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  • 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

  • One-on-One Consultations - September 21 and 27, 2016

    Sunday, Aug 28, 2016

    Have a brick wall in your research? Would you like a greater understanding of some aspect of your research? The Genealogy Center is offering 30-minute personal research consultations with a staff member on some troublesome aspect of your research, from 2PM to 4PM on Wednesday, September 21, 2016 and Tuesday, September 27, 2016. Call 260-421-1225 or send an email for an appointment, requesting a Consultation and providing basic information concerning the nature of your quandary. A staff member will be assigned and a time established for your Consultation. Be sure to bring your research notes to your consultation. Space is limited, and pre-registration is required. Register today!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • The Mystery of Susan Man McCulloch’s Miniature

    Thursday, Aug 25, 2016

    by John

    The resolution of a historical mystery is always a cause for rejoicing, especially here in The Genealogy Center when the mystery involves the early history of Fort Wayne. Hugh McCulloch (1808-1895) and his wife Susan (Man) (1818-1898) were early influential pioneers of our city. Hugh became a prominent banker and would eventually serve as Secretary of the Treasury under President Lincoln. The story of Hugh’s courtship of Susan, whom he met in 1836 when he was a young widowed banker and she an unmarried schoolteacher, is chronicled poignantly in their correspondence, most of which is housed in the Lilly Library of Indiana University, though The Genealogy Center has a typewritten transcript. Both were excellent writers and provided some of the most vivid descriptions of Fort Wayne society from the 1830s through the 1860s of any writers, making their correspondence an important source for the cultural history of the city. Through the letters we learn much about churches, politics, rivalries, socials, and even recipes that provide an unusual window on their times.

    After meeting and establishing a close friendship with her future husband, Susan returned to her home in Plattsburgh, New York, in 1837. As a Christmas present, she had her miniature painted by Charlotte Deming, and sent it to her suitor. Hugh wrote on December 22, “…Your miniature came safely to hand. The more I gaze upon it the more I admire it. It is the best I have ever seen. All of my friends to whom I have shown it think it an admirable likeness. When I am alone I keep it constantly before me. I cannot tell you how highly I prize it.”

    Susan, in her reply, expressed her anxiety over it. “I was very uneasy about it and therefore feel quite relieved. I feared you would not like the dress when it was taken but Cornelius thought it could not be improved, and Miss Deming said that it would look natural much longer for being plain as the fashions of “neckerchiefs” change so often. I am very happy to hear that you think it a good likeness. You can paste a piece of paper over the glass to hide the dress. Perhaps it will give you some pleasure to know that I do not dress so always.”

    This playful exchange by the couple has always shrouded a deeper mystery: What happened to the portrait, and where is it now? There are many later portraits of Susan and Hugh extant in various collections, but this miniature has eluded Fort Wayne historians. But the mystery is now over.

    Recently, a collector found the miniature and was able to acquire it from a descendant. He was very generous to share a scan of it for The Genealogy Center’s collection. We are delighted to share it and to know that a small part of this couple’s historically significant correspondence can now be better illuminated.
    Susan Man McCulloch miniature by Charlotte Deming

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Even MORE Free Allen County Resources

    Monday, Aug 22, 2016

    We’ve recently added more Allen County material to our Free Databases and they are all materials to view, even if you are not a Fort Wayne native!

    School yearbooks are a wonderful source. Some of our most heavily used materials here in The Genealogy Center are the local yearbooks for the local elementary, middle (junior) and high schools. We have an almost complete collection of the high schools and most of the middle schools, but elementary yearbooks were not regularly collected or published until the latter half of the twentieth century. However, recently one of our volunteers came across the Harmar School Readiol for 1946. The yearbook was designed and produced by students, primarily on a mimeograph machine (remember sniffing the ink?). Included are brief histories of the area and the school, articles describing the year’s activities and student groups, lists of graduates from January and June, providing nicknames, pet peeves and ambitions for each graduate. Following that, there are pages of photographs of the graduates that are not mimeographed. Finally, there are jokes and advertisements for local businesses. Because of these last two sections, you get a history of the area, through the ads, and a feel for the culture, through the jokes, which were still heavy with humor rooted in World War II.

    Another new addition is the St. Jude Catholic Church, History of the First Fifty Years, 1929-1979. This searchable document provides a history, list of priests and Sisters of Providence for the school, charter members, and photos of the First Communicant class of 1929 and graduating classes of 1930 and 1953. 

    We have also added the 1957 Diocese of Fort Wayne Annual Manual. This searchable document contains a history of the diocese, lists of clergy, administrators, parishes, schools and missions, calendars and more. This is an extremely valuable resources for anyone searching Catholic church records in northeast Indiana.

    The Twenty-fifth or Silver Anniversary of the Fort Wayne Orphan Home of the Reformed Church in the United States, published in 1908, does not list any children, unfortunately, but does list donors who helped retire the Home’s debt, supportive politicians and advertisements.

    The 1953 Sears Grand Opening advertisement, for the new store at Clinton at Rudisill Streets, illustrates the new building and touts the highlights, like free parking and air conditioning, and information on the four days of sales, like a $30 full-length women’s coat, men’s leather coats for $14.88 and $99 chrome-plated dinette sets.

    Finally, we have a collection of unidentified photos by Magnus O. Schoenherr, a Fort Wayne Photographer in the early 1900s. Most of the twelve photographs are single sitters, children, young men or women, but there is one couple and a group photo taken at Robison Park on August 1, 1909. Contact information is provided, in case anyone recognizes any of these people. Have a look and see who you might know!
     Robison Park

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Labor Day Weekend Hours

    Friday, Aug 19, 2016

    The Genealogy Center, like all Allen County Public Library facilities will be closed Sunday September 4th and Monday September 5th in honor of Labor Day. Take this time to note all of your ancestors' occupations! We will be open our regular hours of 9AM to 6PM on Saturday, September 3rd, and will reopen for our regular hours on Tuesday, September 6th.
    Labor day workers

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Sunday September 11th: Be a Tourist in Your Hometown!

    Tuesday, Aug 16, 2016

    To help residents (and visitors!) “Be a Tourist in Your Hometown,” Special Collections of the Allen County Public Library is offering two different tours on Sunday, September 11, 2016. We are inviting you to attend either – or both!

    The first set of tours is of the Lincoln Financial Foundation Collection, and will begin at 12:30PM, 1:30PM, 2:30PM and 3:30PM at the entrance to The Genealogy Center on the second floor of the Main Library. Our Lincoln librarians will intrigue you with unique materials from this renowned collection of Lincoln documents and artifacts.

    The second set of tours is of the Fine Book Room, and will begin at 1PM, 2PM, 3PM and 4PM, also at the entrance to The Genealogy Center on the second floor of the Main Library. See some of the finest volumes in the ACPL collection, both artistic and historical.
    Sign up for either or both of these tours by calling 260-421-1225, or email Genealogy@ACPL.Info.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Additional Allen County Resources

    Monday, Aug 08, 2016

    There are a number of fabulous additions to our Fort Wayne and Allen County Resources that researchers and residents will find interesting. First is the Tom Mungovan Funeral Home Records, which consist of 1720 records and 3162 images. Thomas E. Mungovan opened his funeral home at 2221 South Calhoun in 1942, advertising personal service "to provide the means of paying the finest tribute to the memory of those who have gone on - without hardship to those who remain and must live." The family has continued the business since his death in 1981. In 1987, through the generosity of family members, copies of the records, dating from 1942 to 1987, were donated to the Genealogy Department and bound in eight volumes (977.202 F77TO). In 2015, the family again offered The Genealogy Center access to their 1980-2014 records, which have been digitized, for the use of family historians.
    We now have Fort Wayne Fire Department annual reports, 1961 and 1962 to add to our FWFD collection. These annual reports consist of a letter to the mayor, recommendations for the coming year, progress report of earlier recommendations, roster of personnel, a master plan map of Fort Wayne showing locations of existing, relocated and proposed fire stations and more.

    There is also the St. Joseph Hospital (Nursing School) Retrospect for 1931. This yearbook provides photos of faculty, staff and students, alumnae from 1921 to 1930 with names and locations, and “scrawls,” autographs of fellow students to Luella Stark, in the Intermediate class.

    We have the terrific Fort Wayne Sister Cities, International Scrapbook, which includes information about Fort Wayne’s sister cities, Takaoka (Japan), Plock (Poland), and Gera (Germany), with photos, newspaper clippings, proclamations, charters and more.

    We added two additional land abstracts for Louis Fox Addition, Lot 64 (Kinnaird Street, between Webster and Hoagland) and Lillie Place Addition, Lot 86, N 50 ft, (corner of Ethel and Irene Avenues). An abstract (history of ownership) used to accompany the deed to each piece of property, but now title searches are performed each time the land is sold, so the historical abstracts, although fascinating for historical researchers, are often discarded. If you come across one, in Allen County or elsewhere, discard it our way, please!

    Finally, we have a Wolf & Dessauer, Menu, 1940. W&D was one of the largest department stores in Fort Wayne and its Tea Room (for the ladies) and Men’s Grill were the places to go for lunch. The daily specials for June 15th included Bakes Stuffed Pork Chop with two sides and dessert for 60 cents, or Chicken Fricassee for 75. W&D’s was forward thinking, so they also offered a vegetarian option for 55 cents. Sandwiches included sliced chicken for 40 cents or salmon salad for 20. Desserts included “homemade” pies and cakes at 10 cents a serving. The back of the menu was a souvenir historical map of Fort Wayne.

    All of these are great additions to our collection of local history!
    W&D map 1940

    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

  • One Librarian's experience with

    Tuesday, Aug 02, 2016

    By: Allison

    The internet is inundated with genealogy websites.  There are good ones, decent ones, poor ones, and terrible ones.  Whether you are seeking a website for research or simply organization, finding a website that fits your needs takes a little bit of research and patience.  One that I personally find useful is  I have been using that website for the past ten years with great success for my specific needs.  My favorite feature of the website is the capability to access it in any location via the internet while still having it remain private and password protected.  I use Tribalpages as my hub for all of my family tree information.  I have multiple family trees on other websites but I control how much information is available through them.  Because the information is password protected, Tribalpages is the only website on which I will enter living family member names and information.   There are many key features of Tribalpages that make it worthwhile.  The first is that it is free.  While there is a paid version of the website and Tribalpages encourages you to purchase it, the free version is more than adequate for most people and the paid version is not necessary in order to conduct your genealogy research and organization.  While Tribalpages is useful, it has faced some criticism by users that believe Tribalpages is not quick to respond to customer service complaints.  
    After ten years of use, I personally have never needed to contact customer service and I have never upgraded to the paid version of the website.  I regularly update my exported GEDCOM file from the site so I would never lose information if the site does go down or end its free service.  A GEDCOM file is a plain text version of a genealogy tree that can be used to import into another website or software.  As with any technology, you need to back-up or copy your information in multiple ways to prevent loss.  I am a huge fan of the website and promote it when I can, but I would not be devastated if it went down because I have saved all of the information.  Always have your information backed-up and realize that failure or corruption of a particular site or copy is a possibility with every technology.  
    My family would take the website’s loss harder than I would.  I have given many of them an access password so they can check birthdays and anniversaries.  Another feature of the website is a calendar with all the living family members’ birthdays and anniversaries.  It is nice for me as the family historian/genealogist to have family members just go to the website instead of always asking me when birthdays or anniversaries are.  
    While I love my family and trust them with my life, I do not trust them with my family tree.  On top of Tribalpages being a password protected website, it is also password protected to edit.  With one password for access and another for editing, I can freely allow others to view my family trees without worrying someone might feel the need to change my family history to fit their preferences.  Unfortunately, you can’t change history and I make sure my family tree remains factually accurate.  This division between the passwords is a great feature since it still allows your family access to the tree without giving them edit access.  
    Tribalpages also offers charts and reports, although most of these are only available through the paid version.  It has not affected my research or information on the site at all.  I view charts and reports to be “icing on the cake.”   I do not like to have paper copies of my genealogy research or tree.  If family members want information, they can look at the family tree online.  If I need a report or chart for any reason, I can print off the free versions, which are limited but usually contain all the information required.  Save a real tree and utilize online family trees instead! 
    All of this being said, you need to research and find the right organization website or software for your needs.  The Genealogy Center does not recommend one website or type of software over another.  This is just the personal experiences of one librarian.  Here are several websites on comparisons or reviews on Tribalpages in particular:,, and

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Sources for Women on Our Free Databases

    Sunday, Jul 31, 2016

    We’ve had some really fine additions highlighting women to our Family Resources page recently, starting with the Carrie Patten Cronk diaries, containing 60 diaries with 21,710 pages. Carrie was born in 1865 in Michigan and died in Massachusetts in 1947. She started keeping a diary when she was 16 years old, and kept on until 1945. These diaries provide a wonderful account of a young woman coming of age profile during the late nineteenth century and recording her life into the middle of the twentieth. The donor, Carole Cronk Cole, also wrote a wonderful biography of Carrie and her family, and this is a rich source, not only for the family, but for others who knew them and are mentioned.
    Next is My Grandmother's Journal: A Story (Lucy Ann Behles). This biography was written by Lucy’s granddaughter, Karen Delaney Relstab in the form of an autobiography which covers 1878 to 1957. Karen also added an account of how she decided to write Lucy’s story, a pedigree chart, timeline of Lucy’s life and a number of photos in which Lucy is always smiling. We are indebted to Ms. Relstab for permission to post this copyrighted work which follows her grandmother’s life from the child of immigrant parents in Chicago.

    The Catherine Combs collection is a collection of family scrapbook and photos for the Clark, Clarke, Combs, Ellis, Neal, Higgins, Jaques and Platte families, as well as the Church of the Transfiguration (Freeport, Nassau County, New York) Parish Directory, 1961-1962, Oltman’s Lodge #446 F. & A.M., (Richmond Hill, Queens County, New York) 1956 Roster and 100th Anniversary booklet, 1950,  and the Perfect Union F. & A.M. Lodge #1 (New Orleans, Louisiana) Roster, 1916.

    Recollections and Observations from the Life of June B. Harris was compiled by Michael L. Harris, her grandson. June was born in Indiana in 1899, and was a teacher before marriage, and worked outside of the home at times during her marriage, then taking over her husband’s work duties when he became ill.  She became a bookkeeper, then a social worker before joining the WACs in 1944, then continued as a social worker after the war. Her account of her life described a woman living the life of transition from

    Finally is a simple photo and brief biography of Maria Pearson Stevens, high school sophomore in 1909, daughter of Millard and Alma Pearson of Jackson, Miami County, Indiana. It’s a beautiful photo, showing a girl of the time on the cusp of womanhood.

    These are just a few of the records that we have on our Family Resources that reflect the lives of our female ancestors!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Dating Photographs using the Poinsatte Saloon

    Monday, Jul 25, 2016

    By: John Beatty

    How does one assign a date to a historical photograph? Recently, the Genealogy Center was presented with two digital images of a saloon owned by Jacob Poinsatte, located at 1016 Maumee Avenue in Fort Wayne.  The photos are remarkable for a number of reasons. First, images of Fort Wayne saloons are relatively scarce, and second, these images depict the exterior of the same building from nearly exactly the same angle in two different time periods. Comparing them for clues can help us place them in their historical context. 

    First, we need to determine when exactly the saloon existed, and Fort Wayne city directories provide a logical starting point. A search beginning in the 1890s determines that Jacob Poinsatte had worked as a brewer for the Berghoff Brewery through 1901, then left its employment to open his own saloon, which first appeared in the 1902 directory at 1016 Maumee Avenue.

    The donor has provided some useful information to assist us. One of the photographs (the older one, immediately below) dates, she believes, from 1916, because the poster in the window advertises the appearance of Eva Fay, a stage clairvoyant from Ohio, on April 2 at the Palace Theatre. Researching Eva Fay’s name in affirms that she made several appearances at the Palace in April 1916. Since the trees on the street have no leaves, we can be fairly confident in dating the photo from February or March of that year.



    Having the date of this first image fairly well established, we turn our attention to the second image, displayed below, which is slightly later, but its exact date remains in question. The name of the saloon appears to change in the two photographs. In 1916, it appears as Jacob Poinsatte Place and East End Park. Later it is called simply the Hayden Park Saloon, though neither name appears in the city directories. 


    One can compare architectural elements of the two buildings along with the clothing styles. The large circular advertising sign is gone in the later photo, and a second-story porch railing appears that is not shown in the earlier photo. The poster of the woman in the window is not identifiable, though above it to the left is a sign for Unicoco, whose origin is mysterious but may have been a soft drink. Snow appears on the ground in both photos, so, like the other, the image was likely taken in the late winter or early spring. The donor identifies Jacob as the man standing in the center, with the two others unidentified.

    With all of the beer advertising gone, the second photo probably dates to the Prohibition era, perhaps from about 1920 or slightly afterward. City directories continued to list Jacob’s saloon as a retailer of soft drinks through 1925. He died in December 1926. What we have, then, is a set of photos that juxtapose the impact of Prohibition on a small Fort Wayne saloon between 1916 and about 1921. They represent an interesting slice of our early 20th century history.

    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

  • Which Software to use?!?

    Sunday, Jul 10, 2016

    We get many questions regarding which genealogy software we recommend.  While we all have experience with different software programs, there is not a definitive answer to these questions.  The answer is always, “It depends.”  The type of software that someone would want to use is a very personal choice.  It depends on the person’s experience with computers, previous experience with software programs, what the person can afford, and what he or she hopes to get out of the software.  We typically recommend looking at reviews and comparisons of the different programs.  There are some wonderful programs out there, and we hope everyone finds the right fit for his or her research.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Judy Russell Presentation on July 12th at 6:30pm

    Thursday, Jul 07, 2016

    The Midwest African American Genealogy Institute (MAAGI) is being hosted at The Genealogy Center, Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana from July 12-14, 2016. As a part of MAAGI, Judy Russell will be giving an evening presentation on July 12th at 6:30pm on “Just Three Generations.”  Russell will discuss how our oral family histories can be completely lost in just three generations.  Following genealogy’s best practices can help us keep those losses from happening in our families – and with our own stories.

    The program is open to the public for $10.    

    To learn more, visit the MAAGI website at

    Don’t miss out on this great opportunity to hear The Legal Genealogist present a wonderful lecture.

    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

  • Brother Against Brother in the Civil War

    Monday, Jun 20, 2016

    The Civil War was a messy affair.  It broke down families, made widows and orphans, and was a catastrophic loss of life.  Many times you will hear people discuss how the Civil War made enemies of brothers.  For some, this sounds like just a way to describe how some extended families were separated by the war.  Unfortunately, it was actually the truth.  Many siblings did fight on opposite sides of the war.  Families were truly divided.  

    One interesting story happened with two brothers from Indiana.  John and Henry McLaughlin were born and raised in Marion County, Indiana.  The brothers had six siblings and came from a close family.  Henry moved to Alabama sometime between 1850 and 1860.  In 1861, he married a young widow, Sarah Cannady, who already had a daughter, and began expanding their family to having seven more children.  John married Louise Morehouse and began their family of eleven children in 1851.  Prior to John’s marriage, he fought as a sergeant in Mexican-American War.  

    The brothers’ lives were going well until the Civil War caused them to fight on opposite sides of the war.  John enlisted with the Union Army as a lieutenant and was promoted to colonel by the end of the war.  Henry enlisted as a private in the Confederate Army and was promoted to second lieutenant.  In May of 1863, the brothers fought on opposite sides of the same battle, the Siege of Vicksburg.  Henry was captured and sent to a Union military prison.  There he wrote to his sister, Susan McLaughlin Brown, for help.  

    Susan was a nurse during the Civil War and her husband was a surgeon.  When she received the letter from her brother she flew into action.  Susan went to Governor Morton to plead her brother’s case.  He, in turn, wrote her a letter of introduction to President Abraham Lincoln on 7 January 1865.  Susan traveled to Washington, D.C., and met with the President five days later to state her brother’s case.  The President deemed to have Henry released once he took the oath to the United States of America.  Henry took the oath on 24 January 1865 and was released five days later due to Susan’s determination.  

    Henry went home to his family in Alabama after the war.  Sarah and Henry’s second child as a couple was born a year later.  Henry died sometime between 1876 and 1880.  John moved his family to Kansas and died on 15 Apr 1890.  Susan McLaughlin Brown moved first to Kansas and then to Georgia, Chicago, Illinois, and lastly to Los Angeles, California, where she died on 1 February 1928.  

    This is just one example of how families were torn apart during the Civil War.  These types of stories can be fleshed out with research at a facility such as The Genealogy Center.  You can even find some Civil War records digitized on The Genealogy Center’s Our Military Heritage.  This could lead you to discover a Civil War ancestor or to learn more about them.  

    While the basis of this story was taken from a collection at the Indiana Historical Society, the research used to flesh it out was used at The Genealogy Center.  Everything from books to databases were used.,,,,, and Newspaper Archive were among the databases used on this posting.  The subscription based websites are available for free when visiting The Genealogy Center.  Check the websites out to see what information you can glean from them.  Make sure to also look at Our Military Heritage on The Genealogy Center website.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Our Military Heritage Additions

    Thursday, Jun 09, 2016

    We have several new materials for Our Military Heritage! They all present different types of records that may be applicable to your military ancestor! 

    First, we have The Civil War Cavalry from St. Joseph County: 12th Indiana - 127th Regiment, by Russell I. Poole. This recounts the story of the 12th Indiana Cavalry regiment which was organized in Kendallville, Indiana, from December 10, 1863, to April 28, 1864.  
    We also have a program for the Hospice Memorial Service, Dayton, Ohio VA Medical Center, September 17, 1995 and a Civil War Roster of the Department of Pennsylvania, Grand Army of the Republic, 1894 (Philadelphia: Headquarters, 1894).

    Another great item added to the collection is Overseas Sketches: Being a Journal of My Experiences in Service with the American Red Cross in France by Henry A. Butler (Youngstown, Ohio: by the author, 1921).

    Take a few minutes to examine these to see if you might locate a similar record for the object of your search!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • New Information in our Free Databases

    Friday, Jun 03, 2016

    The Genealogy Center is pleased to be able to post some new information to our Free Databases for you to use. 

    The first are seven additions to the General Electric Collection.  They include Elex Club secretary notes, El-Par Chapter rosters, Elex Club Installation Banquet programs, Honor-ettes rosters, Partizans rosters, Pen-El rosters, and Quintus rosters.  

    We also have had 269 memorials added to Genealogy Tracers Homegoing Programs/Memorials.  This brings the total up to 4588 memorials in this collection.  

    Various records from two Presbyterian churches have also been added to our collection.  Two items have been added from the Witherspoon Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis, Indiana.  Five directories have been added from the College Hill Community Church in Montgomery County, Ohio.

    Also from Montgomery County, Ohio, we have records from two fraternal orders.  Three rosters of the Harmony Lodge No. 77, Prince Hall Free & Accepted Masons have been added.  Five membership directories and three programs from the annual Potentate Ball from the Amer Temple No. 107, A.E.A.O.N.M.S. (Ancient Egyptian Arabic Order Nobles Mystic Shrine) have also been added.  

    Lastly, we have a lovely anniversary announcement for Richard & Florence Hobson’s 50th Anniversary.  The couple is listed as being from Dayton, Ohio.    

    Thanks to our contributors, who continue to make The Genealogy Center Free Databases a site worth visiting!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Closed Sunday and Monday, May 29th and 30th

    Tuesday, May 24, 2016

    The Genealogy Center, like other Allen County Public Library facilities, will be closed Sunday, May 29, 2016 and Monday, May 30, 2016, in honor of Memorial Day. Take time on these days to recall fallen servicemen and women. Scan their documents and photos and submit them for inclusion in Our Military Heritage!
    WWII Military Air Crew Photo

    This photo was donated to the Berne (Indiana) Public Library from the collection of Kenneth and Betty (Agler) Hawkins. The library has allowed The Genealogy Center to post it in Our Military Heritage.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • New Online Family Resources

    Friday, May 20, 2016

    We are pleased to be able to post some new Family Resources for you to use.

    The first two written and donated by Patricia Johnson: Great Grandparents and Their Ancestors of (Ina) Patricia Hughes, 1928- , which is divided into seven parts, and Great Grandparents and Their Ancestors of Frank Lee Johnson, Jr., 1927- , which contains eight parts. Both are keyword searchable.

    We also have three letters of the Howard Family, DeKalb County, Indiana. The first, dated 1930, is from 11 year old Elton Howard, was written to his mother, Ester, and mailed in the first batch of air mail from Fort Wayne. It flew to Chicago and back, and was intended as a souvenir. The second is a 1919 letter to Elton’s father, Elton D., from his aunt Emma, who was visiting Danville, Indiana. The third letter, also to Elton, Sr., from Emma Howard, discusses various members of the extended family.

    The last is Thomas Middlebrook Willis, 1859-1937, Pioneer Abilene, Texas Attorney.  Thomas was born in 1859 in Georgia. His family migrated to Texas in 1866, then, after law school, he settled in Abilene, where he settled and his family grew. his descendant, T. Bradford Willis, DDS, of Waco, Texas, compiled this biography and has graciously allowed us to post it.

    Thanks to our contributors, who continue to make The Genealogy Center Free Databases a site worth visiting!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center