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  • WinterTech Is Coming!

    Monday, Oct 29, 2012

    Spend the winter months learning more ways to use your computer or other electronic devices in your family history quest by attending The Genealogy Center's  WinterTech 2012-2013. These classes, offered at 2:30 on the second Tuesdays of November through February, are on the same days as the monthly meeting for the Allen County Genealogical Society of Indiana, so stick around for their meetings at 6:30 PM.

    The WinterTech classes will highlight how to expand your abilities by using the latest devices and services.First up is Tina Lyons on November 14, who will tell us about "Twitter for #Genealogy." Later classes will teach about "Using OneNote in Your Genealogical Research in December, "e-readers in family history" in January, and finishing up with instructions on how to "Plug-In Your Armchair Genealogy: Researching from Home" in February.All classes will be 2:30 PM to 3:30 PM, in Meeting Room A.

    For more information, see the brochure. To register for any of these free classes, send an email or call 260-421-1225.

    Keep warm through the winter by the glow of your electronics!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • "Shift" Is Not a Dirty Word

    Saturday, Oct 27, 2012

     by Delia

    Although over the next few weeks, you might think that it is.

    When The Genealogy Center opened in the old/new Allen County Public Library Main Branch in 2007, it seemed that the shelves had lots of room for expansion. There was at least six inches of space at the end of each shelf and no books were on the top shelf.

    But in the almost six years since then, our collection has soared to over one million items and some spaces are getting tight. But worry not! We have a plan. We are going to shift some books around, moving some subjects to utilize what may be currently unused space. All of the collection will still be in open, browseable stacks, but a few things will be in slightly different places.

    Over the next few weeks, you will see staff members placing books on move carts and pushing them around the department. We are still open and all of our material will remain available. If you can't locate something, ask a staff member and we will try to locate the item.

    So pardon the extra activity while this is going on, and remember, we are always trying to enhance your experience at The Genealogy Center!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Brick Wall Solutions

    Thursday, Oct 25, 2012

    Family History Month is winding down, but before we say goodbye to October, we must discuss how to handle our genealogy brick walls. On Sunday, October 28, explore techniques for those times we experience "Fail! When the Record is Wrong." Return on Monday, October 29, for "Using 'Whole Family' Research to Break Through Your Genealogical Roadblocks" to learn to examine the family, associates, and neighbors of your ancestor. And the finale is on Tuesday, October 30, where we will be "Breaking Through the Brick Wall."

    To learn more about other Family History Month classes or to register, please call 260-421-1225 or email Genealogy@ACPL.Info.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Genealogy Extras!

    Tuesday, Oct 23, 2012

    Take advantage of the three extraordinary genealogical opportunities on October 25-27. Space is still available for the "Basics of Adobe Elements Workshop" on Thursday, October 25, where you can learn how to restore your old photographs. If you're having trouble finding time to research your family, stay until midnight for The Genealogy Center's "Extended Research Hours" on Friday, October 26. And for those interested in writing your family history, ACGSI is offering "Writing a Book Using Family Tree Maker and Microsoft Word" on Saturday, October 27.

    Please see the Family History Month brochure to learn how you can enjoy these genealogy extras by registering for these fun activities.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Celebrate Veteran's Day with the Military Seminar

    Monday, Oct 22, 2012

    To celebrate Veteran's Day, The Genealogy Center is hosting its fifth annual Military Seminar on Monday November 12, 2012, from 2 PM to 7:30 PM in the Main Library Theater.

    This free program will feature Laura Prescott, consultant for the database Fold3, speaking on the Fold3 site and on other online resources for War of 1812 research, as well as Curt Witcher, who will talk about about military resources at The Genealogy Center.

    For more information, see the brochure. To register for this free event, send an email or call 260-421-1225.

    Celebrate your military ancestors by learning more about the resources available for research.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Learn from the Census

    Thursday, Oct 18, 2012

    The U.S. federal census is commonly the first step in genealogical research. Have you practiced your skills on the census? Have you found your ancestors in every census year? From October 21 through October 24, join The Genealogy Center in learning how to piece the census puzzle together, find the 1940 census, and learn about those other schedules. To learn more about other Family History Month classes or to register, please call 260-421-1225 or email Genealogy@ACPL.Info.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • African-American Memorial Cards

    Sunday, Oct 14, 2012

    by Melissa

    Thanks to the continued efforts of Fort Wayne community volunteer and resident, Marsha Smiley, The Genealogy Center currently has 1597 African-American memorial cards comprising 6184 images available on the Memorial Card section of the Marsha Smiley Collection. The memorial cards not only provide information on the deceased individual but also on other family members. Some include obituaries. Some of the cards in the collection are for individuals who were not Allen County residents, but who had family in the area such as Wilma Louise Embry of Richmond, Indiana. Her memorial card featured family photos and her birth registration which listed her maiden name as Turley. To access these wonderful materials, visit the African-American Resources section of the Allen County, Indiana Resources page in the Free Databases section of The Genealogy Center website.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Technology Events

    Wednesday, Oct 10, 2012

    With so many genealogy websites available, which one should you use in your family history research? DAR website, Origins, PERSI, or Ancestry? The Genealogy Center is offering technology classes from October 13 through October 19 as part of our Family History Month programming. To register for these classes, please call 260-421-1225 or email Genealogy@ACPL.Info.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • State Research

    Friday, Oct 05, 2012

    Are you interested in looking for family in Kentucky, Indiana, Virginia, Michigan, or Colonial New England? Then join The Genealogy Center for a week of genealogy research in these states. During the second week of October, the Center is offering state-theme lectures in honor of Family History Month. To sign up for these lectures or to learn more about our October events, call 260-421-1225 or email Genealogy@ACPL.Info.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Money, Money, Money

    Thursday, Oct 04, 2012

    by Delia

    I just wanted to remind all of our visitors that last Spring, The Genealogy Center, like the rest of the Allen County Public Library system, switched to a copy card system for both photocopiers and computers. One must obtain a print card from a staff member in order to copy from our print material or to print images from our computers. The card system will only accept U.S. paper money to put credit on the cards, so those of our visitors who saved coins all year for a visit, or even went to their local bank for rolls of dimes, should instead exchange their coins for $1s, $5s and $10s when they plan a visit. Just think, less weight to carry and security at the airport won't wonder why you have ten rolls of dimes in your carry on!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Get Started in Genealogy

    Sunday, Sep 30, 2012

    Have you heard people talking about genealogy, but are unsure about getting started? Did you see episodes of Who Do You Think You Are? on NBC and think it seemed interesting? Are you a researcher who is wants to learn more about family history? Then take advantage of The Genealogy Center's Family History Month activities.

    Beginning Monday, October 1st, experience a week that promises to offer various genealogical topics ranging from materials available in other research departments at ACPL, cemeteries, the Revolutionary War, your photographs, and beginning genealogy.

    For detailed class descriptions, more information, and to register for individual sessions, see the Family History Month brochure or contact The Genealogy Center at 260-421-1225 or email Genealogy@ACPL.Info.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Drive to Save

    Sunday, Sep 30, 2012

    by Delia

    We all call It by a different name: jump drive; flash drive; stick drive; USB drive. It is a flash data storage device which is integrated with a Universal Serial Bus (USB). Not being all that techie myself, I would just describe it as one of those things that are about the size of my little finger (or smaller) that plugs into a computer to which I can download files with ancestral information and all types of images: photos of great-grandparents, census images from Ancestry, or a baptismal record image from FamilySearch. I photocopy less and less these days, instead putting the image on my flash drive (what I call it). The major benefit to downloading images is that I have an image that I can thoroughly examine. I can enlarge at will to examine that stray mark on the document and determine if it is a vital clue to my family history or just a smudge. I also generate less paper to juggle and file, and have my documents readily available at any computer.

    Flash drives come in various storage capacities, four gigabytes and up, and the price corresponds to the capacity. The Allen County Public Library's Circulation Department sells small flashdrives at the Check-out Desk as a service to those who need one, but they have a comparatively small capacity, so I would encourage all of our visitors to purchase a flash drive before visiting The Genealogy Center. You may use them in any of our computers, as long as they do not have any program (.exe) files on them.

    So remember to pack your jump/flash/stick/USB drive the next time you visit!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Indianapolis (IN) Fire Department Roster

    Friday, Sep 28, 2012

    by Melissa

    New to The Genealogy Center is the Indianapolis Fire Department Roster, located in the Indiana Resources section of the Free Databases. Jerry Hurley, a retired Indianapolis firefighter, compiled this roster from personnel and union files along with other sources. The database provides not only information on employment, awards and association activity, but also documents some birth and death dates. Each entry varies and the details can be limited or elaborate. An example of what can be found within this roster is the entry for Everett L. Jackson, who on 31 May 1945 "suffered a heart attack while fighting a fire set during a riot at Fort Benjamin Harrison. Two thousand men were being held in a prison compound at the fort for crimes they committed while serving in the Army. Buried Crown Hill Cemetery, Indianapolis, Indiana." If you are seeking a firefighter in the Indianapolis, Indiana area, search the Indianapolis Fire Department Roster.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Family History Month

    Monday, Sep 24, 2012

    October is Family History Month and The Genealogy Center would like to invite you to celebrate! In honor of this month, the Center offers a genealogical event a day, which means you have 31 opportunities to learn or participate in a genealogical activity.

    Classes for the month will highlight researching genealogy in other departments of the Allen County library, cemetery research and symbolism, state and regional research, census, analyzing photographs, brick wall research, instructional sessions on some of our electronic databases, such as the Origins Network, Ancestry, and the Periodical Source Index (PERSI), and training on using some of the machinery in The Genealogy Center, as well as the return of our traditional Midnight Madness Extended Research Hours on Friday, October 26, offering the opportunity to do family history research until midnight.

    For detailed class descriptions, more information, and to register for individual sessions, see the Family History Month brochure or contact The Genealogy Center at 260-421-1225 or email Genealogy@ACPL.Info.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Visit

    Saturday, Sep 22, 2012

    Anne Mitchell, of the Ask Ancestry Anne column for’s monthly member newsletter, will present "Searching Successfully to Reveal Your Ancestor's Story on" on Wednesday, September 26, 2012 from 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm in Meeting Room C. Anne will discuss search techniques to help researchers dig deeper into the website and locate ancestors.

    Call 260-421-1225 or email Genealogy@ACPL.Info to make your reservation for this free class.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • More Evangelical Messenger Obituaries

    Wednesday, Sep 19, 2012

    by Delia

    The index to obituaries for The Evangelical Messenger, the English-language, weekly denominational publication associated with the Evangelical Church, has been updated again. The index now covers 1848-1929 and contains 142,000 entries. Indexed by both the decedent and his or her spouse, the index provides the date and page number of the obituary. Since The Genealogy Center owns the newspaper on microfilm, copies of specific obituaries may be ordered by emailing Genealogy@ACPL.Info with the complete citation as found in the index. Cost is $2.50 per obituary, billed at the time of mailing. Your complete name and mailing address must be included with your request. Take some time and browse The Evangelical Messenger Index or one of our other free databases.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Fort Wayne Obituary Index, 1841-May 2012

    Saturday, Sep 15, 2012

    by Delia

    One of the most popular of The Genealogy Center's Free Databases is the Fort Wayne Obituary Index, 1841 - May 2012. It attracts not only current residents, but also descendants of the many people who have lived in this area in the past 160 years. We also offer a service that supplies photocopies of the obituaries by mail for a low cost of $2.50 per obituary. Many customers have used the index and this service in the past five years. However, we wanted everyone to know that we are also in a long-range project of corrections and additions to the database. For a variety of reasons, obituaries have been missed and citations have had errors over the past 70 years or so of this index, as the obituaries were cut out the newspapers and glued onto index cards for filing before an actual print index was created. Those print indexes were put into a database file in the 1990s, and again, some errors occurred.

    Part of the correction process consists of volunteers browsing the newspapers, day by day, seeking those obituaries that were missed and correcting errors as they are found. The other part starts with our customers who request an obituary. If the request if for a pre-1900 obituary, we search for the obituary and add the information to the database. Pre-1900 obituaries were originally indexed by date without indicating whether it was a death, funeral or obituary date and not noting which of the several dailies or weeklies in which the item appeared. If it is an error in the citation, we attempt to locate the correct obituary and update the database along with correcting other obituaries as we find them. Corrections and additions are available within a day or two of discovery.

    This is a great source, and if you've checked it before, check it again!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Expert to Speak!

    Wednesday, Sep 12, 2012

    Representatives of will be visiting The Genealogy Center the last week of September and have offered to provide a class to our customers! On Wednesday, September 26, 2012, Anne Mitchell will lecture on Searching Successfully to Reveal Your Ancestor's Story on, from 7 PM to 8 PM in Meeting Room C of the Main Library. It's not enough to find the records, one needs to know what to do with them. Ms. Mitchell will discuss search techniques to discover new records as well as methods that help you learn who your ancestors were.

    Free program. Call 260-421-1225 or send us an email to make your reservation.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Is It Plausible? Part 2

    Monday, Sep 10, 2012

    by Dawne

    Did a 14-year-old boy father a child? This was the question that two patrons in The Genealogy Department had in one day. The first instance, which was discussed in a previous blog entry, may have been a case of two people with the same name in the same geographic area being mistaken for one. In the second case, it seems very possible that the boy was the father of the child … but he wasn’t 14 years old at the time the child was born.

    The patron had an obituary stating that the father of her deceased female ancestor was a particular man with a rather uncommon first name – no one else of that name could be found in the area where the family lived. The obituary also gave the woman’s date of birth, which was in 1852. She had an obituary for the father, as well – or perhaps it was a picture of his cemetery marker – that said the father was born in 1838 or 1839. A 13- or 14-year-old father! But the woman’s obituary definitely stated that this man was her father. Part of the puzzle was that this woman, as a child in 1860, was not living in the man’s household. She was enumerated on the same page of the census in the household of another family with a different surname, however.

    The problem here was those nice, clear-cut dates of birth in the obituaries. It’s so tempting to accept those as gospel over a “circa” date estimated from the census or other records. But when the potential father’s age was examined on all available federal census schedules, it became clear that he probably was born in 1832 or 1833, rather than in 1838 or 1839. And his possible daughter probably was born about 1855, rather than 1852. So it is quite likely after all that this man, at the age of about 23, could have been her father.

    Something to keep in mind about death records, obituaries and cemetery markers is that the information for all of them was given by someone other than the subject, and the informant may not have known the facts. We cannot know (until 1940) who gave the information for the census enumerations, but if it was the person himself or his or her parent – someone in the position to know the facts firsthand – the data may be more likely to be correct. The census information about the ages of this potential father and daughter also was provided closer to the time of the events – their births – and sometimes that can add to its accuracy.

    Don’t be tripped up believing that a fact is correct because several different records have the same information, either. “But it must be right – it’s on the obituary and the death record and the tombstone!” Keep in mind that the information for those three particular kinds of records probably was contributed by the same individual, who may have been wrong! In the case of other kinds of records, one may have copied the information from another.

    The lesson here is, watch for those red flags! Don’t discount family stories and pieces that don’t fit perfectly, but question them, explain them, continue to research them. Some likely will turn out to be completely wrong, and others will fit once an incorrect piece of data or two is exposed.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Is It Plausible? Part 1

    Saturday, Sep 08, 2012

    by Dawne

    If you’re like me, you have encountered situations in your genealogical research where the pieces of a puzzle almost, but don’t quite fit. In those situations, we may enter the information on a family group sheet or a pedigree chart in pencil, or with a question mark. We might write about them in a blog or a journal article, using words like “probably” or “perhaps” or “may have” or “likely,” and if we’re diligent, we will include notes as to why we are hesitant to state outright that these facts are, well, facts.

    Twice in one day, patrons in The Genealogy Center approached the Ask Desk with family information that indicated that a 14-year-old boy was the father of a child. This is not physically impossible – at least not today when children are maturing earlier than they did a century and more ago – but it is at the very least quite unlikely to have occurred back in the mid-1800s, and not just because of physical reasons. In one case, the boy was said to have been married, fathered the child at age 14, then widowed and married again twice in succession at an older age, fathering several more children. Allowing for the 9-month gestation period of the baby, even if the boy and the baby’s mother married after she was pregnant, he almost certainly would have had to have been married at age 13. It is difficult to imagine that either family would have approved of this marriage, with the young father a child himself and not old enough to support his wife and child.

    The first hypothesis I would test in this situation is whether there were two people with the same name in the same geographic area. Maybe the 14-year-old boy he had a slightly older cousin or uncle who actually was the baby’s father, and the boy grew up to marry twice once he was of age. Sometimes researchers “latch onto” individuals with the same name, assuming that they are the same person. But the records often give clues that allow us to distinguish between these same-name folks if we keep our eyes open. For example, when land is sold, a wife’s name usually is given. Deeds also give land descriptions and sometimes the names of the owners of adjacent properties. The names of witnesses to deeds and wills can help us build a group of associates for our individuals of interest. Tax records may give us clues as to how wealthy people were, or whether they were very young or more well-established, based on how much land they owned. When there were two (or more) individuals in the same area at the same time in the deeds, tax lists and other records, sometimes designations like Junior, Senior, Younger, and others can help us sort them out. One of my ancestors was called William Morgan “Cozen” – what I later was able to interpret as “Cousin” – in deeds to distinguish him from an older William Morgan in the same area.

    [Read more about asking yourself whether your family information is plausible in the next installment]

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center