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  • Proof Argument

    Wednesday, May 18, 2011

    by Dawne

    Have you ever found that you have entered a piece of information in your genealogy program and attached a source citation (maybe even more than one), but you can’t remember how that source led you to the conclusion that it did?

    For example, maybe you have Travis Brown attached to Jane Brown as her father with the 1870 and 1880 censuses for the Travis Brown household, John Brown’s obituary and John Brown’s death record shown as the citations for that relationship. This is puzzling because although Jane was in Travis’s household in 1870, this census doesn’t specify relationships between individuals, and you know that Jane was married before 1880 and was not in Travis’s household in that year. Why, then, have you used the 1880 census for Travis Brown as a citation for this fact? And why have you cited John Brown’s death record and obituary?

    When there is no direct evidence for a genealogical fact, researchers often must rely on a “proof argument” to explain how they know the fact is so. In this case, let’s say that Jane and John Brown were in Travis Brown’s household in 1870, and were of age to have been his children. In 1880, Jane was out of the household and married, but John remained in Travis’s household and was enumerated as Travis’s son. John’s death record named Travis as his father, and John’s obituary named Jane as a surviving sister. For the sake of this illustration, let’s also say that we know that Jane’s surname was Brown when she got married. If there is no conflicting evidence, we could make the argument that since John Brown was the son of Travis Brown, John’s sister, whose maiden name was Brown and who lived in Travis’s household in 1870, also was a child of Travis Brown. The sources just named, when analyzed all together, support this conclusion.

    However, a string of sources attached to a fact in a genealogy database does not spell out how we reached this conclusion; only a narrative can do this. If we can’t remember how we determined the answer to a genealogical problem, how can we expect someone else looking at our work to do so?

    Barbara Vines Little, CG(sm),* professional researcher and lecturer, spoke on proof arguments at the National Genealogical Society Conference in Charleston, South Carolina, last week. She said a proof argument should have a topic sentence stating the conclusion, followed by supporting sentences explaining the evidence found, how the pieces of evidence fit together to prove the argument, and a description of the depth and breadth of the search. Negative searches also should be described if they apply to the conclusion, such as when someone is not found in a particular record, or if a certain type of record expected to be found in the area for that time period is not extant, for example.

    It is not enough to know what conclusion the researcher has drawn, Little said in her lecture last week, “We need to know how you figured it out.”

    *“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

  • May Consultations Filled

    Monday, May 16, 2011

    One-on-One consultations for May 25 have filled. If you're interested in scheduling an appointment for a 30 minute consultation, held on the 4th Wednesday of the month, please call 260-421-1225 or email Genealogy@ACPL.Info.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • German Genealogy Update

    Friday, May 13, 2011

    Registration is closed for the German Genealogy: A Two Day Mini-Course on June 9 and 10, 2011 as we have reached capacity.

    Registration is still open for Fort Wayne Ancestry Day, when experts from both Ancestry.com and The Genealogy Center offer a full day of classes.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Don’t Forget Your Flashdrive!

    Thursday, May 12, 2011

    by Delia

    I have many notebooks and files of papers at home, filled with copies of census pages, military records, and passenger list photocopies. But more and more these days, I am saving census and other online images as well as microfilm images to my flashdrive. I just pop the flashdrive (jumpdrive, portable drive, memory stick) into the slot, click save, select my flashdrive as the destination, then type a brief description (i.e., “Holt 1930 Miller Co AR”) and click save. That way, I can pull up the image anytime, and can enlarge it to examine small print.

    When you visit The Genealogy Center, remember to bring your portable drive to save images you locate. Just be sure that your drive does not hold any program (.exe) files, as our system will not allow those files access.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Memorial Day

    Monday, May 09, 2011

    The Genealogy Center, in observance of Memorial Day, will be closed on Sunday May 29, 2011 and Monday May 30, 2011. We will be open our regular hours Saturday April 28 (9A to 6P) as well as Tuesday May 31 (9A to 9P).

    Memorial Day weekend begins our summer schedule. Remember our summer hours are:

    Monday - Thursday 9A - 9P

    Friday - Saturday 9A - 6P

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • German Genealogy

    Saturday, May 07, 2011

    The Genealogy Center is pleased to offer a new two day mini-course, German Genealogy, on June 9 & 10, 2011. Led by instructors John Beatty, MA, MLS, and Steve Myers, MLS, this workshop is an excellent introduction for researchers with little or no experience in German records and covers basic sources and techniques that lead to success. Classes will cover the following topics.
     
    *"An Introduction to German Genealogical Research" - Identifying an immigrant ancestor and their specific place of origin are the keys to research in German records. Learn about North American sources for finding these essential starting points.
     
    *"Using German Church Records" - Learn how to locate, access, and utilize German church records. Search strategies and examples will be discussed.
     
    *"Advancing Your Research with the PERiodical Source Index (PERSI)" - Learn how to plan a successful search, gather evidence, and record and document what you find.
     
    *"German Maps, Gazetteers & Other Important Printed Sources" - Learn how to use maps and gazetteers to locate your ancestor's place of origin and its associated record-keeping jurisdictions. Other important German-language genealogical publications will also be introduced.
     
    *"Swiss Genealogical Records" - Learn how to begin your Swiss research, find American sources for Swiss immigrants, utilize Swiss
    biographical and heraldic sources, and locate and interpret Swiss church records.
     
    *"Palatines Along the Hudson: Researching 18th Century Settlers on Livingston Manor" - Learn about sources available to genealogists tracing ancestors on this important New York manor, including surviving manuscript collections such as the Robert R. Livingston Papers.
     
    Additionally there will be a tour of The Genealogy Center and assisted research/consultation times both days. For more information, see the brochure at http://www.genealogycenter.org/Libraries/Brochures/German_Gen_brochure_2011ReducedSize.sflb.ashx. As with all of our mini-courses, space is limited, so register early to avoid disappointment. Registration is $50 (Please make check payable to: "ACPL Foundation").  Cancellation after May 26, 2011 will incur a $20 administrative fee. For more information, call 260-421-1225 or email Genealogy@ACPL.Info.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Processing Tour Registration Closed

    Wednesday, May 04, 2011

    Registration is filled for the Processing, Scanning, and Fine Materials Tour on Thursday, May 5.

    We still have spaces for the Catalog Tour on Friday, May 6 from 10:00 am to 11:45 am and the Genealogy Center Tour on Saturday, May 7 from 10:00am to 11:00 am. To register, please call 260-421-1225 or email Genealogy@ACPL.Info.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Brickwalls

    Monday, May 02, 2011

    by Melissa

    Have you ever hit a brick wall in your genealogy? If so, you know it can be very frustrating to not find information on your family. We're offering steps to hurdle, bypass, or crash through that wall.

    1. Read through the records you have already acquired. It may feel like duplication of work, but you can discover new answers among formerly researched records. Your research skills may have improved since the last time you looked at that census record or now that you know of an incident within the family, an uncertain detail suddenly makes sense in the probate record.

    2. Create a timeline to determine if there are gaps in your records. Timelines are great visual aids to help us see where details are missing.

    3. Compile a list of possible records for your ancestor. Have you looked at church records, court records, probate, etc? The list can go on. See which records you still need to seek in your quest.

    4. Compile a list of people who were involved in your ancestor's life. These people include friends, family, neighbors, and witnesses on documents. Research those individuals because your ancestor could appear in a neighbor, friend, or family member's records.

    5. Ask for help! Sometimes it takes a fresh set of eyes to find that needle in a haystack. Ask a fellow researcher or member of a local society for guidance. You could swap research brick walls.

    The only way we'll get through those brick walls is to try, so don't give up. See if one of these techniques might help you overcome your genealogical wall.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • The Genealogy Center History -- Part 3

    Saturday, Apr 30, 2011

    In 1965, the library moved to temporary quarters in the Old Purdue Building at Jefferson and Barr Streets.

    The Genealogy Collection is on the second floor, above the Young Adult Room in this photo of the Purdue Building "ballroom."



    Researchers used microfilm readers


     and print material


    and were asked to "remove no material from Historical Genealogy."


    Next time: The new building on Webster Street!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Searching for Clusters

    Tuesday, Apr 26, 2011

    by Melissa

    Looking at an ancestral chart, we follow the direct line backwards from parent, grandparent, great grandparent, without branching out and learning about the other family members. If we continue our research in this same vein, we will hit a brickwall rather quickly. One of the best ways to breakdown the brickwall is through cluster genealogy. Rather than focusing on the direct line, we review the group or cluster of individuals who may have been a part of our ancestor's life. Who would that entail? Children, spouse, siblings, in-laws, parents, grandparents, nieces, nephews, friends, neighbors, witnesses on documents, associates through church or other organizations, or other individuals in their community. Now you may question this methodology, deeming it too wide of a net, but we would like to share some situations where this has proven fruitful in our own research.

    To locate my Revolutionary War patriot, I searched in pension, bounty land, and service records to no avail. I finally located my patriot's service and life story among his brother-in-law's pension file. Information concerning my patriot's immigration to the colonies, his marriage, and children are found among his brother-in-law's records.

    To find the home parish in Germany of one of my immigrants, I looked through his township in an Ohio census and extracted the surnames of everyone born in Germany, realizing that people from the same community often migrated together or settled in the same place. Then I looked on the International Genealogical Index for where those surnames were concentrated in Germany. I went to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City with five possible parishes where the various surnames from the Ohio census were located in large numbers. I knew my ancestor's exact date of birth. I found his baptism in the second parish I checked and was able to continue to trace the family back through the German records.

    When you can't seem to locate your ancestor, consider searching for their cluster. You never know what you may find.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Fort Wayne Ancestry Day

    Saturday, Apr 23, 2011

    With more than 6 billion historical records and in excess of 20 million family trees available, Ancestry.com is the world's largest genealogical database. Have you explored what Ancestry.com has to offer? Or are you needing guidance to navigate the website? Come learn from the experts at Ancestry.com and The Genealogy Center on Saturday July 23, when both groups collaborate for Fort Wayne Ancestry Day. Experts from both organizations will present classes and provide answers to your questions during this full day event at the Grand Wayne Center from 8:00 am - 4:30 pm.
     
    Cost for the full day is $20. Click here to learn more about the program. To take advantage of this opportunity, please register online.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Lost

    Wednesday, Apr 20, 2011

    By Melissa

    As a directionally challenged person, I am forever finding myself lost. With The Genealogy Center housing over one million items in its physical space which encompasses five rooms, plus the virtual space with its numerous databases and options, it can be a bit harrowing. If you're feeling a bit lost in your genealogy and what The Genealogy Center can do for you, several opportunities await.

    The Genealogy Center is offering 30 minute One-on-One Consultations from 2 pm to 4 pm on the fourth Wednesday of the month from April to December to help guide you through your research. There are a limited number of consultation times, so please register early.

    Additionally, in May, we have dedicated a week to Down to the Fine Print: Exploring The Genealogy Center, when you can attend one of the many tours of the facility, our catalog, or our website to learn your way around our holdings. Space is limited, so register early.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Databases -- Free, Free, FREE!

    Monday, Apr 18, 2011

    by Delia

    That always catches your eye, doesn’t it? Something for free? Even when you think it’s probably a come-on, you still have to look, to check, just in case it might be something you would like and it really IS free. Well, The Genealogy Center is the site for some amazing – and free! – databases.

    Of course, I hope you are familiar with our Microtext Catalog. Using it in advance of your visit can help you decide what records you need to examine. The Genealogy Center Surname File enables you to locate others researching the same name you are. And the African American Gateway provides links to all types of resources for African American research.

    The rest of the databases are divided into two types, collections of indexes and transcriptions, and those databases that are primarily collections of digital images. The latter are Our Military Heritage, Family Bible Records and Family Resources but for now I am going to concentrate on the other three: Allen County, Indiana Resources, Indiana Resources, and Other States Resources.

    Not too surprisingly, there is a tremendous amount of material in the Allen County, Indiana Resources, including an index to Allen County marriages from 1993 to the present, an obituary index that covers 1837 to the present; several transcriptions of cemetery records; indexes to Poor Asylum records and State School deaths; African American and German ethnic records; extensive records from the Fort Wayne Fire Department; scrapbooks and minute books; digitized wills of some early Native Americans in the area; maps; military resources; and an index to the names appearing in extensive runs of several local high schools.

    The Indiana Resources databases include lists Central Normal College students, 1877-1934; collections of pre-1882 and World War I deaths; and information on the county courthouses. County specific records include many cemetery listings, but also 1873 cholera deaths from Posey County, Hendricks County business directories and divorces (1891-1960), and the Jacobs Funeral Home records from Marion County.

    Other States Resources has material from only thirteen other states right now, but includes colonial Massachusetts military records, a World War I memorial book from New Hampshire, American Ancestors of Michigan Governors and many cemetery listings.

    Some of these various databases have been compiled by Genealogy Center staff and volunteers, but many more have been donated by researchers just like you, and we are always interested in adding to the collection.

    So take a bit of time and explore the free, free, FREE databases offered through your Genealogy Center!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • More Improvements to the Catalog

    Wednesday, Apr 13, 2011

    The Genealogy Center catalog received an upgrade this morning, which has vastly improved its functionality for genealogy researchers. One of the first changes you’ll notice is the appearance of call numbers on the results page. Each record also has a description of the book that includes its size in centimeters, number of volumes and number of pages. This can help you identify books that may be housed in the oversize section, as well as give you a general idea of whether the book is short or long and if you are looking for a single volume or a multi-volume set.

    The list function is easier to use with the new upgrade. Just click on the box below the word "books" next to each of your selections on the results page. As you click on the boxes, the heading at the top of the page will update the number of books selected. Once you’ve selected all your books, click on show. And your new list appears along with the call numbers for the books.

    The new and improved catalog should make your genealogy experience easier!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Brief Catalog Blackout

    Tuesday, Apr 12, 2011

    For those who are night owls or who are planning to get a jump start on planning your genealogy search for the day, The Genealogy Center catalog will be unavailable on Wednesday, April 13, from 1:00 am - 9:00 am.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • The Importance of Church Affiliation

    Monday, Apr 11, 2011

    by Delia

    Remember to note religious connections as you research your ancestors. Joining a new church was often one of the first actions of emigrants. Family and friends might belong to the same denomination and congregation, and fellow worshipers often provided marital prospects and business alliances. Church records provide not only baptismal, marriage and funeral notes, but also activities such as musicals, plays, picnics, Sunday school and children’s groups, and discipline records. And when people moved on, their church records may indicate a destination. Even if your ancestor is not specifically mentioned, cluster genealogical research may provide clues in the church records of friends and neighbors.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Time is Passing, Part 2

    Friday, Apr 08, 2011

    By Dawne

    Once I decided to write, and what format to use, the next questions were where to begin and what to do with the “unknowns” and the research that I had done on families that weren’t mine. To use a cliché, I decided to “jump in with both feet.” In other words, I picked up a stack of papers from my desk that pertained to different families, opened several files in Word and started writing on a half dozen of my families at once! I also decided to create narratives for those mini one-name studies and for my “unknowns” of each surname.

    In the files containing material on the “unknowns” and the one-name studies, the sketches are arranged alphabetically by first name since I do not yet have all of the necessary information to know if – and how – the individuals fit together as families. Fortunately, cut and paste allows me to move things around and even move individual sketches from the “unknowns” file to one of my family files once I find a link!

    My goal is to compile everything in my files into a format that genealogists and non-genealogists alike can understand, and have those finished products on the shelf in The Genealogy Center of the Allen County Public Library.

    That’s HUGE, I realize. Will I get it done? I don’t know. But what I do know is that I have more than 300 pages of written narrative on my families today than I had in mid-November of last year when I started. And that’s more than 300 pages (and counting) of information that perhaps will not be lost to my descendants.

    This genealogy thing that we do is for most of us a true labor of love that lasts many years. How sad to think that years’ worth of work can be lost when the person who set it in motion is no longer there to maintain it. I encourage you to write about your families and your research – in whatever style or format is comfortable and right for you – and place your work in The Genealogy Center to be used and enjoyed by researchers for years into the future.

    Click to read the first part of this article.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Time is Passing

    Thursday, Apr 07, 2011

    By Dawne

    Tick-tock. Time is passing. We talk about how it seems to go by faster the older we get. Whether you are a young genealogist just getting started, or someone who has been researching for many years and beginning to think about the disposition of your genealogy files, the fact is, no one knows how much time is left.

    The deaths of a few genealogist friends during the past year have created an urgency in me to create written narratives of virtually everything that is in my genealogy files. It’s a huge task! I don’t know if I will be able to complete it the way I envision the project, but allow me to explain my reasons for trying, my process and my goals.

    I have started (and not quite finished) the task of organizing my genealogy files and papers a number of times and have entered much of my data into The Master Genealogist software program. I like The Master Genealogist and I know that there are a number of other genealogy software programs with much to offer. However, I had begun feeling that my genealogy data was essentially “trapped” in that kind of a program and beyond the reach of anyone who was not a genealogist. Would my family know how to retrieve the data? How to print it out so that it could be shared with others? Would anyone try?

    Even if a genealogy friend were to take charge of my TMG program files, what about my paper files with material on people who are not yet proven to be connected to my family – the “unknowns”? Also, there are several instances in my family lines where I have done extensive one-name studies in particular areas in order to sort out individuals of the same name and age. Some of these families are not connected to mine at all, but I would not want this research to be lost.

    After worrying about this for a while, I finally decided that my best course of action was to begin writing. I am used to writing genealogy narratives in a modified National Genealogical Society Quarterly style, so that seemed like a natural format. It is one that most people – even non-genealogists – can catch onto and follow fairly easily. In each family’s sketch I am not tethered by fields; I can write freely, including personal memories, quotations from letters and diaries, extracts from obituaries and county history biographies, and more. In contrast to book printouts from genealogy programs, I can word the sketches the way I want to so that they do not all sound the same. I can include endless explanations in endnotes.

    Part II of this article will continue tomorrow.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • April Classes Update

    Wednesday, Apr 06, 2011

    Registration is closed for the Beginning Genealogy Seminar on April 9 and the One-on-One Consultations on April 27 as we have reached capacity. There are still openings for the classes the week of April 11-15 for the Create Your Own Story @ The Genealogy Center. Please call 260-421-1225 or or send an email to Genealogy@ACPL.Info to register. Don't miss out on these free opportunities.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • April Closure

    Tuesday, Apr 05, 2011

    The Genealogy Center, in common with all other agencies of the Allen County Public Library, will be closed on Sunday April 24, 2011, for the Easter holiday. We will be open our regular hours Friday April 22 (9A to 6P) and Saturday April 23 (9A to 6P) as well as Monday April 25 (9A to 9P).

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center