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  • Free Family Resources!

    Saturday, Nov 07, 2015

    Thanks to our wonderful contributors, additions to our Family Resources database continue to be posted to our Free Databases site.

    Jane Thompson Kuitems has allowed us to post Benjamin Thompson, an Early Settler of Penfield, New York and Samuel Thompson and Grizzil Ingalls of Uxbridge, Massachusetts. Both are name and keyword searchable and both are filled with detail and richly documented.

    Ewing Family File, published by The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding and available through The Genealogy Center, indexes the almost 6500 individuals in the Ewing Family Association & Related Materials that we have had on our site. Using this index, one may search by name, or select an advanced search and locate a person by birth, christening, death or burial dates or places, or by spouse’s name.
    And, finally, Brian Paul Kaess has sent corrections to Notes on the Kaess Family, which has been added to what he had already submitted.
    Our thanks for these donations!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Abstracts of Title, Allen County, Indiana

    Tuesday, Nov 03, 2015

    At this time, when a piece of property exchanges hands, a title search company researches the deed, looking for any legal impediments to clear title of the property. These impediments include any legal action in which the current or past owners may have been involves, such as law suits, probate cases and liens on the property. But in the past, an abstract of the title, detailing the history of the property to that point, was passed with the deed to the new owners or mortgage holders. In the past thirty years, these abstracts have fallen out of use. Some owners still passed them along, but the new owners may not have understood the significance of the abstract which many ended up in the attic, or worse, in the trash. Many of these have been donated to The Genealogy Center in the past and can be found through our catalog and can be found by searching on “Allen County Indiana” plus abstract plus the addition or location, such as Elzey’s.

    However, the most recent donations, consisting of 43 from all across the county, have been scanned and are available online under Abstracts of Title, Allen County, Indiana. There is no index to the names contained in them at the time, but can be located by addition name, section and or lot number. If you are searching for a property in an addition for which we have an abstract, much of the earlier information will be identical from one abstract to another. For example, there is one for Walden Addition that consists of more than 100 pages and includes details of the exchange of property from the beginning to the 1970s, including law suits, probate and inheritance details and a petition to widen Trier Road. If you are doing family history on any of the families involved in these properties or doing house research in any of these additions, these are an important source. If you have an abstract gathering dust at home, please remember that we would be happy to add it to our collection!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Last Week of Family History Month!

    Friday, Oct 23, 2015

    Ah, the last week of October brings the end of Family History Month, but first, we have a week full of events and opportunities!

    Sunday, October 25, starts off with John Beatty sharing his knowledge about “Ancestry’s Public Member Trees: How to Explore, Evaluate, and Add Value.” This talk will explore some of the benefits and pitfalls of the Public Member Trees and will offer advice on how to make your own Tree outstanding. Be there, 1-2 p.m., in Meeting Room A.

    Kay Spears concludes her computer assistance series with “Mysteries of Microsoft for Beginners: Excel, PowerPoint and Access” on Monday, October 26, 6:30-8:30 p.m., in the Computer Classroom. Explore Excel, PowerPoint and Access and how you can use them, with helpful hints on some things you should do, what each program does, and some of the things to avoid. Register early. Space is limited. Call 260-421-1225 or send an email to register.

    Tuesday, October 27, offers “Finding Billy Yank and Johnny Reb: Beginning Research on Your Civil War Soldier,” 6:30-7:30 p.m., in Meeting Room A. Join Delia Bourne and learn about service records, pensions, regimental histories, salt lists, questionnaires and more to help you discover your Civil War soldier.

    Melissa Tennant will present “City Directories: More than Basic Facts,” 6:30-7:30 p.m., Meeting Room A on Wednesday, October 28. City directories provide more than just a name and address for a particular year. Discover the stories held within these volumes.

    Thursday, October 29 we will have John Beatty with “Death Heads and Clasped Hands: Cemetery Symbolism and Iconography for the Genealogist.” Many tombstones of the past had icons and carvings that had deep meaning at the time but are lost on us today. This talk will explore some of those symbols and offer a guide on how to interpret them. Be in Meeting Room A, 6:30-7:30 p.m.

    Friday, October 30 brings our “Midnight Madness Extended Research Hours,” 6 p.m.-Midnight, in The Genealogy Center. You know you've always wanted to stay to research after everyone else leaves! So stay until Midnight to research and celebrate the end of another great Family History Month! As an added bonus, we are also offering three mini-programs:
    6:30 p.m. – “Family Connections via Facebook,” presented by Melissa Tennant. Discover a place where everyone wants to hear your latest genealogical discovery or help you find the answer to your latest family query. Learn how family connections and an entirely new genealogical community is waiting on Facebook.
    7:30 p.m. – “What Can I Find in The Genealogy Center’s Free Databases?” Curt Witcher will guide you on a tour of the many useful resources available for free on
    8:30 p.m. – “Seeking Michigan Ancestors?” Kris Rzepczynski will explore search strategies and the growing array of genealogically rich Michigan resources available for free at Seeking Michigan ( Current content includes death records from 1897-1939, The Detroit News card index, state census records, and Civil War enlistment records.
    Note: No preregistration is necessary for Midnight Madness, but you must be in The Center by 6 p.m. You may leave at any time, but there is no re-admittance. Call 260-421-1225 or send an email for more information.

    Saturday, October 31, brings the end of Family History Month by presenting one last program, “Success with Fold3,” presented by Delia Bourne, 10-11 a.m., in the Globe Room. Millions of documents await discovery at Fold3! Learn how to browse and search records in this premier collection of military records, newspapers, and city directories.

    And don’t go anywhere! WinterTech is right around the corner!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Photo Detective Maureen Taylor Visits!

    Sunday, Oct 18, 2015

    Maureen Taylor brings The Photo Detective Seminar to The Theater on Saturday, October 24, 2015. All are welcome to this free event! Sessions are:

    9:30-10:30 a.m. "Identifying and Dating Family Photographs"

    Audiences love this interactive lecture on discovering who’s who in their family pictures. They’ll learn 10 easy steps for naming those unidentified pictures tucked away in shoeboxes.


    11 a.m.-Noon. "Buns, Beards, Bodices and Bustles: Understanding Ancestors through Clothing"

    • Ancestral fashions and the industry that produced them left behind a fascinating legacy of images and information.
    • Paris fashion in America: north, south, east and west interpretations
    • Fashion icons from Charles Dickens to stage star Lillie Langtry
    • Fashion foibles and practical pastimes: how our ancestors designed and hand-crafted accessories.
    • What’s old is new and what’s new is old? Repeating fashion trends and how to read the clues
    • Labor records relating to hat, hair and accessory factories and home-work

    2-3 p.m. "Google Images and Beyond"

    Add new photographs to your family album by learning a few basic search techniques. A single photo can connect you to new genealogical data and a network of information.


    3:30-4:30 p.m. "Eight Steps to Preserving Your Family Photographs"

    Photo preservation basics from storage to labeling and everything in-between. Each step includes low-cost solutions that won’t bust your budget.


    Reserve your spot by calling 260-421-1225 or sending us an email.


    Maureen is also available for private, paid Consultations on Friday, October 23, 2015, from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. You must pre-register for these Consultations at her special event rate through her Eventbrite site

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • More for Family History Month!

    Friday, Oct 16, 2015

    Kay Spears will start the week on Monday, October 19, 2015, with “The Mysteries of Microsoft for Beginners: Microsoft Word.” Explore the basics of creating a manuscript using Microsoft Word, including techniques on the manipulation of photographs and images, with helpful hints for preparing a book for printing. Be there, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Computer Classroom. Register early. Space is limited. Call 260-421-1225 or send an email to register.


    On Tuesday, October 20, 2015 Sara Allen will help you with “Making Sense of Your DNA Test Results” at 6:30-7:30 p.m., in Meeting Room A. Have you taken a DNA test for genealogical purposes? Learn the basics of how to interpret and understand your results, then move forward with your research using this new-found information.


    Wednesday, October 21, 2015 will see the monthly meeting of the Allen County Genealogical Society of Indiana’s Genealogy Technology Group, 7-8:30 p.m., in Meeting Room C. Genealogical research is enhanced by using computers, iPads, tablets, smart phones and other devices, as well as social media. ACGSI  invites everyone to attend this free open discussion about anything related to Internet research, computers, social media, software, websites, genealogy programs – and more – and how they enhance our genealogical research. Bring your questions and problems.


    Curt Witcher will discuss “Online Resources off the Beaten Path: A Look at NUCMC, DPLA, and other Alphabetic Soup Bibliographic Sites,” on Thursday, October 22, 2015, 6:30-7:30 p.m., in Meeting Room BC. With so much information online, often bibliographic sites of great importance for genealogists are overlooked. The National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections, the Digital Public Library of America, and other mega sites will be explored.

    To register for any of these free events, call 260-421-1225 or send an email.


    Keep watching to see what’s up for Friday and Saturday. Or go ahead and check the brochure!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Family History Month Continues

    Friday, Oct 09, 2015

    Kay Spears starts off Week 3 of Family History Month with Part 2 of her “Basics of Adobe Elements Workshop,” on Monday, October 12, 2015, 6:30-8:30 p.m., in the Computer Classroom. Remember to bring copies of photographs on a USB (“flash”) drive for hands-on instruction. Space is limited. Call 260-421-1225 or send an email to register.

    Is DNA all Greek to you? Come and learn about the three major tests for genealogists - the Y-DNA, mtDNA, and autosomal tests when Sara Allen presents “Introduction to DNA for Genealogy,” Tuesday, October 13, 2015, at 6:30-7:30 p.m., in Meeting Room A. By the end of the session, you will know how to use DNA testing to enhance your traditional genealogical research.

    The Allen County Genealogical Society of Indiana meets Wednesday, October 14, 2015 at 7:00 p.m. in Meeting Room A. This month’s offering is “Diaries, Journals, and Day Books,” presented by Rodney Scott. When in the process of our genealogical research, if we are fortunate to uncover a diary or journal, there is an explosion of information about our ancestors. The style and type of these documents are reviewed with outlines of how such items can be created for your own family histories. All are welcome.

    Curt Witcher will provide a basic preservation presentation on how to care for paper documents, photographs, and numerous heirlooms on Thursday, October 15, 2015 in “So What Do I Do With This? Caring for Family Documents & Keepsakes.” Be there 6:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m., Meeting Room A as both processes and products are shown.

    Are you at a loss when it comes to using The Genealogy Center’s new microfilm and fiche printer/scanners? Join Cynthia Theusch Friday, October 16, 2015 for “Using the ST-ViewScan III Microfilm & Microfiche Printer/Scanners,” 10-11 a.m., in The Genealogy Center Microtext Reading Room  as she demonstrates these new machines and offers suggestions for getting the best prints and scans possible. Register early. Space is limited. Call 260-421-1225 or send an email to register.

    On Saturday, October 17, 2015 Melissa Tennent will answer “Why Should I Look at Revolutionary War Pension Records?” 11 a.m.-Noon, in The Genealogy Center. Pension records are a valuable source for learning more about your Revolutionary War ancestor. Understand Revolutionary War Pension Records better by discovering how to access these files and what information is available in the documents.

    Careful analysis of the 1880 census can help you solve genealogical problems with origins well before that year. Join Cynthia Theusch on Sunday, October 18, 2015, Meeting Room A, 1-2 p.m. for “Using Clues in the 1880 Census to Solve Earlier Research Challenges.” Learn to use all the categories of information recorded in every column of the 1880 census to your full advantage. Little pieces of data gleaned from censuses can help you make deductions that break down long-time brick walls, including those of the pre-1850 time period.

    To learn more about these or any of our Family History Month events, see the brochure, To register for any of these free events, call 260-421-1225 or send us an email.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Free databases for Allen County Research

    Tuesday, Oct 06, 2015

    We have some additions of Fort Wayne interest to our Free Databases page that we’d like to share with you.

    Local high school yearbooks continue to be of great popularity. The usual visitors are people wanting to see high school photos showing mom and dad with funny hair and clothes, but yearbooks are also of great interest to those organizing high school reunions, seeking old friends and distant relatives. There is also an interest in the photos of those who died during military service. Sometimes, these high school yearbooks provide the only photo of the person. Indices for three more years of North Side High School Yearbook Index, completing the index from the opening of the school through 1984.

    The Huntertown Historical Society has allowed us to digitize and post their Family Files. The best way to access the material is to browse by surname and read the short family histories that have been compiled.
    The last item is the Allen County pioneer, Jesse Vermilyea Estate Inventory. This 1847 handwritten document lists the property of his extensive estate, including livestock, furniture, farm equipment, crops, personal items and a clock valued at $3. Truly, a fascinating look at mid-19th century Allen County.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • What's Next for Family History Month?

    Saturday, Oct 03, 2015

    Family History Month starts week two with Kay Spears offering “Basics of Adobe Elements Workshop, Part 1,” on Monday, October 5, 2015, 6:30-8:30 p.m., in the Computer Classroom. She will demonstrate how to restore images of old photographs using techniques similar to those in Adobe Photoshop. Participants are encouraged to bring copies of their own family photographs on a USB (“flash”) drive for hands-on instruction in applying what they have learned to their photos. The class will continue on Monday, October 12th, at the same time. Register early as space is limited. Call 260-421-1225 or email Genealogy@ACPL.Info to register.

    Tuesday, October 6, 2015 brings provides guidance on one of the most desired sources as Delia Bourne presents “Vital Records for Beginners,” from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., in Meeting Room A. This class will explain what can be found in a vital record, and what other sources may be used when an official record doesn’t exist.

    In the past, some towns and villages issued warnings to some of the inhabitants to leave the area. On Wednesday, October 7, 2015, Cynthia Theusch will explain why in “Warnings Out Issued in the Colonies and Early United States,” from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., in Meeting Room A. Learn how to locate records to see if an ancestor or other family members received a warning.

    At the meeting of the African American Genealogical Society of Fort Wayne Meeting at 6:60 p.m. on  Thursday, October 8, in Meeting Room B, during “What Genealogy Has Done For Me—A Youth Presentation,” you will hear how young people have researched their families’ histories and what they have discovered about their families and themselves. All are welcome.

    Meet up in the Microtext Reading Room of The Genealogy Center on Friday, October 9, 2015, at 10 a.m. for “Tech Talk: Microfilm & Fiche and Use of the ST200 Printer/Scanner.” Delia Bourne will discuss what types of materials are available in microtext format and how to use the ST200 printer/scanners. Register early. Space is limited, so register early by call 260-421-1225 or send an email to Genealogy@ACPL.Info to register.

    John Beatty will discuss “Using German Church Records” on Saturday, October 10, 2015, 10 to 11 a.m., in Meeting Room BC. This talk is intended for both the beginner and the more experienced genealogist wishing to learn more about how to locate, read, and interpret German church records. It will offer research tips, reveal some common idiosyncrasies found in records, discuss the steps needed in finding the right parish, look at ecclesiastical dates, and cover how to read various types of German handwriting found in church records.

    How often have you bemoaned “I Can’t Find It on!”? Sara Allen will address that on Sunday, October 11, 2015, at 1-2 p.m., in Meeting Room A. Learn about genealogical records that are not on and how to access them.

    For more information about any of these events, or other events in Family History Month, see the brochure. To register for any of these free classes, call 260-421-1225 or send us an email!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • New Family Resources Online

    Wednesday, Sep 30, 2015

    We have several new family sources on our Free Databases that you might want to explore.

    The first is “From Pendleton Hall to Fremont: The Ancestors and Descendants of Julia A. Beckwith” by David Sprunk. This volume provides information on the family in medieval England, colonial Connecticut, and then to New York. A fine bibliography and an every name index completes this volume. 

    “An Introductory History of the York Co. Pa. & Seneca Co. Ohio Deckers,” also by David Sprunk, follows the Decker family from The Netherlands to Ohio, and includes DNA information and Decker Family of Ohio reunion minutes from the mid-20th century, as well as two indexes.

    “The Descendants of Thomas Carter,” by Terry L. and Carolyn Shumaker, details this family from 16th century England to modern day, including stories of hardship and success.
    Margaret Rowe McCarthy has allowed us to post her “The Gasperini-Pedo Family of Dickinson & Iron Counties,” which follows the family as it came the Trentino region to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
    William Lee Mercker complied “Henry & Mary,” about the Henry Mercker-Mary Catherine Witcher family of Indiana, which is filled with facts and reminiscences.

    And Brian Paul Kaess has allowed two of his volumes to be posted “Notes on the Kaess Family (2016)”, which includes Dawson, Schwartz, Golz and other families, and “Kaess Ochiltree Swartz Family History," which also includes the Leach, Haller, Gibboney, Baldwin and Major families, among others.

    All of these files can be searched by keyword or name, and all are copyrighted, and specific permission from the authors is necessary for re-publishing, reprinting, or in any other way disseminating these works. We greatly appreciate all of these authors allowing us to share this information with you!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Family History Month Begins!

    Sunday, Sep 27, 2015

    Family History Month starts on Thursday, October 1st, with “An Evening of Storytelling!” Telling the stories of our lives is not only a great way to engage people in learning about their families and ancestors, it is a terrific way to share the family’s story. Join us at 6:30 p.m., in Meeting Room A for stories and music to inspire and entertain you!

    Our Polish Heritage weekend begins Friday, October 2nd with our own Sara Allen presenting “Crossing the Pond with Your Polish Ancestors,” at 10 a.m., in Meeting Room A. She will tell us how to track Polish immigrants from the new world back to their ancestral village. Some information is applicable to Eastern European research in general, so make time for this great program!

    Saturday, October 3rd will offer two exciting opportunities for Polish heritage researchers. “Polish Mission and Polonica Americana Research Institute (PARI),” presented by Ceil Jensen, will provide a survey of the Polish Mission’s collections and their new website Michigan Polish Heritage,  where families can come together to research their roots, discover the villages and records of their ancestors, and document their family history. This event starts at 10 a.m., in Meeting Room A.

    At 2 p.m., also in Meeting Room A, Ceil Jensen will present “Advanced Polish Research.” In this class, Ceil will cover finding an ancestor’s parish and civil registration records in Poland, will dispel the myths that records were destroyed during the world wars, and that language barriers make Polish research difficult. She will also give examples and suggestions on how to use advanced records, databases, and archives.

    Finally, on Sunday, October 4th, in Meeting Room A, Ceil Jensen will detail the case study of Eugenia Okruta in “Displaced Persons,” and will explore the archives, associations, and organizations that have record sets of interest to anyone researching displaced persons in World War II.

    For more information on these and other Family History Month activities, see the brochure. To register for these free events, call 260-421-1225, or send us an email.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Indiana Additions to Our Free Databases

    Sunday, Sep 20, 2015

    We are fortunate to be able to present a couple of new sources on our Free Indiana Databases.

    The first is a Franklin County Landowners Map for 1858, brought to us by John J. Newman of Brookville. The Franklin County historian, staff from the Franklin County Public Library District, and the Franklin County Recorder's office indexed the 2982 landowners. The landowner index provides township and section number. View the entire county on the overview map, and click on the area you’d like to view in more detail. Or you can view an entire township, or browse through to see enlarged sections of each map. Do take a few minutes to read Mr. Newman’s excellent introduction to the map, in which he provides information on the map, how to use the index, and the history of wall plat maps.

    The second item is a History of the Regulators of Northern Indiana, which was donated by Rita Lehner and Dalonda Young. In newly developing areas, miscreants abounded who took advantage of white settlers and Native Americans alike. Regulators were private citizens who formed groups to capture and prosecute criminals. This 67-page booklet provides a history of regulators in northern Indiana, a transcription of the 1852 legislative act that allowed the formation of regulator companies, a list of the companies and the number of members each boasted, and accounts of meetings, arrests, confessions and executions. This is a fascinating view of early Indiana’s history.
    Take a few minutes to examine these unique items!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Frequestly Asked Questions at Our Ask Desk - Books

    Thursday, Sep 17, 2015

    By Dawne

    The Genealogy Center
    has thousands and thousands of books. Many of these are indexes to or abstracts of records found in courthouses, churches, cemetery offices, and other locations. How can you best use these resources and where can they lead you? Here are some FAQs and answers that might give you some ideas.

    •    "I found an index to deeds. What do the numbers 6: 413 mean next to my ancestor’s name?"

    Typically, two numbers separated by a colon in a record index book refer to volume or book and page number, although you will want to look at the prefatory material in the specific book to be certain. In the fictional example above, the most likely answer is that the deed will appear in the county courthouse deed volume number 6, on page 413.

    •    "I found a county death record index that includes my ancestor. Do you have the records? If not, where are they?"

    The answer to the first question is “maybe.” County governments nearly always retain their original record volumes, so if The Genealogy Center does have the records, they will be copies on microfilm or microfiche. You can find out if The Center has them by checking the State Records section of the Microtext Catalog, which is the second option under the Databases>Free Databases drop-down menu on our website. If you find that we do not have the records you need, you can request copies from the county courthouse in the county where the event took place, or check the Family History Library (FHL) catalog at to see if the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has microfilmed copies of the records that you can borrow for $7.50 per roll and use at your closest Family History Center or affiliate library. Also, the FHL is in the process of digitizing and making available many of its microfilmed records, so when you check the catalog, you might be lucky enough to find that images of the records appear online at FamilySearch..

    •    "I found reference in a book to a manuscript collection that might have information on my ancestor. Do you have those manuscripts here? If not, where can they be found?"

    The Genealogy Center does not maintain a collection of manuscripts – any personal genealogy files, letters, and other papers that are donated to The Center are either preservation photocopied, bound, catalogued, and put on our shelves, or scanned and made available digitally on our website. The Center does have a number of books that describe manuscript collections held at other libraries and archives. Check the front part of the book that mentions the collection to see if it tells what facility holds the manuscripts. Then Google that facility to find contact information for inquiring about getting copies from the collection.
    The advice that has been given in a couple of these examples will work to solve many of the questions you might have about record indexes and abstracts held in The Genealogy Center’s collection – after you find your ancestor’s name in the book, look at the front matter for an explanation of what the book includes, what abbreviations and symbols mean, when the book was compiled, and where the original material was held at that time. The book might even provide steps for securing copies of the original records – at least as the procedure was at the time of publication. Then you might Google the record facility to obtain contact information so you can inquire about current procedures. Whereas we used to have to request records by mail, enclosing a check and self-addressed, stamped envelope, you might be able to place your order online, pay with credit card, and receive the record as a digital copy sent to your email address!

    And if the book has no explanation in the front (or back), or has an explanation you don’t understand – please bring it to the Ask Desk and let one of The Genealogy Center’s reference librarians try to help. We have seen (almost) everything and will be happy to try to help you crack the code and determine what your next step should be in securing a copy of the record you need.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Photoshop Consultations in October

    Monday, Sep 14, 2015

    Do you need help restoring your family photos? We are offering one hour consultations to provide suggestions using basic techniques you may not have tried. The Consultant will work with you to try to achieve the results you want. Please bring your scanned image(s) on a USB drive that is free of other files. For best results, images should be scanned at 300dpi and saved as TIFF files.

    Consultations are by appointment only. Call 260-421-1225 or email Genealogy@ACPL.Info to arrange an appointment.

    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

  • More Homegoing Programs!

    Saturday, Sep 05, 2015

    Although Marsha Smiley is known for her many activities in Fort Wayne and Allen County (active member of the African/African American Historical Society & Museum board of directors, member of the Allen County-Fort Wayne Historical Society governing board, and tireless volunteer serving at-risk and underprivileged youth and promoting literacy), she has also been instrumental in creating the Marsha Smiley African-American Collection: Memorials, an online collection of homegoing programs from our community. This collection now holds more than 2200 memorials containing 8500 images of biography and photos. One may either search by name, or browse through the collection. Some memorials are only one page, but some stretch for eight or more pages. Most have photographs of the deceased, and are heartwarming to read, such as that of Willie (Billie) Mae Kemp, who died in 1999. Below the photo of her smiling face on the cover if the statement that “God loves you and so do I,” a wonderful reminder to those left behind. Take a few minutes to explore this wonderful collection.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Free Databases for Illinois, Ohio ... and Texas!

    Wednesday, Sep 02, 2015

    An amazing variety of material has been posted to our Free Databases recently, starting with Aurora, Illinois Illustrated, and 1890 promotional book. Typical of the type, the book includes information about railroad facilities, city officials, utilities and schools. 
    The Blue Creek (Paulding County, Ohio) Alumni Association index lists more than 1200 alumni from 1900 to 1971 in alphabetical order, listing the school and year graduated.

    T. Bradford Willis, DDS, of Waco, Texas has given permission for us to post his indexes to the 1875 and 1882 volumes of McLennan County, Texas physicians, which, for each physician lists where he or she received training, when graduated and other registration notes.

    And from the collection of John Barbabas Horton, the digital image of a personal letter from Charles Alonzo Horton of Vermilion, Ohio to his wife and son describing the disastrous storm which killed approximately 155 sailors on Lake Huron in November 1913. The letter is accompanied by family information on the writer and his descendants’ involvement in Great Lakes shipping.

    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

  • More for Our Military Heritage!

    Thursday, Aug 27, 2015

    Some great new records have been added to Our Military Heritage!

    Offerings from the Civil War include the Jacob Treace pension, which include affidavits, marriage records and a medical history of Jacob.  James C. Leighty allowed us to post his biography of John Washington Leighty during the war, which includes a nice bibliography of his sources. And Albert Sisson has allowed us to post his copyrighted work on wartime activities of three family members, Francis Marion Sisson, Jacob Gould and Orin Gould, including family information before and after the war.
    We also have posted the Spanish-American War Log Book of the USS Badger by John W. Klinger, 1899, which includes a description of the ship, roster, log, programs, a page illustrating signal flags and a fascinating declination chart.

    Finally, we have three new American Veteran video  interviews with Dave Jones, about his experiences in the Army in Vietnam, Gary Becker, a Vietnam War Paratrooper and Ted Blanford on his service in Afghanistan and Iraq. These are wonderful additions to American, and Fort Wayne, history!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Following Up with More Records

    Wednesday, Aug 19, 2015

    Continue your Family History Journey on Saturday, August 29, 2015, when Curt Witcher will show you how to use major record groups and how to let one record’s data lead you to still more sources of information. An overview of military records as well as passenger and immigration records will be provided. The second half of the program will provide attendees with a “quick walk” through The Genealogy Center’s free databases – online resources that can provide meaningful next steps for family history research. So be there at 9:30 a.m., in Meeting Room A.

    TO register for this free event, call 260-421-1225 or send us an email.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center