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  • Were My Ancestors Naturalized

    Saturday, Oct 29, 2011

    During Fort Wayne Ancestry Day's Ask the Experts Panel, we received so many questions that we were unable to answer them all during the event. The following are questions asked and The Genealogy Center staff's responses.

    When women and children were automatically naturalized are there records? Where are they?

    Information for those who received derivative naturalization, such as children and spouses, could possibly be recorded in the naturalization application of the intended citizen. Prior to 1906, each court with a seal created its own naturalization application, therefore questions asked by the court varied. Some courts listed spouse or minor children of the immigrant applying for naturalization, but it wasn’t required. Beginning in 1906, when the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization was created, forms were standardized and questions relating to spouse and children were asked on the application. Otherwise those who received derivative naturalization did not have their own paperwork.

    Did an immigrant always become a citizen especially looking in the 1850-1900 time period?

    Not every immigrant became a U.S. citizen. Some immigrants filed first papers or declarations of intent, but never completed the process. According to the 1890-1930 federal censuses, which asked whether the immigrant was naturalized or had filed first papers, it was discovered that only 25% of immigrants had begun the process to become a U.S. citizen.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • We Challenge You

    Wednesday, Oct 26, 2011

    by Melissa

    November is a great time for writers. sponsors a National Novel Writing Month contest on their website, motivating individuals to complete a 50,000 word manuscript in 30 days. As genealogists, we can use this same format for our genealogy research projects.

    Plan to use the month of November as a time to set goals and complete projects. Many of us will be attending family events in the coming months, so wouldn’t it be great to share some new discovery or present a brief history of the family? Create your own goals such as spend three hours a week researching or write a 5,000 word narrative on your family research or scan/ enter 250 family photographs into your genealogy files or organize the stacks of papers on your desk.

    The Genealogy Center staff challenges you to set a genealogy goal for the month of November and share with us your progress. Do you accept our challenge? If so, like our facebook page and participate in the challenge, which will officially be issued on October 29.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • November 23, 2011 One-on-One Consultations Closed

    Tuesday, Oct 25, 2011

    We are currently scheduling appointments for Wednesday December 28, 2011. Call 260-421-1225 or email Genealogy@ACPL.Info.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Basics of Adobe Elements Workshop Closed

    Tuesday, Oct 25, 2011

    Registration for The Basics of Adobe Elements Workshop on Friday, October 28, is closed. The waiting list is filled as well, so we will no longer take names for this class. Be sure to check back to see the next time we offer this informative class.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Database Concerns

    Sunday, Oct 23, 2011

    During Fort Wayne Ancestry Day's Ask the Experts Panel, we received so many questions that we were unable to answer them all during the event. The following is a question asked and The Genealogy Center staff's response.

    Do you know of other databases available for free?

    There are a number of wonderful websites available for free research, including but not limited to Family Search, WeRelate, and US GenWeb.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • National Black Genealogy Summit

    Saturday, Oct 22, 2011

    The National Black Genealogy Summit began on Thursday, October 20, with an informative Pre-Conference and will end on Sunday, October 23, with extended research hours from 8 am to noon. With more than 150 attendees, lots of fun and stories are being shared at The Genealogy Center as well as the Grand Wayne Center.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Online Microfilm Ordering Now Available with the Family History Center

    Tuesday, Oct 18, 2011

    by Cynthia


    Beginning Wednesday, October 19, patrons of the Allen County Public Library will be able to order microfilms online from the Family History Center. Now you have the benefit of ordering films online from Salt Lake City while planning your research trip to The Genealogy Center. The combination of The Genealogy Center collection as well as having films from Salt Lake City readily available is a huge benefit. When you plan your trip, you may want to order films from the Family History Center approximately 3 to 4 weeks before your visit.


    In order to access the order form, you will need to have a Family Search account. If you have created an account in order to see digital images online, you will not need to create an account. To create an account, go to click on Sign In in the upper right hand corner and scroll the screen down to the Create New Account button. For assistance and guidance, a User Manual is available.


    With the new online system, you will be automatically notified if you choose film that is currently in the holdings at the selected facility. Also, you will be able to track your order and see if the film has been shipped or is on back order. The Family History Center will send notifications when your order has been processed, delivered to your selected location, and when the item is ready to be sent back to the Family History Center. At this point in time, you will be able to return or extend (making it permanent) your film requests.


    Please contact The Genealogy Center if you have any questions about the new Family History Center microfilm ordering process.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Requesting Records

    Monday, Oct 17, 2011

    During Fort Wayne Ancestry Day's Ask the Experts Panel, we received so many questions that we were unable to answer them all during the event. The following are questions asked and The Genealogy Center staff's responses.

    I have a death record that was listed in the WPA indexes of Indiana vital records. How can I get a copy?

    The Genealogy Center has vital records sourced in those indexes for Allen County and a few other counties. For the rest, you will need to contact the health department for the county in question.

    I need 1920-1955 New York City vital records. I know enough to pinpoint, but can’t afford the cost to send for all I need. Any suggestions for alternative online sources? If a person is in New York City today, is there a place to go physically to get this information? Legal name changes – where would I search for this for New York City, 1959-1952?

    First of all, this may be information you already know, but for the sake of others researching New York City:

    • Birth records prior to 1910,
    • Marriage records prior to 1930, and
    • Death records prior to 1949
    are at the Municipal Archives. These are the records you may obtain for genealogical research. Forms are available on the website for ordering these records. The base fee is $15 per record, with additional charges for a search of two years if an exact date isn’t known, for postage and handling, for a certified copy, etc. See the New York Public Library’s website for more information about New York vital records. (New York City information is partway down the page.) For records of events that occurred after the dates shown above, you must be qualified to obtain the records. These are held in the Office of Vital Records in the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. These records also begin at $15 each.

    If you are qualified to obtain copies of the records, you can go to these offices in person to get them, but the websites suggest that you order online to avoid waiting in a line. The cost is the same if you get go to the office in person to get them. In localities where the record books are freely available to researchers, it may be more cost-effective to hire a professional researcher in the area to photocopy the books for you than to order individual certificates, but in the case of New York City, the cost is going to be the same for the records, whether you order them online or you send a proxy to get them for you. Images of these records are not available online.

    Legal name changes would have taken place in the courts. See whether the Family History Library has filmed the civil court records for the county within New York City where you suspect the name change took place. If not, you will need to search the records onsite or hire a researcher to do it for you. You can find researchers for New York City on the websites of the Association of Professional Genealogists and the Board for Certification of Genealogists.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Quilt Display

    Saturday, Oct 15, 2011

    In honor of the National Black Genealogy Summit, the Sisters of the Cloth, a Fort Wayne quilting guild, installed a display of quilts in the Gallery of The Genealogy Center. Take some time to view these lovely quilts on display and attend the National Black Genealogy Summit being held on Thursday, October 20 through Saturday, October 22.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Michigan Records

    Thursday, Oct 13, 2011

    During Fort Wayne Ancestry Day's Ask the Experts Panel, we received so many questions that we were unable to answer them all during the event. The following are questions asked and The Genealogy Center staff's responses.

    Are probate records available on Ancestry (for Michigan)?

    Ancestry has approximately 40 databases that pertain to probate records, but none of those are for Michigan. Michigan's probate records are normally kept at the County Probate Courthouse. Family Search has filmed some of Michigan's probate records if the county's probate court office gave permission. The Archives of Michigan has some probate records (see their circular #6 for details).

    How do I obtain school records from a Catholic Diocese from the early 1900's (Lansing, Michigan)?

    According to staff from the Catholic Diocese of Lansing, they do not have school records. It is the Diocese's policy to have student academic records held at the school where the student attended. Should the school no longer exist, you may wish to contact the Diocese to see if school's records were sent to their Archives. You may contact their archivist, Msgr. George Michalek, via email at or call him at 517-342-2540.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • What Books Would You Suggest

    Monday, Oct 10, 2011

    During Fort Wayne Ancestry Day's Ask the Experts Panel, we received so many questions that we were unable to answer them all during the event. The following is a question asked and The Genealogy Center staff's response.

    Do you know any books on Maryland migration to Kentucky in the late 18th Century?

    You might try these books when you are here:

    A key to Southern pedigrees: being a comprehensive guide to the colonial ancestry of families in the States of Virginia, Maryland, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia and Alabama Call #: 016.92911 C87K 1985

    Peden, Henry C., Marylanders to Kentucky Call #: 976.9 P34M
    Peden, Henry C., More Marylanders to Kentucky : 1778-1828 Call #: 976.9 P34MA
    Donnelly, Mary Louise. More colonial families of Maryland: pioneers of Westmoreland County, Virginia and Kentucky Call #: 975.2 D718MO
    Frontier forts of Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, West Viginia & Ohio, 1740-1794, built by the French, English & Americans Call #: 975 M82F

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Census Clarification

    Friday, Oct 07, 2011

    During Fort Wayne Ancestry Day's Ask the Experts Panel, we received so many questions that we were unable to answer them all during the event. The following are questions asked and The Genealogy Center staff's responses.

    Is there a way to search census records by specific address/locator?

    The answer is yes and no. To my knowledge, there is no way to “plug” a specific address into the search boxes in or to find a particular household. However, if your target family lives in a small town, you can use the browse option to the right of the search box in to narrow down your search to state, then county, then township or town, then (if applicable), enumeration district. Then you can browse page by page, looking at the street names written on the left sides of the enumeration sheets and matching those with the house numbers in the far left column of each household’s information. For 1880 through 1930, there are enumeration district (ED) descriptions and maps available on microfilm that describe the boundaries of the enumeration districts and which streets were included in which ED.

    Is there a way to correct a spelling of a name on the census?

    Sites such as FamilySearch and Ancestry have a system in place for you to submit an alternate spelling of names in their census indexes. If you are hoping to alter the spelling of a name on the actual census record, no changes can be made to the legal document itself. The books for the 1790-1930 federal censuses were destroyed after the records were microfilmed, so there are no documents to alter at this time.

    What will become of family history when the census now are available, from 1980 to 2010?

    There is a 72-year waiting period before a census can be released, due to privacy laws. This means that the 1980 census will be released in 2052. The census was recorded on cards and was mailed to the Census Bureau. These cards have been retained and presumably will be published in some form at that time - presumably in some electronic format.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Elusive War of 1812

    Tuesday, Oct 04, 2011

    During Fort Wayne Ancestry Day's Ask the Experts Panel, we received so many questions that we were unable to answer them all during the event. The following is a question asked and The Genealogy Center staff's response.

    What does this mean: Bounty land is returned by widow of 1812 Soldier and assigned to another man on one deed?

    It often happened that land speculators bought the vouchers for War of 1812 bounty land from soldiers or widows who could make more use of money than land. In that case, the person who bought the land may be listed as the seller on the deed when he sold that piece of land, and it may be noted that the soldier or widow “assigned” it to him. Another possibility may be that the soldier or widow has appointed someone to act for him or her, such as an attorney.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Our Immigrant Ancestors

    Saturday, Oct 01, 2011

    During Fort Wayne Ancestry Day's Ask the Experts Panel, we received so many questions that we were unable to answer them all during the event. The following are questions asked and The Genealogy Center staff's responses.

    Can you cross reference a visa number?

    At this point in time, the Ancestry database does not have a spot for visa numbers. However, the later passenger lists does indicate whether the person has a passport, visa, or other document, such as a transit certificate.

    Border crossing from Canada to New England records? Early Canadians -did they have to naturalize?

    Immigrants were never compelled to become naturalized citizens. However, if they were Canadian-born, after 1790, they would have had to become naturalized if they wanted to be American citizens capable of voting. Your question does not state when your ancestors came from Canada to New England. If they came before the Revolutionary War, they would not have needed to naturalize. Assuming that they came later, there are two sets of Canadian border crossing records available from the National Archives: "Index to Canadian Border Entries, St. Albans, VT, 1895-1924, and 1924-1952. I am not aware of crossing records before 1895.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Genealogy Center History, part 8

    Friday, Sep 30, 2011

    Less than 20 years after the new building was constructed at 900 Webster Street, the Allen County Public Library was already feeling that it needed more space. The Genealogy Department has moved many materials into subbasement storage and seating was limited. It needed more than its 6000 square feet.

    Plans were made to tear down several buildings along Wayne Street (including the old YWCA), and a new wing added to contain more storage in the two lower levels, expansion space for the Young Adults Department and a new auditorium on the first floor, with all of the new space on the second floor to be the Genealogy Department's new home. Construction began in August 1979. The next year, the library system became the Allen County Public Library. The department was closed to the public December 1, 1980. The move itself took only one day and 125 volunteers. Book carts were labeled with color codes and lines to follow were taped to the floor. The department reopened January 19, 1981 with more seating and a light-controlled room for reading microfilm.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • All Aboard for Passenger Lists

    Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011

    During Fort Wayne Ancestry Day's Ask the Experts Panel, we received so many questions that we were unable to answer them all during the event. The following are questions asked and The Genealogy Center staff's responses.

    In a passenger list, what is a "2" number and how can we use that in our search?

    In the earlier passenger lists, the number "2" could mean the number of luggage or even possibly the compartment where the passenger has been assigned. To double check what the number could be, go to the very first page of the passenger list and check the heading of this column.

    Castle Garden Immigration Records – How do we find them? What information is available on the records?

    Records for Castle Garden cover the port of New York in 1855-1890. The records are accessible for free on either the Castle Garden site or Steve Morse’s website or on commercial sites, such as Questions asked in these records were minimal, but includes port of departure, ship name, arrival date, name of passenger, age, sex, occupation, and place of last residence.

    How do you find complete list of passengers on ship’s logs? I found person’s name with 4 family members, but no names for them.

    First, verify that you are looking at a passenger list rather than a transcription or abstract. Passenger lists beginning in 1820 were maintained by the federal government and are now sourced as National Archives (NARA) records. If you’re not looking at an actual passenger list, trace the source of your information back to the original record. If you are viewing the passenger list and it does not provide names, use other records such as emigration records from the home country to determine the family member’s names. For example, German immigrants had to file papers to leave Germany in the late eighteenth century, in which these records are indexed in the Wuerttemberg Emigration Index.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Revolutionary Societies

    Sunday, Sep 25, 2011

    During Fort Wayne Ancestry Day's Ask the Experts Panel, we received so many questions that we were unable to answer them all during the event. The following are questions asked and The Genealogy Center staff's responses.

    What info can I get from an SAR application?

    A Sons of the American Revolution application, like many lineage society applications, provide the applicant’s name and current address, his children, lineage back to the Revolutionary War ancestor and that ancestor’s service, and who is sponsoring the applicant to become a member of what chapter.

    I need to find information on men who fought in the Revolutionary War for DAR.

    Most states have books that include lists of men who fought from that area in the American Revolution. Revolutionary War soldiers’ and widows’ pensions are available on microfilm and are digitized on the subscription database In addition, there are unit histories for many units, books listing the burial places of Revolutionary War soldiers, websites, and the various record book series published by the National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution, including the Patriot Index and the DAR Lineage Books. The DAR website has many helpful features. If you don’t know how to begin researching your Revolutionary War soldier, or if you are stuck, you might contact your local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution for personal assistance.

    As a member of the DAR, I’m always looking for more info to connect my ancestors, male and female, to the Revolutionary effort. What are some of the best ways to research non-military support to the Patriot effort?

    Michael John Neill addresses this question in an article on the website. You also could use keywords in your general browser to find more information. To find additional articles or record abstracts that may have been published on this topic, search the PERiodical Source Index (PERSI), a subject index to periodicals published by genealogy and local history societies. PERSI is available at

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • DNA Matches

    Thursday, Sep 22, 2011

    During Fort Wayne Ancestry Day's Ask the Experts Panel, we received so many questions that we were unable to answer them all during the event. The following are questions asked and The Genealogy Center staff's responses.

    The four DNA matches for my brother said that it didn't match their lines. Where do I go from here? (My brother has passed away).

    This is hard to answer. I presume you had a Y-DNA test done, but I don't know how many markers were tested. Depending on what company has the sample, you might consider having the maximum number of markers tested and then look for possible comparisons. I have found 37 and 67 marker matches to be useful - anything less than that is not significant. It may be that no other male under your last name has provided a sample or that you are a close match to some other surname.

    DNA Testing. After getting a test result, where do we go to get help in interpreting and follow-up. My results seemed very generic and didn't give me a good point to continue on.

    I presume that you tested with Ancestry. Most testing companies have a tech support area to answer further questions and provide guidance. You should call 1-800-ANCESTRY and ask to be directed to someone who can help.

    Recently did the DNA Maternal and Paternal. Have a couple of matches for one family and zero for the other set. Now what? Where do we go with DNA info we match and with family we don't have matches with?

    There are two different types of DNA tests available for genealogists: Y-Chromosome tests, which examines Y DNA passed from father to son and allows males with that chromosome to match other males. The other so-called female test is a Mitochondrial DNA test, which compares DNA found in the cells of women and passed down through their daughters. Sons inherit their mothers' DNA but do not pass it down. Currently, there is no way to develop matches to other surnames through mitochondrial DNA. The tests will show what large Haplogroup you belong, and what subgroup within that group. If you think you and a cousin share the same maternal line, you can do a comparison. Otherwise, the data from a mitochondrial test is too general to be meaningful genealogically. Y-Chromosome testing is different and offers more promise for a match. This is because there are a number of fast-moving markers on a Y-chromosome (by "fast-moving," we mean that there are mutations that can occur within a genealogical time frame of a few hundred years or less). So for genealogical purposes, I recommend the Y test, and that you test other male relatives who share the same unbroken male line, and I would recommend at least a test involving 37 markers (anything less is too likely to create a false positive match). A 67-marker test is even better. If you have a match, you can be assured that you have a common ancestor. A very close match, say 65 out of 67 markers, means that you may have a common ancestor in the last 100 or 150 years (scientists are still trying to work out the mutation rates of various markers). If you don't match another male-line descended relative with whom you share a common male ancestor (and it has to be an unbroken male line), then something called a "non-paternal event" has occurred. This means that somewhere in either your or your cousin's line, an adoption or pregnancy occurred where the paternity was different than what was believed. Ideally, results should be compared with a group of male-descended cousins or people with the same surname.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Family History Month

    Sunday, Sep 18, 2011

    The Genealogy Center at the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, IN is once again hosting its annual Family History Month classes in October. With 31 genealogical offerings ranging from technology classes on Footnote and Family Tree Maker to ethnic programs on Irish and African American resources, plus record searching census and immigration, and more. It will be a grand celebration of family history! Details and descriptions of the classes are provided in the Family History Month brochure. Please call 260-421-1225 or email at Genealogy@ACPL.Info to register for these programs.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • More Revolutionary Soldiers

    Friday, Sep 16, 2011

    During Fort Wayne Ancestry Day's Ask the Experts Panel, we received so many questions that we were unable to answer them all during the event. The following are questions asked and The Genealogy Center staff's responses.

    Are there any collections of British/Scottish muster rolls for units’ service in the colonies during the Revolutionary War?

    Wikipedia, of all places, has a list of British units (including some from Scotland and Wales) that were involved in the Revolutionary War. Many of these units have hotlinks from the general page to additional pages of information. You will want to do additional research to substantiate what you find on this general website, but the links and source notes at the bottom of the page may be a launch-pad for your research. Regarding your specific question about muster rolls for these units, the website of the On-Line Institute for Advanced Loyalist Studies has this to say: “Only those regiments that received pay and clothing for their services were mustered. As a result, there is an absence of muster rolls for many of the militia and other irregular units that served during the war.” Most of the muster rolls that were taken still survive, however, and are located in three places, the National Archives of Canada, the Public Record Office in Kew, Richmond, Surrey, United Kingdom, and the British Library in London. The website of the On-Line Institute for Advanced Loyalist Studies gives in-depth detail about these records.

    Unable to find a marriage record for circa 1780 in Pennsylvania for a Revolutionary soldier discharged from Fort Pitt around that time. Ideas to search? I have the pension application; no mention of marriage.

    With the exception of the Philadelphia area, early Pennsylvania civil marriage records are extremely rare, particularly for western Pennsylvania. You may find a church record for the marriage or the returns of a roving (circuit riding) preacher that have been published or donated to a local historical society or library. In the absence of an actual marriage record, you can formulate a good estimate of when the nuptials took place by preparing a timeline for the individuals using all records you can find, including records that indicate their approximate years of birth, their oldest child’s year of birth, etc. Deeds may help you narrow the time period of the marriage, if your ancestor sold land. Usually if a man was married, his wife was included as a grantor when he sold land. Deeds where your ancestor is a grantor but no wife is listed may have been written before his marriage took place.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center