Genealogy Gems: News from the Fort Wayne Library, No. 15, May 31, 2005
From: genealogygems (
Date: Tue, 31 May 2005 12:46:39 -0700 (PDT)
Genealogy Gems:  News from the Fort Wayne Library
No. 15, May 31, 2005

In this issue:
*Reunions, Summer Projects, and StoryCorp Bring Old & New Excitement
*Slave Petitions, Ownership and the Name Game
*A Tremendous Resource:  "Ancestors in German Archives:  A Guide to
Family History Sources"
*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

Reunions, Summer Projects, and StoryCorp Bring Old & New Excitement 
by Curt B. Witcher
As you read the latest "Genealogy Gems," May is turning into June and
Memorial Day weekend is a memory.  With the unofficial beginning of
summer comes all those wonderful information gathering and researching
opportunities.  Do you have a family reunion planned for this summer? 
Are you deciding which libraries, cemeteries, and hometowns you'll visit
to complement the online sources you have been using?  I certainly hope
so!  That is often where the fun and excitement of genealogical
endeavors really take place!  

I am fortunate to be attending another family reunion this July.  And
though more than six weeks away, I am already feeling a bit behind in my
planning.  No, I am not talking about travel and lodging details, nor am
I really that concerned about the potato salad and bean dishes that
actually were decided upon long ago through Christmas greetings.  The
planning I am concerned about is my planning to harvest the most
information from the relatives gathered there.  In this age of mega
databases and huge digital archives available at the touch of a few
keystrokes, I fear many of us don't value "living memory" as much as we
should.  Many keys to more successful research, and many solutions to
seemingly hopeless genealogical problems, rest in the minds or collected
family treasures of relatives, both close and distant.  

Capturing living memory is an increasing concern in a society where
people write dramatically fewer letters than previous generations, save
precious few emails as historical family records, and often do not
document family traditions and celebratory events in the same ways as
their parents and grandparents.  Once captured, the living memory of our
families also needs to be preserved for future generations of
genealogists.  That can be challenging as well.  I believe this is a
dramatic issue facing early twenty-first century family researchers.  

My interest in capturing and preserving living memory was further
peaked a few weeks ago when Dave Isay was named ABC News' "Person of the
Week."  He was singled-out for recognition because of the initiative he
started called StoryCorp.  StoryCorp is a national project to instruct
and inspire people to record each other's stories in sound.  It was
modeled after the WPA interviewing projects of the 1930s in which
everyday Americans had their stories recorded.  It is Isay's aspiration,
as articulated on his website, that just as the WPA interviews remain
the single most important collection of American voices for the 20th
century, StoryCorp will build an equally significant collection of early
21st century voices.  What a fantastic project for today's researchers
as well as generations of genealogists to come!

On the StoryCorp website, <>, one can hear clips of
stories that have been recorded already, view instructions and
step-by-step guides to conducting interviews, and obtain more
information about where the two StoryCorp MobileBooths will be over the
next several months.  At StoryBooths, mobile or otherwise, people can
make broadcast-quality recordings of interviews with friends and family
members, and even enlist the assistance of a trained facilitator.  The
American Folklife Center of the Library of Congress has agreed to house
and make accessible the recorded archives of the StoryCorp project.  See
the StoryCorp website for more details on this exciting initiative.  

You don't have to wait for a formal program like StoryCorp to come to
your area, though, to begin this important activity.  The step-by-step
guides on their websites, and many other good websites, and the many
books and articles about successful interviewing can be utilized any
place at any time.  Using a digital recorder (sound or sound and
picture) to capture reminiscences at family reunions, record interviews
you conduct with family members, and document important family events
takes advantage of contemporary technology to both preserve and share
such recordings.  There is no time like the present to get started!  

As you are planning your summer fun over the next several months,
recall that the Historical Genealogy Department is constantly adding new
materials to the department--many hundreds of books and microtext each
month.  Our searchable databases for Allen County, IN on the website also continue to grow.  The marriage
and obituary databases have been updated through the end of 2004 and
through the first quarter of 2005 respectively.  And another one half of
one year of surname file entries have been added to the surname file. 

We are also very pleased to announce that back issues of this e-zine,
"Genealogy Gems," are now available on the library's website.  If you'd
like to go back and refresh your memory about some collections and
resources highlighted in previous issues, look in the "Genealogy"
section of the library's homepage under "Publications" or use the
following link.  <>

Recall, too, you have a date toward the end of this summer!  Remember? 
Follow this link just to be sure: 

Slave Petitions, Ownership and the Name Game
by Roberta Ridley
Collection Title: Race, Slavery, and Free Blacks; Series I (Legislative
Petitions, 1777-1867); Series II, Parts A, B, C, and E (Petitions to
Southern County Courts, 1775-1867).  Currently the collection consists
of 108 microfilm reels.

The Race and Slavery Petitions Project has focused on publication of
all extant relevant legislative petitions and county petitions from
fifteen slaveholding states and the District of Columbia, during the
period from the American Revolution through the Civil War. The county
court petitions in this collection offer testimony on a broad range of
subjects by a variety of southerners. The reports occasionally reveal
black genealogical information stretching back to the mid-seventeenth
century. They detail how slaves, as chattels, could and often did find
themselves sold, conveyed, or distributed as part of their masters'
estates. They also reveal the impact of market forces on the slave
family, especially as surnames and ownership apply. Every petition in
the Series II edition is preceded by a Petition Analysis Record
accession number, which identifies the county, state, year, and sequence
of the petition within that year. 

Accession # 20182803, Franklin County, Alabama reveals that in 1798
Thomas Blount Whitmill, while living in North Carolina wrote a will in
which he loaned "six negroes-to-wit: Sam, Eli, Charity, Tempy, Lewey &
Molly & their increase during her natural life," to his daughter
Elizabeth. If she bore children, they were to inherit the slaves
forever; otherwise the slaves were to be divided equally among his other
four children. Elizabeth married Arthur S. Hogan and died childless in
1824. Anne S. Bell, last surviving heir to Mr. Whitmill, along with her
husband (John I. Bell) sued Mr. Hogan for title to the slaves and their
increase in addition to the proceeds from their hire since Elizabeth's
death. The total value of the slaves was estimated to be $5,550. 

This example shows several interesting possibilities for descendants of
the slaves and slave-owning families involved. We know that the family
names of Whitmill, Hogan, and Bell are connected and that these names
are likely connected to the slaves as well. We know that Mr. Whitmill
had at least five children and that four died between 1798 and 1824 and
that Elizabeth never bore any children. The slaves were born or
previously lived in North Carolina and were loaned out to Alabama. 
The issues covered in these petitions address casual loss, debt,
divorce, distribution of slaves, dower rights, estates, guardianship,
hiring out, injunction, marriage, sale of slaves, slave title dispute,
and slaves in estate. Printed guides, edited by Loren Schweninger,
provide detailed abstracts and indexes to many of the petitions.

A Tremendous Resource:  "Ancestors in German Archives:  A Guide to
Family History Sources"
review by Curt B. Witcher
One of the very best, thoroughly researched, and heavily detailed
guides published in the last year in the genealogy field is Dr. Raymond
Wright's "Ancestors in German Archives: A Guide to Family History
Sources" [Baltimore, MD:  Genealogical Publishing Company, 2004]. 
Together with students at Brigham Young University and associates
working with BYU's "German Immigrant Ancestors" project, Raymond Wright
has compiled a worthy tome of nearly 1200 pages.  

As Wright so correctly states in the work's prefatory material, the
German territories and the German Empire provided more emigrants to
America than any other European national entity.  Many of us researching
our German ancestors are at least intimidated, if not often frustrated,
by the challenges of locating German records.  This work details the
record collections of nearly two thousand national, state, and local
government, as well as private, archives in the Federal Republic of

Collecting and attempting to verify collection descriptions and
holdings information for such a large number of record repositories was
an enormous task done over a number of years.  The first phase of the
project involved researchers conducting onsite evaluations of archives
throughout Germany.  These phase one researchers were looking
specifically for records and documents that described members of German
families who lived since the Middle Ages.  The second phase of the
project involved sending detailed questionnaires to all known
repositories.  Summaries were created from the returned questionnaires. 
Searching the Internet for additional information both updated and
verified data provided in the returned questionnaires and also provided
the research team with information about those archives that did not
return their questionnaires.  When they were found, published
inventories of particular archives were also used to make up for
unreturned surveys and enhance data already gathered.  After completion
of the archives summaries, they were returned to the respective
archivists with the request that their staffs proofread them, and make
appropriate additions and corrections.  Such a thorough process
contributes both to the utility and comprehensiveness of this work.  

As much detailed information as possible was gathered for each record
repository.  Possible data elements for an archive, in addition to its
location, include:
     *jurisdiction of the archive
     *organization of the archive's records
     *published guides or descriptions of collections
     *emigration records
     *records of churches or religious communities
     *records from cities, towns, districts, etc.
     *censuses and similar records
     *military records
     *records from former German jurisdictions now in other countries

The work contains nineteen maps including a "Germany Today" map
indicating state boundaries, state capitals, and cities with federal
archives and a "German Empire, 1871-1918" map indicating state
boundaries and state/provincial capitals.  An archives index and a
locality index enhance the user's access to the information contained in
this work.  This is certainly a must have/must consult reference work
for anyone researching German ancestry.  

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

Best Way Inn
5718 Bluffton Road, Fort Wayne

For those looking for an inexpensive place to stay, the locally-owned
Best Way Inn may be a solution. A motel at the airport end of town, it
has cable and HBO and a Jacuzzi. There are a number of good restaurants
and a grocery store nearby. The library is an easy 15 minute drive.
Rooms start at $30.

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

Allen County Genealogical Society of Indiana (ACGSI)
Wednesday, 8 June, Annual June Dinner Meeting,  will be at the American
Legion Post #330, 330 Entrance Drive, New Haven. 6:30 pm. Reservation
form was mailed in May and also included in the June issue of LINES. 
ACGSI doesn't meet in July and August. The meeting schedule will resume
in  September on Tuesday the 14th.

Computer Users Group
The computer users group will meet again in September.

DeKalb County Indiana Genealogical Society 
Monday, 6 June 
St. Michael's Cemetery Tour, 6:00 pm
Meet at the cemetery. If it rains, bring an umbrella. If it is sunny,
bring mosquito spray. If there is a thunder storm, we will be meeting in
the basement of the church. There will be a tour and history of the
cemetery. Directions: Take SR 427 north of Waterloo, drive 4.3 miles on
CR 39/SR 27 to CR 10. The cemetery is west of the road on CR 10 about
1/4 miles from St. Michael's.

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

Curt Witcher
15 June: Researching Native American Ancestry, Anderson Public Library,
Anderson, IN, 7:00 pm

18 August: Midwestern Roots Pre-Conference, Panel Discussion on
"History and Genealogy: Why Not Both?", Indiana History Center (Indiana
Historical Society Headquarters), Indianapolis, IN, 6:00pm

27 August: "Your Society Wants YOU! Effective Recruiting Strategies for
Genealogical Societies." Ohio Genealogical Society Chapter Management
Seminar, Batavia, OH, 1:15pm 

7-10 September: Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference, Salt
Lake City, UT
9 September: Doing the History Eliminates the Mystery
10 September: Using the Forgotten and Maligned: Key Government
Documents for Genealogical Research

Delia Bourne
9 June  : Beginning Genealogy/Use of the Historical Genealogy
Department, Georgetowne Place Retirement Apartments, 1717 Maplecrest
Road, Fort Wayne, 1:00 pm 

Steven W. Myers
31 August-6 September: National Institute for Genealogical Studies
Research Academy in Salt Lake City--Irish Research

Ryan Taylor
31 August-6 September: National Institute for Genealogical Studies
Research Academy in Salt Lake City--English Research 

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/then 930 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: Genealogy [at] ACPL.Info.

Publishing Note:  
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.  

To subscribe to Genealogy Gems, simply use your browser to go to the
website: Scroll down toward the bottom of
the first screen where it says, "Enter Your Email Address to Subscribe
to "Genealogy Gems."  Enter your email address in the yellow box and
click on "Subscribe." You will be notified with a confirmation email.

If you do not want to receive this e-zine, please follow the link at
the very bottom of the issue of GenealogyGems you just received or send
an email to kspears [at] with "unsubscribe e-zine" in the
subject line. 

Ryan Taylor, editor

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