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  • 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

  • Where Did I Find ...?

    Tuesday, Jun 08, 2010

    It is never too late to start logging your sources. Knowing where you gathered particular details on an ancestor is very important in your research. When evaluating incongruous information, reviewing which source the details are from can help you decide what is more accurate. Another reason to keep track of your sources is so others can verify or follow-up on your research. Some ways you can keep track of where you found information on your ancestors are: 1. Maintain a log of sources in a notebook or on your genealogy software. 2. Copy the title page of sources you have viewed. 3. Note materials you have searched, but in which you did not find information. It prevents you from repeatedly returning to the same source.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War

    Friday, Jun 04, 2010

    The traveling exhibition "Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War" will be available for your viewing pleasure in the Genealogy Center June 18 to July 30, 2010. The Opening Reception will be at Saturday, June 19, at 7 PM in Meeting Room A of the Main Library, with speakers Jason Jividen, Sara Gabbard, and Katherine Tinsely. Other events highlighting the exhibition include:

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Family Reunions

    Tuesday, Jun 01, 2010

    With the end of school, many people will plan family vacations over the coming months. With any luck, some vacations will include getting together with family members and holding a family reunion. The Allen County Public Library has several books available to help you plan your reunion. Even if you can't visit us, you can look for these books at your local library. Your family reunion: how to plan it, organize it and enjoy it How to plan your African-American family reunion The family reunion sourcebook Family reunion: everything you need to know to plan unforgettable get-togethers for every kind of family Another option for a summer trip is to visit the Genealogy Center and enjoy a research vacation.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • You Can't Always Find It By Browsing!

    Thursday, May 27, 2010

    Sometimes in the Genealogy Center, a useful book pertinent to a particular location is not found under a particular subject entry or title. Consider the book, On the Eve of Conquest: The Chevalier de Raymond's Critique of New France in 1754, edited by Joseph L. Peyser and published by Michigan State University Press in 1997. The book is cataloged as 971 R214o, which is a general Canadian number. However, "New France" in the 1750s, before the conclusion of the French and Indian War, comprised a large portion of the upper Midwest and Great Lakes of what would become the United States. Charles de Raymond, the central figure of the work, was the commandant of Fort St. Joseph at what is now Fort Wayne in the 1750s. The book contains a useful, first-hand account of this and other areas occupied by the French, but not strictly about Canada. If you are researching the French period of Fort Wayne's history, or indeed, those of other French-occupied settlements of the 1750s, this book deserves a closer look.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Genealogy Center Closed Memorial Day

    Sunday, May 23, 2010

    As you make your research travel plans, please remember that the Genealogy Center, like the rest of the Allen County Public Library, is closed on Monday, May 31, in observance of Memorial Day. Memorial Day weekend also marks the beginning of the library's summer schedule. Hours Monday through Saturday are the same as the rest of the year (M-Th 9A - 9P and F&S 9A - 6P), but the entire library is closed on Sundays until after the Labor Day weekend. We love our visitors, and don't want you waiting in vain on Sundays.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Genealogy @ Night

    Tuesday, May 18, 2010

    Summer is around the corner and with it comes Genealogy @ Night. Don't let the name mislead you. We'll make use of the long daylight hours and increase your genealogical research knowledge. In June, July, and August, lectures will be offered on the third Tuesdays of each month from 6:30 PM -7:30 PM. Our first offering is Cynthia Theusch on "French Canadian Research at ACPL" on June 15. On July 20, John Beatty will present "Researching Indiana Court Records," followed by Dawne Slater‑Putt with "Cataloging 3‑D Items & Heirlooms" on August 17. Look for more information at our Website and remember to register via email to Genealogy@ACPL.Info or by phone at 260‑421‑1225. Plan to visit us in the evenings this summer!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Researching Long Distance via RAOGK

    Monday, May 10, 2010

    by Dawne

    The situation happens to everyone eventually – you discover a record that you need copied, a quick look-up to be done, or a photograph of a tombstone – but it is in a distant state and you can’t get there yourself. Sometimes the easiest way to get record copies is through corresponding directly with the courthouse or library in the distant location. But in other cases, that can be expensive and/or take more time than you would like.

    Another option is to hire a professional researcher to do the task for you. The Association of Professional Genealogists and the Board for Certification of Genealogists have lists of available professional researchers on their websites. Many libraries and courthouses also have lists of researchers who have placed their names with the facilities. But often these professionals require a multi-hour retainer to make the job worth their while, and if you have just a quick look-up to be done, this doesn’t really suit your needs.

    What to do? See if a volunteer will do the small (but significant to you!) job at the cost of any out-of-pocket expenses. Contact the genealogical society in the area where you need the look-up done and ask whether it has members who will do such work. Or go to the website of Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness (RAOGK) at and see whether anyone has registered to do lookups in the area in which you are interested.

    Volunteers on the RAOGK have agreed to do one free genealogy research task at least once a month in their local areas. Those who take advantage of this service must pay the out-of-pocket expenses such as record fees, copy fees, postage, parking fees and the like. They also would like a thank you, of course. The RAOGK boasts more than 4,000 volunteers, with a volunteer in every state and many other countries.

    Whether or not you are successful in finding someone who will perform a Random Act of Genealogical Kindness for you, consider adding your name to the list as someone who will do a look-up in your local area. One look-up a time, once a month, we can make long-distance genealogical research easier for everyone and perhaps even bank some good karma for our own genealogical endeavors!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center