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  • March Madness – Out of the Box Genealogy

    Friday, Feb 24, 2017

    Join us as we celebrate our version of March Madness as we investigate Out of the Box Genealogy – a full week of events and classes to improve your research skills and enhance your life! Events include:

    Sunday, March 5, 2017, 1:00 PM, Discovery Center
    Skeletons in the Closet: Discovering a Difficult Past - Matt LaFlash
    Every family has skeletons in the closet. This case study addresses the challenges of uncovering a difficult past and examines the process used to identify the father of a girl born out of wedlock with only a profession and nationality as a starting point.

    Monday, March 6, 2017, 6:30 PM, Discovery Center
    What Doesn’t Kill Us: Historical Illnesses and Causes of Death - Delia Bourne
    This is an overview of the medical conditions that plagued our ancestors and how to find what some of those causes of death listed in newspapers and on death records really meant.

    Tuesday, March 7, 2017, 6:30 PM, Discovery Center
    An Ancestor's Death -- A Time for Reaping - Curt Witcher
    Typically, no other time in our ancestors’ lives is the record creation potential as high as it is at their deaths. This talk, complemented with many record examples, spotlights numerous “happenings” surrounding an individual’s death that can generate records.

    Wednesday, March 8, 2017, 2:30 PM, Discovery Center
    Using the Genealogical Proof Standard and DNA as Power Tools and Problem Solvers - John Beatty
    This talk will discuss the various tenets of the Standard, show how to apply it in an actual case study, and show how both autosomal and mitochondrial DNA can be used to support or refute genealogical theories.

    Thursday, March 9, 2017, 6:30 PM, Chapman’s Brewery Taproom, 819 South Calhoun Street,
    Fort Wayne
    Genealogy of Beer and Beer Styles with Chapman’s Brewing Co. - Allison DePrey Singleton and Chapman’s Brewing Co.
    Discover the genealogy of beer and how the brewers’ home country influenced the style of beer they originally produced. The specifics of the beer itself will also be discussed: aromas, style, taste profile, things to consider when drinking, and how these have changed over time.

    Friday, March 10, 2017, 2:30 PM, Discovery Center
    Out of the Box Questions and the Methodology to Answering Them - Allison DePrey Singleton
    What are some of the unusual questions the librarians at The Genealogy Center receive and how do we answer them? Come and find out the methodology for answering “out of the box” questions.

    Saturday, March 11, 2017, 10:00 AM, Theater, Allen County Public Library
    Moody, Tearful Night Come Alive - 30th Indiana Civil War Re-enactors, Inc.
    Have you ever seen a statue come to life? This is your chance! “Moody, Tearful Night,” the statue at the entrance to The Genealogy Center will be brought to life by a group of talented re-enactors from the 30th Indiana. The last day of Lincoln’s life will be brought to life followed by the re-enactors answering your questions about what occurred that fateful day.

    For more information, see our brochure. To register for any or all of these free events, call 260-421-1225 or email Genealogy@ACPL.Info.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Black History Month Images Revealed -

    Wednesday, Feb 22, 2017

    By Kay

    Have you ever wondered just what some of those images are that we used in our flyer for Black History Month 2017? Let's take a look.

    Susan Baptist, of Whitehaven, Tennessee, was a projectionist, showing training films for the troops as well as more popular motion pictures. At the time of this photo, taken by the U.S. Army Signal Corps for morale purposes, she had been in the WACS nine months and learned to operate the projector since enlisting. This image is part of the Visual Materials from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Records (Library of Congress). I was unable to find anything else about Ms. Baptist.

    For further reading on African American women’s contribution to the war effort, read “When the Nation was in Need: Blacks in the Women's Army Corps during World War II,” By Martha Putney.

    And finally, three African American women at a polling place, one looking at a book of registered voters, on November 5, 1957, in New York City or Newark, New Jersey. This image is from the digital collection at the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA. Read more about the challenges African Americans faced to vote in “Blackballed: the Black Vote and US Democracy,” by Darryl Pinckney.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Black History Month Images Revealed - Harlem Hellfighters

    Sunday, Feb 19, 2017

    By Kay

    Have you ever wondered just what some of those images are that we use on our advertising for Black History Month?. Let's take a look at some of the images used in the making of our flyer for Black History Month 2017.

    The 369th Infantry Regiment, aka the Harlem Hellfighters, formerly known as the 15th New York National Guard Regiment, was an infantry regiment of the United States Army National Guard during World War I and World War II (1913-1945). The Regiment consisted mainly of African Americans, though it also included a number of Puerto Rican Americans during World War II. It was the first African American regiment to serve with American forces in World War I. Before that, if an African-American wanted to fight, they would have to join the forces of France or Canada. This unit was given numerous nicknames: The Black Rattlers, the Men of Bronze and Hell Fighters.

    In the beginning, the regiment was relegated to labor service duties instead of combat.  On April 8, 1918, the unit was assigned to the French Army, and finally, on May 8, 1918, the 369th was sent to the trenches. From then on they fought. The unit was awarded two Medals of Honor and a regimental Croix de Guerre. The most celebrated man in the 369th was Pvt. Henry Johnson, a former Albany, New York, rail station porter, who earned the nickname "Black Death" for his actions in combat in France. “While on night sentry duty, May 15, 1918, Johnson and a fellow Soldier, Pvt. Needham Roberts, received a surprise attack by a German raiding party of at least 12 enemy soldiers.

    “While under intense fire and despite his own wounds, Johnson kept an injured Needham from being taken prisoner. He came forward from his position to engage an enemy soldier in hand-to-hand combat. Wielding only a knife and gravely wounded, Johnson continued fighting until the enemy retreated.

     “For his valor, Johnson became one of the first Americans to be awarded the French Croix de Guerre avec Palme, France's highest award for valor. Johnson was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart in 1996. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross in 2002, with the official ceremony taking place in 2003.” (from the Army website.)

    For more information, visit, Harlem’s Blog, American National Biography Online, ArmyMil, and the U.S. Army website, or read "Harlem's Rattlers and the Great War: the Undaunted 369th Regiment and the African American Quest for Equality" by Jeffrey T. Sammons.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Stephen King lived in Fort Wayne, Indiana

    Thursday, Feb 16, 2017

    Written By: John

    A reference question came to us recently about the author Stephen King and the exact location of his childhood residence in Fort Wayne, Indiana. King, who was born in Portland, Maine, in 1947, was the son of Donald and Nellie Ruth (Pilsbury) King. The father was born “Donald Pollock” in Peru, Indiana, and later changed the family name to King, and he separated from Stephen’s mother not long after Stephen’s birth. At the age of two Stephen moved to Delafield, Wisconsin, with his mother and brother, and later, about 1949, they came to Fort Wayne to live with relatives. But where specifically did they live?
        David King, Stephen’s older brother, provides some sketches details in an account published in George Beahm’s Stephen King Companion: Four Decades of Fear from the Master of Horror (p. 9). “After Wisconsin, we then went to live with my father’s sister Betty, and a lady she lived with named Rudy. We have a picture of that, too – Stevie and I sitting on a lawn in front of a house. That was in the Fort Wayne, Indiana, area. Aunt Betty was a schoolteacher … After that we lived in an apartment of our own in Fort Wayne … We shared the apartment with a number of cockroaches. It was an apartment house, but I’m not sure if it was a single-family dwelling or if there were a number of apartments in it.”
         Most references to Stephen’s childhood lack specifics due to the family’s difficult economic circumstances. However, from the above account and other biographical references, we have enough information to identify Donald Pollock and his sister Betty on the 1920 census. Going forward and looking at the Fort Wayne city directories, we can locate Betty L. Pollock in 1951, living at 1227 Lake Avenue in Fort Wayne and working as a teacher at the Hamilton School. In 1954, she resided at 3529 Lake Avenue, then outside the city limits, and was teaching at the Hanna School. Undoubtedly, the Kings spent time at these two addresses, but the identity of their apartment house remains uncertain. The 1954 directory lists a Mrs. Ruth King living at 1234 Ewing Street, but this was a residence, not an apartment house, and it is not certain this was Stephen’s mother. The family later moved to Stratford, Connecticut.
         It is worth noting that none of King’s residences are marked or celebrated in Fort Wayne’s historical literature. Perhaps more specific information will come to light about his time here.  We were able to find an image of the 1227 Lake Avenue house.  It is a multi-family home.  


    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Black History Month Images Revealed - Malcolm X & Martin Luther King

    Wednesday, Feb 15, 2017

     By Kay

    As we celebrate Black History Month in February, we always create some kind of flyer, poster, slide, or advertisement. Have you ever wondered just what some of those images are that we use. Let's take a look at some of the images used in the making of our flyer for Black History Month 2017.

    "Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.” 
    Malcolm Little, May 19, 1925 – February 21, 1965, was also known as el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz, but most of us are probably more familiar with him by another name: Malcolm X. Malsolm was an African-American Muslim minister, a human rights activist, and a controversial person. To some he was a courageous advocate for African-Americans, while others accused him of preaching racism and violence. In either case he was one of the most influential African Americans in our history. He was assassinated on February 21, 1965. Read more about him on, U.S., or read “The Autobiography of Malcolm X, With the assistance of Alex Haley.” You can also view the Spike Lee movie Malcolm X.
    Malcolm X

    "I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."
    Martin Luther King Jr., January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968, was an American Baptist minister and activist who was a leader in the Civil Rights Movement. He used nonviolent disobedience to lead the civil rights struggle in the 1950s and 1960s. In 1964, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He was assassinated on April 4, 1968. For more on his life, read “The Life of Martin Luther King, Jr.: Leader for Civil Rights,” by Michael Schuman.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Black History Month Images Revealed - Mary Church Terrell

    Sunday, Feb 12, 2017

     By Kay

    As we celebrate Black History Month in February, we always create some kind of flyer, poster, slide, or advertisement. Have you ever wondered just what some of those images are that we use? Let's take a look at some of the images used in the making of our flyer for Black History Month 2017.

    Mary Church Terrell, September 23, 1863 to July 24, 1954, was one of the first African-American women to earn a college degree. She was a teacher and an activist for civil rights and suffrage, as well as a founding member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. In 1896, Terrell became the first president of the newly formed National Association of Colored Women.

    On October 18, 1891, in Memphis, Church married Robert Heberton Terrell, a lawyer who became the first black municipal court judge in Washington DC. Her autobiography, “A Colored Woman in a White World,” is her autobiography, which she finished in 1940. She also lived to see the Supreme Court's decision in Brown v. Board of Education, holding unconstitutional the racial segregation of public schools.

    Read more about Mary Church Terrell at and Black, or read “Just Another Southern Town: Mary Church Terrell and the Struggle for Racial Justice in the Nation's Capital,” by Joan Quigley.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Black History Month Images Revealed - Dred Scott

    Monday, Feb 06, 2017

    By Kay

    As we celebrate Black History Month in February, we always create some kind of flyer, poster, slide, or advertisement. Have you ever wondered just what some of those images are that we use? Let's take a look at some of the images used in the making of our flyer for Black History Month 2017.

    Dred Scott, c. 1799 – September 17, 1858, was an African American slave who unsuccessfully sued for his freedom, and that of his wife and their two daughters in the Dred Scott v. Sandford case of 1857. Dred Scott's journey to freedom took 10 years and numerous trials. In the end, the Supreme Court’s majority opinion was written by Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, a staunch supporter of slavery. It stated that because Scott was black, he was not a citizen and therefore had no right to sue. The decision also declared the Missouri Compromise of 1820, legislation which restricted slavery in certain territories, to be unconstitutional.

    Following the ruling, the Scott family was deeded to Taylor Blow, who freed them on May 26, 1857. Scott worked as a porter in a St. Louis hotel, but his freedom was short-lived. He died from tuberculosis in September 1858. Scott was survived by his wife and his two daughters.

    For more information about the case, see Missouri Digital Heritage. For more information on Dred Scott and other African American History, visit the PBS Resource Bank. Or read “Mrs. Dred Scott: A Life on Slavery's Frontier,” by Lea VanderVelde.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • New Additions to Our Military Heritage

    Friday, Feb 03, 2017

    Take a look at some of our newest additions to Our Military Heritage!

    The John Silvis Civil War letters are difficult to read, but for anyone searching his regiment, the 11th Pennsylvania might be rewarded with some useful information from these 1861-1962 documents.

    We have a portrait and other documents relating to Alfred Boerger, U.S. Army soldier with Company F of the Quartermaster’s Department in World War I. He died after being exposed to poison gas. His remains were returned to Fort Wayne in 1921 and he was buried with honors in Lindenwood.

    Brian Paul Kaess has allowed us to post two World War I letters from Talmage Dawson to his family in Kansas. Unlike Alfred, Talmage made it home and lived until 1974.

    Finally, we have the World War I draft record and discharge papers of Fred Suiter of Michigan. Fred also made it home and lived in Michigan.

    Richard Wells Shorter was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and served in World War II in the Army Air Corps in India serving as an air traffic controller. His letters have been made available for preservation by his sister, Sheila Shorter, of Fort Wayne.

    Brian Paul Kaess has also made available photographs and military information on Paul Swartz, a World War II sailor and Francis Swartz, an Air Force pilot during the Korean War.

    And finally we have a photograph and military experiences for William E. Haste, who served in the Korean War from 1950 to 1952.

    Remember that you, too, can memorialize relatives in Our Military Heritage by submitting scans of photographs and documents, or a biography.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • RootsTech Livestreaming in the Discovery Center!

    Tuesday, Jan 31, 2017

    Have you heard about RootsTech, the annual family history and technology conference in Salt Lake City? Do you want to go, but just haven’t made arrangements? Experience the excitement, share the knowledge, and see what everyone will be talking about for the next year!

    Join us as we livestream RootsTech 2017 In the Discovery Center! Come and go as you please!

    For a list of sessions and times, see the brochure!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Black History Month Images Revealed - Alexandre Dumas

    Tuesday, Jan 31, 2017

    by Kay

    In February we will be celebrating Black History Month. We always create some kind of flyer, poster, slide, advertisement. But have you ever wondered just what some of those images are that we use. Let's take a look at some of the images used in the making of our flyer for Black History Month 2017.

    Thomas-Alexandre Dumas Davy de la Pailleterie, also known as Alexandre Dumas (March 25, 1762 - February 26, 1806) was a general in Revolutionary France and the highest-ranking man of African descent ever in a European army. He was the highest ranking black man in any Western world military until 1975, when Daniel “Chappie” James Jr. became a four-star general in the United States Air Force.
    BHM Dumas

    Born in Saint-Domingue, Thomas-Alexandre was of mixed race, the son of Alexandre Antoine Davy de la Pailleterie, a white French nobleman, and Marie-Cessette Dumas, an enslaved mother of African descent. His father brought him to France for his education. Slavery had been illegal in France since 1315, this meant that any slave born out of the country could be freed while in France, but he struggled in his later years and fell into poverty.

    It could be that you have never heard of Thomas, but I bet you may have heard of his son - author Alexandre Dumas. It is said that Alexandre Dumas based a number of his books on his father’s exploits. To learn more about Thomas-Alexandre Dumas Davy de la Pailleterie, read "The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo," by Tom Reiss.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Black History Month Revealed - Cotton, Slaves & Rice

    Saturday, Jan 28, 2017

    By Kay

    As we remember Black History Month in February, we always create some kind of flyer, poster, slide, or advertisement. Have you ever wondered just what some of those images are that we use. Let's take a look at some of the images used in the making of our flyer for Black History Month 2017.
    "I have found that, to make a contented slave, it is necessary to make a thoughtless one. It is necessary to darken his moral and mental vision, and, as far as possible, to annihilate the power of reason. He must be able to detect no inconsistencies in slavery; he must be made to feel that slavery is right; and he can be brought to that only when he ceases to be a man." Frederick Douglass.

    Slaves picking cotton. I cannot even imagine working in a field of sticky cotton from sun-up to sun-set. There were no breaks, no lunches. The average slave had to fill a bag strapped to their shoulder with 200lbs of cotton. They were bent over daily, whether it was sunny or rainy. If they didn't make their quota, they were whipped. When a slave’s day ends it doesn't, he or she has their own house to tend to.

    For more information visit:
    Twelve Years a Slave:  Narrative of Solomon Northup, a Citizen of New-York, Kidnapped
    and Life on a Southern Plantation, 1854, or read "A Tale of Two Plantations: Slave Life and Labor in Jamaica and Virginia," by Richard S. Dunn.

    There is an image of a stone table used by auctioneers to display a slave from the Green Hill Plantation, located on Long Island, Virginia. The plantation was built by Samuel Pannill, who first bought 600 acres from William and Moses Fuqua in 1797, and added to and developed the plantation until his death in 1864. According to tradition, these original stone features were used in the auction and sale of slaves. The smaller of the two elements was used by the auctioneer while the stone table was used to display the best qualities of the slaves. The authenticity of this story has not been documented. Both auctioneer's stone and table are in good condition, and are presently used by the owners to hold milk buckets, etc. The auctioneer's stand is a solid stone block, approximately 1'-2" x 3'-0" x 10" high. The stone table approximately 3' square and 3' high, and is supported by four rectangular stones set upright into the ground. A bottom stone is shaped as a cross to fit between the posts at each corner. Top stone about 3" thick; bottom stone about 2-1/2" thick. No mortar was used.

    Learn more about Greenhill Plantation or read "Northern Money, Southern Land: the Lowcountry Plantation Sketches of Chlotilde R. Martin," by Chlotilde R. Martin.

    The Rice-Raft image is one of 269 from South Carolina that are part of the Robert N. Dennis Collection of Stereoscopic Views at the New York Public Library’s Digital Collections. The original image was used in a stereoscopic viewer. Stereoscopic viewers make the 2-dimensional images appear 3-dimensional when viewed through the stereoscope. But even without the stereoscope this image has always haunted me. Just called Rice-raft, this image was published in 1895 and shows a boatload of rice-straw which was used for fodder, bedding and paper-stock. Standing on top of this rice-straw is a large group of African-American people. What was going through their minds? Were they irritated with the cameraman, dreading the work that was to come or enjoying the breeze which was ruffling their skirts? Were these individuals part of the Gullah Geechee culture which inhabited South Carolina?

    Rice was very profitable for the Carolina colonies. There is a debate on how the rice arrived at our shores. Did it come as part of the "Columbian Exchange" or did the slaves bring the rice grains from Africa and supplement their diets with it? However it arrived on our shores, eventually it would take a lot of people to work the rice plantations which developed. Those slaves would do everything from making the fanner baskets, building canals to carry water, to standing in stagnant water all day, bent over, planting rice seedlings.

    Learn more about the Gullah Geechee culture, Low country life, or this image specifically, or read Philip Morgan's "African American Life in the Georgia Lowcountry: the Atlantic World and the Gullah Geechee."

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • New Free Family Resources

    Wednesday, Jan 25, 2017

    We have added new material to our free Family Resources files. The largest of these is additions to the Ewing Family Association and Related Materials. This large addition includes 21 separate Ewing family files, including Brief Account of the Ancestry of the Kentucky and Indiana Descendants of Putnam Ewing, Descendants of John Ewing of Carnshanagh, Descendants William Ewing of Stirling, Ewing Family Chronicles 1629-1979, Harvey Canterbury Klemann, Ewing-McCulloch-Buchanan Genealogy, Grandfather’s Farm: Life on the Chantey Plantation of Squire Maskell Ewing, and One Hundred Years for Christ: Tome Memorial United Methodist Church, Port Deposit, Maryland as well as many others. Many are keyword searchable or can be searched with the federated search from our home page. If you have any interest in Ewing families, browsing would be advisable.

    The next item is Arthur Hastings Grant’s The Grant Family: A Genealogical History of the Descendants of Matthew Grant of Windsor, Connecticut. 1601-1898, which was published in 1898. This volume was almost 600 pages to Grant family research and is keyword searchable and also has its own index as part of the volume.
    John B. McCaleb was a lawyer and judge in northeastern Arkansas, starting out in Sharp County, then moving to Independence County, although he was also well known in Arkansas in the legal community. The Diaries of John Bell McCaleb: The Times & Travels of a Northeast Arkansas Lawyer have been transcribed for the years 1906 through 1925 and many of those years have their own surname index. His notations include the petition for the naturalization of Richard Mead, formerly of England, various murder cases and his own business notes. If you are researching northeastern Arkansas, this could certainly be a treasure trove of information.

    Susan B. Vanarsdale, daughter of Peter and Charity (Demaree) Vanarsdale, was born in Kentucky in 1824 and died in Missouri in 1856. The Susan B. Vanarsdale Diary 1847-1855 covers the time spent in Missouri, courtships and friendships, family and visits.

    These are all terrific additions to the free resources that we are pleased to make available to you!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • One-on-One Consultations for February 2017

    Sunday, Jan 22, 2017

    Have a brick wall in your research? Would you like a greater understanding of some aspect of your research? The Genealogy Center is offering 30-minute personal research consultations with a staff member on some troublesome aspect of your research, from 2PM to 4PM on Tuesday, February 7, 2017 and Friday February 17, 2017. Call 260-421-1225 or send an email for an appointment, requesting a Consultation and providing basic information concerning the nature of your quandary. A staff member will be assigned and a time established for your Consultation. Be sure to bring your research notes to your consultation. Space is limited, and pre-registration is required. Register today!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Black History Month Images Revealed - Joseph de Bologne Saint-Georges

    Thursday, Jan 19, 2017

    by Kay

    In February we will be celebrating Black History Month. We always create some kind of flyer, poster, slide, advertisement. But have you ever wondered just what some of those images are that we use. Let's take a look at some of the images used in the making of our flyer for Black History Month 2017.

    Joseph de Bologne Saint-Georges was born December 25, 1745 on a plantation near Basse-Terre, on the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe. His father was a nobleman by the name of George de Bologne de Saint-Georges and his mother was Anne Nanon, a black slave and mistress of George. Joseph was educated in France, where his father was a Gentleman of the King's Chamber. Joseph started fencing at the age of 13 and by the age of 17 he became Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges.
    BHM Chevalier_de_Saint-Georges

    Because of his fencing, Saint-Georges earned the nickname of "the god of arms." It was also at this time he became a skilled musician and composer. He played the harpsichord and violin, and he composed and conducted. His string quartets were among the first in France and were first performed 1772 and published starting in 1773, when he was became conductor of Le Concert des amateurs.

    Not all was rosy for Saint-Georges, three female singers objected to a "mulatto" directing and he fell on hard times. However, he had friends in the Duke of Orléans and England’s George, Prince of Wales. He was friends with the Marquise de Montesson and Queen Marie-Antoinette. What's that saying about "with friends like that?" Maybe Joseph's timing was off because along came the French revolution and things fell apart. He then became the colonel of 1,000 volunteers of color and helped halt some treasonous activity during the French revolution. But, then again, his timing was off and he was imprisoned for 11 months on false charges, before being acquitted. At least he avoided the guillotine. He then returned to music and founded the orchestra of Le Cercle de L'Harmonie in 1797. He died on June 10, 1799.
    Listen online to his musical compositions.

    To read more about This fascinating man, read "Before There was Mozart: The story of Joseph Boulogne, Chevalier de Saint-George," by Lesa Cline-Ransome and "Monsieur de Saint-George : Virtuoso, Swordsman, Revolutionary, A Legendary Life Rediscovered," by Alain Guede.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Black History Month Images Revealed - Dido Elizabeth Belle

    Monday, Jan 16, 2017

    by Kay

    In February, we will be celebrating Black History Month. We always create some kind of flyer, poster, slide, or advertisement to mark the month, but have you ever wondered just what some of those images are that we use? Let's take a look at some of the images used in the making of our flyer for Black History Month 2017, starting with this one.
    Sometimes when people see something, they don't actually look at it. Around 1779, a painting was finished which requires a closer look. Originally titled "The Lady Elizabeth Murray," it hung in Kenwood House, located in England - at least until 1990. Then someone looked at it and started to ask questions; I know I did when I first saw it. I remember saying to myself, "There's a story behind that painting."

    At first your eyes encounter a young white girl with a slight smile on her face. She’s seated on a bench, she has a ring of flowers on her head and a book on her lap. She is quiet. Then your eyes wander to the other girl in the portrait. This girl is not quiet. She is actually laughing, she's up to something, she's in motion; it appears that she has been caught in the act of standing up. She seems to be having fun. It’s almost as she has a secret and she’s not going to tell us what it is. And, she is black. Oh sure, there are other old paintings with black people in them, but there is a difference with this one. To me, this painting suggests the two girls are on equal footing; there is a shared affection between them. They are both dressed in the height of fashion in some very luxurious dresses and they are both also wearing pearls. This is more than just a painting of a slave and her mistress. This painting forces us to ask questions. Who are these two? Where is the black girl hurrying off to? Why is she pointing to her cheek, why does she have basket of fruit in her arms? Is the white girl gently holding her back or urging her onward?

    Here's what we know: This is a portrait of Dido Elizabeth Belle and her cousin Lady Elizabeth Murray. At the time of this painting both Dido and Elizabeth were around 18 years old. They grew up together, were cousins, companions and friends. Dido and Elizabeth were left with their uncle, William Murray, the first Earl of Mansfield after their mothers died. They both seemed to have arrived on their uncle’s doorsteps around 1766 - separately. The big difference was that Dido was illegitimate and her mother was a black slave while Elizabeth's mother was white and married. It seems that the Earl had great affection for both of his nieces, making sure that they were both well cared for.

    It was during the time Dido lived in the Earl's household that he made some landmark judgements in England. You see not only was he a Lord, he was also Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales. One of the cases which was brought before him was the Somersett Case (1772). He held that slavery had no basis in common law and had never been established by legislation in England, and therefore was not binding law. This case paved the way for ending slavery in England. Did Dido play a part in his decision? We will never know.

    "Belle," a movie loosely based on Dido’s, life was released in 2013. There are not too many facts out there about Dido's life, she left no journals or diaries that we know of. What we do know is she married and was the mother of three boys. And, we know she died at the age of 43. Sad to say, we can only visualize her life based on the lives of the people around her and an intriguing painting which was left behind. The portrait of the two girls now hangs in the Murray families Scottish residence, Scone Palace.

    For more about Dido, read Dido Elizabeth Belle by Fergus Mason and Belle: the Slave Daughter and the Lord Chief Justice by Paula Byrne, or check out the movie, Belle.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Homegoing Programs

    Tuesday, Jan 10, 2017

    A homegoing (or home-going) service is an African-American Christian funeral tradition marking the going home of the deceased to the Lord or to heaven, and is a vibrant part of African American history and culture. Although there may be sadness at a parting, it is also a celebration of a life and the end of suffering in the mortal realm. These observations often include prayers, hymns, scripture, and eulogies, and a program is often printed so attendees can follow the service or to keep as a remembrance. Several groups in our area have been collecting the programs of their communities for inclusion in our databases, and we have recently added new memorials to each of these collections.

    Genealogy Tracers of Cleveland, Ohio, whose members are Alfreda Spratlen Barnes, Clancy Ware-Simpson, David Simpson, Carmine Vaughn Stewart, Gwendolyn Wynne Strayhan, and Henrietta English-West, have recently added 478 new memorials, containing 2597 new images. This collection also includes the Finney Memorial Collection, which have contributed an additional 33 memorials.

    And, here in Fort Wayne, Roberta Ridley, founding chairwomen of the African American Genealogical Society of Fort Wayne, contributed an additional nine memorial cards to the Marsha Smiley Collection, which also added an additional 63.

    These programs consist of wonderful personal and community histories, and we encourage anyone with a small, or large, collection to provide scans for inclusion in our collection, or contact us about having our volunteers scan them for you.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • New Free Databases!

    Saturday, Jan 07, 2017

    We’ve added a number of new Free Databases recently that we hope you will find useful.

    From our own back yard, we have the McKee Miles Funeral Home Records, Garrett, DeKalb County, Indiana. Carl McKee opened the funeral home in Garrett around 1972, branching out from his father’s furniture store and funeral home in Avilla. Dick Miles bought into the funeral before Carl McKee retired to Florida in the 1980s. The funeral home closed in 1999. A number of the records here pre-date the McKee-Miles funeral home and are from other funeral homes, though they were among the records of the McKee-Miles funeral home. This was a cooperative project of the Garrett Public Library and The Genealogy Center of the Allen County Public Library. One can browse the folders or search for specific names. Information included ranges from the deceased’s birth and death dates and parents’ names, biographical information and the names of people seated in various funeral cars.

    From Indianapolis, we have the Twenty-fifth anniversary history of Our Redeemer Lutheran Church. Published in 1944, this booklet includes a list of charter members, a photo of the choir, descriptions and photos of the windows, a 1944 Communicant list and a list of the congregation’s men and women in service to their country. For one interested in the history of the church it’s a vital source, made more accessible by the keyword search function.
    Several items have come to us from Valparaiso University in Porter County, Indiana, including Baccalaureate Service and Conferring of Degrees booklets for 1950 and 1953; the Baccalaureate Service booklet for 1952; the 25th Anniversary of Ordination of Otto Paul Kretzmann in 1944; and the Gamma Phinian for 1952, which includes pledges for Gamma Phi for 1948-1952. This, too, is keyword searchable.

    From a little farther east, we have the 12 Year History of Community United Methodist Church of Maryland City, Anne Arundel County, Maryland, written in 1975. This short volume includes brief descriptions of all facets of the congregation’s history including church buildings, officers and pastors, Christmas programs, banquets, members and more. And the keyword search makes it a breeze to use.

    Finally, from Wayne County, Michigan, we have the 1976, 1980, 1984 and 1988 yearbooks for General Motors Research Laboratories. Each yearbook has photos and names of employees by research area and a roster of personnel. The keyword search allows one to search for a specific person, or browse through to see what hip engineers were wearing in 1976.
    Research lab 3

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • New Free Family Resources

    Tuesday, Dec 27, 2016

    We have added a number of new free Family Resources!

    Linda Eder contributed Reverend Nathaniel Clark, Pioneer Preacher. Clark, the first pastor of the First Congregational Church in Elgin, Illinois, in 1833, traveled as a preacher in the area, establishing Sabbath Schools and temperance societies. This volume not only includes a biography for Clark, but also an alphabetical list of the places where he preached, with dates and scripture citation, Letters Written to the American Home Missionary Society from 13 March 1833 to 3 Sept 1838, and a list of funeral sermons he delivered, with the deceased’s name, date and scripture citation.

    Ann H. Emory has supplied Frederick Emory: Promise Unfulfilled. Frederick Emory was born in 1828 in Maryland, served in the Coast Guard, traveled to California during the gold rush, moving to Kansas during the contentious years in the last 1850s before joining the Confederate cause. He lived a quiet live there, dying at the Confederate Home in Missouri. This is a fascinating life told my an interested descendant.

    Harvey Edison Hicks was born Dec. 27, 1879, Tahlequah (Reservation), Oklahoma, son of Homer Hicks and Sylvia Ann Bogle though his father's family were pioneer settlers of Clay County, Indiana. He became an attorney in Brazil, Clay County, and served in several capacities in public service. We are pleased to have Harvey Edison Hicks’ Journal for 1932, in which he kept notes on his various legal activities for the year.

    “Holmes-Porter & Collateral Lineages” is a newsletter published by Paul D. Holmes, who kindly provided us permission to post volumes 1 through 4 (2013-2016). Each issue provides current family events, such as births and marriages, memories, Bible transcriptions, biographies, photos and more. We thank Mr. Holmes for his contribution, which should serve as an inspiration to anyone to create a family publication.

    Connie Jean Ramsey and Dennis McClurg have provided several publications for the Free Family Resources: Jones and Related Families, Volume IV: Jones Ancestors;
    Leland and Related Families, Volume II: Leland Ancestors; and  Ramsey and Related Families, Volume I: Ramsey Ancestors. All three detail the various lines of ancestors of Carol Jean Ramsey. Each volume provides an introduction and charts to explain how the fit together, and all are keyword searchable.

    Jim Reinhart provided us with his work Schindler: Meine Reise Fur Meine Kinder: Stefan und Anna Maria Schindler, which details the family from Germany to Indiana, and includes Civil War pension documents, photos, various records and details of various family connections.

    Finally, Family and Ancestors of Anna Adeline Johnson Wells details the family of “Addie’, who lived from 1865 to 1953, with details of her descendants. It, also, is keyword searchable. 

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • New & Updated Records for Fort Wayne and Allen County, Indiana

    Tuesday, Dec 20, 2016

    We have added great information to our free Allen County, Indiana Resources page!

    For North Side High School, we have Class of 1956 Reunion Booklets for 2011 (55th Reunion) and 2016 (60th Reunion), Class of 1970 Reunion Booklets for 1980, 1985, 1990, 1995, 200, 2005, 2010 and 2015, as well as Key Club Booklets for 1967-1968, 1968-1969 and 1969-1970.

    We have added 12339 records to the Allen County Marriage Index, bringing the total number to 79715 records, and we’ve added 187,79 records to the Fort Wayne and Allen County Area Obituary Index, bringing the total to 722,375 obituaries.

    There is also an 1812 era map of Fort Wayne came from the cartographic collection of David Rumsey, which shows the three rivers, the Portage, the Wabash Trail, Wayne Trace and more early locations of interest to local historians.

    Log Cabins in Allen County, Indiana was a collection of 31 photographs that, at some point in the past, had been collected into a small scrapbook. No photographer is identified, nor is any information of when they were collected included, but each photo was loosely identified as to location, such as “Log Smoke House; Auburn Road,” “Detail of House Built by Eugene Corneille in 1861,” or “First Frame House Built In St. Vincent Settlement; Auburn Road,” but the images preserved and shared here are amazing.
    Log Cabin

    Finally, sever more Abstracts of title have been added: Fleck’s Subdivision in LaGro Reserve, Lot 8; Forest Park, Block 15, Lot 10; and Windsor Woods, Section II, Lot 80. As usual, these abstracts provide vital information, not only about the single piece of property described, but each will also reflect information concerning property in the area.

    Take time to browse through these great additions!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Holiday Closings

    Saturday, Dec 17, 2016

    by Delia

    We at The Genealogy Center love when you come to visit. We enjoy the research challenges you have and helping to solve them. But, we have to admit, we also love spending holiday time with family and friends. This year, since the holidays are on the weekends, our closings are a bit longer than usual, and we hope you understand.

    Like all Allen County Public Library locations, The Genealogy Center will be closed Friday, December 23rd through Monday December 26th. We will be open our regular hours before then, and will reopen on Tuesday, December 27th at 9 a.m.

    Also like all ACPL locations, we will close on Saturday, December 31st at 5 p.m., and will remain closed Sunday and Monday, January 1st and 2nd. We will reopen on Tuesday, January 3rd, at 9 a.m., ready to help you address all of your research issues!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center