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  • New Directions in 2016!

    Friday, Nov 20, 2015

    As you visit The Genealogy Center in the coming weeks, you may notice a bit of unusual activity, especially in the Microtext Reading Room. When we reopened our expanded and renovated building in 2007, we had a large space devoted to using our extensive microtext collection—a collection that included census and military records, newspapers, city directories, and documents from many states and countries. However, digital copies of these important documents continue to grow exponentially in use.  Microtext usage, on the other hand, continues to diminish greatly.

    What has grown in the last decade is our dedication to expand service to include more classes and consultations, as well as meeting our customers’ desires to collaborate with us and one another. In response, we are repurposing more than half of the former Microtext Reading Room into our new Discovery Center, a space for presentations, panel discussions, group activities, pop-up demonstrations, collaborative dialog, and one-on-one consultations.

    We also have become increasingly aware that in this digital age, people’s stories are slipping away. Email and texting have replaced written correspondence between friends and family members so much so that information that had been preserved in the past on paper is now being lost. Headliners and other “big” stories get preserved in other forms, but the day-to-day lives of firemen, teachers, industrial workers, veterans, emigrants, attorneys and the histories of communities, churches, businesses and ethnic groups get lost in the shuffle. To preserve and present these every-day stories, we are repurposing our former Orientation Area into a Life Stories Center. We want to better facilitate the preservation of everyone’s experiences, memories, and life stories.

    While all of this activity is occurring, we hope that you will tolerate the small inconveniences caused by a limited amount of noise and some dust. We are looking forward to the great possibilities that our new spaces will bring. Thank you for your understanding.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Closed on Thanksgiving

    Sunday, Nov 15, 2015

    The Genealogy Center, like all facilities of the Allen County Public Library, will be closed on Thursday, November 26th, for Thanksgiving. We will be open our regular hours of 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, November 25th, and reopen on Friday, November 27th, at 9 a.m.

    As your family and friends gather, participate in the Great Thanksgiving Listen on Thursday and the National Day of Listening on Friday, as an alternative to shopping. This holiday, feed your mind as well as your stomach!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Closed Friday, September 25th for Staff Development Day

    Friday, Sep 11, 2015

    The Genealogy Center, like all Allen County Public Library facilities, will be closed on Friday, September 25, 2015 for Staff Development Day. The Library Board sets aside one day each year for staff to reflect on our mission, acquire additional skills, and learn how to better interact with each other and with you, our customers. We will be open our regular hours of 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday, September 24, and will reopen on Saturday, September 26, at 9 a.m. We will see you then!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Online Research FAQs that Our Customers Ask

    Tuesday, Sep 08, 2015

    By Dawne

    Here are a few of the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) that we get at The Genealogy Center Ask Desk about searching in online databases. Maybe the answers will help some of you remote readers, too!

    •    Why can’t I find anything when I type my name into

    The Ancestry website has two parts to its record collections – Public Member Trees that users have created, and a collection of historical record indexes, abstracts, databases, and images. For reasons of protecting privacy, no living people are included in what the public can view of the Public Member Trees. (Although if you are an Ancestry subscriber, you can see living people that you include in your OWN tree when signed into your own account.) Some of the historical record databases will include living people since the inclusive dates might be fairly recent. One example is the “California Divorce Index, 1966-1984.” Another is the 1940 census. So it is not likely that you will find information on yourself if you type your name into the search box at, unless it is in one of the historical databases that include more recent information.

    •    I am typing my grandfather’s information into (or and nothing’s coming up. Why?

    You might be including too much information in your search. It’s tempting to fill in all of the boxes on the Search screen in order to get the best possible match. The problem is, if you have checked the “match all items exactly” box, the records must match everything you have entered – exactly! So if you have entered your grandfather’s exact birth year, you will not get back census schedules because except for 1900, those don’t include an exact birth year; they include an age. If you have entered a county and state for a birth place, you will not get matches of records that include only a state of birth because they don’t match exactly what you have entered. Many times, “less is more,” especially with names that are not terribly common. Try including a first name (but not middle name or initial), a last name, a year of birth with +/- 2 years, and a state of birth, and see what results you get. If you get too many, you can narrow your search from there by including more information.

    •    I am looking for the marriage record of my great-uncle, who married in Fort Wayne in 1950. FamilySearch has a database of marriages for Indiana that covers 1811 to 2007. Why am I not finding the record I seek?

    Titles of databases often include beginning and ending years, but those usually represent the earliest and latest records included in the collection. The title doesn’t necessarily mean that the database includes all counties for all years in the title. Read the description of the collection to see what it does include. For example, on the search screen for “Indiana Marriages 1811-2007” at FamilySearch, you can click on “Learn more” to go to the FamilySearch Wiki and see a table of the counties that are included in this particular database. Then you can test the parameters of the database by searching a very common name, like “John” and the exact year you think the marriage you seek took place, with the exact county. If you get no results, the database might not include marriages for that year and county!

    •    I need an obituary for someone who died in the 1950s. Can I find that online?

    Again, maybe. The Genealogy Center subscribes to two newspaper databases that you can use when you are onsite. They are and Newspaper Archive. There are others, such as GenealogyBank, which The Center does not have that you might be able to access at your local library or through a personal subscription of your own. All of these sites have different newspapers for different time periods. When we are asked the question, “Which one is best?” our answer has to be – the one that includes the papers for the geographic area and time period you need! Another factor to know about newspapers online is that newspapers, like other published material, are governed by copyright law. Most of the papers that have been digitized and made available online are from the mid-1920s and earlier because those are no longer protected by copyright. There are some exceptions where the newspaper has given permission for its issues to be scanned and made available, so a 1950s obituary, while not the norm, is not out of the question. Do your homework to see which site will best suit your needs before subscribing!

    •    Can I buy an Allen County Public Library card if I don’t live in Allen County?

    Yes, you may. But there is no reason to purchase a library card for the Allen County Public Library as a genealogist unless you plan to visit The Genealogy Center more than 10 times in one year. A subscription card is $70 annually, and if you visit 10 times in one year, it will pay for itself by allowing you to scan your card to park for free. Except for free parking for ACPL cardholders, all other services to genealogists are equal for residents and non-residents alike. No one may check out a book from The Genealogy Center, because nothing from The Center circulates. Anyone may use the research computers when visiting The Center. Local cardholders log in with their library card number; visiting researchers get a guest pass at the Ask Desk. Anyone may access The Genealogy Center’s “Free Databases” from anywhere there is an Internet connection. No one – including ACPL cardholders – may access The Genealogy Center’s “Onsite Databases” (i.e., subscription databases like Ancestry, Heritage Quest, Fold3, remotely. They can only be accessed from within an ACPL building.

    Watch this space for another blog post about FAQs we get about books in the collection!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Closed September 6th & 7th

    Sunday, Aug 30, 2015

    The Genealogy Center, like all Allen County Public Library locations, will be closed on Sunday and Monday, September 6th and 7th in honor of Labor Day. We will be open our regular hours, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, September 5th, and will reopen on Tuesday, September 8th at 9 a.m. Enjoy the holiday!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • If You Are Only Browsing & Not Using the Catalog, You Might Be Missing Things!

    Friday, Jul 17, 2015

    By Dawne

    In The Genealogy Center’s previous incarnation on this site, most books in the collection were in “closed stacks.” That meant that patrons looked in the card catalog under the county name where their ancestors lived to identify books they wanted to see, and then put a call slip for each one into a tray. The call slip included the book’s call number and the patron’s seat number. Library staff called “pages” brought the books to the patron’s seat.

    Fast-forward to 2003, when the library moved temporarily to Renaissance Square a few blocks away during the Big Remodel. Suddenly there was enough room for books in Genealogy to be open-stack and patrons could browse! And virtually all of The Genealogy Center’s materials have been open-stack ever since.

    Being able to browse the stacks is mostly a good thing. We used to find that some of the established subject headings in the old catalog could be a bit misleading from the patron’s standpoint. The one that always comes to mind is “Registers of births, etc.” This subject heading was arbitrarily assigned to any book that had birth information in it. Many patrons submitted call slips for books they found with this subject heading, thinking they were requesting a birth records index. They didn’t realize that the card they saw was a subject card, not a title card, and that books with this subject heading did not necessarily pertain to birth records at all! In many cases, the book they received would be a cemetery transcription book.

    But there are also reasons that checking the catalog and not relying solely on browsing should be done. I will give you two examples:
    •    Family histories – You can browse by surname to look for published family histories on your surnames of interest. It is very convenient since they are arranged on the shelves in the Family History Room alphabetically by the main family name in the volume. The key word here is “main family,” however. Most published family histories include more than just one surname. Our catalogers have examined each book and cross-referenced it under other surnames that feature significantly. Sometimes this includes dozens of names in a single book – and that book is only shelved alphabetically under the one name. What if the name in which you have interest is one of the others? Search the catalog using the terms “Surname family” (with quotation marks, putting the actual name in place of the word surname) to identify books you might be missing by browsing.
    •    At the beginning of each state section in The Genealogy Center are any books that have a statewide or regional focus, or cover more than one or two counties in a single volume. This statewide section is followed by a section of books for each county in the state, alphabetically. If you are browsing the section of books for the county in which you have interest but have skipped over the state section, you might be missing some valuable material. One example: The Mid-Michigan Genealogical Society in Lansing published a series of “Occasional Papers.” Because these are a set, they are filed in the statewide books at the beginning of the Michigan section. However, these are not all statewide books. No. 10 is Abstracts of the Early Probate Records of Ingham County, Michigan, 1838-1869 (GC 977.4 M59 No. 10). If you browse in the Ingham County section without checking the catalog, you might never know The Genealogy Center has this volume of probate abstracts.

    All library catalogs are different. If you visit many libraries to do research, it can seem like a hassle to have to learn each system, particularly if the collection’s books are open-stack and arranged in a logical way. It can be tempting to just browse. But I would encourage you to do some catalog searching as well, just to be sure you don’t overlook something vital to your research.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • We're Closed But We Miss You!

    Saturday, Jul 04, 2015

    by Delia

    Yes, The Genealogy Center is closed for three days this Fourth of July weekend. The plan to be closed for three day straight was made before the decision was made to begin open hours on Sundays this summer. It was decided that we would be closed in observance of the Fourth on Friday July 3rd, then closed on July 4th as well. When Sunday hours came up, I think the decision was made that we would remain closed on Sunday July 5th because we were all excited about a three day weekend.

    So, yes, we relish our extra days of being closed and being off (no, no extra paid holidays) when family members are visiting and celebrating, and that extra sleep the day after all of the fireworks, whether you attend a show or just hear your neighbors shooting them off in their driveways, will be appreciated. But don’t think that we won’t miss you!

    For me, and I believe all of my colleagues here at The Genealogy Center, the best part of the job is hearing your research tangles and trying to figure out one more place to search for the information you need. One more way to figure out what happened to the man who went missing. One more idea on how to find that woman’s parents. One more notion of what happened to all of the children after their parents died. These are the human stories that drew us to our own family history in the first place, so we understand the desire to search and the satisfaction of finding answers that seemed out of reach.

    So enjoy the holiday! If you gather with family or friends, ask them to share their own memories. Even children have memories of past holidays and gatherings, and sharing memories may engender within them an interest in becoming part of the chain of family historians.

    We’ll see you on Monday, to start the search anew.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Closed July 3rd through 5th

    Thursday, Jun 25, 2015

    The Genealogy Center, like the rest of the Allen County Public Library facilities, will be closed Friday July 3rd through Sunday July 5th in observance of the Fourth of July holiday. We will reopen with out regular hours on Monday, July 6th. Enjoy the holiday and then get back to your research!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Open Sundays This Summer!

    Saturday, May 02, 2015

    In previous years, this is about the time we begin reminding all of our visitors that The Genealogy Center is closed on Sundays in the summer, but not this year! We are happy to announce that The Genealogy Center will be open our regular Sunday hours of 12 noon to 5 p.m. most Sundays this summer.

    We will be closed three Sundays this summer, however, all attached to holiday weekends: Sunday and Monday, May 24th and 25th, for the Memorial Day weekend; Sunday and Monday, September 6th and 7th for the Labor Day weekend; and three days for the Fourth of July weekend (Friday July 3rd, Saturday July 4th and Sunday July 5th). But that leaves twelve “extra” days to do research at The Genealogy Center!

    So make a weekend trip of your visit to Fort Wayne and The Genealogy Center!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Closed Sunday April 5th

    Wednesday, Apr 01, 2015

    The Genealogy Center, like the rest of the Allen County Public Library facilities, will be closed on Sunday, April 5, 2015 in observance of Easter. We will be open on Saturday, April 4th, our regular hours of 9A to 6P, and on Monday, 9A to 9P.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • The Genealogy Center Is on Instagram!

    Saturday, Mar 28, 2015

    By Dawne

    Those of you who have an Instagram account have another way to keep up with what is happening in The Genealogy Center – by following us, @GenealogyCenter, on Instagram. The Genealogy Center will post photos of groups that visit, news, items of interest, and more on its Instagram page.

    Unlike our other social media outlets like Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest, it’s not possible to get a “sneak peek” at an Instagram account without logging in. Instagram was designed as a smartphone and tablet app. Its usability is limited on a computer. If you wish to create an Instagram account so that you can follow The Genealogy Center, download the app on your smartphone or tablet from the iTunes or Google Play store. Then create an account, search on your phone or tablet for @GenealogyCenter, and follow us.

    Once you have an account, you can sign in on to Instagram on a PC, scroll through the photos that have been posted by those you are following, and locate one by The Genealogy Center. Then click on “The Genealogy Center” to the left of the photo and you will see all of our previous posts. On your smartphone or tablet, you can use the Search function (it looks like a magnifying glass) to search for us among the accounts you follow, or from your own profile, you can click on “following” to see a list of those you follow. These last two methods are not available from a computer.

    You can “like” a post on Instagram or add a comment on it from a smartphone, tablet or a computer. Follow us! 

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Inflation and Deflation at The Genealogy Center

    Friday, Dec 12, 2014

    by Delia

    Don’t we all love to complain about high prices? Remember when gasoline was under one dollar? When stamps were eleven cents? When a candy bar was a nickel! It seems that everything goes up in price, right?

    Not always, of course. When I was in college, a calculator from Texas Instruments cost over two grand! Eventually, they were freebies at the bank, and now, I’ve got one on my cell phone. And speaking of cell phones, they were expensive, too, until they figured out there was more money to be made in service charges. Now, you can get one almost for free (when you sign a contract). Technology has changed and become much less expensive.

    But there’s another bargain to which I want to call your attention. When I first started working at The Genealogy Center in 1983, it cost all of ten cents to photocopy a page from a book. Guess what, now, 30 years later, it costs *gasp* ten cents to photocopy a page from a book. That is 0% inflation. And you can scan copies for free if you bring a USB drive. And the cost of microtext copies has actually gone down. In 1983, a photocopy from microfilm or microfiche cost our customers a quarter. As of this writing, microtext photocopies are actually free!* And you can also bring a USB drive to scan and save images from these machines, too.

    There are lots of other free stuff available at The Genealogy Center. You can access Ancestry, Fold3 and other subscription databases for free while you are visiting The Center. Plus we have more than a million items in print and microform to use here for free.

    So next time you think about rising prices and the de-valuing of your dollar, remember that your money is actually worth more now than it was 30 years ago – at The Genealogy Center!

    * Technicians may figure out how to charge for microtext copies at any time, but the price will probably not be over ten cents when that does happen.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Keeping up with The Genealogy Center on Social Media

    Wednesday, Dec 03, 2014

    by Dawne

    We live in a great time for genealogy! It’s possible to do some significant amount of research from the comfort of our homes on our notebook or desktop computers, or from wherever we might go with our tablets and smartphones. We can also stay connected with family members and fellow researchers through email, social media and other tools on our portable devices. A third perk of the digital world is keeping up with favorite genealogical “entities” – like The Genealogy Center! – on social media so that we don’t miss anything!

    Are you connected to The Genealogy Center through these social media outlets?

    Blog – Since you are reading this, you have found The Genealogy Center’s blog. You can also subscribe to The Genealogy Center blog’s RSS feed.

    E-zine – Do you subscribe to The Genealogy Center’s free monthly electronic magazine, Genealogy Gems? Each issue features articles on two sources or websites, a preservation tip, a technology column, information about upcoming Genealogy Center events, information about local events of a genealogical or local history nature, and more. Also, you can reprint articles from Genealogy Gems in your local society’s newsletter, if you give credit to The Genealogy Center. You can have this information-packed resource delivered to your email inbox on the last day of each month by subscribing.

    Facebook – If you are on Facebook, you will want to “like” The Genealogy Center’s page. Find out what’s happening at The Genealogy Center, from seeing pictures of the groups that visit, to learning about upcoming events, and generally feeling like you are part of The Genealogy Center family!

    Instagram – The newest member of The Genealogy Center’s social media presence is Instagram. Follow us! We are GenealogyCenter.

    PinterestThe Genealogy Center posts all of its event flyers and more on Pinterest. Find us here.

    Twitter – And last, but not least – yes, The Genealogy Center is on Twitter! We have almost 1000 followers! Will you be the one to push us past that goal? Keep up with all of The Genealogy Center news while you are on the go by downloading the Twitter app on your smartphone and following us @ACPLGenealogy!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Closed Thanskgiving Day

    Sunday, Nov 16, 2014

    The Genealogy Center, like all Allen County Public Library facilities, will be closed on Thursday, November 27, 2014 for Thanksgiving. We will be open our regular hours of 9A to 9P on Wednesday, November 26th, and will reopen on Friday, November 28th at 9A. We hope you will enjoy the holiday and will be able to discuss family history and mysteries, and will then come in to visit us!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Celebrate Veterans Day -- Help Build Our Military Heritage

    Tuesday, Nov 11, 2014

    by Delia

    There are many ways that Americans honor our veterans, especially on November 11th, the day dedicated to honoring them. There are parades. Restaurants provide free meals to veterans. Various news media sources will highlight a specific veteran as an example. Everyone is doing what they can to show appreciation for all the vets did.

    The Genealogy Center honors all veterans by creating and hosting Our Military Heritage, dedicated to preserving records, stories and photos from all veterans, even yours! This webpage contains material from the Colonial era to present day, with records on specific soldiers or particular units, letters, diaries, photographs and memories as well as digitized books. If you have not had a chance to browse this site, do so today. If you have records, photographs or other military-related documents you would like to be included on the website, we welcome a chance to work with you.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • The Genealogy Center Closed Friday, October 3, 2014

    Tuesday, Sep 23, 2014

    The Genealogy Center, like other Allen County Public Library facilities, will be closed on Friday, October 3, 2014 for Staff Development Day. The Allen County Public Library Board is sponsoring the day to inspire and educate the 300+ employees. Classes include a wide variety, such as use of Freegal, and hoopla!, tours of the Lincoln Financial Foundation Collection and the Maker Lab, a presentation on African American pioneers in Fort Wayne, a class in CPR, a short history of the library itself and much more. Our hardest part, aside from choosing which classes to attend, will be that we will miss our wonderful research customers, but will be back and ready to assist on Saturday, October 4th, at 9 AM.

    So please, do not come to visit on Friday October 3rd, but do return on Saturday!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Does Anyone Really Know What Time It Is?

    Saturday, Sep 13, 2014

    by Delia

    When I moved to Indiana in the mid-1970s, I was amazed to learn that most of Indiana (like the states of Arizona and Hawaii) did not adhere to Daylight Saving Time. Each spring, the world shifted around Indiana going from Standard Time to Daylight Saving, with Indiana remaining on Eastern Standard Time, then, each fall, the country shifted again and Indiana stayed put. In effect, however, it seemed to non-residents that Indiana switched time zones twice a year: Eastern Standard Time from October to April and Central Daylight Saving Time from April to October. It was very confusing to my parents in Arkansas, since sometimes time in Indiana was the same as theirs, and the rest of the year it wasn’t.

    Once I started working in the Genealogy Department, the precursor to The Genealogy Center, I realized that many of our customers had the same problem: What time was it in Fort Wayne? Many got here too early, and had to cool their heels for 60 minutes before we opened at 9 a.m., or got here at 10 a.m., and wasted a whole hour when they could have been researching. A frustrating situation indeed. We tried our best to educate everyone who called, wrote or emailed, but there were still people who didn’t get the message.

    Then, in 2006, most of Indiana (except those areas around Evansville and Gary, which stay on Central/Central Daylight Saving Time all year) started following the rest of the country into Daylight Saving Time. Now we are Eastern/Eastern Daylight Saving Time, and one would think that that would solve the people of our customers being early or late for researching. However, we educated some of our customers all too well. There are still folks who show up early or late and are confused (still!) by Indiana’s time.

    So, you just think of what time it would be in New York or Ohio. That’s what time it is here. Or just call or email! We’ll be happy to give you the time of day!

    For more information on Indiana time, see's Indiana's Time Zones and Daylight Savings Time.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Open Sundays Starting on September 7th!

    Saturday, Aug 23, 2014

    The Allen County County Public Library's winter hours go into effect after Labor Day, which means that, starting on Sunday, September 7, 2014, The Genealogy Center will be open for your research pleasure from 12 noon to 5 PM each Sunday. When combined with our Saturday hours (9 AM to 6 PM), this makes a wonderful research weekend trip! So make plans today to come and visit!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Closed Labor Day

    Monday, Aug 11, 2014

    he Genealogy Center, like the other agencies of the Allen County Public Library, will be closed on Monday, September 1 for Labor Day. We will be open our regular hours on Saturday, August 30, and will reopen for our normal winter schedule on Tuesday, September 2nd.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Closed July 4th Weekend!

    Wednesday, Jun 25, 2014

    The Genealogy Center, like all agencies of the Allen County Public Library, will be closed Friday, July 4th and Saturday July 5th, in observance of the Fourth of July holiday. We will reopen on Monday, July 6, 2014, at our regular time of 9 a.m. We wish you a safe Fourth!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center