Genealogy Gems: News from the Fort Wayne Library, No. 7, September 30, 2004
From: genealogygems (
Date: Thu, 30 Sep 2004 14:16:07 -0700 (PDT)
Genealogy Gems:  News from the Fort Wayne Library
No. 7, September 30, 2004

In this issue:
*An Autumn of Amazing Happenings
*Ship, Rail and Wagon Train Series
*A tip for beginning Swiss research
*Family History month 
*Hotel of the month
*Area Calendar of Events
*ACPL Librarians on Tour
*Driving directions to the Library
*Parking at the Library
*Queries for the Department

An Autumn of Amazing Happenings
Curt B. Witcher
With autumn in the air and the beginning of the last quarter of '04
upon us, many are feeling that extra drive to accomplish a few more
things before the year is done.  And if you're looking for some amazing
things to explore, October is your month!

During October, there are nearly two dozen learning opportunities for
genealogists to explore.  Be sure to checkout the link further on in
this e-zine for a complete list of these Family History Month events. 
Some highlights worthy of special note include the nine Allen County
Genealogical Society sponsored events.  In addition to those high
quality presentations one will find programs by other renowned experts
including John Newman presenting on court records on October 6th, Steve
Myers talking about Irish resources on October 7th, and Amy Johnson Crow
lecturing on researching Indiana Civil War soldiers on October 15th. 
The month ends with six extra hours of research, from 6P to midnight, on
Sunday, October 31st. 

In a celebratory event on September 27th at historical Ford's Theatre
in Washington, DC, the National Park Service announced the successful
loading of the last two states of data for the Civil War Soldiers and
Sailors System.  That online "system" was initiated as a joint project
of the National Park Service, the Federation of Genealogical Societies,
and the LDS Family History Department.  Volunteers from the Allen County
Genealogical Society and the library coordinated the teams of data input
volunteers across the country who actually did the data input.  If you
haven't been to the website lately, or ever, and you're interested in a
very dynamic site containing details about those who fought in the War
Between the States, make sure October doesn't go by without your
visiting .  

Take advantage of the amazing number of autumn activities--it's a great
time to get your research organized for those genealogical data
gathering opportunities we commonly call holidays!  They'll be here
before we know it.

Ship, Rail and Wagon Train Series
Delia Cothrun Bourne
Lists of immigrants into the United States are common and highly prized
by genealogists. Not so easily found are lists of emigrants who traveled
across the country to the western states. Often, single people or
families would head west with little fanfare. Louis Rasmusssen and the
San Francisco Historic Records published the Ship 'n Rail Series (later
the Ship, Rail and Wagon Train Series) to provide names for some of the
thousands of settlers and visitors to California.

Volume 1 of Railway Passenger Lists of Overland Trains to San Francisco
and the West (Colma, CA: San Francisco Historic Records, 1966-68. 2
volumes; 929.11/R18R) includes newspaper accounts of railroad passengers
arriving in Oakland and San Francisco, California in 1870 and 1871.
Volume 2 lists those passing through Carlin, Nevada and Ogden, Utah in
1871 and 1872. These entries will provide the emigrants' names, often
including other family members as "wife" or "family," home  (sometimes
city but often just state), and the date of arrival or passing. Each
volume is indexed by name, hometown or state, and subject.

San Francisco Ship Passenger Lists (Colma, CA: San Francisco Historic
Record, 1965-70; 979.902/SA519R, volumes 1-4) covers arrivals from
1850-January 6, 1853. The information was taken from newspaper accounts
and journals, and arranged chronologically. It lists ship name, type,
captain, port of origin, length of passage, passengers, and cargo. This
material was gathered to replace the official port records that were
destroyed by fire in 1940. No lists from Asian ports were included in
this series. There is a name index and a geographic and subject index.

The last entry in this series, California Wagon Train Lists, April 5,
1849 to October 20, 1852 (Colma, CA: San Francisco Historic Records,
1994; 979.4/R18C) lists wagon trains leaving from St. Joseph, Missouri
or passing through various cities along the way west. Many of these are
just lists of passengers and supplies, but occasionally there are
notations of deaths by disease or violence. The entries are
chronological, but there is an every name index.

It is important to remember that although most passengers on the ships
and wagon trains were people migrating to the west, many on the trains
were visitors, either California residents returning after a trip, or
easterners traveling on business or pleasure. Whatever the reason for
your ancestor's experience, knowledge of travel experiences can add
depth to his or her life.

John D. Beatty
One of the cardinal rules of successful European genealogical research
is the need for determining a family's precise place of origin before
its emigration. Usually one can find important congregational and vital
records in that town or one nearby. Switzerland, however, offers a twist
to this rule. The Swiss hold voting and citizenship rights to specific
towns, and they often maintain those rights for generations. When a
family member moves to a different community, the bonds to the old
community or "home place" often remain, with vital and other court
records maintained by its town registrar. The prevalence of this
citizenship custom offers a potential bonanza for genealogists, since
certain surnames have long associations with specific towns that stretch
back many centuries. 

My own ancestral family, the Fiechters of Durrenroth in Emmental,
Canton Bern, have maintained citizenship rights there since the middle
ages, despite having many branches that have moved around Switzerland
since that time.

A useful resource for determining the link between Swiss families and
their ancestral towns is the Familiennamenbuch der Schweiz, which was
reissued in 1989 under a new title, Swiss Surnames: A Complete Register.
This three-volume work offers an alphabetical listing of surnames,
together with the towns and cantons with which they were affiliated
according to a 1962 citizenship survey. Surnames with prefixes such as
von Allmen appear under the prefix letter, such as "v," though spelling
variations are each given a separate listing. After the place name
appears the date of the first grant of citizenship, if known, which
usually dates from the nineteenth or twentieth centuries. Long ancestral
associations that predate citizenship records are marked with an "a." 
The first volume contains a useful introduction, a more detailed user
guide, a list of abbreviations, and a list of Swiss communities that
have disappeared because of suburban expansion.

Genealogists with an interest in Switzerland, but who lack the name of
their ancestor's hometown, should make Swiss Surnames a tool of first
resort. With increasing numbers of Swiss parish registers microfilmed by
the Genealogical Society of Utah, it may be possible to find the lost
immigrant in a Swiss parish record using clues obtained from this

October is Family History Month.  A resolution by Senator Orrin Hatch
of Utah in 2001 brought attention to this passion of ours--family
history research.  

In celebration of this special month, the Historical Genealogy
Department has scheduled educational presentations on a wide range of
genealogical research sources throughout the month.   These include how
to lectures on computer sources, military sources, African American
research materials, Internet web sites, Irish research, British sources
and plenty more!!

A *SPECIAL* event of our celebration is EXTENDED RESEARCH HOURS on
Sunday, Oct. 31.  The Genealogy Department will be open from 1pm until
midnight.  That is an extra 6 hours of research opportunities!  To join
us on this special day, you must be in the department at 6pm…security
won't allow us to let anyone in the building after that time.  You will
be able to leave whenever you like, but 6pm begins the witching hours.

Come join us, you might find your ancestors lurking in the stacks!!

For a full schedule of events, visit the library website

Each issue we will feature a local hotel, for visitors from

Quality Hotel Fort Wayne 
3330 West Coliseum Boulevard, Fort Wayne 46808 
(260) 484-7711

This 251-room hotel is four miles from downtown, at the city's western
edge. Amenities include an indoor pool, hot tub and fitness center,
complimentary breakfast buffet and newspaper. The rooms include a
refrigerator and microwave, desk, television with free movies, and
dataport. Photocopier and fax are also available. Genealogists' rate:

Allen County Public Library
3rd floor atrium display area
Passages: Immigration

Allen County Genealogical Society of Indiana (ACGSI)
Wednesday, October 13, 2004
Dupont Branch of the ACPL, 536 E. Dupont Road, Fort Wayne, IN
6:30 pm social time, 7:00 pm program
Curt Witcher: "Off the Beaten Path: Web Sites and Strategies for
Finding More Family Data"

Computer Users Group
Wednesday, October 20, 2004 at 7 pm.  Aboite Library, 5630 Coventry
Lane, Fort Wayne, IN 260-421-1310

Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR)
First Wednesday of each month in the Genealogy Department 9am - 3pm.
Expert help from members of the DAR in becoming a member of that

Steve Myers
October 24-30 National Institute for Genealogical Studies 
Research Academy in Salt Lake City: Irish Research

Ryan Taylor
October 2       Barrie, ON: Simcoe County Branch OGS workshop
October 24-30 National Institute for Genealogical Studies
Research Academy in Salt Lake City: English Research

Curt Witcher
October 9       Lancaster, OH:  Fairfield County Genealogical Society
October 23      Elkhart, IN:  Elkhart County Genealogical Society Fall
November 13     Cincinnati, OH:  Hamilton County Genealogical Society

Wondering how to get to the library?  Our exciting transition location
is 200 E. Berry, Fort Wayne, Indiana.  We will be at this location until
late 2006.  We would enjoy having you visit the Genealogy Department.

To get directions from your exact location to 200 E. Berry, Fort Wayne,
Indiana, visit this link at MapQuest:

>From the South
Exit Interstate 69 at exit 102.  Drive east on Jefferson Blvd. into
downtown. Turn left on Barr Street to Berry Street.  The library is
located on the corner of Berry and Barr Streets.  

>From the North
Exit Interstate 69 at exit 112.  Drive south on Coldwater Road, which
merges into Clinton Street.  Continue south on Clinton, the library will
be on your left when you cross Berry Street.  

>From the West
Using US 30: 
Drive into town on US 30.  US 30 turns into Goshen Road.  Coming up to
an angled street (State Street.) make an angled left turn.  Turn right
on Wells Street.  Go south on Wells to Wayne Street.  Left on Wayne
Street.  When you cross Clinton, the library will be on your left on
Wayne Street.  

Using US 24: 
After crossing under Interstate 69, follow the same directions as from
the South.

>From the East
Follow US 30 into and through New Haven, under an overpass into
downtown Fort Wayne.  You will be on Washington Blvd. when you get into
downtown.  Turn right on Barr Street.   Turn left on Berry Street.  The
library is on your left on Berry Street. 

Lot in front of the library, east side
Available for short-term library parking.  Limited to one hour.

Tippman Parking Garage
Clinton and Wayne Streets.  Across from the library, however the
skybridge is NOT accessible.  Hourly parking, $1.25 per hour up to a
maximum of $5.00 per day.

Park Place Lot
Covered parking on Barr Street at Main Street.  This lot is one block
away from the library.  Hourly parking Monday through Friday, 9am to

Street (metered) parking on Wayne Street and Berry Street.
On the street you plug the meters 8am - 5pm, weekdays only.  It is free
to park on the street after 5pm and on the weekends.

Visitor center/Grand Wayne center
Covered parking at Washington and Clinton Streets. This is the Hilton
Hotel parking lot that also serves as a day parking garage.  For hourly
parking, 7am - 11 pm, charges are .50 for the first 45 minutes, then
$1.00 per hour.  There is a flat $2.00 fee between 5pm and 11pm.

The Historical Genealogy Department hopes you find this newsletter
interesting.  Thank you for subscribing.  We cannot, however, answer
personal research emails written to the e-zine address.  The department
houses a Research Center that makes photocopies and conducts research
for a fee.  

If you have a general question about our collection, or are interested
in the Research Center, please telephone the library and speak to a
librarian who will be glad to answer your general questions or send you
a research center form.  Our telephone number is 260-421-1225.  If you'd
like to email a general information question about the department,
please email: CWitcher [at]  Look for a general genealogy
query email address coming soon.  

This electronic newsletter is published by the Allen County Public
Library's Historical Genealogy Department, and is intended to enlighten
readers about genealogical research methods as well as inform them about
the vast resources of the Allen County Public Library.  We welcome the
wide distribution of this newsletter and encourage readers to forward it
to their friends and societies.  All precautions have been made to avoid
errors.  However, the publisher does not assume any liability to any
party for any loss or damage caused by errors or omissions, no matter
the cause.  If this issue of "Genealogy Gems" has been forwarded to you
and you would like to receive your own copy in the future, visit and fill out the subscription form at
the bottom of the page.  Another way to subscribe is to send an email to
genealogygems-subscribe [at]"

Sue Kaufman, editor

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