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  • Ramping Up for the FGS Conference

    Saturday, Jun 22, 2013

    by Dawne

    Excitement is building at The Genealogy Center of the Allen County Public Library about the upcoming Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference! Since the bulk of the conference sessions will be held just across the street at the Grand Wayne Convention Center, the conference will impact The Genealogy Center in a number of ways:

    • Librarians’ Day, a day featuring sessions especially for librarians who serve genealogists, will be Tuesday, August 20, with all sessions and the luncheon at the library.
    • Final space planning is not yet complete, but at least some Conference workshops and sessions will take place in library meeting rooms and the beautiful auditorium.
    • The Genealogy Center will have extended hours for research, including 9 a.m. to midnight Wednesday, August 21; 7 a.m.-midnight Thursday and Friday, August 22 and 23; and 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, August 24.
    • Volunteers will be “swarming” The Genealogy Center, eager to help you navigate the physical space, locate items, use the equipment and brainstorm next-steps for your research.
    • Friday night’s local host event will be a fabulous evening at the library. The Genealogy Center will have extended hours until midnight, and in addition, there will be a War of 1812 educational session and the awarding of the heirloom War of 1812 quilt, a light dessert buffet sponsored by FamilySearch, and Civil War-era ballroom dancing (audience participation!) in the Great Hall. This is not to be missed! Everyone must have a ticket to attend and admission is only $10, but you may donate MORE if you wish – proceeds go to the Preserve the Pensions fund.
    Fort Wayne and The Genealogy Center love it when FGS Conferences come to town! If you have never been to The Genealogy Center, this would be a great time for your inaugural visit!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • The Origins of “Kekionga” in Fort Wayne's Past, Pt. 2

    Wednesday, Jun 19, 2013

    by John

    A more recent book by Indiana University professor and linguist Michael McCafferty, an authority on Algonquian languages, casts doubt on most of the above theories, and his work illustrates the complexities of language that can often be imbedded in the naming of a place. In his book, Native American Place-Names of Indiana (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2008) Gc 977.2 M123n, McCafferty devotes a chapter on the Kekionga-Kiskakon question, and local historians finally have some answers to a question that has vexed them as they have grown dissatisfied with the blackberry patch tradition.

    McCafferty agrees with Dunn that <Kiskakon> has an Ottawa derivation. Offering a richer explanation, he states that it was almost certainly derived from the common Gallicized Algonquian name for the bear totem band of the Ottawa tribe. However, he also clarifies how this Ottawa term came to be applied to this place, since the Miami, not the Ottawa, were the dominant tribe in this area. His explanation seems sensible: it was not that the Ottawa held this place, but that it was their term for this Miami-held place, since Ottawa would surely have had a name for this important area. The original word, before being altered by the French, may have been kiiskakkam or the longer kiskakkamikaang. “In sum, then,” writes McCafferty, “the French may have used <Kiskakon>, an old, comfortable Ottawa standard in lieu of the actual somewhat homophonous Ottawa expression.”

    In continuing his analysis, McCafferty demonstrates convincingly that <Kekionga> did not derive from a corruption of <Kiskakon>, since it has no common linguistic root. It does not mean blackberry patch, nor does it stem from the Miami-Illinois word, (ah)kihkonki, meaning pot or kettle. One possibility, he suggests, is a different Miami word, (ah)kihkionki, pronounced [kihkioŋgi], a term that means “on the earth.” The Miami villages at Fort Wayne were located on a steep bluff on the St. Joseph River just north of the confluence, where the French built their second fort, Fort St. Joseph. A French-speaking British lieutenant, H. Duvernet, observed in 1778 that the rivers often overflowed their banks in the spring, drowning many of the Indian dwellings, but ground where the French fort was built stood on higher ground and was dry. “Thus, given the site’s geographical setting, one is inclined to see in Miami-Illinois (ah)kihkionki … as a term referring to the only suitable dry living space amid the surrounding, expansive swamplands and flood-prone valleys – on the earth rather than submersed in water.”

    Even this interpretation is likely wrong, however, and McCafferty goes on to call <Kekionga> “a fun-house mirror” because of its inherent distortions. Since it does not appear in any French or British sources from the eighteenth century, one has to search other records. The Moravian missionary David Zeisberger wrote the name in 1784 as <Gigeyunk>. John Heckewelder, a colleague, called it <Kegeyunk> at about the same time, while the American general Josiah Harmar wrote in 1790 of <Kekaiogue> before his ill-fated expedition against the Miami villages later that year. All of these terms seem to be early variations of Kekionga, but the name has not been found in earlier sources.

    After a lengthy analysis of the vowel sounds, McCafferty proposes another Miami-Illinois word for the word’s origin, kiihkayonk, pronounced [kiihkayoŋgi], a phrase meaning “at Kikaya” or “Kikaya’s Place,” with <Kikaya> representing a personal name in the Delaware Indian language for “Old Man.” The Miami retooled the name in their own dialect. Perhaps “Kikaya” represented General Anthony Wayne, who had defeated the confederated tribes at the Battle of Fallen Timbers and constructed Fort Wayne at the headwaters in 1794. With the Americans now firmly occupying the site, it would have been logical for the remaining Miami to use this term. However, the matter is still more complicated, since variants of <Kekionga> were in use in the 1780s. Perhaps the Delaware tribe had used <Kikaya> as a term of respect for the principal Miami chiefs and elders who had lived there before Wayne’s arrival. McCafferty proposes yet another similar word, čečaahkonki, meaning “at the sand-hill crane,” since the crane was the totem for the Miami and could be seen as a representation of their village. However, there is no contemporary documentary evidence for its use, even though it seems logical, since a similar word, waayaahtanonki, meaning “at the Wea,” was used to describe the Miami-Wea village near modern Lafayette.

    In Native American Place-names of Indiana, McCafferty comes closer than any historian in unraveling the mystery of Kekionga, but his conclusions are by no means simple or clear-cut. As he has so meticulously revealed, the story of the name contains many layers, and none stands out as absolutely authoritative. When delving into the naming history of any place, whether it is here in Fort Wayne or elsewhere, expect that task to be muddy. The path may take the researcher into linguistic studies that go far beyond what one would expect in traditional sources. Merely opening a local history book may not offer up an accurate explanation.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • The Origins of “Kekionga” in Fort Wayne's Past, Pt. 1

    Tuesday, Jun 18, 2013

    by John

    What’s in a name, or more specifically, a place name? Local historians and genealogists are often challenged by the earlier names given to a specific place, especially if that name is rooted in a Native American language and has been endowed over time with romantic or exotic connotations. What is the real meaning of the word, and how has it changed? Getting to the truth may involve much more than opening up a local history book.

    A case in point involves the word <Kekionga>. The area at the headwaters of the Maumee River in northeastern Indiana that comprises what is now the city of Fort Wayne, just blocks from where the library stands, was known by a variety of names in its long past. Before the establishment of the first American fort in 1794, the land had both strategic and mercantile significance to Native Americans and French voyageurs that explored and occupied the region in the early eighteenth century. When General Anthony Wayne built Fort Wayne, his officers and soldiers referred to the collection of Miami and other Indian villages located nearby variously as Miamitown and Kekionga – the latter term being an approximation, at best, for the Miami parlance as interpreted by an American ear. French explorers of an earlier time had referred to this place by many other names, including “Kiskakon.” The villages stood on the opposite side of the Maumee River near its confluence with the St. Joseph and St. Mary’s rivers in what is now the Lakeside neighborhood. It was an area of strategic importance to the United States in the 1790s, since controlling the rivers meant domination of the Old Northwest Territory.

    Since the mid-nineteenth century, local historians have attempted to find the meaning of these terms even though their research has not been fully grounded in linguistics. In the first published History of Fort Wayne in 1868, Wallace Brice, an amateur historian, contended that <Kekionga> was the Miami term for “blackberry bush” or “blackberry patch” (see Wallace Brice, History of Fort Wayne from the Earliest Known Accounts [Fort Wayne: D. W. Jones, 1868], p. 23n). Even though it had no historical basis, Brice’s claim was repeated by generations of historians that followed him. Indeed, <Kekionga> had an exotic sound that made it a favorite of early nineteenth century settlers in Fort Wayne. Over time it developed a deep resonance. Businesses and clubs adopted the name, especially after it was incorporated into Fort Wayne’s official city seal in 1858. A few years later the city’s first professional baseball team became known as the Kekiongas as a nod to this heritage.

    The term <Kiskakon>, on the other hand, was probably unknown to the early settlers. This name was seldom used after the mid-eighteenth century, though it remained popular among early French traders and military officers as noted by Charles Poinsatte in his Outpost in the Wilderness: Fort Wayne 1706-1828. But the French were known to use a myriad of other terms for their outpost and their trading partners, often recycling the names that they heard in conversations and writing them down phonetically.

    Kekionga, more than Kiskakon, captured the public imagination. By the 1850s, blackberry bushes had a pleasing connotation for explaining the area’s origins. The respected Indiana historian Jacob P. Dunn wrote in 1888 that the blackberry bush was an emblem of antiquity, since the bushes sprang up on the sites of many older settlements in Indiana. He claimed that the story of Kekionga’s blackberry definition had originated with one Barron, an old French trader on the Wabash River, who may have repeated the claim to Brice. Dunn qualified the tradition, however, by asserting that “Kekionga” was more likely a corruption or dialectical form of <Kiskakon> or <Kikakon>, a variant name for the place, but he failed to offer evidence for how such a change was made (see Jacob P. Dunn, Indiana: A Redemption from Slavery [New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1888], p. 48).

    Dunn identifies <Kiskakon> as the name of a band or subgroup within the Ottawa tribe, defined as “clipped scalp locks.” Since the Maumee River which flows past the village was sometimes known on early maps as the Ottawa River, Dunn suggests without authority that the Ottawa tribe must have occupied the location of the Miami village. Following his lead, other scholars have suggested that the term <Kekionga> may itself be derived from “hair clipping place,” perhaps to designate a spot where Native American warriors shaved and prepared their hair for battle and ceremony (see Michael Hawfield, Here’s Fort Wayne Past and Present [Fort Wayne: Bicentennial Fort Wayne, 1994], p. 6).

    (More tomorrow about Kekionga!)

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • The Genealogy Center Catalog: Modified Dewey

    Saturday, Jun 15, 2013

    by Delia

    Since the call numbers for genealogical material can stretch from the 200s to the 900s, many years ago, the staff of the Genealogy Department and the catalogers for the old Public Library of Fort Wayne and Allen County created a modified Dewey System just for the Genealogy Collection. Within this modified system, most of the volumes in The Genealogy Center have numbers in the 900s, and are cataloged and physically organized by geographic locality - region and state - rather than by subject, such as church records or cemeteries. For example, northeastern states (Maine, Pennsylvania, New Jersey) are all 974s and southern states (Kentucky, Florida, Texas) are 975s and 976s. Then, each state has a number after the decimal point, creating a distinctive number for that state, i.e., Pennsylvania is 974.8, Texas is 976.4 and California is 979.4. General, statewide material is classified with these numbers. These are sources like state or regional histories, biographical works, statewide lists and indexes of cemeteries, Bible records, naturalization records, and more.

    For county-specific material, our modified Dewey system adds an 01 following the state number. This new number (for example, 974.801), indicates that the volume is a Pennsylvania county-specific book. The first part of the second "deck" of the catalog number signifies the county and causes books to be arranged alphabetically by county within each state section. For example, York County, Pennsylvania's number is 974.801 Y8, and Lincoln County, Nebraska's number is 978.201 L63. Additional letters are assigned to the end of the county designation so that each book has a unique number.

    Following the county books in each state area, is a section of books specific to cities and towns within the state. The top "deck" of modified Dewey numbers for city books end in 02. So Pennsylvania statewide books (974.8) are followed by Pennsylvania county books (974.801), which are followed by Pennsylvania city/town books (974.802). The second "deck" of the city and town books are assigned similarly to those of the county books, and their numbers cause the city/town books also to be shelved alphabetically within that section.

    So, as you see, understanding this modified (and simplified) Dewey system will make it easier to browse our stacks when you visit, but if you are seeking something specific, checking our own catalog, rather than that of another library is vital. Get ready for your visit by checking our catalogs in advance!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • The Genealogy Center Catalogs

    Friday, Jun 14, 2013

    by Delia

    Whether you're coming to The Genealogy Center as a local resident or from two thousand miles away, preparing for your research time is vital to a productive visit. We've talked about what to bring, but doing your "homework" before even starting your journey will actually provide more solid research time.

    What's your homework?

    Check our catalogs and make lists of which books or microfilm you want to use while here. There is a guide to finding material in our catalogs that will help you get started. Gather titles and call numbers for books, and titles with roll or sheet numbers for microfilm sources. This way, when you arrive, you can immediately pull these materials for examination. But make sure you are really using our  print catalog and microtext catalog. Sometimes visitors have titles and call numbers from other libraries that they have searched instead of ours, including the Family History Library and other public libraries for Allen Counties outside of Indiana, and are frustrated that the numbers are not the same.

    Why are the numbers different from one facility to another? It's first important to know what a call number is. The simplest way to describe a call number is that it is the "address" where a specific book "lives" on the shelves. In the Dewey Decimal System (Dewey, for short), fiction is organized by author and biographies by the last name of the subject, but other material is organized by subject. There are large groupings of numbers from 001 to 999 signifying general subjects. For example, books with call numbers that are in the 500s are Science books, 700s are for the Arts, and 900s are for the Social Sciences, including history. Within the Arts classification, you have silk painting (746.6), ballet (792.8), and country music (781.6), for example.

    Genealogical material can fit into several categories, such as church records (200s), cemeteries (300s), census (also 300s), business (600s), and history and biography (900s).

    Confusing? Yes, it is. For people not steeped in the Dewey System, and to many of us who are, it is cumbersome, to say the least. Then add the fact that we now have more than a half million print volumes in The Genealogy Center, and it could have been extremely perplexing to have call numbers stretching from the 200s to the 900s.

    Many years ago, however, the staff of the Genealogy Department and the catalogers for the old Public Library of Fort Wayne and Allen County created a modified Dewey System just for the Genealogy Collection.

    To learn more about this modified Dewey System, check back tomorrow.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • WeRelate Overview - June 24th

    Tuesday, Jun 11, 2013

    WeRelate is one of the largest genealogy wikis. Explore this wiki and how it can help you post your family information on the Internet.

    Part of the Beyond Ancestry's Leaves & Branches series.

    Monday June 24, 2013, 2:00PM-3:00PM.

    Meeting Room A.

    To register for this free class, send an email or call 260-421-1225.

    For more information, see our brochure.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Date Confusion

    Saturday, Jun 08, 2013

    By Dawne

    Sources for the birth date of Daniel Krinn, Civil War soldier, disagree whether he was born in 1842 or 1843, but all sources except one that have been located concur that he was born on 1 December. His date of birth was Dec. 1, 1842 in “General Affidavit” dated 28 April 1913, Civil War pension file of Daniel Krinn, Claim No. 628706; Certificate No. 835785, National Archives, Washington, D.C., stating specifically “… that his father’s record of births was destroyed by fire …” and “… that he fixes the date of his birth from his father’s record showed and from what his mother often told him … That he was born Dec 1-1842.” The 1900 U.S. census, Grant Co., IN, pop. sch., Franklin Twp., ED 31, p. 17, dwell. 353, fam. 372, Daniel Krinn household, indicated that Daniel was born in Dec. 1843. And Daniel's death record, for which his son, George, was the informant, says that Daniel was born 1 December 1843.

    One lone source has a completely different day and month for Daniel’s birth – he was born 12 January 1843, according to Peggy Davidson Dick, Jahn Funeral Home Records, Wells County, Bluffton, Indiana, 1922-1956 (Bluffton, Ind.: Privately Printed, 1976), alphabetical listing. Why the discrepancy?

    Lightbulb over the head time! In either the original funeral home record or some derivation, Daniel’s date of birth probably was written in military style – day-month-year, but completely in numbers as opposed to spelling out the name of the month. So 1-12-1843 was interpreted as January 12, 1843 instead of 1 December 1843.

    I have not yet seen the original funeral home record, so I do not know where this error occurred. It could have been a misinterpretation on the part of the abstracter, or but it’s also possible that the funeral director or his clerk made the mistake when the information was copied into the official records.

    The lessons here are several:
    • Indexers and abstracters – Be careful when interpreting dates that you do not make assumptions. It is quite possible that some dates in this original source were written in military style and some were not. In often is best just to write what is seen and to leave the interpretation to your readers.
    • Researchers – Keep an open mind when you encounter conflicting evidence. Consider why the error might have occurred. And when possible, always try to seek out the original record to see what that record actually says.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • "Lost" Cemeteries

    Wednesday, Jun 05, 2013

    by Sara

    My grandpa’s cousin (once removed), Sue, is about 80 years old now, and unable to get around well, but she alone knows the location of many of my southern ancestors' graves. Some are buried in forgotten family plots on the land they farmed 200 years ago, others with only a field stone marking the spot, and still others in long-abandoned, overgrown, hidden cemeteries. When Sue passes on, this information will be lost. She spent a good part of her life interviewing old-timers in the community, visiting extended family members, and accumulating all sorts of family lore. She was always very gracious to my family, her northern cousins, probably because we were more interested in history than some of her closer relatives. She took us to see those cemeteries in the 1980s and 1990s. We wrote down directions as best we could, but without a modern GPS unit and very little familiarity with rural Tennessee, we weren’t able to exactly record the location of many of these rural, remote locations where we hopped fences, forded creeks, hiked up hills, and down ravines to reach the grave sites.

    I’ve decided that rather than continuing to worry about the possibility of losing this information, my mom and I need to take action and remedy the situation by scheduling a visit with Sue soon. At that time, we will try to get verbal directions from her and/or request that she send one of her kids or grandkids with us to access the graveyards. We will record the latitude and longitude of the cemetery locations via GPS. We will also document and photograph the tombstones and enter them on the free online grave transcription website Find a Grave.

    Do you or a family member have special knowledge about your family that no-one else has? Now is the time to stop worrying about and make a plan to document it and preserve it for those who come after you. You could write it down (long-hand or typewritten) and give copies to all family members. Or, you could make a scrapbook or a recording (video or audio) with the pertinent information. Also consider donating a copy of your finished work to a local library or historical society. The Genealogy Center accepts many types of genealogical and local history donations. Contact us to find out more. Don’t let your memories and unique family information end with you.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Primetime 39 - June 7

    Sunday, Jun 02, 2013

    Our very own John Beatty has been invited to appear on the local PBS station, WFWA on "Prime Time 39," with Bruce Haines, Friday, June 7, 7:30 - 8:00 PM. John will be sharing his knowledge of Fort Wayne's history as "The City of Churches." Not only has our city been home to a large number of churches, but also to a wide variety of denominations. Take a bit of time to watch as John's knowledge of the subject is unparalleled.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Finding Newspapers Online - June 8th

    Thursday, May 30, 2013

    “Hear ye, hear ye!” Newspapers chronicle the lives and times of our ancestors. Discover again what may be found in newspapers, and see how to find what is available online.

    Part of the Family History Fundamentals series.

    Saturday June 8, 2013, 10:00AM-11:00AM.

    Meeting Room A.

    To register for this free class, send an email, or call 260-421-1225.

    For more information, see our brochure.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Memorial Day: Honoring Those Who Died

    Monday, May 27, 2013

    by Delia

    Recently, someone who noticed signs indicating that The Genealogy Center would be closed on Monday, May 27th, for Memorial Day, asked, in a rhetorical fashion, "What's the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans' Day?" The difference is that while Veterans' Day honors all who served, Memorial Day is specifically for those who died in service to our country.

    This is an interesting concept, as as I thought about it, I realized that many who died in service or from injuries incurred in service were young and may not have had direct descendants to keep their memory alive. While I do not wish to disrespect any veteran, I think that this Memorial Day, I will I will concentrate my thoughts on those collateral ancestors who died young because of war.

    This is also a good time to organize what family military records I have acquired for addition to The Genealogy Center's Our Military Heritage website. We welcome your contributions, too, so take a look at the site, and send the records or digital images this week!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • "Who Do You Think You Are" Returning!

    Friday, May 24, 2013

    We've learned that the show "Who Do You Think You Are," which was canceled by NBC last year, has been picked up by The Learning Channel (TLC), and will premier on Tuesday, July 23, 2013. The show, which demonstrates the thrills and challenges of genealogy by assisting celebrities delve into their own families' histories, will air at 9 PM Eastern and 8 PM Central. This season's researchers include Christina Applegate, Cindy Crawford, Chris O'Donnell, Chelsea Handler, Kelly Clarkson, and Zooey Deschanel. We at The Genealogy Center are thrilled that this well-executed program is returning. Get your remotes and settle in for an hour of good and inspiring entertainment on July 23rd!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Accidental Finds

    Tuesday, May 21, 2013

    by Sara

    I suspect all of us have an immigrant ancestor or two that we’ve been seeking for a number of years. Sometimes the only way to find out more about this immigrant is to view records found in their country of origin, some of which may have been microfilmed by the LDS Church or made available on Family Search. But more often, the clue to our family’s origins may be right under our nose, in a standard American source, such as the census, a printed book, church register, obituary, newspaper article, Social Security application, or a birth/death record.

    Such was the case when I accidentally found a family's place of origin Ireland (!!!!) while trying to answer a totally different question. Originally, I was trying to find the parents of Patrick Hughes of St. Joseph County, Indiana. I hoped to find this information in his death record and/or obituary. According to the Vital statistics index to St. Joseph County, Indiana newspapers, 1831-1912 (977.201 SA2EIR), Patrick died in 1896. His obituary (found on microfilm in South Bend) did not list his parents' names, but listed several siblings. Those siblings had obituaries also, and in brother Edward’s obituary, their mother, Ann Hughes, was mentioned. Ann’s obituary finally gave the name of her husband Thomas, and his obituary yielded an unexpected clue: He was from County Kildare in Ireland. Through investigating all the children of the immigrant, clues were followed that pointed to the names of Patrick’s parents, and finally to a county of origin in Ireland. Should a more extensive, systematic search be undertaken on this entire family and their close associates in American records (especially Catholic Church records, home sources, land records, probate records, cemetery records, vital records, and military records), the name of their specific hometown or parish in Ireland might also be unearthed.

    So, the moral of the story is to take the time to view the obituaries for your immigrant ancestors and all their children. You may be amazed at what you find!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Summer Hours

    Friday, May 17, 2013

    Beginning on Sunday, May 26, 2013, The Genealogy Center  like other facilities of the Allen County Public Library, will begin to be closed on Sundays through the summer months. Other regular hours, Monday through Thursday, 9 Am to 9 PM, and Fridays and Saturdays 9 AM to 6 PM, will remain the same. Sunday hours are scheduled to recommence on Sunday September 8, 2013.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Memorial Day

    Wednesday, May 15, 2013

    The Genealogy Center, like all of the Allen County Public Library agencies, will be closed Monday, May 27, 2013 in honor of Memorial Day. We will be open our regular house on Saturday, May 25, 9 AM to 6 PM, and on Tuesday May 28, 9 AM to 9 PM. Take this day to honor our veterans who fought and died for our freedom.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • May 29th: Finding Births, Marriages and Deaths Online

    Monday, May 13, 2013

     In research, we want to locate the most important records in recording an ancestor’s life, and, of course, we want it NOW! See how it may be possible to locate these “vital” records online.

    For more information about this or other Beyond Ancestry's Leaves & Branches series, see our brochure.

    Wednesday, May 29, 2013, Meeting Room A,  10 AM - 11 AM.

    To register for this free class, send an email or call 260-421-1225.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • May 25th: Researching Church Records

    Friday, May 10, 2013

    Churches played both a social and religious role in our ancestors’ lives. Enjoy a basic overview of the steps one needs to take in finding church records. This presentation will feature many different examples of records from different denominations and will offer strategies for research and interpretation.

    Saturday, May 25, 2013, 10 AM, Meeting Room A.

    For more information about this or other events in our Family History Fundamentals series, see the brochure.

    To register for this free class, send an email or call 260-421-1225.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Perserverance Pays Off

    Tuesday, May 07, 2013

    By Dawne

    I once heard it called “bulldog genealogy,” the tendency not to give up when the answer didn’t come easily, but to keep chewing on the problem from different directions until success was achieved. The worth of this technique was proved for a patron and me one evening recently in The Genealogy Center.

    He came into The Center looking for information about the death of his much older sister in a house fire back in the late 1940s here in Fort Wayne. He thought the year was about 1947, because she was born in 1931 and he believed she died at age 16. He was nearly certain that she was buried in Lindenwood Cemetery, because he remembered his father and mother going out to the cemetery to visit his sister’s grave when he was small. But he had been to Lindenwood and the cemetery had no record of someone with his sister’s name buried there.

    We checked the Lindenwood interment books here, even though those records are taken from the cemetery’s records and so likely would not be different. We also checked the obituary index with no luck. “Could she have gone by any other name?” I asked him. He didn’t think so. We tried the newspaper subject index, which isn’t very useful for this type of search, and my colleague, John, suggested that he check the collection of photocopied firefighters’ scrapbooks. Still no luck.

    Finally, I opened our Lindenwood Cemetery abstracts database on The Genealogy Center’s website and searched by first name only. Then I scrolled through the list, looking for young women who died in their teens in the late 1940s. One jumped out – An Ethel May who died at the age of 18 in 1949 and was born in Arkansas, which the patron had told me his sister was. But this Ethel had a different surname than the one we were searching.

    I checked the local obituary index and found an entry for the Ethel buried in Lindenwood – on Page 1 of the newspaper, a good indication that this was a news story rather than a standard obituary. And the article confirmed that we had found the correct person. The young woman died in a house fire at the home of her father – who had the surname that the patron had given me. The girl must have been newly married, because she was “Mrs.” in the article.

    As I was brainstorming with the patron before deciding to comb the Lindenwood abstracts, I kept thinking that there must be something else that we could check. We had talked about death records, but the library does not have them from that time period and the Department of Health requires an exact date, which he did not have. I suggested talking to relatives, neighbors and friends of the family, but he said there was no one still around who would know any specific information. We discussed pursuing funeral home records, and that might have been his next step.

    When you come up against that brick wall of a problem that you feel should be solvable, it probably is. You just haven’t figured out how to solve it yet. Sleep on it and maybe additional avenues of pursuit will occur to you the next morning. Put that problem aside and work on another for a while, then go back to it with a fresh outlook. Trade problems with a friend, or let someone else look at your research and give new suggestions. Think like a bulldog and don’t give up!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Source for Black Ops Ancestor's History

    Saturday, May 04, 2013

    by John

    The Genealogy Center holds a wide variety of books. We collect not only with current genealogists in mind, but also with an eye to future researchers who may be interested in records of more recent events of genealogical value. A good example is our collection of military histories. Yes, we have lots of books about the wars of the 19th and early 20th centuries, but we also have a strong collection of Vietnam War histories and memoirs, and even sources for America's most recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. The soldiers and veterans of today will become the ancestors of future genealogists.

    Military sources can vary in type. For these more recent conflicts, it is obvious that the veteran service records are not available to researchers. So instead, in order to document what little is available about these wars, we look for memoirs, first-hand accounts, unit histories, and even general histories, knowing that they may assist genealogists in the future. We also seek out books about military uniforms, medals, and insignia, since these sources may help researchers when evaluating ancestral photographs or heirlooms. Many such works have been published about World War II.

    Recently we obtained a most unusual new book by Trevor Paglen titled, "I Could Tell You But Then You Would Have to Be Destroyed by Me: Emblems from the Pentagon's Black World" (GC 973.001 P148i). As the title would imply, Paglen attempts to bring together in one volume a collection of obscure patches from some of the most classified programs in the military. Many seem to be connected with aviation units that test experimental aircraft for the Pentagon. Paglen includes brief histories of these units based on what he has been able to determine from declassified sources. As to why these units have patches (considering they are so secretive), Paglen speculates that they provide a certain pride and esprit de corps that motivate the members of these units. "Without a doubt, many members of the black world are proud of the secrets they hold, and of the clandestine work they've done in the military or intelligence industries." He adds that he has found patches in unusual places such as on the walls of the watering holes of test pilots and even in private living rooms. Many contain unusual mottoes and symbols that he often cannot explain.

    This unusual book is not likely to be of help in tracing your ancestors today, but who knows? A generation from now a descendant who has inherited one of these patches may look to this source as a useful reference. As always, we will continue to collect for genealogists, both today and tomorrow.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • The PERSI Generation

    Thursday, May 02, 2013

    The popularity of the PERiodical Source Index, a.k.a. PERSI, was once again evidenced this past weekend as more than seventy attendees of the Indiana Genealogical Society Annual Conference attended a session on this wonderful genealogical resource. Twenty-first century researchers are familiar with the online version of this subject index to more than 10,000 historical and genealogical magazines, but the new generation of family historians may not be aware that The Genealogy Center has been creating PERSI since 1986.

    Genealogy Center librarian Delia Bourne is someone who can recite the details of the migration of PERSI from print to electronic format, the facts and figures of the project, and the overall history of PERSI, while thoroughly explaining how to best use this valuable resource. She is one of the few people who has first-hand experience with the project from its creation through the present day.

    This week, Delia received a "Certificate of Appreciation for a Generation of Service to PERSI" as thanks for her commitment and dedication. Join us in thanking Delia for contributing to a generation of PERSI.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center