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  • Thanksgiving and Family Stories

    Wednesday, Nov 26, 2014

     Thanksgiving

    When I was a child, Thanksgiving was all about the feast. My mother would have been preparing for several days, and was up early on Thursday to get the turkey in the oven. She made a number of dishes that were traditional, and often added a new one, which might or might not become a regular. We daughters (there were no sons) would do our assigned tasks and, when we lived in California, Daddy would pick roses for the table. We would sit down to eat about 1 p.m., and might be sitting there an hour later, having finished eating and were just talking. If we had any relatives with us, we might be sitting there for several hours, chatting and laughing over old stories. As the family expanded and various relatives married, sometimes the new family members did not understand why we’d sit in hard chairs at the table and talk. Wasn’t it time to get back to the game on TV? Some never quite got it. I wish I had had some of these questions to spark their interest.

    You can use these questions any way you like. Ask everyone each of these questions or make a game of it, with each person selecting a question at random and record them (video, audio or transcription). You and your guests may not spend two more hours chatting after dinner like my family, but you may put off the football game just a bit longer and share stories as well as your meal.

    Five questions for older relatives:
    1. Describe the ways your family celebrated Thanksgiving when you were a child? How did your traditions change as you grew older?
    2. Pick a school year. Describe a typical day, and describe an event that was un-typical.
    3. Did your family celebrate Halloween when you were a child and teen? What did you do?
    4. When did you first get your driver’s license? How difficult was it to get one? Describe your driving lessons.
    5. Who was the oldest person in your family when you were a child? A grandparent or great-grandparent?

    Five questions for younger relatives to get them thinking about their life story, and sharing it:
    1. How does your family celebrate Thanksgiving? What are your three favorite parts of the celebration?
    2. Describe your first day of school this year: What grade, school, and teacher? What did you wear? What did you eat for lunch? What was the biggest surprise of the day?
    3. What did you do for Halloween this year? What were your best Halloween memories of your life?
    4. Do you have your driver’s license or learner’s permit? Describe the process and any anecdotes.
    5. Who is the youngest person in your family right now? Tell how you first met him or her?

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Martin Family Reunion Photo: A Saga of Cooperation

    Sunday, Nov 23, 2014

    by Delia
     
    Recently, a photo was donated to The Genealogy Center’s Family Resources page. It was of the 1916 reunion of the Martin Family of Allen County, Indiana. Accompanying the photo was a newspaper clipping that named the attendees, but did not identify each person in the photo by name. Much as all of us would like to fully identify each and every aspect of a source before we post it, the question came down to post it right away or wait until it was fully sourced, which might be years, or never! The Genealogy Center decided to go with the former option and posted the photo along with a transcription of the accompanying article. The article is indexed through the federated search on The Genealogy Center’s homepage. We decided that anyone interested in the Martin family would be happy just to see the photograph and read the names, even if the two were not correlated!
     
    What we did not anticipate was the depth of interest of one descendant of the family. A few weeks ago, we were contacted by Steve Weaver, the grandson of Margaret Jesse Martin, who was 16 years old in 1916 when she and her family posed for this photograph. Mr. Weaver worked with many members of the family and succeeded in positively matching all but three of the figures in the photograph with the names in the article, and provided possibilities for those undetermined figures as well. He numbered each figure on an outline sketch, then provided names and other biographical information on each of 79 people pictured, as well as supplying a larger image of the original photograph. Both photos, the newspaper clipping transcription, the identifying sketch and the biographical material are now on our Family Resources page.
     
    We would not have this image or any of the information without the original contribution to the Family Resources files that piqued the interest of Steve Weaver. But without his determination to identify his family members, the image would be just an image, and not a resource to anyone researching the Martin or its collateral families.
     
    This is the way family research, as well as our collection, grows: Through large and small contributions from many people. You, too, can contribute your family resources for all to see and use by visiting our Donation Options page.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • WinterTech for December

    Wednesday, Nov 19, 2014

     Our WinterTech series continues in December with “Google It! Using Google Maps, Google Earth and More.” John Beatty and Dawne Slater-Putt will take a look at a number of ways one can use Google map products to discover more of one’s family history story. Join them in Meeting Room A, on Wednesday December 10, 2014, 3PM to 4PM. To register for this free event, call 260-421-1225 or send an email.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Closed Thanskgiving Day

    Sunday, Nov 16, 2014

    The Genealogy Center, like all Allen County Public Library facilities, will be closed on Thursday, November 27, 2014 for Thanksgiving. We will be open our regular hours of 9A to 9P on Wednesday, November 26th, and will reopen on Friday, November 28th at 9A. We hope you will enjoy the holiday and will be able to discuss family history and mysteries, and will then come in to visit us!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Elements of Genealogical Analysis

    Thursday, Nov 13, 2014

    by John

    A number of guidebooks about analyzing genealogical records have appeared in print over the last quarter century. All of them have proven valuable for helping genealogists develop better skills in assessing the records they uncover in doing research. The pioneering work of this genre is Noel C. Stevenson’s "Genealogical Evidence: A Guide to the Standard of Proof Relating to Pedigrees, Ancestry, Heirship, and Family History" (GC 929 St48gen). Stevenson, a lawyer, used legal terms such as “hearsay” and “preponderance of evidence” to assess the quality of genealogical records, and he provided methodologies for developing proof arguments.

    Christine Rose followed Stevenson with "The Genealogical Proof Standard: Building a Solid Case" (GC 929 R719geb). Her work set forth a new set of principles for evaluating evidence that resonated through the genealogical world and became a benchmark for the standards endorsed by the Board for Certification of Genealogists. The current BCG website defines the Genealogical Proof Standard succinctly as follows: 
    1. A reasonably exhaustive search
    2. Complete and accurate source citations
    3. Analysis and correlation of collected information
    4. Resolution of any conflicting evidence, and
    5. A soundly reasoned, coherently-written conclusion.

    Genealogists seeking both a path for solving genealogical problems and writing well are encouraged to follow these five steps. Subsequent works, including "Evidence Explained" by Elizabeth Shown Mills (GC 929 M624ea) and "Mastering Genealogical Proof" by Thomas W. Jones (CG 929 J71m), have built on the GPS’s foundation. "Mastering Genealogical Proof," published last year, expounds on each of its five elements, providing readers with sets of questions to ask and concepts to understand when evaluating a record. Mills’s book remains the definitive tool for citing that evidence coherently and completely in a footnote.

    This year, a new book on this topic presents a somewhat divergent model for evaluating evidence: "Elements of Genealogical Analysis" by Robert Charles Anderson (Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2014), (GC 929 An2e). As the long-time head of NEHGS’s Great Migration Project, Anderson has earned respect for the caliber of the research methodology he has employed in evaluating evidence for his project. The Great Migration is a prosopography published in multiple volumes that traces every known settler arriving in New England to the year 1635. Considered a ground-breaking work, the series has uncovered many new records while also dispelling and disproving many false claims widely circulated in print.

    In "Elements of Genealogical Analysis," Anderson sets forth the process of evaluation that he has used so effectively with the Great Migration Project. It is, as he says, “a book about how to solve genealogical problems.” He begins by setting forth two fundamental rules to genealogical research:
    1. “All statements must be based only on accurately reported, carefully documented, and exhaustively analyzed records.”
    2. “You must have a sound, explicit reason for saying that any two records refer to the same person.”

    Anderson’s first rule can be compared with the first two tenets of the Genealogical Proof Standard: a Reasonably Exhaustive Search and Complete and Accurate Source Citations. The second rule, while not elucidated specifically in the GPS, is nevertheless subsumed by “Analysis and Correlation of Collected Information.” Indeed, even though Anderson offers readers a new model or paradigm, some of "Elements of Genealogical Analysis" can be found in other forms within the GPS.

    In the body of the book, Anderson lays out the heart of his methodology. He identifies a set of three tools (source analysis, record analysis, and linkage analysis) and a five-step sequence for solving genealogical questions. He defines a “source” as a coherent group of records created by a single entity or person; a “record” as that portion of a source that pertains to a single event; and “linkage analysis” as the process of studying two different records pertaining to a name and determining whether they pertain to the same person or two or more different people.

    The first step of Anderson’s problem-solving sequence is “Problem Selection,” identifying the genealogical problem you are trying to solve. This step may seem intuitive, but untying a complex knot into its component threads often brings to light multiple problems, not just one, to be solved. Resolving each one separately is essential to solving the whole.

    His second step is “Problem Analysis,” in which one examines everything known about the problem, including gathering and evaluating the previously-published work of other genealogists relating to the problem, and considering all assumptions others have made about it. Again, Anderson urges genealogists to “pick apart” that work into its most basic components. While not unlike the third element of the Genealogical Proof Standard, Anderson brings to bear some of his own scientific training as a former molecular biologist by advocating that genealogists deconstruct or perform “a reverse linkage analysis” with each problem, while at the same time creating a plan for collecting new data. By stripping away previous conclusions by others, whether they involve the form of a name, an ascribed date, a place or event, one can often find new ways of looking at each component.

    The third step of Anderson’s five-part plan is “Data Collection,” when one puts the newly-formed research plan into action. This step is crucial for finding a resolution and may involve seeking what he terms “external knowledge,” using all appropriate finding aids, and considering the record density of the time and place being researched. A full examination of all archival sources, including the most original copy of a record, is a crucial part of this step. The researcher will need to make sure that every record is accurately reported and documented so that a proper citation can be made (Step 2 of the Genealogical Proof Standard).

    Anderson’s fourth step, “Synthesis,” involves his linkage analysis tool - essentially creating what he terms “bundles” of two or more linked records and determining whether they pertain to the same person. This step is akin to Steps 3 and especially 4 of the Genealogical Proof Standard, “Resolution of any Conflicting Evidence,” though Anderson’s linkage bundles offer a slightly different twist from the way Jones presents Step 4 in Mastering Genealogical Proof. Here Anderson assumes that the researcher has already weeded derivative sources and secondary evidence at the “Problem Analysis” stage, while Jones advocates doing so later in the process. Anderson provides numerous examples of linkage bundles and resolved problems drawn mostly from his colonial New England research. 

    His fifth and final step, “Problem Resolution,” emerges as a direct result of the synthesis and linkage analysis, the point where the researcher reaches a defensible conclusion based on the connections made after a careful study of the bundled records. This step, while similar to the fourth element of the Genealogical Proof Standard, lacks the writing component imbedded in the GPS’s fifth element, “a coherently-written conclusion.” Advocates of the GPS emphasize the physical act of writing – developing written proof summaries and arguments and honing them a clear writing style – as integral to the process of solving a problem, a way of gathering one’s thoughts while interpreting the evidence. By contrast, Anderson does not address writing at all in his five elements, even though it is in some respects implicit in his process. The difference is that Jones and other advocates of the GPS embrace the act of preparing a cogent proof argument as essential, not ancillary, to a problem’s resolution.

    In spite of these minor differences, "Elements of Genealogical Analysis" is not in conflict with "Mastering Genealogical Proof." Readers are not forced to choose one system over the other or to say that one is “right” and the other “wrong.” Anderson’s book offers a new model, a reshuffling of some elements of the Genealogical Proof Standard, which can be useful for any genealogist seeking new ways of analyzing a problem. There should be room for both volumes on the shelves of any genealogical library.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Celebrate Veterans Day -- Help Build Our Military Heritage

    Tuesday, Nov 11, 2014

    by Delia

    There are many ways that Americans honor our veterans, especially on November 11th, the day dedicated to honoring them. There are parades. Restaurants provide free meals to veterans. Various news media sources will highlight a specific veteran as an example. Everyone is doing what they can to show appreciation for all the vets did.

    The Genealogy Center honors all veterans by creating and hosting Our Military Heritage, dedicated to preserving records, stories and photos from all veterans, even yours! This webpage contains material from the Colonial era to present day, with records on specific soldiers or particular units, letters, diaries, photographs and memories as well as digitized books. If you have not had a chance to browse this site, do so today. If you have records, photographs or other military-related documents you would like to be included on the website, we welcome a chance to work with you.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Be Careful What You Ask For

    Friday, Nov 07, 2014

    by Delia

    I’ve had this experience several times, both while working with a customer here at The Genealogy Center, and while looking up information as a favor to a “friend of a friend.” In the personal realm, my friends know that I have an interest in genealogy and that I know how to find information. On occasion, one of my friends has had a friend with a mystery in his or her family tree. It might be a grandmother who left her husband and children. Perhaps there’s a father who deserted the family. Maybe it’s an uncle about whom no one ever talks. It could be almost anyone, and it might be at any time in the past. The situation usually has gone that my friend introduces me to the other person and I hear the mystery and am set upon the trail.

    Most of the time, the tale is at least vaguely sad – a family torn apart, or a light-lipped mystery can eat at a person until he or she just has to know the truth. I can be saddened by these stories, but for me they are usually just a mystery to be solved. For me the question is, “Can I figure out a way to find out what happened?” I may discuss the issue with my friend’s friend, suggesting several ways to dig into the story. Sometimes they have to do it because as much as I might want to, I can’t afford to request and pay for documents for anyone but my own family. But sometimes, such as when I am working with a customer in The Genealogy Center, I have access to books and online documents that will solve the mystery. I may discover the runaway actually lived right in the next county until death and, although his family never acknowledged him, they almost certainly knew where he was all the time. I might stumble across a bigamist salesman with a wife and family at either end of his route. I might discover a military deserter or an illegitimate child raised by her grandparents as the sister of her birth mother.

    I am pragmatic about the stories in my own family. Yes, it was sad that my grandmother’s parents died and that she and her siblings were parceled out to friends and relations in various states. But if my grandmother had not been adopted by childless friends in another state, she might never have met and married my grandfather. Then where would I be? I consider that the wife left by her husband was able, through grit and determination, to make sure her children were educated and had a good start in life. The illegitimate child raised by grandparents grew up within a loving family with a doting “aunt.” The deserter lived to father children.

    However, to those not already steeped in genealogy and history and accustomed to finding these “blemishes,” such findings may be disturbing. A couple of times, my friends’ friends have called a halt mid-search, deciding that they really don’t want to know. I respect that, but I try to remind them that the mistakes of our ancestors, and the injustices they faced, are in the past. Yes, ripples may still be in our ponds, but do not have to drown us with sorrow. Anyone who wishes to delve into his or her family roots needs to realize that there may be mud there. Be careful of what you ask for – you might find something different than you wanted to know!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • When There’s No Final Resting Place

    Monday, Nov 03, 2014

    by Delia

    We genealogists love cemeteries, don’t we? Our friends and family might think we are a bit strange in our enthusiasm for these cities of the dead. We wander among tombstones, seeking ancestors or just reading interesting inscriptions. We note ages and dates, letting them suggest a story. It might be when several children in a family died at the same time, suggesting illness or disaster. Or maybe we marvel at an older woman buried beside a young husband who died many years before her. We visit long-deceased ancestors, allowing them to speak to us concerning their lives. And sometimes we seek in vain to locate those final resting places.

    But what will happen in the future, when there are no resting places? Although cremation has long been a part of the funeral customs of many cultures, modern cremation in the western world is less than 150 years old. For many years, a majority of those who were cremated were placed in niches in mausoleums in local cemeteries, which still provided a place of memorial. But the scattering of ashes removed the probability of a physical memorial and record for future generations to determine just where someone ended up.

    I’ve known a number of people through the years who have had their ashes scattered. One couple had their ashes scattered in the enclosed garden of their church, and had very small metal memorial plaques placed there. This was fine until part of the garden was repurposed and one of the plaques was lost. Another man I know hired a small plane to take him up over the mountains near where his mother had lived so he could scatter her ashes. He did not realize that one is supposed to toss the ashes in their plastic bag out of the plane’s door so that the force of the wind would break open the bag, allowing the ashes to descend. He opened the bag to pour the ashes out, and the draft blew most of them back into the plane. I am not sure what he did after vacuuming his mother from the inside of the plane, but there’s no marker.

    This has all come to mind recently because my father-in-law died. He wanted to be cremated and his ashes placed, with no stone or marker and no ceremony, at the graveside of his second wife. However, they had separated before their deaths and her family really did not want my father-in-law in their family plot. So my husband and his sisters decided to place his ashes at the graveside of a sibling who died long ago, but, as per his wishes, with no marker. This disturbs the genealogist in me and I finally decided that once they placed the ashes, I would add him to the Find a Grave website within that cemetery, with a notation that his remains are with his child. While looking on the website to see how it might be done, I discovered that the website organizers already have a part of their site dedicated to Cremated or Cemetery Unknown. I browsed through the 167 entries and noted that most provided more information than many entries in Find a Grave, often including obituaries.

    So if you know someone who has been cremated, you might want to take a few minutes to add that information to this website, so that future researchers will know where all of their ancestors rest.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Basics of Adobe Elements Workshop, Parts 1 & 2, November 3 and 10, 2014

    Friday, Oct 31, 2014

    Learn the basics of Adobe Elements. Discover how to restore images of old photographs using techniques similar to those in Adobe Photoshop. Participants are encouraged to bring copies of their own family photographs on a flash drive for hands-on instruction in applying what they have learned to their photos.

    This is a two part series. Come for the first class two-hour class on November 3rd, practice at home, then return with your questions for the second part on November 10th. Space is limited, registration required. To register, call 260-421-1225 or send an email. Both sessions will be held in the Computer Classroom, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

    For more information, see the brochure.







    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Another Set of Allen County High School Yearbooks Indexed!

    Tuesday, Oct 28, 2014

    The Genealogy Center's Free Databases have long hosted an index to the yearbooks of Central High School (1914-1971), Central Catholic High School (1915-1972) and South Side High School (1923-1974 and 1976-1994). Through the work of volunteers from the Allen County Genealogical Society of Indiana, more than 72,000 records have been added to the database from the North Side High School "Legend," covering the years of 1929-1936, 1938-1939, 1941-1946, 1948-1950 and 1953-1956. The index supplies names of students and faculty, school and yearbook title, year and page numbers. Surnames are also searchable from the Free Database's federated search on The Center's homepage.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Midnight Madness Extended Research Hours - Friday October 31st

    Saturday, Oct 25, 2014

    To celebrate the end of another great Family History Month, The Genealogy Center is again offering Extended Research Hours on Halloween, Friday, October 31st. You know you've always wanted to stay to research after everyone else leaves! So stay until Midnight to research and celebrate.

    As an added bones this year. we are also offering are three mini-programs:
     6:30 p.m. - How to Use the FamilySearch Wiki
     7:30 p.m. - Using WeRelate to Post Your Family Tree to the Internet
     8:30 p.m. - A Brief Tour of the U.S. GenWeb.

     Note: No preregistration is necessary, but you must be in The Center by 6 p.m. You may leave any time, but there is no re-admittance. Call 260-421-1225 or email Genealogy@ACPL.Info for more information.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • New Free Database Available

    Wednesday, Oct 22, 2014

    Transcriptions of loose pages from the Carmel Congregation of the Associate Presbyterian Church, near Hanover, Jefferson County, Indiana have been added to The Genealogy Center's Free Databases. Photocopies of these pages, which had been removed from the original congregation record book are at Indiana State Library, Indianapolis, Indiana, Genealogy Department. These loose pages, all that remain of the church's record books, were transcribed from the originals by Lt. Colonel John M. Anderson, USAF, in 1975, and entered into digital format by by Janeane Luby in 2007. The searchable index provides events such as deaths and removals, as well as baptisms which supply parents' names. This database illustrates how easily information can be added to our collections and made available to researchers everywhere.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Researching in the Great Lakes Area

    Wednesday, Oct 15, 2014

    Do you have ancestors who passed though or lived in Indiana or one of the states that surround it? The Genealogy Center is presenting a week's worth of events with your Great Lakes area research in mind:

    Sunday, October 19, 2014, 1:00pm to 2:00pm, Meeting Room A
    Curt Witcher
    "Researching in the Great Lakes Area Series: Finding Records in the States You’re Researching."

    Monday, October 20, 2014, 7:00pm to 8:00pm, Meeting Room A
    Delia Bourne
    "Researching in the Great Lakes Area Series: Researching in Kentucky"

    Tuesday, October 21, 2014, 7:00pm to 8:00pm, Meeting Room A
    Sara Allen
    "Researching in the Great Lakes Area Series: Tracking Your Illinois Ancestors"

    Wednesday, October 22, 2014, 7:00pm to 8:00pm, Meeting Room A
    Curt Witcher
    "Researching in the Great Lakes Area Series: Hunting Ancestors in the Hoosier
    State"

    Thursday, October 23, 2014, 7:00pm to 8:00pm, Meeting Room A
    Cynthia Theusch
    "Researching in the Great Lakes Area Series: Researching in Michigan"

    Friday, October 24, 2014, 10:00am to 11:00am, Meeting Room A
    Dawne Slater-Putt
    "Researching in the Great Lakes Area Series: Researching in Ohio"

    For more information, see the Family History Month brochure. To register for any of these sessions, call 260-421-1225 or send us an email.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Archives Tours in Fort Wayne

    Sunday, Oct 12, 2014

    For Family History Month, The Genealogy Center is organizing an Archives Tour encompassing several locations in Fort Wayne that you might like to visit or in which to research. These tours will help you break the ice, seeing what each repository might have for you, how you might best access the information, and in general, just to see inside these fascinating places without having to have a really good reason.

    The fun starts on Wednesday, October 15th, at the Walther Library on the grounds of Concordia Theological Seminary. Archivist Robert Smith will be our guide. Be at 6600 North Clinton Street, Fort Wayne, at 2:00pm to take the tour. Park on the south side of the gym.

    Thursday, October 16th will find us at the History Center, 302 East Berry Street, Fort Wayne, where archivist Walter Font will show us some of the treasures of the Allen County-Fort Wayne Historical Society. The tour starts at 2:00pm.

    We will be back in the Main Library, 900 Library Plaza, on Friday, October 17th, touring the Lincoln Financial Foundation Collection. Archivists Jane Gastineau and Adriana Maynard will show us some really interesting Lincoln material starting at 2:00pm.

    And we are out and about again on Saturday, October 18th, as we visit the Fort Wayne-South Bend Catholic Archives. Archivist Janice Cantrell will start at 11:00am at the Archbishop Noll Catholic Center, 915 South Clinton Street, Fort Wayne.

    For more information, see the Family History Month brochure.

    Attendance at all of these are limited to the first 30 who register. To register for any or all of these free tours, call 260-421-1225 or send  us an email. Don't miss this wonderful opportunity to see these treasure troves!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Family Lore - Truth, Fiction or Something in Between?

    Monday, Oct 06, 2014

    by Dawne

    I have touched on this topic in The Genealogy Center’s blog previously: Family stories – oral tradition – is something virtually every family has. We might grow up hearing the same old stories whenever the family is gathered. We might even have repeated those stories to our children and grandchildren. But often it was when we first began doing genealogy and tried to pin down older relatives about specific details, or to substantiate the stories with records, that we realized there might be a difference in what we thought we knew about the family and what was actually true.

    Many patrons come to The Genealogy Center with a family tradition that they have Native American ancestry. In some cases this might be true. But Great-Grandma usually wasn’t a Cherokee princess. The Native American blood might be further back than the family story holds. The connection might be Miami or Chickasaw or some other tribe and not the more well-known Cherokee. And the relative might be one by marriage, rather than by blood. It’s also quite common that the patron is able to trace his or her ancestry back to an immigrant without ever finding a trace of Native American blood. In this case, it could be that the family story was in error about which ancestral line had that ethnicity. And DNA tests might indicate that there is no Native American ancestry at all. For some reason, it is a very popular family tradition to be part Native American.

    So should we dismiss all those family stories we learned on our grandparents’ laps as bunk? Not necessarily. It has been said – and I believe it – that many, if not most family stories have some element of truth to them. A folklore professor I had in graduate school maintained that family stories are told for a reason – they represent some quality that is important to the storytellers and to the family. That reason alone might be enough to write them down for future generations.

    Consider the information a friend of mine, Rhonda Stoffer, head of Indiana History and Genealogy Services at Marion Public Library in Marion, Indiana, received from her mother-in-law. Rhonda’s mother-in-law had never met her grandfather and asked Rhonda to find out more about him. She told Rhonda that his name was George Brown and he was a baker from Joliet, Illinois. She knew he was a baker because she remembered seeing a photograph of him wearing a baker’s hat. Rhonda found the right George Brown in the 1900 and 1910 census schedules, but in both cases, he was shown as a tin plate worker and not a baker.

    Rhonda continued to research the family and discovered that George Brown’s father had died in the 1880s and his mother remarried twice – the second time to a man with the surname BAKER. Baker was the surname that George Brown’s mother was using when she died, and the one she is buried under. The family now believes that someone’s comment “and he was a Baker” about the mother’s third husband is how the family story of George Brown being a baker by trade began. The identity of the man wearing a baker’s hat in the photograph seen by Rhonda’s mother-in-law is unknown.

    Genealogy Center Librarian Delia Bourne has a lecture on attempting to substantiate family stories that is titled “Did It Really Happen that Way? Documenting Oral History.”  While waiting for Delia’s talk to come back around in our programming circuit, take a look at a recent post by Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, in Quick Tips: The Blog @ Evidence Explained titled “Finding the ‘Core Truth’ in a Tradition.” Her article provides tips for analyzing family stories to get to their possible elements of truth. 

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Genealogical Road Trip to New York

    Thursday, Oct 02, 2014

    by Sara
       
    Last fall, I embarked on a genealogical road trip with my mom and her brother to New York State. Apart from observing lovely scenery along the way and the autumnal colors peeking through the trees in the Finger Lakes Region, we spent our time visiting the usual genealogical tourist attractions of court houses, libraries, museums and graveyards. Because we had done some (but not all) of our homework before we left, we also knew that New York has county or town historians that should be visited as well.

    The New York County historian usually has an office in the county office buildings with regularly scheduled hours (but be sure to call ahead), while town historians may work out of their homes at irregular hours. In general, county and town historians often have published and manuscript copies of genealogical print materials, as well as original county or town records such as deeds, wills, marriage records, and so on. Our experience was very positive, though it did vary from office to office. We gained copies of county records, and we also accessed family files for several ancestral families, which contained good clues for us to follow up on. Many of the historians were knowledgeable about the immediate area and its records, and could refer us to other useful repositories if needed. A list of historians is available online.

    We did not do all of our homework, however, before embarking on this trip. I am embarrassed to say that we showed up at two repositories with mistaken information about the hours they were open to the public. As a genealogy librarian myself, I should know better! We drove through Syracuse on our way out and found out that the Onondaga Historical Museum was closed on Tuesdays, so we missed out that day. On the way back, we got there at 2:30 p.m. and found out the archives had closed at 2, while the museum stayed open until 4. We were able to gain access for a few minutes because the librarian was still in the building, but were very rushed, and felt terrible for inconveniencing the staff. A few days later, we had another incident of bad planning. I did not realize that the Historic Huguenot Street in New Paltz had separate archives and library buildings, with different hours and staffing, both of which required advanced appointments. We were able to use the library by virtue of an appointment set up a few days before, but missed out on the Archives, which was very disappointing.

    We were very lucky that in two of the three situations, it worked out that we were able to access the materials that we driven cross-country to view. You might not always be that lucky. A thorough perusal of the websites of these organizations would have provided us with the necessary information, although sometimes hours of operation can be hidden several pages deep on a website. In addition, it is a good idea to find a telephone number and call ahead, just to be sure. Also, you might peruse a guidebook about genealogical research in the particular state you intend to visit so that you are informed of any research peculiarities of that area before you arrive. So, take a lesson from my sad experiences and be sure to plan ahead for your research trips to avoid disappointment.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Be a Storyteller!

    Monday, Sep 29, 2014

    by Delia

    I just had a customer regale me with a story! Since I don't have permission, I can't share it here, but suffice it to say that it involved a woman, her soldier husband and a state governor. It was a short tale, but very amusing. I'm lucky that I get to hear so many family tales.

    I was reminded that my father, who was 55 years of when I was born, told and re-told numerous stories while I was growing up. These stories were related so many times that I can repeat them with my father's verbiage and inflections. I've tried to pass many of them along to my own daughter and I hope to tell my grandchildren, too, maybe even adding a  few anecdotes of my own.

    We family historians are the keepers of the family stories, but so often we relegate ourselves to being the keepers of the family statistics: who, what, when and where, without bothering to add the why or how. There are more to our stories than just the facts, ma'm, and we need to tell the tales as well as the data.

    To get you in the mood, join us Wednesday evening, October 1st, for An Evening of Storytelling for a selection of inspiring stories and music. The evening starts at 7:00pm in the Theater of the Main Library. Don't miss this great event!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Family History Month Highlights Polish Culture

    Friday, Sep 26, 2014

    Family History Month offers two fantastic opportunities to learn more about Polish people in recent history, both in Europe and in the United States, and the subjects are not limited to those interested in Polish history and ancestry.

    The first is Sunday, October 5, 2014. Millie Zygmunt Rytel will provide a first-hand account of her "Four Continents to Freedom." Millie was born in Poland 90 years ago. In 1940, the Russians forced the family to leave their farm for a "temporary" journey which ended up as 18 months in a slave labor camp in Siberia. When released, she, her mother and sisters worked hard to make their way to freedom in America. Millie's story will be that of a twentieth century refugee. Take advantage of this unique event that starts at 1:00pm in Meeting Room C.

    Sunday, October 12, 2014, brings the opportunity to see The Fourth Partition
    “Cwarta Dzielnica."
    In the early 1900s, Chicago was the second largest American city and home to many of the nation's four million Polish immigrants. These immigrants worked hard establishing communities in Chicago and remained active in the fight for Poland's independence. This film will provide history of interest to any interested in Chicago's history, the Polish people in America, and the immigrant experience as a whole. Director Adrian Prawica and Associate Producer Rafał Muskała will attend and will be available after the screening. We invite you to join us at 1:00pm in the Theater of the Main Library.

    Both events are sponsored by the Polish National Alliance.

    Please call 260-421-1225 or send us an email to register for either of these free events.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • The Genealogy Center Closed Friday, October 3, 2014

    Tuesday, Sep 23, 2014

    The Genealogy Center, like other Allen County Public Library facilities, will be closed on Friday, October 3, 2014 for Staff Development Day. The Allen County Public Library Board is sponsoring the day to inspire and educate the 300+ employees. Classes include a wide variety, such as use of Freegal, and hoopla!, tours of the Lincoln Financial Foundation Collection and the Maker Lab, a presentation on African American pioneers in Fort Wayne, a class in CPR, a short history of the library itself and much more. Our hardest part, aside from choosing which classes to attend, will be that we will miss our wonderful research customers, but will be back and ready to assist on Saturday, October 4th, at 9 AM.

    So please, do not come to visit on Friday October 3rd, but do return on Saturday!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Family History Month Events Announced!

    Friday, Sep 19, 2014

    October, Family History Month, is just a few days away, and The Genealogy Center has a fantastic slate of events for your entertainment and education.

    October 1st brings An Evening of Storytelling at 7:00 PM in the Library Theater. Storytelling is a great way to engage relatives in the saga of your family. Join us for an evening of stories and music to be inspired to start storytelling!

    Sundays, October 5th and 12th bring two opportunities to learn about Polish history. Millie Rytel shares her journey over Four Continents to Freedom on Sunday. October 5, 2014 in Meeting Room C at 1:00 PM. Then, take a look at Chicago when it was the center of Polish culture and political activism in The Fourth Partition “Cwarta Dzielnica” on Sunday, October 12, 2014, at 1:00 PM in the Theater.

    October 15th through the18th brings The Genealogy Center's Archives Crawl! Meet us for tours of Concordia Theological Seminary's Walther Library, the History Center, the Lincoln Financial Foundation Collection and the Fort Wayne-South Bend Catholic Archives. For times and meeting locations, see the Family History Month brochure.

    We also have a week of research resources for the Great Lakes states October 19th through the 24th, many opportunities for One-on-One Consultations and the month will end with Midnight Madness, our extended research hours, on Friday, October 31st. Treat yourself to six extra hours of research and take in one or more of our mini-programs: "How to Use the FamilySearch Wiki" at 6:30 PM, "Using WeRelate to Post Your Family Tree to the Internet" at 7:30 PM and "A Brief Tour of the U.S. GenWeb" at 8:30 PM.

    For more information about any of these programs, see the brochure. Get ready to celebrate Family History Month!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center