017 of Connie Scott; President of Indiana Black Librarians Network.  2017.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • New Free Database - French Families of Allen County, Indiana

    Saturday, May 19, 2018

    The French connection in Allen County goes back centuries, to the founding of the first fort at the Miami village of Kekionga in 1715. The British, then the Americans gained control of the area, but ethnic French continued to arrive, especially in the 1820s to 1840s, coming from Ohio and New York, and these French descendants are one of the largest ethnic groups in Fort Wayne. Now, thanks to the generosity of Martine Copeland, we have her research, “French Families of Allen County, Indiana” online for searching.

    The Compendium and four surname based volumes total more than 18,000 pages of biographical information, and the Online Tree provides connections for more than 30,000 people. And don’t think that this material contains only French surnames. Other families that married into the French families are also included. In fact, The Compendium section includes lists of surnames, French and others, with brief explaanations of why they are included or not, as well as maps and lists of departments and regions in France, a glossary for translating French abbreviations, and a list of French archives and web addresses.

    Anyone researching the ethnic French in Indiana or the Midwest should certainly examine this wonderful addition to our Free Databases.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • New Free Allen County Databases

    Friday, Mar 31, 2017

    We’ve recently added a cornucopia of good items to our Allen County Free Databases!

    We start with The Old Fort - 1816: Frontier Fort to Statehood, a bicentennial publication about the reconstructed Old Fort Wayne, which is located just across the St. Mary’s River from downtown Fort Wayne. This 16-page, booklet provides a history of the Fort of 1816 as well as the Reconstructed Fort, information about life in the area in 1816, a full-color 1817 map of Indiana, a sketch of Fort Wayne in 1816 and a nifty recipe for rhubarb custard pie!

    Moving into the 20th Century, we have the 1983 History of the Greater Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce, by Kathleen Kearns Brita. The Wayne Club and the Commercial Club merged to form the Greater Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce and construction began on the Wayne Street building in 1926. The history and photos tell just part of Fort Wayne’s great story!

    We always love yearbooks, so next we have Hoagland School Yearbooks, 1957 and 1958. These are for the elementary school, and includes photos of the students by class, teachers photos, activities and an autograph section on which special friends wrote their names or pasted photographs.
    Speaking of yearbooks, we also have the Fort Wayne Art School, Art Lights,1929 yearbook. It includes photos of various people connected with the Art School, as well as personal mementos of Anna Marie Woomer of Marion.

    We also have an Exhibit Catalog: Of Growth and Form. The 1976 exhibit at the Allen County Public Library displayed various pieces of art in wood, as well as biographical information on the artists.

    The West Central Home and Garden Tour and ArtsFest booklets from 2012 to 2016 include histories of Fort Wayne’s West Central Neighborhood and highlights various properties in the area with histories and photos.
    Thanks to the generosity of Greg Renno, we have the Susan Mann McCulloch Materials: Autograph Book, 1849 Letter, Commonplace Book. It includes autographs, a letter from Susan to her sister, and notes of her studies.

    And thanks to Marsha Smiley, we also have a Scrapbook from the Bahai Community in Fort Wayne. The scrapbook includes photos, telegrams concerning the Dedication Service in 1943, newspaper clippings and various communiques. Thanks also to Marsha for continuing to collect Memorials of local African American residents. Due to a recent donation of 186 additional Memorials, there are now more than 2500 in the collection!
    Small, but extremely valuable donations include the Ethel Bell Appreciation Program, 1990, and a Rainbow Club article and Christmas group photo. The Rainbow Club is an offshoot of the Order of the Eastern Star.

    A few new items have been added to our growing General Electric Collection Page. This time they are press releases for February 13, 2017. G.E. was a huge employer in Fort Wayne in the 20th century, and our growing collection consists of archives, photographs and Elex Club materials.

    And to end on a sweet note, we have Wayne Candies Business History, by Randy Harter. Wayne Candies made the beloved Bun Bars here in Fort Wayne and this short article, with a photo of the plant on East Berry, provides a concise account of the business transactions of the company through the twentieth century.
    Thanks to everyone for assisting us to expand the collection

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • New & Updated Records for Fort Wayne and Allen County, Indiana

    Tuesday, Dec 20, 2016

    We have added great information to our free Allen County, Indiana Resources page!

    For North Side High School, we have Class of 1956 Reunion Booklets for 2011 (55th Reunion) and 2016 (60th Reunion), Class of 1970 Reunion Booklets for 1980, 1985, 1990, 1995, 200, 2005, 2010 and 2015, as well as Key Club Booklets for 1967-1968, 1968-1969 and 1969-1970.

    We have added 12339 records to the Allen County Marriage Index, bringing the total number to 79715 records, and we’ve added 187,79 records to the Fort Wayne and Allen County Area Obituary Index, bringing the total to 722,375 obituaries.

    There is also an 1812 era map of Fort Wayne came from the cartographic collection of David Rumsey, which shows the three rivers, the Portage, the Wabash Trail, Wayne Trace and more early locations of interest to local historians.

    Log Cabins in Allen County, Indiana was a collection of 31 photographs that, at some point in the past, had been collected into a small scrapbook. No photographer is identified, nor is any information of when they were collected included, but each photo was loosely identified as to location, such as “Log Smoke House; Auburn Road,” “Detail of House Built by Eugene Corneille in 1861,” or “First Frame House Built In St. Vincent Settlement; Auburn Road,” but the images preserved and shared here are amazing.
    Log Cabin

    Finally, sever more Abstracts of title have been added: Fleck’s Subdivision in LaGro Reserve, Lot 8; Forest Park, Block 15, Lot 10; and Windsor Woods, Section II, Lot 80. As usual, these abstracts provide vital information, not only about the single piece of property described, but each will also reflect information concerning property in the area.

    Take time to browse through these great additions!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • October 16, 2016: A Day in Allen County

    Friday, Oct 07, 2016

    We invite you to capture A Day in Allen County, Indiana! On Sunday, October 16, 2016, take pictures of anything and everything that is happening in our county in that twenty-four hour time period, and send them to us! What is your view of Allen County that day? These pictures are not limited to marquee events. We want to capture what is going on throughout the entire community; so pictures can be of people at work, children at play, sporting events, weather and blooming flowers, homes and buildings, traffic scenes, hikers and bikers, and people just hanging out. Include a brief description you would like put with the picture.

    If it’s happening in the twenty-four hours of October 16th, it’s worth capturing!
    ∙ Email pictures to Genealogy@ACPL.Info
    ∙ Twitter #DayinAllenCo2016
    ∙ Upload pictures at
    ∙ Instagram @GenealogyCenter
    ∙ Visit Our Community Album

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Miami Indian Materials Now Online!

    Friday, Sep 23, 2016

    We have several items online now that formerly have only been available as print resources.

    The first is Payments to Miami Indians, 1859. This is a transcription of original payrolls owned by the Allen County-Fort Wayne Historical Society which lists Miami heads of families and individuals who were living east of the Mississippi River and received a payment in 1854.

    Next is Records of the Miami Indians of Indiana, which contains three parts: the 1895 Annuity Payment Roll of the Miami of Indiana who were, at that time, living in Kansas, Oklahoma Territory and Indian Territory; a collection of newspaper stories on the Miami; and a copy of Chief Godfory’s “Miami Indian Stories,” published in 1961. All of these items are name and keyword searchable.
    The last item was from a microfilm collection of Annuities and Census of the Miami Indians. Included are Annuity Payrolls for 1882, 1891, and 1895, the Annuity Payroll for the Eel River Tribe, 1889 Annuity, a transcription for a land division for Francis Godfroy, and the 1881 Census of Miami Indians in Indiana and elsewhere. All of these items are also name and keyword searchable. 

     If you are seeking information on the Miami Tribe of Indiana, these sources would be a good place to search.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • The Mystery of Susan Man McCulloch’s Miniature

    Thursday, Aug 25, 2016

    by John

    The resolution of a historical mystery is always a cause for rejoicing, especially here in The Genealogy Center when the mystery involves the early history of Fort Wayne. Hugh McCulloch (1808-1895) and his wife Susan (Man) (1818-1898) were early influential pioneers of our city. Hugh became a prominent banker and would eventually serve as Secretary of the Treasury under President Lincoln. The story of Hugh’s courtship of Susan, whom he met in 1836 when he was a young widowed banker and she an unmarried schoolteacher, is chronicled poignantly in their correspondence, most of which is housed in the Lilly Library of Indiana University, though The Genealogy Center has a typewritten transcript. Both were excellent writers and provided some of the most vivid descriptions of Fort Wayne society from the 1830s through the 1860s of any writers, making their correspondence an important source for the cultural history of the city. Through the letters we learn much about churches, politics, rivalries, socials, and even recipes that provide an unusual window on their times.

    After meeting and establishing a close friendship with her future husband, Susan returned to her home in Plattsburgh, New York, in 1837. As a Christmas present, she had her miniature painted by Charlotte Deming, and sent it to her suitor. Hugh wrote on December 22, “…Your miniature came safely to hand. The more I gaze upon it the more I admire it. It is the best I have ever seen. All of my friends to whom I have shown it think it an admirable likeness. When I am alone I keep it constantly before me. I cannot tell you how highly I prize it.”

    Susan, in her reply, expressed her anxiety over it. “I was very uneasy about it and therefore feel quite relieved. I feared you would not like the dress when it was taken but Cornelius thought it could not be improved, and Miss Deming said that it would look natural much longer for being plain as the fashions of “neckerchiefs” change so often. I am very happy to hear that you think it a good likeness. You can paste a piece of paper over the glass to hide the dress. Perhaps it will give you some pleasure to know that I do not dress so always.”

    This playful exchange by the couple has always shrouded a deeper mystery: What happened to the portrait, and where is it now? There are many later portraits of Susan and Hugh extant in various collections, but this miniature has eluded Fort Wayne historians. But the mystery is now over.

    Recently, a collector found the miniature and was able to acquire it from a descendant. He was very generous to share a scan of it for The Genealogy Center’s collection. We are delighted to share it and to know that a small part of this couple’s historically significant correspondence can now be better illuminated.
    Susan Man McCulloch miniature by Charlotte Deming

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Even MORE Free Allen County Resources

    Monday, Aug 22, 2016

    We’ve recently added more Allen County material to our Free Databases and they are all materials to view, even if you are not a Fort Wayne native!

    School yearbooks are a wonderful source. Some of our most heavily used materials here in The Genealogy Center are the local yearbooks for the local elementary, middle (junior) and high schools. We have an almost complete collection of the high schools and most of the middle schools, but elementary yearbooks were not regularly collected or published until the latter half of the twentieth century. However, recently one of our volunteers came across the Harmar School Readiol for 1946. The yearbook was designed and produced by students, primarily on a mimeograph machine (remember sniffing the ink?). Included are brief histories of the area and the school, articles describing the year’s activities and student groups, lists of graduates from January and June, providing nicknames, pet peeves and ambitions for each graduate. Following that, there are pages of photographs of the graduates that are not mimeographed. Finally, there are jokes and advertisements for local businesses. Because of these last two sections, you get a history of the area, through the ads, and a feel for the culture, through the jokes, which were still heavy with humor rooted in World War II.

    Another new addition is the St. Jude Catholic Church, History of the First Fifty Years, 1929-1979. This searchable document provides a history, list of priests and Sisters of Providence for the school, charter members, and photos of the First Communicant class of 1929 and graduating classes of 1930 and 1953. 

    We have also added the 1957 Diocese of Fort Wayne Annual Manual. This searchable document contains a history of the diocese, lists of clergy, administrators, parishes, schools and missions, calendars and more. This is an extremely valuable resources for anyone searching Catholic church records in northeast Indiana.

    The Twenty-fifth or Silver Anniversary of the Fort Wayne Orphan Home of the Reformed Church in the United States, published in 1908, does not list any children, unfortunately, but does list donors who helped retire the Home’s debt, supportive politicians and advertisements.

    The 1953 Sears Grand Opening advertisement, for the new store at Clinton at Rudisill Streets, illustrates the new building and touts the highlights, like free parking and air conditioning, and information on the four days of sales, like a $30 full-length women’s coat, men’s leather coats for $14.88 and $99 chrome-plated dinette sets.

    Finally, we have a collection of unidentified photos by Magnus O. Schoenherr, a Fort Wayne Photographer in the early 1900s. Most of the twelve photographs are single sitters, children, young men or women, but there is one couple and a group photo taken at Robison Park on August 1, 1909. Contact information is provided, in case anyone recognizes any of these people. Have a look and see who you might know!
     Robison Park

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Additional Allen County Resources

    Monday, Aug 08, 2016

    There are a number of fabulous additions to our Fort Wayne and Allen County Resources that researchers and residents will find interesting. First is the Tom Mungovan Funeral Home Records, which consist of 1720 records and 3162 images. Thomas E. Mungovan opened his funeral home at 2221 South Calhoun in 1942, advertising personal service "to provide the means of paying the finest tribute to the memory of those who have gone on - without hardship to those who remain and must live." The family has continued the business since his death in 1981. In 1987, through the generosity of family members, copies of the records, dating from 1942 to 1987, were donated to the Genealogy Department and bound in eight volumes (977.202 F77TO). In 2015, the family again offered The Genealogy Center access to their 1980-2014 records, which have been digitized, for the use of family historians.
    We now have Fort Wayne Fire Department annual reports, 1961 and 1962 to add to our FWFD collection. These annual reports consist of a letter to the mayor, recommendations for the coming year, progress report of earlier recommendations, roster of personnel, a master plan map of Fort Wayne showing locations of existing, relocated and proposed fire stations and more.

    There is also the St. Joseph Hospital (Nursing School) Retrospect for 1931. This yearbook provides photos of faculty, staff and students, alumnae from 1921 to 1930 with names and locations, and “scrawls,” autographs of fellow students to Luella Stark, in the Intermediate class.

    We have the terrific Fort Wayne Sister Cities, International Scrapbook, which includes information about Fort Wayne’s sister cities, Takaoka (Japan), Plock (Poland), and Gera (Germany), with photos, newspaper clippings, proclamations, charters and more.

    We added two additional land abstracts for Louis Fox Addition, Lot 64 (Kinnaird Street, between Webster and Hoagland) and Lillie Place Addition, Lot 86, N 50 ft, (corner of Ethel and Irene Avenues). An abstract (history of ownership) used to accompany the deed to each piece of property, but now title searches are performed each time the land is sold, so the historical abstracts, although fascinating for historical researchers, are often discarded. If you come across one, in Allen County or elsewhere, discard it our way, please!

    Finally, we have a Wolf & Dessauer, Menu, 1940. W&D was one of the largest department stores in Fort Wayne and its Tea Room (for the ladies) and Men’s Grill were the places to go for lunch. The daily specials for June 15th included Bakes Stuffed Pork Chop with two sides and dessert for 60 cents, or Chicken Fricassee for 75. W&D’s was forward thinking, so they also offered a vegetarian option for 55 cents. Sandwiches included sliced chicken for 40 cents or salmon salad for 20. Desserts included “homemade” pies and cakes at 10 cents a serving. The back of the menu was a souvenir historical map of Fort Wayne.

    All of these are great additions to our collection of local history!
    W&D map 1940

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Downtown Fort Wayne in 1935

    Sunday, Dec 20, 2015

    We have a fabulous “new” map for your viewing pleasure on our free Allen County, Indiana Resources page. It is a 1935 Business Loop map of downtown Fort Wayne, bordered by Brackenridge on the south, Webster on the west, Columbia and the railroad on the north and Barr on the east. From the whole map which serves as an overview, one may click on sections to see enlargements, to view the locations of theaters, churches, stores and residences all over downtown. Most businesses are specified, such as Patterson Fletcher, Stag Cigar, Bon Ton Bakery, Kroger Market, Baltes hotel and more, although some are just identified as barber or filling station. Buildings are identified by street number and trolley tracks are shown, as is Transfer Corner at Calhoun and Berry. At the top is a statistical summary of the types of businesses, including 18 shoe stores, 40 clothing stores, 22 barbers, 10 hotels, 12 markets, and 9 beer parlors. Residences are not identified by name. The map can be a bit confusing at first, as west is at the top, and a strong knowledge of the streets of Fort Wayne’s downtown or a current map may serve as an aid to browsing.
    Map of Fort Wayne Downtown Business Loop, 1935

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Additions to Allen County Free Databases

    Monday, Mar 09, 2015

    Recently, additions have been made to two of the free databases for Allen County. More than four thousand records for North Side High School have been added to the Allen County High school Yearbooks Index. A name search in the index provides the year and page number for students mentioned in the local yearbooks for Central High (1914-1971), Central Catholic High (1915-1972), North Side High (1929-1959, except 1937, 1940 and 1947) and South Side High (1923-1974 and 1976-1994). Copies of the yearbooks are held in The Genealogy Center.

    Also, more than 14,000 records have been added to each section (pre-1900 and 1900-2014) for the Fort Wayne and Allen County, Indiana Area Obituary Index. Many of these additions represent obituaries or dates that we missed in earlier versions of the Index. Volunteers from the Allen County Genealogical Society of Indiana have been working for several years to fill these gaps to make this a more complete and useful index.

    If you are searching in Allen County, give these indexes another (or a first) try!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • St. Vincent Villa Sources Online

    Monday, Feb 09, 2015

    Orphanage records are scarce in Fort Wayne in general. The records of the Allen County Children's Home were “lost” many years ago. What records exist for other locations must be obtained through various agencies. But now The Genealogy Center has two great sources for children who lived at St. Vincent Villa, the local Catholic Orphanage.

    St. Vincent Orphan Asylum, originally for girls only, opened in 1867 on 25 acres northwest of Fort Wayne. Over the years, the building deteriorated and in 1932, Bishop John F. Noll had a new facility built to house both girls and boys. Due to difficulties families encountered when one parent died or deserted the family, many so-called orphans of the nineteenth century actually had one parent still living. Such was the case of the twentieth century St. Vincent’s, so Noll called the new facility St. Vincent Villa, to remove the term “orphan.” More than 3500 children lived there over the years.

    A scrapbook covering the 1930s to reunions in the twenty-first century, kept by long-time Villa volunteer Bill McCardle, was donated to The Genealogy Center along with copies of “Inter Nos,” the Villa’s newsletter from 1941 to 1954 and a history of the Villa. These items were scanned and are available for review at our website and are searchable through the federated search on The Center’s home page.

    Thanks to all who contributed to allowing us to scan these items and making them available.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Participate in A Day in Allen County Photography Event

    Friday, Aug 29, 2014

    We invite you to capture a day in Allen County, Indiana! Sunday, September 21, 2014—the last official full day of summer—take pictures of anything and everything that is happening in our county in that twenty-four hour time period, and send them to us! What is your view of Allen County that day?
    These pictures are not limited to marquee events. We want to capture what is going on throughout the entire community, so pictures can be of people at work, children at play, baseball games and sporting events, weather and blooming flowers, homes and buildings, traffic scenes, hikers and bikers, and people just hanging out. Include a description you would like put with the picture. If it’s happening in the twenty-four hours of September 21st, it’s worth capturing!

     Send pictures:
    • Email them to Genealogy@ACPL.Info
    • Upload pictures on our Facebook
    • Twitter #DayinAllenCo2014

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Unexpected Benefits to Researching Family Occupations

    Thursday, Apr 03, 2014

    by Sara

    In your search for your family history, have you gone beyond just recording names, dates and places?  It is interesting and worthwhile to try to flesh out other details of our ancestors’ lives, including such information as church membership, hobbies, club memberships, military service, residences, and occupations of our family members.  Sometimes these details will provide clues that lead you to further records about your ancestor. All of this description about their lives helps to humanize the persons we are researching and will provide great reading for future generations perusing the family history we have left behind.  

    Beyond genealogical reasons, knowing our ancestor’s work history and occupation can have far-reaching health and legal ramifications.  Several months ago, I helped a gentleman in The Genealogy Center to document his deceased father’s work history.  We reviewed Fort Wayne City and Allen County Directories for the 1940s (we have a complete run of these directories for all years published) and made copies of his father’s entries, which listed his employer. In the course of our conversation, I learned that the patron had seen a notice in the Journal Gazette that former employees of the Joslyn Manufacturing and Supply Company (now defunct) were being sought by the United States Department of Labor in regard to benefits that may be due to them or their heirs because of hazardous work conditions. This company was located on Taylor Street in Fort Wayne, and in the 1940s manufactured rods made of uranium to be used in the atomic bomb. Many former employees, including this patron’s father, developed health problems after working with the uranium. In order to claim benefits, he explained to me that he was accumulating paperwork for the government: including proof of employment (from the directories); Social Security Administration Earnings Information; death certificate; medical records; and related records.  

    The patron recently returned to the library and gave me an update. He sent in the required paperwork and his mother, as surviving widow, was awarded compensation.  He is now helping several of his dad’s buddies also gain benefits. The government is actively looking for other affected workers and their families.  If you or your family may have been affected, while working at the Joslyn Manufacturing Company from 1943 to 1952, look into this program. For additional information, contact the Labor Department's Paducah Resource Center at 866-534-0599. The same program also has compensation available for workers in other energy-related fields.  See the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act website for list of companies.  

    If this patron hadn’t known where his dad had worked, he might have missed out on legitimate money owed to his family.  What might you learn about your ancestors’ occupations?

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Highlighting YOUR Storm Photos!

    Saturday, Jun 29, 2013

    One year ago today, on Friday, June 29, 2012, Allen County, Indiana, along with much of the Midwest, experienced an extremely strong thunderstorm, known as a derecho, which resulted in a great deal of damage to homes and other buildings, many fallen trees, and the loss of electrical power to tens of thousands of homes. Some area residents were without power for more than a week due to that storm and the other storms in the days following.

    Following the storm, many people would take photos of the destruction. Knowing that these scenes would be fascinating to future generations, we invited the community to share those photos with others. Those photos are now available through Community Album, so take a few minutes to view these Summer Storm 2012 photos, and remember where you were last year. If you have photos you'd like to share, the Album is still open. Just click and follow the directions.

    And keep your umbrella handy, just in case!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center