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  • 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

  • Easy E-Zine

    Wednesday, Jan 27, 2010

    Are you one of the over 10,000 genealogists who subscribe to Genealogy Gems? Genealogy Gems: News from the Fort Wayne Library is the Genealogy Center’s monthly electronic newsletter. Published at the end of each month, the newsletter includes articles on the resources of the collection, preservation tips, upcoming educational opportunities, directions and parking instructions. All that is required is an email address, which "will not be shared with any individual or group." Send an email to Genealogy@ACPL.Info stating you want to subscribe to Genealogy Gems. You can view previous articles of Genealogy Gems: News from the Fort Wayne Library to see what you're missing.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Blizzard of'78

    Sunday, Jan 24, 2010

    It started on Wednesday, January 25, 1978, with snow, cold and wind. By afternoon, a blizzard warning had been issued for the state, and businesses were closing down. By the next morning, 17 inches of snow had fallen on Fort Wayne, temperatures were in the single digits, and additional snow fall drifted in front of the wind to make visibility poor and driving dangerous. Emergency workers and essential personnel struggled to aid victims and begin the clean up, but for several days, most residents stayed home or visited neighbors, and enjoyed the enforced vacation before emerging to gaze in awe at snowdrifts that might reach the roof. A number of collections of blizzard photographs were scanned for inclusion in the Allen County Public Library’s Community Album, and are available for viewing. If you have a similar collection you are willing to loan, we’d love to include your visual memories as well.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • City Directories

    Thursday, Jan 21, 2010

    City directories fill in gaps in our research by providing information on our ancestors during time periods not covered by other records. We can see where are ancestor lived, possibly marital status, or a hint at migration or death, as well as occupational information. 1859 Philadelphia Directory

    According to the 1850 Census, John Hagey of Philadelphia, PA was a confectioner, as were other members of his household who served the same occupation. The same John Hagey is employed as a clockmaker in 1860. Upon initial review, this appeared to be a drastic change in occupation, but using Philadelphia city directories, the answer was found.

    In the 1838 Commercial City Directory, John Hagey owned a clock, watch, and jewelry business, but by the 1840 directory, he's a confectioner in the Hagey & Nice Company that specializes in confectioners. From 1840 to 1860, his various sons are also in the directory as confectioners. The 20 year snapshot of John Hagey's company and life provided in the city directories shows a man who shared his business with family and may have returned to his previous profession of clockmaker as he aged.

    To access the Genealogy Center's listing of city directories, you can search the microtext catalog or search the print catalog using search terms of town, state, "directory."

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • King and others to remember

    Monday, Jan 18, 2010

    As we celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, you might want to take a look at The Black 100, a ranking of the most influential African-Americans, past and present to read short biographies of King and others important to African-Americans in the United States, which not only includes civil rights leaders, but also artist Langston Hughes, patriot Crispus Attucks, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, and baseball great Hank Aaron. This volume also includes photos or sketches of each subject and a bibliography to guide further reading.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Martin Luther King Day: We're Open!

    Thursday, Jan 14, 2010

    Schools, post offices and other government entities may be closed on Monday, January 18, 2010, for Martin Luther King Day, but the Genealogy Center (and the entire Allen County Public Library System) is open for your researching pleasure. And with our Sunday hours (12 noon to 5 PM), out of town researchers, including students, teachers and others can make a long weekend of it.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Handwriting Tips

    Tuesday, Jan 12, 2010

    When reading handwritten records, remember some letters can look alike. Examples of letters that can be misread are: S, J, L M, H, W L, F, T a, o e, i m, n, w, u, v, r Some helpful guides on the subject are: Reading Early American Handwriting Understanding Colonial Handwriting

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Free subject guides

    Saturday, Jan 09, 2010

    As you enter the Genealogy Center, you will see a black, revolving display rack. From a distance, it looks filled with identical photocopied sheets, but a closer look reveals that each pocket carries a different sheet or packet with the name of a single state, country or region, or a general subject, such as Military, Passenger Lists, or Quaker. Each sheet contains a list of books in our collection that the Center’s librarians feel are important to that specific topic or location, organized in call number order. These lists aren’t meant to be bibliographies, but only guides. The subject guides started out as lists of the material that was on the browsing shelves, back when most of the collection’s books were in closed stacks and had to be requested. These books were the ones that were most heavily used, or that staff members felt were important for our customers to locate and use easily. As we transitioned into our temporary quarters, then back into our renovated building, all of our collection became available for browsing, so these books were interfiled with the formerly “closed stack” collection. But we considered these books to be vital to their respective areas of research, so we quickly created lists by subject. But these are not static lists. Staff members keep an eye on newly arrived volumes and sets to add to the lists, and occasionally, entries are removed as they become outdated. There are currently sixty guides, containing thousands of entries, so take one – or ten – the next time you visit.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Genealogy Software To Record Your Family History

    Thursday, Jan 07, 2010

    Please join us on Wednesday, January 13 from 2:30-3:30 in Meeting Room C, for another enjoyable addition to our WinterTech series and learn more about “Genealogy Software To Record Your Family History.” The program will highlight various features of Family Tree Maker, Legacy, and The Master Genealogist software. Call 260-421-1225 or email Genealogy@ACPL.Info to register.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Read All About It!

    Tuesday, Jan 05, 2010

    On Sunday, January 3, 2010, Genealogy Center Manager Curt Witcher spoke at the Allen County Historical Museum about how the Allen County Public Library's Genealogy Collection became a top Fort Wayne tourist attraction. In an article in Monday's Journal Gazette describing the event, he is quoted discussing the present and future of digitizing our extensive holdings, and the knowledge and service attitude of the Center's staff which continues to draw people from Oregon, Florida and, yes, Utah every year. Take a minute to peruse the article and keep up with the Center's, and Genealogy's, future.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Facebook

    Saturday, Jan 02, 2010

    The Genealogy Center can be found on Facebook. You can become a fan of the Genealogy Center by searching for "Genealogy Center" within Facebook pages. It's another great way to learn new information about the Center and connect with other researchers.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • New Years Tip

    Wednesday, Dec 30, 2009

    Are you prepared for the New Year? It's hard to believe the calendar will soon turn over to 2010. After celebrating, take time to prepare a list of genealogy goals for the next year. Plan out your research projects, schedule a trip to a conference or family reunion, or sign up to volunteer for the many genealogy society and library activities in your area. Whatever your strategy for 2010, make sure to include genealogy in your plans.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center