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  • 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

  • Musical Memories

    Tuesday, Apr 20, 2010

    Music is often used to call to mind a certain time, location or mood. The popular music created in the '30s ("Brother Can You Spare a Dime?") or 40s ("I'll Be With You in Apple Blossom Time") evokes the era, and we are lucky that, as time goes by, more of these songs are appearing on digital archives like the Library of Congress's American Memory Project or Internet Archive. Some songs, though written much later, suggest an earlier event. One of the best known of these is "(Coming to) America," released by Neil Diamond in 1980, which strongly brings to mind the great mass of immigrants of the second half of the 19th Century, traveling in steerage as they made their way to what they hoped was a better life. What's your favorite "history" song?

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Tour, Tour, Tour

    Saturday, Apr 17, 2010

    Are you interested in learning what is available at the Genealogy Center? Would you like to have someone explain how the Genealogy Center is organized or how to access material? Join us for a tour and get an insider's view of the Genealogy Center on Sunday, April 25, from 1:00-2:00. Call 260-421-1225 or email Genealogy@ACPL.Info to register.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Celebrate Preservation Week!

    Thursday, Apr 15, 2010

    Come to the library in May to celebrate the American Library Association’s Preservation Week. The Genealogy Center will offer a variety of programs on gathering, organizing and preserving family records, photos and memorabilia. Find other ideas at the Preservation Week website. Events include: Monday May 10, 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM Globe Room Photo Restoration Using Adobe Photoshop Kay Spears (Basic computer knowledge helpful) Tuesday May 11, 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM Globe Room Preservation Tips & Tools Rebecca Schipper Wednesday May 12, 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM Meeting Room A Organizing Information: Hard Copies, Computer Files, Pictures, etc. Dawne Slater-Putt (Allen County Genealogical Society of Indiana monthly meeting; visitors welcome) Thursday May 13, 2:00 PM – 4:30 PM Globe Room Preserving Your Family History--A Practical Overview Curt Witcher Part One: Basic Information to Preserve, Conserve, and Store Family Heirlooms & Documents Part Two: Writing & Recording Your Family Stories Friday May 14, 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM Globe Room Basics of Scanning Kay Spears (Basic computer knowledge helpful) Saturday May 15, 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM Meeting Room A Searching Ancestry.com Delia Bourne (Part of Tree Talks) For more information, visit our website, and register via email Genealogy@ACPL.Info or by calling 260 421 1225. Join us to learn about preserving your valuable family mementoes.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • IGS Conference Wrap-Up

    Monday, Apr 12, 2010

    by Dawne A celebratory air was evident this past Saturday as the Allen County Public Library hosted the Indiana Genealogical Society’s annual conference. Dick Eastman was the featured speaker and presented four well-received lectures on technological topics. In addition, Ron Darrah of Indianapolis and Melissa Shimkus, reference librarian for the Genealogy Center, spoke on immigration topics; Curt Witcher, Genealogy Center manager, gave a presentation on ACPL’s digital initiatives; and Kay Spears, also of the Genealogy Center, gave a real-time demonstration of Adobe Photoshop. Friday, the library was the site of a pre-conference seminar featuring four sessions on preservation topics, from the personal level to the archives level. Many genealogists in town for Friday’s seminar, or arriving Friday night in anticipation of Saturday’s conference, took advantage of the Genealogy Center’s extended hours from 6 p.m. to midnight. It was every genealogist’s dream – to be locked in the Genealogy Center after closing! IGS’s Society of Civil War Families of Indiana held its induction ceremony mid-day on Saturday. Three ladies who successfully proved their ancestry back to a soldier who served in an Indiana Civil War unit were welcomed into the society, and two members who had proved supplemental lines to soldiers also were recognized. The SCWFI ceremony was followed by the IGS annual meeting, including President Curt Witcher’s “state of the society” address, awards and door prizes. One lucky soul won a year’s subscription to Ancestry.com! Attendees summed up the experience in their evaluations: “Great day! The vendors exhibition was nice ... a good variety. ACPL was a great location, too.” “Wonderful facility! Great programs!!” “Very informative sessions – Glad I came.” As staff of the Genealogy Center, we echo their sentiments … it was a great day … the vendors had “good stuff” … the sessions were informative … and we are very glad everyone came!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Genealogy Center Tour Redux

    Wednesday, Apr 07, 2010

    Another tour of the Genealogy Center has been scheduled for Sunday, April 25, 2010, 1 to 2 PM in the Genealogy Center. The interest in the Genealogy Center Tour on March 14th, part of March Madness Genealogy Style, was so high that we had to limit the number of participants, and had to turn away a number of people. So here's your chance! Space is still limited, so call 260-421-1225 or email Genealogy@ACPL.Info right away to register.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Ellingham Family Papers

    Monday, Apr 05, 2010

    (and other long records in the library catalog) by Aaron Here in the Genealogy Center, we own a number of very large and comprehensive compilations of significant research created by individuals who have committed decades to their respective projects. One such recently cataloged set is the Lewis Ellingham’s Family Papers. Its 363 volumes contain thousands of surnames, accompanied by pedigree charts and genealogical tables encompassing hundreds of years. However, there is no index to these volumes. So how does one find information about specific names of interest? In the Allen County Public Library catalog, type the surname you seek followed by the word “family” (searching it as a subject and limiting your search to the Genealogy Center will help). The results you get will look like this. You’ll notice that the Ellingham family papers (#3 above), includes 158 volumes--volumes 206 through 363. When you click on the Details button, you see this. Then click on the Catalog Record tab. This very long screen of information is easily searched by using the Find command in your browser. In the most common browsers (Internet Explorer and Firefox), hold the Ctrl key down and strike the F key. A box will appear on your screen. Enter the surname you are looking for in that box. When you press enter, the browser will locate the text in the record, and in this instance you will know there is a significant reference to a Deetz family in vol. 276.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • 2010 Census

    Thursday, Apr 01, 2010

    Today is the Day of the Census! No, it is not an April Fool's joke. When you receive your Census form, all the questions asked are based on the status of your household today, April 1, 2010. The U.S. Census has been taken every 10 years since 1790 to ensure fair representation, taxation and fund allocation for our communities. As genealogists, the Census helps us determine the locality our ancestor lived, members of the household and their relationships, ages, marital status, birthplaces, immigration patterns, occupations, military service, and much more. When we receive our 2010 Census, we should take the time and complete our forms, so our future generations will be able to discover us on the 2010 Census.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • IGS Seminar

    Tuesday, Mar 30, 2010

    by Dawne It’s not too late to get your “early bird” registration in for the upcoming Indiana Genealogical Society annual seminar! Mark your calendars for Saturday, April 10, 2010 at the Allen County Public Library. IGS members pay only $30 in advance of the seminar and non-members pay $35. At the door, the fee will be $40. The two-track seminar program, “Charting Our Course,” is a bargain at any price. The featured speaker is Dick Eastman, nationally known genealogy-technology guru, who will present four one-hour sessions: • Genealogy Searches on Google • Blogging for Genealogists • Conservation: Keeping up with Technology • Grandpa in Your Pocket: Portable Gadgets for Genealogists The second track of the program will showcase two lectures on immigration records, as well as a session on two digital initiatives of the Allen County Public Library, Our Military Heritage and WeRelate, and a presentation on the popular topic Photo Restoration Using Photoshop. These sessions will be presented by knowledgeable speakers Ron Darrah of Indianapolis, and the Genealogy Center's Melissa Shimkus, Curt Witcher and Kay Spears. Conference attendees can take advantage of Extended Hours in ACPL’s Genealogy Center the evening before the seminar, Friday, April 9. The Genealogy Center will remain open that evening (for conference attendees only!) from the library’s regular closing time of 6 p.m. until midnight. In addition, a pre-conference program on Friday, April 9, at the library will feature four sessions on preservation – at the personal level, at the local society level, at the county level, and at the archive level. Pre-registration for these sessions is FREE! to anyone who belongs to one of IGS’s chapters, and only $5 for anyone else! Admission will be $7 the day of the event. More information, the link for online seminar registration, and printable registration forms are at the IGS website.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Holiday Hours

    Sunday, Mar 28, 2010

    The Genealogy Center will be open normal hours, 9:00 am - 6:00 pm on Friday, April 2nd, but will be closed on Sunday, April 4th. We will observe normal hours on Saturday and Monday.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Boundary Changes

    Thursday, Mar 25, 2010

    To determine where we should look for records, we need to know the county and state our ancestor lived. As we search, we need to review histories and maps of the county and state to see when and how the boundaries changed. States changed their boundaries more than we think. For example, Kentucky settlements were a part of Virginia until Kentucky became a state in 1792, but continued to have boundary disputes with Tennessee until 1820. The northwestern portion of Virginia split in 1863, forming West Virginia. Colonial Louisiana included sections of ten other states, including Minnesota. County boundaries changed more frequently than state boundaries. Present day Indian River County, Florida has changed county boundaries six times since being Indian Lands. Sections of Mellette County, South Dakota were formerly part of Cheyenne and Jackson Counties. To begin determining changes in county and state boundaries, you can search the following books: Red Book The Handybook for Genealogists Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses, 1790-1920 Atlas of Historical County Boundaries Series

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Hunger

    Monday, Mar 22, 2010

    by Dawne Everyone has done it … you look so forward to that genealogical research trip, whether it is here to the Genealogy Center in Fort Wayne, or to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, or to the local courthouse and cemeteries in the area where your ancestors lived … that you don’t want to waste a moment of your precious time for mundane things like eating! But regular breaks, especially for meals or snacks, actually may help your research because they keep your mind fresh and your body fueled. When you come to Fort Wayne, pick up a flyer of “Downtown Eateries” when you stop at the Ask Desk in the Genealogy Center. The restaurants within walking distance of the Allen County Public Library include fast food (Taco Bell, McDonald’s, Arby’s), ethnic choices (J.K. O’Donnell’s Irish pub, Toscani’s Pizza, Double Dragon) and local favorites (Cindy’s Diner, the Dash-In, the Loaf & Ladle). The library also has a Dunkin' Donuts restaurant right in the building with more offerings than just doughnuts – such as flatbread sandwiches, egg and cheese wraps, bottled water and juices. If you choose to bring your lunch when you come to ACPL, tables are available on the library’s plaza for al fresco dining in good weather. Patrons may not eat or drink in the Genealogy Center, nor have food or drinks visible, but you may pack lunch and snacks in a closed bag or cooler and take them to other areas of the building to eat. In Salt Lake City, pick up a guest pass at the Information desk in the lobby of the Family History Library for a generous meal at a low price at the LDS church office building cafeteria. In addition, the Family History Library has a lunch room with vending machines and a microwave for those who would rather eat in. J.B.’s family-style restaurant is right next door and there are other nearby choices. Librarians and courthouse employees in the towns where your ancestor lived probably will have suggestions of favorite places to dine in their local areas. Do take breaks to clear your head and don’t skip meals when you embark on those research trips this spring. No one wants to get home and discover a research blunder that was the result of the “low blood sugar blues!”

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Genealogy Discoveries on Flickr

    Thursday, Mar 18, 2010

    When Flickr first became available online, many individuals rushed to post photos to share with friends and family, then genealogists discovered they could backup family images as well. Now Flickr can be used not only to protect our ancestral photos, but for actual genealogical research. The Commons on Flickr is a photographic archive where many genealogists are discovering their ancestors images online. Several public repositories' images can be searched on Flickr such as The Library of Congress, Smithsonian, State Library and Archives of Florida, and the New York Public Library. Besides searching images on the Commons site, you can share stories and discuss the photos available on the site. Another great source for you to use!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Vital Records Tip

    Tuesday, Mar 16, 2010

    When searching for a vital record in a specific county, first verify that the county/ state collected records in that specific time period. For example, looking for a birth record in Allen County, IN for 1854 will produce no results because birth records were not collected until 1882. Sources for determining when a locality began collecting vital records are: Red Book The Handybook for Genealogists vitalrec.com

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center