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  • Preparing for a Conference

    Tuesday, Aug 17, 2010

    Since our colleagues and researchers are at the FGS Conference this week, we thought we should share some ideas of how we prepare for a conference. 1. Review the program schedule ahead of time and print items from the syllabus that way you have it available to write notes. 2. Create handy "business cards" with your name, contact information, and surnames you are researching. It makes it easy to share and connect with new friends and family. 3. Read the websites and blogs for the organizations hosting the conference. Most groups want you to have a fun and productive time, so they will post information concerning local restaurants, events, research facilities, and sites to visit. 4. If setting aside time for genealogy research, create a research plan. Review research center/ courthouse/ library hours, rules, and catalog to save time.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Family Documents

    Friday, Aug 13, 2010

    What should I do with my family bible? I have my grandfather's military papers, but am unsure if it will help anyone. I discovered letters among my family papers. Would you be interested? The Genealogy Center is currently working on several digitization projects. If you would like to share your family documents and make them available online, consider donating or loaning your material to the Genealogy Center to digitize and make publicly accessible.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Family History Month Is Coming!

    Tuesday, Aug 10, 2010

    The Genealogy Center is again planning 31 days of research enjoyment and education for your genealogical gratification! As usual, we have something planned for each day, but this year, we've divided the month into sections highlighting different aspects of research.
    • General Week, October 1st through 9th, will include a beginning genealogy workshop, classes on land records and Genealogy Center basics, and will finish with the third annual Military Symposium.
    • Preservation Week, October 10th through 16th, will offer classes on preservation, scrapbooking, scanning, as well as a basic lecture on wiring a family history.
    • Technology Week, October 17th through 23rd, will provide information on useful websites and databases, as well the use of Adobe Elements software and creating a family website.
    • Death Week, October 24th through 31st, will highlight death records, obituaries, haunted sites in Fort Wayne, Midnight Madness Extended Research Hours on Friday, and will end with a bang with the Cemetery Seeker's Start Sharing the News! three day conference.
    And every Tuesday afternoon, Genealogy Center staff will offer 30 minute one-on-one consultations to advise you on your knottiest research problems. For class descriptions and registration information, check our calendar, then mark yours to take part in this exciting month!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Thank You!

    Saturday, Aug 07, 2010

    Who knew genealogy was so popular? Or that a genealogy collection could have so many wonderful people enjoy its services? Our Facebook page has reached its 1000th fan! We, at The Genealogy Center, would like to thank you for your continued support.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Your Story

    Thursday, Aug 05, 2010

    StoryCorps has finished its month long visit to Fort Wayne. The trailer located outside the Allen County Public Library was a continuous reminder to researchers to record their personal history for future generations. The Genealogy Center held four wonderful programs in July commemorating Preserve YOUR Story. We should all continue focusing on the theme to share our stories. Some ways we can insure our lives are remembered are by maintaining journals or blogs, sending postcards documenting our travels, completing a family newsletter once a year, and organizing our photos.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center


    Tuesday, Aug 03, 2010

    Footnote, a database available at the Genealogy Center, maintains partnerships with the National Archives, Library of Congress, and other institutions, including the Genealogy Center at the Allen County Public Library, in an effort to provide unique historical documents online. Besides searching for historical and genealogical records for an ancestor on, you can also browse their varied collections of material. One unique collection on their site is the Interactive Vietnam Veterans Memorial, where you can view a digital image of the wall and read comments and stories concerning the soldier. The Black History Collection contains documents, photos, and pages pertaining to Slavery, Civil War, Reconstruction & Jim Crow Laws, World Wars, and the Civil War Movement. The Holocaust Collection carries stories, maps and facts from concentration camps, details from the Holocaust Assets Collection, and National Archives records and images. Other specialized collections currently on are the Native American Collection, Interactive Census Project, World War II Collection, and the Great Depression.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Taking it with you

    Friday, Jul 30, 2010

    As you plan your genealogical research trip, you may decide to bring your computer with you. After all, you have all of your research notes, your scanned images, and your genealogy software, not to mention the Internet capabilities for mapping the location of the courthouse, your hotel, and the next White Castle. But there may be a few things to check on before you arrive:
    • Make sure that you can bring it with you into the court house, archives or library. Some institutions have limitations on what you may bring with you. The Genealogy Center allows you to bring your computer, scanner or digital camera to record your findings and check your notes.
    • See if your destination has wifi capabilities. It's best to know before you arrive whether or not you can access your own Ancestry account, or if you can only check the notes that you have on your hard drive. The Genealogy Center has wifi, but, because we also have an Ancestry account, if you want to access your own account while here, you need to log on to Ancestry before you arrive at the library (and leave it running) to keep your own account live.
    • Ask if there is electricity available for visitor use, or if you need to draw on your battery. The Genealogy Center has electrical outlets on all tables, but only about two-thirds are actually live. Check with a staff member to be sure the outlet you are using is actually supplying "juice."
    • Invest in, and use, a lock for your computer. Sold most places that sell electronics, a computer lock usually consists of a combination or key lock on a plastic covered metal cable that can be looped around a table leg. We genies tend to get very involved with our research, but there are thieves everywhere who prey on our inattention.
    • Last but not least, back up your files before you hit the road. An electrical surge, a spilled drink in the car, or an overly helpful relative cleaning your computer can spell disaster.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Local Entities

    Monday, Jul 26, 2010

    by Dawne By now you probably have discovered that when it comes to genealogy, it is not *ALL* on the Internet. However, if you are reading this, then you probably are someone who knows that the Internet can be a useful tool for the family historian. During the online portion of your research, be sure to recognize that everything useful online is not *ALL* on FamilySearch, nor on HeritageQuest Online, nor on Footnote. It’s not even *ALL* on … or the Allen County Public Library’s website! Many societies, libraries and even courthouses, funeral homes and cemeteries have useful websites for the genealogist. If you are very lucky, some of these websites that are pertinent to your own research will have digitized copies of original records or photographs of tombstones that you can view, download and print. Others may have databases or indexes that you can search. At the very least, you will find helpful information such as business hours for libraries and courthouses, and contact information so that you may write, call or email the library, courthouse, cemetery, funeral home or other entity. Some websites may include links to other helpful, related sites. For example, check out the “databases” area of the Genealogy Department of the Kokomo-Howard County Public Library in north central Indiana. The site includes a number of databases created and maintained by department staff and links take the researcher to other databases and websites of interest. One of the links is to the Cemeteries of Howard County, Indiana website. This website includes databases of individuals buried in the various cemeteries in the area, often with pdf files of corresponding obituaries and jpegs of tombstone photos! Funeral homes have begun to post obituaries on their websites. Many of these are limited to recent deaths, but they can be helpful for those researching current branches of their families. As an example, one of our local Fort Wayne funeral homes posts obituaries with color photographs of the deceased. Others are posting similar information on their sites, including memorials posted by relatives and friends. These may include some priceless family stories! The Beallsville Cemetery in Washington County, Pennsylvania, has its own homepage. In addition to the database of the individuals buried in this cemetery are digitized images of tombstone photos, obituaries, civil death records, military records, cemetery plot maps, interment books, lot owner books and even photographs of some individuals! Don’t get in a rut with your online genealogical research! Use your favorite search engine to discover helpful websites for the local area where your ancestral families lived.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Microtext

    Wednesday, Jul 21, 2010

    The Genealogy Center owns 592,000 pieces of microtext material, which consists of film and fiche. The information contained within the microtext items include census, passenger lists, military records, city directories, and locality specific records, such as local histories, land records, probates and wills, court records, and vital records. To locate what is available at the Genealogy Center you can search the microtext catalog. With state of the art film/ fiche readers, you can view, scan, print, and save your images on a jump drive.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • News article on Internet Archive in the USA Today

    Monday, Jul 19, 2010

    Perusing my home copy of the USA Today one day last week, I noted this article on Internet Archive, and was pleased to see it garnering national attention. In my own insular way, I hadn't realized the wonderful applications for researchers with various physical challenges who have trouble holding or reading a book. I only know it as a wonderful source for some rare genealogical and historical sources, and that many volumes that are part the Genealogy Center's collection have been digitized and added to Internet Archive's collection to be freely used by all. Although not shown with the online version, the print article included a photograph of IA's employees and volunteers at the San Francisco facility, I was struck at how similar the area was to the space in the Allen County Public Library's Lower Level 2 that Internet Archive occupies to scan the material from the Genealogy Center and the rest of the library's collection. If you haven't already explored this site, or haven't checked it out in a while, take a fresh look!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Heritage Quest Online

    Thursday, Jul 15, 2010

    Along with the other great databases you can use at the Genealogy Center is Heritage Quest Online. Using this exceptional source, you can search selected federal census, Revolutionary War era pensions and bounty land warrants, Freedmen's Bank Records, more than 28,000 family and local history books, and, last but certainly not least, the Periodical Source Index (PERSI), the largest genealogy and local history periodical index which is produced by the Genealogy Center's Foundation. When you're here, take a few minutes to check this valuable resource!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Discover the Family Search Wiki

    Monday, Jul 12, 2010

    by Dawne One of the helpful resources found on the FamilySearch website is the FamilySearch wiki. The FamilySearch wiki is full of more than 38,000 useful articles on all aspects of genealogical research, from information on doing research in a specific geographic location, to how-tos for various kinds of ethnic research. The FamilySearch wiki fits in with the mission of the Family History Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), which is to provide genealogical records and services to customers worldwide. Its developers noted that people were seeking genealogical research advice online, but having to visit many sources to find what they were looking for. The wiki is a website where, in words from its own site, “the community works together to post articles, lessons, news, and events that provide research advice.” One of the FAQs (that’s “frequently asked questions,” for those not as familiar with online vernacular) about the FamilySearch wiki is: Why create this wiki when so many seemingly similar sites are in existence. The developers believe that the FamilySearch wiki is not a duplication of other efforts on the Internet. One difference between it and some other sites is that all areas of it are free for use by everyone. Also, anyone can sign up to contribute information to the wiki. If good, thorough information already is available online about a particular topic, the wiki’s administrators hope that contributors will “point” to the existing website from the wiki, rather than duplicate other efforts. Researchers can visit the FamilySearch wiki and take a tour, learn about topics, and sign up to contribute their knowledge to the site. The home page of the wiki includes a few featured articles, but a hot box allows visitors to type in other search terms. While visiting the site, check out the Allen County Public Library’s page.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Welcome StoryCorps!

    Wednesday, Jul 07, 2010

    Since 2003, more than 50,000 people have had their stories recorded by StoryCorps and preserved at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, and millions have heard some of these stories over National Public Radio stations. With the stated mission of providing Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs the opportunity to record, share and preserve their stories, StoryCorps uses everyday people to record 40-minute interviews with their friends, family and neighbors. Sponsored by Northeast Indiana Public Radio, the StoryCorp MobileBooth is now parked in the ACPL parking lot and area residents are busily interviewing friends and family for archiving! In celebration of their visit, the Genealogy Center presented The Basics of Scanning today, the first of four lectures on preserving your family's story, and it was a rousing success as attendees received information on how to digitize and preserve photographs. Check our Special Programs page for more information about the rest of the lectures.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • African American Heritage

    Friday, Jul 02, 2010

    To discover your African American ancestors online, you can access ProQuest's African American Heritage database while visiting the Genealogy Center. The database is divided into four categories: Search the Collections, Visit the AfriGeneas™ Community, Explore Black Genesis, and Consult Reference and How-to's. Freedman's Bank Search the Collections focuses your search on African American ancestors in the 1860-1930 Census,  1865-1874 Freedman's Bank Records, and World War I and II Draft Registration Cards. Visit the AfriGeneas™ Community searches the AfriGeneas website for census, marriage, death, and slave records. Explore Black Genesis, a State-by-State Resource Guide by Dr. James M. Rose and Dr. Alice Eichholz provides information on records and repositories for African American resources available within the United States, Canada, and the West Indies. Consult Reference and How-to's searches books on African American research methods.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Hints for Indiana Vital Record Searches

    Tuesday, Jun 29, 2010

    By John Indiana birth and death records can sometimes be confusing to use, especially in Lake and Allen counties. When the act creating the State Board of Health was passed in 1881, many individual cities established their own local health departments, which gathered birth and death information in separate books from those of the county. For most counties, these records were gathered together and published in single volumes by the Works Progress Administration in the 1930s, typically covering the period 1882 to 1920. Most of these are available in a statewide index on Ancestry. In Lake and Allen (and perhaps a few other counties as well), not all of the indexes were combined. Lake County, for example, had a county office, as well as separate offices at Crown Point, East Chicago, Gary, Hammond, Hobart, and Whiting. The WPA published these records in individual volumes, so if you have ancestors in that county, you may wish to search all of the volumes. Allen County is more problematic. In the early twentieth century, separate health departments existed for the county, as well as in Fort Wayne, Monroeville, Grabill, New Haven, Woodburn, and Leo. The WPA volume included only the Fort Wayne and County birth and death reports. Death records for the county begin in 1882; deaths for Fort Wayne begin earlier, in 1870. Birth records begin in 1887, though there was at one time an earlier birth record volume, 1882-1886, and the Genealogy Center has an unpublished name-index-only manuscript (977.201 AL5hea) to that volume, created by the county, covering original volumes A-P, and apparently including the original 1882-86 book, which is now no longer extant. This index does not include the birth date information or parents' names - only the name of the child and the page reference in the original book. The records for the other towns were not included in the WPA volume. If your ancestor was born or died in one of these other Allen County town or in the country near these towns, he or she may not appear in the Allen County birth and death indexes, or, for that matter, in the Ancestry index. The Monroeville Birth and Death Records cover the period 1906, 1909-1937. These volumes have been microfilmed and are indexed in a separate bound volume (Genealogy Center call number 977.201 AL5mon). The Grabill-New Haven-Woodburn Birth and Death Records span 1907 to 1937 and are available in a separate has an unpublished typescript abstract (Genealogy Center call number 977.201 AL5gra). The Leo vital records have not been published and remain in the office of the Allen County Department of Health. So when researching Allen County, be aware that there is no central index of all public vital records in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. While the reporting of births and deaths was never complete, it is possible that the event was recorded in one of these separate town vital record office books. Perhaps one day all of these indexes will be combined into a single source.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • How to Begin

    Thursday, Jun 24, 2010

    Are you wanting to learn how to begin doing genealogy? Are you looking for a refresher on research basics? The Genealogy Center offers two online tutorials on getting started in genealogy. The Mystery of Your Family History features a basic course on beginning your search, while How to Start Researching Your Family Tree offers a more in-depth tutorial. Check out these online offerings and begin charting your family tree.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • July 4th Hours

    Monday, Jun 21, 2010

    The Genealogy Center, along with the Allen County Public Library, will be closed Saturday July 3, Sunday July 4, and Monday July 5, in observance of the holiday. Use your holiday weekend to talk to relatives to gather and share family stories and activities. We will be back to our regular summer schedule on July 6th.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • The next page is not always the next page

    Saturday, Jun 19, 2010

    If you find a family listed at the top or bottom of a page in the census, take care about blithely hopping to the "previous" or "next" page. Occasionally pages are out of order, so that the family's continuation is actually not on the page one would assume it will be. If the enumerator has written the surnames in every line, or at least at the top of the next page, this may be easily seen, but sometimes one has to check the page numbers to determine if you are really seeing entries for the rest of the family. However, this example from Oktibbeha County, MS in 1930 lists parents William T. and Lucy Cothran with sons Pope M. and Carl C. on page 2B, while the rest of the household, sons William and James and Lucy's father, Pope Williams are at the top of page 2 A. Only the dwelling and family visitation numbers reflect the fact that this is a family. So instead of going to the next page, to find the continuation of the family, one must look at the top of the previous page. So remember to examine your material thoroughly to verify that the family grouping is complete and correct.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Missing Ancestor: Gone to California -- and Prison?

    Tuesday, Jun 15, 2010

    If you have an ancestor who disappeared from the old homestead and family memory between 1851 and 1944, he or she might have gone to the Golden State to make a fortune, but found trouble instead. The Genealogy Center has San Quentin Prison List of Convicts (979.4 M33RO and M33ROA) which provides an alphabetical list of inmates with their convict numbers. The introduction cautions a researcher to be aware that first and last names were occasionally reversed, and that, of course, spelling of names could be inaccurate. No further information is provided in the index, but there is a guide to the years in which specific numbers were issued to narrow down a search. The records themselves are held by the California State Archives.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • World Vital

    Friday, Jun 11, 2010

    Another database available at the Genealogy Center is The online site takes a different approach to searching for family history. Besides offering you access to information off their site, such as vital records and military records, they are a clearinghouse that guides you to other genealogy web sites. For example, you can search for one individual and find links to Find A Grave, Newspaper Archive, National Personnel Records Center, Footnote, Find My Past, and the Godfrey Collection.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center