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  • New School Records in the Free Databases

    Thursday, Feb 12, 2015

    We family historians know that sometimes a school record, yearbook or souvenir may offer a vital clue in discovering more about an individual. We are pleased to add two school-related items to our Free Databases, and to expand an index for another.

    One can now see the Alumni Booklet for Latty High School in Paulding County, Ohio, which lists all graduates from 1901 to 1952. From the index page, one can browse the book or click on a specific name to go directly to that page.

    The Gilead High School Alumni News from Miami County, Indiana is also available. The Alumni Directory covers 1912 to 1954, It includes photos, a history of the school, and brief biographies of those students who died in service of their country.

    We have also added almost four thousand entries from 1958 North Side (Fort Wayne) High School yearbook to the Allen County High School Yearbooks Index, bring the total number of entries in that index to 85,213. Thanks to our volunteers who continue to add to this wonderful and useful database!


    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • St. Vincent Villa Sources Online

    Monday, Feb 09, 2015

    Orphanage records are scarce in Fort Wayne in general. The records of the Allen County Children's Home were “lost” many years ago. What records exist for other locations must be obtained through various agencies. But now The Genealogy Center has two great sources for children who lived at St. Vincent Villa, the local Catholic Orphanage.

    St. Vincent Orphan Asylum, originally for girls only, opened in 1867 on 25 acres northwest of Fort Wayne. Over the years, the building deteriorated and in 1932, Bishop John F. Noll had a new facility built to house both girls and boys. Due to difficulties families encountered when one parent died or deserted the family, many so-called orphans of the nineteenth century actually had one parent still living. Such was the case of the twentieth century St. Vincent’s, so Noll called the new facility St. Vincent Villa, to remove the term “orphan.” More than 3500 children lived there over the years.

    A scrapbook covering the 1930s to reunions in the twenty-first century, kept by long-time Villa volunteer Bill McCardle, was donated to The Genealogy Center along with copies of “Inter Nos,” the Villa’s newsletter from 1941 to 1954 and a history of the Villa. These items were scanned and are available for review at our website and are searchable through the federated search on The Center’s home page.

    Thanks to all who contributed to allowing us to scan these items and making them available.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Do You Know Where Important Family Documents Are Located?

    Friday, Feb 06, 2015

    by Sara

    Every so often, a patron visits The Genealogy Center and tells us their own version of the following sad story: “My parent/spouse/sibling is seriously ill and unable to communicate with us, and we need to find her birth certificate, marriage certificate, or military discharge papers in order to qualify for Medicaid, Social Security or Veteran’s Administration benefits.” Often the relative cannot locate the paperwork at the ailing person’s home, and does not know when or where the event took place, so they don’t know where to start. Sometimes we librarians get lucky and find a clue in an online or print index that helps pinpoint for the patron where to look. This strategy doesn’t always work, because few 20th century vital or military records are not online due to privacy concerns. In cases where the event location is unknown, we may have to send the patron back home to seek more information. We might ask them the following types of questions to help clarify the situation: Does another relative or friend of the family know more about the original event and when and where it took place? Is the event on record at the church or synagogue the family attends currently or attended at the time of the event? Is it notated in a photo album or old letter? Might it have been listed in the local newspaper? And is that local newspaper indexed, or would the patron have to scroll through the microfilmed copy of the newspaper page by page, looking for the article? And so on. We can only hope that one of these new avenues of research yields results. Sometimes a county by county, state by state search is necessary when folks married in an unexpected location and there is no state-wide index.

    Don’t let this happen to you! Organize your family’s important paper documents today. Talk with your family members and gather information now. To that end, every person should make a designated location for their important documents, be it a file drawer, strong box, home safe, safety deposit box, or other safe place. After determining where this file will be kept, they should inventory their paperwork and acquire any important personal documents that they are missing now, while they are still able to do so. To request birth, marriage, death and divorce records, contact the county clerk, health department or vital records office in the county where the event took place. Military records are usually filed at the National Archives, and most military veterans or next-of-kin are entitled to their records free of charge.  After acquiring the documents, persons should let their spouse, children or a trusted friend know where these documents are stored, either within the house or at another location.

    Since this is not a situation that I want to find myself in, my family is busy getting our own papers together. My parents have gathered all their documents in one place and notified their children of that location. We also recently requested my dad’s military records from the National Archives. Now, I just need to work on putting together my own documents and leaving them in a safe place for future generations. What about you?

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Baer Field Resources

    Tuesday, Feb 03, 2015

    Fort Wayne’s military air base was opened in 1941, after a frantic summer of construction of more than 100 buildings. During World War II, more than 100,000 service personnel were stationed there, and it continues to be home to the 122nd Fighter Squadron.

    The Genealogy Center has added several items to the Free Databases collection that recall Baer Field history and people. The first is Bear Field, 1941-1991: 50th Anniversary, which provides the history of the facility in a booklet published in 1991. Next is Baer Field Memories, photographs and souvenirs of the World War II era. Fifty Years in Fighters: A Tribute to the 122nd Fighter Wing Indiana Air National Guard is a digital copy of the souvenir program of the 1997 Open House for the 122nd which contains history and images. The last item is Pilot Briefing Folio, Troop Carrier Command, Baer Field, Ft. Wayne, Indiana, a 1942, then-restricted informational brochure provided to new pilots coming to Baer Field, which includes a security memo, advice to pilots, emergency procedures, and a map of Baer Field.

    All of these provide a fascinating look at the military in World War II and profiles a Fort Wayne historic site. Take time to enjoy these additions!


    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Louisiana Resources Available!

    Saturday, Jan 31, 2015

    The Genealogy Center is a long way from Louisiana, but we’ve never let distance stop us from collecting records, so if you are searching for ancestors in Allen or Beauregard Parishes in Louisiana, you are going to want to visit our free Other States Resources page to see the records for thirteen cemeteries which are now available. Donated by volunteer Jim Cox, the list includes Bond Cemetery and St. Michael African American Cemetery in Allen Parish, and Archie Clark, Burks, Foshee, Hoy, Peveto, Red Hill, Rigmaiden, Rougeau, Stretton, and Wingate Cemeteries and Squyres United Methodist Church Cemetery in Beauregard Parish. Each cemetery is browseable by itself, or can be searched through the federated databases search on The Genealogy Center homepage. Take a few minutes to examine these great new contributions!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • MORE Added Content to Our Free Allen County Databases

    Friday, Jan 16, 2015

    Two of our most popular collections in our Allen County Resources have had additions recently!

    Almost four thousand names have been added to the Allen County, Indiana Marriage Index, mid-1980s to September 2009, and the search capabilities have been expanded so that one can search by first names, as well as last, and using exact, fuzzy or Soundex. Copies of the applications are available in The Genealogy Center.

    Additionally, 19,630 obituaries have been added to the Fort Wayne and Allen County, Indiana Area Obituary Index 1841- Dec. 3, 2014. The index provides a citation for the obituary, and copies can be requested through the results website.

    Thanks to our wonderful volunteers who contribute their time to help us to grow these databases!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • 82nd Annual Lincoln Pilgrimage - February 14, 2015

    Wednesday, Jan 14, 2015

    In 1932, the Abraham Lincoln, The Hoosier Youth statue, depicting Abraham Lincoln as a young man in Indiana, was installed outside the Lincoln National Life Insurance Company in Fort Wayne. Two years later, in recognition of Lincoln’s embodiment of the loyalty, kindness, and other qualities in the Boy Scout Oath, area Boy Scouts took their first Lincoln Pilgrimage to the site and honored Lincoln with a wreath-laying and ceremony.  That idea, connecting the Boy Scouts to the qualities that made Lincoln great, spread to other groups, and Lincoln-related statues, sites, and memorials across the country now host Boy Scouts on their own annual pilgrimages.  In Fort Wayne, the tradition lives on.

    February 14, 2015, will mark the 82nd Annual Boy Scout Lincoln Pilgrimage in Fort Wayne. There will be a ceremony and wreath-laying at the Lincoln on the Prairie sculpture in The Genealogy Center at the Allen County Public Library, followed by a full day of events.  Participants will hear a speech by Lincoln presenter Murray Cox, interact with Union and Confederate Civil War re-enactors, tour the Lincoln Financial Foundation Collection, participate in Lincoln Log-building contests, and more!

    The program will run from 10A to 2P, with registration beginning at 9A.  An optional screening of the Steven Spielberg film Lincoln will follow the program at 2:15P in the Main Library Theater. 

    For more information and to register, visit the Anthony Wayne Area Council of the Boy
    Scouts
    . Registration closes on Monday, February 9, 2015.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • All Aboard for the Catalog Tour!

    Friday, Jan 09, 2015

    Next week, two members of The Genealogy Center team will take you on a tour of our book catalog! Aaron Smith, Assistant Manager for the Genealogy Materials Handling Unit, and Melissa Tennant, Assistant Manager for Public Services invite you to join them and learn how to make the most of your searching experience, to locate materials in the collection and online, and to find ways to create your own lists to help you do both! Call 260-421-1225 or send an email to register for this free event.

    Join them in Meeting Room A, at at 3PM on Wednesday, January 14, 2015 to learn how to navigate the catalog!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • It's What We Do

    Tuesday, Jan 06, 2015

    We love making your day. 

    A new customer came in this morning.  He had very little information about his father and grandparents.  He knew that his father was born in South Bend, Indiana area; that his had later changed his name legally to his stepfather’s name, which was done in New Jersey.  Our customer also knew his grandmother’s maiden name. 

    Within ten minutes, staff helped him to find his father in the 1930 census (at age 2) with stepfather and mother living in New Jersey.  Another search found a marriage record with the mother’s maiden name as well as her father’s name.  From there, we found our customer’s grandfather’s immigration record which noted that he had arrived over with his family when he was 8 years old.  More information was discovered about this customer’s great grandparents, including where they lived in the Netherlands.  When he left, our happy customer said he’d always wondered about his grandfather and his family, and was making plans to be back to do more research.

    We always look forward to assisting you in finding more information and records to add to your family history.


    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • WinterTech in January

    Saturday, Jan 03, 2015

    Our WinterTech series, designed to aid you in expanding your research knowledge through the busy winter months, continues in January with a “Catalog Tour” on Wednesday, January 10, 2015. The Genealogy Center continues refining our catalog to make your search for materials more intuitive and achieve better results. Join Aaron Smith, Genealogy Center Assistant Manager/Materials Handling Unit, and Melissa Tennant, Genealogy Center Assistant Manager/Public Services, as they show you how to make the most of your search experience, to locate materials in the collection and online, and to find ways to create your own lists to help you do both! This class will be held on Wednesday, January 10, 2015, from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. To register for this free event, call 260-421-1225 or send an email. And stay in The Genealogy Center until 6:30 p.m., when you can come back to Meeting Room A for the Allen County Genealogical Society of Indiana meeting, when Curt Sylvester will present “Telling Your Own Story.”
     
    WinterTech will conclude on Wednesday February 11, 2015, from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m., when Delia Bourne will discuss “Linkpendium & Mocavo: Using Free Genealogy-Specific Search Engines.” Mark your calendar to take advantage of these classes, and call or email us to register!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • One-on-One Consultations for January

    Sunday, Dec 28, 2014

    Have a brick wall in your research? Would you like a greater understanding of some aspect of your research? The Genealogy Center is offering 30-minute personal research consultations with a staff member on some troublesome aspect of your research. Appointments are available on Thursday, January 8, 2015 and Tuesday, January 27, 2015, 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM each day, here in The Genealogy Center. Call 260-421-1225 or send an email for an appointment, providing basic information concerning the nature of your quandary. A staff member will be assigned and a time established for your consultation. Be sure to bring your research notes to your consultation.

    Space is limited, and pre-registration is required. Register today!


    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Have You Taken the Time to Write Down Your Holiday Memories and Traditions for Future Generations?

    Thursday, Dec 25, 2014

    By Dawne

    On Sunday, December 14th, I joined with the women in my family for our annual “Cookie Day.” This has been an on-again, off-again tradition in my immediate family for many years. When I was a child, my paternal grandmother and her four daughters-in-law would gather on a Saturday in early December for and have a day-long marathon cookie-baking session.

    As far as I know, Cookie Day began with my grandmother, but I guess I don’t know that for sure. Maybe she baked cookies with her mother. I wish I’d known to ask. Grandma died just two years before I became obsessed with this wonderful … ahem, “hobby” of ours.

    Cookies weren’t the only goodie Grandma, Mom, and her sisters-in-law produced on Cookie Day, either. There was smooth chocolate fudge, with and without nuts, and popcorn balls made with Karo Syrup tinted red and green. And I think there were sweet breads among the day’s products as well. The women made hundreds, probably thousands, of cookies. Each one took some home, and the rest were put in containers and stored on the large, unheated glassed-in porch on the side of my grandparents’ house. Periodically during the season, when guests were expected, or just when the selection at-hand grew sparse, a grandchild was sent to the porch with a large plate to gather a few cookies of each type from the containers to bring back in to replenish the stash in the house.

    A highlight for many of the 13 grandchildren of the family was our contribution to Cookie Day – frosting and decorating the cut-out sugar cookies. Of course this was frosting made with confectioners’ sugar and tinted with food coloring, not purchased pre-made in container like I do now to save time.

    Mom revived Cookie Day several years ago when she, my sister, my sister-in-law and I all ended up living in close enough proximity to make it possible. At its rebirth, it was much like the older version – we gathered and baked as many varieties of cookies as we could in one day. But our tradition has since evolved into a new one. Over the years we discovered that, even more than the cookie-baking, we enjoyed the visiting and the laughing that we did on Cookie Day. So now we all bake some cookies in advance, and we gather on Cookie Day to have lunch together and have a cookie exchange instead. It makes for a hustle-bustle-rush ahead of time to get the cookies finished, but on the actual Cookie Day, we can slow down and take our time to enjoy one another’s company and reminisce.

    Do you have holiday traditions that are dear to your family? Of course you do. Are there some that have evolved over the years? Have you written about these special family events and memories so that future generations will know about them? Traditions that span the years and the generations are the cords that bind our families together. I encourage you to write about your family traditions. This is a wonderful season to do so – when the memories of holidays past and the loved ones with whom we shared them feel close.

    Recently Judy Russell, The Legal Genealogist, wrote a blog post about a different kind of holiday memory. Here’s a link to her post for additional inspiration.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Don't Believe Everything You Read

    Friday, Dec 19, 2014

    by Sara

    When I first started working on my family history over 30 years ago, I was thrilled to find an already published book, The Kelloggs in the Old World and the New by Timothy Hopkins (hereafter referred to as the Kellogg book), that traced the line of my 3rd great grandfather, John Abel Kellogg (1842-1909), all the way back to an immigrant ancestor who came to the United States in the 1600s.  As new researchers, my mom and I were so excited to see our family (including the names of recent relatives) listed in this book, that we assumed it must be correct. Now as a more experienced researcher, I know that all information found in printed family histories should be verified independently, before accepting it as accurate, especially when the family history does not explain where the author obtained his information, as this book did not.

    I started to look over my old research on the Kellogg family recently and in the process, made a discovery that shook some of our previous beliefs (including our faith in the Kellogg book’s assertions) and has left us with a fair number of unanswered questions.
    I began by trying to find John, his parents Martin and Eliza (Eaton), and siblings Wealthy and Veron/Vernon Kellogg in the 1850 census. I found a John Kellogg age 8, living with his presumed grandparents, Thomas and Mary Kellogg in Huron County, Ohio, and a Martin Kellogg (right age and details) boarding with a Reaves family in Madison Co, IL (which agreed with the Kellogg book), but no trace of Eliza, Wealthy or Vernon Kellogg in this census year. Upon closer examination of the book, Eliza was supposed to have died on June 14, 1846, which would explain why the family seemed to have split up by 1850.  I checked Huron County, Ohio Cemetery Inscriptions to find out where Eliza was buried. There was a listing for Martin and Eliza’s 17 month-old daughter Mary E., who also died in June of 1846, but no tombstone for Eliza in the same cemetery or any other cemetery in the county. This seemed odd to me, although it is entirely possible that she had a stone at one time that has since been lost to the ravages of time, or that her stone was missed or misread in the cemetery inventory. So, I continued to research this family.
    Imagine my surprise to find Abel J. (John), Wealthy and Vernon in the 1860 census in Huron County, Ohio with an Eliza Kellogg, born 1818 in Vermont, as head of the household! Could this person be their mother? Censuses before 1880 did not state the relationships of persons living in the same household. Further investigation turned up other sightings of a mysterious Eliza Kellogg. In the 1850 census, Elija [Eliza?] Kellogg, born 1818 in Vermont, was listed with the Hiram Curtis family in Huron County, Ohio.  Her vital details indicate she was probably the same person as the 1860 Eliza Kellogg, but mistakenly transcribed by the census indexer at Ancestry.com as “Elija.”

    Son John Abel Kellogg moved to Barry County, Michigan by 1870. In the 1870 and 1880 censuses of Barry County, there was an Eliza Kellogg who lived in the County Poor House. In 1870 she was listed as born in 1830 in Ohio and a pauper, and in 1880 she was listed as from Baltimore Township (where son John lived) and ill with “scroffulia” [sic] or scrofula (a type of tuberculosis of the skin), no birth date or place given. No other Eliza Kellogg was enumerated in Barry County before or after these years. Between 1880 and 1894, son John moved to Montcalm County, Michigan. And oddly enough, an Eliza Kellogg, born 1821, place unknown, died in the Poor House there in 1896 of erysipelas (a skin infection).  No other Eliza Kellogg was found in online Montcalm records, except for a couple of Elizabeth Kelloggs who were married in that county, but with ages inconsistent with our Eliza.  Were these sightings coincidental; or were one, some or all of the Eliza Kelloggs that we found after our Eliza’s supposed death in 1846, actually the mother of John Abel Kellogg? I lean toward believing that they were all the same woman, but clearly more research is needed.

    If even one of these Eliza Kelloggs was our John’s mother, then the Kellogg book that we placed so much reliance on was either misinformed about the family details or tried to deliberately mislead readers about the fate of Eliza Kellogg.  Another fact that the Kellogg book may have gotten wrong is Eliza’s maiden name. The book says it was Eaton, but the only likely marriage record found in Ohio for this couple was for a Martin Kellogg and Eliza Payn(e) in Huron Co. Ohio in 1839.  There were multiple Martin Kelloggs in Huron County, but which one married Eliza Payne? What was our Eliza’s correct maiden name? Could she have been an Eaton who was married previously to a man named Payne?  More mysteries to solve.  

    Without a doubt, we have proven again through this incident that genealogical information found in published family histories should be verified, rather than accepted as gospel truth, especially when sources are not cited. Family histories or online family trees can be used as a great starting point for one’s research, but then the real work of proving or disproving the information found begins. My work will continue as I seek the truth about Eliza Kellogg and fact-check the remainder of the pertinent Kellogg information listed in the book.


    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Inflation and Deflation at The Genealogy Center

    Friday, Dec 12, 2014

    by Delia

    Don’t we all love to complain about high prices? Remember when gasoline was under one dollar? When stamps were eleven cents? When a candy bar was a nickel! It seems that everything goes up in price, right?

    Not always, of course. When I was in college, a calculator from Texas Instruments cost over two grand! Eventually, they were freebies at the bank, and now, I’ve got one on my cell phone. And speaking of cell phones, they were expensive, too, until they figured out there was more money to be made in service charges. Now, you can get one almost for free (when you sign a contract). Technology has changed and become much less expensive.

    But there’s another bargain to which I want to call your attention. When I first started working at The Genealogy Center in 1983, it cost all of ten cents to photocopy a page from a book. Guess what, now, 30 years later, it costs *gasp* ten cents to photocopy a page from a book. That is 0% inflation. And you can scan copies for free if you bring a USB drive. And the cost of microtext copies has actually gone down. In 1983, a photocopy from microfilm or microfiche cost our customers a quarter. As of this writing, microtext photocopies are actually free!* And you can also bring a USB drive to scan and save images from these machines, too.

    There are lots of other free stuff available at The Genealogy Center. You can access Ancestry, Fold3 and other subscription databases for free while you are visiting The Center. Plus we have more than a million items in print and microform to use here for free.

    So next time you think about rising prices and the de-valuing of your dollar, remember that your money is actually worth more now than it was 30 years ago – at The Genealogy Center!

    * Technicians may figure out how to charge for microtext copies at any time, but the price will probably not be over ten cents when that does happen.


    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Pearl Harbor Source

    Sunday, Dec 07, 2014

    by Delia

    December 7, 1941, termed by Franklin Roosevelt as “a day that will live in infamy,” saw the deaths of 2500 Americans and the injury of 1200 others. The events of that day resulted in the United States participation in the war that was already raging in Europe. There is a great deal written about the events of that day, in books, in periodicals and, now, online, with many opinions concerning what actions led up to the attack, and the results that followed.

    As a genealogist, I am more interested in the toll on the people who were serving in the military and endured the attack. First-hand accounts abound, many owned by The Genealogy Center for those researching or just interested. One interesting source for Pearl Harbor research is the “Pearl Harbor Muster Rolls” on Fold3. Each ship and section is divided by year, then by date of muster. Before the war, muster was usually taken quarterly, an alphabetical list providing name, service number, date of enlistment, rank and when the service man had arrived. The Report of Changes provided name, service number, date and place of enlistment and any changes to the service man’s status, including reassignment, illness or death. The September 30, 1941 Muster Roll for the USS Arizona is 38 pages of names, from to Hubert Aaron to Loyd M. Zimmerman. The December 31st Muster Roll has only one page, with the Report of Changes for December 7th and December 31st which contains a total of 83 pages, with most of the changes listed as: “Missing since action against enemy, Dec, 7, 1941 at Pearl Harbor; next of Kin not notified,” including Hubert Aaron and Loyd M. Zimmerman.

    Of course, these rolls and changes are not solely about the attack. Muster rolls from the 1930s and throughout the war are included. If you have a serviceman in the South Pacific during World War II, this is an excellent source of information. But all of us should think about the many lives lost that day. Each had a name. On this anniversary, get to know a few.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Keeping up with The Genealogy Center on Social Media

    Wednesday, Dec 03, 2014

    by Dawne

    We live in a great time for genealogy! It’s possible to do some significant amount of research from the comfort of our homes on our notebook or desktop computers, or from wherever we might go with our tablets and smartphones. We can also stay connected with family members and fellow researchers through email, social media and other tools on our portable devices. A third perk of the digital world is keeping up with favorite genealogical “entities” – like The Genealogy Center! – on social media so that we don’t miss anything!

    Are you connected to The Genealogy Center through these social media outlets?

    Blog – Since you are reading this, you have found The Genealogy Center’s blog. You can also subscribe to The Genealogy Center blog’s RSS feed.

    E-zine – Do you subscribe to The Genealogy Center’s free monthly electronic magazine, Genealogy Gems? Each issue features articles on two sources or websites, a preservation tip, a technology column, information about upcoming Genealogy Center events, information about local events of a genealogical or local history nature, and more. Also, you can reprint articles from Genealogy Gems in your local society’s newsletter, if you give credit to The Genealogy Center. You can have this information-packed resource delivered to your email inbox on the last day of each month by subscribing.

    Facebook – If you are on Facebook, you will want to “like” The Genealogy Center’s page. Find out what’s happening at The Genealogy Center, from seeing pictures of the groups that visit, to learning about upcoming events, and generally feeling like you are part of The Genealogy Center family!

    Instagram – The newest member of The Genealogy Center’s social media presence is Instagram. Follow us! We are GenealogyCenter.

    PinterestThe Genealogy Center posts all of its event flyers and more on Pinterest. Find us here.

    Twitter – And last, but not least – yes, The Genealogy Center is on Twitter! We have almost 1000 followers! Will you be the one to push us past that goal? Keep up with all of The Genealogy Center news while you are on the go by downloading the Twitter app on your smartphone and following us @ACPLGenealogy!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • War of 1812 Pensions - Forever Free

    Saturday, Nov 29, 2014

    by Delia

    The War of 1812 seems to be a forgotten period in our nation’s history. It doesn’t have the single-minded goal of independence that the American Revolution had, nor did it have as many participants, as did the Civil War. It’s buried between the two wars, and to many people, may seem rather vague – something about not letting the British take American sailors, or something.

    It was, of course, much more important than many realize, cementing America’s solidarity and freedom, laying the groundwork for Texas’s war for liberation and the war with Mexico that followed a decade later. The soldiers of the War of 1812 were the second generation of leaders and pioneers of this country, people and families that existed in a time where information may be scarce.

    The pension for those soldiers, applied for and granted many decades later, may offer the keys to unlocking family mysteries. Until now, those pensions were decaying files in the National Archives in Washington, D.C., accessible only in person or by mail.

    Thanks to the combined efforts led by the Federation of Genealogical Societies, and supported by many genealogical focused companies, such as Ancestry and Fold3, these pensions are being digitized and made available FOR FREE! FOREVER! Anyone may search, browse, read, download and print these records from the Fold3 website at no charge. As of this writing, pensions by state or service are available through surnames that begin with the letters A through J, and their efforts continue on a daily basis.

    These efforts are supported by the genealogical community and fueled by the interest of you and other genealogists. Every dollar that is donated will be matched by Ancestry.com. This means that every dollar you donate becomes two for the Preserve the Pensions program. There are still more than half the files left to preserve and digitize. Take a moment to visit the Preserve the Pensions website and donate to this worthy cause. Preserve the Pensions! Make them Free! Forever!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Thanksgiving and Family Stories

    Wednesday, Nov 26, 2014

     Thanksgiving

    When I was a child, Thanksgiving was all about the feast. My mother would have been preparing for several days, and was up early on Thursday to get the turkey in the oven. She made a number of dishes that were traditional, and often added a new one, which might or might not become a regular. We daughters (there were no sons) would do our assigned tasks and, when we lived in California, Daddy would pick roses for the table. We would sit down to eat about 1 p.m., and might be sitting there an hour later, having finished eating and were just talking. If we had any relatives with us, we might be sitting there for several hours, chatting and laughing over old stories. As the family expanded and various relatives married, sometimes the new family members did not understand why we’d sit in hard chairs at the table and talk. Wasn’t it time to get back to the game on TV? Some never quite got it. I wish I had had some of these questions to spark their interest.

    You can use these questions any way you like. Ask everyone each of these questions or make a game of it, with each person selecting a question at random and record them (video, audio or transcription). You and your guests may not spend two more hours chatting after dinner like my family, but you may put off the football game just a bit longer and share stories as well as your meal.

    Five questions for older relatives:
    1. Describe the ways your family celebrated Thanksgiving when you were a child? How did your traditions change as you grew older?
    2. Pick a school year. Describe a typical day, and describe an event that was un-typical.
    3. Did your family celebrate Halloween when you were a child and teen? What did you do?
    4. When did you first get your driver’s license? How difficult was it to get one? Describe your driving lessons.
    5. Who was the oldest person in your family when you were a child? A grandparent or great-grandparent?

    Five questions for younger relatives to get them thinking about their life story, and sharing it:
    1. How does your family celebrate Thanksgiving? What are your three favorite parts of the celebration?
    2. Describe your first day of school this year: What grade, school, and teacher? What did you wear? What did you eat for lunch? What was the biggest surprise of the day?
    3. What did you do for Halloween this year? What were your best Halloween memories of your life?
    4. Do you have your driver’s license or learner’s permit? Describe the process and any anecdotes.
    5. Who is the youngest person in your family right now? Tell how you first met him or her?

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Martin Family Reunion Photo: A Saga of Cooperation

    Sunday, Nov 23, 2014

    by Delia
     
    Recently, a photo was donated to The Genealogy Center’s Family Resources page. It was of the 1916 reunion of the Martin Family of Allen County, Indiana. Accompanying the photo was a newspaper clipping that named the attendees, but did not identify each person in the photo by name. Much as all of us would like to fully identify each and every aspect of a source before we post it, the question came down to post it right away or wait until it was fully sourced, which might be years, or never! The Genealogy Center decided to go with the former option and posted the photo along with a transcription of the accompanying article. The article is indexed through the federated search on The Genealogy Center’s homepage. We decided that anyone interested in the Martin family would be happy just to see the photograph and read the names, even if the two were not correlated!
     
    What we did not anticipate was the depth of interest of one descendant of the family. A few weeks ago, we were contacted by Steve Weaver, the grandson of Margaret Jesse Martin, who was 16 years old in 1916 when she and her family posed for this photograph. Mr. Weaver worked with many members of the family and succeeded in positively matching all but three of the figures in the photograph with the names in the article, and provided possibilities for those undetermined figures as well. He numbered each figure on an outline sketch, then provided names and other biographical information on each of 79 people pictured, as well as supplying a larger image of the original photograph. Both photos, the newspaper clipping transcription, the identifying sketch and the biographical material are now on our Family Resources page.
     
    We would not have this image or any of the information without the original contribution to the Family Resources files that piqued the interest of Steve Weaver. But without his determination to identify his family members, the image would be just an image, and not a resource to anyone researching the Martin or its collateral families.
     
    This is the way family research, as well as our collection, grows: Through large and small contributions from many people. You, too, can contribute your family resources for all to see and use by visiting our Donation Options page.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • WinterTech for December

    Wednesday, Nov 19, 2014

     Our WinterTech series continues in December with “Google It! Using Google Maps, Google Earth and More.” John Beatty and Dawne Slater-Putt will take a look at a number of ways one can use Google map products to discover more of one’s family history story. Join them in Meeting Room A, on Wednesday December 10, 2014, 3PM to 4PM. To register for this free event, call 260-421-1225 or send an email.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center