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  • 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

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Now how do you spell that?

    Friday, Mar 12, 2010

    One of the first things we, as genealogists, need to learn is that our ancestors' names were not always spelled correctly, and you may even find the same person's name spelled several different ways in the same document. The spelling of some names have only "recently" been standardized. Not everyone could spell his or her own name, and not all clerks could spell either! Regional pronunciations might alter a person's name, or an individual might change it to adapt to surrounding population or for simplicity. These variations may, or may not lead to lasting changes, and may not be an instantaneous or single change. It may take several generations, and the advent of modern record keeping, before a name becomes permanent.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Genealogy Center Tour

    Wednesday, Mar 10, 2010

    Registration filled quickly for the Genealogy Center Tour during our March Madness event! If you were not able to secure a spot and are interested in a tour, please contact the Genealogy Center. We are planning to offer another tour in the near future and will notify you when the date has been set. Call 260-421-1225 or email Genealogy@ACPL.Info to register.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Spend Time With Your Irish Ancestors

    Tuesday, Mar 09, 2010

    Time is running out! The Irish & Scots-Irish Genealogy: Part Two: A Two Day Mini-Course is just around the corner. March 19 & 20, Steve Myers will continue the series, explaining Irish probate, deed, estate records, the Irish Rebellion of 1798, and British military service, and how the records can further your research. Registration is limited for the course. To learn more about the program or register, please view the brochure.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • African American Webinar

    Monday, Mar 08, 2010

    Tony Burroughs, FUGA, author of Black Roots: A Beginner's Guide to Tracing the African American Family Tree, is presenting Avoid Traps in African American Genealogy as an Online Seminar via on March 11 at 8pm (EST). Tony Burroughs is an internationally known speaker on genealogy research and methodology, who plans to discuss the pitfalls genealogists should avoid when searching for your ancestors. The webinar is free, but you must register. You can learn more about Tony Burroughs at his website.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • March Madness

    Monday, Mar 08, 2010

    As winter winds down (we hope that’s happening by mid‑March!), the Genealogy Center is ready to help you "rev up your research" with March Madness, Genealogy Style. Running the week of March 14th to March 20th, we are hosting a week of daily events to prepare you for a summer's worth of research. Daily events:
    • Genealogy Center Tour on Sunday, March 14, 2010, from 1:00‑2:00 PM Registration Full
    • How To Use the Genealogy Center Basics on Monday, March 15, 2010, from 2:00‑3:00 PM
    • Using Periodicals at the Genealogy Center on Tuesday, March 16, 2010, from 2:00‑3:00 PM
    • Writing Your Family History: A Primer on Wednesday, March 17, 2010, from 10:00‑11:00 AM
    • Using on Thursday, March 18, 2010, from 10:00‑11:00 AM
    • Irish & Scots‑Irish Genealogy: Part 2, A Two Day Mini‑Course on Friday & Saturday, March 19 & 20, 2010, from 9:00 AM‑4:00 PM
    Call 260-421-1225 or email Genealogy@ACPL.Info to register.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • What's your name?

    Friday, Mar 05, 2010

    Running across nicknames and name variations as you research is always a challenge. You can hope that the legal records will list the person's real name, but if you use newspapers, diaries, or personal reminiscences, you might run across shortened names such as Jack (John? Jackson?), Bert (Albert? Herbert? Hubert?), or Nellie (Cornelia? Eleanor?). Sometimes, these shortened names become the real names of descendants (Hamilton is called Hammie, then a great-nephew is christened Hammie). The hard ones are those that can be a name or define a relationship (Sissy for Cecelia or sister). Nicknames can describe physical appearance (Red, Shorty), or some other characteristic (Lucky or Tex). First and middle names could be switched at will, or new names adopted, as with a Queenie and a Narcissa who both changed their names to Mary. Nicknames provide an added dimension to an ancestor, so remember to check all of the possibilities.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Excitement on the Air

    Monday, Mar 01, 2010

    Genealogy is a fascinating topic that has grown in popularity over the last decade. 2010 is the year that is making genealogy a mainstream event for television viewers and we all can participate. March 3rd (8 pm EST) is the final episode of "Faces of America" on PBS. If you have missed an episode of this wonderful series, you needn't worry. You can watch episodes at PBS video. March 5th (8 pm EST) debuts "Who Do You Think You Are?" on NBC. You can view sneak peeks of the show, which will feature such stars as Sarah Jessica Parker, Susan Sarandon, Spike Lee, Matthew Broderick, Brooke Shields, and Emmitt Smith. has a Spread the Word campaign, where you can learn more about the show. Can't you feel the excitement in the air as genealogy hits the mainstream media?

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Indiana Genealogical Society 2010 Conference

    Sunday, Feb 28, 2010

    by Dawne We seasoned genealogists remember what it was like to search the census index volumes and then go to the microfilm to look at the census images. REALLY seasoned genealogists remember what it was like BEFORE there were printed census indexes. Researchers today jump online, type in a name, and Voila! There is the nicely digitized census image right on the computer screen. When did you first start using a computer in your genealogical research? Dick Eastman, founder of Eastman’s Online Genealogical Newsletter, had a head start on most of us. In the computer field by occupation, he began entering his family information on punch cards using a mainframe computer back in the early 1970s! Eastman will draw on his nearly 40 years of experience in genealogical computing when he is the featured speaker at the Indiana Genealogical Society’s annual seminar at the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne on April 10. His topics will be:
    • Genealogy Searches on Google
    • Blogging for Genealogists
    • Conservation: Keeping Up with Technology
    • Grandpa in Your Pocket: Portable Gadgets for Genealogists
    The two-track seminar also will feature the following topics:
    • Our Golden Door: Introduction to Immigration, by Ron Darrah
    • Voyages at Your Fingertips: Online Immigration Records, by Melissa Shimkus
    • “Our Military Heritage” & WeRelate: Two Digital Initiatives of the ACPL Genealogy Center, by Curt Witcher
    • Photo Restoration Using Adobe Photoshop, by Kay Spears
    Festivities begin the evening of April 9, when the Genealogy Center of ACPL will be open extended hours from 6 p.m. to midnight for conference attendees. Registration and exhibit browsing will begin at 9 a.m. April 10. Sessions will be from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with lunch on your own and a 1 p.m. Society of Civil War Families of Indiana Induction Ceremony and IGS annual business meeting. Advance registration for the seminar is $30 for IGS members and $35 for non-members. Registration at the door will be $40. Online registration is available at the IGS website.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Armchair Research, Part 2

    Thursday, Feb 25, 2010

    by Dawne You can even Google people’s names, although you might be surprised to learn that your ancestor from the 1700s has a Facebook page and that you can get a background check on him with credit rating for a low fee! If you get such hits, obviously it is someone with the same name. You probably will have the best luck searching for someone with an unusual name. Googling “Dawson Pompey,” for example, brought to light photographs of his family members that someone had posted online. A more planned approach to Internet searching might include looking at the homepages of public libraries, university libraries, genealogical and historical societies and courthouses in the specific areas where your ancestors lived. Any of these entities may have databases specific to the area online, or even digitized images of records, tombstone photos, and more. At the very least, you can discover the addresses and hours for the libraries and courthouses you want to plan to visit in the spring or next summer! Cemeteries, funeral homes, colleges, fraternal organizations, governmental entities, ethnic groups, family associations and many other businesses and organizations have their own websites. And every website you land on often will have links to still more websites that may help your search. In addition, you can look for other people to be your “legs” in a distant locale while you are snowbound. Local genealogical societies or libraries may have volunteer or for-a-fee research services. The Board for Certification of Genealogists and Association of Professional Genealogists have lists of researchers with specialties in geographic or subject areas that you can hire to further your research. Just because you can’t take a road trip does not mean your genealogy project has to come to a screeching halt. Light the fire, pour the cocoa and grab the laptop – it’s time to hit the highway … the armchair research highway, that is!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Armchair Research, Part 1

    Wednesday, Feb 24, 2010

    by Dawne If cold and snowy weather is keeping you from taking that genealogical research trip you are dreaming about, why not take a “virtual” research trip by doing some armchair research? Until quite recently, armchair research meant writing letters to people researching the same family lines and sending forms to courthouses for copies of birth, marriage and death records. While these still are worthwhile pursuits, the Internet has opened up a whole new world for genealogical research from home, or from your local library. The Genealogy Center’s website has a number of databases and collections of links that anyone can access from anywhere – you do not need to have an Allen County Public Library card. Access to these is from the gray bar running down the lefthand side of the Genealogy Center’s home page. Check back often because material is being added regularly! The links in the top part of the white quadrant in the center of the page are for subscription-based databases, such as, and To access those, patrons need to be inside one of the Allen County Public Library’s buildings. But if you don’t live in Fort Wayne, call your local public library and ask about these databases – many libraries have subscriptions and you may be able to use these databases for free by driving to your closest library! From home, you might try doing some creative keyword searches in the search box of your favorite Internet browser, such as Google or Yahoo! Try putting quotation marks around words that belong together in a phrase to help narrow your search to the most relevant “hits.” For example, “Allen County Indiana” will keep those three words together in the search instead of bringing up everything in cyberspace that has each of those words somewhere in the record. Check back tomorrow for Part 2 of Armchair Research.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Washington's Birthday?

    Monday, Feb 22, 2010

    February 22 became a national holiday in 1880, celebrating the birth of George Washington, and it was celebrated on that date until the Uniform Monday Holiday Act moved it to the third Mondays of February. Popular tradition has combined it with the February 12 birthday celebration of Abraham Lincoln's birthday, which although observed as a holiday in many states, was not a federal holiday. There is occasional grousing about moving the holiday from the actual birthday of our first President, but Washington wasn't actually born on February 22, 1732, but February 11, 1731. When the Catholic countries of Europe began to change from the Julian to the Gregorian Calendar, named for Pope Gregory XIII, in 1582, the Protestant countries, including England, declined to follow this new calendar, which began when Thursday October 4, 1582 was followed by Friday October 15, 1582, dropping 10 days from the calendar. Over the next 170 years, various countries adopted the changes, until finally, England, and her colonies joined in by following Wednesday February 17, 1753 with Thursday March 1, because by this time it was necessary to drop an additional day. Also in England, the civil new year had started on March 25, making January through March 24 in England and her colonies a different year than that recognized by most of Europe. The new year switch occurred in English holdings when 1751 ended on December 31, with 282 days. George Washington was born before these changes took place, on February 11, 1731/32. This "double dating" was common in English records of the time, where clerks and other record keepers were cognizant of the need to make the documents clear as to date. After the change, George, like many who believed that the days of his life were truly numbered, did not want to lose any bit of the life allotted to him to celestial clerical errors, adopted February 22, 1732 as his birth date.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • "Who Do You Think You Are?" The Series

    Saturday, Feb 20, 2010

    Another British television phenomenon has made its way to the United States. Who Do You Think You Are? is premiering on NBC on Friday March 5, at 8 PM (7 PM Central and Mountain Time). This popular show profiles politicians, media stars and other celebrities’ family history, illustrating the common struggles that all of our ancestors faced. The first episodes will feature Lisa Kudrow, Susan Sarandon and Sarah Jessica Parker. has a Spread the Word campaign, where you can learn more about the show. This may be the biggest genealogy related prime-time event since Roots was published and aired as a mini-series in the 1970s. Be sure to watch the next big television hit!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • DNA and Genealogy

    Wednesday, Feb 17, 2010

    Roberta Estes, who created DNAeXplain, which combines DNA and genealogy, is returning to the Allen County Public Library on Sunday, February 21, 2010, 2:00 p.m. to present DNA and Genealogy Introduction. To complement the Human Spark series, featuring Alan Alda, running on PBS, Roberta Estes will present a program explaining the science behind genetic genealogical research. Calling on her 30+ years of experience in genealogy, Ms. Estes will explain the use of DNA testing in genealogical research problem solving. We are so pleased to have Ms. Estes return to Fort Wayne after her successful May 2008 Climbing Your DNA Seminar.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Second Chance

    Monday, Feb 15, 2010

    Although February 10th began with Allen County being under a Level 3 Snow Emergency, many still traveled to the Genealogy Center to hear about the "Basics of Scanning Photographs." But we understand the weather was not friendly, so we are offering a second chance to those who missed participating in the class. Kay Spears will explain the terms used in scanning photographs, share the essentials of organizing, scanning, and storing family (or other) photographs digitally, as well as provide suggestions on the equipment you may need. Please join us for another opportunity at hearing about the "Basics of Scanning Photographs," on March 10, 2010 at 2:30 PM in Meeting Room C. Call 260-421-1225 or email Genealogy@ACPL.Info to register.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Celebrate Presidents Day!

    Monday, Feb 15, 2010

    Think you might be related to one of our American Presidents? Of course, you will have to research your own family to establish a link, but Ancestors of American Presidents, published in 2009, provides ancestral tables for each President, lines of descent from royalty to Presidents and First Ladies, and charts outlining relationships between various Presidents. The 1993 American Presidential Families also provides essays on the life of the family in the White House, pedigree charts, and descendants.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Yes, we're open Presidents Day

    Wednesday, Feb 10, 2010

    If you don't have school, don't have to go to work, and don't have to worry about picking up the mail on Monday February 15, remember that the Genealogy Center is open our regular 9A to 9P for your research pleasure, as is the whole ACPL system. If you live some distance, take advantage of our weekend hours (Saturday 9A to 6P and Sunday 12N to 5P) to make it a 3-day trip!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • "Faces of America"

    Sunday, Feb 07, 2010

    PBS premieres a new Henry Louis Gates series, "Faces of America," on February 10th. The four episode series will run on Wednesday nights from 8-9 pm EST until March 3rd. Combining genealogy and genetics, the series will feature the family histories of the following 12 guests: Yo-Yo Ma, musician Queen Noor, widow of the late King Hussein of Jordan Malcolm Gladwell, journalist Eva Longoria Parker, actress Mike Nichols, director Dr. Mehmet Oz, author Meryl Streep, actress Stephen Colbert, television host Louise Erdrich, author Kristi Yamaguchi, athlete Elizabeth Alexander, author Mario Batali, media personality View clips from the program on Faces to America's Channel on YouTube.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Basics of Scanning Photographs

    Wednesday, Feb 03, 2010

    Please join us on Wednesday, February 10 from 2:30-3:30 in Meeting Room C, for another enjoyable addition to our WinterTech series and learn more about “Basics of Scanning Photographs.” What's a pixel? What is DPI? What's the difference between TIFF and JPG? Do you know the importance of understanding the terminology when scanning photographs? Learn the basics on how to organize, scan, and store family photograph digitally. Also, receive suggestions on equipment needed for scanning projects. Call 260-421-1225 or email Genealogy@ACPL.Info to register.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Celebrate Black History Month

    Monday, Feb 01, 2010

    by Dawne February is Black History Month and the Genealogy Center can be your “gateway” to many resources for African American genealogy research. In conjunction with the International Black Genealogy Summit held here in October 2009, the Genealogy Center unveiled the African American Gateway, a collection of thousands of Internet links for African American research grouped by state, coupled with bibliographical notes for books and films in the Center’s collection. Specific to the Hoosier state is Indiana’s African American Settlements, a database of more than 7,000 names of individuals who lived in the communities settled by free and formerly enslaved African Americans who moved north into Indiana in large numbers from the 1830s to the 1870s. Digital photos and record images are linked to some of these individuals. Those with Allen County, Indiana, roots will want to check the African-American Resources available in the Ethnic Resources category on the Genealogy Center’s website. Included are extracts from birth, marriage and death records, the federal census, city directories and World War I draft registration cards. All of these resources are updated regularly, so check back often for new material! Several of the large subscription databases include African American research collections. For most of these, researchers must be in the Genealogy Center or at one of the Allen County Public Library’s branch locations to gain access. However,’s Black History area boasts “more than a million photographs and documents found nowhere else on the Internet,” and currently allows free access. Resources that onsite visitors to the Genealogy Collection can access and some of their features include:
    •’s Celebrating African American Family History – family trees, slave narratives, information about U.S. Colored Troops during the Civil War, photographs, and the option of searching federal census schedules by limiting the race category to people of color.
    • ProQuest’s African American Heritage – World War I and II draft registration cards, Freedman’s Bank records, the AfriGeneasTM Community social networking site, and the Black Genesis state-by-state resource guide.
    • Heritage Quest Online – Another resource for Freedman’s Bank records.
    Log on to the website or visit us onsite to celebrate Black History Month with the Genealogy Center!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center