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  • IGS Seminar

    Tuesday, Mar 30, 2010

    by Dawne It’s not too late to get your “early bird” registration in for the upcoming Indiana Genealogical Society annual seminar! Mark your calendars for Saturday, April 10, 2010 at the Allen County Public Library. IGS members pay only $30 in advance of the seminar and non-members pay $35. At the door, the fee will be $40. The two-track seminar program, “Charting Our Course,” is a bargain at any price. The featured speaker is Dick Eastman, nationally known genealogy-technology guru, who will present four one-hour sessions: • Genealogy Searches on Google • Blogging for Genealogists • Conservation: Keeping up with Technology • Grandpa in Your Pocket: Portable Gadgets for Genealogists The second track of the program will showcase two lectures on immigration records, as well as a session on two digital initiatives of the Allen County Public Library, Our Military Heritage and WeRelate, and a presentation on the popular topic Photo Restoration Using Photoshop. These sessions will be presented by knowledgeable speakers Ron Darrah of Indianapolis, and the Genealogy Center's Melissa Shimkus, Curt Witcher and Kay Spears. Conference attendees can take advantage of Extended Hours in ACPL’s Genealogy Center the evening before the seminar, Friday, April 9. The Genealogy Center will remain open that evening (for conference attendees only!) from the library’s regular closing time of 6 p.m. until midnight. In addition, a pre-conference program on Friday, April 9, at the library will feature four sessions on preservation – at the personal level, at the local society level, at the county level, and at the archive level. Pre-registration for these sessions is FREE! to anyone who belongs to one of IGS’s chapters, and only $5 for anyone else! Admission will be $7 the day of the event. More information, the link for online seminar registration, and printable registration forms are at the IGS website.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Holiday Hours

    Sunday, Mar 28, 2010

    The Genealogy Center will be open normal hours, 9:00 am - 6:00 pm on Friday, April 2nd, but will be closed on Sunday, April 4th. We will observe normal hours on Saturday and Monday.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Boundary Changes

    Thursday, Mar 25, 2010

    To determine where we should look for records, we need to know the county and state our ancestor lived. As we search, we need to review histories and maps of the county and state to see when and how the boundaries changed. States changed their boundaries more than we think. For example, Kentucky settlements were a part of Virginia until Kentucky became a state in 1792, but continued to have boundary disputes with Tennessee until 1820. The northwestern portion of Virginia split in 1863, forming West Virginia. Colonial Louisiana included sections of ten other states, including Minnesota. County boundaries changed more frequently than state boundaries. Present day Indian River County, Florida has changed county boundaries six times since being Indian Lands. Sections of Mellette County, South Dakota were formerly part of Cheyenne and Jackson Counties. To begin determining changes in county and state boundaries, you can search the following books: Red Book The Handybook for Genealogists Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses, 1790-1920 Atlas of Historical County Boundaries Series

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Hunger

    Monday, Mar 22, 2010

    by Dawne Everyone has done it … you look so forward to that genealogical research trip, whether it is here to the Genealogy Center in Fort Wayne, or to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, or to the local courthouse and cemeteries in the area where your ancestors lived … that you don’t want to waste a moment of your precious time for mundane things like eating! But regular breaks, especially for meals or snacks, actually may help your research because they keep your mind fresh and your body fueled. When you come to Fort Wayne, pick up a flyer of “Downtown Eateries” when you stop at the Ask Desk in the Genealogy Center. The restaurants within walking distance of the Allen County Public Library include fast food (Taco Bell, McDonald’s, Arby’s), ethnic choices (J.K. O’Donnell’s Irish pub, Toscani’s Pizza, Double Dragon) and local favorites (Cindy’s Diner, the Dash-In, the Loaf & Ladle). The library also has a Dunkin' Donuts restaurant right in the building with more offerings than just doughnuts – such as flatbread sandwiches, egg and cheese wraps, bottled water and juices. If you choose to bring your lunch when you come to ACPL, tables are available on the library’s plaza for al fresco dining in good weather. Patrons may not eat or drink in the Genealogy Center, nor have food or drinks visible, but you may pack lunch and snacks in a closed bag or cooler and take them to other areas of the building to eat. In Salt Lake City, pick up a guest pass at the Information desk in the lobby of the Family History Library for a generous meal at a low price at the LDS church office building cafeteria. In addition, the Family History Library has a lunch room with vending machines and a microwave for those who would rather eat in. J.B.’s family-style restaurant is right next door and there are other nearby choices. Librarians and courthouse employees in the towns where your ancestor lived probably will have suggestions of favorite places to dine in their local areas. Do take breaks to clear your head and don’t skip meals when you embark on those research trips this spring. No one wants to get home and discover a research blunder that was the result of the “low blood sugar blues!”

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Genealogy Discoveries on Flickr

    Thursday, Mar 18, 2010

    When Flickr first became available online, many individuals rushed to post photos to share with friends and family, then genealogists discovered they could backup family images as well. Now Flickr can be used not only to protect our ancestral photos, but for actual genealogical research. The Commons on Flickr is a photographic archive where many genealogists are discovering their ancestors images online. Several public repositories' images can be searched on Flickr such as The Library of Congress, Smithsonian, State Library and Archives of Florida, and the New York Public Library. Besides searching images on the Commons site, you can share stories and discuss the photos available on the site. Another great source for you to use!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • 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