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  • Additions to Family Files and Resources

    Wednesday, Jul 01, 2015

    A few more family resources were posted to the Free Databases that might provide some clues for family historians.

    The first is the Hut Family Bible Transcription. The original Bible is now lost to this branch of the family, who do, however, own and shared an English translation of the German content written by Theodore Henry Hut, the eldest child of Ludwig and Addelhia Brandt Hut. The couple, Theodore and another, child, Johanna, came of the United States from Germany in 1837, and settled in Ohio. The Bible record is in narrative form and follows the Theodore, his parents, three wives and children through births, marriages and deaths. The item is truly a valuable document for the family and we are pleased it was shared with us, and you.

    The next item, transcribed and donated by Martha Bowes, is the Autobiography of Jane Ivison Scott Hanna, born about 1810 in Scotland and died in 1891 in Indiana. This account is dated 1877 and provides a fascinating look at her life before and after immigration.

    Shelley Cardiel found and “rescued” three photographs of the some of the children of Nicholas and Rosa Bauer Plain of Atlanta, Indiana. Ms. Cardiel also provided identifying information about the family through census and cemetery records, adding to the value of these photos.

    Barbara McCoy donated a copy of a family group record for the John Monroe Kirk family of Pennsylvania and Indiana, as well as an extended family photo taken in celebration of John’s 75th birthday in 1905. The photo features the descendants of John’s father and uncle, Jesse and Alexander Kirk.

    And last, Ms. McCoy also donated a family group record and family photos of Joseph Ray Guernsey and Flora Anderson Phrall, also of Indiana. There are several World War I photos of Joseph Ray, including one with a group of other (unfortunately unidentified) servicemen at Fort Dix in 1918. Take a look and see if you can identify any of the other men.

    We are very appreciative to be allowed to post these images, and welcome any that others may wish to contribute!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • More Free Military History Sources

    Sunday, Jun 28, 2015

    Several new items have been added to Our American Heritage recently that you might want to peruse. The first is a photograph of the tombstone of Henry F. Frizzell, Civil War Medal of Honor recipient. Along with the photograph is a link to the U.S. Army Center of Military History for brief biographies of Frizzell and other Medal of Honor winners.

    Also uploaded recently were video interviews with a number of Twentieth Century servicemen and their families including  Don Theurer, World War II Army Air Corps; Vicki Khouli, Ominous Odyssey from World War II; Korean War Veteran Chuck Layton; Vietnam War sailor Dana Failor; Vietnam War Marine Bob IhrieBernie Lee, 22-Year Marine Corps Veteran;  Phil Plasterer, 82nd Airborne during the Afghanistan and Iraqi Wars; and an interview with Gerard Willis of the Allen County Council of Veterans. These are a fascinating look at big wars from front lines perspectives.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Our First Free Database for North Carolina

    Wednesday, Jun 17, 2015

    We now have twenty-six states covered in our Free Databases with the recent addition of an occupational association program for North Carolina. Although the four page program of the 1935 North Carolina State Association of Colored Graduate School Nurses is small, it contains the names of about three dozen people who were involved with the Association or with the meeting that was held on June 6th and 7th at the First Baptist Church of High Point, North Carolina. Talks included “Surgical Technique,” by Miss M. R. Searcy and a case study by Miss M. K. Long of the State Hospital. Other activities included a garden party on the lawn on June 6th and a sightseeing tour followed by a dance on June 7th. This is a wonderful source for anyone searching African-American professionals in the mid-1930s.


    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Fort Wayne Church Scrapbooks Available Online

    Sunday, Jun 14, 2015

    Two local churches have allowed us to scan and post their scrapbooks to our Free Databases page. Included are three scrapbooks from First Baptist Church and five scrapbooks from North Christian Church, both from here in Fort Wayne.

    The First Baptist Scrapbooks contain all types of church activities and news from 1949 to 1995, including selected members’ obituaries and wedding announcements, bulletins and photographs. The North Christian Scrapbooks also contain bulletins, photos, accounts of various church activities and news items pertaining to the church or to its members. Although the scrapbooks are not indexed, the contents listings for each of these eight scrapbooks will provide a valuable guide to anyone searching for news or members of these churches.

    Thank you to these two churches for allowing us to make these great resources available!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Death-related Sources added to Free Databases

    Thursday, Jun 11, 2015

    To start off with one of our most popular databases, the Evangelical Messenger Obituary Abstracts database just keeps growing, and now covers 1848 to 1943 with a total of 188, 555 entries thanks to Anne Dallas Budd, Rita Bone Kopp and Sally Zody Spreng.

    A collection of Obituaries from the Sullivan Daily Times and the Sullivan Union, Sullivan County, Indiana have been added to the Free Databases. Consisting of more than 17,000 images, this material covers many of the years from 1920-2013. These records were compiled by Donna K. Adams, Paula Jewell, and Mark Brown of the Sullivan County Public Library Genealogy/Local History Department, who have kindly allowed us to post them.

    Jim Cox has again donated Jay County, Indiana cemetery records for our Free Databases page. Hillside Cemetery and seventeen other small cemeteries (Bear Creek, Holy Trinity, Mt. Vernon, New Mt. Pleasant, Pleasant Hill, Praise Chapel, Sager, Springhill, Stephen, Stevenson, Stratton, Wayman, Wells, Wentz, Whaley, Whicker, Whiteman).

    From Noble County,Indiana, we have posted 281 images from the Oak Park Cemetery Record Book and 2681 records of Oak Park Cemetery burial permits. These records  include Potter’s Field entries and a cemetery map.

    And the Genealogy Tracers of Cleveland, Ohio (Alfreda Spratlen Barnes, Clancy Ware-Simpson, David Simpson, Carmine Vaughn Stewart, Gwendolyn Wynne Strayhan, and Henrietta English-West) have provided an additional 357 memorials consisting of 1661 images of Homegoing Programs and Memorials.

    We are fortunate that all of these great people are doing this wonderful work of preserving various death-related records and making them available to anyone through our Free Databases.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Additions to Free Family Resources

    Monday, Apr 20, 2015

     What do you do with the various family materials that you have acquired or written over the years? Are they displayed on bookshelves at home? Shared with relatives? Or stuck away in a box in the garage? The Genealogy Center has obtained several items that can show you the types of material that we are happy to post on our free Family Resources page.

    "William McKendree Lambdin: A Pioneer Methodist Minister and Educator of Texas," by T. Bradford Willis, DDS was published in book format in 2000, but Dr. Willis has given us permission to post it on our website so that anyone can view it.

    The Irving Family Tree was compiled in 1980 by Ian Alfred Lyon with addenda by Jan E. Irving and James M. Irvine in 2013 and 2014. This family tree includes family members from the late 1600s to 2014.

    Mary Hayes Griffin Ancestors is another family tree that has been scanned for posting. Mary Hayes Griffin was born in 1913, daughter of Willard Carl Griffin and Teresa Elvira Briggs. This short volume goes back many generations, and then forward from Mary to her grandchildren.

    These three items have also already been cataloged in our "book" catalog, to facilitate location by other researchers.

    The last item is Memorial Records of Leota May, concerning Leota’s 1971 death, including pall bearers, a register of family and friends and floral tributes, communications with the Batesville Casket Company, and memorial, sympathy and wreath cards. Aside from the valuable family information is the insight into funeral practices in Indiana in the 1970s.

    These great items are just a few examples of what we have been allowed to add to our Family Resources page. Do you have some items you'd like us to include? If so, please contact us.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Free Church Record Databases!

    Friday, Apr 17, 2015

    Thanks to our donors, we have added several church records and histories to out Free Databases recently!

    First off, we have a Brief History of Austin Avenue United Methodist Church of Waco, Texas, provided to us by compiler T. Bradford Willis, DDS. We also have the St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church Register from Kendallville, Noble County, Indiana.

    Finally, for the first set of Free Databases for New Jersey, we have four registers for Lutheran churches in Trenton: Lutheran Church of the Redeemer Register 1967-1990s and Communicants, 1971-1991; Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church register, 1869-1889 and 1905-1956; Lutheran Church of the Saviour, 1899-1967; and Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, 1851-1967. All of these items were provided by William Mennel, and posted with his permission.
     
    As always, we are very appreciative of those who allow us to post material here, and we welcome others to do likewise.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • More for Our Military Heritage!

    Thursday, Apr 02, 2015

    Through the generosity of our customers, we have added more than 200 images to Our Military Heritage!

    James and Marilyn Leighty generously allowed The Genealogy Center to post “Charles Byron Burley, Company C, 141st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry” which deals with a group known as the Alexander Volunteer Militia from Alexander Township, Athens County, Ohio, and includes information on the Burley family of Athens County.

    Other Civil War records include pension and/or service records for George D. Barkalow, 134th Ohio; George W. Barkalow, 148th IndianaJames Barkalow, 134th OhioIsaac Biggerstaff, 64th Ohio;  and John M. Clark, 46th Indiana.

    And finally, Lois Stifel has allowed us to post the World War II photos and memorabilia of  naval officer Saul Corush who served on the USS Missouri during the Japanese surrender.

    Thanks to all of these folks who have allowed us to share their soldiers with you!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Free Databases Offer More Cemeteries

    Thursday, Mar 12, 2015

    Almost 9500 new cemetery listings have been added to our free databases in recent weeks, including information from the Midwest and South!

    Twelve cemeteries have been added for Kentucky for Anderson County (Sale Family Cemetery), Calloway County (Parker Cemetery), Campbell County (Ball and Beall Family Cemeteries), and Warren County (Bolling Springs, Crandel’s Chapel, Galloway, Goshen, Penns Chapel, Pioneer, Plum Springs, and Sand Hill Cemeteries).

    We have added thirteen cemeteries for Michigan in Alcona County (Twin Lakes Cemetery), Alger County (Deerton, Grand Island, Holy Rosary, Munising Township, Rose Hill, Serenity Pines Cemeteries), Alpena County (Hope Lutheran, King Settlement, Long Rapids, Sanborn Township, and St. Catherine Cemeteries) and a Native American Catholic cemetery in Baraga County.

    And twenty cemeteries have been added in Louisiana in Allen Parish (Akins and Arkadelphia Cemeteries), Ascension Parish (Richardson Methodist Cemetery), Beauregard Parish (Arnold, Barrow, Bivens, Brushy Creek, Dr. Ross Carter Baby, Felice, Frusha, Green-Oakland, Hagar, Hennigan, Highland, Holly Grove, Jayhawkers, Lone Oak, Lyles Private, Nix Ferry Cemeteries) and Evangeline Parish (Caney Creek Cemetery).

    We are also adding the first digital resources from three new states, with Gillham Cemetery in Allen County, Kansas; Antioch and Beasley Cemeteries in Barbour County, Alabama and Abney Cemetery in Bibb County, Alabama; and Grant Cemetery in Ashley County, Arkansas and Scull and Van Camp Cemeteries in Arkansas County, Arkansas.

    As with all of our cemetery records, you can browse the specific cemetery or use our federated search on our homepage to search all of our Free Databases at once.


    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • New Free Family Files!

    Wednesday, Feb 18, 2015

    Through the generosity of a number of individuals, three new and unique family collections have recently been added to our Free Databases Family Files and Resources. The first is Burden Family Reunion, minutes from annual meetings from 1899 to 1939. The Forbing Family Photos, earth twentieth century photographs (with identifying information from the reverse of the photos included) and post cards for the Frank Forbing family.

    The third collection is the George Ely Russell, Jr. Collection, whose research collection was donated to The Genealogy Center. Russell, a well-respected genealogist, maintained a collection of cards which recorded information on the wives and daughters of the extended Russell family. Russell Wives and Daughters is a searchable index to these scanned cards. This first installment includes more than 6700 cards, but more will be added as they are scanned. We thank George’s children for donating, and allowing us to make available, this valuable collection.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • New School Records in the Free Databases

    Thursday, Feb 12, 2015

    We family historians know that sometimes a school record, yearbook or souvenir may offer a vital clue in discovering more about an individual. We are pleased to add two school-related items to our Free Databases, and to expand an index for another.

    One can now see the Alumni Booklet for Latty High School in Paulding County, Ohio, which lists all graduates from 1901 to 1952. From the index page, one can browse the book or click on a specific name to go directly to that page.

    The Gilead High School Alumni News from Miami County, Indiana is also available. The Alumni Directory covers 1912 to 1954, It includes photos, a history of the school, and brief biographies of those students who died in service of their country.

    We have also added almost four thousand entries from 1958 North Side (Fort Wayne) High School yearbook to the Allen County High School Yearbooks Index, bring the total number of entries in that index to 85,213. Thanks to our volunteers who continue to add to this wonderful and useful database!


    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Baer Field Resources

    Tuesday, Feb 03, 2015

    Fort Wayne’s military air base was opened in 1941, after a frantic summer of construction of more than 100 buildings. During World War II, more than 100,000 service personnel were stationed there, and it continues to be home to the 122nd Fighter Squadron.

    The Genealogy Center has added several items to the Free Databases collection that recall Baer Field history and people. The first is Bear Field, 1941-1991: 50th Anniversary, which provides the history of the facility in a booklet published in 1991. Next is Baer Field Memories, photographs and souvenirs of the World War II era. Fifty Years in Fighters: A Tribute to the 122nd Fighter Wing Indiana Air National Guard is a digital copy of the souvenir program of the 1997 Open House for the 122nd which contains history and images. The last item is Pilot Briefing Folio, Troop Carrier Command, Baer Field, Ft. Wayne, Indiana, a 1942, then-restricted informational brochure provided to new pilots coming to Baer Field, which includes a security memo, advice to pilots, emergency procedures, and a map of Baer Field.

    All of these provide a fascinating look at the military in World War II and profiles a Fort Wayne historic site. Take time to enjoy these additions!


    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Louisiana Resources Available!

    Saturday, Jan 31, 2015

    The Genealogy Center is a long way from Louisiana, but we’ve never let distance stop us from collecting records, so if you are searching for ancestors in Allen or Beauregard Parishes in Louisiana, you are going to want to visit our free Other States Resources page to see the records for thirteen cemeteries which are now available. Donated by volunteer Jim Cox, the list includes Bond Cemetery and St. Michael African American Cemetery in Allen Parish, and Archie Clark, Burks, Foshee, Hoy, Peveto, Red Hill, Rigmaiden, Rougeau, Stretton, and Wingate Cemeteries and Squyres United Methodist Church Cemetery in Beauregard Parish. Each cemetery is browseable by itself, or can be searched through the federated databases search on The Genealogy Center homepage. Take a few minutes to examine these great new contributions!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • MORE Added Content to Our Free Allen County Databases

    Friday, Jan 16, 2015

    Two of our most popular collections in our Allen County Resources have had additions recently!

    Almost four thousand names have been added to the Allen County, Indiana Marriage Index, mid-1980s to September 2009, and the search capabilities have been expanded so that one can search by first names, as well as last, and using exact, fuzzy or Soundex. Copies of the applications are available in The Genealogy Center.

    Additionally, 19,630 obituaries have been added to the Fort Wayne and Allen County, Indiana Area Obituary Index 1841- Dec. 3, 2014. The index provides a citation for the obituary, and copies can be requested through the results website.

    Thanks to our wonderful volunteers who contribute their time to help us to grow these databases!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Don't Believe Everything You Read

    Friday, Dec 19, 2014

    by Sara

    When I first started working on my family history over 30 years ago, I was thrilled to find an already published book, The Kelloggs in the Old World and the New by Timothy Hopkins (hereafter referred to as the Kellogg book), that traced the line of my 3rd great grandfather, John Abel Kellogg (1842-1909), all the way back to an immigrant ancestor who came to the United States in the 1600s.  As new researchers, my mom and I were so excited to see our family (including the names of recent relatives) listed in this book, that we assumed it must be correct. Now as a more experienced researcher, I know that all information found in printed family histories should be verified independently, before accepting it as accurate, especially when the family history does not explain where the author obtained his information, as this book did not.

    I started to look over my old research on the Kellogg family recently and in the process, made a discovery that shook some of our previous beliefs (including our faith in the Kellogg book’s assertions) and has left us with a fair number of unanswered questions.
    I began by trying to find John, his parents Martin and Eliza (Eaton), and siblings Wealthy and Veron/Vernon Kellogg in the 1850 census. I found a John Kellogg age 8, living with his presumed grandparents, Thomas and Mary Kellogg in Huron County, Ohio, and a Martin Kellogg (right age and details) boarding with a Reaves family in Madison Co, IL (which agreed with the Kellogg book), but no trace of Eliza, Wealthy or Vernon Kellogg in this census year. Upon closer examination of the book, Eliza was supposed to have died on June 14, 1846, which would explain why the family seemed to have split up by 1850.  I checked Huron County, Ohio Cemetery Inscriptions to find out where Eliza was buried. There was a listing for Martin and Eliza’s 17 month-old daughter Mary E., who also died in June of 1846, but no tombstone for Eliza in the same cemetery or any other cemetery in the county. This seemed odd to me, although it is entirely possible that she had a stone at one time that has since been lost to the ravages of time, or that her stone was missed or misread in the cemetery inventory. So, I continued to research this family.
    Imagine my surprise to find Abel J. (John), Wealthy and Vernon in the 1860 census in Huron County, Ohio with an Eliza Kellogg, born 1818 in Vermont, as head of the household! Could this person be their mother? Censuses before 1880 did not state the relationships of persons living in the same household. Further investigation turned up other sightings of a mysterious Eliza Kellogg. In the 1850 census, Elija [Eliza?] Kellogg, born 1818 in Vermont, was listed with the Hiram Curtis family in Huron County, Ohio.  Her vital details indicate she was probably the same person as the 1860 Eliza Kellogg, but mistakenly transcribed by the census indexer at Ancestry.com as “Elija.”

    Son John Abel Kellogg moved to Barry County, Michigan by 1870. In the 1870 and 1880 censuses of Barry County, there was an Eliza Kellogg who lived in the County Poor House. In 1870 she was listed as born in 1830 in Ohio and a pauper, and in 1880 she was listed as from Baltimore Township (where son John lived) and ill with “scroffulia” [sic] or scrofula (a type of tuberculosis of the skin), no birth date or place given. No other Eliza Kellogg was enumerated in Barry County before or after these years. Between 1880 and 1894, son John moved to Montcalm County, Michigan. And oddly enough, an Eliza Kellogg, born 1821, place unknown, died in the Poor House there in 1896 of erysipelas (a skin infection).  No other Eliza Kellogg was found in online Montcalm records, except for a couple of Elizabeth Kelloggs who were married in that county, but with ages inconsistent with our Eliza.  Were these sightings coincidental; or were one, some or all of the Eliza Kelloggs that we found after our Eliza’s supposed death in 1846, actually the mother of John Abel Kellogg? I lean toward believing that they were all the same woman, but clearly more research is needed.

    If even one of these Eliza Kelloggs was our John’s mother, then the Kellogg book that we placed so much reliance on was either misinformed about the family details or tried to deliberately mislead readers about the fate of Eliza Kellogg.  Another fact that the Kellogg book may have gotten wrong is Eliza’s maiden name. The book says it was Eaton, but the only likely marriage record found in Ohio for this couple was for a Martin Kellogg and Eliza Payn(e) in Huron Co. Ohio in 1839.  There were multiple Martin Kelloggs in Huron County, but which one married Eliza Payne? What was our Eliza’s correct maiden name? Could she have been an Eaton who was married previously to a man named Payne?  More mysteries to solve.  

    Without a doubt, we have proven again through this incident that genealogical information found in published family histories should be verified, rather than accepted as gospel truth, especially when sources are not cited. Family histories or online family trees can be used as a great starting point for one’s research, but then the real work of proving or disproving the information found begins. My work will continue as I seek the truth about Eliza Kellogg and fact-check the remainder of the pertinent Kellogg information listed in the book.


    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • War of 1812 Pensions - Forever Free

    Saturday, Nov 29, 2014

    by Delia

    The War of 1812 seems to be a forgotten period in our nation’s history. It doesn’t have the single-minded goal of independence that the American Revolution had, nor did it have as many participants, as did the Civil War. It’s buried between the two wars, and to many people, may seem rather vague – something about not letting the British take American sailors, or something.

    It was, of course, much more important than many realize, cementing America’s solidarity and freedom, laying the groundwork for Texas’s war for liberation and the war with Mexico that followed a decade later. The soldiers of the War of 1812 were the second generation of leaders and pioneers of this country, people and families that existed in a time where information may be scarce.

    The pension for those soldiers, applied for and granted many decades later, may offer the keys to unlocking family mysteries. Until now, those pensions were decaying files in the National Archives in Washington, D.C., accessible only in person or by mail.

    Thanks to the combined efforts led by the Federation of Genealogical Societies, and supported by many genealogical focused companies, such as Ancestry and Fold3, these pensions are being digitized and made available FOR FREE! FOREVER! Anyone may search, browse, read, download and print these records from the Fold3 website at no charge. As of this writing, pensions by state or service are available through surnames that begin with the letters A through J, and their efforts continue on a daily basis.

    These efforts are supported by the genealogical community and fueled by the interest of you and other genealogists. Every dollar that is donated will be matched by Ancestry.com. This means that every dollar you donate becomes two for the Preserve the Pensions program. There are still more than half the files left to preserve and digitize. Take a moment to visit the Preserve the Pensions website and donate to this worthy cause. Preserve the Pensions! Make them Free! Forever!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Martin Family Reunion Photo: A Saga of Cooperation

    Sunday, Nov 23, 2014

    by Delia
     
    Recently, a photo was donated to The Genealogy Center’s Family Resources page. It was of the 1916 reunion of the Martin Family of Allen County, Indiana. Accompanying the photo was a newspaper clipping that named the attendees, but did not identify each person in the photo by name. Much as all of us would like to fully identify each and every aspect of a source before we post it, the question came down to post it right away or wait until it was fully sourced, which might be years, or never! The Genealogy Center decided to go with the former option and posted the photo along with a transcription of the accompanying article. The article is indexed through the federated search on The Genealogy Center’s homepage. We decided that anyone interested in the Martin family would be happy just to see the photograph and read the names, even if the two were not correlated!
     
    What we did not anticipate was the depth of interest of one descendant of the family. A few weeks ago, we were contacted by Steve Weaver, the grandson of Margaret Jesse Martin, who was 16 years old in 1916 when she and her family posed for this photograph. Mr. Weaver worked with many members of the family and succeeded in positively matching all but three of the figures in the photograph with the names in the article, and provided possibilities for those undetermined figures as well. He numbered each figure on an outline sketch, then provided names and other biographical information on each of 79 people pictured, as well as supplying a larger image of the original photograph. Both photos, the newspaper clipping transcription, the identifying sketch and the biographical material are now on our Family Resources page.
     
    We would not have this image or any of the information without the original contribution to the Family Resources files that piqued the interest of Steve Weaver. But without his determination to identify his family members, the image would be just an image, and not a resource to anyone researching the Martin or its collateral families.
     
    This is the way family research, as well as our collection, grows: Through large and small contributions from many people. You, too, can contribute your family resources for all to see and use by visiting our Donation Options page.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Elements of Genealogical Analysis

    Thursday, Nov 13, 2014

    by John

    A number of guidebooks about analyzing genealogical records have appeared in print over the last quarter century. All of them have proven valuable for helping genealogists develop better skills in assessing the records they uncover in doing research. The pioneering work of this genre is Noel C. Stevenson’s "Genealogical Evidence: A Guide to the Standard of Proof Relating to Pedigrees, Ancestry, Heirship, and Family History" (GC 929 St48gen). Stevenson, a lawyer, used legal terms such as “hearsay” and “preponderance of evidence” to assess the quality of genealogical records, and he provided methodologies for developing proof arguments.

    Christine Rose followed Stevenson with "The Genealogical Proof Standard: Building a Solid Case" (GC 929 R719geb). Her work set forth a new set of principles for evaluating evidence that resonated through the genealogical world and became a benchmark for the standards endorsed by the Board for Certification of Genealogists. The current BCG website defines the Genealogical Proof Standard succinctly as follows: 
    1. A reasonably exhaustive search
    2. Complete and accurate source citations
    3. Analysis and correlation of collected information
    4. Resolution of any conflicting evidence, and
    5. A soundly reasoned, coherently-written conclusion.

    Genealogists seeking both a path for solving genealogical problems and writing well are encouraged to follow these five steps. Subsequent works, including "Evidence Explained" by Elizabeth Shown Mills (GC 929 M624ea) and "Mastering Genealogical Proof" by Thomas W. Jones (CG 929 J71m), have built on the GPS’s foundation. "Mastering Genealogical Proof," published last year, expounds on each of its five elements, providing readers with sets of questions to ask and concepts to understand when evaluating a record. Mills’s book remains the definitive tool for citing that evidence coherently and completely in a footnote.

    This year, a new book on this topic presents a somewhat divergent model for evaluating evidence: "Elements of Genealogical Analysis" by Robert Charles Anderson (Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2014), (GC 929 An2e). As the long-time head of NEHGS’s Great Migration Project, Anderson has earned respect for the caliber of the research methodology he has employed in evaluating evidence for his project. The Great Migration is a prosopography published in multiple volumes that traces every known settler arriving in New England to the year 1635. Considered a ground-breaking work, the series has uncovered many new records while also dispelling and disproving many false claims widely circulated in print.

    In "Elements of Genealogical Analysis," Anderson sets forth the process of evaluation that he has used so effectively with the Great Migration Project. It is, as he says, “a book about how to solve genealogical problems.” He begins by setting forth two fundamental rules to genealogical research:
    1. “All statements must be based only on accurately reported, carefully documented, and exhaustively analyzed records.”
    2. “You must have a sound, explicit reason for saying that any two records refer to the same person.”

    Anderson’s first rule can be compared with the first two tenets of the Genealogical Proof Standard: a Reasonably Exhaustive Search and Complete and Accurate Source Citations. The second rule, while not elucidated specifically in the GPS, is nevertheless subsumed by “Analysis and Correlation of Collected Information.” Indeed, even though Anderson offers readers a new model or paradigm, some of "Elements of Genealogical Analysis" can be found in other forms within the GPS.

    In the body of the book, Anderson lays out the heart of his methodology. He identifies a set of three tools (source analysis, record analysis, and linkage analysis) and a five-step sequence for solving genealogical questions. He defines a “source” as a coherent group of records created by a single entity or person; a “record” as that portion of a source that pertains to a single event; and “linkage analysis” as the process of studying two different records pertaining to a name and determining whether they pertain to the same person or two or more different people.

    The first step of Anderson’s problem-solving sequence is “Problem Selection,” identifying the genealogical problem you are trying to solve. This step may seem intuitive, but untying a complex knot into its component threads often brings to light multiple problems, not just one, to be solved. Resolving each one separately is essential to solving the whole.

    His second step is “Problem Analysis,” in which one examines everything known about the problem, including gathering and evaluating the previously-published work of other genealogists relating to the problem, and considering all assumptions others have made about it. Again, Anderson urges genealogists to “pick apart” that work into its most basic components. While not unlike the third element of the Genealogical Proof Standard, Anderson brings to bear some of his own scientific training as a former molecular biologist by advocating that genealogists deconstruct or perform “a reverse linkage analysis” with each problem, while at the same time creating a plan for collecting new data. By stripping away previous conclusions by others, whether they involve the form of a name, an ascribed date, a place or event, one can often find new ways of looking at each component.

    The third step of Anderson’s five-part plan is “Data Collection,” when one puts the newly-formed research plan into action. This step is crucial for finding a resolution and may involve seeking what he terms “external knowledge,” using all appropriate finding aids, and considering the record density of the time and place being researched. A full examination of all archival sources, including the most original copy of a record, is a crucial part of this step. The researcher will need to make sure that every record is accurately reported and documented so that a proper citation can be made (Step 2 of the Genealogical Proof Standard).

    Anderson’s fourth step, “Synthesis,” involves his linkage analysis tool - essentially creating what he terms “bundles” of two or more linked records and determining whether they pertain to the same person. This step is akin to Steps 3 and especially 4 of the Genealogical Proof Standard, “Resolution of any Conflicting Evidence,” though Anderson’s linkage bundles offer a slightly different twist from the way Jones presents Step 4 in Mastering Genealogical Proof. Here Anderson assumes that the researcher has already weeded derivative sources and secondary evidence at the “Problem Analysis” stage, while Jones advocates doing so later in the process. Anderson provides numerous examples of linkage bundles and resolved problems drawn mostly from his colonial New England research. 

    His fifth and final step, “Problem Resolution,” emerges as a direct result of the synthesis and linkage analysis, the point where the researcher reaches a defensible conclusion based on the connections made after a careful study of the bundled records. This step, while similar to the fourth element of the Genealogical Proof Standard, lacks the writing component imbedded in the GPS’s fifth element, “a coherently-written conclusion.” Advocates of the GPS emphasize the physical act of writing – developing written proof summaries and arguments and honing them a clear writing style – as integral to the process of solving a problem, a way of gathering one’s thoughts while interpreting the evidence. By contrast, Anderson does not address writing at all in his five elements, even though it is in some respects implicit in his process. The difference is that Jones and other advocates of the GPS embrace the act of preparing a cogent proof argument as essential, not ancillary, to a problem’s resolution.

    In spite of these minor differences, "Elements of Genealogical Analysis" is not in conflict with "Mastering Genealogical Proof." Readers are not forced to choose one system over the other or to say that one is “right” and the other “wrong.” Anderson’s book offers a new model, a reshuffling of some elements of the Genealogical Proof Standard, which can be useful for any genealogist seeking new ways of analyzing a problem. There should be room for both volumes on the shelves of any genealogical library.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Be Careful What You Ask For

    Friday, Nov 07, 2014

    by Delia

    I’ve had this experience several times, both while working with a customer here at The Genealogy Center, and while looking up information as a favor to a “friend of a friend.” In the personal realm, my friends know that I have an interest in genealogy and that I know how to find information. On occasion, one of my friends has had a friend with a mystery in his or her family tree. It might be a grandmother who left her husband and children. Perhaps there’s a father who deserted the family. Maybe it’s an uncle about whom no one ever talks. It could be almost anyone, and it might be at any time in the past. The situation usually has gone that my friend introduces me to the other person and I hear the mystery and am set upon the trail.

    Most of the time, the tale is at least vaguely sad – a family torn apart, or a light-lipped mystery can eat at a person until he or she just has to know the truth. I can be saddened by these stories, but for me they are usually just a mystery to be solved. For me the question is, “Can I figure out a way to find out what happened?” I may discuss the issue with my friend’s friend, suggesting several ways to dig into the story. Sometimes they have to do it because as much as I might want to, I can’t afford to request and pay for documents for anyone but my own family. But sometimes, such as when I am working with a customer in The Genealogy Center, I have access to books and online documents that will solve the mystery. I may discover the runaway actually lived right in the next county until death and, although his family never acknowledged him, they almost certainly knew where he was all the time. I might stumble across a bigamist salesman with a wife and family at either end of his route. I might discover a military deserter or an illegitimate child raised by her grandparents as the sister of her birth mother.

    I am pragmatic about the stories in my own family. Yes, it was sad that my grandmother’s parents died and that she and her siblings were parceled out to friends and relations in various states. But if my grandmother had not been adopted by childless friends in another state, she might never have met and married my grandfather. Then where would I be? I consider that the wife left by her husband was able, through grit and determination, to make sure her children were educated and had a good start in life. The illegitimate child raised by grandparents grew up within a loving family with a doting “aunt.” The deserter lived to father children.

    However, to those not already steeped in genealogy and history and accustomed to finding these “blemishes,” such findings may be disturbing. A couple of times, my friends’ friends have called a halt mid-search, deciding that they really don’t want to know. I respect that, but I try to remind them that the mistakes of our ancestors, and the injustices they faced, are in the past. Yes, ripples may still be in our ponds, but do not have to drown us with sorrow. Anyone who wishes to delve into his or her family roots needs to realize that there may be mud there. Be careful of what you ask for – you might find something different than you wanted to know!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Another Set of Allen County High School Yearbooks Indexed!

    Tuesday, Oct 28, 2014

    The Genealogy Center's Free Databases have long hosted an index to the yearbooks of Central High School (1914-1971), Central Catholic High School (1915-1972) and South Side High School (1923-1974 and 1976-1994). Through the work of volunteers from the Allen County Genealogical Society of Indiana, more than 72,000 records have been added to the database from the North Side High School "Legend," covering the years of 1929-1936, 1938-1939, 1941-1946, 1948-1950 and 1953-1956. The index supplies names of students and faculty, school and yearbook title, year and page numbers. Surnames are also searchable from the Free Database's federated search on The Center's homepage.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center