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  • Don't Believe Everything You Read

    Friday, Dec 19, 2014

    by Sara

    When I first started working on my family history over 30 years ago, I was thrilled to find an already published book, The Kelloggs in the Old World and the New by Timothy Hopkins (hereafter referred to as the Kellogg book), that traced the line of my 3rd great grandfather, John Abel Kellogg (1842-1909), all the way back to an immigrant ancestor who came to the United States in the 1600s.  As new researchers, my mom and I were so excited to see our family (including the names of recent relatives) listed in this book, that we assumed it must be correct. Now as a more experienced researcher, I know that all information found in printed family histories should be verified independently, before accepting it as accurate, especially when the family history does not explain where the author obtained his information, as this book did not.

    I started to look over my old research on the Kellogg family recently and in the process, made a discovery that shook some of our previous beliefs (including our faith in the Kellogg book’s assertions) and has left us with a fair number of unanswered questions.
    I began by trying to find John, his parents Martin and Eliza (Eaton), and siblings Wealthy and Veron/Vernon Kellogg in the 1850 census. I found a John Kellogg age 8, living with his presumed grandparents, Thomas and Mary Kellogg in Huron County, Ohio, and a Martin Kellogg (right age and details) boarding with a Reaves family in Madison Co, IL (which agreed with the Kellogg book), but no trace of Eliza, Wealthy or Vernon Kellogg in this census year. Upon closer examination of the book, Eliza was supposed to have died on June 14, 1846, which would explain why the family seemed to have split up by 1850.  I checked Huron County, Ohio Cemetery Inscriptions to find out where Eliza was buried. There was a listing for Martin and Eliza’s 17 month-old daughter Mary E., who also died in June of 1846, but no tombstone for Eliza in the same cemetery or any other cemetery in the county. This seemed odd to me, although it is entirely possible that she had a stone at one time that has since been lost to the ravages of time, or that her stone was missed or misread in the cemetery inventory. So, I continued to research this family.
    Imagine my surprise to find Abel J. (John), Wealthy and Vernon in the 1860 census in Huron County, Ohio with an Eliza Kellogg, born 1818 in Vermont, as head of the household! Could this person be their mother? Censuses before 1880 did not state the relationships of persons living in the same household. Further investigation turned up other sightings of a mysterious Eliza Kellogg. In the 1850 census, Elija [Eliza?] Kellogg, born 1818 in Vermont, was listed with the Hiram Curtis family in Huron County, Ohio.  Her vital details indicate she was probably the same person as the 1860 Eliza Kellogg, but mistakenly transcribed by the census indexer at Ancestry.com as “Elija.”

    Son John Abel Kellogg moved to Barry County, Michigan by 1870. In the 1870 and 1880 censuses of Barry County, there was an Eliza Kellogg who lived in the County Poor House. In 1870 she was listed as born in 1830 in Ohio and a pauper, and in 1880 she was listed as from Baltimore Township (where son John lived) and ill with “scroffulia” [sic] or scrofula (a type of tuberculosis of the skin), no birth date or place given. No other Eliza Kellogg was enumerated in Barry County before or after these years. Between 1880 and 1894, son John moved to Montcalm County, Michigan. And oddly enough, an Eliza Kellogg, born 1821, place unknown, died in the Poor House there in 1896 of erysipelas (a skin infection).  No other Eliza Kellogg was found in online Montcalm records, except for a couple of Elizabeth Kelloggs who were married in that county, but with ages inconsistent with our Eliza.  Were these sightings coincidental; or were one, some or all of the Eliza Kelloggs that we found after our Eliza’s supposed death in 1846, actually the mother of John Abel Kellogg? I lean toward believing that they were all the same woman, but clearly more research is needed.

    If even one of these Eliza Kelloggs was our John’s mother, then the Kellogg book that we placed so much reliance on was either misinformed about the family details or tried to deliberately mislead readers about the fate of Eliza Kellogg.  Another fact that the Kellogg book may have gotten wrong is Eliza’s maiden name. The book says it was Eaton, but the only likely marriage record found in Ohio for this couple was for a Martin Kellogg and Eliza Payn(e) in Huron Co. Ohio in 1839.  There were multiple Martin Kelloggs in Huron County, but which one married Eliza Payne? What was our Eliza’s correct maiden name? Could she have been an Eaton who was married previously to a man named Payne?  More mysteries to solve.  

    Without a doubt, we have proven again through this incident that genealogical information found in published family histories should be verified, rather than accepted as gospel truth, especially when sources are not cited. Family histories or online family trees can be used as a great starting point for one’s research, but then the real work of proving or disproving the information found begins. My work will continue as I seek the truth about Eliza Kellogg and fact-check the remainder of the pertinent Kellogg information listed in the book.


    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Inflation and Deflation at The Genealogy Center

    Friday, Dec 12, 2014

    by Delia

    Don’t we all love to complain about high prices? Remember when gasoline was under one dollar? When stamps were eleven cents? When a candy bar was a nickel! It seems that everything goes up in price, right?

    Not always, of course. When I was in college, a calculator from Texas Instruments cost over two grand! Eventually, they were freebies at the bank, and now, I’ve got one on my cell phone. And speaking of cell phones, they were expensive, too, until they figured out there was more money to be made in service charges. Now, you can get one almost for free (when you sign a contract). Technology has changed and become much less expensive.

    But there’s another bargain to which I want to call your attention. When I first started working at The Genealogy Center in 1983, it cost all of ten cents to photocopy a page from a book. Guess what, now, 30 years later, it costs *gasp* ten cents to photocopy a page from a book. That is 0% inflation. And you can scan copies for free if you bring a USB drive. And the cost of microtext copies has actually gone down. In 1983, a photocopy from microfilm or microfiche cost our customers a quarter. As of this writing, microtext photocopies are actually free!* And you can also bring a USB drive to scan and save images from these machines, too.

    There are lots of other free stuff available at The Genealogy Center. You can access Ancestry, Fold3 and other subscription databases for free while you are visiting The Center. Plus we have more than a million items in print and microform to use here for free.

    So next time you think about rising prices and the de-valuing of your dollar, remember that your money is actually worth more now than it was 30 years ago – at The Genealogy Center!

    * Technicians may figure out how to charge for microtext copies at any time, but the price will probably not be over ten cents when that does happen.


    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Pearl Harbor Source

    Sunday, Dec 07, 2014

    by Delia

    December 7, 1941, termed by Franklin Roosevelt as “a day that will live in infamy,” saw the deaths of 2500 Americans and the injury of 1200 others. The events of that day resulted in the United States participation in the war that was already raging in Europe. There is a great deal written about the events of that day, in books, in periodicals and, now, online, with many opinions concerning what actions led up to the attack, and the results that followed.

    As a genealogist, I am more interested in the toll on the people who were serving in the military and endured the attack. First-hand accounts abound, many owned by The Genealogy Center for those researching or just interested. One interesting source for Pearl Harbor research is the “Pearl Harbor Muster Rolls” on Fold3. Each ship and section is divided by year, then by date of muster. Before the war, muster was usually taken quarterly, an alphabetical list providing name, service number, date of enlistment, rank and when the service man had arrived. The Report of Changes provided name, service number, date and place of enlistment and any changes to the service man’s status, including reassignment, illness or death. The September 30, 1941 Muster Roll for the USS Arizona is 38 pages of names, from to Hubert Aaron to Loyd M. Zimmerman. The December 31st Muster Roll has only one page, with the Report of Changes for December 7th and December 31st which contains a total of 83 pages, with most of the changes listed as: “Missing since action against enemy, Dec, 7, 1941 at Pearl Harbor; next of Kin not notified,” including Hubert Aaron and Loyd M. Zimmerman.

    Of course, these rolls and changes are not solely about the attack. Muster rolls from the 1930s and throughout the war are included. If you have a serviceman in the South Pacific during World War II, this is an excellent source of information. But all of us should think about the many lives lost that day. Each had a name. On this anniversary, get to know a few.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Keeping up with The Genealogy Center on Social Media

    Wednesday, Dec 03, 2014

    by Dawne

    We live in a great time for genealogy! It’s possible to do some significant amount of research from the comfort of our homes on our notebook or desktop computers, or from wherever we might go with our tablets and smartphones. We can also stay connected with family members and fellow researchers through email, social media and other tools on our portable devices. A third perk of the digital world is keeping up with favorite genealogical “entities” – like The Genealogy Center! – on social media so that we don’t miss anything!

    Are you connected to The Genealogy Center through these social media outlets?

    Blog – Since you are reading this, you have found The Genealogy Center’s blog. You can also subscribe to The Genealogy Center blog’s RSS feed.

    E-zine – Do you subscribe to The Genealogy Center’s free monthly electronic magazine, Genealogy Gems? Each issue features articles on two sources or websites, a preservation tip, a technology column, information about upcoming Genealogy Center events, information about local events of a genealogical or local history nature, and more. Also, you can reprint articles from Genealogy Gems in your local society’s newsletter, if you give credit to The Genealogy Center. You can have this information-packed resource delivered to your email inbox on the last day of each month by subscribing.

    Facebook – If you are on Facebook, you will want to “like” The Genealogy Center’s page. Find out what’s happening at The Genealogy Center, from seeing pictures of the groups that visit, to learning about upcoming events, and generally feeling like you are part of The Genealogy Center family!

    Instagram – The newest member of The Genealogy Center’s social media presence is Instagram. Follow us! We are GenealogyCenter.

    PinterestThe Genealogy Center posts all of its event flyers and more on Pinterest. Find us here.

    Twitter – And last, but not least – yes, The Genealogy Center is on Twitter! We have almost 1000 followers! Will you be the one to push us past that goal? Keep up with all of The Genealogy Center news while you are on the go by downloading the Twitter app on your smartphone and following us @ACPLGenealogy!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • War of 1812 Pensions - Forever Free

    Saturday, Nov 29, 2014

    by Delia

    The War of 1812 seems to be a forgotten period in our nation’s history. It doesn’t have the single-minded goal of independence that the American Revolution had, nor did it have as many participants, as did the Civil War. It’s buried between the two wars, and to many people, may seem rather vague – something about not letting the British take American sailors, or something.

    It was, of course, much more important than many realize, cementing America’s solidarity and freedom, laying the groundwork for Texas’s war for liberation and the war with Mexico that followed a decade later. The soldiers of the War of 1812 were the second generation of leaders and pioneers of this country, people and families that existed in a time where information may be scarce.

    The pension for those soldiers, applied for and granted many decades later, may offer the keys to unlocking family mysteries. Until now, those pensions were decaying files in the National Archives in Washington, D.C., accessible only in person or by mail.

    Thanks to the combined efforts led by the Federation of Genealogical Societies, and supported by many genealogical focused companies, such as Ancestry and Fold3, these pensions are being digitized and made available FOR FREE! FOREVER! Anyone may search, browse, read, download and print these records from the Fold3 website at no charge. As of this writing, pensions by state or service are available through surnames that begin with the letters A through J, and their efforts continue on a daily basis.

    These efforts are supported by the genealogical community and fueled by the interest of you and other genealogists. Every dollar that is donated will be matched by Ancestry.com. This means that every dollar you donate becomes two for the Preserve the Pensions program. There are still more than half the files left to preserve and digitize. Take a moment to visit the Preserve the Pensions website and donate to this worthy cause. Preserve the Pensions! Make them Free! Forever!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Thanksgiving and Family Stories

    Wednesday, Nov 26, 2014

     Thanksgiving

    When I was a child, Thanksgiving was all about the feast. My mother would have been preparing for several days, and was up early on Thursday to get the turkey in the oven. She made a number of dishes that were traditional, and often added a new one, which might or might not become a regular. We daughters (there were no sons) would do our assigned tasks and, when we lived in California, Daddy would pick roses for the table. We would sit down to eat about 1 p.m., and might be sitting there an hour later, having finished eating and were just talking. If we had any relatives with us, we might be sitting there for several hours, chatting and laughing over old stories. As the family expanded and various relatives married, sometimes the new family members did not understand why we’d sit in hard chairs at the table and talk. Wasn’t it time to get back to the game on TV? Some never quite got it. I wish I had had some of these questions to spark their interest.

    You can use these questions any way you like. Ask everyone each of these questions or make a game of it, with each person selecting a question at random and record them (video, audio or transcription). You and your guests may not spend two more hours chatting after dinner like my family, but you may put off the football game just a bit longer and share stories as well as your meal.

    Five questions for older relatives:
    1. Describe the ways your family celebrated Thanksgiving when you were a child? How did your traditions change as you grew older?
    2. Pick a school year. Describe a typical day, and describe an event that was un-typical.
    3. Did your family celebrate Halloween when you were a child and teen? What did you do?
    4. When did you first get your driver’s license? How difficult was it to get one? Describe your driving lessons.
    5. Who was the oldest person in your family when you were a child? A grandparent or great-grandparent?

    Five questions for younger relatives to get them thinking about their life story, and sharing it:
    1. How does your family celebrate Thanksgiving? What are your three favorite parts of the celebration?
    2. Describe your first day of school this year: What grade, school, and teacher? What did you wear? What did you eat for lunch? What was the biggest surprise of the day?
    3. What did you do for Halloween this year? What were your best Halloween memories of your life?
    4. Do you have your driver’s license or learner’s permit? Describe the process and any anecdotes.
    5. Who is the youngest person in your family right now? Tell how you first met him or her?

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Martin Family Reunion Photo: A Saga of Cooperation

    Sunday, Nov 23, 2014

    by Delia
     
    Recently, a photo was donated to The Genealogy Center’s Family Resources page. It was of the 1916 reunion of the Martin Family of Allen County, Indiana. Accompanying the photo was a newspaper clipping that named the attendees, but did not identify each person in the photo by name. Much as all of us would like to fully identify each and every aspect of a source before we post it, the question came down to post it right away or wait until it was fully sourced, which might be years, or never! The Genealogy Center decided to go with the former option and posted the photo along with a transcription of the accompanying article. The article is indexed through the federated search on The Genealogy Center’s homepage. We decided that anyone interested in the Martin family would be happy just to see the photograph and read the names, even if the two were not correlated!
     
    What we did not anticipate was the depth of interest of one descendant of the family. A few weeks ago, we were contacted by Steve Weaver, the grandson of Margaret Jesse Martin, who was 16 years old in 1916 when she and her family posed for this photograph. Mr. Weaver worked with many members of the family and succeeded in positively matching all but three of the figures in the photograph with the names in the article, and provided possibilities for those undetermined figures as well. He numbered each figure on an outline sketch, then provided names and other biographical information on each of 79 people pictured, as well as supplying a larger image of the original photograph. Both photos, the newspaper clipping transcription, the identifying sketch and the biographical material are now on our Family Resources page.
     
    We would not have this image or any of the information without the original contribution to the Family Resources files that piqued the interest of Steve Weaver. But without his determination to identify his family members, the image would be just an image, and not a resource to anyone researching the Martin or its collateral families.
     
    This is the way family research, as well as our collection, grows: Through large and small contributions from many people. You, too, can contribute your family resources for all to see and use by visiting our Donation Options page.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • WinterTech for December

    Wednesday, Nov 19, 2014

     Our WinterTech series continues in December with “Google It! Using Google Maps, Google Earth and More.” John Beatty and Dawne Slater-Putt will take a look at a number of ways one can use Google map products to discover more of one’s family history story. Join them in Meeting Room A, on Wednesday December 10, 2014, 3PM to 4PM. To register for this free event, call 260-421-1225 or send an email.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Closed Thanskgiving Day

    Sunday, Nov 16, 2014

    The Genealogy Center, like all Allen County Public Library facilities, will be closed on Thursday, November 27, 2014 for Thanksgiving. We will be open our regular hours of 9A to 9P on Wednesday, November 26th, and will reopen on Friday, November 28th at 9A. We hope you will enjoy the holiday and will be able to discuss family history and mysteries, and will then come in to visit us!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Elements of Genealogical Analysis

    Thursday, Nov 13, 2014

    by John

    A number of guidebooks about analyzing genealogical records have appeared in print over the last quarter century. All of them have proven valuable for helping genealogists develop better skills in assessing the records they uncover in doing research. The pioneering work of this genre is Noel C. Stevenson’s "Genealogical Evidence: A Guide to the Standard of Proof Relating to Pedigrees, Ancestry, Heirship, and Family History" (GC 929 St48gen). Stevenson, a lawyer, used legal terms such as “hearsay” and “preponderance of evidence” to assess the quality of genealogical records, and he provided methodologies for developing proof arguments.

    Christine Rose followed Stevenson with "The Genealogical Proof Standard: Building a Solid Case" (GC 929 R719geb). Her work set forth a new set of principles for evaluating evidence that resonated through the genealogical world and became a benchmark for the standards endorsed by the Board for Certification of Genealogists. The current BCG website defines the Genealogical Proof Standard succinctly as follows: 
    1. A reasonably exhaustive search
    2. Complete and accurate source citations
    3. Analysis and correlation of collected information
    4. Resolution of any conflicting evidence, and
    5. A soundly reasoned, coherently-written conclusion.

    Genealogists seeking both a path for solving genealogical problems and writing well are encouraged to follow these five steps. Subsequent works, including "Evidence Explained" by Elizabeth Shown Mills (GC 929 M624ea) and "Mastering Genealogical Proof" by Thomas W. Jones (CG 929 J71m), have built on the GPS’s foundation. "Mastering Genealogical Proof," published last year, expounds on each of its five elements, providing readers with sets of questions to ask and concepts to understand when evaluating a record. Mills’s book remains the definitive tool for citing that evidence coherently and completely in a footnote.

    This year, a new book on this topic presents a somewhat divergent model for evaluating evidence: "Elements of Genealogical Analysis" by Robert Charles Anderson (Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2014), (GC 929 An2e). As the long-time head of NEHGS’s Great Migration Project, Anderson has earned respect for the caliber of the research methodology he has employed in evaluating evidence for his project. The Great Migration is a prosopography published in multiple volumes that traces every known settler arriving in New England to the year 1635. Considered a ground-breaking work, the series has uncovered many new records while also dispelling and disproving many false claims widely circulated in print.

    In "Elements of Genealogical Analysis," Anderson sets forth the process of evaluation that he has used so effectively with the Great Migration Project. It is, as he says, “a book about how to solve genealogical problems.” He begins by setting forth two fundamental rules to genealogical research:
    1. “All statements must be based only on accurately reported, carefully documented, and exhaustively analyzed records.”
    2. “You must have a sound, explicit reason for saying that any two records refer to the same person.”

    Anderson’s first rule can be compared with the first two tenets of the Genealogical Proof Standard: a Reasonably Exhaustive Search and Complete and Accurate Source Citations. The second rule, while not elucidated specifically in the GPS, is nevertheless subsumed by “Analysis and Correlation of Collected Information.” Indeed, even though Anderson offers readers a new model or paradigm, some of "Elements of Genealogical Analysis" can be found in other forms within the GPS.

    In the body of the book, Anderson lays out the heart of his methodology. He identifies a set of three tools (source analysis, record analysis, and linkage analysis) and a five-step sequence for solving genealogical questions. He defines a “source” as a coherent group of records created by a single entity or person; a “record” as that portion of a source that pertains to a single event; and “linkage analysis” as the process of studying two different records pertaining to a name and determining whether they pertain to the same person or two or more different people.

    The first step of Anderson’s problem-solving sequence is “Problem Selection,” identifying the genealogical problem you are trying to solve. This step may seem intuitive, but untying a complex knot into its component threads often brings to light multiple problems, not just one, to be solved. Resolving each one separately is essential to solving the whole.

    His second step is “Problem Analysis,” in which one examines everything known about the problem, including gathering and evaluating the previously-published work of other genealogists relating to the problem, and considering all assumptions others have made about it. Again, Anderson urges genealogists to “pick apart” that work into its most basic components. While not unlike the third element of the Genealogical Proof Standard, Anderson brings to bear some of his own scientific training as a former molecular biologist by advocating that genealogists deconstruct or perform “a reverse linkage analysis” with each problem, while at the same time creating a plan for collecting new data. By stripping away previous conclusions by others, whether they involve the form of a name, an ascribed date, a place or event, one can often find new ways of looking at each component.

    The third step of Anderson’s five-part plan is “Data Collection,” when one puts the newly-formed research plan into action. This step is crucial for finding a resolution and may involve seeking what he terms “external knowledge,” using all appropriate finding aids, and considering the record density of the time and place being researched. A full examination of all archival sources, including the most original copy of a record, is a crucial part of this step. The researcher will need to make sure that every record is accurately reported and documented so that a proper citation can be made (Step 2 of the Genealogical Proof Standard).

    Anderson’s fourth step, “Synthesis,” involves his linkage analysis tool - essentially creating what he terms “bundles” of two or more linked records and determining whether they pertain to the same person. This step is akin to Steps 3 and especially 4 of the Genealogical Proof Standard, “Resolution of any Conflicting Evidence,” though Anderson’s linkage bundles offer a slightly different twist from the way Jones presents Step 4 in Mastering Genealogical Proof. Here Anderson assumes that the researcher has already weeded derivative sources and secondary evidence at the “Problem Analysis” stage, while Jones advocates doing so later in the process. Anderson provides numerous examples of linkage bundles and resolved problems drawn mostly from his colonial New England research. 

    His fifth and final step, “Problem Resolution,” emerges as a direct result of the synthesis and linkage analysis, the point where the researcher reaches a defensible conclusion based on the connections made after a careful study of the bundled records. This step, while similar to the fourth element of the Genealogical Proof Standard, lacks the writing component imbedded in the GPS’s fifth element, “a coherently-written conclusion.” Advocates of the GPS emphasize the physical act of writing – developing written proof summaries and arguments and honing them a clear writing style – as integral to the process of solving a problem, a way of gathering one’s thoughts while interpreting the evidence. By contrast, Anderson does not address writing at all in his five elements, even though it is in some respects implicit in his process. The difference is that Jones and other advocates of the GPS embrace the act of preparing a cogent proof argument as essential, not ancillary, to a problem’s resolution.

    In spite of these minor differences, "Elements of Genealogical Analysis" is not in conflict with "Mastering Genealogical Proof." Readers are not forced to choose one system over the other or to say that one is “right” and the other “wrong.” Anderson’s book offers a new model, a reshuffling of some elements of the Genealogical Proof Standard, which can be useful for any genealogist seeking new ways of analyzing a problem. There should be room for both volumes on the shelves of any genealogical library.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Celebrate Veterans Day -- Help Build Our Military Heritage

    Tuesday, Nov 11, 2014

    by Delia

    There are many ways that Americans honor our veterans, especially on November 11th, the day dedicated to honoring them. There are parades. Restaurants provide free meals to veterans. Various news media sources will highlight a specific veteran as an example. Everyone is doing what they can to show appreciation for all the vets did.

    The Genealogy Center honors all veterans by creating and hosting Our Military Heritage, dedicated to preserving records, stories and photos from all veterans, even yours! This webpage contains material from the Colonial era to present day, with records on specific soldiers or particular units, letters, diaries, photographs and memories as well as digitized books. If you have not had a chance to browse this site, do so today. If you have records, photographs or other military-related documents you would like to be included on the website, we welcome a chance to work with you.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Be Careful What You Ask For

    Friday, Nov 07, 2014

    by Delia

    I’ve had this experience several times, both while working with a customer here at The Genealogy Center, and while looking up information as a favor to a “friend of a friend.” In the personal realm, my friends know that I have an interest in genealogy and that I know how to find information. On occasion, one of my friends has had a friend with a mystery in his or her family tree. It might be a grandmother who left her husband and children. Perhaps there’s a father who deserted the family. Maybe it’s an uncle about whom no one ever talks. It could be almost anyone, and it might be at any time in the past. The situation usually has gone that my friend introduces me to the other person and I hear the mystery and am set upon the trail.

    Most of the time, the tale is at least vaguely sad – a family torn apart, or a light-lipped mystery can eat at a person until he or she just has to know the truth. I can be saddened by these stories, but for me they are usually just a mystery to be solved. For me the question is, “Can I figure out a way to find out what happened?” I may discuss the issue with my friend’s friend, suggesting several ways to dig into the story. Sometimes they have to do it because as much as I might want to, I can’t afford to request and pay for documents for anyone but my own family. But sometimes, such as when I am working with a customer in The Genealogy Center, I have access to books and online documents that will solve the mystery. I may discover the runaway actually lived right in the next county until death and, although his family never acknowledged him, they almost certainly knew where he was all the time. I might stumble across a bigamist salesman with a wife and family at either end of his route. I might discover a military deserter or an illegitimate child raised by her grandparents as the sister of her birth mother.

    I am pragmatic about the stories in my own family. Yes, it was sad that my grandmother’s parents died and that she and her siblings were parceled out to friends and relations in various states. But if my grandmother had not been adopted by childless friends in another state, she might never have met and married my grandfather. Then where would I be? I consider that the wife left by her husband was able, through grit and determination, to make sure her children were educated and had a good start in life. The illegitimate child raised by grandparents grew up within a loving family with a doting “aunt.” The deserter lived to father children.

    However, to those not already steeped in genealogy and history and accustomed to finding these “blemishes,” such findings may be disturbing. A couple of times, my friends’ friends have called a halt mid-search, deciding that they really don’t want to know. I respect that, but I try to remind them that the mistakes of our ancestors, and the injustices they faced, are in the past. Yes, ripples may still be in our ponds, but do not have to drown us with sorrow. Anyone who wishes to delve into his or her family roots needs to realize that there may be mud there. Be careful of what you ask for – you might find something different than you wanted to know!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • When There‚Äôs No Final Resting Place

    Monday, Nov 03, 2014

    by Delia

    We genealogists love cemeteries, don’t we? Our friends and family might think we are a bit strange in our enthusiasm for these cities of the dead. We wander among tombstones, seeking ancestors or just reading interesting inscriptions. We note ages and dates, letting them suggest a story. It might be when several children in a family died at the same time, suggesting illness or disaster. Or maybe we marvel at an older woman buried beside a young husband who died many years before her. We visit long-deceased ancestors, allowing them to speak to us concerning their lives. And sometimes we seek in vain to locate those final resting places.

    But what will happen in the future, when there are no resting places? Although cremation has long been a part of the funeral customs of many cultures, modern cremation in the western world is less than 150 years old. For many years, a majority of those who were cremated were placed in niches in mausoleums in local cemeteries, which still provided a place of memorial. But the scattering of ashes removed the probability of a physical memorial and record for future generations to determine just where someone ended up.

    I’ve known a number of people through the years who have had their ashes scattered. One couple had their ashes scattered in the enclosed garden of their church, and had very small metal memorial plaques placed there. This was fine until part of the garden was repurposed and one of the plaques was lost. Another man I know hired a small plane to take him up over the mountains near where his mother had lived so he could scatter her ashes. He did not realize that one is supposed to toss the ashes in their plastic bag out of the plane’s door so that the force of the wind would break open the bag, allowing the ashes to descend. He opened the bag to pour the ashes out, and the draft blew most of them back into the plane. I am not sure what he did after vacuuming his mother from the inside of the plane, but there’s no marker.

    This has all come to mind recently because my father-in-law died. He wanted to be cremated and his ashes placed, with no stone or marker and no ceremony, at the graveside of his second wife. However, they had separated before their deaths and her family really did not want my father-in-law in their family plot. So my husband and his sisters decided to place his ashes at the graveside of a sibling who died long ago, but, as per his wishes, with no marker. This disturbs the genealogist in me and I finally decided that once they placed the ashes, I would add him to the Find a Grave website within that cemetery, with a notation that his remains are with his child. While looking on the website to see how it might be done, I discovered that the website organizers already have a part of their site dedicated to Cremated or Cemetery Unknown. I browsed through the 167 entries and noted that most provided more information than many entries in Find a Grave, often including obituaries.

    So if you know someone who has been cremated, you might want to take a few minutes to add that information to this website, so that future researchers will know where all of their ancestors rest.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Basics of Adobe Elements Workshop, Parts 1 & 2, November 3 and 10, 2014

    Friday, Oct 31, 2014

    Learn the basics of Adobe Elements. Discover how to restore images of old photographs using techniques similar to those in Adobe Photoshop. Participants are encouraged to bring copies of their own family photographs on a flash drive for hands-on instruction in applying what they have learned to their photos.

    This is a two part series. Come for the first class two-hour class on November 3rd, practice at home, then return with your questions for the second part on November 10th. Space is limited, registration required. To register, call 260-421-1225 or send an email. Both sessions will be held in the Computer Classroom, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

    For more information, see the brochure.







    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Another Set of Allen County High School Yearbooks Indexed!

    Tuesday, Oct 28, 2014

    The Genealogy Center's Free Databases have long hosted an index to the yearbooks of Central High School (1914-1971), Central Catholic High School (1915-1972) and South Side High School (1923-1974 and 1976-1994). Through the work of volunteers from the Allen County Genealogical Society of Indiana, more than 72,000 records have been added to the database from the North Side High School "Legend," covering the years of 1929-1936, 1938-1939, 1941-1946, 1948-1950 and 1953-1956. The index supplies names of students and faculty, school and yearbook title, year and page numbers. Surnames are also searchable from the Free Database's federated search on The Center's homepage.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Midnight Madness Extended Research Hours - Friday October 31st

    Saturday, Oct 25, 2014

    To celebrate the end of another great Family History Month, The Genealogy Center is again offering Extended Research Hours on Halloween, Friday, October 31st. You know you've always wanted to stay to research after everyone else leaves! So stay until Midnight to research and celebrate.

    As an added bones this year. we are also offering are three mini-programs:
     6:30 p.m. - How to Use the FamilySearch Wiki
     7:30 p.m. - Using WeRelate to Post Your Family Tree to the Internet
     8:30 p.m. - A Brief Tour of the U.S. GenWeb.

     Note: No preregistration is necessary, but you must be in The Center by 6 p.m. You may leave any time, but there is no re-admittance. Call 260-421-1225 or email Genealogy@ACPL.Info for more information.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • New Free Database Available

    Wednesday, Oct 22, 2014

    Transcriptions of loose pages from the Carmel Congregation of the Associate Presbyterian Church, near Hanover, Jefferson County, Indiana have been added to The Genealogy Center's Free Databases. Photocopies of these pages, which had been removed from the original congregation record book are at Indiana State Library, Indianapolis, Indiana, Genealogy Department. These loose pages, all that remain of the church's record books, were transcribed from the originals by Lt. Colonel John M. Anderson, USAF, in 1975, and entered into digital format by by Janeane Luby in 2007. The searchable index provides events such as deaths and removals, as well as baptisms which supply parents' names. This database illustrates how easily information can be added to our collections and made available to researchers everywhere.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Researching in the Great Lakes Area

    Wednesday, Oct 15, 2014

    Do you have ancestors who passed though or lived in Indiana or one of the states that surround it? The Genealogy Center is presenting a week's worth of events with your Great Lakes area research in mind:

    Sunday, October 19, 2014, 1:00pm to 2:00pm, Meeting Room A
    Curt Witcher
    "Researching in the Great Lakes Area Series: Finding Records in the States You’re Researching."

    Monday, October 20, 2014, 7:00pm to 8:00pm, Meeting Room A
    Delia Bourne
    "Researching in the Great Lakes Area Series: Researching in Kentucky"

    Tuesday, October 21, 2014, 7:00pm to 8:00pm, Meeting Room A
    Sara Allen
    "Researching in the Great Lakes Area Series: Tracking Your Illinois Ancestors"

    Wednesday, October 22, 2014, 7:00pm to 8:00pm, Meeting Room A
    Curt Witcher
    "Researching in the Great Lakes Area Series: Hunting Ancestors in the Hoosier
    State"

    Thursday, October 23, 2014, 7:00pm to 8:00pm, Meeting Room A
    Cynthia Theusch
    "Researching in the Great Lakes Area Series: Researching in Michigan"

    Friday, October 24, 2014, 10:00am to 11:00am, Meeting Room A
    Dawne Slater-Putt
    "Researching in the Great Lakes Area Series: Researching in Ohio"

    For more information, see the Family History Month brochure. To register for any of these sessions, call 260-421-1225 or send us an email.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Archives Tours in Fort Wayne

    Sunday, Oct 12, 2014

    For Family History Month, The Genealogy Center is organizing an Archives Tour encompassing several locations in Fort Wayne that you might like to visit or in which to research. These tours will help you break the ice, seeing what each repository might have for you, how you might best access the information, and in general, just to see inside these fascinating places without having to have a really good reason.

    The fun starts on Wednesday, October 15th, at the Walther Library on the grounds of Concordia Theological Seminary. Archivist Robert Smith will be our guide. Be at 6600 North Clinton Street, Fort Wayne, at 2:00pm to take the tour. Park on the south side of the gym.

    Thursday, October 16th will find us at the History Center, 302 East Berry Street, Fort Wayne, where archivist Walter Font will show us some of the treasures of the Allen County-Fort Wayne Historical Society. The tour starts at 2:00pm.

    We will be back in the Main Library, 900 Library Plaza, on Friday, October 17th, touring the Lincoln Financial Foundation Collection. Archivists Jane Gastineau and Adriana Maynard will show us some really interesting Lincoln material starting at 2:00pm.

    And we are out and about again on Saturday, October 18th, as we visit the Fort Wayne-South Bend Catholic Archives. Archivist Janice Cantrell will start at 11:00am at the Archbishop Noll Catholic Center, 915 South Clinton Street, Fort Wayne.

    For more information, see the Family History Month brochure.

    Attendance at all of these are limited to the first 30 who register. To register for any or all of these free tours, call 260-421-1225 or send  us an email. Don't miss this wonderful opportunity to see these treasure troves!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Family Lore - Truth, Fiction or Something in Between?

    Monday, Oct 06, 2014

    by Dawne

    I have touched on this topic in The Genealogy Center’s blog previously: Family stories – oral tradition – is something virtually every family has. We might grow up hearing the same old stories whenever the family is gathered. We might even have repeated those stories to our children and grandchildren. But often it was when we first began doing genealogy and tried to pin down older relatives about specific details, or to substantiate the stories with records, that we realized there might be a difference in what we thought we knew about the family and what was actually true.

    Many patrons come to The Genealogy Center with a family tradition that they have Native American ancestry. In some cases this might be true. But Great-Grandma usually wasn’t a Cherokee princess. The Native American blood might be further back than the family story holds. The connection might be Miami or Chickasaw or some other tribe and not the more well-known Cherokee. And the relative might be one by marriage, rather than by blood. It’s also quite common that the patron is able to trace his or her ancestry back to an immigrant without ever finding a trace of Native American blood. In this case, it could be that the family story was in error about which ancestral line had that ethnicity. And DNA tests might indicate that there is no Native American ancestry at all. For some reason, it is a very popular family tradition to be part Native American.

    So should we dismiss all those family stories we learned on our grandparents’ laps as bunk? Not necessarily. It has been said – and I believe it – that many, if not most family stories have some element of truth to them. A folklore professor I had in graduate school maintained that family stories are told for a reason – they represent some quality that is important to the storytellers and to the family. That reason alone might be enough to write them down for future generations.

    Consider the information a friend of mine, Rhonda Stoffer, head of Indiana History and Genealogy Services at Marion Public Library in Marion, Indiana, received from her mother-in-law. Rhonda’s mother-in-law had never met her grandfather and asked Rhonda to find out more about him. She told Rhonda that his name was George Brown and he was a baker from Joliet, Illinois. She knew he was a baker because she remembered seeing a photograph of him wearing a baker’s hat. Rhonda found the right George Brown in the 1900 and 1910 census schedules, but in both cases, he was shown as a tin plate worker and not a baker.

    Rhonda continued to research the family and discovered that George Brown’s father had died in the 1880s and his mother remarried twice – the second time to a man with the surname BAKER. Baker was the surname that George Brown’s mother was using when she died, and the one she is buried under. The family now believes that someone’s comment “and he was a Baker” about the mother’s third husband is how the family story of George Brown being a baker by trade began. The identity of the man wearing a baker’s hat in the photograph seen by Rhonda’s mother-in-law is unknown.

    Genealogy Center Librarian Delia Bourne has a lecture on attempting to substantiate family stories that is titled “Did It Really Happen that Way? Documenting Oral History.”  While waiting for Delia’s talk to come back around in our programming circuit, take a look at a recent post by Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, in Quick Tips: The Blog @ Evidence Explained titled “Finding the ‘Core Truth’ in a Tradition.” Her article provides tips for analyzing family stories to get to their possible elements of truth. 

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center