We’ve recently added more Allen County material to our Free Databases and they are all materials to view, even if you are not a Fort Wayne native!

School yearbooks are a wonderful source. Some of our most heavily used materials here in The Genealogy Center are the local yearbooks for the local elementary, middle (junior) and high schools. We have an almost complete collection of the high schools and most of the middle schools, but elementary yearbooks were not regularly collected or published until the latter half of the twentieth century. However, recently one of our volunteers came across the Harmar School Readiol for 1946. The yearbook was designed and produced by students, primarily on a mimeograph machine (remember sniffing the ink?). Included are brief histories of the area and the school, articles describing the year’s activities and student groups, lists of graduates from January and June, providing nicknames, pet peeves and ambitions for each graduate. Following that, there are pages of photographs of the graduates that are not mimeographed. Finally, there are jokes and advertisements for local businesses. Because of these last two sections, you get a history of the area, through the ads, and a feel for the culture, through the jokes, which were still heavy with humor rooted in World War II.

Another new addition is the St. Jude Catholic Church, History of the First Fifty Years, 1929-1979. This searchable document provides a history, list of priests and Sisters of Providence for the school, charter members, and photos of the First Communicant class of 1929 and graduating classes of 1930 and 1953. 

We have also added the 1957 Diocese of Fort Wayne Annual Manual. This searchable document contains a history of the diocese, lists of clergy, administrators, parishes, schools and missions, calendars and more. This is an extremely valuable resources for anyone searching Catholic church records in northeast Indiana.

The Twenty-fifth or Silver Anniversary of the Fort Wayne Orphan Home of the Reformed Church in the United States, published in 1908, does not list any children, unfortunately, but does list donors who helped retire the Home’s debt, supportive politicians and advertisements.

The 1953 Sears Grand Opening advertisement, for the new store at Clinton at Rudisill Streets, illustrates the new building and touts the highlights, like free parking and air conditioning, and information on the four days of sales, like a $30 full-length women’s coat, men’s leather coats for $14.88 and $99 chrome-plated dinette sets.

Finally, we have a collection of unidentified photos by Magnus O. Schoenherr, a Fort Wayne Photographer in the early 1900s. Most of the twelve photographs are single sitters, children, young men or women, but there is one couple and a group photo taken at Robison Park on August 1, 1909. Contact information is provided, in case anyone recognizes any of these people. Have a look and see who you might know!
 Robison Park