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  • Naturalization Records – A Brief Introduction

    Sunday, May 08, 2016

    Naturalization is the method by which a foreign person, or “alien,” becomes a citizen.  It is a voluntary act and is not required under United States law.  The first Naturalization Act was passed in 1790.  At that time, most naturalizations occurred in the court nearest to the individual being naturalized, which could have been the county court or the federal court.  The naturalization process took about five years.  After two years of living in the country, the alien would file papers stating his or her Declaration of Intent to Naturalize (or “First Papers”).  After three more years, the alien could then file a Petition for Naturalization.  Generally, the Declaration of Intent records have more information that is beneficial to genealogists than the actual Petition. 

    The first thing to note when looking for naturalization records is that you will not find them for women between 1790 and 1922.  Women and children under the age of 21 would be automatically naturalized when their husband or father became naturalized.  If an alien woman married a U.S. citizen, she would automatically become naturalized.  This process worked in the reverse as well.  When a woman married someone who was not a U.S. citizen, she lost her citizenship to the United States even if she continued to live in the country.  Additionally, children could file their Declarations and Petitions at the same time if they lived in the country five years before their 23rd birthday from 1824 until 1906. 

    1906 was a great year for genealogists in terms of added information to the naturalization records.  In 1906, the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization was formed.  After the Bureau’s formation, more information was included on the naturalization records and the forms became standardized.  This also meant that more information about women and children were included in the records. 

    In 1862, a law was enacted to allow Army veterans who had been honorably discharged to petition for naturalization after living for a year in the United States.  In 1894, a law was enacted to include Navy and Marine veterans.  Later, thousands of men were naturalized through a law enacted on May 9, 1918, which allowed aliens serving in the U.S. military to file a Petition for Naturalization while they were serving in the present war, World War I.  More laws of this kind were enacted in 1919, 1926, 1940, and 1952 giving special treatment to veterans. 

    A major and frustrating aspect about naturalization records is that there is not a great way to locate them.  The records for naturalizations that took place at federal courthouses should reside with the National Archives.  The records for naturalizations that took place at county courthouses may still reside within the specific county.  However, some records from county courthouse nationalizations have been sent to the National Archives, compounding the difficulty of the search.

    The best source for finding naturalization records is the FamilySearch wiki.  The website has a great overview of naturalization records.  The overview then has a link to a page for each state’s naturalization records.  The state pages will assist with finding where the specific naturalization records are located.    

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • May Flowers Bring Pilgrims!

    Wednesday, May 04, 2016

    The Pilgrims were religious separatists and were seeking to establish a strictly Edward Winslow traveled to the new world on the Mayflower.conservative society in America.  The Pilgrims were displeased with the perceived secular nature of English society and originally moved to the Netherlands to avoid the influence of English culture.  However, they later determined they needed to move again, this time to America, to prevent their children from adopting Dutch culture, among other reasons. 

    It is estimated that there are over 35 million living descendants of the Pilgrims who traveled to America on the Mayflower.  There are several organizations just for these descendants, with the largest and most comprehensive being the General Society of Mayflower Descendants.  Other Mayflower organizations are for specific states or families. 

    Since there are so many descendants and the interest is so high, there are many resources available to research Mayflower ancestors.  In The Genealogy Center collection alone, there are dozens of resources available that are specific to the history of the Mayflower.  These resources include the full run of The Mayflower Quarterly, which began in 1935.  Another resource you can access at The Genealogy Center is AmericanAncestors.org, a paid database that is available in our building to our patrons.  

    April Showers Bring May Flower.  What Do May Flowers Bring?
    Pilgrims

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • April Showers Bring May Flowers. What Do May Flowers Bring?

    Monday, May 02, 2016

    Have you ever thought about the legacy flowers have in your family?  My grandmother was a gardener and had some of the most beautiful flowers I have ever seen in her garden.  My mother has ivy, Lily of the Valley, and several other flowers that were starts from my grandmother’s garden.  Starts of these plants will soon be added to my garden.  Since my grandmother is no longer living, these starts from her garden mean so much more to me than plants from the store.   

    There are many people who have gardens and plants from relatives who have long predeceased them.  There are roses that have been in families for centuries.  In some families, gardening or plants are a family’s legacy to pass down to the next generation.

    What is your family’s garden legacy?  Flowers blooming in Foster Park in the spring in the early 2000s. Photographs taken by George Powell, formerly of Fort Wayne, IN, now of Robertsdale, AL.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Preservation Week - Silverfish

    Saturday, Apr 30, 2016

    As Preservation Week continues, it is important to remember why this week exists.  Preservation Week was begun by the American Library Association with many partners in 2010 in order to bring awareness to the preservation needs of collections.  It has continually grown over the years and helped to raise awareness for the materials that need preservation.

    In recognition of this week, The Genealogy Center has a full week of programming to assist our customers in their own preservation needs.  The Genealogy Center will also be posting blogs on different items in our collection that have been damaged and tips on how to prevent such damage.  We will also discuss how to preserve the damaged material so it will not be further damaged.  

    Today, we are going to focus on silverfish.  Thankfully, we have not had this issue at The Genealogy Center but we have been asked about what to do if silverfish get into a personal collection.  This being the case, our photograph of interest is of a nasty little silverfish.  This bug is the arch enemy of archivists.  

    Silverfish eat carbohydrates such as sugars or starches in adhesives.  This includes books, carpet, clothing, and glue.  For this blog, the important item on that list would be books!  Once you discover silverfish in your materials, isolate them.  Put the infested materials in a container that you can seal away from your other materials.  

    You have several options at this point.  You could introduce chemicals to your materials but this is not advisable if you wish to preserve them.  Another option is to freeze the materials.  This will kill the silverfish and if done properly, will not harm your materials.  

    For general pest control information and how to prevent infestation, click here

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Preservation Week - Torn Pages

    Friday, Apr 29, 2016

    As Preservation Week continues, it is important to remember why this week exists.  Preservation Week was begun by the American Library Association with many partners in 2010 in order to bring awareness to the preservation needs of collections.  It has continually grown over the years and helped to raise awareness for the materials that need preservation.

    In recognition of this week, The Genealogy Center has a full week of programming to assist our customers in their own preservation needs.  The Genealogy Center will also be posting blogs on different items in our collection that have been damaged and tips on how to prevent such damage.  We will also discuss how to preserve the damaged material so it will not be further damaged.  

    Today, the next item that was brought to our attention is a book with ripped pages.  Ripped pages are usually the result of accidents.  Sometimes the tears are the result of negligence or done intentionally, but let’s focus on how to prevent and fix the damage.

    Tips to prevent damage: Use caution when working with older books and/or irreplaceable books.  As books age, the paper is apt to become brittle and begin breaking.  Do not use gloves unless the book is going to cause you physical harm if you do not wear the gloves (i.e. mold).  Make sure your hands are clean and dry.  Use the book on a clean, dry surface and handle carefully.

    Tips to deal with damage: DO NOT USE TAPE.  Tape is harmful to paper.  You can repair the paper if it will not cause further damage to the book.  One recommended method is to use Japanese tissue paper and a starch paste.  It is not recommended that archival tape is used.  Archival tape still can be gummed to the paper similarly to other adhesive tapes.  

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Preservation Week - Acidic Paper

    Tuesday, Apr 26, 2016

    As Preservation Week continues, it is important to remember why this week exists.  Preservation Week was begun by the American Library Association with many partners in 2010 in order to bring awareness to the preservation needs of collections.  It has continually grown over the years and helped to raise awareness for the materials that need preservation.

    In recognition of this week, The Genealogy Center has a full week of programming to assist our customers in their own preservation needs.  The Genealogy Center will also be posting blogs on different items in our collection that have been damaged and tips on how to prevent such damage.  We will also discuss how preserve the damaged material so it will not be further damaged.  

    The next item that has been brought to our attention is a book turning brown from the acidity in the paper.  Acidity is one of the causes of damage in paper as it weakens the fibers that make up the paper and eventually destroys them. Subsequently, paper made from mechanical wood pulp decomposes quickly from within.

    Tips to prevent damage: Unfortunately, the acidic paper composition is an inherent flaw.  In order to combat the decomposition of the paper due to the acid, the pH has to be increased.  This is possible through mass deacidification.  Mass deacidification is where an alkaline substance is added to the paper to neutralize the existing acid and prevent further decomposition.  

    Tips to deal with damage: A way to work to reduce further decomposition is to improve the environmental storage conditions.  A method of doing that is by storing loose paper in inert polyester film sleeves.  Then place the materials in safe, cool, dry, dark environment.  For more information on preservation of acidic paper, visit this website.  


    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Preservation Week - Torn Cover on a Book

    Monday, Apr 25, 2016

    As Preservation Week continues, it is important to remember why this week exists.  Preservation Week was begun by the American Library Association with many partners in 2010 in order to bring awareness to the preservation needs of collections.    It has continually grown over the years and helped to raise awareness for the materials that need preservation.

    In recognition of this week, The Genealogy Center has a full week of programming to assist our customers in their own preservation needs.  The Genealogy Center will also be posting blogs on different items in our collection that have been damaged and tips on how to prevent such damage.  We will also discuss how preserve the damaged material so it will not be further damaged.  

    Today, the second item that brought to our attention is a book with a ripped cover.  It is cautionary tale on why it is bad to shelve things spine up.  The weight will potentially tear the book from the cover.  

    Tips to prevent damage: Always put books away carefully with a mindfulness on how not to damage the books.  If you are short on space, lay the book on its side instead of spine up.  You can always stack other books on top of it without causing damage to the cover.    

    Tips to deal with damage: There are methods to reattach the cover to the book.  Please refer to this tutorial from pages 14 to 23.  

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Preservation Week - Water Damaged Book

    Sunday, Apr 24, 2016

    As Preservation Week begins, it is important to remember why this week exists.  Preservation Week was begun by the American Library Association with many partners in 2010 in order to bring awareness to the preservation needs of collections.  It has continually grown over the years and helped to raise awareness for the materials that need preservation.

    In recognition of this week, The Genealogy Center has a full week of programming to assist our customers in their own preservation needs.  The Genealogy Center will also be posting blogs on different items in our collection that have been damaged and tips on how to prevent such damage.  We will also discuss how preserve the damaged material so it will not be further damaged.  

    Today, the first item that brought to our attention is a water damaged book.  It is unfortunate, but a small bottle of water can cause this type of damage.  This book not only has water damage, it has some mold growing in it as well.  This is because the water damage was not brought to our attention until the mold began growing. 

    Tips to prevent damage: When working with irreplaceable materials, make sure to keep food and drinks away from the material.  As you can see, even water can do a lot of damage.  Make sure to keep the materials in safe, cool, dry, and dark locations.  Moisture in the air can cause some damage but so can leaking pipes and flooded basements.  Be wise with where you store priceless materials.  Don’t put them in places where they may be damaged by water.  

    Tips to deal with damage: If you catch that the materials have gotten wet right away, begin by wicking away excess water with dry clothes. Then follow these instructions on how to dry out the materials.  For mold, follow these instructions and be careful to not expose yourself to the health risks of mold.  

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Musings about Microfilm

    Friday, Apr 22, 2016

    To many people, Microfilm is just another strange word that they do not understand.  To some people, it is an archaic form of saving materials.  To genealogists, it can contain pure gold in the form of answers.  While it is true that much of what genealogists are seeking has been digitized, not everything has been digitized and is available to the public.  Many things, such as newspapers, cannot be digitized due to copyright issues.  Many things have not been digitized due to lack of funding and lack of ability to digitize.  Microfilm is the only way these sources are accessible. 

    Microfilm is a low-cost, reliable, long-term, and a standardized method of image storing.  Microfilm has a life-expectancy of hundreds of years.  Microfilm machines vary in size and capability.  At minimum, the machine needs to consist of light and magnification.  As technology has improved, so have the capabilities of the machines. 

    Microfilm is cost effective and a proven way to preserve documents for hundreds of years.  While digitization is wonderful, microfilm will remain in the libraries and archives for the foreseeable future. When you visit your local library or archive, check out their microfilm collection.  

    The Genealogy Center Microtext Catalog is available on our website. 

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Life and Genealogy are Learning Experiences

    Monday, Apr 11, 2016

    I recently did a presentation on Famous Female Hoosier Writers for Women’s History Month.  In preparing for the presentation, I read works of authors and journalists I was not as familiar with and learned more about these amazing women.  I chose this presentation topic because, while I was familiar with some of the authors and journalists I wanted to discuss, I also saw it as a learning experience.  I am one of those people who loves to learn and thrives on learning new things each and every day.  Life is about discovery!  This love of learning and discovery is why genealogy works so well for me.  I am constantly learning about new places to search for information, new sources, and new information for my own family tree.  

    I hope to remind you all that genealogy is a learning process.  There are proper forms of methodology and research, but everyone has to start somewhere.  When I am researching a historical event or figure, I begin with Wikipedia.  While I would NEVER use Wikipedia as a source, I use it to get a rough idea of the event or person and then use the sources list to learn more.  It is the same with genealogy.  When people begin their genealogy research, they usually jump at the chance to use other people’s trees listed on Ancestry and other websites.  This is okay!  I have heard people getting angry with beginners for doing this.  The thing that everyone needs to remember is that while the beginners are doing further research they will learn not to trust the trees.  It is a learning process of discovering that not everyone does sound research and many people will put family lore on their trees as solid truth.  The same is true with Wikipedia.  I learned very quickly that I could not trust the material in the written sections but I could use the sources listed to help further my research.  I always try to find a primary source or an excellently sourced secondary source.  To determine how accurate or credible a resource is, research the publisher and the author and check the footnotes, endnotes, and the bibliography.  

    If you would like more information on the women writers I researched, here is a link for further reading: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1NL--qM0QHPnbFDwZLP5X0IDaELTygnsPprg7P-njdLM/edit?usp=sharing   

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • The Indiana Genealogical Society's Annual Conference

    Tuesday, Mar 22, 2016

    The Indiana Genealogical Society’s annual conference will be held on Saturday, April 16, 2016 at the Allen County Public Library.  The two featured speakers this year are Jeanne Larzalere Bloom, CG, and Jen Baldwin.  Jen Baldwin’s sessions are being sponsored by the Allen County Genealogical Society of Indiana and the Doug and Joni Lehman Charitable Foundation.  Check out the Indiana Genealogical Society page for more information on the speakers, full schedule, and instructions on how to register for this wonderful conference.  

    List of sessions offered:
    •    Session A: Miracles, Mysteries & Mayhem: Online Family Trees - Jeanne Larzalere Bloom, CG
    •    Session B: Being More Than Social on Social Media - Jen Baldwin
    •    Session C: The Art of Negative Space-Research: Women - Jeanne Larzalere Bloom, CG
    •    Session D: Paperless Genealogy: Eliminating The Binders, File Cabinets and Post-It Notes - Jen Baldwin
    •    Session E: You're Not In Kansas Anymore: Essential Resources for Urban-Area Research - Jeanne Larzalere Bloom, CG
    •    Session F: Preserving Your Personal Archives - Jen Baldwin
    •    Session G: Bringing Life to Our Ancestors: Manuscript Collections - Jeanne Larzalere Bloom, CG
    •    Session H: Go Back to School: Utilizing University Resources - Jen Baldwin

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Six Things to Know for the Fourth of July

    Friday, Jul 04, 2014

    • The Declaration of Independence was written by five people: Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, the main author; John Adams of Massachusetts; Robert Livingston of New York; Roger Sherman of Connecticut; and Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania. It was submitted to the Continental Congress on June 28, 1776. No minutes were kept of the writing of the document, nor of the discussions that took place during the following days.
    • Although July 4th is celebrated as Independence Day, John Adams always felt it should have been July 2nd, the date the document was approved by Congress.
      John Hancock, President of the Second Continental Congress signed first, and his was the largest signature, making his name a synonym for the word “signature.”
      Benjamin Franklin, at 70, was the oldest signer, and Edward Rutledge of South Carolina was the youngest at 26 years.
    • John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, the only two Signers to become President, both died on July 4, 1826, the 50th anniversary. As he was dying, Adams comforted himself by noting that Jefferson still lived, but Jefferson had actually preceded him in death by five hours.
    • Fifth President James Monroe died on July 4, 1831, and Calvin Coolidge, the 30th President, was born on July 4, 1872.
    • In 1870, Congress made Independence Day a holiday for federal employees, but it wasn’t a paid holiday until 1938!
    • The Genealogy Center’s Our Military Heritage has biographies, unit histories and rosters, individual biographies and other information on Revolutionary soldiers, as well as photos, letters and other material on soldiers from all American conflicts.You can add material on your family’s military ancestors to this great site as well. Contact us for information. And take a few minutes today to remember what our nation’s founders have provided for us.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center