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  • Look Again

    Monday, Jul 07, 2014

    by Delia

    “The other day, I looked at that document again, and noticed….”

    I’ve heard that many times from our customers, and have experienced it myself. One looks at a document for the umpteenth time, but for the first time notices a piece of information that answers a question or opens a new line of thought on research.

    The first time I experienced it, years ago, was when I was trying to make sense of a family story that stated that a husband and wife died at the same time (supposedly murdered), leaving the children for the grandparents to raise. In the family Bible, I had noticed that the death dates for the two were really months apart, but was told by an older relative that there had been a mistake in the Bible. After examining the difference in the dates multiple times, I finally noticed that the wife’s supposed death date was three days after her last child was born, leading me to conclude that she may have died from postpartum infection. This cast doubt on the whole story of the murders, so I could back up completely and start over.

    Then recently, a customer told me that she’d been re-examining records for siblings of an ancestor, and one actually had a birth place listed! She’d been concentrating on her direct ancestor and had totally missed this in earlier perusals. Again, this opened up a whole new avenue for research.

    Sometimes, when we acquire a new document, we are so busy gleaning just what we need right now, that we barely see what else might be noted, so multiple examinations are often helpful. Also, as we gain experience in research or new insights into the family dynamics, information we failed to note earlier may become of greater import.

    So I make a habit, at least once a year, to browse through the various research and original documents I have in my possession, either in print or digital format. I try to think about each person as I do this. If I know or knew the individual in life, I contemplate what his or her life was like, challenges faced and how that person fit into the family and society. If this is an ancestor from further back, I contemplate what the documents tell me and consider that person’s life and times.

    The benefits of this process are twofold. It allows me to re-examine my research in light of knowledge gained, which often yields new possibilities to energize the search. It also allows me time to remember that each of these people was not just a name with dates, but an individual who lived a life which, while vastly differing from my own, was still similar in terms of happiness and tragedy. Making our ancestors live in our imaginations is what family history is all about.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Six Things to Know for the Fourth of July

    Friday, Jul 04, 2014

    • The Declaration of Independence was written by five people: Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, the main author; John Adams of Massachusetts; Robert Livingston of New York; Roger Sherman of Connecticut; and Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania. It was submitted to the Continental Congress on June 28, 1776. No minutes were kept of the writing of the document, nor of the discussions that took place during the following days.
    • Although July 4th is celebrated as Independence Day, John Adams always felt it should have been July 2nd, the date the document was approved by Congress.
      John Hancock, President of the Second Continental Congress signed first, and his was the largest signature, making his name a synonym for the word “signature.”
      Benjamin Franklin, at 70, was the oldest signer, and Edward Rutledge of South Carolina was the youngest at 26 years.
    • John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, the only two Signers to become President, both died on July 4, 1826, the 50th anniversary. As he was dying, Adams comforted himself by noting that Jefferson still lived, but Jefferson had actually preceded him in death by five hours.
    • Fifth President James Monroe died on July 4, 1831, and Calvin Coolidge, the 30th President, was born on July 4, 1872.
    • In 1870, Congress made Independence Day a holiday for federal employees, but it wasn’t a paid holiday until 1938!
    • The Genealogy Center’s Our Military Heritage has biographies, unit histories and rosters, individual biographies and other information on Revolutionary soldiers, as well as photos, letters and other material on soldiers from all American conflicts.You can add material on your family’s military ancestors to this great site as well. Contact us for information. And take a few minutes today to remember what our nation’s founders have provided for us.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Honor the Veterans of the War of 1812

    Wednesday, Jul 02, 2014

    There are two exciting ways in which you can honor all War of 1812 soldiers in the month of July!

    On July 1st, the Federation of Genealogical Societies launched a major fundraising campaign for the Preserve the Pensions Project, seeking to raise an average of $1,812 each day for the 31 days of July. The pension files have never been microfilmed and these original records are in danger of deterioration. So far, the Preserve the Pensions Project has digitized and made available pension records for surnames A through Ha, but there are many records left to digitize. This is a costly process and your aid is needed. If you would like to participate in preserving this valuable part of America’s documented history, you can make a single contribution or become a monthly contributor to the Preserve the Pensions project.

    The Federation of Genealogical Societies and cemetery website BillionGraves also announced a joint project to image all of the gravestone markers for participants of the War of 1812. “The images from these markers, coupled with the Federation’s current project to raise the funds to digitize the 7.2 million images of the pensions for those who participated in the War of 1812 are a natural fit,” said D. Joshua Taylor, President of FGS.

    Hudson Gunn, President of BillionGraves said, “This July our focus is to see that the nation’s military headstones are documented and preserved for future generations. Headstones from early American history are quickly deteriorating, making it only a matter of time before they are lost forever. We are very pleased to have the Federation lend its help to spread this message for the War of 1812 veterans.” It is estimated that as many as 350,000 men may have served in the war. Although it is impossible to know how many may have cemetery markers, there could be as many as 50,000 to 80,000 markers for these veterans.

    BillionGraves and the Federation of Genealogical Societies are asking anyone with knowledge of a cemetery marker for a War of 1812 veteran to upload the image of the marker to the BillionGraves website using their free mobile application during the month of July to honor and remember the service of those who served in the “Second Revolution.”

    If you upload an image for a War of 1812 veteran during the month of July or anytime thereafter, please publicize it on Facebook or Twitter by using the hashtag #1812today and/or #warof1812 and/or #billiongraves. The Federation will also be posting the progress toward the fundraising goal of $1,812 per day on Facebook and Twitter, so check often and pass the word!

    The efforts from these two organizations will provide a very valuable asset for those researching 1812 veterans. With the Federation raising awareness of the project to digitize the War of 1812 pension records during the month of July and BillionGraves making the cemetery markers of War of 1812 veterans immediately searchable, it should be an exciting month for all genealogists and historians – everyone wins!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Digital Discoveries for July

    Tuesday, Jul 01, 2014

    The third part of The Genealogy Center's "Digital Discoveries" concentrates on "Discovering FamilySearch." Dawne Slater-Putt will guide you on a tour of the new and improved She will discuss what the site has to offer, and tips for searching its historical databases, catalog and other prominent features. Make plans today to attend on Wednesday, July 9, 2014, from 3PM to 4PM in Meeting Room A.

    Future sessions will include “Discovering PERSI,” on August 13, and “Discovering Newspaper Databases,” on September 10. For more information, see the brochure. To register for any of these free events, send an email or call 260-421-1225.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Five Reasons to Visit The Genealogy Center This Summer

    Saturday, Jun 28, 2014

    by Sara

    1. Road trip! It’s summertime, the weather is grand, and now is the time to pursue your hobby, and introduce your kids or grandkids to family history. Take a trip this summer, locate a family cemetery or attend a reunion, and don’t forget to stop by our library while on your trip. You never know what you might find! We have a large collection of non-digitized material from all 50 states, Canada and the British Isles, as well as other countries. Check our print and microtext catalogs for details.

    2. We have historical and current city directories!  Are you trying to locate persons who live in various U.S. locations? Use our nationwide city directory collection to track down old Army buddies, college classmates, high school sweethearts or to help plan a reunion.

    3. Attend a class, ask a genealogical question, or schedule a one on one consultation. We offer monthly how-to classes on a variety of genealogical topics and 30 minute scheduled genealogical consultations. See our website for details. While you are here, be sure to ask our librarians your burning questions, like how do I find grandpa Bob’s military records or great-grandpa Joe’s immigration record. Our librarians are also experienced genealogists and want to help you!

    4. Order records from your ancestral village in Europe or a far-away state on microfilm from Family Search. Because we are a Family Search Affiliate, you may request the order be sent here, so that you can view those microfilmed records on our microfilm viewers, make prints for free, or save images to your USB drive.

    5. Use our in-house use only databases such as, Fold3, African American Historical Newspapers, Newspaper Archive, American Ancestors, and others.  On these free-to-use-here databases, you can find your relatives in census records, immigration papers, military lists, newspaper articles and obituaries and much more. And remember, should you have questions while using the databases, our librarians are only a few steps away, ready to assist.

    P.S. We have tons of other cool stuff. Don’t forget to check out our Abraham Lincoln, Memorial Day, and 1950’s Memorabilia exhibits!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Closed July 4th Weekend!

    Wednesday, Jun 25, 2014

    The Genealogy Center, like all agencies of the Allen County Public Library, will be closed Friday, July 4th and Saturday July 5th, in observance of the Fourth of July holiday. We will reopen on Monday, July 6, 2014, at our regular time of 9 a.m. We wish you a safe Fourth!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Vacation Diary

    Saturday, Jun 21, 2014

    by Delia

    Now, I know all of you are going on a genealogy vacation this year. You’ll go visit court houses, cemeteries, churches, make contact with some distant cousins, maybe even take in a conference, or visit The Genealogy Center in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Good for you! We’re hoping to see you! I know that you will take copious notes as you research and add them to your paper or digital files. Again, good for you!

    But what if you (gasp!) take another type of vacation, one with only a few libraries and cemeteries along the way? What if you go to the Grand Canyon or Yellowstone? Maybe your have a huge family reunion with lots of cousins at some resort. Or even, my favorite, you visit the overpriced land of the famous Mouse in central Florida to spend a week standing in lines and sweating. But once your trip is over, what do you have except a lot of photos, a few postcards and a handful of souvenirs? This year, keep a trip diary for your vacation. You can use a small tablet and pen or use your digital tablet to note highlights of your journey.

    When recalling a vacation, it’s easy to remember the big memories such as visiting the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial (the St. Louis Arch) or Zoo Atlanta, but you might also want to remember the great tour guide at the Warren G. Harding Home, the terrific barbecue place in Murfreesboro or how miserable changing a tire in the driving rain at mile marker 81 on Interstate 30 in Arkansas can be. Take a few minutes during the day to keep notes and/or write an account of the day each evening. Record your impressions and feelings, what your companions said and did, and what you saw – or smelled – during the day. Later on, you can create a trip scrapbook, either in paper or in digital form, adding photographs and souvenirs.

    In a perfect world, all of your friends and neighbors would be clamoring to view your vacation diary. In reality, maybe not. First and foremost, this is the type of record to keep for yourself, so that you will be able to recall of those golden, and not-so-golden, moments. But eventually, your descendants may be very interested to know what you did on your summer vacation – in 2014!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Preserve Military Pictures, Documents & Memories at Our Military Heritage

    Saturday, Jun 21, 2014

    By Dawne

    Ephraim-Dunn-markerAre you familiar with the Our Military Heritage area of The Genealogy Center’s website?  This area of our website is a place to preserve military documents, photographs and any other type of ephemera that can be digitized, with a goal of making the material available to researchers and preserving it for future generations.

    The documents and photos at Our Military Heritage are from all branches of the military and from conflicts of all time periods, from wars during America’s Colonial period through the Gulf and Afghanistan wars of recent days. There is also material from peacetime military service.

    Some examples of the types of material that can be found in the Our Military Heritage collection are Civil War letters and pension files, World War II unit histories and rosters, photos of military markers for all time periods for Maplewood Cemetery in Williams County, Ohio, and individual soldiers’ photos from Afghanistan. These are just a few of the items that individuals have allowed The Genealogy Center to digitize and add to the page.

    Please consider allowing The Genealogy Center to scan your military letters, diaries, soldiers’ pension files, photographs and other material to add to this growing collection.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Ben Moore -- Back for His 10th Summer!

    Sunday, Jun 15, 2014

    by Dawne

    “What did you do on your summer vacation?” If assigned a report on this topic, school librarian BenBen Moore June2014 Moore might report that he spent his summer on a “busman’s holiday,” working as a reference assistant at the Allen County Public Library.  Ben, librarian for Smith-Green Schools in Churubusco, is helping patrons 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays in The Genealogy Center for his 10th summer. This year he is also working at the Ask desk in Reader’s Services part time in the evenings.

    Ben started working summers in The Genealogy Center back in 2005 when the main library departments were temporarily housed in the Renaissance Center building (now Citizens Square) during renovation of 900 Library Plaza. He said he applied for a summer job at the library and expected, since he was a teacher at that time, that he might be assigned to Children’s Services. Instead, he found himself in Genealogy. Ben said he remembered coming to what was then called the Genealogy Department with his grandmother when he was a boy and he found the subject interesting, but wasn’t really “a genealogist” when he started working summers in The Center. He has since dabbled in working on his family history.

    He said he very much enjoys helping the patrons of The Genealogy Center every summer and finds the variety of their questions interesting.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • More One-on-One Consultations!

    Thursday, Jun 12, 2014

    The Genealogy Center will offer two afternoons of Consultations with a staff member to try to help you break down a brick wall or to just to just gain a greater understanding of some aspect of research. Sessions will be offered in 30-minute blocks, on Tuesday July 8th and Wednesday August 9th, from 2pm to 4pm in The Genealogy Center. Call 260-421-1225 or send an email for an appointment. Indicate that you are requesting a Consultation, and provide information concerning the nature of your quandary. A staff member will be assigned and you will be contacted with a time for your consultation. Be sure to bring your research notes to your consultation. Space is limited, contact us soon to take advantage of this offer!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Physical Memories

    Monday, Jun 09, 2014

    by Delia

     Do you have memory boxes? You know what I mean. They can be elaborate wooden or plastic boxes, highly decorated and elegant, or, often more likely, they can be shoe or paper boxes. They might be memories of a specific person (high school boyfriend comes to mind), or a specific time (that trip across the U.S. with friends), or a specific activity (softball). In these boxes you might place a napkin with the name of the restaurant you went to on prom night, or a series of post cards, or awards and clippings. Maybe these items were sitting around during or after the time they were gathered, then you put them away as other people and activities took precedence. They were items to keep, but maybe not display anymore. You might look at them once in a while, and the box gathers dust as you move to another apartment, another house. Every time you move, you think, I should just throw that away. But you don’t. They were nice memories. They are important to you.

    But what will they mean to your heirs? When you are gone, will your family understand what these items meant to you? Will they look inside the box, pluck out one or two items that they might be able to use, then dump the rest in the dumpster? Is that where you want these items to end up?

    First, next time you pull out the box to look through, take a few minutes to make a list identifying each item, such as, “Red ribbon, second place, track meet, junior year at Concordia High School, Fort Wayne, Fall 1989” or “ash trays stolen from restaurants, Spring Break trip, Kentucky to Florida, 1978.” Yeah, I know. It wasn’t very nice, but it’s your collection! If you don’t identify them, no one will understand their significance.

    Next, take a few minutes to show them to interested family members. While I wouldn’t suggest trying to tell your son-in-law while he’s grilling those steaks on the Fourth of July, you might tell your soccer-star grandson that you’d like to show him your keepsakes from when you played football in high school. Your mutual interest in sports may whet his curiosity and he may wish to preserve them, and pass them along, after you are gone.

    Take the initiative to preserve your memories! Start now!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Remembering D-Day

    Friday, Jun 06, 2014

    by Delia

    Today is the 70th anniversary of D-Day. On June 6, 1944, the well-planned invasion by the Allied Forces against the Nazi regime that had overtaken Europe landed along a 50-mile stretch of beach on the north coast of France. More than 156,000 soldiers from the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Norway and Free France participated. Of these, 10,000 became casualties (killed, wounded, missing) that day, and many more in the days following.

    There are many published accounts of D-Day, both personal reminiscences and historical overviews, in books, periodicals and online, and we have all seen documentaries and movies highlighting June 6, 1944 (who can forget “Saving Private Ryan?”). Our World War II veterans are dwindling in number, and we all should see that their memories are preserved before they are lost. If you know a Vet, whether a D-Day survivor or not, please take this day to arrange to preserve his recollections.

    Also take a few minutes to remember the many who didn’t make it off of those beaches. Their stories must be told by other servicemen and by their families.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Discover Your Family Stories at Senior Circle

    Wednesday, Jun 04, 2014

    Seniors who stay active and productive often have longer and happier lives. The Lutheran Health Network is offering Senior Circle 50+ Health and Activity Expo on Thursday, June 12, 2014, from 9A to 3P at the Ash Center, 1701 Freeman Street, Fort Wayne. They will offer free and low cost health screenings, demonstrations of various activities (golfing, painting, and more), and at 11:30, our own Curt Witcher, The Genealogy Center Manager, will present "Discovering Your Family Stories." Family stories can be the origin of an interest in family history, as well as the culmination of years of research. Whether one is just beginning to delve into one's ancestry or has devoted long hours of digging, sharing family stories is one of the most pleasurable aspects. For more information, call 260-425-3087 or visit Lutheran Health Net Expo. Make plans now to attend!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Discover Ancestry!

    Sunday, Jun 01, 2014

    There you are, watching television, and a commercial for comes on. Someone just types in a name. All sorts of information and all manner of connections appear, and suddenly, they know all about a grandfather’s World War I service. But when you go online, it may not seem so simple.

    On Wednesday, June 11, 2014, as part of our "Digital Discoveries" series, Delia Bourne will present Discovering Ancestry. She will demonstrate search techniques that will make your searches much more successful. Attend this free class, Meeting Room A, from 3P to 4P. To register, call 260-421-1225 or email us. See what Ancestry has to offer!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Search Strategies for Online Databases

    Thursday, May 29, 2014

    • By Dawne

      It’s common and it’s frustrating to perform a search in an online genealogy database and not find the person or family being sought. The next time this happens, try these strategies:
    • Read the description of the database. What are its parameters? Most likely the marriage database that is titled “Indiana Marriage Collection, 1800-1941” does not include all counties’ marriages for all of the years between those inclusive dates.
    • If the parameters of the database are not described, do a “spot-check” with a common first name (John) or last name (Smith) and the year or county needed. If you get no results, such as in a marriage database, you can be relatively certain that county – or that year’s – marriages are not included.
    • Check for the source of the information in the database. Its source might give you a clue as to how complete the database is.
    • Consider alternate spellings for your ancestor’s name – both first name and surname. This might include common ones, such as Steven and Stephen, but also those foreign prefixes like Mc, O’ and de that might have been seen by the indexer as a middle initial. (John McDonald might have been indexed as John M. Donald, for example.)
    • Use wildcards. Some databases allow “?” in place of a single letter and “*” in place of several letters. This will allow you to search for Jens?n and get Jenson and Jensen results in the same search. Or Pax* will bring back Paxon, Paxton, and any other surname beginning with “Pax."
    • When searching for a family with a common surname, such as in the census, search for the person with the most unusual given name in order to narrow the results. James and Elizabeth Jones had children named William, James, John, Zora and Jennie. Searching for Zora might help pinpoint this family more easily than using the name of James, the father.
    • Omit the first name – or surname – of the target individual and use other parameters, such as age, place of birth and place of residence. You can search for all Johns living in a particular county and state in 1910 who were born circa 1856 in Tennessee, for example.
    • Search using no target name, but adding parents’ first names or father’s surname and mother’s maiden name. This is especially useful to find second marriages for daughters of the couple.
    • Take your “blinders” off and expand your search beyond what you think you know. Maybe the family was living somewhere you didn’t expect at the time of a census enumeration.
    • In the census, browse page by page in rural areas instead of searching for a name.
    • Consider that surnames and given names might have been reversed on the census schedule and therefore might have been indexed that way.
    • Perhaps the most important tip is to think “person” instead of name: Age, birth place, gender, residence. In some cases, people have been enumerated on the census with completely wrong surnames, not just misread or differently-spelled surnames.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Celebrate Memorial Day!

    Monday, May 26, 2014

    by Delia

    The first day set aside to honor fallen war dead in the United States was in 1866, when the Ladies Memorial Association of Columbus, Georgia, passed a resolution to set aside one day a year to honor fallen Confederate dead, and invited ladies in the other Southern states to join with them. The date chosen was April 26th, to commemorate the day in 1865 when Confederate General Joseph Johnston surrendered to General W.T. Sherman in North Carolina. Women in other former Confederate states joined the April 26th observance, but a few states chose other dates in honor of more local Confederate heroes. In Columbus, Mississippi, local women went to decorate the graves of Confederates who died at the Battle of Shiloh and noticed that the resting places of the Union fallen were bare and neglected, so they decorated those graves as well.

    In 1868, John A. Logan, Commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, called for a national Decoration Day to honor the Union dead. May 30th was chosen because it did not honor one specific battle. Participation grew, and the name gradually changed to Memorial Day. Observance changed to the last Monday in May under the Uniform Monday Holiday Act in the 1960s. It is believed by some that the purpose of the day has been lost by many Americans who now see the holiday weekend as just the beginning of summer, but many still observe the day with parades, lowered flags and decorating the graves of soldiers with flags and flowers.

    Take a few minutes today to honor the memory of our country’s fallen dead.

    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

  • Lincoln's Boyhood in Indiana

    Tuesday, May 20, 2014

    He was born in Kentucky and started his professional life in Illinois, but Abraham Lincoln spent his boyhood, 1816 to 1830,  in Indiana. Learn more about these years in Lincoln's life on Wednesday, May 21st, when William Bartelt will present the 2014 Rolland Lecture "Recollections of Lincoln's Youth in Indiana," in Meeting Room A at 7 PM. Bartelt is the author of 'There I grew up': Remembering Abraham Lincoln’s Indiana Youth (Indiana Historical Society Press, 2008) and is a recipient of the Indiana Historical Society’s Hoosier Historian Award for contribution to historical scholarship. He is currently president-elect of the Evansville Museum, a trustee of the Indiana Historical Society, a member of the Indiana Library and Historical Board, a Director of the Abraham Lincoln Association, a member of the Friends of the Lincoln Collection of Indiana board of directors, and past president of the Newburgh Museum Foundation. The lecture will be preceded by a brief Annual Meeting of the Friends of the Lincoln Collection of Indiana.

    The program is free and open to the public. Join us on Wednesday evening to learn more about Lincoln in Indiana!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Summer Time Sundays: Closed

    Tuesday, May 20, 2014

    The Genealogy Center, like all agencies of the Allen County Public Library, will be closed on Sundays for the summer, May 25, 2014, through August 31, 2014. Except for July 4th, we will be open the rest of the summer, 9A to 9P on Mondays through Thursdays, and 9A to 6P on Fridays and Saturdays.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Closed Memorial Day, May 26

    Sunday, May 18, 2014

    The Genealogy Center, like the other Allen County Public Library facilities, will be closed Monday, May 26th, in observance of Memorial Day. We are also closed Sunday, May 25th, as that starts the summer Sunday closing. We will be open Saturday, May 24th, 9A to 6P, and Tuesday 9A to 9P.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center