Local Entities

July 26, 2010

by Dawne

By now you probably have discovered that when it comes to genealogy, it is not *ALL* on the Internet. However, if you are reading this, then you probably are someone who knows that the Internet can be a useful tool for the family historian.

During the online portion of your research, be sure to recognize that everything useful online is not *ALL* on FamilySearch, nor on HeritageQuest Online, nor on Footnote. It’s not even *ALL* on Ancestry.com … or the Allen County Public Library’s website! Many societies, libraries and even courthouses, funeral homes and cemeteries have useful websites for the genealogist.

If you are very lucky, some of these websites that are pertinent to your own research will have digitized copies of original records or photographs of tombstones that you can view, download and print. Others may have databases or indexes that you can search. At the very least, you will find helpful information such as business hours for libraries and courthouses, and contact information so that you may write, call or email the library, courthouse, cemetery, funeral home or other entity. Some websites may include links to other helpful, related sites.

For example, check out the “databases” area of the Genealogy Department of the Kokomo-Howard County Public Library in north central Indiana. The site includes a number of databases created and maintained by department staff and links take the researcher to other databases and websites of interest. One of the links is to the Cemeteries of Howard County, Indiana website. This website includes databases of individuals buried in the various cemeteries in the area, often with pdf files of corresponding obituaries and jpegs of tombstone photos!

Funeral homes have begun to post obituaries on their websites. Many of these are limited to recent deaths, but they can be helpful for those researching current branches of their families. As an example, one of our local Fort Wayne funeral homes posts obituaries with color photographs of the deceased. Others are posting similar information on their sites, including memorials posted by relatives and friends. These may include some priceless family stories!

The Beallsville Cemetery in Washington County, Pennsylvania, has its own homepage. In addition to the database of the individuals buried in this cemetery are digitized images of tombstone photos, obituaries, civil death records, military records, cemetery plot maps, interment books, lot owner books and even photographs of some individuals!

Don’t get in a rut with your online genealogical research! Use your favorite search engine to discover helpful websites for the local area where your ancestral families lived.



July 21, 2010

The Genealogy Center owns 592,000 pieces of microtext material, which consists of film and fiche. The information contained within the microtext items include census, passenger lists, military records, city directories, and locality specific records, such as local histories, land records, probates and wills, court records, and vital records. To locate what is available at the Genealogy Center you can search the microtext catalog. With state of the art film/ fiche readers, you can view, scan, print, and save your images on a jump drive.

News article on Internet Archive in the USA Today

July 19, 2010

Perusing my home copy of the USA Today one day last week, I noted this article on Internet Archive, and was pleased to see it garnering national attention. In my own insular way, I hadn’t realized the wonderful applications for researchers with various physical challenges who have trouble holding or reading a book. I only know it as a wonderful source for some rare genealogical and historical sources, and that many volumes that are part the Genealogy Center’s collection have been digitized and added to Internet Archive’s collection to be freely used by all. Although not shown with the online version, the print article included a photograph of IA’s employees and volunteers at the San Francisco facility, I was struck at how similar the area was to the space in the Allen County Public Library’s Lower Level 2 that Internet Archive occupies to scan the material from the Genealogy Center and the rest of the library’s collection. If you haven’t already explored this site, or haven’t checked it out in a while, take a fresh look!

Heritage Quest Online

July 15, 2010

Along with the other great databases you can use at the Genealogy Center is Heritage Quest Online. Using this exceptional source, you can search selected federal census, Revolutionary War era pensions and bounty land warrants, Freedmen’s Bank Records, more than 28,000 family and local history books, and, last but certainly not least, the Periodical Source Index (PERSI), the largest genealogy and local history periodical index which is produced by the Genealogy Center’s Foundation. When you’re here, take a few minutes to check this valuable resource!

Discover the Family Search Wiki

July 12, 2010

by Dawne

One of the helpful resources found on the FamilySearch website is the FamilySearch wiki. The FamilySearch wiki is full of more than 38,000 useful articles on all aspects of genealogical research, from information on doing research in a specific geographic location, to how-tos for various kinds of ethnic research.

The FamilySearch wiki fits in with the mission of the Family History Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), which is to provide genealogical records and services to customers worldwide. Its developers noted that people were seeking genealogical research advice online, but having to visit many sources to find what they were looking for. The wiki is a website where, in words from its own site, “the community works together to post articles, lessons, news, and events that provide research advice.”

One of the FAQs (that’s “frequently asked questions,” for those not as familiar with online vernacular) about the FamilySearch wiki is: Why create this wiki when so many seemingly similar sites are in existence. The developers believe that the FamilySearch wiki is not a duplication of other efforts on the Internet. One difference between it and some other sites is that all areas of it are free for use by everyone. Also, anyone can sign up to contribute information to the wiki. If good, thorough information already is available online about a particular topic, the wiki’s administrators hope that contributors will “point” to the existing website from the wiki, rather than duplicate other efforts.

Researchers can visit the FamilySearch wiki and take a tour, learn about topics, and sign up to contribute their knowledge to the site. The home page of the wiki includes a few featured articles, but a hot box allows visitors to type in other search terms.

While visiting the site, check out the Allen County Public Library’s page.

Welcome StoryCorps!

July 7, 2010

The StoryCorps MobileBooth across Washington Blvd. from the Allen County Public Library, July 7, 2010.

Since 2003, more than 50,000 people have had their stories recorded by StoryCorps and preserved at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, and millions have heard some of these stories over National Public Radio stations. With the stated mission of providing Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs the opportunity to record, share and preserve their stories, StoryCorps uses everyday people to record 40-minute interviews with their friends, family and neighbors. Sponsored by Northeast Indiana Public Radio, the StoryCorp MobileBooth is now parked in the ACPL parking lot and area residents are busily interviewing friends and family for archiving! In celebration of their visit, the Genealogy Center presented The Basics of Scanning today, the first of four lectures on preserving your family’s story, and it was a rousing success as attendees received information on how to digitize and preserve photographs. Check our Special Programs page for more information about the rest of the lectures.

African American Heritage

July 2, 2010

To discover your African American ancestors online, you can access ProQuest’s African American Heritage database while visiting the Genealogy Center. The database is divided into four categories: Search the Collections, Visit the AfriGeneas™ Community, Explore Black Genesis, and Consult Reference and How-to’s.

Freedman's Bank

Search the Collections focuses your search on African American ancestors in the 1860-1930 Census,  1865-1874 Freedman’s Bank Records, and World War I and II Draft Registration Cards.

Visit the AfriGeneas™ Community searches the AfriGeneas website for census, marriage, death, and slave records.

Explore Black Genesis, a State-by-State Resource Guide by Dr. James M. Rose and Dr. Alice Eichholz provides information on records and repositories for African American resources available within the United States, Canada, and the West Indies.

Consult Reference and How-to’s searches books on African American research methods.