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  • Public Computers Unavailable on January 4th

    Wednesday, Dec 28, 2011

    On Wednesday, January 4, 2012, the Allen County Public Library will upgrade its PC Reservation System in order to be compatible with Windows 7. The upgrade requires a public computer outage for the entire day of January 4th. PC Reservation is the software that coordinates the usage on all of the public computers in The Genealogy Center and the Allen County Public Library System. With the upgrade, customers will have improved access to Office products, our databases, and the internet at The Genealogy Center.

    If you plan to visit The Genealogy Center on January 4, 2012, please be aware of this outage--we will not have public computer access for the day. It will be a great opportunity, however, to take advantage of the more than one million items in our print and microtext collections. Before you arrive at the Center that day, search our print catalog or microtext catalog to plan your day of research. Bringing your own laptop, netbook, iPad or other tablet device will enable you to use all the licensed databases as well as the free databases offered in The Genealogy Center through the library’s Wifi service.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Business and Occupational Records

    Monday, Dec 26, 2011

    During Fort Wayne Ancestry Day's Ask the Experts Panel, we received so many questions that we were unable to answer them all during the event. The following are questions asked and The Genealogy Center staff's responses.

    Are there resources for researching auction house records? My grandmother remembered a portrait of an ancestor that reportedly fetched $500 in an auction circa 1922. My grandmother’s grandmother had to sell the portrait when she fell on hard times.

    Worldwide Auction Databank claims that it includes the records from more than 2,900 auction houses from around the world. It may not include the one you need, however! Do you have an idea of where this auction took place or the name of the company that handled it? If so, and if it is not included in the website mentioned, you might contact the county and state historical societies in the location of the auction house to see whether its records have been deposited in one of those facilities. Auction companies are private businesses and so like funeral homes, hospitals and other businesses, their records are not automatically archived by a government entity. They may be found at the business if it still exists, in an archives or historical society if donated, or in the basement, attic or garage of a relative of the former business owner. They also may have been discarded at the time the business became defunct. Another helpful resource pertaining to auction records is “How to Read Auction Records” on the website of the Chicago Appraisers Association.

    Where to look for occupations, for example, weavers.

    An interesting article online that discusses the occupations of our ancestors is “Discovering the Occupations of Your Ancestors: Finding Clues in Occupational Records” by Kimberly Powell. Some occupations required licenses, which may have been recorded. Check the county courthouse for these licenses. Business records were privately held by the business owner, but may have been donated to the local public library, historical society, genealogical society, or a nearby university special collections department. Newspapers are rich in details about local businesses. Many newspapers are not indexed, but browsing them for the time period when your family lived in the area can be immensely rewarding. More and more newspapers are being digitized, also, and so may be searchable by keyword. Check the local USGenWeb sites, as well as subscription websites such as Footnote.com, GenealogyBank and NewspaperArchive.com to see whether a newspaper from your area of interest has been digitized. City directories are another fine source of information about local businesses and the occupations of residents during particular times in history.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Using Clusters

    Tuesday, Dec 20, 2011

    During Fort Wayne Ancestry Day's Ask the Experts Panel, we received so many questions that we were unable to answer them all during the event. The following are questions asked and The Genealogy Center staff's responses.

    I have a will that leaves property to a great-grandson (son of a granddaughter). I can’t find information on the granddaughter or her parents. How do I fill in the missing generations?

    That’s going to depend on time period, but unless the missing woman and her parents are listed in the will or probate, it may be that they predeceased the great-grandparent. You may wish to seek will and probate records in the area in which the great-grandson was born.

    I am looking for ancestors and have noticed that their neighbors in their old home town also lived in the area to which they moved. Does this help me?

    Yes! Follow the neighbors’ records and seek diaries and other biographical sources for them. Your ancestors may be mentioned or there could be clues.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Some Vital Statistics

    Saturday, Dec 17, 2011

    During Fort Wayne Ancestry Day's Ask the Experts Panel, we received so many questions that we were unable to answer them all during the event. The following are questions asked and The Genealogy Center staff's responses.

    How to find birth early 1800, can’t find church records?

    Depending on the locality (county and state), birth records may not be available. We usually use baptismal records to supplement the lack of birth records, but if you can’t locate church records, search for other ancillary records. A marriage or death record can provide a date of birth. Military enlistment and pension records are other sources, or vital records for the individual’s children might list a birth date.

    How do you find birth records in West Virginia?

    FamilySearch has birth records indexed and digitized for 1853-1930. Another place to look is the West Virginia Archives & History Site, which has digitized images as well.

    I have not been able to find a Georgia marriage license dated between 1940 and 1945. Any suggestions?

    Marriage records in Georgia for the 1940s are retained at the local county courthouse, so you’ll need to know the county and request the record from the county clerk of court. Some Georgia marriages are indexed on FamilySearch to help determine the county.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Those Revolutionary Soldiers

    Wednesday, Dec 14, 2011

    During Fort Wayne Ancestry Day's Ask the Experts Panel, we received so many questions that we were unable to answer them all during the event. The following are questions asked and The Genealogy Center staff's responses.

    I’ve hit a brick wall with a Revolutionary War vet from N.J. The records for Revolutionary War vets are confusing. Any help with searching these records.

    Revolutionary War muster rolls and other lists may seem confusing when there are several individuals with the same name serving from the same area. Which one is your ancestor? Learn as much as you can about your ancestor as a person, and also about the other men with that name in the area from records other than the actual military muster rolls. Pension files often have rich detail. Look at tax records, deeds, wills and probate records. Study histories of the area. Peruse manuscript material for that time period. Get to know the men’s families. You will develop a “feel” for these individuals as you begin to put flesh on their bones as people, and this may enable you to determine which soldier is which.

    Looking for a Revolutionary War soldier’s parents. His name was Jonathan Byrd. Where do I turn to find records this far back? At a dead end. Likely they are from England.

    There are plusses and minuses when you have traced your line back far enough that you are researching Revolutionary War ancestors and individuals living in Colonial America. Unfortunately, records are scarcer and often include less detail than their later counterparts. On the positive side, however, you may be more likely to locate research that already has been done on the individual, or on the family, that you are seeking in published family histories or online family tree websites. While caution is advised in accepting others’ undocumented research as fact, you may be able to use the information as clues to locate records you need to confirm your own research hypothesis. Other researchers may have located records that you have not yet found. The existence of early records will vary from one location to the next. You probably will find yourself relying more heavily on tax records, deeds and perhaps church records from the 1700s, rather than the vital records and census schedules that one uses for later periods. If you have not already, you will need to become familiar with any boundary changes in the area where your soldier lived, and determine what records are available for both the later county and the parent county, if applicable.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Holiday Closings

    Monday, Dec 12, 2011

    The Allen County Public Library and The Genealogy Center will be closed Friday, December 23 through Monday, December 26 and Sunday, January 1 through Monday, January 2. We will close at 5:00 pm on Saturday, December 31. We are open normal hours the rest of the month.
     
    While The Genealogy Center may not be open, you can still enjoy other genealogical activities those days. Ask a family member to share family stories. Or document your fondest memory. Or sit with your children or grandchildren and share with them pictures of the family. There are many activities we can do over the coming weeks. Take the time to enjoy your family history!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Genealogy Certification

    Sunday, Dec 11, 2011

    During Fort Wayne Ancestry Day's Ask the Experts Panel, we received so many questions that we were unable to answer them all during the event. The following are questions asked and The Genealogy Center staff's responses.

    How much does an expert genealogist charge? And how do they charge? By hour, by tasks? By number of documents found?

    What professional genealogists charge will vary from one person to the next and one locale to the next. Some may charge by “project,” if taking on a large project like compiling a family history, or by “look-up,” in the case of an easy document retrieval when an exact citation for a record is known. However, most will charge by hour since the “product” they are providing is not just copies of documents, but the search for the information, analysis of the evidence, and a report explaining all resources checked, a summary of the positive and negative findings, and suggestions for future research.

    How do you become a Certified GenealogistSM*? Recommended courses (online or on campus) for preparing to take the CGSM*  exam?

    There is no such thing as a “CGSM exam.” The Board for Certification of Genealogists awards the CGSM credential to successful applicants who submit a portfolio of work that is judged by three independent judges to meet the high Research Standards established over time by the Board. Portfolios are judged according to rubrics that are viewable online at BCG’s website. The portfolio consists of several parts, some of which include document work (transcribing, abstracting, explaining the significance of and creating a first-steps research plan from a Board-supplied document and an applicant-supplied document), a case study that includes conflicting or indirect evidence in which the applicant “proves” a hypothesis through building a case using indirect evidence and correlating any conflicting evidence, a kinship-determination project through which an applicant establishes kinship between generations by using a variety of sources and analyzing evidence, and a client report. To prepare to submit an application, thoroughly explore the BCG website, which includes a number of helpful areas, such as a quiz to help you determine whether you are ready to submit an application, the rubrics that are used for judging, a pdf file of the Application Guide  and the BCG Standards Manual, work samples, and more. BCG Certification Seminars are held regularly at the two national conferences hosted by the National Genealogical Society and the Federation of Genealogical Societies. BCG has a booth in the exhibit halls of those conferences where you can meet and speak to BCG associates about the application process. In addition, there are college programs through Brigham Young University and Boston University, week-long institutes and many other opportunities for gaining experience and expertise in genealogical research. None of these is required for, or an official step toward, becoming a Certified GenealogistSM, however.

    *“CG” & “Certified Genealogist” are service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, and are used by authorized associates following periodic, peer-reviewed competency evaluations.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Burned Counties

    Thursday, Dec 08, 2011

    During Fort Wayne Ancestry Day's Ask the Experts Panel, we received so many questions that we were unable to answer them all during the event. The following is a question asked and The Genealogy Center staff's response.

    Where do you look when the courthouse was burned during the War of 1812?

    Even if some of the records were destroyed, there are probably other sources within the county that survived. If deed records burned, look for land records at the Land Office. For vital records, try church records. Remember, your ancestors may not have attended church in the same county where they lived. People took the easiest routes for traveling to shop, attend church, and other social functions.

    Family Search has a Research Wiki page which provides links to states with burned counties. Click on a state, scroll through the information until you see the list of burned counties to see a list of what records were lost. This Research Wiki Page, Burned Counties Research, also provides tips and alternatives to finding records and information in burned out areas.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Illegitimate Children

    Sunday, Dec 04, 2011

    During Fort Wayne Ancestry Day's Ask the Experts Panel, we received so many questions that we were unable to answer them all during the event. The following is a question asked and The Genealogy Center staff's response.

    How would you suggest finding an illegitimate daughter born in 1850? She is not listed in the 1850 census even though she should have been. Her mother’s name was Henrietta but she is listed as “Henry E.” a male. In the 1860 census, Henrietta is now listed as herself and as a female, but the daughter is listed as Carran H., a male, when her name was Kerranhappuch. This was in Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania, and adjoining counties. Any suggestions?

    First, I tried to identify the individuals to whom you were referring. The only Carran H. I could find in Pennsylvania in 1860 was Carran H. Web, female, age 9 (born circa 1851), living in Fulton County. There was a Henrietta Webb on the same page in a different household, but she was only 16. Unless you have other, more reliable sources that indicate that these ages were drastically incorrect, these two individuals could not have been mother and daughter – Henrietta would have been just 7 years old when Carran was born. Also this Carran, if her age on the 1860 census is correct, would not have been born when the 1850 census was taken. But perhaps these are not the people you seek. To answer your question in general terms:

    A number of records may exist in the case of illegitimate children. The mother may have gone to court to get financial support for the child. This kind of case may be found in the circuit court records of the county. Types of cases could include breach of promise, bastardy bonds, or others, depending on the location, time period and local laws. Mention of the child’s illegitimate status may appear in a church record, such as the child’s baptism, or in some denominations, in an official chastisement of the mother (or father). The editor of the local newspaper may have felt free to comment on the situation, whether in euphemisms or in plain language. There could be an adoption record if the child was relinquished by the mother, or adopted by a subsequent husband of the mother, although the latter would likely be a more modern occurrence. Records generated by the child later in life may reveal the biological father’s name, if the child was aware of the circumstances of her birth and who her father was. These could include her marriage application, death record or obituary. Study all of the records that can be found for the specific location and time period. This is a tough problem, but don’t give up! Perhaps a manuscript source, such as a family Bible, a diary, or personal letters may give you the answers you seek. Also, have you considered that this child may not have been illegitimate, but an orphan? It may be worth looking at probate records and guardianships to see whether her father and/or mother died young and she was placed with another family.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • He Owned A Small Business

    Thursday, Dec 01, 2011

    During Fort Wayne Ancestry Day's Ask the Experts Panel, we received so many questions that we were unable to answer them all during the event. The following is a question asked and The Genealogy Center staff's response.

    Where or how can I search for small business records more than 100 years old?

    Small businesses were independently owned. Once these businesses closed, you may not be able to find their records. If a family member decided to retain the records, you may find them in an archive or library that houses special collections. Also inquire at the local historical society which may have received the records. You may be able to find businesses listed in city, county or business directories, or in local, county, and state government records if the owners filed for licenses, permits, and business reports.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • 1890 Census

    Saturday, Nov 26, 2011

    During Fort Wayne Ancestry Day's Ask the Experts Panel, we received so many questions that we were unable to answer them all during the event. The following are questions asked and The Genealogy Center staff's responses.

    Was the 1890 census destroyed?

    The majority of the 1890 census was destroyed in a fire. Only 1% of the records are still in existence.

    What are the alternatives for the 1890 census?

    Many possibilities exist for locating people in this crucial time period, most especially city and county directories, and tax lists.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • More Cemeteries

    Wednesday, Nov 23, 2011

    During Fort Wayne Ancestry Day's Ask the Experts Panel, we received so many questions that we were unable to answer them all during the event. The following is a question asked and The Genealogy Center staff's response.

    Where do I find a missing cemetery? Grandfather missing after 1880. Cinti Ohio.

    Is it your grandfather's burial place that is lost, or do you know the name of a cemetery and can't find it in the place where you think it should be? It is difficult to answer this question. If your grandfather went missing after 1880, we may not be dealing with a missing cemetery. The loss of the 1890 census makes it difficult to locate people in the twenty-year period from 1880 to 1900. Check city directories, death records, church records, land and court records, for the area where you believe he lived. If he left the area, the search becomes even more difficult, but there are an increasing number of statewide and local death record indexes online. A very good website to check is deathindexes.com.

    If you know your ancestor's death and you have a cemetery name, but you can't find the cemetery, then indeed, it would appear the cemetery, not your grandfather, is missing. The cemetery may have changed its name. Check compiled cemetery transcription books for the county where your ancestor died. There may be a published cemetery directory for the county compiled by a local historical or genealogical society. Check with the Registry of Deeds or a local funeral home in the county, to see if there is another name for the cemetery. Some rural cemeteries have, in fact, gone missing. Although it is illegal, sometimes these cemeteries are plowed over and the stones buried to make room for more farm land. While such activity is illegal, it happens occasionally to small family cemeteries.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • 20th Century Military Records

    Sunday, Nov 20, 2011

    During Fort Wayne Ancestry Day's Ask the Experts Panel, we received so many questions that we were unable to answer them all during the event. The following are questions asked and The Genealogy Center staff's responses.

    Where were naval officers stationed during WWII?

    Naval officers were stationed throughout the United States at naval bases, Washington, D. C. (Pentagon), and on ships which they were assigned to overseas. The Historic Naval Ships Association, explains how to find U.S. Navy Records at the National Archives. According to the National Archives, any records that are over 62 years old are listed as "archival" and become part of their public records. In order to determine assignments, locate the service records. Go to the form to request records and send the completed form, along with required documents, to:

    National Personnel Records Center
    1 Archives Drive
    St. Louis, Missouri 63138.

    To locate histories about the Navy in WWII within the Genealogy Center's collection, just type in "World War, 1939-1945 -- Regimental histories -- United States" in our online catalog. There will be over 300 results.

    Are there records for military awards recipients? Purple Heart? Military vets – Korea, Vietnam, World War II? My dad was in World War II and Korea, yet he doesn’t come up (he is deceased). Yet my one cousin (still living) comes up for Korea and not my dad or another living cousin. Why are military records incomplete?

    When you say that someone “comes up” or doesn’t “come up,” it must be that you are plugging their names into some kind of database on the Internet. Many databases online are not official records, but material that individuals have compiled and posted and therefore, the information is not complete. This is especially true of family tree-type sites that can be found on Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org, among others. Did the site you were searching claim to be a list of all Korean War soldiers? To get information about your father, I would suggest that you contact the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, Missouri. This is the facility that holds the military records of all soldiers who served in World War I and more recent conflicts. That facility did experience a fire in the early 1970s and some records were destroyed, however. You also might try some of the indexes available at MilitaryIndexes.com. However, be sure to be aware of the scope of each index as you search it. It may or may not be complete.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Thanskgiving Holiday Weekend Hours

    Wednesday, Nov 16, 2011

    The Genealogy Center will be closed on Thursday November 24, 2011, for Thanksgiving Day, but be thankful that there are still plenty of hours that we are open for you to do research! We are open our regular hours, 9 AM to 9 PM, Monday through Wednesday, as well as Friday and Saturday, 9 AM to 6 PM and Sunday 12 Noon to 5 PM.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Military Seminar 2011

    Tuesday, Nov 15, 2011

    The Military Seminar 2011: You Say You Want a Revolution was a wonderfully attended event. The Genealogy Center, partnering with the local chapters of the Daughters of the American Revolution and Sons of the American Revolution, had multiple sessions for attendees to learn about various types of Revolutionary War records and an opportunity to discuss applying to the individual patriotic societies.




    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Latin America

    Monday, Nov 14, 2011

    During Fort Wayne Ancestry Day's Ask the Experts Panel, we received so many questions that we were unable to answer them all during the event. The following are questions asked and The Genealogy Center staff's responses.

    My husband has Cuban roots but only knows that his father was born in Havana. Is there a way to trace him? How do you research Guatemala info in last 50 years?

    Information on how to conduct searches in both Cuba and Guatemala can be found on the FamilySearch Wiki. FamilySearch also has several records for Guatemala available online. Scroll down the page to Guatemala. More information on searching for Cuban roots can also be found at CubaGenWeb.

    My grandfather died in Sao Benardo San Paulo Brazil around 1951 or 1952. How can I locate his death record? He was born in Lodrone, Italy, immigrated to the US in 1902, went back to Italy around 1920 and then at some point went to South America. Record in Italy says they learned of his death in 1952 but there is no documentation. And I don’t speak Portuguese!

    FamilySearch is a good place to begin your search. They have Brazilian records relating to Deaths, Catholic Church Records, and Burial Records that might help. On the FamilySearch page, scroll down to Brazil to begin your search. The FamilySearch Wiki has great information on how to obtain death records from Brazil. When searching records, if you can transcribe the alpha letters, Babelfish is a great site for translations.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Lawsuits

    Thursday, Nov 10, 2011

    During Fort Wayne Ancestry Day's Ask the Experts Panel, we received so many questions that we were unable to answer them all during the event. The following is a question asked and The Genealogy Center staff's response.

    What is the best way to find information about a law suit our grandparents had against the federal government?

    Such a lawsuit would have been filed in federal court. Your question does not indicate the city or state where the grandparents lived. The first step would be to contact the federal courthouse for the place where the family lived. Depending on how far back the suit occurred, the records may be archived in one of the regional National Archives branches. The federal courthouse should be able to advise.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Religious Records

    Tuesday, Nov 08, 2011

    During Fort Wayne Ancestry Day's Ask the Experts Panel, we received so many questions that we were unable to answer them all during the event. The following are questions asked and The Genealogy Center staff's responses.

    I have an extensive history of Quakers. Where is the best location to research?

    It is difficult to give a general answer, since your question does not state where, specifically, your family lived. If they lived here in Indiana, the Quaker collection at Earlham College is outstanding, and many of the Quaker meeting books for our state are available there and at the Allen County Public Library. Many Quaker records have been published for various states. Perhaps the most famous is William Wade Hinshaw's Encyclopedia of Quaker Genealogy, published in multiple volumes.

    I have a 30-year-old brick wall. My great-great-grandmother’s age varies on every record found. How might I find a record for proof of parentage in church records?

    Different denominations kept different types of records. If you know – or suspect – what denomination your great-great-grandmother might have been, the key is to determine whether the church records for the area where she lived still exist, and where they are located. Keep in mind that if her family lived near a county or state line, they may have gone to church in the neighboring jurisdiction. If a church of the same denomination still exists in the area, it may have absorbed the records of the older church. Most denominations have regional and national archives collections. These may have the records of the church that you seek. Many of these have websites where you can find contact information for the archives. The Family History Library may have microfilmed the records you need. Visit the FHL catalog to see. If so, you can borrow these films to be viewed at your closest FamilySearch Center (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – Mormons). In some cases, abstracts or indexes have been published of church records. Check with the local public library in the area where the church was located, as well as with the state library, state archives or state historical society to see whether you can locate abstracts, indexes or the actual record volumes for the church.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Quick and Easy Gems

    Thursday, Nov 03, 2011

    The weather is turning cooler, fall sports are ending and you are probably raking the last of the leaves out of your yard. You might be able to squeak in a last visit to a cemetery if you hurry. But largely it is time to settle in for what can be a genealogist’s best season – the Armchair Research season!

    Blow the dust off your files and see where you left off last spring when the garden called you outside. One of the activities you may include in your winter research pursuits is catching up on your genealogical reading. If you have not done so previously, now would be a great time to read the back issues of The Genealogy Center’s e-zine, Genealogy Gems. From The Genealogy Center’s homepage, hold your cursor over the words “Genealogy Community” in the dark blue bar at the top of the screen, and click on “Ezine.” The page that opens has all back issues of Genealogy Gems from its advent in 2004 through April of this year.

    Take the opportunity to sign up to receive Genealogy Gems via email, if you are not already a subscriber. It is sent out each month and is packed with news of The Genealogy Center, preservation tips and articles on featured print and microtext items in the collection. It’s straightforward, no-frills and a wealth of resources right at your fingertips each month.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Grave Markers

    Wednesday, Nov 02, 2011

    During Fort Wayne Ancestry Day's Ask the Experts Panel, we received so many questions that we were unable to answer them all during the event. The following are questions asked and The Genealogy Center staff's responses.

    On a military grave marker, the information does not match information from the military records on Ancestry. Did the indexer make a mistake, or is the grave marker wrong?

    Could be either one. Indexers and transcribers make mistakes, which is why one should check original sources. But grave markers may also contain errors, caused by misinterpretation of the information, an error by the monument maker, or an outright falsehood from the ancestor or family members. Remember to verify information with as many other sources as possible.

    Who is buried at Mount Vernon with George Washington? One grave is marked Blackburn.

    You should direct your question to the curators of Mount Vernon.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center