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  • Memorial Day Closure

    Friday, May 18, 2012

    In honor of Memorial Day, The Genealogy Center will be closed Monday May 28th. We suggest you take the day to remember the men and women who have served this country. We will be open out regular hours, 9 AM to 9 PM, on Tuesday May 29th.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • My Conference Experience, Part 4

    Wednesday, May 16, 2012

    by John

    Genealogical conferences are something that every researcher should experience at least once. They can be a great opportunity to learn new skills from professionals with a variety of expertise. The vendor hall can expose you to a variety of new books and software (and a fair warning, you may end up spending more than you had planned). You can meet many other genealogists with whom you can form networks and share experiences. And finally, you can get acquainted with the host city as a tourist, learning about its history and attractions and perhaps more about the idiosyncrasies of the record sources for that state. And if you are fortunate, conferences can also be a source of great amusement.

    I have been attending national conferences off and on since the 1980s, and I still have memories of these rich experiences, both with my co-workers and with other genealogists. One of my favorites was the National Genealogical Society Conference in Baltimore in 1993. I was working on several Maryland and Virginia families at the time, and the sessions gave me an opportunity to understand several new record sources which greatly aided my research. I remember, as well, being able to visit the fabulous Baltimore aquarium, take a boat ride out on Chesapeake Bay to see Fort McHenry, and later being able to take a day trip down to Mount Vernon with an Irish colleague, an authority on the eighteenth century, to explore Washington’s house (a first visit for him). At another conference in Richmond, Virginia, I learned a great deal about English common law as it applied to Virginia sources, and then went to the Virginia State Library to apply my new knowledge to the study of 18th century Virginia court records. At that same conference I recall taking in a lecture by the renowned historian, Shelby Foote, who, a short time earlier, had appeared on Ken Burns’ acclaimed Civil War documentary. On still other occasions I was privileged to meet some of the giants of the genealogy world, including the late Rabbi Malcolm Stern and the late Milton Rubincam. What a great opportunity it was to meet these gentlemen!

    As a genealogy librarian, I try to learn new things at conferences that help me in my work – to better understand not only my own research problems, but those of our patrons, by exploring areas that I know little about. They serve, in many ways, as professional training grounds. I hope to be able to be in Las Vegas for the NGS Conference in 2013, and I can assure you that whatever happens at this conference will not stay in Vegas.

    So what do you get out of genealogy conferences? In short, expect the unexpected, the serendipitous. In the end, you will be glad you went.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • My Conference Experience, Part 3

    Monday, May 14, 2012

    by Melissa

    A conference changed my life! But it wasn't a genealogy conference, instead it was the American Library Association Conference. As a graduate student, I attended the conference to interview for academic positions though I worked in a genealogy department of a public library. During the conference, I attended a discussion on a new genealogy database. During that hour, I heard conversations that inspired and motivated me. At one point, someone in the room asked my opinion on the subject and I found myself responding with examples and ideas. It was revelatory. I had been so determined to become an academic librarian, I had ignored the possibility of aligning my career path with my passion for genealogy. This was the defining moment for my career aspirations and it took place during a genealogy discussion at a professional conference.

    Fast forward several years, and conferences are still leaving their mark. It does not matter whether it is a local, state, regional, or national conference or if I'm a participant or attendee, I always walk away with something new. Conferences are fascinating to me because I enjoy instruction and learn some new technique, methodology, resource, or tidbit every time. As someone who is intrigued by social dynamics and since genealogy brings together so many people of varying backgrounds, it is interesting to also watch the dramatically different presentation styles of the lecturers. But the best part of genealogy conferences are the interactions with other attendees. Each of us has a shared interest in genealogy and related fields such as history, DNA, and technology. Our conversations can divert into so many other tangents, but it always begins with genealogy and that connection.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • My Conference Experience, Part 2

    Saturday, May 12, 2012

    by Cynthia

    I always enjoy going to genealogy conferences. They are a great way to meet new people and learn about additional resources and records which may help to tear down brick walls.
    When I first began my family history research, my grandmother stated that her grandfather, Frank Bosley, was born in New York, along the border of Quebec. Since that was such a large territory, I hadn't begun to check out this information. In August 2009, while I was at a conference in Virginia, I was talking to some people regarding research difficulties. I happened to mention where Frank was born and that the family was French Canadian. One of the attendees stated that I should check Clinton County, New York, that many French Canadians settled there.

    Within a few weeks after that conference, I received a letter from my mother's cousin and she mentioned that she found John Bosley in the 1850 New York Census in Clinton County, New York. I quickly reviewed that census and noticed that Frank's older brother was there, too. I found my first break on a brick wall that I thought would take forever to tear down. I ordered a microfilm from the Family History Center and may have found his baptismal records. This gentleman went by so many different names throughout his life and I believe that the Edward Bosley baptism could be Francis E. Bosley. I have made major breakthrough on this branch of my family tree and have went back about 5 to 7 ancestors through Frank's and his wife's families.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • My Conference Experience, Part 1

    Thursday, May 10, 2012

    by Delia

    I've had the opportunity to attend a number of genealogy conferences through the years, as an attendee and lecturer. And I have wonderful memories of each of them as I learned new research sources and techniques, and visiting cities like Seattle, Dallas and Richmond. But one conference that stands out was my first national conference. It wasn't so much its uniqueness compared with other genealogy conferences, but compared to other non-genealogy conferences.

    I had been to conferences concerning other fields before and, although I found them educational, attendees were clique-ish and often arrogant. If someone came alone, he or she stayed alone. If someone was new to the field or just new to that particular venue, that person was considered ignorant. It was not exactly an atmosphere to foster collaboration, encourage mentors, or mutual education.

    The first national conference I attended was in 1991, in Arlington, Virginia. The first day, I went out for lunch by myself. As I waited for a table, three people separately wandered up and stood behind me to wait. We started chatting about genealogy and ended up sharing a table, enjoying the company of like-minded researchers when we had each anticipated eating alone. And it wasn't an isolated incident as I chatted with many other people during the conference, and even talked with speakers who listened and provided specific advice to various attendees. The great thing about this and other genealogy conferences I have attended is each conference is filled with educational opportunities, and attended by intelligent and friendly people, willing to share techniques, advice and ideas to further others' research.

    Local, state and national conferences are a great opportunity to mingle with strangers with whom we have a lot in common. I encourage everyone to attend and join in a big, fun and educational party!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • NGSQ 100th Aniversary

    Tuesday, May 08, 2012

    by Dawne

    An icon of genealogy, the NGS Quarterly, turns 100 years old in 2012. Those of you who are members of the National Genealogical Society will have noticed a history of the quarterly in the March 2012 issue. NGSQ debuted nine years after the establishment of NGS in 1903, and its early issues were filled more with record abstracts and indexes, as compared to the methodology articles and case studies that are published in later editions. Today’s NGSQ includes a smattering of previously unpublished source material, but primarily features compiled genealogies, case studies and “how-to” articles, along with descriptions of little-known resources and detailed articles about researching specific ethnic groups, record types and geographic regions. Detailed book reviews are another important part of the NGSQ. Whatever the content, throughout the publication’s history, the constant has been an emphasis on “scholarship, readability and practical help in problem solving,” according to the NGS website. The NGSQ is a benefit of membership in the National Genealogical Society, and today’s members may opt to receive the traditional paper copy by mail, or a PDF version. Members may access the NGS website to search or browse full-text issues from 1978 to the present. Anyone may search the complete NGSQ index (1912-present) by author or title, or browse lists of authors and titles, and order back issues from the society or search for articles on the Periodical Source Index (PERSI) available through Heritage Quest Online to order copies from The Genealogy Center. For more information about the National Genealogical Society or NGSQ, point your browser to http://www.ngsgenealogy.org/.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Conference Season

    Sunday, May 06, 2012

    by Melissa

    We are in the midst of genealogy conference season in the Midwest. There are many wonderful opportunities for genealogists to connect with other researchers and learn new methodologies and sources. Both the Ohio Genealogical Society and Indiana Genealogical Society had their annual conferences in April, while May marks the National Genealogical Society Conference. The summer months are marked with the several regional conferences, ending with the Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference in August. This is the time of year to dust off the cobwebs from your research projects or plan a research trip and attend a conference in your area. In honor of conference season, Genealogy Center staff will be sharing their personal conference stories in the coming weeks.

    Subscribe to Genealogy Gems to learn at which conferences Genealogy Center staff will be speaking. And stop to say hello because conference season is the time to meet other researchers.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Beginners' Classes

    Thursday, May 03, 2012

    Learn the basics of starting your family history research with The Genealogy Center’s Beginners' classes during Summer 2012.

    Getting the Most from a Book

    Saturday, May 12, 10:00AM-11:00AM, Meeting Room A, Delia Bourne

    Sounds simple, doesn't it? But not all books are the same. Differing formats, different types of information, different indexing systems can actually make evaluating the information a little more difficult, especially for beginners. This class will discuss the basics of using books and how to retrieve and evaluate all possible information.

     

    How to Use the Genealogy Center: Basics

    Saturday, June 23, 10:00AM-11:00AM, Meeting Room A, Melissa Shimkus                        

    Have you taken a tour of The Genealogy Center and still feel confused? Do you wonder how all the details make sense to other people? Spend time with a staff member who will explain the catalog, microtext area, and how to use the facility. Note: This session is not a beginning genealogy class, but rather an explanation of the collection.

     

    Ancestry: The Beginner’s Way to Search

    Saturday, July 28, 10:00AM-11:00AM, Meeting Room A, Melissa Shimkus                           

    Are you new to genealogy? Have you tried Ancestry.com and felt confused? If so, attend this session to learn the basic steps to begin your genealogy search and navigate this database successfully.

     

    Beginner's Guide to Vital Records

    Saturday, August 25, 10:00AM-11:00AM, Meeting Room A, Delia Bourne             

    Vital records are the Holy Grail of genealogical records, definitively providing a legal document that records a date of birth and parents, marriage date and place, or evidence of a death, perhaps providing parents or cause of death. However, birth and death records were not commonly recorded until the 20th Century, and even the availability of marriage records depend on the locale and culture. This class will explain what can be found in a vital record, and what other sources may be used when the official record is missing.

     

    For more information, please see the brochure. Please register for either of these classes by calling 260-421-1225 or send an email to Genealogy@ACPL.Info.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Indiana Genealogical Society Conference Recap

    Monday, Apr 30, 2012

    by Dawne

    More than 100 attendees enjoyed two tracks of lectures, snacks, hospitality, networking with other genealogists, and an opportunity to research in The Genealogy Center during Saturday’s Indiana Genealogical Society Annual Meeting and Conference. The day featured lectures dealing with the nitty-gritty “how to” of genealogical research methods, navigating online databases like Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org, writing a family history, and exploring new sources like patent records. Speakers were Debbie Mieszala, CG, Melissa Shimkus, Michael Hall and Curt Sylvester. Between sessions, the local Allen County Genealogical Society of Indiana provided hospitality in the form of conversation, cookies and drinks. During the IGS annual meeting, area residents Charlotte Blair of Whitley County and Judy Richter of Noble County were honored for their contributions to the field of genealogy. Three IGS members were inducted into the Society of Civil War Families of Indiana, having proven direct lineage to a Civil War soldier who served from Indiana. In addition, the first class of IGS’s newest affiliate society, the Territorial Guard Society of Indiana, was inducted. To qualify, five members proved direct lineage from someone who was a resident of Indiana before statehood, 11 Dec. 1816. President Michael Maben gave a “state of the society” address, and Vice President Tina Lyons announced that Indiana’s 1940 federal census is now 100 percent indexed. It was a memorable and motivating day!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • The Old Country

    Saturday, Apr 28, 2012

    During Fort Wayne Ancestry Day's Ask the Experts Panel, we received so many questions that we were unable to answer them all during the event. The following are questions asked and The Genealogy Center staff's responses.

    How do I find records in Poland with just a birth date and possible city?

    You don't give the date of the birth, and that is important. Some Polish records have been microfilmed by the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, including both civil vital records and baptismal records from churches. You should check the online catalog for the name of the town and see what is available for the years you are interested. You should know that for privacy reasons, the FHL was unable to microfilm records after a certain date, usually 1875. You may need to hire a genealogical researcher in Poland to do the research you need. One research firm advertises in the APG Quarterly.

    What is the best way to search for family in the "old country?"

    This question is difficult to answer because you do not state what country was your family's old country. The research procedures vary widely, depending on the country. It is always wise to check the Family History Library Catalog for the most specific place that you can find. "Germany" or "England" are too general. You will need to know a specific town before you can begin.

    What is the most effective search to find documents in a European city that is reported to have burned, along with the records?

    First, find a genealogical how-to book for the country. It will give you a brief history of the country, as well as listing archives, churches, and other facilities to locate records. You can also do a catalog search on Family Search. Besides checking their catalog, you may wish to check out their Research Wiki, which also explains what type of records are available and where they are located.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Space Available for IGS Conference

    Thursday, Apr 26, 2012

    It’s not too late! Join your friends and meet some new ones at the 2012 Indiana Genealogical Society Annual Meeting and Conference this Saturday, April 28, at the Allen County Public Library. Professional genealogical lecturer and researcher Debbie Mieszala, CG, is the keynote speaker and will present four lectures, three on methodology topics and one on her work with the U.S. Army attempting to identify the remains of U.S. soldiers located overseas so that they may be brought home for burial. The conference also features a second track with a session on Ancestry.com by Genealogy Center librarian Melissa Shimkus, two sessions on FamilySearch by Michael Hall of FamilySearch, and a presentation on writing a family history using Family Tree Maker and Microsoft Word by Curtis Sylvester, president of the Allen County Genealogical Society of Indiana. Walk-ins are welcome! Registration begins at 9 a.m. just inside the Library Plaza doors of the main library.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Genealogy Gems 2011 Available!

    Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012

    All 2011 issues for our monthly e-zine Genealogy Gems are now available to read on our website! For those of you who have missed any issues, Issues 1 through 94, covering March 2004 through December 2011, are available for you to reference anytime you wish. Remember to subscribe by supplying your name and email address before the end of April to receive the next issue!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Writing a Family History

    Monday, Apr 23, 2012

    by Dawne

    Writing a family history is the goal of many genealogists who want to take preserve for future generations the material that they have found during countless hours of research. Allen County Genealogical Society President Curt Sylvester will present “Writing a Book Using Family Tree Maker and Microsoft Word” during the 2012 Indiana Genealogical Society Conference, Saturday, April 28, at the Allen County Public Library. The featured speaker for this year’s conference is Debbie Mieszala, CG(sm), of the Chicago area. Also presenting lectures will be Melissa Shimkus, librarian in The Genealogy Center, and Michael Hall of FamilySearch. The IGS Conference is open to the public. Cost is $30 for IGS members and $40 for non-members. To register online or print a registration form, visit the IGS website.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • More on Family Search

    Saturday, Apr 21, 2012

    by Dawne

    FamilySearch.org is a free website produced and maintained by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) with access to record abstracts and actual digital images of some records. Specific to Indiana, FamilySearch has more than 3,000,000 entries in four databases of births and christenings, marriages and deaths. Michael Hall of FamilySearch will be at the Allen County Public Library on Saturday, April 28, to speak on “Finding Indiana Records and Research in FamilySearch" at the 2012 Indiana Genealogical Society Conference. Michael also will present a second talk, “What’s New With FamilySearch.” The second track of the conference will be completed with lectures by Genealogy Center librarian Melissa Shimkus and Allen County Genealogical Society President Curt Sylvester. The featured speaker this year is Debbie Mieszala, CG(sm), of the Chicago area. The IGS Conference is open to the public. Cost is $30 for IGS members and $40 for non-members. To register online or print a registration form, visit the IGS website.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Becoming Expert at Ancestry.com

    Wednesday, Apr 18, 2012

    by Dawne

    Has this ever happened to you? You are doing a search in Ancestry.com and you ask for 1860 census entries for an individual in Allen County, Indiana, but the first several results you get are for another county entirely. Yet there are Allen County, Indiana, results further down in the list. WHY does this happen and how can you get the results that you really want? Genealogy Center librarian Melissa Shimkus will demonstrate tips for getting the most meaningful results for your searches in Ancestry.com at a presentation titled “Becoming Expert on Using Ancestry” at this year’s Indiana Genealogical Society Conference, Saturday, April 28, at the Allen County Public Library. The conference also will two talks by FamilySearch’s Michael Hall and one by Allen County Genealogical Society President Curt Sylvester, as well as four presentations by featured speaker Debbie Mieszala, CG(sm). The IGS Conference is open to the public. Cost is $30 for IGS members and $40 for non-members. To register online or print a registration form, visit the IGS website.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • What's New with Family Search

    Monday, Apr 16, 2012

    by Dawne

    If someone suggests that you search for material for your ancestors at FamilySearch.org and you think, “Been there, done that,” think again! New material is being added to this free site at an amazing rate. Some of this material is indexes and abstracts, along with the film numbers of microfilmed records that you may order from the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, to be used at The Genealogy Center. For other record types and localities, FamilySearch is linking digital images of the original records. FamilySearch employee Michael Hall from Utah will present a lecture on “What’s New With Family Search” at the 2012 Indiana Genealogical Society Conference, Saturday, April 28, at the Allen County Public Library. The conference also will include a second lecture by Hall, talks by Genealogy Center librarian Melissa Shimkus, and Allen County Genealogical Society President Curt Sylvester, as well as four presentations by featured speaker Debbie Mieszala, CG(sm). The IGS Conference is open to the public. Cost is $30 for IGS members and $40 for non-members. To register online or print a registration form, visit the IGS website.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Preserving the War of 1812 Pensions

    Sunday, Apr 15, 2012

    by Delia

    We like to think that all of the records that we will ever need for our family history research will always be available when we want to need them. And we just know that all of these records will eventually be digitized and available online for us to examine at our leisure. But the sad fact is that some records from the War of 1812 languish in the National Archives, difficult to search; protected and preserved, but slowly deteriorating all the same. The federal government does not have the $3.7 million to digitize the pension records from that war.

    The Federation of Genealogical Societies is spearheading a fund-raising project among historians, family historians and others interested in preserving our heritage. Preserve the Pensions! wishes to have these records digitized and made available for free by the end of the War's bicentennial in 2012. The cost of preserving two documents is only $1, and since Ancestry is matching the project's donations, every dollar that is donated will actually digitize four documents! More than seven million documents are waiting. One can donate in honor of a living person, as a memorial for a deceased loved one, or in honor of a specific War of 1812 service person.

    Learn more about how you or your society can assist in this vital project by visiting Preserve the Pensions! Help preserve their stories!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Centennial: Sinking of the Titanic

    Saturday, Apr 14, 2012

    by Delia

    As I am sure you've seen in the news media, one of the most famous ship wrecks of all time occurred one hundred years ago tonight. Of course, the Titanic was famous even before it sank in the early morning hours of April 15, 1912. It was one of the largest passenger ships at the time, and with all of its safety features, it was reported to be unsinkable. The various stories and legends of the event have been told and retold, and many of us have watched movies fictionalizing the event, including the 1958 "Night to Remember," based on the Walter Lord book of the same title. When the 1997 James Cameron movie came out, a number of people came into the department, asking to see the "Titanic passenger list."

    First of all, the Titanic never made it to port in New York, so a passenger list was never submitted to US immigration authorities. Most of those who survived arrived on other ships, most notably the Carpathia. The bodies that were recovered were, for the most part, buried in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

    Feisty Rose, doomed Jack and evil fiance Cal from the movie "Titanic" were fictional, although, yes, we've been asked about them. Other figures in the movie were real, including "the unsinkable" Molly Brown, who survived; John Jacob Astor, who did not; and Ida Strauss, who declined to flee on a lifeboat, preferring to stay with her husband Isadore, one of the owners of Macy's Department Store.

    There are many sources, both books and online, for research on Titanic passengers and accounts of the events of that night, or you can just get a box of tissues and watch one of the movies. Since this event combines popular culture with our own historical leanings, others can enjoy the movies in memory of the disaster, while we as genealogists will look further for the historical background.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Patent Records

    Friday, Apr 13, 2012

    by Dawne

    Sometimes the most interesting information about our ancestors can be found in records that we don’t use on a daily basis. These less common sources are the ones that can “put flesh on the bones” of our ancestors and make them more to us than someone who was born, married and died. One of the four talks to be presented by featured speaker Debbie Mieszala, CG(sm) at this year’s Indiana Genealogical Society Conference will be on one of these less-common record groups. Debbie will discuss locating patent records in her lecture, “Patently Unique: Locating Patent Records, Online and Off” at the Allen County Public Library on Saturday, April 28. The conference also includes a second track of lectures and the society’s annual meeting and presentation of inductees into the Society of Civil War Families of Indiana and the Indiana Territorial Guard. It is open to the public. Cost is $30 for IGS members and $40 for non-members. To register online or print a registration form, visit the IGS website.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Averting Disaster: Back-up Your Files

    Thursday, Apr 12, 2012

    by Delia

    There always seemed to be disasters in every place I have lived. There were hurricanes in New Orleans, brush fires in southern California, and, of course, tornadoes in Indiana. While we can't avert those disasters, we can mitigate the damage to our genealogical research files if those disaster do occur around our homes.

    You already know that you should back up your computer files, preferably each time you do research. Backing up from the USB drive you carry with you to a research facility or backing up your work on your computer to an external hard drive is always a good idea in case of a computer crash. But picture what will happen if a devastating event (flood, fire, tornado) occurs and wipes out all of the back-ups, paper files, and photograph books that are in your home. Spring is a good time to consider your options:

    • For computer files, consider sharing files with relatives and other researchers on a regular basis. You may lose recent information, but the bulk of your information would survive if you have sent copies away.
    • Backing up to a cloud is also a way to protect digital information. Since the physical storage is not on-site, damage to your home would not wipe out all of your information.
    • Consider scanning and identifying old photographs and documents, then provide digital copies to relatives, store them on external drives, or allow The Genealogy Center to share them with everyone via The Genealogy Center's Family Resources, Family Bible Records, or Our Military Heritage web pages.
    • Scan your paper files into digital format or consider using one of the many good genealogy software systems to organize and document your research, and regularly share that information with distant relatives as an off-site back up.

    Not all of these suggestions will appeal to you, but it's up to you to make the move to insure that your years of research findings are not borne away on a strong wind or disappear in a puff of smoke.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center