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  • DNA Matches

    Thursday, Sep 22, 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.

    The four DNA matches for my brother said that it didn't match their lines. Where do I go from here? (My brother has passed away).

    This is hard to answer. I presume you had a Y-DNA test done, but I don't know how many markers were tested. Depending on what company has the sample, you might consider having the maximum number of markers tested and then look for possible comparisons. I have found 37 and 67 marker matches to be useful - anything less than that is not significant. It may be that no other male under your last name has provided a sample or that you are a close match to some other surname.

    DNA Testing. After getting a test result, where do we go to get help in interpreting and follow-up. My results seemed very generic and didn't give me a good point to continue on.

    I presume that you tested with Ancestry. Most testing companies have a tech support area to answer further questions and provide guidance. You should call 1-800-ANCESTRY and ask to be directed to someone who can help.

    Recently did the DNA Maternal and Paternal. Have a couple of matches for one family and zero for the other set. Now what? Where do we go with DNA info we match and with family we don't have matches with?

    There are two different types of DNA tests available for genealogists: Y-Chromosome tests, which examines Y DNA passed from father to son and allows males with that chromosome to match other males. The other so-called female test is a Mitochondrial DNA test, which compares DNA found in the cells of women and passed down through their daughters. Sons inherit their mothers' DNA but do not pass it down. Currently, there is no way to develop matches to other surnames through mitochondrial DNA. The tests will show what large Haplogroup you belong, and what subgroup within that group. If you think you and a cousin share the same maternal line, you can do a comparison. Otherwise, the data from a mitochondrial test is too general to be meaningful genealogically. Y-Chromosome testing is different and offers more promise for a match. This is because there are a number of fast-moving markers on a Y-chromosome (by "fast-moving," we mean that there are mutations that can occur within a genealogical time frame of a few hundred years or less). So for genealogical purposes, I recommend the Y test, and that you test other male relatives who share the same unbroken male line, and I would recommend at least a test involving 37 markers (anything less is too likely to create a false positive match). A 67-marker test is even better. If you have a match, you can be assured that you have a common ancestor. A very close match, say 65 out of 67 markers, means that you may have a common ancestor in the last 100 or 150 years (scientists are still trying to work out the mutation rates of various markers). If you don't match another male-line descended relative with whom you share a common male ancestor (and it has to be an unbroken male line), then something called a "non-paternal event" has occurred. This means that somewhere in either your or your cousin's line, an adoption or pregnancy occurred where the paternity was different than what was believed. Ideally, results should be compared with a group of male-descended cousins or people with the same surname.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Family History Month

    Sunday, Sep 18, 2011

    The Genealogy Center at the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, IN is once again hosting its annual Family History Month classes in October. With 31 genealogical offerings ranging from technology classes on Footnote and Family Tree Maker to ethnic programs on Irish and African American resources, plus record searching census and immigration, and more. It will be a grand celebration of family history! Details and descriptions of the classes are provided in the Family History Month brochure. Please call 260-421-1225 or email at Genealogy@ACPL.Info to register for these programs.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • More Revolutionary Soldiers

    Friday, Sep 16, 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 any collections of British/Scottish muster rolls for units’ service in the colonies during the Revolutionary War?

    Wikipedia, of all places, has a list of British units (including some from Scotland and Wales) that were involved in the Revolutionary War. Many of these units have hotlinks from the general page to additional pages of information. You will want to do additional research to substantiate what you find on this general website, but the links and source notes at the bottom of the page may be a launch-pad for your research. Regarding your specific question about muster rolls for these units, the website of the On-Line Institute for Advanced Loyalist Studies has this to say: “Only those regiments that received pay and clothing for their services were mustered. As a result, there is an absence of muster rolls for many of the militia and other irregular units that served during the war.” Most of the muster rolls that were taken still survive, however, and are located in three places, the National Archives of Canada, the Public Record Office in Kew, Richmond, Surrey, United Kingdom, and the British Library in London. The website of the On-Line Institute for Advanced Loyalist Studies gives in-depth detail about these records.

    Unable to find a marriage record for circa 1780 in Pennsylvania for a Revolutionary soldier discharged from Fort Pitt around that time. Ideas to search? I have the pension application; no mention of marriage.

    With the exception of the Philadelphia area, early Pennsylvania civil marriage records are extremely rare, particularly for western Pennsylvania. You may find a church record for the marriage or the returns of a roving (circuit riding) preacher that have been published or donated to a local historical society or library. In the absence of an actual marriage record, you can formulate a good estimate of when the nuptials took place by preparing a timeline for the individuals using all records you can find, including records that indicate their approximate years of birth, their oldest child’s year of birth, etc. Deeds may help you narrow the time period of the marriage, if your ancestor sold land. Usually if a man was married, his wife was included as a grantor when he sold land. Deeds where your ancestor is a grantor but no wife is listed may have been written before his marriage took place.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Evaluating Sources

    Tuesday, Sep 13, 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 do you verify information that contradicts other information you’ve found in multiple sources?

    Compare the sources. How many primary sources do you have to support either theory? You may have many sources for one statement, but one of those sources may have pulled erroneous information from another source that obtained it from a misinterpretation of yet another document. Make your judgment by separately determining the reliability of each source.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Curt Witcher Honored

    Saturday, Sep 10, 2011

    Curt Witcher, Manager of The Genealogy Center, was presented the Genealogy Tourism Award at the FGS Conference on Thursday, September 8. He was recognized for his work in promoting genealogy collections as a tourist attraction. Notably, The Genealogy Center is visited by more than 100,000 visitors a year and brings in millions of dollars to the local Fort Wayne community.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Hessian Soldiers

    Saturday, Sep 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 records are available regarding Hessian soldiers who stayed in America after the Revolution?

    There are a number of excellent published lists of Hessian soldiers. Probably the best is the Hetrina, known also by its full name, Hessiche Truppen im amerikanischen Unabhangigkeitskrieg, published in multiple volumes. If you have identified the Hessian's name, you should have some idea where he settled. Many settled in Virginia after the Revolution, because a large number of Hessian prisoners of war were held there. You should check the county records for the place where your family lived: wills, deeds, court records, etc. I know of no specific source listing specifically Hessians who remained behind - only lists of the soldiers and their military units. Once they decided to stay, they became German-Americans, and they should be found in standard genealogical sources.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Free Database Additions

    Thursday, Sep 08, 2011

    More that 66,000 entries have been added to our Free Databases page since August 15, including Indiana cemetery transcriptions, Allen County records and additional Evangelical Messenger obituary citations. There were also more than 600 additions to the Our Military Heritage portion of the free databases, so if you haven't checked these databases recently, it's time to take another look. Remember, you can search ALL of our Free Databases at one time by using the federated search box, which says, "Search our Free Databases," on our Home Page.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Now Open Sundays!

    Tuesday, Sep 06, 2011

    Beginning this Sunday, September 11, the Genealogy Center starts Sunday hours (12 noon to 5 PM). So come on in for a nice afternoon of research!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • What's in a Name

    Sunday, Sep 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 are questions asked and The Genealogy Center staff's responses.

    Where in a married woman’s name should her maiden name be placed?

    Currently, a woman’s legal married name will be as she decides, i.e.: Jane Maiden Married or Jane Married (nee Maiden). But if you mean in an article of book about a family, either Jane Middle Maiden Married or Jane Middle (Maiden) Married would be best, just as long as there is consistency.

    Census record search for Blunt returned "Blunk." If German heritage, should I keep looking for Blunt in Germany and Blunk in the U.S.?

    German names can be misrecorded in many ways, especially when there was a language barrier between the respondent and the census taker. I would never use a single census record to conclude how a name was spelled, since there are so many ways that it could be spelled wrong. First, I would do Soundex searches for other censuses using both Blunt and Blunk. You should also attempt to locate other records for the family in the locality where they lived: vital records, church records, newspaper obituaries, cemeteries, city directories, etc. and note how the name is spelled in those sources. Comparison from multiple sources is one of your greatest tools. That said, many Germans did change the spellings of their names in America, and you may find it consistently one way in America and something different in Germany. Search the passenger lists carefully and note how the name is spelled there. If you know the specific town in Germany, you can order civil and parish records from the Family History Library (if available), and search for records in those sources. Use all the variant spellings you can find. Names can vary even in German sources.

    In other countries, will the ancestors be in our spelling or the original spelling? Example: (Welsh) Gryffyths or (USA) Griffiths.

    When researching in the country your ancestors lived before coming to the U.S., I would look for the original spelling, but be prepared for various spellings of the surname due to the type of language the records were written. For example, early Catholic Church records were written in Latin. Surnames changed because the clerk or the person wrote down what they heard. Other times, the surnames could have been changed when the ancestor wanted to Anglicize the name in order to get a job and/or fit into a community.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Genealogy Center History, part 7

    Wednesday, Aug 31, 2011

    In January 1971, the Fort Wayne Public Library Board of Trustees renamed the contents of the Genealogy Department as the "Reynolds Historical Genealogy Collection," in honor of Fred Reynolds, the library's Director and the driving force behind the creation of the collection.


    Fred Reynolds remained Director until retirement in 1979, and died in 1995. There is a bust of him in the Genealogy Center's Orientation Center.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • October 4th Consultations Closed

    Tuesday, Aug 30, 2011

    One-on-One Consultations for October 4 have filled. If you're interested in scheduling an appointment for a 30 minute consultation, held on the 4th Wednesday of the month, or other Tuesdays during Family History Month in October, please call 260-421-1225 or email Genealogy@ACPL.Info.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Adoptions or Orphans

    Monday, Aug 29, 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 can I track down someone placed in an orphanage or adopted?

    Adoption and orphan research depends greatly on location and time period. One might want to first contact the local library in the area where the event took place. The local librarian may know where (and if) institution records survive and where the records are located, although the library will probably not have the records. If you are searching a modern case (post 1930), you need to discover if the state has some type of contact-exchange program. In these programs, you register your information and if someone on the “other side” of the adoption has filed, they will facilitate contact. After that, contact the local Child Protective Services and ask what is and is not possible. For older adoptions and ward situations, check probate records in the counties in question. Probate records hold guardian, adoption and apprentice records which may help you to locate these children. You might also learn other tips from our Adoption Research Guide.

    Are there sources for names from Catholic Charities-foster home placements in New York City about the 1940s?

    That time period is still covered by privacy laws, but contact Catholic Charities in New York City.

    Who am I? My father was adopted. He never knew who his real father was. My father has passed now, and I do not know who his father was. I hate to think if I die, I will never know who I really am.

    The first step is to identify when and where your father was born and whether there is a birth certificate on file with the correct name of his birth father. If he was adopted, you need to determine who handled the adoption - a social agency, a lawyer? Since your father is deceased, enough time may have passed that the adoption record can be unsealed by a petition to the court in the county where he was born. Different states have different laws regarding access.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Labor Day Closing

    Saturday, Aug 27, 2011

    On Monday, September 5, 2011, The Genealogy Center, like the rest of the Allen County Public Library facilities, will be closed for Labor Day. We will be open that weekend only on Saturday, September 3, 2011, our regular hours of 9 AM to 6 PM, and will reopen Tuesday September 6, 2011 at 9 AM. Labor Day also signals the end of the summer Sunday closings. Beginning Sunday September 11, 2011, The Genealogy Center is open Sundays, 12 N to 5 PM.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Don't Miss Early Registration

    Friday, Aug 26, 2011

    Don't miss out on extended hours at The Genealogy Center, book signings, a gospel choir and classes on family health history, foundations of genealogical research, a librarians track, and information sharing. The National Black Genealogy Summit will have it all, including presentations by Tony Burroughs, Damani Davis of the National Archives; DNA expert, Roberta Estes; Jim Ison; Shamele Jordan; Lisa Lee; Timothy Pinnick; and Angela Walton-Raji.

    The Genealogy Center at the Allen County Public Library is proud to partner with the African American Genealogy Society of Fort Wayne (IN) to host the National Black Genealogy Summit on October 20-22, 2011. The conference website (http://www.BlackGenealogyConference.Info) contains much information about the details of the Summit as well as a registration form.

    Don't wait to enroll for this event! Take advantage of the early registration discount by sending in your form before Labor Day.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • The Hunt for Cemeteries

    Tuesday, Aug 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 are questions asked and The Genealogy Center staff's responses.

    Is there any database of names of all of the people buried in each cemetery? What is the cemetery no longer exists?

    There is no one database of cemetery listings. Many are located at the volunteer-driven Find A Grave or Other cemetery listings are loaded at the various county sites for USGenWeb. Information in defunct cemeteries depends on how well the cemetery was preserved, and when and if it was first recorded. Also, if the cemetery was owned by a specific church congregation, seek those records in the church or organization itself or in their archives.

    GPS coordinates. Example: cemeteries.

    If you know them, you can plug latitude and longitude coordinates into and Google Maps to search for specific locations such as cemeteries. Some societies are tracking the latitude and longitude coordinates of the cemeteries in their county or state and publishing a print list or including them on their websites. Acme Mapper 2.0, a free program by Acme Laboratories, will provide coordinates and various maps when users type the name and address (city and state) of a cemetery into the program.

    How do you find plot locations in cemeteries without an office?

    This can be a tough question and sometimes, you can’t. However, there are some avenues to try before giving up. First, check the local (county seat) library to see whether the cemetery has been transcribed. In some cases, these transcription books include information from cemetery records, as well as the readings from the stones. Sometimes transcription books include diagrams of the cemetery’s plots. Find out who has jurisdiction over the cemetery – a nearby church? A sexton? The township trustee? The person who has jurisdiction may have burial books that have descriptions or maps of who was buried where. Perhaps the cemetery record books have been deposited at the local courthouse, or in the county historical society, museum or public library. There may have been information about the cemetery published in the newspaper, but often newspapers are not indexed. Does the local library have vertical files that might include newspaper clippings or other information about the cemetery? Try to locate a local historian – official or amateur – who can give you more information. Consult deed books. Occasionally there are diagrams of cemeteries found in with land transactions. Good luck!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Why Should I Use a Genealogy Software

    Saturday, Aug 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 is a question asked and The Genealogy Center staff's response.

    Is it really necessary to use software like Family Tree Maker? Top 5 reasons.

    You do not have to use any genealogy software; but it is helpful if you plan to write book(s) or create special genealogical reports and/or charts.

    Reasons to have genealogy software:
    1. Data is organized.
    2. Data is easily at your fingertips.
    3. Various types of reports and charts can be done without deleting information.
    4. It allows you to be very creative when writing your book.
    5. Allows you to cite your sources, add notes, and create task lists.

    Top Ten Reviews has a listing of the top ten genealogy software. This chart includes the reviewer comments, the cost of the software, ratings of different features within the top ten software programs, and what features are included each software program. You can search the Internet for "free genealogy software" or visit Cyndi's List.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Over the Pond to Great Britain

    Wednesday, Aug 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 do you overcome the problems in English genealogy for the period from 1911 to the present without paying huge fees?

    Well, define "huge fees." Twentieth century research can be very difficult due to privacy issues, and not a lot of information is available. Here in America we are fortunate to have our Social Security Death Index and 1930 census information. I'm afraid there is not as much available online for England for the same period. British vital records for the twentieth century are kept in the General Register Office. You will either have to contact that office for certificates or hire a researcher to do so.

    An ancestor abandoned his wife and children in Louisville, told his family he was going to fight in the Boer War. He disappeared. They never knew what happened to him despite searching and using, I think, a private investigator. How can I find out if he did join the British Army, went to South Africa, and died there. I never found a death record for him.

    Records of the Boer War are held in the National Archives (of the United Kingdom), formerly known as the Public Record Office at Kew. If you type "Boer War" in the search field, it brings up a guide to searching for the records of soldiers. I don't believe the service records are available online, so a search of the archives will be necessary.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Organizing Your Research

    Sunday, Aug 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.

    What is the best way to organize your information? By individual, by timeline, by family (meaning generational families)? Is there a book or do you have any advice on getting and staying organized? Too many copies of records and too many photos.


    There are several ways to organize your genealogical research. First you need to ask yourself, "How will I look for ...." and determine how easily you will be able to retrieve the item and/or person you want. Most people may file by basic family line. For example, Linn/Lynn Family or Woodroe/Woodrow Family.

    I color coded the four basic family surnames. For example, my husband's paternal line is green; his maternal line is blue; my paternal line is yellow; and my maternal line is orange. I first used notebooks and later switched to file folders (still color coded). Both of my filing systems were done by dividing families by each director ancestor.

    Remember, the best organizational system is what makes retrieving documents and family information the easiest.


    The Genealogy Center has several books about organizing your genealogical research. To locate them in our online catalog, type in "organizing genealogical records." Listed below are a few titles:

    The Organized Family Historian: How to File, Manage, and Protect Your Genealogical Research and Heirlooms by Anne Fleming (929 F629OR)

    Beyond Pedigrees: Organizing and Enhancing Your Work by Beverly DeLong Whitaker (929 W58B)

    Organizing Your Family History Search: Efficient and Effective Ways to Gather and Protect Your Genealogical Research by Sharon DeBartolo Carmack (929 C195GA)

    Let's Get Organized!: A Practical Guide for All Aspects of Family History Research by Penelope Christensen (929 T214PR)

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Internet and The Genealogy Center

    Thursday, Aug 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.

    Can I send to my email from the library or can I use a flash drive at the library? allows you to share a document. To do this, just click on Share and select Email. Fill out the form and press Send. You will receive a link to the document. Remember to save the document as an image as the link will not remain permanently. Our computers have USB ports so that you can save the images from on a flash drive.

    How much of the information at the Fort Wayne Genealogy Center is available online and how can I access this information?

    At this point in time, only a small percentage of our collection is available online. To find books and other materials that were digitized, check our online catalog. If an item has been digitized, there will be a link to the item, or check the Family History Archives section on our homepage. We also have links to some databases and resources on our homepage, under the Databases tab, select Free Databases.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Census Questions

    Monday, Aug 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.

    When will future census records be available? Canada's 1921, UK/England's 1921 and Ireland's 1926.

    The US Federal census for 1940 will be released 2 April 2012. According to the Library and Archives of Canada's web site “… legislation does not permit the disclosure of personal information until 92 years has passed since the time of enumeration.” The website for the UK’s National Archives (KEW) indicates that the 1921 census will not be available until 100 years after the date taken. According to the National Archives of Ireland web site, the 1926 Census will be released in January 2027.

    An ancestor traveled around in the early 20th Century, but I cannot locate them on the 1930 census. Could they have taken the name of the household, instead of keeping their own surname?

    They would not have taken another family’s name just because they were boarders. However, it is possible that the person who provided the information to the enumerator may not have been clear (or may not have known) on the names of traveling men hence the family surname may have been listed in error. It is also possible that the men were not included in the census at all as some people were inevitably missed.

    Are children’s homes included in census and do they list all children? How are single women or women living in group homes (like the YWCA) listed?

    Children’s homes, and other institutions, are included on the census, although sometimes the institution is listed at the end of the enumeration district, or in an entirely different one. Search by child’s name. All children should be listed, although the names are not always spelled as we think they should be. All single people should also be listed, but remember that people could be missed by the enumerator, or, again, the names may be spelled incorrectly.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center