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  • 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

  • Holiday Closures

    Saturday, Dec 18, 2010

    by Melissa

    Another friendly reminder that The Genealogy Center will be closed:
    Thursday, December 23
    Friday, December 24
    Saturday, December 25
    Friday, December 31
    Saturday, January 1

    We will be open the day before closures from 9am to 9pm and open the Sunday after closures from noon to 5pm.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Our New Website: Making a List!

    Thursday, Dec 16, 2010

    by Delia

    Our new web page continues to improve and now you may create a list of volumes that will include our call numbers. To use this resource, perform a search:


    Check the box accompanying the items you wish to include in your list. 



    At the top of the results list, a note will appear that  "you have selected [x] items," and a drop down box that says "select an action." 

    Then to generate the list, select "View Shelf Locations."

    And at the dialog box, select "Open."


    Your list will appear in a very simplified text. Remember that the Genealogy Center has a call number system that differs from that of the rest of the Allen County Public Library, and those call numbers will also appear in your list. If you are unsure which call number to use, contact a staff member.


    To print, either use your browser's print option, or right-click your mouse and select print.

    When you are finished, make sure you "clear" your check marks before making another list. And that's it! Use this feature to prepare lists either while you are here, or before your visit.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Seeking Missing Family Members in Indiana?

    Tuesday, Dec 14, 2010

    By Delia

    All researchers have experienced the family member who goes missing. Often the young sibling of a direct ancestor, these strays leave a hole in our research when we fail to locate the family member anywhere in subsequent census records, and yet a death record, cemetery listing or obituary eludes us. Additionally, it may seem that the family member disappeared from all family records, not being mentioned in letters, perhaps not even in diaries. So we wonder, "Where did he or she go?"

    In some cases, the child may have had developmental problems, handled today within the family and community, but which, in the late 1800s and early 1900s, may have resulted in the removal of the child to an institution elsewhere. Historic records from many mental health institutions may now be filed in various archives, but many are still held under the highest privacy restrictions and even determining if a relative was a patient may be difficult. But mortality lists for two of these Indiana institutions were published in Annual report of the Indiana School for Feeble-Minded Youth, Ft. Wayne, Indiana (977.202 F77FMY).

    Although the annual reports for Indiana State School for Feeble-Minded Youth begin with 1899, mortality lists were not included until 1912. Available records continue until 1937. All of the information from the annual lists, including name, date and cause of death and a grade indicating severity and nature of their handicap, has been transcribed into a searchable index, along with a very brief history of the institution. The Allen County Public Library's Community Album also has several photographs of the institution. It should be remembered that the term "youth" in the institution's name does not always reflect the age of the residents. Although most were aged under 35, resident Martha Zolman died in 1935 at age 71.

    The Annual Reports also included mortality lists from 1926 to 1937 from the Indiana Farm Colony for Feeble-Minded, also known as Muscatatuck Colony, located in Jennings County. Like the school in Fort Wayne, the Farm Colony drew patients from all over the state. Data similar to the other Fort Wayne lists have been transcribed into a separate index.

    So if you are seeking a missing relative in Indiana, take a few minutes to check these indexes.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Online Books

    Thursday, Dec 09, 2010

    By Melissa

    We are often asked if we have books or microfilm online? The answer is yes, we do. Thanks to partnerships with Internet Archive and the BYU Family History Archives, public domain material may be found through the Internet. There are several ways to discover which of our books and film are available for you to access from home.

    The first access point is The Genealogy Center website. Under the Family History Archives heading, choose from among our partnerships to view available material. Family History Archive searches by surname, author, or title of the book, while Internet Archive searches by keyword.

    Another access point is to Search the ACPL Catalog on our website.

    On the results page, if the title has a web address (see image below) then there is a link to the book online. Clicking on the address will take you to the online book, which you can read page by page.

    Enjoy exploring the digitized books available from The Genealogy Center.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Holidays

    Sunday, Dec 05, 2010

    It’s that time of year! You’re sending out family newsletters, holding family gatherings, recalling family traditions and reminiscing with loved ones. The holidays are a great time to focus on genealogy. As with many places you visit this month, we have holiday hours too. The Genealogy Center is open normal hours most of the month, with the following exceptions: Closed December 23rd - 25th and Closed December 31st – January 1st. We are open normal hours on Sunday, December 26th and January 2nd from noon – 5 pm.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Our New Website: Donate!

    Friday, Dec 03, 2010

    by Delia

    The Genealogy Center enjoys a wide variety of support from the genealogical community, and anyone can be a part of building our collection. By clicking on Donate on our new webpage's Menu Line, you will learn of the variety of opportunities available to help.


    Of course, the first method is to make a monetary donation to the Genealogy Center's endowment fund to support the collection. One can contact the Allen County Public Library's Develpoment Office to discuss planned or annual gifts, or make an immediate online donation through our Donate Online portal.


    The second way is to share your own research with us, and through us, other genealogists. We are happy to accept books, papers or information in a digital format, as well as family Bibles, military documents, photographs to digitize and place on one of our free webpages. Use the Share Research link to learn more.


    The last way take part in supporting the Genealogy Center is to donate your time! There are many way to share your expertise, through various projects in the Center or providing assistance to visitors. Click the Volunteer button to begin your volunteer adventure.


    There you have it! Explore the possibilities to Donate to the Genealogy Center.



    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Our New Website: Services

    Thursday, Dec 02, 2010

    by Delia

    On the Menu Line of The Genealogy Center’s new webpage is an intriguing word: Services. So what kind of services do we offer, aside from an excellent collection and a knowledgeable staff to guide your research? You can either roll over the list and select, or click Services to go to the page that will describe the available services.

    Ask a Librarian allows you to ask a Genealogy Center staff member if we own a specific item or ask for advice on a knotty research problem. You can also link to the Article Fulfillment, Quick Search and Research Services forms if you would like to take advantage of the various research services available for a fee.

    Orientation links to a 15-minute video to help you prepare for your visit to Fort Wayne, and Genealogy Tours explains the opportunities available for groups planning a visit to The Genealogy Center.

    Take a few minutes to check our Services page!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • 'Net Treats

    Monday, Nov 29, 2010

    The Genealogy Center 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.

    We all know there are lots of sources on the Internet for doing genealogy. 'Net Treats on Wednesday, December 8, from 2:30-3:30 PM, will highlight a few genealogical web sites that may open new research windows.

    Please call 260-421-1225 or email Genealogy@ACPL.Info to register for this program.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Guide to Our New Website: Databases

    Wednesday, Nov 24, 2010

    By Delia

    From the Menu line on our new website, you will see the word Databases. Divided into “Free” and “On Site” databases, this is actually one of the most heavily used sections of our website.


    By scrolling over or clicking on “Free Databases,” you will see links to a number of useful sites and data files. The first is to the African American Gateway, which includes information from the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean, as well as a few other countries, and a bibliography of resources for African American research in The Genealogy Center collection.

    The Family Files and Resources and Family Bible Records features unique family histories and family files, and images of family Bibles submitted by researchers who have granted permission for their material to be hosted on The Genealogy Center site. Similarly, Our Military Heritage includes images of books, pamphlets, government documents, original letters, diaries, biographies, photographs, videos, unit histories, and rosters as well as service and pension records. This Genealogy Center project includes materials ranging from the Colonial era through the Afghanistan and Iraqi Wars. Contributions of additional data to all of these databases are most welcome.

    The Fort Wayne and Allen County, Indiana resources include indexes of local obituaries, cemeteries, marriage, death and other courthouse records, as well as African-American material, and images from the Firefighter Collection and local wills. Indiana and Other States Resources represent a widely varied collection of databases created by researchers who have donated their work to The Genealogy Center, as well as Genealogy Center staff. Again, contributions are always welcome.

    The Genealogy Center Microtext Catalog is a searchable listing of microfilm and microfiche held by The Center, and is a vital guide to this major part of our collection. And The Genealogy Center Surname File is a searchable list of surnames of interest contributed by visitors to our facility, and supplies the contact information of contributing researchers.

    Clicking On-Site databases will take you to the On-Site Databases page, allowing those present in The Genealogy Center, or at other Allen County Public Library locations, free access to a number of subscription databases, including African American Heritage, Ancestry, Footnote, Heritage Quest Online, Historical Detroit Free Press, New England Ancestry, Origins Network, Paper of Record, and World Vital Records.

    Take time to get to know our new website!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • A Genealogist's Thanksgiving

    Monday, Nov 22, 2010

    by Dawne

    Have you thought about how much we have to be thankful for this season as genealogists? Here are some of the things that come to my mind:

    • I am thankful for successful research I have done so far this year.

    • I am thankful for the hobby/occupation that helps to keep my mind sharp as I age.

    • I am thankful for my good health that lets me continue to make research trips and walk through cemeteries, but if I weren’t able to be as mobile as in previous years,

    • I would be thankful that there are many, many alternative methods of doing research, such as online, via email, over the telephone, through volunteers in far-flung locations, by hiring researchers and by good, old-fashioned “snail mail.”

    • I am thankful for the myriad of free databases and digital images that are being put online daily,

    • And I am also thankful for enormous subscription databases, even when they are expensive, because of the huge amounts of material that I can find on them.

    • (I am especially thankful for my local public library that has access to many of these subscription sites and allows me to access them for free onsite. Many local libraries provide this perk. Does yours?)

    • I also am thankful that not everything is available online. Genealogy libraries are some of my favorite places. I like touching the original record books in the libraries. I especially am fond of walking through a cemetery on a nice, temperate day. Let’s not get rid of all of the onsite research in favor of instant, online gratification.

    • I am thankful for the many educational activities that are available for genealogists, from local society meetings, to state seminars, to national conferences, and also online lectures and tutorials.

    • I am thankful for distant relatives who keep me on the straight and narrow by asking me, “Where did you get that information?” and “Are you sure about that?” I will have a better finished genealogy project because of their questions.

    • More than anything, I am thankful for fellow genealogists. Fellow genealogists are people you can talk to about your passion whose eyes won’t glaze over. They create resources for their local area even when they have no ancestors there. They sometimes do look-ups for free. They have your back. They understand.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Thanksgiving Holiday

    Saturday, Nov 20, 2010

    The Genealogy Center will be closed on Thursday, November 25th, in observance of Thanksgiving. We will open again Friday at 9:00 a.m. and return to normal hours through the weekend. Take advantage of research hours over the holiday weekend.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Our New Website: Using the Catalog's My Discoveries

    Thursday, Nov 18, 2010

    by Delia

    One new feature that genealogists may find useful within the catalog is “My Discoveries.” "My Discoverie" allows you to keep track of your own lists in much the same way that social-networking sites like Amazon, Goodreads, and LibraryThing do. You can keep track of books that you want to use when you visit and volumes that you have already examined. You can rate books and write reviews, keeping this information private or sharing it with the online community. This feature is available to anyone using The Genealogy Center catalog. You will set up your own account for use either here, from your home, or from any other location with Internet access and be able to keep track of materials you have used or use it to plan your visit to The Genealogy Center.

    To set up an account, from any catalog page, click My Discoveries.


    You do not have to be an Allen County Public Library card holder to register for My Discoveries. Create a user name and password, provide an email address, agree to the terms and click "Create account."


    Then, anytime you get onto The Genealogy Center catalog, click My Discoveries to log in with your user name and password.


    As you search the catalog, click "Save or tag."


    You will create or add to a list of your own. You might want to cut and paste the call number into the "tag" box, which will attach the call number to your record. Remember to click "Save" to add it to your list.


    You may also rate how useful you found the material and add a review with notes.

    And at any time, you may check the lists you have created.


    Click on a list title to view contents of the list, your reviews and ratings.


    Always remember to Log Out when you are finished.

    As with any new program, practice is vital to becoming comfortable to the new catalog's My Discoveries feature, but we think once you give it a test run, you will find it an valuable tool for your research.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Our New Website: Using the Catalog

    Monday, Nov 15, 2010

    by Delia

    Those of you who visit our site on a regular basis have seen two major changes recently: The Genealogy Center's new website and the Allen County Public Library catalog. The new Genealogy Center website offers an Allen County Public Library’s book catalog search that is limited to just Genealogy Center material, but there are other features as well.

    Start at The Genealogy Center homepage, under “Begin Your Discovery,” you can type in keywords (no abbreviations) into the box that says, “Search the ACPL Catalog.”

    Click Search, and the results will appear. At the top of the page, holdings in book and microtext formats are noted. You can examine all, or select books or microtext, although it is important to note that not all microtext items are included in this catalog at this time, and a search of the Microtext Catalog may be necessary.

    You can refine your search further by using the search facets on the right side of the screen or by typing multiple keywords into the Quick Search box. The results list title, author and year of publication, and you may place the results in order by relevance, year, title or author. Then click on the title of the item in which you are interested, and the call number and holdings will appear.

    On the left side of the catalog pages are the “word cloud,” which can assist you with variations of the subject or a surname. If you would rather not utilize the word cloud, you may click hide to remove it. You may also select “Advanced” from the top menu line to search a combination of author, title, subject, series, publisher, publication year, ISBN or call number.  

    Occasionally, as you review the results page, you may see the notation “Web Address” along with a hotlink. The Genealogy Center is active in several initiatives to make significant public domain portions of its collection available online and this note signifies that this volume has been digitized by one of The Genealogy Center’s partners. Clicking on the hotlink will take you to an online copy of this volume.

    One new feature that genealogists may find useful is “My Discoveries.” We'll discuss that next time!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Veterans Day

    Thursday, Nov 11, 2010

    by Melissa

    "To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory...”

    With these words from President Wilson in 1919, our country recognized the first anniversary of Armistice Day, November 11, 1918, when Germany and the Allies agreed to end what became known as World War I on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. Armistice Day officially became a U.S. holiday honoring the veterans of that war in 1938. Unfortunately, World War I was not “the war to end all wars,” and in 1954, Congress changed the holiday from Armistice Day to Veterans Day in honor of American veterans of all wars.

    You can celebrate Veterans Day at The Genealogy Center by researching your ancestors who served in the military. The Center houses numerous military volumes spanning from the Colonial era to the War in Iraq. With databases, such as and with their digitized records from the National Archives, researchers can locate records for many veteran ancestors.

    For those who can’t visit our facility, Our Military Heritage database, which includes images of books, pamphlets, government documents, original letters, diaries, biographies, photographs, videos, unit histories, and rosters as well as service and pension records is available for free. If you discover material pertaining to a military ancestor and would like to share with other researchers, consider donating it to this wonderful project.

    However you plan to celebrate Veterans Day, take a moment to remember loved ones who have fought for our country.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Elmhurst High School

    Tuesday, Nov 09, 2010

    by Melissa

    Elmhurst High School closed its doors in the summer of 2010 after almost 80 years in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Many who walked through its halls have fond memories of the school, including the 2009 Girls Basketball State Championship, 1984 Regional Title in Boys Basketball, and the Elmhurst Jazz Festival held from 1970 to 1994. James Hardy, who plays for the Buffalo Bills, set records in the Summit Athletic Conference while playing basketball for Elmhurst.

    Don Weber, a member of the Allen County Genealogical Society of Indiana and volunteer at The Genealogy Center, spent time at the school photographing the building, athletic fields, and memorabilia that adorned the walls.

    The Community Album now hosts over 2,000 images from Elmhurst High School. Photos of the band, student council presidents, choral group, the jazz festival, and outstanding players that graced the school can be found within this database, along with images of pendants, plaques, trophies from the 1940s to 2010. Composite pictures of the Senior Classes of 1936, 1936-1937, and 1945 along with listings of the students, as well as the Military Case to Honor Those Who Died in Service that was dedicated to Army Cpl. Jonathon Blair and Marine Lance Cpl. David Grames-Sanchez were documented. The database can be searched by individual's name, the team, or keywords, such as band.

    Take some time to reflect on the memories of Elmhurst High School.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Our New Website: Genealogical Community

    Monday, Nov 08, 2010

    by Delia

    As you browse through our new website, you may have noticed “Genealogical Community” on the menu line at the top. By scrolling over the heading, the drop down menu offers five selections from which to choose: Genealogy Librarians; Blog; E-zine; Facebook; and YouTube. All of these options are avenues through which you can get to know us a little bit better, and through us, others involved with researching family history.

    By clicking the first option, Genealogy Librarians, you will find photos and brief biographies of the eight of us that make up the professional staff of The Genealogy Center, including how long we’ve been a part of the staff, what we do, our varied genealogical interests and how long we’ve been interested in family history, where we’ve lectured, what we’ve written, and a few awards. We’ve tried not to brag.

    A click on the lists’ second offering will bring you here, to our new Blog, where you can find out what programs are planned, guides to using the Center’s resources, highlighted items in the collection, and other news of interest. Plus we’ve migrated all of the old posts to this new location, so you can browse through the various categories or search for a specific entry by keyword.

    Third on the list is a link to Genealogy Gems, the Center’s monthly e-zine. You may read any of the back issues from the first (March 2004) to the latest that’s been loaded (currently December 2009). To see them as they are published, use the boxes to supply your name and email address. New issues are published on the last day of each month. Please be sure your spam filter will allow the issue to arrive on time!

    The next option on the list guides you to our Facebook page. Here, too, you will see alerts of upcoming programs and other news, and have the opportunity to interact with other researchers and see what our other friends are saying, as well as browsing our Friend list to find others addicted to the same pastime.

    The last click will link you to the Allen County Public Library’s YouTube entries. To view the Center’s orientation video or other videos, just type “Genealogy Center” into the search box.

    There you have it! Five clicks to expand your connections to the Genealogical Community! Next, we’ll discuss Databases.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center