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  • Genealogy Center History -- Part 11

    Tuesday, Jan 31, 2012

    By the late 1990s, it was obvious that the entire Allen County Public Library system needed more space. Tentative plans were made, and a petition drive to gather Allen County property owners' signatures in support of a bond to pay for an expansion of the Main Library facility and improvements for most branches began on September 11, 2001. Many local citizens, young and old, joined in the campaign.

    After the bond initiative passed, plans were made to leave the Main Library while it was undergoing its renovation. The Genealogy Department was the first of the Main Library agencies to close leaving empty shelves...

    ...and leaving behind the card catalog.

    Books were loaded onto large carts and wrapped in plastic for the ride... Renaissance Square.

    Next: Rebuilding!


    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Plans to Index the 1940 Census

    Sunday, Jan 29, 2012

    by Delia

    As you know, the 1940 census will be available at the website for free on April 2, 2012. Because no one will have access to it before that time, no index will be available on April 2nd. However, groups all over the country are making plans now for legions of volunteers to begin the indexing of the census. For example, the Allen County Genealogical Society of Indiana is lining up society members to index the 1940 census for Allen County, Indiana. And on a larger scale, Archives.comFamily and are teaming up to compile an index for the 1940 Census Community Project. Both the large and the small projects will constitute great contributions to the genealogical community as a whole. Let's all see how we can help.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Evangelical Messenger Pennsylvania Marriage Index Available

    Friday, Jan 27, 2012

    A new database index has appeared on The Genealogy Center Free Databases, Pennsylvania Marriages 1868-1904, from The Evangelical Messenger. Taken from the pages of The Evangelical Messenger, the weekly demoninational publication for the Evangelical Association, the marriage notices were submitted by the officiating ministers starting in 1868, and continued through 1904. They were not published in 1905 and 1906, but resumed in 1907. This index, submitted by Anne Dallas Budd, stops at 1904.

    The Genealogy Center will provide photocopies of these announcements for a fee of $2.50 per notice. Send a request to Genealogy@ACPL.Info, along with the citation ("Evangelical Messenger" marriage, date and page), along with your name and mailing address. The copy will be sent within several weeks with a bill. It should be noted, however, that the index often contains all pertinent information.

    If you are seeking a marriage in Pennsylvania, take a few minutes to check this wonderful source.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Check Out Our Snapshots!

    Wednesday, Jan 25, 2012

    by Delia

    The Genealogy Center is happy to announce a new facet to our web presence: State and Subject Snapshots! Snapshots are listings of some of the most vital volumes in our collection, organized by location or subject to aid you in your research here in The Genealogy Center. Providing only the bare bones (titles and call numbers) for locating these wonderful sources, Snapshots are for specific states, foreign countries, including provinces in Canada, ethnic, religious and general subject guides. For years, these Snapshots have been available only in-house, but are now available to aid you in preparing in advance for your research visit. State and Subject Snapshots are located under the Pathfinders tab on The Genealogy Center website.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • 1940 Census

    Sunday, Jan 22, 2012

    by Delia

    Genealogists know that federal census schedules are not available for viewing by the general public for 72 years after they are taken. 2012 marks the year that the next set of census schedules - those for 1940 - will be released for public viewing and research! This release takes place 2 April 2012 and will be different than any previous census's unveiling. The 1940 census will be available on microfilm, as previous years' schedules were, but due to its high cost in this format, few agencies will purchase the film. Instead, it will debut in the form of digital images online at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) website on the release date of 2 April, followed quickly by its appearance at, and other sites. Initially, the census images will not be searchable by name, but viewers will be able to browse them. Various groups are undertaking the indexing of the schedules so that ultimately they will be searchable by name and other variables.

    The Genealogy Center is creating classes about the 1940 census that will be presented on several dates in March and April. In addition, we will share tips about the census here on our blog and on our Facebook page. Please share in our excitement as we count down the days until this milestone source is revealed!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Allen County Congregational Pathfinder

    Wednesday, Jan 18, 2012

    by John  

    The Genealogy Center of the Allen County Public Library contains – as you might expect - a very large collection for our own Allen County. A myriad of congregational records, both Christian and Jewish, for Fort Wayne and rural Allen County, have been photocopied and added to the collection over the years, together with a large collection of congregational histories and directories. Almost all of the older, pre-1900 congregations have placed copies of their records at the library. This is a benefit to researchers whose ancestors may have hopped from one congregation to another when moving about the city or county. Instead of traveling or writing to each church, all one needs to do is peruse our online catalog.

    These records bring with them their own set of challenges, however. Some congregations have the same or very similar names. For example, there are two Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Churches, both in the Missouri Synod. One is located on St. Mary’s Avenue, the other on Decatur Road and is sometimes called Trinity Suburban. These congregations should not be confused with Trinity English Evangelical Lutheran Church in downtown Fort Wayne, affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. In addition, there are two congregations known as Bethlehem: Bethlehem Lutheran and Suburban Bethlehem.

    Finally, many congregations are now defunct or have merged with others and reorganized under new names. At one time, Wayne Street Methodist Episcopal, Berry Street Methodist Episcopal, and First Methodist Episcopal Church all were distinct congregations in Fort Wayne, each with their own separate sets of records. Adding to the complexity is the fact that some congregations attracted certain immigrant groups more than others.

    Sorting out these complexities can be difficult, even when using our online catalog. The congregational histories on the Allen County USGenweb page can offer the researcher much guidance. We have tried to take that page one step further by creating a pathfinder to Allen County Congregations, which can be found under Pathfinders on our Genealogy Center homepage. Simply click on “Pathfinders” and scroll your mouse over “Allen County, Indiana Guides.” A number of options will appear on the right, including “Allen County Congregations.” Clicking on this link will take you to an annotated bibliography of congregational records. Under each you will find references to the types of records and their respective call numbers. Some congregations have additional annotations that go beyond the catalog and may be helpful to researchers. We are always adding new material, so keep checking the library catalog for new titles.  

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • One-on-One Consultations Are Back!

    Sunday, Jan 15, 2012

    Our highly popular One-on-One Consultations are back for another year! Due to popular requests, we will offer the consultations on various days of the week throughout 2012, starting with January, February and March, when they will be on the last Thursdays of each month, from 2 PM to 4 PM.

    The Consultations consist of 30 minutes of one-on-one time with a Genealogy Center staff member on some stumbling block in your research. If you are interested in taking advantage of this program, call 260-421-1225 or send an email to Genealogy@ACPL.Info. We need your name, email, a brief description of the background and challenge you face, and indicate which day would work best for you. We will check our schedule and get back to verify date and time for your consultation. Space is limited each month, so don't delay!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Traffic Alert!

    Thursday, Jan 12, 2012

    We have important information about construction that will affect you if your path to visit us is from north of Fort Wayne, perhaps exiting Interstate 69 at Exits 111 or 112. Beginning Monday January 16, 2012, construction will begin on the Dr. Martin Luther King Memorial Bridge, which carries Clinton Street across the St. Mary's River on the north side of downtown Fort Wayne. While this construction will not halt traffic into the area, you should be prepared for a detour, and slightly heavier traffic.

    The detour will begin on Clinton Street and Fourth, where you will make a right onto Fourth, to Harrison Street, where you will turn left. Both Fourth and Harrison Streets will be designated for one-way traffic during this period. Cross the river, then turn left again on Superior Street. Another right onto Clinton will take you back to the flow of the traffic.

    Instead of turning onto Superior Street, you may remain on Harrison Street, which will go back to two-way traffic, an additional four blocks to Washington Boulevard, where you will turn right, the Allen County Public Library, with The Genealogy Center is just a block away.

    This detour is slated to last about two weeks, although the weather may cause some delays.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Closure for Staff Day, February 10

    Tuesday, Jan 10, 2012

    On Friday, February 10, 2012, The Genealogy Center, like all agencies of the Allen County Public Library, will be closed for Staff Development Day. On this day, all ACPL employees will gather to learn new sources, and discover additional research techniques and products to enable us to assist you and all of our customers better in 2012. We will be open our regular hours the other days that week.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Printing Fees

    Saturday, Jan 07, 2012

    Beginning February 1, 2012, computer printouts at the Allen County Public Library will cost 10 cents per page, up from 5 cents. The change will make all copy charges uniform in preparation for the move to a single copy card that will allow patrons to photocopy printed material or to print data they find in a computer search. Photocopy charges have held steady at 10 cents per page for more than 32 years.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Catalog Tour

    Tuesday, Jan 03, 2012

    Have questions about how to locate a book at the library? Where are the call numbers? How to make a list? Find out all this and more by taking a virtual tour of The Genealogy Center catalog. This Genealogy Center's WinterTech class helps you learn more about technology that benefits family history research and is held at the Main Library in Meeting Room C on Wednesday, January 11, 2012, from 2:30-4:30 pm. For more information, see the WinterTech brochure. Please call 260-421-1225 or email Genealogy@ACPL.Info to register.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Genealogy Center History -- Part 10

    Saturday, Dec 31, 2011

    In the late 1990s, The Genealogy Center expanded yet again. The Main Reading Room now encompassed the former display area just to the south, placing the reference desk more in the center of the area...

    ... expanding the Microtext Storage Room...

    ...and pushing microfiche readers out of the Microtext Reading Room.

    Next time: Pushing into the 21st Century!


    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Public Computers Unavailable on January 4th

    Wednesday, Dec 28, 2011

    On Wednesday, January 4, 2012, the Allen County Public Library will upgrade its PC Reservation System in order to be compatible with Windows 7. The upgrade requires a public computer outage for the entire day of January 4th. PC Reservation is the software that coordinates the usage on all of the public computers in The Genealogy Center and the Allen County Public Library System. With the upgrade, customers will have improved access to Office products, our databases, and the internet at The Genealogy Center.

    If you plan to visit The Genealogy Center on January 4, 2012, please be aware of this outage--we will not have public computer access for the day. It will be a great opportunity, however, to take advantage of the more than one million items in our print and microtext collections. Before you arrive at the Center that day, search our print catalog or microtext catalog to plan your day of research. Bringing your own laptop, netbook, iPad or other tablet device will enable you to use all the licensed databases as well as the free databases offered in The Genealogy Center through the library’s Wifi service.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Business and Occupational Records

    Monday, Dec 26, 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 resources for researching auction house records? My grandmother remembered a portrait of an ancestor that reportedly fetched $500 in an auction circa 1922. My grandmother’s grandmother had to sell the portrait when she fell on hard times.

    Worldwide Auction Databank claims that it includes the records from more than 2,900 auction houses from around the world. It may not include the one you need, however! Do you have an idea of where this auction took place or the name of the company that handled it? If so, and if it is not included in the website mentioned, you might contact the county and state historical societies in the location of the auction house to see whether its records have been deposited in one of those facilities. Auction companies are private businesses and so like funeral homes, hospitals and other businesses, their records are not automatically archived by a government entity. They may be found at the business if it still exists, in an archives or historical society if donated, or in the basement, attic or garage of a relative of the former business owner. They also may have been discarded at the time the business became defunct. Another helpful resource pertaining to auction records is “How to Read Auction Records” on the website of the Chicago Appraisers Association.

    Where to look for occupations, for example, weavers.

    An interesting article online that discusses the occupations of our ancestors is “Discovering the Occupations of Your Ancestors: Finding Clues in Occupational Records” by Kimberly Powell. Some occupations required licenses, which may have been recorded. Check the county courthouse for these licenses. Business records were privately held by the business owner, but may have been donated to the local public library, historical society, genealogical society, or a nearby university special collections department. Newspapers are rich in details about local businesses. Many newspapers are not indexed, but browsing them for the time period when your family lived in the area can be immensely rewarding. More and more newspapers are being digitized, also, and so may be searchable by keyword. Check the local USGenWeb sites, as well as subscription websites such as, GenealogyBank and to see whether a newspaper from your area of interest has been digitized. City directories are another fine source of information about local businesses and the occupations of residents during particular times in history.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Using Clusters

    Tuesday, Dec 20, 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 will that leaves property to a great-grandson (son of a granddaughter). I can’t find information on the granddaughter or her parents. How do I fill in the missing generations?

    That’s going to depend on time period, but unless the missing woman and her parents are listed in the will or probate, it may be that they predeceased the great-grandparent. You may wish to seek will and probate records in the area in which the great-grandson was born.

    I am looking for ancestors and have noticed that their neighbors in their old home town also lived in the area to which they moved. Does this help me?

    Yes! Follow the neighbors’ records and seek diaries and other biographical sources for them. Your ancestors may be mentioned or there could be clues.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Some Vital Statistics

    Saturday, Dec 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.

    How to find birth early 1800, can’t find church records?

    Depending on the locality (county and state), birth records may not be available. We usually use baptismal records to supplement the lack of birth records, but if you can’t locate church records, search for other ancillary records. A marriage or death record can provide a date of birth. Military enlistment and pension records are other sources, or vital records for the individual’s children might list a birth date.

    How do you find birth records in West Virginia?

    FamilySearch has birth records indexed and digitized for 1853-1930. Another place to look is the West Virginia Archives & History Site, which has digitized images as well.

    I have not been able to find a Georgia marriage license dated between 1940 and 1945. Any suggestions?

    Marriage records in Georgia for the 1940s are retained at the local county courthouse, so you’ll need to know the county and request the record from the county clerk of court. Some Georgia marriages are indexed on FamilySearch to help determine the county.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Those Revolutionary Soldiers

    Wednesday, Dec 14, 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’ve hit a brick wall with a Revolutionary War vet from N.J. The records for Revolutionary War vets are confusing. Any help with searching these records.

    Revolutionary War muster rolls and other lists may seem confusing when there are several individuals with the same name serving from the same area. Which one is your ancestor? Learn as much as you can about your ancestor as a person, and also about the other men with that name in the area from records other than the actual military muster rolls. Pension files often have rich detail. Look at tax records, deeds, wills and probate records. Study histories of the area. Peruse manuscript material for that time period. Get to know the men’s families. You will develop a “feel” for these individuals as you begin to put flesh on their bones as people, and this may enable you to determine which soldier is which.

    Looking for a Revolutionary War soldier’s parents. His name was Jonathan Byrd. Where do I turn to find records this far back? At a dead end. Likely they are from England.

    There are plusses and minuses when you have traced your line back far enough that you are researching Revolutionary War ancestors and individuals living in Colonial America. Unfortunately, records are scarcer and often include less detail than their later counterparts. On the positive side, however, you may be more likely to locate research that already has been done on the individual, or on the family, that you are seeking in published family histories or online family tree websites. While caution is advised in accepting others’ undocumented research as fact, you may be able to use the information as clues to locate records you need to confirm your own research hypothesis. Other researchers may have located records that you have not yet found. The existence of early records will vary from one location to the next. You probably will find yourself relying more heavily on tax records, deeds and perhaps church records from the 1700s, rather than the vital records and census schedules that one uses for later periods. If you have not already, you will need to become familiar with any boundary changes in the area where your soldier lived, and determine what records are available for both the later county and the parent county, if applicable.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Holiday Closings

    Monday, Dec 12, 2011

    The Allen County Public Library and The Genealogy Center will be closed Friday, December 23 through Monday, December 26 and Sunday, January 1 through Monday, January 2. We will close at 5:00 pm on Saturday, December 31. We are open normal hours the rest of the month.
    While The Genealogy Center may not be open, you can still enjoy other genealogical activities those days. Ask a family member to share family stories. Or document your fondest memory. Or sit with your children or grandchildren and share with them pictures of the family. There are many activities we can do over the coming weeks. Take the time to enjoy your family history!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Genealogy Certification

    Sunday, Dec 11, 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.

    How much does an expert genealogist charge? And how do they charge? By hour, by tasks? By number of documents found?

    What professional genealogists charge will vary from one person to the next and one locale to the next. Some may charge by “project,” if taking on a large project like compiling a family history, or by “look-up,” in the case of an easy document retrieval when an exact citation for a record is known. However, most will charge by hour since the “product” they are providing is not just copies of documents, but the search for the information, analysis of the evidence, and a report explaining all resources checked, a summary of the positive and negative findings, and suggestions for future research.

    How do you become a Certified GenealogistSM*? Recommended courses (online or on campus) for preparing to take the CGSM*  exam?

    There is no such thing as a “CGSM exam.” The Board for Certification of Genealogists awards the CGSM credential to successful applicants who submit a portfolio of work that is judged by three independent judges to meet the high Research Standards established over time by the Board. Portfolios are judged according to rubrics that are viewable online at BCG’s website. The portfolio consists of several parts, some of which include document work (transcribing, abstracting, explaining the significance of and creating a first-steps research plan from a Board-supplied document and an applicant-supplied document), a case study that includes conflicting or indirect evidence in which the applicant “proves” a hypothesis through building a case using indirect evidence and correlating any conflicting evidence, a kinship-determination project through which an applicant establishes kinship between generations by using a variety of sources and analyzing evidence, and a client report. To prepare to submit an application, thoroughly explore the BCG website, which includes a number of helpful areas, such as a quiz to help you determine whether you are ready to submit an application, the rubrics that are used for judging, a pdf file of the Application Guide  and the BCG Standards Manual, work samples, and more. BCG Certification Seminars are held regularly at the two national conferences hosted by the National Genealogical Society and the Federation of Genealogical Societies. BCG has a booth in the exhibit halls of those conferences where you can meet and speak to BCG associates about the application process. In addition, there are college programs through Brigham Young University and Boston University, week-long institutes and many other opportunities for gaining experience and expertise in genealogical research. None of these is required for, or an official step toward, becoming a Certified GenealogistSM, however.

    *“CG” & “Certified Genealogist” are service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, and are used by authorized associates following periodic, peer-reviewed competency evaluations.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Burned Counties

    Thursday, Dec 08, 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.

    Where do you look when the courthouse was burned during the War of 1812?

    Even if some of the records were destroyed, there are probably other sources within the county that survived. If deed records burned, look for land records at the Land Office. For vital records, try church records. Remember, your ancestors may not have attended church in the same county where they lived. People took the easiest routes for traveling to shop, attend church, and other social functions.

    Family Search has a Research Wiki page which provides links to states with burned counties. Click on a state, scroll through the information until you see the list of burned counties to see a list of what records were lost. This Research Wiki Page, Burned Counties Research, also provides tips and alternatives to finding records and information in burned out areas.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center