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  • 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

  • New Free Database Available

    Wednesday, Oct 22, 2014

    Transcriptions of loose pages from the Carmel Congregation of the Associate Presbyterian Church, near Hanover, Jefferson County, Indiana have been added to The Genealogy Center's Free Databases. Photocopies of these pages, which had been removed from the original congregation record book are at Indiana State Library, Indianapolis, Indiana, Genealogy Department. These loose pages, all that remain of the church's record books, were transcribed from the originals by Lt. Colonel John M. Anderson, USAF, in 1975, and entered into digital format by by Janeane Luby in 2007. The searchable index provides events such as deaths and removals, as well as baptisms which supply parents' names. This database illustrates how easily information can be added to our collections and made available to researchers everywhere.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • More Free Cemetery Databases

    Friday, Jul 25, 2014

    The last set of cemetery listings provided by Professsor Dawn C. Stricklin, MA of Southern Illinois UniversityMore MIssouri Cemeteries and her Department of Anthropology in Carbondale, Illinois. These cemeteries, which are all in Missouri, include Niswonger Church Cemetery in Cape Girardeau County; Glover Baptist, Graniteville, Mann, Russell, and Schwab cemeteries, all in Iron County; St. Michael's Cemetery in Madison County;  Lesterville and Walker Branch cemeteries in Reynolds County; and Thomas Chap/tman Cemetery in Washington County.  Our thanks to Professor Stricklin and her department for their efforts to preserve this information!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • More Cemeteries in Our Free Databases

    Saturday, Jul 19, 2014

    Eight new cemeteries  gathered and compiled by Dawn C. Stricklin, MA, of Southern Illinois University's Department of Anthropology in Carbondale, Illinois have been added to our Other States databases. They are Chapman Cemetery in Dent County, MO; Big Creek Baptist Cemetery and Crocker Stricklin Cemetery in Iron County, Missouri; Fredericktown Negro Cemetery in Madison County, Missouri; Swiney Cemetery in Reynolds County, MIssourih: Potosi Colored Cemetery and Trinity Colored Cemetery in Washington County, Missouri; and Bostick Cemetery in Jackson County, Illinois. Each citation includes photo(s) of the markers, even those that are illegible. Some of these cemeteries are large and others quite small, but kudos to the professor and her group for preserving this information, and our appreciation for allowing us to post this material on our website!


    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Evangelical Messenger Obituary Database Additions

    Wednesday, Jul 16, 2014

    Recently, 1939 entries have been uploaded to the Evangelical Messenger Obituary Database, bringing that collection to 178,883 records. The Evangelical Messenger was the English-language, weekly denominational publication associated with The Evangelical Church. This index now covers January 1848 through December 1939 and includes the names of the decedents and their spouses. There are more than 178,000 entries in this database. As with many of our Free Databases, more information is added on a regular basis, so check back frequently!


    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Additions to the Obituary Database

    Sunday, Jul 13, 2014

    New entries have been added to the Fort Wayne and Allen County Area Obituary Index, bringing coverage up to June 1, 2014! Additionally, staff and volunteers have been adding citations for local obituaries for the 1800s and early 1900s.

     

    You may search the database by exact name, choose to Soundex the name or do a “fuzzy search” (put in part of the name: Paul to get Paul, Paula and Paulette or Brand for Ahlbrand, Brand, Brandon and Brandt, among others). Once you locate a citation, you may request a copy to me mailed to you along with a bill for $2.50 per obituary by sending an email.

    If you are interested in local obituaries, it's time to recheck this wonderful database!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Additions to Our Military Heritage

    Friday, May 23, 2014

    Two new databases have been added to The Genealogy Center’s Our Military Heritage, both highlighting the 52nd Kentucky Mounted Infantry. The first is a searchable roster gleaned from Union Regiments of Kentucky, Vol. 3 by Capt. Thomas Speed (Courier-Journal Job Printing, 1897, pages 650-656), which was transcribed and reformatted by Jim Cox, who had allowed us to post it. Each listing provides name, rank, company, and the place and date the soldier mustered into the regiment.

    The second database, also provided by Jim Cox, is 52nd Kentucky Mounted Infantry, Company A, Pensioners. This alphabetical listing provides the names of the soldiers and widows who received pensions, and his or her state of residence, along with the date of application, and application and certificate numbers.

    Both of these are wonderful additions to Our Military Heritage and our thanks go to Jim Cox for his wonderful work!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • The Peter Graber Collection

    Friday, May 16, 2014

    A Review by John

    The Amish are a visible part of the rural community in northern Allen County, Indiana, and indeed throughout northeastern Indiana. Because this sect does not keep church records and has little written history, their story has not been told to any great extent. Some time ago, Josiah Beachey discovered in an attic a forgotten trove of historical letters, written in German, from various Amish congregations dating from 1848 to 1925. Many of the letters are connected to Peter Graber (1811-1896), an Old Order Amish bishop who moved from Stark County, Ohio, and established the sect in Allen County in the mid-nineteenth century. In translating these letters and bringing them into print in his book, The Peter Graber Collection (Hicksville, Ohio: The Author, 2012), GC 977.201 AL5grp, Beachey lifts the veil, at least a little, on the history of the Amish community.

    Letters in the book pertain to Amish communities in the following locations: Stark, Fulton and Wayne counties, Ohio; Adams, Lagrange, Daviess, Allen, and Howard counties, Indiana; and Johnson and Henry counties, Iowa. Some of the letters bear the signatures of multiple men, apparently elders in a particular congregation. They contain words of advice and encouragement and include the names of many congregation members, some of whom had committed various infractions. Sometimes the letters offer a glimpse into how the Amish coped with historical events outside of their control. For example, during the Civil War after the establishment of a draft, Peter Graber wrote from Allen County on 5 January 1864: “Precious children, now I want to let you know about the draft up to the present date, and no one knows what is going to happen, for one says they are going to start drafting today, others say they have put it off for 20 days, others say they won’t draft at all. So no one really knows what is going to happen.”

    Other letters deal with issues of church governance. Jacob Schwartzentruber of Johnson County, Iowa, wrote to Graber, “How many levels of confession or punishment do you have in your church?” He then outlines the steps for penance, including asking for pardon, standing up and making a public confession, and “the highest confession, on your knees, and taken with a handshake and the kiss of peace.”

    This volume makes an interesting addition to our collection of congregational histories and offers insights that deserve closer reading and attention.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Lindenwood Cemetery Listings Updated

    Thursday, May 08, 2014

    Thanks to the efforts of the members of the Allen County Genealogical Society of Indiana, we now have the Lindenwood Cemetery Index up to include 2013! Lindenwood is one of the largest and oldest cemeteries in Allen County with burials starting in 1860, and is listed on the National Historic Register. Many local pioneers and settlers are buried here including members of the Hanna and Hamilton families, as well as a few infamous folks, such as Homer Van Meter, but it’s the everyday ancestors whose citations can really help local family historians. Thanks to ACGSI for this great update!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Birth Record Substitute

    Thursday, Apr 17, 2014

    by Delia

    We all want to find birth records for our ancestors – nice, neat little forms that will precisely state the child’s name and birth date and place, along with the parents’ names. If we’re lucky, parents’ ages, occupations and birth places, the child’s weight and length, and the number of children the mother had already had might also be included. Alas, many states did not keep birth records until around the turn of the twentieth century, and even then, children born at home might not be registered with the county.

    There are many substitutes for birth records, but one that is a contemporary source created by the person who delivered the child, is the midwife’s record. Midwives records varied by the midwife herself, and most often contained the medical or financial notes of her practice, naming the mother, the father who would be financially responsible for fees, and medical notes on the birth. Some midwives also served in the role of doctor or nurse, so other injuries, illnesses and deaths may also be noted.

    Few of these records still exist, since when midwives ceased practice, their families often disposed of the records. But some did survive and may be available through various sources. The Genealogy Center has several of these records, in books and on microfilm. These are listed in the book catalog under the midwife’s name as well as the location in which she lived and practiced, or in the microtext catalog, under the location. Some records may also be found in the Periodical Source Index (PERSI), also under the midwife’s name, as well as the location, with the keyword “midwife.”

    It is also possible to locate midwives’ records through WorldCat’s advanced search, with a subject of “midwives,” and another subject of the location. You may wish to limit the format to “books” and “archived material” to be sure to locate material that may only be available in one particular location.

    Although searching WorldCat will aid you in locating manuscript material, you will also want to contact local and state historical societies and libraries to see if they hold any of these valuable sources.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • More Entries for the Evangelical Messenger Obituary Index

    Monday, Mar 31, 2014

    "The Evangelical Messenger" was a weekly newspaper published in the 19th and 20th centuries devoted to church news of The Evangelical Church in the United States. For many years, one of our great volunteers has devoted herself to indexing the obituaries appearing in The Messenger. These obituaries are rich in family information on the descendants, which may include maiden names, children, parents and residences, as well as much more, and are valuable to anyone searching members of this denomination. She has now sent yet another year (1937), which is now searchable! We thank her for this wonderful contribution!

    As an aside, she has single-handedly entered 173,356 citations into this database over the last few years. This is a great example of what one person can accomplish and contribute to family history.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Potawatomie Travel Journal of 1838 Now Available Online!

    Monday, Mar 17, 2014

    by Delia

     A new original document has been added to The Genealogy Center's Native American Gateway that details the journey of removal of a group of Potawatomie from Indiana to Kansas in 1838. Entitled “Journal of an Emigrating Party of Pottawattamie Indians from the Twin Lakes in Marshall County, Iowa (sic) to Their Homes on the Osage River in the West Territory,” this handwritten document details a journey known as The Potawatomie Trail of Death.

    By the 1830s, the federal government already was moving many Native American groups from all over the eastern United States to lands in the west. In the early 1830s, most of the Potawatomie had signed treaties and had already moved, but Chief Menominee’s band at Twin Lakes, near Plymouth, Indiana, refused to leave. Indiana Governor David Wallace instructed General John Tipton to utilize the Indiana Militia to gather the Band for the journey.

    The Potawatomie, conducted by William Polk, left their home September 4, 1838, and arrived at Osawatomie in eastern Kansas on November 8, 1838. The heat of late summer, the scarcity of water, and the poor quality of the provisions all contributed to make the reluctant emigrants miserable and susceptible to disease. Forty-two of the 859 Potawatomie died during the journey, and more died after arrival from disease facilitated by exhaustion. Deaths are recounted day by day, such as “A child died to-day” (September 10th), “A child died since we came into camp” (September 10th), and “A very old woman … died since coming into camp” (September 12th), but no one, other than chiefs, are identified by name.

    The typed cover of the bound photocopy that The Genealogy Center owns states that these Potawatomie were from Twin Lakes, in Marshall County, Iowa, but the handwritten, original cover properly says “…in Marshall County, IA.” The old abbreviation for Indiana, before Iowa was a state, was “Ia,” hence the error in transcription. Both covers further indicate that the journey was “conducted by Wm. Polk, Esq.,” and, written in a different hand, “Property of Judge William Polk, if called for. S.M.” It is assumed by some that Polk is the author of the diary, but that statement seems to be in dispute.

    It has been reported that the Allen County Public Library owns or owned the original journal. However, when queried by a customer recently, all the staff of The Genealogy Center could locate was the negative image photocopy that had been bound. When it was realized that we had such an important document, steps were immediately taken to digitize it and post it on our Native American Gateway page, both for preservation, but also to make the fascinating original document readily available to all.

    There are several online sources that can provide more information concerning this document, and the forced journey described, which I have used in the writing of this piece. They are The Pottawatomie Indians of Elkhart and South Bend, by Richard Dean Taylor (2005), the Indiana Magazine of History article on the event (December 1925, last updated 2012), and Wikipedia.

    Take a few moments to examine this original document to see the events of one who was there.



    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • New Family Resource Online - An Example of What's Possible!

    Thursday, Mar 06, 2014

    There’s a new set of records on The Genealogy Center’s Family Resources page: Kincaid and Related Families of North America. Containing more than 109,000 names, this new database is based on the research of Michael B. Clegg, Associate Director of the Allen County Public Library, and many other researchers who have shared information with him during the past 40 years of research. A simple name search is possible from the database’s introductory page as well as The Genealogy Center’s federated search (enter the surname in the “Search Our Free Databases” box on our homepage). One can also use the advanced search feature found on the collection’s introductory webpage.

    This wonderful addition to our collection is an example of how The Genealogy Center can help you preserve and share your own files. Utilizing the Next Generation of Genealogy Site Building Software, we can incorporate your GEDCOM-compatible files to create a searchable and viewable location for your research.

    If you are interested in contributing, please contact us at Genealogy@ACPL.Info for more information.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Presidential Genealogy

    Wednesday, Dec 04, 2013

    by John

    In many respects this month has been one to remember presidents. We have observed the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination. We also recall the many presidential proclamations establishing Thanksgiving as a national holiday.

    There is a great deal about our presidents to interest genealogists. A few of us can actually claim a president among our direct ancestors. Those presidents who have living descendants include the following: John Adams, Jefferson, Monroe, John Quincy Adams, Van Buren, William H. Harrison, Tyler, Taylor, Andrew Johnson, Grant, Hayes, Garfield, Cleveland, Benjamin Harrison, Theodore Roosevelt, Taft, Wilson, Harding (through an illegitimate daughter), Coolidge, Hoover, Franklin Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, George H W Bush, Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama. Others never had children (like Washington, Polk, and Buchanan) or have had their lines die out, including most notably Lincoln and Arthur. One, Andrew Jackson, has descendants (though not of his blood) through an adopted son, while Reagan’s only grandchild is through an adopted son.

    Even if you are not a direct presidential descendant, you may be related to a president through a common ancestor. Many presidents trace their ancestry who immigrants who arrived in the colonial era, and from them, many Americans also claim descent. The Genealogy Center has several books that attempt to trace exhaustively the known ancestors of presidents. Perhaps the best book is Gary Boyd Roberts’s Ancestors of American Presidents (2009 edition) (GC 929.11 R54ab). This work catalogs the ancestry of all of the presidents through Obama, contains kinship charts among presidents, and also shows the royal descents of some presidents. Craig Hart’s book, A Genealogy of the Wives of the American Presidents and Their First Two Generations of Descent (973 H251g), attempts to trace the ancestry of First Ladies, though this work is not as comprehensive as the Roberts book.

    If your interest is in the descendants of American presidents, you may wish to examine Burke’s Presidential Families (second edition, 1981) (929.11 B915), or American Presidential Families (1993) (929.11 Am352). The latter book lists descendants of collateral relatives of those presidents who do not have living descendants, but neither work is documented. Some presidents appear in larger published genealogies. For example, in 1990, the Theodore Roosevelt Association published The Roosevelt Family in America: A Genealogy (929.2 R67rf), an extensive genealogy of this extended New York Dutch family.

    New research is continually being published, and sometimes new discoveries are made with some fanfare, such as the discovery of President Obama’s Irish ancestry several years ago. In 2011-2012, Michael Thomas Meggison and R. Andrew Pierce compiled a multi-part article on descendants of Timothy Bush of Connecticut, the paternal ancestor of the Bush family, which continued over three issues in two volumes of The Genealogist (973.005 G2855), published by the American Society of Genealogists. Their research brings to light much new information about this colonial family, which, until recently, has not been fully investigated.

    The Genealogy Center has much to offer anyone wishing to determine if they have a presidential cousin, but be advised that being related to one doesn’t make you part of an elite club. Millions of Americans share kinship with at least one or two. The best part of being a relative is that you can sometimes benefit from the research on your family being done by these professionals.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • New African American Databases

    Tuesday, Nov 26, 2013

    Two new additions have been added to The Genealogy Center's On-Site Databases for those interested in African American research. African American Historical Newspapers offers nine distinct newspapers featuring the Atlanta Daily World (1931-2003), The Baltimore Afro-American (1893-1988), Chicago Defender (1910-1975), Cleveland Call and Post (1934-1991), Los Angeles Sentinel (1934-2005), New York Amsterdam News (1922-1993), The Norfolk Journal and Guide (1921-2003), The Philadelphia Tribune (1912-2001), and Pittsburgh Courier (1911-2002). When the database opens, click on the "Genealogy" link to access the newspapers. Researchers can find obituaries as well as political and society articles by searching for a person's name or keywords. Digital images of the articles are downloadable in a pdf format and and printable.

    Our Slavery and Anti-Slavery: A Transnational Archive database has recently been updated with a fourth collection covering the topic of emancipation. The site is searchable by name or keyword and offers an array of original documents, which are categorized on the results page as subject tabs on the top of the screen: Books and pamphlets, newspapers and periodicals, manuscripts, U.S. Supreme Court Records, and Reference. The digital images can be downloaded as a pdf or printed.

    These wonderful new resources are available to those who visit The Genealogy Center or a branch of the Allen County Public Library.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center