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  • Swiss Church Records Website

    Wednesday, Mar 15, 2017

    by John

    The church records of Canton Bern, Switzerland, are among the most complete genealogical resources for any place in continental Europe. Many registers are unbroken back to the sixteenth century. Finding the appropriate register involves knowing the town where a family held citizenship or voting rights. Church registers, at least in theory, contained the record of the births, marriages, and deaths of all those that held hereditary citizenship in that town, even if they resided elsewhere. In most cases, church officials maintained separate registers for hereditary citizens who lived in the town and those living out-of-town (typically called “Auswärtige Bürger”). Sometimes a third set of registers were maintained for town residents who were not citizens (called “Ausbürger”).

    For a number of decades the Family History Library has made the Canton Bern church registers available on microfilm for borrowing. Later, when the microfilms of the registers were digitized, Swiss officials placed restrictions on the images, making the digital versions viewable on Familysearch only to LDS Church members with valid logins or from computers specifically located in LDS Church libraries (not member public libraries). The late genealogist Lewis Rohrbach offered DVDs of the registers at expensive prices, but with his death and the closing of his publishing house, Picton Press, the DVDs are no longer available for sale. The lack of an easy way to view the registers has made it frustrating to Swiss researchers seeking full, convenient access to a large body of material.

    Very recently the State Archives for Canton Bern has made the images of the records available free from its own website. To access the records, go to this link, and click on the small box with the plus-sign to the immediate left of the word “Kirchenbücher.” If the parish you want starts with the letters A through N, you will see a list displayed. If it falls later in the alphabet, click on “Open the next 100 entries,” and an additional 77 towns will appear. In either case, to view the options, click again on the tiny box with the plus-sign immediately to the left of the town you want to view. A list of specific books will appear with ranges of dates. Baptisms are included in books marked “Taufrodel,” marriages are in “Eherodel,” and deaths are in “Totenrodel.” Make note of the Auswärtige registers that recorded the out-of-town citizens. To view the records, double-click on the book you want. A further breakdown of the registers will appear, and you will have to click again on a separate link marked “PDF.” Once you do so, a file of the entire roll will display. Be patient for the download, since it is not instantaneous, especially for larger files.

    The registers are still not indexed. Some names and vital record events can be searched separately through the link to the International Genealogical Index (IGI), available on Familysearch. These references are not linked to specific images and represent only a fraction of the total names. However the IGI can sometimes be helpful for translating a particular surname, since some families in some towns have been extensively researched.

    While we are unable to say when the registers will be made searchable for every name, the fact that they are available at all, freely online, makes this a happy day for genealogists researching this part of Switzerland.  An added bonus is the easy access to the large collection Swiss coats of arms, called “Familienwappen,” also available from the archives’ website. These images display in full color and show the date and town where the arms were granted.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • New Free Indiana Databases

    Monday, Mar 06, 2017

    We have an interesting mix of new Free Indiana Databases that have been added recently.

    First up, we have two Hancock County, Indiana school related items. Students and Teachers, Schoolhouse at Fortville, 1881-1887 is just what it says, a list of people connected with the Fortville Schoolhouse. Each entry includes the name of the student or teacher, the exact dates of the school terms attended, and occasionally, the age of the person. The other item is a list of graduates of the Vernon Township Schools Commencement, 1898, held 28 May 1898 at the Methodist Church in McCordsville. The announcement was found in the belongings of Andy H. Denney. The information in both of these were made available through the kind generosity of Rebecca Crowe and the Fortville-Vernon Township Public Library.

    Gethsemane Evangelical Lutheran Church Records, 1958-2004 is a data file contributed by Earle Swanson, and was also published in book form under the title “Gethsemane Family.”  The data is from the Gethsemane Evangelical Lutheran Church, 1505 Bethany Lane, Fort Wayne. Each entry provides the congregant’s name, and varying information including birth date, place and parents’ names; baptism place, date and sponsor; confirmation date and place; marriage date, place and spouse; admission and/or release dates; and membership status.

    We have another title abstract in Allen County, this one in the Elizabeth Hanna Addition, part of Lot 55. The abstract begins in 1824 and runs through 1980, and is a fascinating document for the history and biographical detail it includes.

    Our last item is the City of Fort Wayne--Community Development Library. So far, it contains 852 documents consisting of 47,897 pages. With records dating back to the 1850s, the Community Development Library is a digitized collection of city government documents that cover a variety of subjects, with an emphasis on downtown development and revitalization, annexations, neighborhoods, urban planning and economic development. It also contains information on such diverse topics as flood control, transportation, housing and the environment. For anyone researching any aspect of history in Fort Wayne, this is an important resource. More will be added to this collection as it becomes available

    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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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 Chuch and School Material

    Sunday, Dec 04, 2016

    We have some great church and school records added recently to our Free Databases, starting with ten volumes of AME Women’s Missionary Society Materials: Illinois Conference Branch books for 2000, 2003, 2006 and 2007; and Michigan Annual Conference 1999, Devotional Service 1999, Flint Area Report 1999, West Detroit Area Report 1999, Societies Report 1999, and the Big MAK Implementation Manual. All are name and keyword searchable and these are a good reminder that tomorrow’s history is now!

    From Bartholomew County, Indiana, we have Sharon Baptist Church Records. There are 17 scanned volumes consisting of 1782 pages of Meeting Minutes 1874-1927, Sunday School records to 1934 and the B.Y.P.U 1922-1923. While these records are not searchable, chronological browsing is easy and, if u for those with ancestors in the county, could be very rewarding.

    We have the Official Membership Record of Mount Pleasant Methodist Church in Kosciusko County, Indiana, contains children’s baptisms, records of members, and a list of inactive members. These records are browseable.

    There are also 18 volumes of Lima Presbyterian Church records from Howe, LaGrange County, Indiana, which includes Benevolent Fund Records, Deacons’ Records, Sessions Minutes and more, covering various years between 1833 and 1960. Again, not searchable, but the volumes’ titles will make browsing easier.

    The records for Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Indianapolis, which covers the 1950s to 1998, are not searchable either, but once can browse through rolls of members, communions, baptisms, confirmations, marriages and funerals by date.

    And, finally, for church records, we have the St. Joseph Catholic Church Directory of Dubois County, Indiana, which includes a history of the parish, photos of the current staff and committees, and a family photograph directory. It is searchable by keyword or name.

    The Manchester College (Wabash County, Indiana) Alumni Directory, 1947 is another nice addition. It contains an alumni directory, a list of four year graduates from Manchester College from 1900 to 1945, and a list of alumni from Mount Morris College, of Mount Morris, Ogle County, Illinois, which merges with Manchester College in 1932.

    Like the Manchester College Alumni Directory, the Topeka (Kansas) High School Sunflower, 1946 is name and keyword searchable. The Sunflower is typical of yearbooks of the era, with lots of photos and advertisements for local businesses. The program for the Spring Concert is an added feature.

    Finally, many items have been added to the Deborah Edison School Collection including Norwoodville School, Polk County, Iowa; Prairie High School, Lucas County, Iowa; Edwards School from Ogemaw County, Michigan; Maple Grove School and Ogilvie School from Osceola County, Michigan; School District 34, Traverse County, Minnesota; Guilford Union School, Chenango County, New York; Harpersfield School, Delaware County, New York; Wileytown School, Hartwick School, School Districts 7 and 12, and the State Normal School from Otsego County, New York; Raymond School, Niagara County, New York; Pardus School, Jefferson County, Pennsylvania; Plank Road School, Mercer County, Pennsylvania; Schortz School, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania; and Pumpkin Hill School, Tioga County, Pennsylvania. Browse to view these school souvenirs under Other States Resources and use the search function at each to look for specific names.

    Thanks to everyone who gathers these items and allows us to scan them for all to use!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • New Free Family History Materials!

    Thursday, Dec 01, 2016

    We’ve added a number of new Family Resources to our Free Databases recently that you might find useful.

    Bredemeyer family history--Chronik und Genealogie der Familie und Sippe Bredemeyer (Chronicle and Genealogy of the Family and Clan Bredemeyer) was written by Karl Bredemeyer in 1966 and contains maps, coats of arms and photographs. It is in German but is keyword or name searchable.

    The Frederic Hyde fan chart is a large chart that has been in our collection for many years, but has now been scanned and posted for all to see. It is faded and is not indexed, so making it available to view is the best way for others to use it.

    Spencer Coffey has allowed us to post three of his genealogies: The Kilgore Family of Mount Sherman & Low Gap, Arkansas, Amos Burrel Lackey [1818-1896] of Low Gap, Arkansas, and The Spencers of Mount Sherman, Arkansas and its supplement, An Ancestral Supplement to the Spencers of Mount Sherman, Arkansas. These of these families were in Newton County, Arkansas and includes information on the Kilgore, Stevenson and Culpeper families. All of these can also be searched by name of keyword.

    Carl Mumford has provided permission for us to post his Mumford's of the New World: James Mumford, Sr. and John Mumford, Sr., which he compiled in 2016, and we were given permission to post Eugene Perry’s Grogan--A Record of the Grogan Family. Margaret McCarthy has also supplied McCarthy--McCarthy Family History, and Ralph Knee provided Knees in the Civil War, which includes biographical information on the descendants of Philip or George Knee, brothers who arrived from Prussia about 1763. All of these, also, are name and keyword searchable.

    We also have images and transcriptions of the William A. Holladay-Winona Pearl Litton and the James Montgomery-Esther Wood Family Bibles, as well as Nellie Doyle Prack’s My Life as I Remember It, containing the early reminiscences and activities in Chicago. 

    Brothers Ernst August Oehrling and Carl Heinrich Constantine Oehrling immigrated from Arnstadt, Thuringia, Germany to Wisconsin, United States, in the 1840s. As the families grew and separated, letters were exchanged to maintain the familial connection. We are happy to be able to post these letters, as well as family journals, photographs, greeting cards and pedigree charts. While these records are not searchable, the material has been divided into sections to make browsing a breeze.

    We also have three documents from the Valentine family of Allen County, Indiana, including the marriage records for James Valentine and Janet (Nellie) Parks, and their daughter Elizabeth to Ralph Fast, as well as a sketch of the John Valentine homestead.

    Margo Butner has allowed us permission to post her Butner Welty Family file in Next Generation presentation format. Other surnames included are Camp, Clare, Gray, Jolliffe, Lindsay, Lyon, Stewart and Ward. Using the Next Generation features, one can search not only by name but by birth, christening, death and burial date and place.

    We also have updates to several previously posted collections, including an Addendum to “Kaess Ochiltree Swartz Family History” and Kaess/Dawson Family History Addendum, both from Brian Paul Kaess,

    Take a few minutes to browse these new collections to see what you might find!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Thankful

    Thursday, Nov 24, 2016

    by Delia

    Thanksgiving in America is devoted to giving thanks for all that we, personally and as a country, have. Through the years, we have all had many things for which to be thankful, from soldiers returning from war, financial difficulties averted or survived, to medical crises cured or endured. We are thankful for family, friends and home. But as a genealogist of many years (whose mother did family history research even earlier), there are things for which I am thankful, and I hope you will go to our Facebook page and express your thanks for genealogical blessings, too.

    Some of mine are:
    1. Records. When Mother was doing research in the 1940s and 1950s, not many records had been published. She could only go to court houses and go through records. Thank you to everyone who had gather records for publication.

    2. Indexes. Even when I started to do research in the 1970s, many older county histories were not indexed, and most of the 1860 and 1870 federal census had not been indexed. Thank you to everyone who has every worked on an index, either for something small, or for a large indexing project.

    3. Computers and the Internet. What a leap forward! Indexes available online! Optical character recognition (OCR)! Scanners to enable records to be examined! States, counties and private groups placing information online to be searched from home! Or from my phone! And speaking of which…

    4. Smart phones. Storage of information, ease of searching and free calls to court houses, libraries and long lost relatives!

    5. People. Friends and contacts that I’ve made within the genealogical community and all of the wonderful people that come to visit The Genealogy Center, either in person or virtually.

    6. USBs. So that I can save images of documents or copies onto a small device that I can carry with me.

    7. And, finally, that, after 33 years in the department, photocopies are still just ten cents! Plus the prints are on archival quality paper, so no nasty surprises in a few years!

    So, now it’s your turn. Let us know on Facebook what you are thankful for!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Additions to Our Military Heritage

    Sunday, Nov 13, 2016

    We have more additions to Our Military Heritage!

    For the Civil War, we have the service records for Isaac Allyn and Laban Gurley, both of Company F, 25th Indiana Infantry, the pension record of John Holbert, Company D, 2nd Tennessee Infantry (U.S.), who died at Flat Lick, Kentucky in March of 1862 which includes the Widow’s pension for his mother, Elizabeth, and the letters of William B. Parker, 2nd Michigan, May 1864 through April 1965. Most are to his wife, Polly, whom he left behind in Clinton County, Michigan. Also included at the letters to Polly from her brother, Alvin B. Wonsey, of the 27th Michigan.

    We also have the World War I letters of William Tursman of Chicago to June Beck in Goshen, Indiana.

    The Good Ol’ Days: Remember Our Time in Pearl Harbor and Between the Tours of Duty, by Frank John "Jack" Zwolinski, Jr. provides biographical information on his parents Frank, Sr., and Agnes Zubris Zwolinski, the family and Frank senior’s memories of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

    Battle History 473rd United States Infantry provides information on that unit’s experiences in Italy in 1945. It begins with a list of the unit’s men killed in action, along with their home addresses. Following are six chapters detailing the events of the campaign, a list of awards to the unit, messages from various commanding officers, and maps of the theater of operations.

    And we have the Fort Sam Houston, Texas Telephone Directory, December 1944. It includes phone numbers for the various units on the base, and the residents with their ranks, units, address and phone numbers.

    We thank all those who donated the materials so that we can bring them to you!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • A Cemetery Visit with the Voice of Reason

    Monday, Oct 31, 2016

    by Kay

    I often visit cemeteries. There are so many interesting things to discover; so much history. Cemeteries can be peaceful, sad, beautiful, and sometimes – spooky, depending on the vivid imagination of the person walking through the cemetery.
    Time for a cautionary tale. In tracking down my relatives, I have often visited graveyards/cemeteries – alone. I will confess that there have been times while planting flowers I have even talked myself into a “they’re coming to get you, Barbara” moment.  But the most “standing-hair-on-the-back-of-my-neck” moment came a few years ago while planting flowers on my great-grandfather’s grave. And, this time I was not alone. Yes, I managed to drag my daughter along with me. She is what I lovingly call a “genealogy helper-whiner.” For those of you who do genealogy or research I know you are familiar with this type of helper. They’ll go along with you, but they’ll be bored or tired or complain or whine or sleep. But sometimes they are also the Voice of Reason.
    One of the cemeteries I visit has a plethora of great-great-great-great-great relatives. Here’s the problem with this particular cemetery. It’s very old and located down a winding country road. It’s in a very isolated area along a river bank. Do you know what the ground is like along a river bank? It’s soft. So when one is walking in this isolated cemetery one feels as if one is walking on a sponge. Nothing creepier than walking in a cemetery where the ground has a bit of give to it.
    Kay's blog Grave
    Anyway, one day it was time to plant more bulbs, so I pushed my “I’m only going because I love you” daughter into the car and we were off on a road-trip to my favorite soft-ground spooky cemetery, trowels in hand.
    We arrived at the cemetery, my daughter’s first comment, “Ewwww, this ground is soft. Ewww.”
    That year I planned on planting Irises at my great-grandfather’s grave. Fighting off the devil-mosquitoes we began to dig. Clank! “Oh dear, what was that?” We struck something.
    Me: “I hope it wasn’t a coffin.”
    Me: “It’s not a coffin, they’re not that close to the top, it’s probably just a stone.”
    More digging, this time with a little bit more trepidation. Something large and white started to appear.
    Me: “OMG, it’s a skull, my great-grandfather’s skull!”
    Voice of reason: “It’s not a skull. Probably just some cement they used for foundation.”
    Me: “Nah, that’s not the same texture or color. Maybe it’s a buried treasure.”
    Voice of reason: “Why would one of your poor relatives bury a treasure in a graveyard?”
    Me: “Who knows…I’ve heard some interesting family stories. Let’s keep digging. Hopefully the graveyard police won’t show up.”
    Voice of reason: “I don’t think there is such a thing as graveyard police.”
    Flowers momentarily forgotten, we continued to dig. The object got bigger and bigger until it was fully exposed. Guess what it was. Another tombstone. It was in fact the original tombstone of my great-grandfather. Who knew? Not me, that’s for sure. I don’t know if every cemetery is like this one, but evidently the old stones are not thrown away if there is a replacement stone. But, there was also a bonus for this particular one – the dates on the original stone didn’t match the dates on the replacement. I guess research never ends – one step forward, one step back.
    What did I gain from this experience? Actually, I gained a lot. I had a wonderful bonding experience with my voice-of-reason daughter and I learned that sometimes buried treasures are better than jewels. I also had a brainstorm that day. You know, there are a lot of tombstones in this particular cemetery which have large spaces between them. Could there be more buried tombstones? Could I actually find my missing great-great-great-grandmother? Just so you know, I have been talking to the cemetery's caretaker. I feel another project coming on....

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Miami Indian Materials Now Online!

    Friday, Sep 23, 2016

    We have several items online now that formerly have only been available as print resources.

    The first is Payments to Miami Indians, 1859. This is a transcription of original payrolls owned by the Allen County-Fort Wayne Historical Society which lists Miami heads of families and individuals who were living east of the Mississippi River and received a payment in 1854.

    Next is Records of the Miami Indians of Indiana, which contains three parts: the 1895 Annuity Payment Roll of the Miami of Indiana who were, at that time, living in Kansas, Oklahoma Territory and Indian Territory; a collection of newspaper stories on the Miami; and a copy of Chief Godfory’s “Miami Indian Stories,” published in 1961. All of these items are name and keyword searchable.
    The last item was from a microfilm collection of Annuities and Census of the Miami Indians. Included are Annuity Payrolls for 1882, 1891, and 1895, the Annuity Payroll for the Eel River Tribe, 1889 Annuity, a transcription for a land division for Francis Godfroy, and the 1881 Census of Miami Indians in Indiana and elsewhere. All of these items are also name and keyword searchable. 

     If you are seeking information on the Miami Tribe of Indiana, these sources would be a good place to search.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Family Histories, Photos & Charts

    Tuesday, Sep 06, 2016

    We’ve recently posted a number of new Family Resources on our Free Databases webpage, starting with Haller/Gibboney/Baldwin Family History and Kaess-Dawson Family History from regular contributor Brian Paul Kaess. These items, as usual, are well researched, and provide citations and are indexed.

    Arnolds in “Western Maryland Catholics” is an extract of Arnold family members found in “Western Maryland Catholics, 1819-1851,” by Richard T. Koch. The extracts provide the information as well as the citation in the book.

    Jean Francis Knight provided Miller, Martin, Scott, Price, Collins, Curtin, Francis: They Came From the British Isles to America. This item is also keyword searchable and provides citations.

    Ancestors of James Norman Pence of Fort Wayne, Indiana, provides fourteen generations from James back and provides photographs when available and more than 60 pages of citations.

    And we also have scans of the Letters of Wilbur Churchward during his Civilian Conservation Corps service with Company 544 in Upland, California and Enaville, Idaho. Dated 1934 to 1936, these letters show a young man who is far away but keeping up with family and friends.

    Next we have two photographic collections. The Helen Adams Harrod Photographs from Indiana and Ohio provides both the photo and the back of each, with identifying information, which can be lacking, such as the photo of a small child on a tricycle simply labeled Annabelle. The other is the Photo Album of the Lawrence Till Family of Allen County, Indiana, which had a number of rural and agricultural and rural photos from Washington Township.

    Finally, we have some very interesting sources, and there is a story to these. Along with other genealogical material that is donated to us, we receive charts. Many of these are huge, filled with tiny printed names, dates and places. Valuable sources but what do we do with them. In the past, many have been folded into some smaller size and bound to make a book-like resources. Preserved, yes, but the folds will eventually cause tears and the information across the folds can be lost. Through the efforts of some of our scanning partners and our tech, several of these charts have now been scanned and are available on our website. But, wait! There’s more! Once you open the chart, you can click on a section to view an enlargement of the section! This make these sources much more usable! These charts are the Caulkins-Ancestry of Almira Caulkins Chart and the Ancestors and Descendants of Roswell and Eunice (Hine) Caulkins Chart the Maternal and Paternal Fan Charts of the Herbert Eliot Family, The Genealogical Record of the Powers, Harris and Allied Families, More Particularly of the Descendants of Nathaniel Powers and Esther Johnson, John Hough Harris and Lucy May chart, and Descendants of Peter and Elizabeth (Woods) Wallace Chart. Names can be searched in all of these through the Federated Database search on our homepage (where it says “Search our Free Databases).

    Thanks to all who contribute and who helped us scan and make these materials available.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • New Free Databases from Across America

    Saturday, Sep 03, 2016

    We have posted a number of new databases for Allen County, but remember, we have a national collection and we like material from all over! We start off this set with a number of cemetery lists, starting with Cemetery Records of Manitowoc County, Wisconsin. This compilation is the copyrighted work of the Manitowoc County Genealogical Society, the Manitowoc Public Library, and the West Foundation. It is through their generosity that this work is presented here. This digitized volume starts with a nice table of contents, which will guide a researcher to tips for researchers, abbreviations used in family history and various religious denominations and ghost cemeteries, then the cemetery listings organized by township. The more than 4000 pages are also name searchable. 

    The next three come to us from T. Bradford Willis, DDS, of Waco, Texas. First Street Cemetery and  Greenwood Cemetery are in McLennan County, Texas, and Sand Flat Cemetery, is in Austin Texas. All three consist of very clear photographs of very clear photographs of each of the tombstones.

    A photograph was passed to us recently of a fire in Wilmington, Clinton County, Ohio on 26 January 1929, at two local oil companies. A brief account of the fire is included and the death certificate of the only fatality, James Wayland.

    We also have the Radiator yearbook of Somerville High School in Middlesex County, Massachusetts for 1947. Typical of the era, there are photos of faculty and seniors, class histories, photos of sports and various organizations and seniors’ photos as children. Included are senior Edward Cruz’s report card and an image of his school beanie.

    We also have the New Lisbon Farm Telephone Directory, Otsego County, New York for 1924, which includes the rules and hours for the exchanges.  

    We have records of the Women's Missionary Society, African Methodist Episcopal Church or Illinois, Indiana, Michigan. Most of the material is for annual conferences in the early 2000s, but the Indiana section does include the minutes of the Women's Mite Missionary Society of the Indiana Conference. 

    Finally, we have the Marathon day Program of the Woman’s Benefit Association of the Maccabbees for 1923 in Los Angeles Co, California. This gathering was an international event which included women from all over the United States and Canada. This 80-page

    We hope that you may look and find useful and interesting information in some of these new sources.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • New Free Family Resources

    Friday, Aug 05, 2016

    We’ve been very fortunate recently with a large number of new Family Resources on our Free Databases!

    Susan McNelley produced several works that she has allowed us to post, starting with her Following the Maple Leaf Trail: The French-Canadian Ancestry of Joseph Gilman of Taylor County, Wisconsin. This work not only discusses the Gilman family who came from Quebec to New York and on to Wisconsin, but also life among Canadian fur traders, dit names, King’s daughters, midwives of Quebec and more. A very informative work and worth the time to peruse! There are two volumes of Ms. McNeeley’s Aschenbrener family histories: Aschenbrener Roots in the Bavarian/Bohemian Borderland: George and Monika Aschenbrenner of Northern Wisconsin and Aschenbreners of the Wisconsin Northwoods: George and Marietta Aschenbrener of Northern Wisconsin. The first volume covers George and Monika, the immigrants to America, their ancestors and home in Europe and their children. The second volume details the family of their son George and his wife Marietta Gilman. Both volumes are keyword searchable and contain photos and other documents. Her Johnston Family History: Ancestry of the Edward Johnston Family of Fort Wayne, Indiana is the story of the lives of Norma, Edward and Gerald Johnston and their Scots-Irish and German ancestors, and McNelley Family History: The Ancestry of the Oscar McNelley Family of Chicago, Illinois is the history of the McNeeley-Lamb family of New England and the Mikkelsen-Holmes family of Denmark and Chicago. Finally, The Middletons of Gibson City, Illinois chronicles the story of the Middleton, Hoover, Cackley and Howver families. We thank Ms. McNeeley for all of these great family histories!

    James Eckland Dwyer was born in 1944 and died in 2011. His daughter-in-law, Karen Emery Dwyer compiled James Eckland Dwyer's Irish Ancestry to chronicle his Dwyer, Bennett, Murray and Loftus families. Ms. Dwyer also compiled Papa: Gordon Charles Emery which details the Emery, Foote, Donovan and Clancy families. She also produced From the British Isles to America (Williams & Associated Families), which covers the Williams, Pratt, Gough, Butcher, Nibbs, Brennan, Donahue and Shedd families in the British Isles and the United States. We thank Ms. Dwyer for permission to post these items!

    Cindy Peterson of Westerville, Ohio allowed us to post Descendants of Cutlope Gotlieb Hancock, a detailed work of the first four generations of the Cutlope Gotlieb Magdalena Clair Hancock family of Germany, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. One can use a keyword search to find names.

    Phillip A. Hawkins generously his two publications on the descendants of John & Mary Molly (Moore) Hawkins, The Jeffery Hawkins's In 1692 America and Sons of Nathan Hawkins. The first provides evidence as to which son of John and Mary was the father of the Hawkins of Union County, South Carolina. The second discusses John and Mary’s second son Nathan. These items provide a detailed analysis of the problem.

    Lorraine C. McClanahan has provided us copies of her Irvine Genealogy and Irvine Index, which begin with John Irvine and Catharine Garrioch of Scotland. Both works have keyword search capability.

    We have the 1989 program of the Fred W. Jones Appreciation Dinner in Merrillville, Indiana where he was a teacher and coach for many years. And we have two silhouettes and brief biographies of William Haight Leggett and his wife Margaret Peck Wright of New York. These images were donated by Cory Randall.Randall

    Finally, we have Descendants of John Vestall, and The Family of Anne Russell, 1548-1593, both of which were by researcher Drew Blaha of North Carolina. We thank all of these researchers and donors for making our Family Resources page their home.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Our Military Heritage Additions!

    Wednesday, Jul 13, 2016

    We have some new items on Our Military Heritage!

    First, we have the Civil War discharge of Scott County, Indiana native Thomas Stark, who served three years in the 22nd Indiana Infantry. The discharge also includes his physical description.

    We also have the History of the Ohio National Guard and Ohio Volunteers, published by the Cleveland by the Plain Dealer in 1901. This volume concentrated on activities during the Spanish American War, including lists and dates of stations of service, but also includes the history of the Guard from 1876 to 1900.

    We have documents relating to the World War I service of Lt. Edward Francis Morken, 314th Cavalry, including photos, orders, discharge information and various correspondence, as well as the World War I letters of Alois Masbaum of Fort Wayne. He served in the 22nd Engineers from May 1918 to July 1919. His first letter discusses the medical exams and vaccinations he will have to undergo. The descriptions of the camps and activities were always meant to be reassuring to his family back in Fort Wayne.

    For World War II, we have “P-47s vs the GAF,” dated April 13, 1944, which provides personal accounts of the 56th Fighter Group’s combat experiences against the German Air Force, as well as “Scouting, Patrolling, and Sniping,” 1944 War Department Basic Field Manual which details the best techniques for moving about around and behind enemy lines.

    “Hidden Memories of World War II” is an autobiography by Arlis Sizemore who served in World War II in Europe after service in the CCC, and we have the World War II era correspondence of Miss Mabel Poth of 265 Poth Road, Columbus, Ohio and Private George P. Miller of the 166th Infantry, Company "I," A. P. O. # 37, Camp Shelby, Mississippi. We also have the George Vorndran collection which includes his biography, photos, and letters home, and the Howard-Smith-Stiles World War II letters. This grouping comes from the Garrett, DeKalb County, Indiana, area and details interpersonal relations between these connections.

    All of these sources add to our knowledge of World War II activities and thoughts of those who served and those who stayed home.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • New Free Databases

    Tuesday, Jul 05, 2016

    Some new Allen County school information has been added to our free Allen County Resources page!

    First up is the whole Central High School yearbook, The Caldron for 1928. From the main page, one can browse to each class, activities such as music, debate, and men’s and women’s sports, or search for a specific name. The scan even includes the inscription by the volume’s original owner, Luella Stark.

    We also have photos from South Calhoun Elementary and Village Elementary. The South Calhoun photos are a series of the class that started kindergarten in 1956 through sixth grade in 1963. The Fort Wayne Village Elementary photos cover classes from 1975-77 and the New Haven Village Elementary cover classes 1969-1971.

    We have created a new North Side High School page to launch the scrapbooks that we have been able to digitize, including art teacher Marjorie Bell’s scrapbooks covering 1952 to 1973, the Future Secretaries of America, 1980-1981, the 1977-1978 North Side 50th Anniversary Scrapbook, including the 1978 Blizzard Edition, and the North Side High School War Efforts 1942-1944. This site will soon also offer videos, so keep watching!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center