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  • Yizkor Books & Jewish Research

    Wednesday, Apr 19, 2017

    by Delia

    World War II was a desperate time for Europe’s Jews, with millions slaughtered in the Holocaust and more fleeing the Nazi death machine, resulting in the wholesale disappearance of Jewish communities. After the war, the dispersed survivors created Memorial (Yizkor) books to commemorate these lost communities and their residents. The original volumes were in Yiddish, and The Genealogy Center has had a collection of these Yizkor Books for many years.

    JewishGen has undertaken the Yizkor Book Project to republish 800 of these volumes with added translations for ease of use. The Genealogy Center has recently acquired the first 52 of these newly published resources. Read more about the project and come in to take advantage of these wonderful sources.

    Congregation Achduth Vesholom, has also created the Madge Rothschild Resource Center at 5200 Old Mill Road in Fort Wayne, with their Grand Opening scheduled for Sunday April 30, 2017. Join them for an Open House at 2:30 p.m., and keynote speaker, author David Laskin on “One Family, Three Journeys: How One Family Embodied The Sweep Of 20th Century Jewish History,” at 4 p.m. Laskin's family's journey began with a Torah scribe and his family in Russia 150 years ago. Events around the family scattered them to America, to Palestine and into Germany to to fall prey to the Holocaust. Join them for this inspiring lecture!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Our Military Heritage – New 20th Century Documents

    Friday, Apr 14, 2017

    Our friends have been very generous lately with military records. This time we will look at new 20th Century records.

    We have Story of the Thirty-Third Division in World War I. This regimental history was published by the Chicago Daily News and mentions many of the soldiers by name. Third Squadron Air Service: September 15, 1918 to January 24, 1919 consisted of 152 men, mostly from the Midwest. Each man is listed with his rank and home address. 
    We have a high resolution image of a photograph of the 375 Co., 409 M.S.T., Lt. Morris Knapp, Commanding, also from World War I. Finally we have an update consisting of “Letters Received” and “Miscellaneous Documents” for the Alois Masbaum WWI collection.

    We have images of W.A. Clarke’s V-Mail from Europe in 1945 to his family in Crown Point, New York. We have records for Allen Henry Wisely and Walter Wisely, of Fort Wayne, both in the US Navy in World War II. The records were scanned by family friend and Genealogy Center volunteer, Don Weber, and contain photographs, Christmas and post cards and clippings.
    Ornell Stauffer, US Army Air Corps, was a hero in World War II. This Hoosier was shot down over Japan in 1944 in his plane. “Calamity Sue,” named for his baby daughter. His widow and daughter finally received his medals in 2015.

    Images of War: The Pacific Theater, published by the World War II Memorial Society offers pages of photographs of events in the South Pacific. And we have a commemorative booklet for Aro Equipment Corporation, Bryan, Ohio, in 1943 when the company won the Army Navy E for Excellence Award, which includes a list of all employees serving in the military.

    We have a history of the 3rd and 14th Field Hospital in the Korean War. Besides a history of the combined units, there are photographs of the officers and enlisted personnel.

    Donald G. Allen of Bedford, Indiana served in the United States Navy from 1951-1955. He was a fire control technician third class on the battleship USS Wisconsin and saw combat in the Korean War. Sara Allen donated his photograph collection from his time in service, including other service members at work or play and visitors to the ship.

    Geo & Don 
    Finally, we have various military records of our fabulous volunteer, Don Weber, who served in the US Navy during peacetime. These documents include ID cards, evaluations, shore patrol assignments, examinations and much more. Don also provided the World War II records of his father George Anthony Weber, who served with the US Army in Europe. These records include his discharge, ration cards, Christmas cards, post newsletters, post cards, and letters. One photo, shown here, is of George holding hands with his young son, Don, all dressed up in his miniature uniform. It’s a beautiful family moment!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Historical Weather

    Sunday, Apr 02, 2017

    Have you ever wondered what the weather was like in past years?  There is a way to look at the average temperature for a month at a time beginning in 1895:  The Farmers’ Almanac website has the history of the weather each day going back to 1945:  You can also get the history of the weather going back to the 1700s through the National Weather Service:  The website only requires payment if you request a certified copy of the documentation.  However, you will still need to make a selection and add it to your cart.  When you check out, an email address is required in order to send the information.  You will not get the information right away but they will email you when the information becomes available.
    For more weather history, check out:

    Henson, Robert. Weather on the air: a history of broadcast meteorology. Boston (Mass.): American Meteorological Society, 2010.

    Mergen, Bernard. Weather matters: an American cultural history since 1900. Lawrence, Kan.: University Press of Kansas, 2008.

    Moore, Peter. The weather experiment: the pioneers who sought to see the future. London: Vintage, 2016.

    Williams, James Thaxter. The history of weather. Commack, NY: Nova Science Publ., 1999.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Stephen King lived in Fort Wayne, Indiana

    Thursday, Feb 16, 2017

    Written By: John

    A reference question came to us recently about the author Stephen King and the exact location of his childhood residence in Fort Wayne, Indiana. King, who was born in Portland, Maine, in 1947, was the son of Donald and Nellie Ruth (Pilsbury) King. The father was born “Donald Pollock” in Peru, Indiana, and later changed the family name to King, and he separated from Stephen’s mother not long after Stephen’s birth. At the age of two Stephen moved to Delafield, Wisconsin, with his mother and brother, and later, about 1949, they came to Fort Wayne to live with relatives. But where specifically did they live?
        David King, Stephen’s older brother, provides some sketches details in an account published in George Beahm’s Stephen King Companion: Four Decades of Fear from the Master of Horror (p. 9). “After Wisconsin, we then went to live with my father’s sister Betty, and a lady she lived with named Rudy. We have a picture of that, too – Stevie and I sitting on a lawn in front of a house. That was in the Fort Wayne, Indiana, area. Aunt Betty was a schoolteacher … After that we lived in an apartment of our own in Fort Wayne … We shared the apartment with a number of cockroaches. It was an apartment house, but I’m not sure if it was a single-family dwelling or if there were a number of apartments in it.”
         Most references to Stephen’s childhood lack specifics due to the family’s difficult economic circumstances. However, from the above account and other biographical references, we have enough information to identify Donald Pollock and his sister Betty on the 1920 census. Going forward and looking at the Fort Wayne city directories, we can locate Betty L. Pollock in 1951, living at 1227 Lake Avenue in Fort Wayne and working as a teacher at the Hamilton School. In 1954, she resided at 3529 Lake Avenue, then outside the city limits, and was teaching at the Hanna School. Undoubtedly, the Kings spent time at these two addresses, but the identity of their apartment house remains uncertain. The 1954 directory lists a Mrs. Ruth King living at 1234 Ewing Street, but this was a residence, not an apartment house, and it is not certain this was Stephen’s mother. The family later moved to Stratford, Connecticut.
         It is worth noting that none of King’s residences are marked or celebrated in Fort Wayne’s historical literature. Perhaps more specific information will come to light about his time here.  We were able to find an image of the 1227 Lake Avenue house.  It is a multi-family home.  


    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Indiana and Allen County Free Databases Additions

    Monday, Nov 07, 2016

    We have a few more additions to our Free Databases to share!

    Pioneer Families and Descendants of Tobin Township in Perry County, Indiana contains a list of the Heads of Households form the 1820 and 1830 censuses, then information on families in alphabetical order. Some of this material is searchable by name or keyword, but as many of the pages are handwritten, they are not included in the search. Browse for more information.

    We have the Lot 16 Abstract in the Deer Trail Addition in Marshall County, Indiana. The property was originally owned by William C. VanHorn in 1843, and the abstract lists the owners to Clarence and Marilyn Gay who purchased it from Francis and Delores Bergeron. As usual, the abstract is a fascinating read.

    We have three other Abstracts of Title, these from Allen County for (1) Lot 84 of Eliza Hanna’s Addition, (2) Lot 32 of Johnson’s Addition, and (3) for Range 11E Township 31N Section. These, and many more abstracts, are linked on the following website.

    A commencement booklet for Fort Wayne’s Central Grammar School for 1894 is now available. The booklet lists and contains photographs of the graduates and the teachers.

    And, finally, we have a 1935 Map of the Fort Wayne Business District. The map covers the area of the city bordered by Clinton, Lewis, Harrison and Main Streets, and notes the location of each business.

    Have fun searching and browsing these collections!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Groups at The Genealogy Center

    Saturday, Sep 03, 2016

    It has been a busy month here at The Genealogy Center.  We hosted the IFLA Preconference here three weeks ago, followed by a family association researching and collaborating for a couple of days.  Then two weeks ago, we had the NGS group and the Montgomery County Chapter of OGS visiting.  We love having groups visit!  

    When planning your next family reunion, genealogical society outing, or a friend trip, consider making The Genealogy Center part of your gathering.  Our new Discovery Center is the perfect place to have meetings, pop-up consultations, and/or presentations.  

    We ask that you let us know when you plan on coming.  While discussing your group’s visit, you can request and arrange brief pop-up presentations and tours. It’s a win-win, with a great collection and a wonderful space for discovering family connections.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • New Free Family Resources

    Friday, Aug 05, 2016

    We’ve been very fortunate recently with a large number of new Family Resources on our Free Databases!

    Susan McNelley produced several works that she has allowed us to post, starting with her Following the Maple Leaf Trail: The French-Canadian Ancestry of Joseph Gilman of Taylor County, Wisconsin. This work not only discusses the Gilman family who came from Quebec to New York and on to Wisconsin, but also life among Canadian fur traders, dit names, King’s daughters, midwives of Quebec and more. A very informative work and worth the time to peruse! There are two volumes of Ms. McNeeley’s Aschenbrener family histories: Aschenbrener Roots in the Bavarian/Bohemian Borderland: George and Monika Aschenbrenner of Northern Wisconsin and Aschenbreners of the Wisconsin Northwoods: George and Marietta Aschenbrener of Northern Wisconsin. The first volume covers George and Monika, the immigrants to America, their ancestors and home in Europe and their children. The second volume details the family of their son George and his wife Marietta Gilman. Both volumes are keyword searchable and contain photos and other documents. Her Johnston Family History: Ancestry of the Edward Johnston Family of Fort Wayne, Indiana is the story of the lives of Norma, Edward and Gerald Johnston and their Scots-Irish and German ancestors, and McNelley Family History: The Ancestry of the Oscar McNelley Family of Chicago, Illinois is the history of the McNeeley-Lamb family of New England and the Mikkelsen-Holmes family of Denmark and Chicago. Finally, The Middletons of Gibson City, Illinois chronicles the story of the Middleton, Hoover, Cackley and Howver families. We thank Ms. McNeeley for all of these great family histories!

    James Eckland Dwyer was born in 1944 and died in 2011. His daughter-in-law, Karen Emery Dwyer compiled James Eckland Dwyer's Irish Ancestry to chronicle his Dwyer, Bennett, Murray and Loftus families. Ms. Dwyer also compiled Papa: Gordon Charles Emery which details the Emery, Foote, Donovan and Clancy families. She also produced From the British Isles to America (Williams & Associated Families), which covers the Williams, Pratt, Gough, Butcher, Nibbs, Brennan, Donahue and Shedd families in the British Isles and the United States. We thank Ms. Dwyer for permission to post these items!

    Cindy Peterson of Westerville, Ohio allowed us to post Descendants of Cutlope Gotlieb Hancock, a detailed work of the first four generations of the Cutlope Gotlieb Magdalena Clair Hancock family of Germany, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. One can use a keyword search to find names.

    Phillip A. Hawkins generously his two publications on the descendants of John & Mary Molly (Moore) Hawkins, The Jeffery Hawkins's In 1692 America and Sons of Nathan Hawkins. The first provides evidence as to which son of John and Mary was the father of the Hawkins of Union County, South Carolina. The second discusses John and Mary’s second son Nathan. These items provide a detailed analysis of the problem.

    Lorraine C. McClanahan has provided us copies of her Irvine Genealogy and Irvine Index, which begin with John Irvine and Catharine Garrioch of Scotland. Both works have keyword search capability.

    We have the 1989 program of the Fred W. Jones Appreciation Dinner in Merrillville, Indiana where he was a teacher and coach for many years. And we have two silhouettes and brief biographies of William Haight Leggett and his wife Margaret Peck Wright of New York. These images were donated by Cory Randall.Randall

    Finally, we have Descendants of John Vestall, and The Family of Anne Russell, 1548-1593, both of which were by researcher Drew Blaha of North Carolina. We thank all of these researchers and donors for making our Family Resources page their home.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • One Librarian's experience with

    Tuesday, Aug 02, 2016

    By: Allison

    The internet is inundated with genealogy websites.  There are good ones, decent ones, poor ones, and terrible ones.  Whether you are seeking a website for research or simply organization, finding a website that fits your needs takes a little bit of research and patience.  One that I personally find useful is  I have been using that website for the past ten years with great success for my specific needs.  My favorite feature of the website is the capability to access it in any location via the internet while still having it remain private and password protected.  I use Tribalpages as my hub for all of my family tree information.  I have multiple family trees on other websites but I control how much information is available through them.  Because the information is password protected, Tribalpages is the only website on which I will enter living family member names and information.   There are many key features of Tribalpages that make it worthwhile.  The first is that it is free.  While there is a paid version of the website and Tribalpages encourages you to purchase it, the free version is more than adequate for most people and the paid version is not necessary in order to conduct your genealogy research and organization.  While Tribalpages is useful, it has faced some criticism by users that believe Tribalpages is not quick to respond to customer service complaints.  
    After ten years of use, I personally have never needed to contact customer service and I have never upgraded to the paid version of the website.  I regularly update my exported GEDCOM file from the site so I would never lose information if the site does go down or end its free service.  A GEDCOM file is a plain text version of a genealogy tree that can be used to import into another website or software.  As with any technology, you need to back-up or copy your information in multiple ways to prevent loss.  I am a huge fan of the website and promote it when I can, but I would not be devastated if it went down because I have saved all of the information.  Always have your information backed-up and realize that failure or corruption of a particular site or copy is a possibility with every technology.  
    My family would take the website’s loss harder than I would.  I have given many of them an access password so they can check birthdays and anniversaries.  Another feature of the website is a calendar with all the living family members’ birthdays and anniversaries.  It is nice for me as the family historian/genealogist to have family members just go to the website instead of always asking me when birthdays or anniversaries are.  
    While I love my family and trust them with my life, I do not trust them with my family tree.  On top of Tribalpages being a password protected website, it is also password protected to edit.  With one password for access and another for editing, I can freely allow others to view my family trees without worrying someone might feel the need to change my family history to fit their preferences.  Unfortunately, you can’t change history and I make sure my family tree remains factually accurate.  This division between the passwords is a great feature since it still allows your family access to the tree without giving them edit access.  
    Tribalpages also offers charts and reports, although most of these are only available through the paid version.  It has not affected my research or information on the site at all.  I view charts and reports to be “icing on the cake.”   I do not like to have paper copies of my genealogy research or tree.  If family members want information, they can look at the family tree online.  If I need a report or chart for any reason, I can print off the free versions, which are limited but usually contain all the information required.  Save a real tree and utilize online family trees instead! 
    All of this being said, you need to research and find the right organization website or software for your needs.  The Genealogy Center does not recommend one website or type of software over another.  This is just the personal experiences of one librarian.  Here are several websites on comparisons or reviews on Tribalpages in particular:,, and

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Dating Photographs using the Poinsatte Saloon

    Monday, Jul 25, 2016

    By: John Beatty

    How does one assign a date to a historical photograph? Recently, the Genealogy Center was presented with two digital images of a saloon owned by Jacob Poinsatte, located at 1016 Maumee Avenue in Fort Wayne.  The photos are remarkable for a number of reasons. First, images of Fort Wayne saloons are relatively scarce, and second, these images depict the exterior of the same building from nearly exactly the same angle in two different time periods. Comparing them for clues can help us place them in their historical context. 

    First, we need to determine when exactly the saloon existed, and Fort Wayne city directories provide a logical starting point. A search beginning in the 1890s determines that Jacob Poinsatte had worked as a brewer for the Berghoff Brewery through 1901, then left its employment to open his own saloon, which first appeared in the 1902 directory at 1016 Maumee Avenue.

    The donor has provided some useful information to assist us. One of the photographs (the older one, immediately below) dates, she believes, from 1916, because the poster in the window advertises the appearance of Eva Fay, a stage clairvoyant from Ohio, on April 2 at the Palace Theatre. Researching Eva Fay’s name in affirms that she made several appearances at the Palace in April 1916. Since the trees on the street have no leaves, we can be fairly confident in dating the photo from February or March of that year.



    Having the date of this first image fairly well established, we turn our attention to the second image, displayed below, which is slightly later, but its exact date remains in question. The name of the saloon appears to change in the two photographs. In 1916, it appears as Jacob Poinsatte Place and East End Park. Later it is called simply the Hayden Park Saloon, though neither name appears in the city directories. 


    One can compare architectural elements of the two buildings along with the clothing styles. The large circular advertising sign is gone in the later photo, and a second-story porch railing appears that is not shown in the earlier photo. The poster of the woman in the window is not identifiable, though above it to the left is a sign for Unicoco, whose origin is mysterious but may have been a soft drink. Snow appears on the ground in both photos, so, like the other, the image was likely taken in the late winter or early spring. The donor identifies Jacob as the man standing in the center, with the two others unidentified.

    With all of the beer advertising gone, the second photo probably dates to the Prohibition era, perhaps from about 1920 or slightly afterward. City directories continued to list Jacob’s saloon as a retailer of soft drinks through 1925. He died in December 1926. What we have, then, is a set of photos that juxtapose the impact of Prohibition on a small Fort Wayne saloon between 1916 and about 1921. They represent an interesting slice of our early 20th century history.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Which Software to use?!?

    Sunday, Jul 10, 2016

    We get many questions regarding which genealogy software we recommend.  While we all have experience with different software programs, there is not a definitive answer to these questions.  The answer is always, “It depends.”  The type of software that someone would want to use is a very personal choice.  It depends on the person’s experience with computers, previous experience with software programs, what the person can afford, and what he or she hopes to get out of the software.  We typically recommend looking at reviews and comparisons of the different programs.  There are some wonderful programs out there, and we hope everyone finds the right fit for his or her research.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Judy Russell Presentation on July 12th at 6:30pm

    Thursday, Jul 07, 2016

    The Midwest African American Genealogy Institute (MAAGI) is being hosted at The Genealogy Center, Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana from July 12-14, 2016. As a part of MAAGI, Judy Russell will be giving an evening presentation on July 12th at 6:30pm on “Just Three Generations.”  Russell will discuss how our oral family histories can be completely lost in just three generations.  Following genealogy’s best practices can help us keep those losses from happening in our families – and with our own stories.

    The program is open to the public for $10.    

    To learn more, visit the MAAGI website at

    Don’t miss out on this great opportunity to hear The Legal Genealogist present a wonderful lecture.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Brother Against Brother in the Civil War

    Monday, Jun 20, 2016

    The Civil War was a messy affair.  It broke down families, made widows and orphans, and was a catastrophic loss of life.  Many times you will hear people discuss how the Civil War made enemies of brothers.  For some, this sounds like just a way to describe how some extended families were separated by the war.  Unfortunately, it was actually the truth.  Many siblings did fight on opposite sides of the war.  Families were truly divided.  

    One interesting story happened with two brothers from Indiana.  John and Henry McLaughlin were born and raised in Marion County, Indiana.  The brothers had six siblings and came from a close family.  Henry moved to Alabama sometime between 1850 and 1860.  In 1861, he married a young widow, Sarah Cannady, who already had a daughter, and began expanding their family to having seven more children.  John married Louise Morehouse and began their family of eleven children in 1851.  Prior to John’s marriage, he fought as a sergeant in Mexican-American War.  

    The brothers’ lives were going well until the Civil War caused them to fight on opposite sides of the war.  John enlisted with the Union Army as a lieutenant and was promoted to colonel by the end of the war.  Henry enlisted as a private in the Confederate Army and was promoted to second lieutenant.  In May of 1863, the brothers fought on opposite sides of the same battle, the Siege of Vicksburg.  Henry was captured and sent to a Union military prison.  There he wrote to his sister, Susan McLaughlin Brown, for help.  

    Susan was a nurse during the Civil War and her husband was a surgeon.  When she received the letter from her brother she flew into action.  Susan went to Governor Morton to plead her brother’s case.  He, in turn, wrote her a letter of introduction to President Abraham Lincoln on 7 January 1865.  Susan traveled to Washington, D.C., and met with the President five days later to state her brother’s case.  The President deemed to have Henry released once he took the oath to the United States of America.  Henry took the oath on 24 January 1865 and was released five days later due to Susan’s determination.  

    Henry went home to his family in Alabama after the war.  Sarah and Henry’s second child as a couple was born a year later.  Henry died sometime between 1876 and 1880.  John moved his family to Kansas and died on 15 Apr 1890.  Susan McLaughlin Brown moved first to Kansas and then to Georgia, Chicago, Illinois, and lastly to Los Angeles, California, where she died on 1 February 1928.  

    This is just one example of how families were torn apart during the Civil War.  These types of stories can be fleshed out with research at a facility such as The Genealogy Center.  You can even find some Civil War records digitized on The Genealogy Center’s Our Military Heritage.  This could lead you to discover a Civil War ancestor or to learn more about them.  

    While the basis of this story was taken from a collection at the Indiana Historical Society, the research used to flesh it out was used at The Genealogy Center.  Everything from books to databases were used.,,,,, and Newspaper Archive were among the databases used on this posting.  The subscription based websites are available for free when visiting The Genealogy Center.  Check the websites out to see what information you can glean from them.  Make sure to also look at Our Military Heritage on The Genealogy Center website.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Our Military Heritage Additions

    Thursday, Jun 09, 2016

    We have several new materials for Our Military Heritage! They all present different types of records that may be applicable to your military ancestor! 

    First, we have The Civil War Cavalry from St. Joseph County: 12th Indiana - 127th Regiment, by Russell I. Poole. This recounts the story of the 12th Indiana Cavalry regiment which was organized in Kendallville, Indiana, from December 10, 1863, to April 28, 1864.  
    We also have a program for the Hospice Memorial Service, Dayton, Ohio VA Medical Center, September 17, 1995 and a Civil War Roster of the Department of Pennsylvania, Grand Army of the Republic, 1894 (Philadelphia: Headquarters, 1894).

    Another great item added to the collection is Overseas Sketches: Being a Journal of My Experiences in Service with the American Red Cross in France by Henry A. Butler (Youngstown, Ohio: by the author, 1921).

    Take a few minutes to examine these to see if you might locate a similar record for the object of your search!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • New Information in our Free Databases

    Friday, Jun 03, 2016

    The Genealogy Center is pleased to be able to post some new information to our Free Databases for you to use. 

    The first are seven additions to the General Electric Collection.  They include Elex Club secretary notes, El-Par Chapter rosters, Elex Club Installation Banquet programs, Honor-ettes rosters, Partizans rosters, Pen-El rosters, and Quintus rosters.  

    We also have had 269 memorials added to Genealogy Tracers Homegoing Programs/Memorials.  This brings the total up to 4588 memorials in this collection.  

    Various records from two Presbyterian churches have also been added to our collection.  Two items have been added from the Witherspoon Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis, Indiana.  Five directories have been added from the College Hill Community Church in Montgomery County, Ohio.

    Also from Montgomery County, Ohio, we have records from two fraternal orders.  Three rosters of the Harmony Lodge No. 77, Prince Hall Free & Accepted Masons have been added.  Five membership directories and three programs from the annual Potentate Ball from the Amer Temple No. 107, A.E.A.O.N.M.S. (Ancient Egyptian Arabic Order Nobles Mystic Shrine) have also been added.  

    Lastly, we have a lovely anniversary announcement for Richard & Florence Hobson’s 50th Anniversary.  The couple is listed as being from Dayton, Ohio.    

    Thanks to our contributors, who continue to make The Genealogy Center Free Databases a site worth visiting!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • 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, a paid database that is available in our building to our patrons.  

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

    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