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  • President's Day

    Thursday, Feb 17, 2011

    The Genealogy Center will be open on President's Day, February 21st. Plan a long research weekend by visiting during the holiday.

    Remember, our hours are:

    Mon-Thurs 9am - 9pm

    Fri-Sat 9am - 6pm

    Sun noon - 5pm

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Genealogy Gems

    Tuesday, Feb 15, 2011

    Have you been receiving your online copy of Genealogy Gems: News from the Fort Wayne Library? If not, you should subscribe now! Genealogy Gems is a monthly e-zine which highlights collections within The Genealogy Center, provides details concerning upcoming programs, and keeps you up-to-date on our activities. Read older editions to learn more about this great resource.Type your content here...

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Researching Indiana Artists

    Thursday, Feb 10, 2011

    by Delia

    I'll bet you've never considered The Genealogy Center as a place to learn about artists, but we have a wonderful biographical source available online. Indiana Artists is culled from a set of old vertical file folders of clippings from the local newspapers (the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette and the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel), the Indianapolis Star, and many other Indiana and national publications. Additions to the files ceased in the early 1980s.

    Newspaper and magazine clippings tend to deteriorate and get lost, so eventually, The Genealogy Center staff indexed the material by artist's name, including the artist's location, art medium (painter; sculptor), publication title and date, and notes that might indicate that the article was touting an exhibition, providing biographical details, or listing a death.


    Not everyone listed is wildly famous. Listings include painter Alva Smith, former sheriff in Berne, Indiana, and Irene Lees, whose metal work was displayed at the Herron Institute in 1911. So if you have Hoosier relatives, take a few minutes to browse this collection, and others at our Indiana Resources.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Update on Lincoln Exhibit

    Monday, Feb 07, 2011

    The opening date for the "Abraham Lincoln:  The Image" exhibit in the Jeffrey R. Krull Gallery has been changed to Saturday, February 12, 2011.  Originally it was scheduled for Monday, February 7, but, due to inclement weather, we've had to reschedule.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • FamilySearch class

    Sunday, Feb 06, 2011

    February is your last chance this season to take advantage of a WinterTech lecture at 2:30 in the afternoon, and stay for the Allen County Genealogy Society of Indiana's monthly meeting at 7:00 in the evening. On February 9th, Dawne Slater-Putt presents "Exploring the Ever Expanding FamilySearch." There's more to FamilySearch than the Family History Library Catalog and the gateway to obtaining microfilmed records from around the world. also has searchable record indexes, collections of digitized images of original records, how-to articles on a wide variety of research topics, the FamilySearch wiki, and more. Call 260-421-1225 to register, or send us an email at Genealogy@ACPL.Info.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Coming Soon! "Abraham Lincoln: The Image"

    Tuesday, Feb 01, 2011

    Starting February 7, 2011, the Jeffrey R. Krull Gallery of the Allen County Public Library will host Abraham Lincoln: The Image. The ability to produce photographs, engravings and other mass-produced illustrations was coming of age during Lincoln's era. Images of people and events, cartoons and caricatures were widely available as photographic prints and broadsides, in pamphlets and periodicals, and both positive and negative depictions of Lincoln were viewed by a large percentage of the population. Abraham Lincoln: The Image, an Indiana State Museum Traveling Exhibition, consists of dozens of views of Lincoln as candidate, emancipator, president, suppressor of civil liberties and, finally, as martyr and saint. These original 19th Century pieces from the Lincoln Financial Foundation Collection demonstrate how America viewed Lincoln and Lincoln's awareness of the importance of the public's perceptions.

    The display will be available to the public at no charge, from February 7th to March 31st, 2011, in the Jeffrey R. Krull Gallery, 900 Library Plaza. Make time to visit and view this fascinating display!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Who Do You Think You Are?

    Thursday, Jan 27, 2011

    by Melissa

    Who Do You Think You Are? returns for its second season on NBC starting Friday, February 4 at 8-9 pm EST. The show is entertaining and instructive as the celebrities and viewers are guided through the genealogy research process. The first season had many surprising and emotional moments as the celebrities learned undiscovered details about their family. As viewers, we witnessed new ways to continue our own genealogical journey.

    This year, the following celebrities will learn their family history:

    Gwyneth Paltrow
    Tim McGraw
    Rosie O'Donnell
    Steve Buscemi
    Kim Cattrall
    Lionel Richie
    Vanessa Williams

    Ashley Judd

    Watch previous episodes at NBC and mark your calendars for another exciting year of genealogy television.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Closed on January 28

    Monday, Jan 24, 2011

    The Genealogy Center will be closed on Friday, January 28, for Staff Development Day, a time when we'll learn some new ideas to share with you when we reopen on Saturday from 9 am - 6 pm. So plan your research trips around this date.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • The Genealogical Community -- an Extended Family

    Friday, Jan 21, 2011

    By Dawne


    Recently I returned from a “busman’s holiday” to Salt Lake City, Utah, where I spent two weeks researching in the Family History Library and spending time with friends from all over the U.S. who work in the field of genealogy in some capacity. Throughout the week, several people remarked to me that I was lucky to be going home to a place where I would be surrounded by genealogists during my working day.

    It’s true that those who work in the genealogy field often find themselves to be lone wolves. They don’t go to an office every day to sit by people who are doing similar tasks. They don’t meet at the water cooler to exchange workplace scuttlebutt. Instead, they work largely alone, doing research for clients, developing lectures for seminars, writing articles for and editing journals.

    The same can be true for genealogy hobbyists – many of them have developed a deep passion for the subject that is not necessarily shared (or understood) by those who live in their household or with whom they have frequent contact – neighbors, church friends, the parents of their children’s friends, the bingo crowd, etc. These family members, friends and acquaintances may think the subject is mildly interesting – they may even want to get started working on their own families “someday” – but they don’t completely understand, haven’t felt the pull of the search.

    This is why it is so exciting to attend genealogical events and to talk to others who share the special bond that the quest of family history can provide. Researchers who spend the bulk of their time using the Internet at home and researching alone in libraries and courthouses, and who do not attend genealogical society meetings, seminars and conferences are missing out on something very special.

    The Guernsey County Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society has suspended regular monthly meetings and programs due to a lack of interest and participation. And it is not alone. Even state and national societies are having difficulty finding candidates to run for board positions. Perhaps the increasing amount of genealogical material available on the Internet is the cause, but one activity (Internet research) does not have to preclude the other (society involvement). One problem seems to be that “newbies” to genealogical research do not realize the benefits of becoming involved in societies or attending seminars and conferences – benefits that many of us discovered before we had Internet research available to us.

    Being involved in genealogical societies and attending events like state seminars and national conferences fans the spark of our genealogical passion – motivates us and excites us. It allows us to commune with others who share this common interest, who “speak our language.” And of course, we all learn from one another. We learn from the speakers who are experts on their topics, and from the exchange of ideas with fellow members, and from reading the articles in the journals that are a benefit of our membership.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Another Milestone!

    Tuesday, Jan 18, 2011

    Last weekend, more than 60,000 names of students from Central Normal College of Hendricks County, Indiana were loaded on to The Genealogy Center's Free Databases page, which pushed the content on these pages over the 2 million mark! We now have 2,002,229 searchable records available for free through our website.
    We thank our volunteers and contributors who have made this significant milestone  possible.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Martin Luther King Holiday

    Thursday, Jan 13, 2011

    Though many places are closed on Monday, January 17, in observance of Martin Luther King Day, The Genealogy Center will be open. So make this holiday weekend a long one, by visiting The Genealogy Center on Friday - Saturday 9 am - 6 pm, Sunday 12 pm - 5pm, and Monday 9 am - 9pm.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • The 5 W's

    Wednesday, Jan 12, 2011

    by Melissa

    Locating a genealogical document can be an exciting endeavor. Once found, we pore over the document, noting all the new details we've discovered, but our elation can come to a stand still when the details fail to match what we already know. As genealogists, not only do we have to locate documents, but we need to analyze the information to insure we have the correct individual.

    What should a genealogist do when details fail to match? Consider asking yourself the 5 W's.

    1. Who?
    Who provided the information? If the document is a death record, obviously the deceased didn't provide their date and place of birth or parents' names. When comparing a death record, obituary, or funeral card to another record type, we should always remind ourselves that the person providing the details may not have known the correct answer.

    2. When?
    How timely is the information? Was the document created at the time of the event or are we relying on memory? Notations in a family bible may have all been written at the same time, 50 years after the fact, rather than at the time of a birth, marriage, or death. Memories can be faulty.

    3. What?
    What motivated your ancestor's answer? Your ancestor may have lied about his age on a document for a reason. The first World War I draft registration in 1917 was for 21-31 year old males. Did your ancestor hope to avoid service?

    4. Where?
    Why does the document in your hands give a different birthplace for your ancestor than what you had found in other research? Your ancestor could have been asked for their birthplace with no clarification that the answer should be a town, county, state, or country. Determine the logic behind the answer and remember Ohio could be a county rather than a state or Peru a town rather than a country.

    5. Why?
    Why is the new documentation different from what you've previously found? Human error! Was the clerk having a bad day while creating that document? Or in transcribing it? If your ancestor was an immigrant, was there a misunderstanding of language? How many typos occurred during the indexing process?

    So be excited when finding a new document! Remember to analyze the data and ask yourself the 5 W's. With each question, the answers may become clearer.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Online Sources for Hendricks County, Indiana

    Monday, Jan 10, 2011

    By Delia

    If you haven't checked out our Indiana Resources page, you might have missed all of the wonderful resources available for Hendricks County. In 2009, material indexed or transcribed by researcher and active Indiana Genealogical Society member Meredith Thompson, including business directories (1858 and 1868), and indexes for divorces (1891-1960), declarations of intent (1952-1906), final oaths (1856-1906), school employees (1894-1964), high school graduates (1923-1962), marriages (1904-1962), and much more. Although you will still need to access the original record, the various indexes may include occupations for school employees or name changes in divorce cases.

    So if you have Hendricks County, Indiana area ancestors, take a few minutes to peruse this valuable resource.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Becoming Expert at Using Ancestry

    Thursday, Jan 06, 2011

    The Genealogy Center at the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, IN is hosting WinterTech 2010-2011. Every second Wednesday of the month starting in November and ending in February, a technology program will be presented from 2:30-3:30 PM. After the class, participants can spend a few hours researching before attending the Allen County Genealogical Society of Indiana's monthly meeting at 6:30 PM.
 is one of the largest genealogical databases available. Join us in learning how to perform advance search techniques, read the results, and "Becoming Expert at Using Ancestry" on Wednesday, January 12, from 2:30-3:30 PM.
    Please call 260-421-1225 or email Genealogy@ACPL.Info to register for this program.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • 2011 -- A Golden Year

    Tuesday, Jan 04, 2011

    In 1961, a brochure for what would become The Genealogy Center of the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana, stated "Adults desiring help on genealogical questions or desiring the use of old city directories, city and county histories, and the like should apply here." Fifty years later, the words still ring true. Born from a collection of histories, city directories, and periodicals purchased for "a dollar or two" following the Great Depression by Head Librarian Rex Potterf and Fred Reynolds, for whom the Genealogy Department was renamed in 1971, as well as four hundred volumes loaned from the Mary Penrose Wayne chapter of the National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution, the collection has grown to more than one million items as The Genealogy Center.

    The Indiana History and Genealogy Room opened on January 3, 1961 with the idea of serving the increasing number of genealogists who used the growing collection. In 2010, The Genealogy Center had nearly 100,000 visitors from across the United States. The Center not only houses an impressive book and microtext collection, but has a growing virtual presence with expanding digital collections, and a proud heritage of excellent customer service and educational opportunities.

    Join us, physically or virtually, in our year-long celebration of the 50th Anniversary of The Genealogy Center.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Journaling

    Sunday, Jan 02, 2011

    by Dawne

    Let’s see a show of hands of those who have read “The Diary of Anne Frank.” I imagine most of us have read it in school or on our own, or at least are familiar with the poignant story of the young girl who hid away from the Nazis in the Netherlands during World War II.

    Not everyone’s account of everyday life will become as famous and touch as many people as Anne Frank’s diary, it’s true. Most people lead lives that are much more mundane and filled with the ups and downs that are important to us and our families, but perhaps not so much to society as a whole. Don’t let that stop you from making regular journaling one of your goals for the new year!

    Some people feel self-conscious about journaling. They picture someone reading what they have written and finding it silly or boring. But consider this: If you suddenly discovered a diary left by your great-great-grandmother that had been given to her local historical society or passed down through another branch or your family, would you stifle a yawn and say, “Ho, hum … she was just a farmer’s wife, what possible interest could this little book have for me?” Of course not! And neither will those who come after you say similar things about your writings.

    If you find it difficult to write narrative, take baby steps to get started. Begin by using a calendar and writing a little something in the square for each day – perhaps the temperature or another comment about the weather, what you did that day, something that was in the news or a sports score that was significant to you. Make a note when it was the birthday of a family member or a friend. Write in your doctor and dentist appointments, as usual. Note your research trips, vacations and other events.

    Those who like the idea of journaling, but are unsure of topics can begin with those mentioned above for the “calendar method” and expand to include books you have read and whether you enjoyed them, quotes that you hear or read and find interesting, and personal comments about news events. As another writing exercise, it might be interesting to write down one childhood memory each day. Or discuss your current genealogical research and your successes and frustrations. If you hear a good joke, write that down for posterity.

    A journal entry can be any length, and you don’t have to write every day if you don’t want to. There are no rules. So grab a pretty diary with flowers on the cover and inspirational quotes on each page … or a handsome, leather-bound journal … or one of your grandkids’ half-used spiral notebooks from school, and arm yourself with one of your favorite pens. (We genealogists always have favorite pens, don’t we?) Or boot up the computer and open a blank document in Word. Whatever tools you choose to use, get started today!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • More New Year's Resolutions

    Thursday, Dec 30, 2010

    by Dawne

    Other resolutions that may help you “make your own luck” in 2011 could be:

    4. Get organized! You will find material in your piles and files that you have forgotten you have. Also, you will be able to see clearly what your next steps are and be a more effective researcher.

    5. Be kind to record keepers. Many times they are not genealogists. You know what this means. They don’t always “get it.” Sometimes they even get tired of dealing with genealogists – imagine that! – We can be a demanding group.

    6. Be flexible. Sometimes there are unscheduled closings of offices and libraries. It is frustrating, but it is not life or death. If you can’t stay another day until the facility opens, see if you can get the material you need another way, such as by mail, email or an onsite researcher. Sometimes it costs money (sometimes A LOT of money), but there is almost always a way to get what you need.

    7. Volunteer for something, even a small “something.” There is no doubt that your local or state society could use your help. You will meet more people, talk about genealogy, and you may learn something you didn’t know.

    8. Become immersed in a project that thrills you. This may be writing a book about one of your own family lines, compiling an index to a record group, or studying something that has nothing to do with your own family – think of the people you can help with your project and let it warm your heart! Get it out there online or in segments in a genealogical society publication.

    9. Do a little something every day that you can: Organize a file, write a biography of your grandmother, scan a few pictures.

    10. If you have put aside this hobby because life has intruded, refer to Resolution 9 and try to get back the joy of why you got involved in the first place!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • New Year's Resolutions

    Wednesday, Dec 29, 2010

    by Dawne

    Who has heard the phrases “Make your own luck,” “What goes around comes around?” and “karma?” These complement one another and can go hand-in-hand when a genealogist is contemplating making New Year’s resolutions!

    “Make your own luck” means that by taking action rather than relying on luck alone, a positive outcome is more likely.

    Therefore, Resolution 1 might be: Let others know of your research interests. By participating in online forums, submitting queries to genealogical journals and writing articles for the newsletters of the societies in the areas where your ancestors lived, you are more likely to hear from someone who is tracing the same lines, knows of records in the area that may help you … perhaps even owns a family bible or photographs and is willing to share!

    “What goes around comes around” means that a person generally gets what is deserved. Good=good and bad=bad.

    Interpreting this concept in a similar way to the first phrase, Resolution 2 might be: Do your homework before going on your research trips this coming spring and summer! The genealogist who prepares for a research trip by making a to-do list of needed records and facts, gathering call numbers from library online catalogs in advance, and doing the necessary homework to determine where records are kept, the hours of facilities, etc., probably will have a more successful research trip. Those who travel a distance to visit a facility that does not have the records they need are likely to be frustrated!

    If we translate “What goes around comes around” to be less literal and controllable and more nebulous, it can be similar to the third phrase, “karma.” In that case, he or she who does good deeds will be the recipient of good things via the balance of the universe.

    A resolution that might match this concept is, Resolution 3: Help others by doing the occasional free lookup in your local area. Will this bring genealogical luck your way? Who knows? But we have nothing to lose by trying and a great deal to gain by helping another genealogist. In these days of scanning and email attachments, copy and postage costs may not apply; helping a fellow genealogist in this way may cost us nothing but time.

    Next time, we'll offer additional resolutions for a Happy Genealogical New Year.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Value of Using

    Monday, Dec 27, 2010

    by Cynthia

    The Genealogy Center and its patrons are lucky that people remember to donate old yearbooks, published family histories, church directories and other books to our collection. Some of these volumes arrive with additional treasures: photographs, newspaper clippings, certificates and other items that were tucked inside the volumes for safekeeping. When our staff finds these gems, they are scanned and digital copies are uploaded to, a free wiki-based website. Often these pieces of memorabilia have a connection to the books in which they are found, such as programs for athletic banquets or prom photographs found in a school yearbook. On WeRelate, these usually are added to the photo gallery area of the page for the town where the school, church or other entity is located. For example, photos that were found in a donated 1941 Centenary College yearbook recently were added to the photo gallery area of the Shreveport, Louisiana, page. In some cases, if the photo or piece of memorabilia is specific to an individual who can be identified and is no longer living, a page can be created in WeRelate for that individual and the scans of the photos or memorabilia can be placed on the individual's page. So the next time you are paging through yearbooks at The Genealogy Center and a treasure falls out, please bring it and the volume in which is was found to the Ask desk, and we will add it to WeRelate so that anyone interested can use and enjoy it.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • The Interrogator

    Tuesday, Dec 21, 2010

    by Melissa

    As genealogists, we compile information and analyze the data often feeling like detectives, searching for those elusive facts and connections. We may spend months, even years, looking for the one record that will link two of our ancestors. At times, we may question if our ancestors were criminally minded since they’ve managed to remain obscure. We are continuously unearthing the mysteries of our family while researching our genealogy.

    Being a genealogy librarian, the discovery process is two-fold. I feel like a detective when searching for my own family, but working the reference desk, I sometimes feel like a cop. I become The Interrogator.

    The questions I hear are sometimes vague, lacking detail, such as “I’m looking for my family” or “…a birth certificate” or “…a newspaper article” or “…my immigrant ancestor.” With each of these questions, the adrenaline kicks in as I try to determine the best course of action. Usually I begin by asking my own questions in return. Sometimes I receive clear answers and direct people to the best resource. At other times, I have to dig for more detail.

    I feel like Sgt. Joe Friday stating, “Just the facts, ma’am,” as I filter through the data. I’m tossing out questions left and right, seeking more detail. “What county and state did great grandma live in?” “What year are we looking for?” “Okay, what decade?” “Have you already looked at the census?” “How did she answer the question concerning how many years she had been married?” “Did they own land?” “Do you know her religious affiliation?” Bam, bam, bam. My brain produces one question after another in an effort to pinpoint the best course to direct the customer.

    Once the customer has the information in hand, a sense of completion fills me until my next opportunity to play The Interrogator. The lesson is: Don’t hesitate to ask your local librarian for help in your genealogy research. We’ve got lots of questions of our own.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center