With all the excitement involving our new catalog, and new website, we’re now pleased to announce The Genealogy Center Blog is moving to its new home on The Genealogy Center website! We are in transition at the moment, so we’ll cross-post on both sites. Please join us at our new home!
The Genealogy Center of the Allen County Public Library has launched a new website that provides easier access to the department’s online resources both for local residents and those accessing the site worldwide.
Some of the exciting features that can be accessed via the website include a number of free databases that The Genealogy Center has developed, including the African American Gateway, Family Bible Records and Our Military Heritage. The African American Gateway combines more than 1,000 links to Internet sites for African American research, coupled with bibliographic information on African American Sources in The Genealogy Center’s collection. The Family Bible Records site features digitized images of bible records that patrons have allowed the Center to scan and upload. These have been transcribed and are searchable. Our Military Heritage is a cornucopia of digitized images of military records and photographs from the Colonial era to the current war in Afghanistan. The Center also has an ever-growing collection of state-specific databases available free for patrons, with a heavy concentration of Allen County information.
Ask a Librarian is a popular feature of the Allen County Public Library’s website as a whole. Now patrons can ask a genealogy librarian their reference questions directly from The Genealogy Center’s website. The site also features direct links to the book and microtext catalogs and to the Center’s orientation video so that visitors from the local area and beyond can plan their research visits and make the most efficient use of their time once at the Center.
The Genealogy Center’s website is the launchpad to a number of other resources, including full-text books that have been digitized by Internet Archives, the Center’s Pathfinders to various areas of research, and the Community Album, a collection of historical photographs for the surrounding area.
The Genealogy Center offers a wide variety of programming throughout the year. The website is the place to find out all of the details about upcoming class opportunities. Additional Genealogy Center news is available through the Center’s blog, Facebook page and by subscribing to the department E-Zine, all accessed through convenient links from the new website.
Of course, we all just want to jump right into the research. Whether it’s wandering through the cemetery, cranking through microfilm seeking that elusive ancestor or dancing through the various databases in pursuit of great-great-grandma, for most of us, the fun is in the hunt. We sometimes forget to prepare to do our research.
If you are getting online to do a bit of electronic sleuthing, prepare yourself by reviewing the family you are chasing. Recheck the vital dates that you have, as well as locations. Think about the names you are seeking. If you are looking for a Mary, remember, she might have been Molly or Polly, or even Marie! Contemplate the many ways that the names could be misspelled. Ask yourself why someone may have provided erroneous information.
When you want to go to a courthouse to research, organize what you have and know what you want to learn. Find out, in advance if possible, if the records you want exist and how to access them. For example, a courthouse fire in 1896 may have destroyed civil marriage records, so you won’t want to waste time hunting for them. However, it may occur to you that the family was, say, Catholic, so a call to the parish or to a diocesan office may guide you to church marriage records. Also, check to be sure the office you wish to visit will be open the day you plan to be there. And have a back-up plan. Power outages, plumbing problems and severe illness could result in a sudden office closing, so a tentative plan to visit a nearby cemetery or church is good to keep in mind. As you see, preparing for a research trip is always a good idea.
Seeking advice from an archivist, librarian, or another researcher can bring fresh ideas to your research, and such consultations are the best part of my job here at the Genealogy Center, but an inadequately organized query can only hinder the success of the quest. Re-evaluate your data to make sure that it follows a logical path. At age 8, that woman was too young to have given birth to your great-grandfather. And your grandmother’s uncle really wasn’t born 15 months after his father died. Reassessing the information you have may open new avenues of research.
So take a few minutes while planning your research activities to consider what you you wish to achieve, what’s impossible, and how you might make the impossible, possible.
Running the country and conducting a Civil War weren’t the only things on Abraham Lincoln’s mind. Political controversy was a daily occurrence. The Lincoln Financial Collection, housed at the Allen County Public Library, contains a vast collection of broadsides, pamphlets, booklets, maps, photographs, and cartoons that provide in-depth background on Lincoln and the politics of his time. To highlight this material, The Genealogy Center Gallery is hosting a display of facsimiles of some of these original documents. Stop in and see this fascinating display.
The month of October is always wonderful in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Between the fall colors, the cooling temperatures, the wonderful groups who visit, and of course, the events at The Genealogy Center, we have 31 days of research fun planned. Woven within our various offerings are several special programs that might entice a visit.
Every Tuesday (10/5, 10/12, 10/19, 10/26) from 2:00-4:00 pm, we are offering 30 minute one-on-one consultations with our staff concerning your research problems. Please email your consultation request or call 260-421-1225 to schedule your appointment.
On Friday & Saturday, 10/8-10/9, the 3rd Annual Military Symposium will feature national speaker, Amy Johnson Crow, who will present The Last Full Measure: Military Burials, Researching Your Civil War Ancestors Online, State and Local Records for Civil War Research, After Mustering Out: Researching Civil War Veterans, and For Benefit of the Soldier: Civil War Fraternal Organizations. Registration is required.
The last Friday of the month, October 29, we are celebrating Family History Month with our annual Midnight Madness. From 6:00 pm to midnight, researchers will have six extra hours to delve into the Center’s collections.
Friday, October 29, through Sunday, October 31, researchers are invited to participate in Start Sharing the News! A Celebration of Collaboration. It begins Friday with a dinner at the historic Baker Street Station, followed by multiple sessions on Saturday, ending with a tour of the Lindenwood Cemetery on Sunday. Registration is required.
Take time now to schedule your trip(s) to Fort Wayne to take advantage of all these opportunities.