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  • African American Heritage

    Friday, Jul 02, 2010

    To discover your African American ancestors online, you can access ProQuest's African American Heritage database while visiting the Genealogy Center. The database is divided into four categories: Search the Collections, Visit the AfriGeneas™ Community, Explore Black Genesis, and Consult Reference and How-to's. Freedman's Bank Search the Collections focuses your search on African American ancestors in the 1860-1930 Census,  1865-1874 Freedman's Bank Records, and World War I and II Draft Registration Cards. Visit the AfriGeneas™ Community searches the AfriGeneas website for census, marriage, death, and slave records. Explore Black Genesis, a State-by-State Resource Guide by Dr. James M. Rose and Dr. Alice Eichholz provides information on records and repositories for African American resources available within the United States, Canada, and the West Indies. Consult Reference and How-to's searches books on African American research methods.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Hints for Indiana Vital Record Searches

    Tuesday, Jun 29, 2010

    By John Indiana birth and death records can sometimes be confusing to use, especially in Lake and Allen counties. When the act creating the State Board of Health was passed in 1881, many individual cities established their own local health departments, which gathered birth and death information in separate books from those of the county. For most counties, these records were gathered together and published in single volumes by the Works Progress Administration in the 1930s, typically covering the period 1882 to 1920. Most of these are available in a statewide index on Ancestry. In Lake and Allen (and perhaps a few other counties as well), not all of the indexes were combined. Lake County, for example, had a county office, as well as separate offices at Crown Point, East Chicago, Gary, Hammond, Hobart, and Whiting. The WPA published these records in individual volumes, so if you have ancestors in that county, you may wish to search all of the volumes. Allen County is more problematic. In the early twentieth century, separate health departments existed for the county, as well as in Fort Wayne, Monroeville, Grabill, New Haven, Woodburn, and Leo. The WPA volume included only the Fort Wayne and County birth and death reports. Death records for the county begin in 1882; deaths for Fort Wayne begin earlier, in 1870. Birth records begin in 1887, though there was at one time an earlier birth record volume, 1882-1886, and the Genealogy Center has an unpublished name-index-only manuscript (977.201 AL5hea) to that volume, created by the county, covering original volumes A-P, and apparently including the original 1882-86 book, which is now no longer extant. This index does not include the birth date information or parents' names - only the name of the child and the page reference in the original book. The records for the other towns were not included in the WPA volume. If your ancestor was born or died in one of these other Allen County town or in the country near these towns, he or she may not appear in the Allen County birth and death indexes, or, for that matter, in the Ancestry index. The Monroeville Birth and Death Records cover the period 1906, 1909-1937. These volumes have been microfilmed and are indexed in a separate bound volume (Genealogy Center call number 977.201 AL5mon). The Grabill-New Haven-Woodburn Birth and Death Records span 1907 to 1937 and are available in a separate has an unpublished typescript abstract (Genealogy Center call number 977.201 AL5gra). The Leo vital records have not been published and remain in the office of the Allen County Department of Health. So when researching Allen County, be aware that there is no central index of all public vital records in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. While the reporting of births and deaths was never complete, it is possible that the event was recorded in one of these separate town vital record office books. Perhaps one day all of these indexes will be combined into a single source.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • How to Begin

    Thursday, Jun 24, 2010

    Are you wanting to learn how to begin doing genealogy? Are you looking for a refresher on research basics? The Genealogy Center offers two online tutorials on getting started in genealogy. The Mystery of Your Family History features a basic course on beginning your search, while How to Start Researching Your Family Tree offers a more in-depth tutorial. Check out these online offerings and begin charting your family tree.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • July 4th Hours

    Monday, Jun 21, 2010

    The Genealogy Center, along with the Allen County Public Library, will be closed Saturday July 3, Sunday July 4, and Monday July 5, in observance of the holiday. Use your holiday weekend to talk to relatives to gather and share family stories and activities. We will be back to our regular summer schedule on July 6th.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • The next page is not always the next page

    Saturday, Jun 19, 2010

    If you find a family listed at the top or bottom of a page in the census, take care about blithely hopping to the "previous" or "next" page. Occasionally pages are out of order, so that the family's continuation is actually not on the page one would assume it will be. If the enumerator has written the surnames in every line, or at least at the top of the next page, this may be easily seen, but sometimes one has to check the page numbers to determine if you are really seeing entries for the rest of the family. However, this example from Oktibbeha County, MS in 1930 lists parents William T. and Lucy Cothran with sons Pope M. and Carl C. on page 2B, while the rest of the household, sons William and James and Lucy's father, Pope Williams are at the top of page 2 A. Only the dwelling and family visitation numbers reflect the fact that this is a family. So instead of going to the next page, to find the continuation of the family, one must look at the top of the previous page. So remember to examine your material thoroughly to verify that the family grouping is complete and correct.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Missing Ancestor: Gone to California -- and Prison?

    Tuesday, Jun 15, 2010

    If you have an ancestor who disappeared from the old homestead and family memory between 1851 and 1944, he or she might have gone to the Golden State to make a fortune, but found trouble instead. The Genealogy Center has San Quentin Prison List of Convicts (979.4 M33RO and M33ROA) which provides an alphabetical list of inmates with their convict numbers. The introduction cautions a researcher to be aware that first and last names were occasionally reversed, and that, of course, spelling of names could be inaccurate. No further information is provided in the index, but there is a guide to the years in which specific numbers were issued to narrow down a search. The records themselves are held by the California State Archives.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • World Vital Records.com

    Friday, Jun 11, 2010

    Another database available at the Genealogy Center is WorldVitalRecords.com. The online site takes a different approach to searching for family history. Besides offering you access to information off their site, such as vital records and military records, they are a clearinghouse that guides you to other genealogy web sites. For example, you can search for one individual and find links to Find A Grave, Newspaper Archive, National Personnel Records Center, Footnote, Find My Past, and the Godfrey Collection.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Where Did I Find ...?

    Tuesday, Jun 08, 2010

    It is never too late to start logging your sources. Knowing where you gathered particular details on an ancestor is very important in your research. When evaluating incongruous information, reviewing which source the details are from can help you decide what is more accurate. Another reason to keep track of your sources is so others can verify or follow-up on your research. Some ways you can keep track of where you found information on your ancestors are: 1. Maintain a log of sources in a notebook or on your genealogy software. 2. Copy the title page of sources you have viewed. 3. Note materials you have searched, but in which you did not find information. It prevents you from repeatedly returning to the same source.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War

    Friday, Jun 04, 2010

    The traveling exhibition "Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War" will be available for your viewing pleasure in the Genealogy Center June 18 to July 30, 2010. The Opening Reception will be at Saturday, June 19, at 7 PM in Meeting Room A of the Main Library, with speakers Jason Jividen, Sara Gabbard, and Katherine Tinsely. Other events highlighting the exhibition include:

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Family Reunions

    Tuesday, Jun 01, 2010

    With the end of school, many people will plan family vacations over the coming months. With any luck, some vacations will include getting together with family members and holding a family reunion. The Allen County Public Library has several books available to help you plan your reunion. Even if you can't visit us, you can look for these books at your local library. Your family reunion: how to plan it, organize it and enjoy it How to plan your African-American family reunion The family reunion sourcebook Family reunion: everything you need to know to plan unforgettable get-togethers for every kind of family Another option for a summer trip is to visit the Genealogy Center and enjoy a research vacation.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • You Can't Always Find It By Browsing!

    Thursday, May 27, 2010

    Sometimes in the Genealogy Center, a useful book pertinent to a particular location is not found under a particular subject entry or title. Consider the book, On the Eve of Conquest: The Chevalier de Raymond's Critique of New France in 1754, edited by Joseph L. Peyser and published by Michigan State University Press in 1997. The book is cataloged as 971 R214o, which is a general Canadian number. However, "New France" in the 1750s, before the conclusion of the French and Indian War, comprised a large portion of the upper Midwest and Great Lakes of what would become the United States. Charles de Raymond, the central figure of the work, was the commandant of Fort St. Joseph at what is now Fort Wayne in the 1750s. The book contains a useful, first-hand account of this and other areas occupied by the French, but not strictly about Canada. If you are researching the French period of Fort Wayne's history, or indeed, those of other French-occupied settlements of the 1750s, this book deserves a closer look.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Genealogy Center Closed Memorial Day

    Sunday, May 23, 2010

    As you make your research travel plans, please remember that the Genealogy Center, like the rest of the Allen County Public Library, is closed on Monday, May 31, in observance of Memorial Day. Memorial Day weekend also marks the beginning of the library's summer schedule. Hours Monday through Saturday are the same as the rest of the year (M-Th 9A - 9P and F&S 9A - 6P), but the entire library is closed on Sundays until after the Labor Day weekend. We love our visitors, and don't want you waiting in vain on Sundays.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Genealogy @ Night

    Tuesday, May 18, 2010

    Summer is around the corner and with it comes Genealogy @ Night. Don't let the name mislead you. We'll make use of the long daylight hours and increase your genealogical research knowledge. In June, July, and August, lectures will be offered on the third Tuesdays of each month from 6:30 PM -7:30 PM. Our first offering is Cynthia Theusch on "French Canadian Research at ACPL" on June 15. On July 20, John Beatty will present "Researching Indiana Court Records," followed by Dawne Slater‑Putt with "Cataloging 3‑D Items & Heirlooms" on August 17. Look for more information at our Website and remember to register via email to Genealogy@ACPL.Info or by phone at 260‑421‑1225. Plan to visit us in the evenings this summer!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Researching Long Distance via RAOGK

    Monday, May 10, 2010

    by Dawne

    The situation happens to everyone eventually – you discover a record that you need copied, a quick look-up to be done, or a photograph of a tombstone – but it is in a distant state and you can’t get there yourself. Sometimes the easiest way to get record copies is through corresponding directly with the courthouse or library in the distant location. But in other cases, that can be expensive and/or take more time than you would like.

    Another option is to hire a professional researcher to do the task for you. The Association of Professional Genealogists and the Board for Certification of Genealogists have lists of available professional researchers on their websites. Many libraries and courthouses also have lists of researchers who have placed their names with the facilities. But often these professionals require a multi-hour retainer to make the job worth their while, and if you have just a quick look-up to be done, this doesn’t really suit your needs.

    What to do? See if a volunteer will do the small (but significant to you!) job at the cost of any out-of-pocket expenses. Contact the genealogical society in the area where you need the look-up done and ask whether it has members who will do such work. Or go to the website of Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness (RAOGK) at and see whether anyone has registered to do lookups in the area in which you are interested.

    Volunteers on the RAOGK have agreed to do one free genealogy research task at least once a month in their local areas. Those who take advantage of this service must pay the out-of-pocket expenses such as record fees, copy fees, postage, parking fees and the like. They also would like a thank you, of course. The RAOGK boasts more than 4,000 volunteers, with a volunteer in every state and many other countries.

    Whether or not you are successful in finding someone who will perform a Random Act of Genealogical Kindness for you, consider adding your name to the list as someone who will do a look-up in your local area. One look-up a time, once a month, we can make long-distance genealogical research easier for everyone and perhaps even bank some good karma for our own genealogical endeavors!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Preservation Week

    Thursday, May 06, 2010

    Next week is the American Library Association's Preservation Week, and the Genealogy Center is offering daily programs on gathering, organizing and preserving family records, photos and other precious mementos:
    • Monday May 10: Photo Restoration Using Adobe Photoshop, presented by Kay Spears, 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM, Globe Room
    • Tuesday May 11: Preservation Tips & Tools, presented by Rebecca Schipper, 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM, Globe Room
    • Wednesday May 12: Organizing Information: Hard Copies, Computer Files, Pictures, etc., presented by Dawne Slater-Putt, 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM, Meeting Room A
    • Thursday May 13: Preserving Your Family History -- A Practical Overview presented by Curt Witcher (Part One: Basic Information to Preserve, Conserve, and Store Family Heirlooms & Documents; Part Two: Writing & Recording Your Family Stories) 2:00 PM – 4:30 PM, Globe Room
    • Friday May 14: Basics of Scanning presented by Kay Spears, 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM, Globe Room
    • Saturday May 15: Searching Ancestry.com, presented by Delia Bourne 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM, Meeting Room A
    Call 260-421-1225 or email Genealogy@ACPL.Info to register.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Paper of Record.com

    Tuesday, May 04, 2010

    Newspapers provide a wealth of knowledge concerning the everyday life of our ancestors. Besides articles concerning daily and historical events, newspapers also published notices pertaining to visits from family members, births, marriages, divorces, deaths, property being probated, and other details. Paper of Record.com, a database available at the Genealogy Center, provides digital access to historical newspapers from across the globe.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Class of whatever

    Monday, May 03, 2010

    It is the book for which most everyone eagerly awaits in the spring (or fall), and the only one that you could write in without getting into trouble. It is the yearbook, filled with photos and description of students, teachers, and staff in various activities. School yearbooks started at the college level and many were collections of student essays, poetry and fiction, altering over the years to become memory books we know today, and descending through high school, then elementary schools. The Genealogy Center’s extensive collection of local school annuals is a popular draw for current and former residents of the city as they locate themselves, parents or friends. Older yearbooks can also bring a grandparent to life for a younger member of the family, adding information about interests and activities, or can verify the presence of the student in a given place at a specific time. The Genealogy Center actively collects Allen County school yearbooks, and is happy to receive donations of yearbooks from any location, so when you know someone looking to dispose of their old annuals, or if you are thinning your own book shelves, please remember that we’d be happy to find space for these important resources in the collection.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Time for Gems

    Monday, Apr 26, 2010

    With the end of the month fast approaching, we are preparing to publish Genealogy Gems: News from the Fort Wayne Library. The newsletter is published by the staff of the Genealogy Center and sent via e-mail on the last day of each month. It's a another great way to learn about the resources in the department, new plans for the collection, programs, lodging, directions, and to see where our staff is speaking next. Click to read previously published editions. To sign-up for the newsletter, please send an email to Genealogy@ACPL.Info stating you would like to receive Genealogy Gems at your email address.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • The changing streets of the city

    Monday, Apr 26, 2010

    If you’ve ever followed a family through the census or city directories, and suddenly find that they have moved to a different address on the same street, it may be that they did not move at all, but that the city had changed street numbering systems. As some towns grew, houses or buildings were often just numbered as they were built, counting out from the town center. This became a problem when additional buildings were inserted. Most cities eventually went to a more organized system, usually counting each block as one hundred, and numbering buildings in a correspondingly appropriate position within the hundred and assigning even and odd numbered sides to the streets.

    The Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps may be able to help you to determine the corresponding old and new street numbers. When a city was in the process of making such a change, the maps would print both old and new building numbers, so if you encounter such a situation, check to see if Fire Insurance Maps were made for the city. The Genealogy Center has Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps in the Library of Congress, which will help you determine if maps were issued for the city you are searching. The maps will also provide answers if the street name itself has changed, and can help you determine exactly where your ancestor lived.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Printing from Ancestry.com

    Thursday, Apr 22, 2010

    Ancestry.com is an online database available at the Genealogy Center, where you can access the 1790-1930 Census, Passenger Lists, Military Records, Family Trees, and much more. Once you find the record you have been searching for years to discover, you might want a copy of it for your records. When printing a record on Ancestry, click on the View Printer-Friendly before clicking on the print button. The information will be condensed and fitted onto a minimal number of pages Record When printing an image from Ancestry, click on the printer icon on the upper green bar. Image

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center