Sometimes in the Genealogy Center, a useful book pertinent to a particular location is not found under a particular subject entry or title. Consider the book, On the Eve of Conquest: The Chevalier de Raymond’s Critique of New France in 1754, edited by Joseph L. Peyser and published by Michigan State University Press in 1997. The book is cataloged as 971 R214o, which is a general Canadian number. However, “New France” in the 1750s, before the conclusion of the French and Indian War, comprised a large portion of the upper Midwest and Great Lakes of what would become the United States. Charles de Raymond, the central figure of the work, was the commandant of Fort St. Joseph at what is now Fort Wayne in the 1750s. The book contains a useful, first-hand account of this and other areas occupied by the French, but not strictly about Canada. If you are researching the French period of Fort Wayne’s history, or indeed, those of other French-occupied settlements of the 1750s, this book deserves a closer look.
Memorial Day weekend also marks the beginning of the library’s summer schedule. Hours Monday through Saturday are the same as the rest of the year (M-Th 9A – 9P and F&S 9A – 6P), but the entire library is closed on Sundays until after the Labor Day weekend. We love our visitors, and don’t want you waiting in vain on Sundays.
It is the book for which most everyone eagerly awaits in the spring (or fall), and the only one that you could write in without getting into trouble. It is the yearbook, filled with photos and description of students, teachers, and staff in various activities. School yearbooks started at the college level and many were collections of student essays, poetry and fiction, altering over the years to become memory books we know today, and descending through high school, then elementary schools. The Genealogy Center’s extensive collection of local school annuals is a popular draw for current and former residents of the city as they locate themselves, parents or friends. Older yearbooks can also bring a grandparent to life for a younger member of the family, adding information about interests and activities, or can verify the presence of the student in a given place at a specific time.
The Genealogy Center actively collects Allen County school yearbooks, and is happy to receive donations of yearbooks from any location, so when you know someone looking to dispose of their old annuals, or if you are thinning your own book shelves, please remember that we’d be happy to find space for these important resources in the collection.
A celebratory air was evident this past Saturday as the Allen County Public Library hosted the Indiana Genealogical Society’s annual conference. Dick Eastman was the featured speaker and presented four well-received lectures on technological topics. In addition, Ron Darrah of Indianapolis and Melissa Shimkus, reference librarian for the Genealogy Center, spoke on immigration topics; Curt Witcher, Genealogy Center manager, gave a presentation on ACPL’s digital initiatives; and Kay Spears, also of the Genealogy Center, gave a real-time demonstration of Adobe Photoshop.
Friday, the library was the site of a pre-conference seminar featuring four sessions on preservation topics, from the personal level to the archives level. Many genealogists in town for Friday’s seminar, or arriving Friday night in anticipation of Saturday’s conference, took advantage of the Genealogy Center’s extended hours from 6 p.m. to midnight. It was every genealogist’s dream – to be locked in the Genealogy Center after closing!
IGS’s Society of Civil War Families of Indiana held its induction ceremony mid-day on Saturday. Three ladies who successfully proved their ancestry back to a soldier who served in an Indiana Civil War unit were welcomed into the society, and two members who had proved supplemental lines to soldiers also were recognized. The SCWFI ceremony was followed by the IGS annual meeting, including President Curt Witcher’s “state of the society” address, awards and door prizes. One lucky soul won a year’s subscription to Ancestry.com!
Attendees summed up the experience in their evaluations: “Great day! The vendors exhibition was nice … a good variety. ACPL was a great location, too.” “Wonderful facility! Great programs!!” “Very informative sessions – Glad I came.”
As staff of the Genealogy Center, we echo their sentiments … it was a great day … the vendors had “good stuff” … the sessions were informative … and we are very glad everyone came!
(and other long records in the library catalog)
Here in the Genealogy Center, we own a number of very large and comprehensive compilations of significant research created by individuals who have committed decades to their respective projects. One such recently cataloged set is the Lewis Ellingham’s Family Papers. Its 363 volumes contain thousands of surnames, accompanied by pedigree charts and genealogical tables encompassing hundreds of years. However, there is no index to these volumes. So how does one find information about specific names of interest?
In the Allen County Public Library catalog, type the surname you seek followed by the word “family” (searching it as a subject and limiting your search to the Genealogy Center will help).
The results you get will look like this.
You’ll notice that the Ellingham family papers (#3 above), includes 158 volumes–volumes 206 through 363. When you click on the Details button, you see this.
Then click on the Catalog Record tab.
This very long screen of information is easily searched by using the Find command in your browser. In the most common browsers (Internet Explorer and Firefox), hold the Ctrl key down and strike the F key. A box will appear on your screen. Enter the surname you are looking for in that box.
When you press enter, the browser will locate the text in the record, and in this instance you will know there is a significant reference to a Deetz family in vol. 276.
The Genealogy Center will be open normal hours, 9:00 am – 6:00 pm on Friday, April 2nd, but will be closed on Sunday, April 4th. We will observe normal hours on Saturday and Monday.
Everyone has done it … you look so forward to that genealogical research trip, whether it is here to the Genealogy Center in Fort Wayne, or to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, or to the local courthouse and cemeteries in the area where your ancestors lived … that you don’t want to waste a moment of your precious time for mundane things like eating!
But regular breaks, especially for meals or snacks, actually may help your research because they keep your mind fresh and your body fueled.
When you come to Fort Wayne, pick up a flyer of “Downtown Eateries” when you stop at the Ask Desk in the Genealogy Center. The restaurants within walking distance of the Allen County Public Library include fast food (Taco Bell, McDonald’s, Arby’s), ethnic choices (J.K. O’Donnell’s Irish pub, Toscani’s Pizza, Double Dragon) and local favorites (Cindy’s Diner, the Dash-In, the Loaf & Ladle). The library also has a Dunkin’ Donuts restaurant right in the building with more offerings than just doughnuts – such as flatbread sandwiches, egg and cheese wraps, bottled water and juices.
If you choose to bring your lunch when you come to ACPL, tables are available on the library’s plaza for al fresco dining in good weather. Patrons may not eat or drink in the Genealogy Center, nor have food or drinks visible, but you may pack lunch and snacks in a closed bag or cooler and take them to other areas of the building to eat.
In Salt Lake City, pick up a guest pass at the Information desk in the lobby of the Family History Library for a generous meal at a low price at the LDS church office building cafeteria. In addition, the Family History Library has a lunch room with vending machines and a microwave for those who would rather eat in. J.B.’s family-style restaurant is right next door and there are other nearby choices.
Librarians and courthouse employees in the towns where your ancestor lived probably will have suggestions of favorite places to dine in their local areas.
Do take breaks to clear your head and don’t skip meals when you embark on those research trips this spring. No one wants to get home and discover a research blunder that was the result of the “low blood sugar blues!”