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  • Take Advantage of Regional Seminars for Motivation & Learning Opportunities

    Tuesday, Sep 16, 2014

    by Dawne

    A few weeks ago, I attended the McHenry County (IL) Genealogical Society’s seminar on the same day that my colleague, Cynthia, attended Abrams Foundation Family History Seminar in Lansing, Michigan. Both took place on a Saturday and both featured some nationally-known genealogy speakers as well as some talented and knowledgeable local or regional speakers. Then a week or two later, our manager spoke at Midwestern Roots down in Indianapolis and Cynthia attended that seminar. That was three superb learning opportunities less than a day’s drive away within a couple of weeks.

    This is not an unusual occurrence. Especially from Spring to Fall, local, regional and state genealogical societies around the country sponsor partial day or day-long seminars and bring in one or more of the nationally-known genealogy speakers to anchor their programs. What this means for you and me is the opportunity to learn from these national experts, as well as hear from local experts on a variety of topics with which they have familiarity, commune with other like-minded individuals (our fellow genealogists), and get motivated by new ideas, techniques, sources and technology!

    National conferences are terrific! I would always recommend that if you have the opportunity to go to one, you do so! But sometimes it is difficult to clear the calendar for about a week’s worth of time and travel to a distant location for a national conference. Or the personal budget doesn’t allow a week’s worth of hotel nights and meals out, combined with the registration fee for a national conference and the airline or gasoline expense to get there. That’s where these regional events can shine. There are many of them. Chances are good there have been several of them within a day’s drive of you this summer. Registration fees usually are modest. Sometimes a box lunch is included. You might need to get up very early on seminar day to drive there, or pay for a hotel room the night before, but you won’t have the expense of multiple hotel nights.

    To find a seminar near you, consult the following resources:

    •    Federation of Genealogical Societies/Society Events listings
    •    Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter/Calendar of Genealogy Events
    •    Conference Keeper

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Does Anyone Really Know What TIme It Is?

    Saturday, Sep 13, 2014

    by Delia

    When I moved to Indiana in the mid-1970s, I was amazed to learn that most of Indiana (like the states of Arizona and Hawaii) did not adhere to Daylight Saving Time. Each spring, the world shifted around Indiana going from Standard Time to Daylight Saving, with Indiana remaining on Eastern Standard Time, then, each fall, the country shifted again and Indiana stayed put. In effect, however, it seemed to non-residents that Indiana switched time zones twice a year: Eastern Standard Time from October to April and Central Daylight Saving Time from April to October. It was very confusing to my parents in Arkansas, since sometimes time in Indiana was the same as theirs, and the rest of the year it wasn’t.

    Once I started working in the Genealogy Department, the precursor to The Genealogy Center, I realized that many of our customers had the same problem: What time was it in Fort Wayne? Many got here too early, and had to cool their heels for 60 minutes before we opened at 9 a.m., or got here at 10 a.m., and wasted a whole hour when they could have been researching. A frustrating situation indeed. We tried our best to educate everyone who called, wrote or emailed, but there were still people who didn’t get the message.

    Then, in 2006, most of Indiana (except those areas around Evansville and Gary, which stay on Central/Central Daylight Saving Time all year) started following the rest of the country into Daylight Saving Time. Now we are Eastern/Eastern Daylight Saving Time, and one would think that that would solve the people of our customers being early or late for researching. However, we educated some of our customers all too well. There are still folks who show up early or late and are confused (still!) by Indiana’s time.

    So, you just think of what time it would be in New York or Ohio. That’s what time it is here. Or just call or email! We’ll be happy to give you the time of day!

    For more information on Indiana time, see timeanddate.com's Indiana's Time Zones and Daylight Savings Time.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • "Amid the Din of Arms: The Election of 1864"

    Wednesday, Sep 10, 2014

    There is still time to register for The 29th Annual Lincoln Colloquium, “Amid the Din of Arms: The Election of 1864,” in the Main Library Theater of the Allen County Public Library on Saturday, September 27 from 9:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. The Lincoln Colloquium is a national conference at which Lincoln scholars and enthusiasts meet for presentations and discussion regarding Abraham Lincoln and his place in history, and this will be the first time it will be held here in Fort Wayne. 

    Sponsored by the Allen County Public Library, the Friends of the Allen County Public Library, and the Abraham Lincoln Association, the Colloquium will offer four views of the contentious election of 1864 by an array of experts, and will conclude with a panel discussion with audience question and a tour of the Lincoln Financial Foundation Collection.

    For a better description of the day’s events, speakers and lunch selections, as well as the registration form is available online. For questions, email Lincoln@acpl.info or call 260-421-1378 or 260-421-1379.

    And start the day the night before by attending the 34th annual R. Gerald McMurtry Lecture “The Emancipation of Abraham Lincoln,” on Friday, September 26, 2014 at 7 pm in the Theater. This event, sponsored by the Lupke Foundation, Parkview Health, and Steel Dynamics, is free and open to the public.

    Don’t miss this unique opportunity in northeast Indiana!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Family History at the Senior Information Fair!

    Sunday, Sep 07, 2014

    The Genealogy Center is hosting a table at the Senior Information Fair this year on September 18th at the Allen County Public Library. There will be information on discovering your family stories and on getting started finding your ancestors. Curt Witcher will be doing a presentation at 10:30 a.m. that day in the library’s computer training room on the first floor entitled, “Telling the Stories of Our Lives.” Bring your friends who are interested in getting started with their family history!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Digital Discoveries: Discovering Newspaper Databases

    Thursday, Sep 04, 2014

    Our summer series, Digital Discoveries, ends with Sara Allen’s presentation, “Discovering Newspaper Databases,” on Wednesday, September 10, 2014, in Meeting Room A, from 3 to 4 p.m. Many genealogists know that newspapers provide a wealth of information about their ancestors, including vital records notices, probate notices, land and tax records, personal items, gossip, and – oh, yes – actual news. How can you find this material? You can access a variety of newspaper titles and from many locations through our online databases, including Newspaper Archive, Newspapers.com, African American Historical Newspapers, The Journal Gazette Online and others. Learn more about why newspapers are wonderful resources for family history research and how to use our databases to find articles you want. For more information, see the “Discovering Newspaper Databases” program flyer. To register for this free class, call 260-421-1225 or send an email to Genealogy@ACPL.info.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Occupational Surnames

    Monday, Sep 01, 2014

    by Delia

    On this Labor Day, we as genealogists might want to give some thought to the occupations of our ancestors, and how those occupations may be reflected in the surnames we search. Some occupational surnames come readily to mind, such as Archer, Baker, Bowman, Brewer, Butcher, Carpenter, Farmer, Fisher, Hunter, Mason, Miller, Miner, Singer, and the ubiquitous Smith. But there are many more like Buller (a scribe), Chandler (a candlemaker), Gage (an assayer), Nadler (one who made needles), Pease (a grower of peas), Plowright (a maker of plows), and Slater (person who covered roofs with slate), which also defined someone by their labor.

    When you encounter a new surname in your research, take a few minutes to examine the meaning of the name to see if it reflects a progenitor’s work life. Many occupations were passed down through generations, so the meaning of the name might provide clues to the family origins.

    In the meantime, enjoy your Labor Day holiday!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Participate in A Day in Allen County Photography Event

    Friday, Aug 29, 2014

    We invite you to capture a day in Allen County, Indiana! Sunday, September 21, 2014—the last official full day of summer—take pictures of anything and everything that is happening in our county in that twenty-four hour time period, and send them to us! What is your view of Allen County that day?
     
    These pictures are not limited to marquee events. We want to capture what is going on throughout the entire community, so pictures can be of people at work, children at play, baseball games and sporting events, weather and blooming flowers, homes and buildings, traffic scenes, hikers and bikers, and people just hanging out. Include a description you would like put with the picture. If it’s happening in the twenty-four hours of September 21st, it’s worth capturing!

     Send pictures:
    • Email them to Genealogy@ACPL.Info
    • Upload pictures on our Facebook
    • Twitter #DayinAllenCo2014

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Free Event! 34th Annual R. Gerald McMurtry Lecture

    Tuesday, Aug 26, 2014

    Historian Eric Foner will present "The Emancipation of Abraham Lincoln," the 34th Annual R. Gerald McMurtry Lecture, at 7 pm on Friday, September 26, 2014, in the theater of the Allen County Public Library. Sponsored by the Lupke Foundation, Parkview Health, and Steel Dynamics. This event is free and open to the public.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Open Sundays Starting on September 7th!

    Saturday, Aug 23, 2014

    The Allen County County Public Library's winter hours go into effect after Labor Day, which means that, starting on Sunday, September 7, 2014, The Genealogy Center will be open for your research pleasure from 12 noon to 5 PM each Sunday. When combined with our Saturday hours (9 AM to 6 PM), this makes a wonderful research weekend trip! So make plans today to come and visit!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • The 29th Annual Lincoln Colloquium at Allen County Public Library

    Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014

    The 29th Annual Lincoln Colloquium, “Amid the Din of Arms: The Election of 1864,” will be held at the Allen County Public Library in the Main Library theater on Saturday, September 27 from 9:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. The Lincoln Colloquium is a national conference at which Lincoln scholars and enthusiasts meet for presentations and discussion regarding Abraham Lincoln and his place in history. 

    The 2014 Colloquium features four outstanding speakers who will provide a variety of perspectives on the 1864 election:
    * Nicole Etcheson, Alexander M. Bracken Professor of History at Ball State University, will discuss “Sustaining the National Government: The Election of 1864 in Indiana.”
    * Jeffrey J. Malanson, Assistant Professor of History at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, will present “‘George Washington, the founder of American independence, and Abraham Lincoln, the liberator of the slave’: The Founding Fathers and the Election of 1864.”
    * Jennifer Weber, Associate Professor of History at the University of Kansas at Lawrence, will talk on “The Summer Lincoln Lost the Election.”
    * Jonathan W. White, Assistant Professor of American Studies at Christopher Newport University, will speak on “Emancipation, the Union Army, and the Reelection of Abraham Lincoln.”

    The formal program will conclude with a speakers’ panel discussion and audience questions moderated by Lincoln Lore editor Sara Gabbard. Colloquium attendees may tour the Lincoln Financial Foundation Collection following the panel discussion.

    “Amid the Din of Arms” is sponsored by the Allen County Public Library, the Friends of the Allen County Public Library, and the Abraham Lincoln Association. For registration information, email Lincoln@acpl.info or call 421-1378 or 421-1379. A printable registration form is available online.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • One-on-One Consultations for September

    Sunday, Aug 17, 2014

    Do you have a brick wall in your research? Would you like a greater understanding of some aspect of your research? The Genealogy Center is offering 30 minute personal research consultations with a staff member on some troublesome aspect of your search on Wednesday, September 24, 2014. Times for consultations will be from 2pm to 4pm. Call 260-421-1225 or email Genealogy@ACPL.info for an appointment. You will be asked to provide information concerning the nature of your quandary. A staff member will be assigned and you will be contacted with a time for your consultation. Be sure to bring your research notes to your consultation. Space is limited, so check your calendars early to take advantage of this unique offer!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Making Genealogical Connections via Facebook

    Thursday, Aug 14, 2014

    By Dawne

    Sometimes when I tell people what a fan I am of Facebook, I hear that it’s such a waste of time, or kids’ stuff. That hasn’t been my experience with this social media outlet at all. I have long been a fan of Facebook for a number of reasons:
    •    It helps me keep in touch with friends who live all across the country
    •    It allows me to keep the family bonds strong with my first cousins – who used to be like brothers and sisters to me when I was small. I love seeing the pictures of their children and grandchildren!
    •    It helps all of us – friends and family – keep up with what is going on in one another’s lives.
    •    It helps me strengthen the networking contacts I have made in the genealogical world.
    •    It has allowed me to post ancestral photos so that interested family members can see them.
    •    The special interest groups, such as Technology for Genealogy and Ancestry.com’s Facebook page have allowed me to learn.

    Some time ago, I was contacted by someone who saw the small family tree I have on Ancestry. She is my third cousin and we became Facebook friends. Since that time, we have sent private Facebook messages back and forth numerous times about our common ancestors and have shared stories and pictures more publicly. We discovered that we knew some of the same members of the older generations of our family when we were children. The personal stories of these people we have been able to exchange are priceless!

    Not very long ago, this cousin posted a video of a family reunion she attended the previous weekend, panning around the crowd and narrating, showing the “old timers” – the oldest generation – in attendance. She “tagged” me and two other distant cousins in her post and comments on the video thread. One of the two names caught my eye – that of another third cousin I DID know.

    My family spent a week each summer in western Pennsylvania when I was a child, visiting my father’s relatives. For two of three summers, we stayed at the home of this woman’s parents. She was a teenager at that time and I was a pre-teen. We hung out together and had a lot of fun. But I hadn’t had contact with her since I was about 12 years old. Our mutual cousin, who posted the video, has never met either of us, but found us through her interest in family history.

    I posted on the thread, “Is that the Linda ***** who was the granddaughter of Jane and Andy Lawrence?” She responded in the affirmative and I sent her a friend request, which she accepted. Imagine if you can, how much fun we have had the past few days reconnecting and exchanging memories, not only of the fun times we spent together as kids, but of those older relatives who are now gone. And now we are sharing photos, too, and news of the still living older members of our families who had largely lost touch.

    Between the connections that can be made with friends and family, the institutional pages (like The Genealogy Center’s Facebook page) that give news of those facilities and organizations, the family or surname pages where pictures and stories are shared, and the special interest pages where you can get help on everything from choosing a scanner to how to research ancestors in a particular state, I’m convinced that Facebook can be a valuable learning and enrichment tool, as much as it can be a venue for posting cat pictures and pithy quotes.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Closed Labor Day

    Monday, Aug 11, 2014

    he Genealogy Center, like the other agencies of the Allen County Public Library, will be closed on Monday, September 1 for Labor Day. We will be open our regular hours on Saturday, August 30, and will reopen for our normal winter schedule on Tuesday, September 2nd.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Thousands Opted to Marry Secretly in Michigan

    Friday, Aug 08, 2014

    by Cynthia

    While searching The Genealogy Center’s catalog for basic information on Michigan, I discovered “It Happened in Michigan: Remarkable Events That Shaped History” by Colleen Burcar (GC 977.4 B892IT). The table of contents of this book included the chapter “Thousands Vowing ‘I Do’,” which seemed intriguing. What did this mean? The author noted that beginning at the end of the 17th century through a change in law in 1925, thousands of people from neighboring states went to Michigan to marry because there was no waiting period. In 1897, Michigan adopted a secret marriage law (Act 180 of 1897) that allowed the issuance of marriage licenses without publicity. 
     
    Issuance of Marriage License Without Publicity (Section 551.202  - excerpt of Act 180) stated that if a couple wanted anyone other than the judge of probate to perform a marriage, the judge of probate could issue a permit, as long as the official was legally competent to perform marriages in the state. However, only the probate judge could make a record of the marriage. The law also stated that the judge’s records and the copy that was filed in the State of Michigan’s Public Health Department were permanently sealed and could not be opened unless one of the couple produced legal identification to get a copy of their marriage record.

    The cost of a “secret” marriage was three dollars. Two dollars were for the judge’s service and one dollar was forwarded to the state register to be added to the state general fund (Section 551.202). 

    St. Joseph, Michigan, was a well-known wedding site of choice for individuals from other states. Thousands took advantage of the no waiting period. The majority of the marriages performed there were for residents of Chicago. On April 30, 1925, Michigan Governor Alexander Grosbeck took a huge step toward discouraging people from other states from coming to Michigan to be married. His new statute required a five-day waiting period after the license application.

    While researching what was meant by secret marriages, I found that only two states have passed legislation on secret marriages; Michigan and California. If you are having trouble finding a public record of a marriage in Michigan for an ancestor or a collateral relative, he or she may have had a secret marriage. 

    A circulating copy of Burcar’s book is in Readers’ Services (REA 977.4 B89I).

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Digital Discoveries in August

    Saturday, Aug 02, 2014

    There are only two Digital Discoveries left for this summer’s series. August’s offering is “Discovering PERSI.” Cynthia Theusch will demonstrate the new Periodical Source Index that’s now available on FindMyPast. She will show you a variety of ways to search for items mentioned in the genealogical and historical newsletters, quarterlies, journals and magazines. This session will be held in Meeting Room A on Wednesday August 13, 2014, from 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM. To register for this free event, call 260-421-1225 or send us an email. Take the time to learn the new PERSI!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Preserve the Pensions

    Wednesday, Jul 30, 2014

    By Dawne

    Two hundred years ago hundred years ago next month – on August 24, 1814, the British burned Washington, D.C., during the War of 1812. The centennial of this sometimes-forgotten war is being recognized throughout the end of this year. One ongoing project that is significant for genealogists is the Preserve the Pensions Project spearheaded by the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS).

    FGS and its partners are raising money to digitize the 7.2 million pages of War of 1812 pension files that are among the most-requested record types at the National Archives research facility in Washington, D.C. These records are in danger of deterioration. Once digitized, the records will be freely accessible to everyone. As the images are scanned, they are being uploaded to the Fold3 website.

    Ancestry.com, as one of FGS’s partners in the Preserve the Pensions Project, has offered to pay for half of the total cost of digitizing the record collection. Toward this end, Ancestry is matching every donation from an individual or society. Pages cost 45 cents each to digitize, so a donation of $45 will preserve 100 images. Counting the Ancestry match, 200 pages will be digitized for a donation of $45.

    Contributors can make their donations in the name of an ancestor and donations are tax deductible. For more information and to make a donation to this worthwhile project, visit Preserve the Pensions website.


    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • Genealogy & Geography

    Monday, Jul 28, 2014

    by Delia

    When I was in high school, I lived for a time in Texarkana, Arkansas-Texas. My mother had grown up there, and my grandmother lived there until she died. It was an interesting place, with the state line going right down the middle of town. That was the name of the street: State Line Avenue. We moved there in late summer, and before we actually had a house, I was registered to go to Arkansas High, but the house we moved into was on the Texas side. Every day, I had to drive across the state line to go to school. There were two different states, two different counties and two different cities. There were also different laws, especially of the blue variety: One could purchase liquor by the bottle in Arkansas, but not by the drink; one could not buy liquor by the bottle in Texas, but could join a “private club,” and get liquor by the drink (a private club was a legal fiction and anyone could be a member on the manager’s approval). When we lived in Texas, we went to church in Arkansas, but later, when my parents moved, they lived in Arkansas (lower taxes) but attended church in Texas (same tithe). My cousin, an Arkansas resident, attended church, married and had her wedding reception in Texas. And a number of Arkansas relatives are buried in Texas. So what’s my point? The county line and state line meant nothing to those of us who lived there. You crossed it several times a day, important for legal purposes, but not of much importance in our daily lives.

    When you are seeking information on your ancestors, take a few minutes to look at maps. Many researchers examine plat maps. They show land ownership at the time of publication. But we also need to pay attention to the ponds, lakes, rivers and streams. These were valuable for water and transportation, but could also be barriers. Study county maps over the years to see how roads developed, what settlements came and went, where schools, churches and cemeteries were located, and how the railroad or canal moved through the area. Examine state maps to note where the roads and railroads went. What towns or villages were closest to your ancestor’s residence? Even if that place is in a different county, he or she may have gone there on a regular basis. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, people would catch a train to go to a city several counties away to do business, make purchases or for entertainment.

    Many also visited neighboring states on a regular basis, even if they didn’t live in Texarkana! There were a number of places, referred to as a “Gretna Green,” where eloping couples would marry without family or neighbors knowing. Our ancestors visited health spas, sanitariums, and visited physicians in neighboring states. Or someone might find employment elsewhere and move away for a while. We need to examine maps of all sorts, and look them with fresh eyes as we contemplate what our forebears might have been doing.

    So take a few minutes to examine older, and current, maps of your ancestors’ home areas. Study the water courses and terrain. See where the roads led. And think about your ancestors’ lives.

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • More Free Cemetery Databases

    Friday, Jul 25, 2014

    The last set of cemetery listings provided by Professsor Dawn C. Stricklin, MA of Southern Illinois UniversityMore MIssouri Cemeteries and her Department of Anthropology in Carbondale, Illinois. These cemeteries, which are all in Missouri, include Niswonger Church Cemetery in Cape Girardeau County; Glover Baptist, Graniteville, Mann, Russell, and Schwab cemeteries, all in Iron County; St. Michael's Cemetery in Madison County;  Lesterville and Walker Branch cemeteries in Reynolds County; and Thomas Chap/tman Cemetery in Washington County.  Our thanks to Professor Stricklin and her department for their efforts to preserve this information!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • The Reference Interview: Specifically

    Tuesday, Jul 22, 2014

    by Delia

    Recently, a customer came in seeking information about parks in Fort Wayne. He was very clear the minute he walked in the door that information on the parks, of which Fort Wayne has a plethora, was his interest. We asked if he was interested in a specific park, but no, he wanted all of the parks. We have a great deal of material on local parks, including photographs, books, old newspaper clippings and pamphlets. We produced a lot of material for him to browse through, and he examined it all over the next couple of hours. We got distracted with other customers, but when we saw him leaving, we asked if he had found what he needed. Well, no, he hadn’t, he answered dejectedly. He was really looking for a piece of sculpture that was supposed to be in one of the parks. With that idea, we asked a few questions about the sculpture and found what he wanted, information on a piece of sculpture that was sitting on the lawn of the Performing Arts Center! He thought he knew what he needed, and felt he was being very specific about what he wanted.

    Another time, an experienced researcher arrived for what she indicated was her first time here. The staff member on the desk provided a quick orientation to The Genealogy Center, complete with map and various guides, then asked, “So what are you looking for today?” She answered, “My family history.” The staff member, said, “No, I mean, what specifically are you looking for today?” And she answered, probably thinking the staff member wasn’t paying attention, “My ancestry.” Once they settled the definition of what the question meant, the researcher was provided with several good sources with which to start and was soon happily, and successfully, researching.

    Both of these scenarios happen on a regular basis. When you arrive, whether you realize it or not, we may subject you to a “reference interview,” where we ask questions to determine exactly what you want. It may feel that we are trying to stall you while we think. While that might be the case sometimes, we are really just trying to get a better handle on what you need. It’s also important for you to think about what you want. You may think that by asking for material on parks or a specific war or a specific place, you will find what you need, but if we have some clarification about what your ultimate goal is, we may have a better suggestion.

    So come on in and visit us, and answer our questions, so that we may help answer yours!

    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center

  • More Cemeteries in Our Free Databases

    Saturday, Jul 19, 2014

    Eight new cemeteries  gathered and compiled by Dawn C. Stricklin, MA, of Southern Illinois University's Department of Anthropology in Carbondale, Illinois have been added to our Other States databases. They are Chapman Cemetery in Dent County, MO; Big Creek Baptist Cemetery and Crocker Stricklin Cemetery in Iron County, Missouri; Fredericktown Negro Cemetery in Madison County, Missouri; Swiney Cemetery in Reynolds County, MIssourih: Potosi Colored Cemetery and Trinity Colored Cemetery in Washington County, Missouri; and Bostick Cemetery in Jackson County, Illinois. Each citation includes photo(s) of the markers, even those that are illegible. Some of these cemeteries are large and others quite small, but kudos to the professor and her group for preserving this information, and our appreciation for allowing us to post this material on our website!


    Posted by: ACPL Genealogy Center