Genealogy Gems: News from the Fort Wayne Library, No. 20, October 31, 2005
From: genealogygems (
Date: Mon, 31 Oct 2005 14:16:07 -0800 (PST)
Genealogy Gems:  News from the Fort Wayne Library
No. 20, October 31, 2005

In this issue:
*Family Health History
*Tennessee Civil War Veterans Questionnaires
*The WPA?s Louisiana Vital Statistics Guides
*Preservation Tip of the 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

Family Health History
by Curt B. Witcher
In just a few short weeks it will be Thanksgiving and
the beginning of the annual holiday season with all
its hustle and bustle.  In addition to the shopping,
parties, and get-togethers, it is good to remember
that this season is also a great time to collect and
share family stories.  Certainly one of the most
cherished gifts one can give or receive is a family
heirloom along with the story of the people whose
lives surrounded it.  And if you have thought about
giving a family history as a holiday gift, any time in
any season is a great time to start!

Among the many important benefits of doing one?s
family history is discovering the details of one?s
family *health* history.  With the completed mapping
of the human genome and the continuing studies
regarding inherited diseases, family health history is
very important. The Surgeon General asks that on
Thanksgiving Day families across the country start a
new holiday tradition--a family health history
tradition.  With families gathered for a special meal,
it is the perfect time to talk about family traits and
one?s family health history.  This initiative was
actually started last Thanksgiving.  If you need some
reasons beyond the obvious of why family health
history is important, I thought you?d enjoy the
following ?Top Ten Reasons.? 

No. 10
You likely already use your family?s health history
more than you think--whether for your children?s or
grandchildren?s school projects, deciding what
over-the-counter remedies work for you and your
family, or talking to your doctor about a correct

No. 9
It?s a simple yet powerful way to understand your
genetic heritage.  What illnesses and predispositions
your ancestors had may be important for you to know. 

No. 8
Everyone has a family history of something--whether
type of hair and hair color or predispositions and

No. 7
Fort Wayne has one of the best libraries in the
country for both genealogy and scientific & medical

No. 6
>From a medical perspective, knowing your family health
history is cost effective.  Prevention nearly always
trumps cure in cost.

No. 5
Knowing your family health history could save your

No. 4
The Surgeon General and the medical community agree
that it is very important. 

No. 3
Doing genealogy is one of the most popular activities
in the country.  

No. 2
New tools and resources make it easier and more
enjoyable to engage in family history and genealogy.  

And the No. 1 Reason! 
Everyone?s doing it!   

Visit the Surgeon General?s website for some more
information.  <>

Those interested in Allen County, Indiana research and
resources will find two new indices at the
FriendsOfAllenCounty website.  ?Applications for
Naturalizations, 1844-1906? and ?Persons Exempt from
Civil War Military Service, 1862? were just added last
week.  We invite you to take a look--and wish you a
Happy Thanksgiving.
Tennessee Civil War Veterans Questionnaires
by Timothy Dougherty
In 1914 and 1915, Dr. Gustavus Dyer, Archivist of
Tennessee, sent a questionnaire out to all known
Tennessee Civil War veterans. In 1920, John Trotwood
Moore, Director of the Tennessee Historical
Commission, circulated a revised questionnaire. By
1922, some 1,650 had been returned. Collectively, this
series of documents became known as the ?Tennessee
Civil War Veterans Questionnaires.? Fortunately for
the researcher with a Tennessee Civil War veteran, the
Genealogy Department owns a microfilm copy of this

The responses of the Federal interviewees are grouped
in alphabetical order (by surname) on the first reel,
and those of Confederate veterans are arranged in the
same fashion on the remaining eight reels.  

The veterans interviewed came from all social classes,
and answers range from the curt and barely literate to
the reflective and erudite.  Many questionnaires were
returned with appended pages of information.

Legibility of the responses varies.  Some are typed
and nearly as clear as the day they were composed. 
Others are more difficult to discern, being in faded
ink or pencil, or traced in the shaky scrawl of the
aged.   Most, however, fall somewhere within these

The content of the interviews helps paint a portrait
of the veteran and his turbulent times.   Although not
every veteran answered each of the forty-six
questions, most seem to have approached the task with
some degree of dedication. Questions include age,
birthplace, parent?s names, and occupation. The
interviewee listed the unit with which he served,
named those in his company he remembered, and
chronicled his experiences during the war. Also
included are questions regarding ancestry, schooling
and conditions in the community, and sketches of his
life before and after the war.

The questionnaires also examine whether or not the
parents owned slaves, and probe the general tenor of
relations between slave-holding and non-slave-holding
families. The responses are an interesting and often
contradictory barometer of the times. For example,
many of those interviewed reported that slave-holders
and non-slave-holders existed in communities on
friendly and equal footing. However, some responses
drew quite a different picture. In William Landon
Babb?s own words, for example, ?the slave holders was
always elevated above the common man,? and ?always
moved in circle to them selvs thinking themselvs on a
hiar plane than the laboring man.? And his words echo
many others.

This collection is a fascinating source for
genealogical and historical research. Printed
transcripts of the completed questionnaires are also
available in five indexed volumes at call number
973.74 T25tenn.

The WPA?s Louisiana Vital Statistics Guides
by Delia Cothrun Bourne
The Works Progress (later Projects) Administration was
the largest of the New Deal agencies, designed to
provide jobs, income, and dignity to unemployed
workers during the Great Depression. Its best known
accomplishments were the large and small construction
projects of the era, which included bridges, buildings
and dams. The WPA also employed workers organizing
records and histories throughout the United States.
One part of this Historical Records Survey cataloged
various sources for vital record information, which
provided aid to the Social Security Administration,
another government agency formed during the same

To obtain retirement benefits, workers had to prove
age eligibility, but many Americans of the era had not
been issued birth certificates, and would have to
obtain a delayed birth record from the county of
birth. The WPA workers surveyed and cataloged vital
records at the local level throughout the country,
then expanded the survey to include church records
which could supply dates of births, marriages or
deaths. Volumes for some states were published in the
late 1930s, but many others were pushed to completion
as World War II started to aid in proving the
citizenship of workers in war-related industries. 

The Guide to Public Vital Statistics Records in
Louisiana (976.3 H62g) was published in December 1942,
and included sections on births, deaths, marriages,
and divorces. Each section included a short history of
the record in the state, then a parish-by-parish
listing of holdings, indicating years covered,
arrangement, index status, and who held the records. 

Also published by the WPA at the same time was the
?Guide to Vital Statistics Records of Church Archives
in Louisiana,? volume 1: Protestant and Jewish
Churches, and volume 2: Roman Catholic Churches,
(976.3 H62gu).  The volumes catalog church records
including not only baptisms, marriages, and burials,
but also lists of members. The listings are organized
by town within the parish, then by denomination. Each
listing includes the starting dates for the records,
location of the church, record custodian at the time,
as well as a notation indicating if the church is an
African American congregation. 

Similar survey lists, also published by the Historical
Records Survey, exist for other states, and the
Historical Genealogy Department has many of them.
Although the information contained in the surveys
seems dated after fifty-plus years, knowing that these
records existed can aid a researcher in finding
records today.

Preservation Tip of the Month
by Becky Schipper
ACPL?s Preservation Technician Becky Schipper offers
advice on conserving your documents:

I was asked how to best store some old family letters.
My reply was to store them unfolded in acid- free
folders or in Mylar D enclosures. These should be
stored in a place with non-fluctuating temperature and
humidity. A main floor closet is best.

Each issue we will feature a local hotel, for visitors
from out-of-town.

Red Roof Inn
2920 Goshen Road, Fort Wayne 46808
260-484-8641; fax 260-484-3441

The Red Roof Inn is located near exit 109-A on I-69;
turn east and the Inn is on the left past the first
traffic light. Red Roof Inns are the same across
America, with free local telephone calls, voice mail
and dataports in all rooms. The Business King Rooms
have an enhanced work area, if you intend to collate
your work at the library when you go back to the hotel
at night. Coffee and newspapers are available in the
morning. Children under 18 stay free, if you bring
your family along. Restaurants nearby include Bob
Evans, Cheddar?s, Chili?s, IHOP, McDonald?s and Olive
Garden. The library is about fifteen minutes away.
Average rate is $46.

Allen County Public Library
3rd floor atrium display area
The Wheels that Won the West

Allen County Genealogical Society of Indiana (ACGSI)
Refreshments at 6:30, meeting at 7:00. Questions:
contact Marge Graham, 260 672-2585 or gramar57 [at]
Wednesday, November 9, 2005 Aboite branch ACPL: Sue
Downey and Ryan Taylor. Family Cookbooks: Gathering,
Assembly and Publishing Family Recipes.

Computer Users Group
Wednesday 16 November: Aboite branch ACPL, 7:00.

Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR)
First Wednesday of each month in the Genealogy
Department 9am ? 7pm.
Expert help from members of the DAR in becoming a
member of that organization

Curt Witcher

2 November:  Lutheran Home, Fort Wayne, " Steps to Do
Your Family History," 1:30P

19 November:  Arizona State Genealogical Society Fall
Seminar, Viscount Hotel, 4855 E. Broadway, Tucson, AZ,
"Using Military Records for Genealogical Research,"
"Effective Use of the Allen County Public Library,"
"The Road Not Taken: Mega Internet Sites for
Genealogists off the Beaten Path," "Doing the History
Eliminates the Mystery!"

Ryan Taylor

9 November:     Allen County Genealogical Society of
Indiana, Fort Wayne

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

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

>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 of the lot.
Available for short-term library parking.  Limited to
one hour.
There are handicapped parking spots near the door.

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

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 6pm.

Street (metered) parking on Wayne Street and Berry
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
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If you do not want to receive this e-zine, please
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the subject line. 

Ryan Taylor, editor

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