Genealogy Gems: News from the Fort Wayne Library, No. 38, April 30, 2007
From: Genealogy Gems (
Date: Mon, 30 Apr 2007 18:30:09 -0700 (PDT)
Genealogy Gems:  News from the Fort Wayne Library
No. 38, April 30, 2007

In this issue:
*Musings on Conferences and the Kind of Research We Are Doing
*Trace Your Roots with DNA: Using Genetic Tests to Explore Your Family Tree
*Veterans Administration Pension Payment Cards, 1907-1933
*Countdown to Conference 2007
*Preservation Tip of the Month
*Area Calendar of Events
*Driving Directions to the Library
*Parking at the Library
*Queries for the Department

Musings on Conferences and the Kind of Research We Are Doing
by Curt B. Witcher
Over this past weekend, more than two hundred genealogists converged
on the Genealogy Center to enjoy the 6 pm to 12 midnight extended
research hours on Friday and attend the Indiana Genealogical Society's
annual conference on Saturday.  It was a fantastic time!  Access to a
great collection and knowledgeable staff, an excellent program of
expert speakers, and exhibitors sharing information on all kinds of
products and services available to nearly every level and type of
genealogical interest--what else could one want?!  More than a few
times over the weekend I thought that if one day is this much fun,
just think what four days will be like in August of this year at the
Federation of Genealogical Societies' Conference the 15th through the
18th!  Now would be a good time to register at <>
or request a brochure to register through the mail.

It has been both interesting and enlightening to watch the genealogy
field from a number of vantage points over recent years.  The
continued deployment of contemporary technologies assuredly has
changed the face of family history forever.  And that is a very good
thing!  This deployment has welcomed millions of individuals to
actively engage in exploring their past.  It has allowed those with
the busiest of schedules or living in the remotest of places to access
indices, find records, view copies of actual documents, and connect
with family members anywhere in the world.  It has encouraged more
publication activities and more sharing of data.

From my vantage point as an information professional, though, more
individuals posting and connecting to more online data--while a very
good thing--has caused some almost completely to become "stuff
gatherers" rather than truly genealogists or family historians.  Stuff
gatherers do a tremendous amount of surfing, downloading anything that
looks even remotely close for inspection later.  And there's the rub,
as they say.  I don't think we commit to making that "later" time to
evaluate exactly what it is we have gathered.  Do we have an abstract
or an image of the real document?  Are we engaging in a lot of "close
enough" analysis in putting the pieces of our family history together?
Do we really know how to analyze and evaluate the data we find in
books, microtext, serials, and searchable databases?

Interestingly enough, one of the most frequently asked types of
questions numerous genealogical librarians answer is the
where-do-I-go-from-here questions.  After gathering data, it is so
consequential to take a few moments to understand the records we're
using to evidence our ancestors.  That helps us determine what are
next research steps are.  It is vital to understand why our ancestors
were living in a particular geographic area during a specific time
period or engaged in a particular activity.  Establishing and
understanding contexts will lead us to even more record discoveries
and assist us in more fully and completely analyzing those new

Since opening in our new facility in January of this year, the
Genealogy Center has committed to providing librarians who are out
from behind the reference kiosks and on the floor to assist in
answering those where-do-I-go-from-here questions.  We want to meet
you where you're doing your research to ensure that you are not only
gathering great stuff when you visit our facility but that you are
also successful in analyzing that data to determine appropriate future
research steps.  I like to think of it as another important reason to
make Fort Wayne and the Genealogy Center your research destination.

Trace Your Roots with DNA: Using Genetic Tests to Explore Your Family Tree
by Mary D. Kraeszig
"Trace Your Roots with DNA: Using Genetic Tests to Explore Your Family
Tree" (GC 929 SM77TA) by Megan S. Smolenyak and Ann Turner is an easy
to use guide for genealogists interested in adding DNA studies to
their arsenal of family information.  Written primarily for
experienced genealogists without a background in genetics, this book
uses straightforward language and detailed examples to explain the
concepts, practices, and interpretation of genealogical DNA testing.

Part I discusses the fundamentals of both genealogy (for new
researchers) and genetics.  In Part II, the authors explain the
variety of DNA tests of interest to genealogists: Y-chromosome testing
for the straight male line, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) for the straight
female line, autosomal DNA testing to determine your geographic
origins, and finally, next-of-kin relationships such as paternity
testing. It is important for genealogists to understand what these
different types of tests can—and cannot—do to help establish your
"deep" genealogy. The authors wisely provide examples of how DNA
results can be disappointing, e.g., reunions of long-lost family
members who turn out not to be genetically related, or learning that
you are not related to anyone else in your surname project (perhaps
because of an unknown adoption or extramarital liaison in the past).
In Part III, the authors discuss how an individual can establish and
run a family DNA project, from finding prospective cousins to
participate, to interpreting and sharing genetic results. They also
explain that the genetic markers currently being used for testing are
"junk" DNA that is not used by our bodies to encode proteins, so
genealogical genetic testing does not provide information to you (or
perhaps more importantly, to anyone else) about any genetic diseases
or predispositions you may have.

Helpful appendices provide the reader with links to major genealogical
societies, magazines, bookstores, forms, software, and websites. A
list of DNA testing companies and their products are also provided.
Finally, a glossary of terms and complete index are also included to
assist the reader. Smolenyak and Turner predict that within 10-15
years, most genealogists will participate in some form of DNA testing
to support (or sometimes to refute) traditional genealogical research.
Their guide, "Trace Your Roots with DNA:  Using Genetic Tests to
Explore Your Family Tree," should be on the reading list of anyone
interested in participating in a genealogical DNA test as an
individual or as part of a surname or group project.

Veterans Administration Pension Payment Cards, 1907-1933
by Steven W. Myers
This National Archives microfilm publication (M850) reproduces cards
recording pension payments made to Army and Navy veterans and their
widows from 1907 through 1933. Although this set excludes records for
World War I service, it can be useful for uncovering details about
other pensioners during the period and for identifying specific
records that are difficult to locate in the more commonly used
"General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934." Since these pension
payment cards are not yet available in any online database, it is
especially important for researchers to be aware of their availability
on microfilm.

The Bureau of Pensions and later the Veterans Administration
originally maintained the approximately two million cards reproduced
in this microfilm publication. The cards have been filmed in
alphabetical order by the surname of the Army or Navy invalid or
widow, except that those with Indian names have been filmed
alphabetically at the beginning of the respective letter of the
alphabet. The form of the card is almost identical for the four
classes: Army Invalid, Navy Invalid, Army Widow and Navy Widow.

Cards can provide the veteran's name, rank, unit or branch of Service,
certificate number, the disability for which pensioned, the law or
laws under which pensioned, the class of pension or certificate, the
rate of pension, the effective date of pension, the date of the
certificate, any fees paid, the name of the pension agency or group
transferred from (if applicable), the date of death, the date the
Bureau was notified, the widow's name, the former roll number and
place of residence. Sometimes a specific street address is supplied.
The back of the cards include a record of the individual quarterly
pension payments. Beginning in 1923, these payments were made monthly.
On the widow cards, the widow's name replaces the veteran's, and the
veteran's name replaces the information about the disability for which
pensioned. A block is also available on the widow card for recording
payments made to minors, who can be named.

Of course, there is always the possibility of finding additional
unexpected details. Remarks may mention dates that payments were
suspended or discontinued, or provide additional service details such
as "served as a cabin steward for 20 years." In the few instances
where correspondence was attached to a card, that has also been
filmed. This source is worth a look.

Countdown to Conference 2007!
by Elaine M. Kuhn
In these times of rising prices, it's nice to know that national
conferences such as the FGS/ACPL Conference being held in Ft. Wayne on
August 15th-18th are still some of the best deals for your genealogy
dollars. Where else can you see, all in one place, some of the top
experts in the fields of genealogy and local history research? Where
else will you have the opportunity to visit dozens of vendors of
software, books, and related items under one roof? Where else will you
be able to mingle with fellow researchers from all across North
America and beyond? Nowhere else, but at a national genealogy

For the price of a conference registration, you get access to dozens
of fascinating programs on nearly every genealogical topic. For
example, this year's conference will bring presenters such as Gary
Mokotoff, the 2006 recipient of the Rabbi Malcolm H. Stern
Humanitarian Award, who will speak on Jewish genealogy and researching
in Central and Eastern Europe. Also speaking at this year's conference
is Diane VanSkiver Gagel, immediate past president of the Ohio
Genealogical Society and author of two books, who will speak on women
and the law, researching in Ohio, and orphanages and children's homes.
And the list goes on and on!

In addition to having dozens of experts at your fingertips, your
conference registration allows you entrance into another highlight of
an annual conference -- the Exhibit Hall! This year's conference will
draw vendors of all sorts ranging from the producers of
to Brookhaven Press to Fun Stuff for Genealogists. And did you know
that many of the vendors hold drawings for door prizes? The chance to
win free stuff – what a bargain!

Attending national conference luncheons and banquets offers you the
opportunity not only to partake of delicious meals, but also to dine
with fellow genealogists from many different places. You can swap
stories about amusing experiences and challenges you've encountered.
You can also share your excitement about finding an elusive ancestor
with people who will know exactly what that excitement feels like
(have you ever tried to explain that moment to a non-genealogist? It's
just not the same!)

Here's one final incentive for attending the conference – you can save
thirty dollars on your registration costs simply by signing up before
June 1st! Go to the conference website at to
register online, or to print out a registration form for mailing in.
Your purse or wallet will thank you!

Preservation Tip of the Month
by Becky Schipper
The tip this month is a little different than usual.  It is a "Virtual
Exhibition of the Ravages of Dust, Water, Molds, Fungi, Bookworms, and
other Pests." It is from the European Commission on Preservation and
Access.  <> It details what materials can
look like and the damage that can be done when they are not properly
cared for.

Area Calendar of Events
Allen County Genealogical Society of Indiana (ACGSI)
Refreshments at 6:30, meeting at 7:00. Questions: contact Katie Bloom
kathrynabloom [at]
Wednesday, May 9, 2007, Main Library at 900 Library Plaza: Delia
Bourne will present "New Ways to Use Newspapers In Genealogical
Research."  [As this program will involve the use of online databases,
those who typically attend the Computer Users Group Meeting on the
third Wednesday of the month are invited to attend this meeting.  The
Computer Users Group does not meet in May.]

Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) "First Wednesday" program
of lineage assistance is Wednesday, May 2nd from 9A – 7pm.  Expert
help from members of the DAR on becoming a member of that

Driving Directions to the Library
Wondering how to get to the library?  Our location is 900 Library
Plaza, Fort Wayne, Indiana, on the block bordered on the south by
Washington Boulevard, the west by Ewing Street, the north by Webster
Street, and the east by the Library Plaza, formerly Webster Street.
We would enjoy having you visit the Genealogy Department.

To get directions from your exact location to 900 Library Plaza, Fort
Wayne, Indiana, visit this link at MapQuest:

From the South
Exit Interstate 69 at exit 102.  Drive east on Jefferson Boulevard
into downtown. Turn left on Ewing Street. The Library is one block
north, at Ewing Street and Washington Boulevard.

Using US 27:
US 27 turns into Lafayette Street. Drive north into downtown. Turn
left at Washington Boulevard and go five blocks. The Library will be
on the right.

From the North
Exit Interstate 69 at exit 112.  Drive south on Coldwater Road, which
merges into Clinton Street.  Continue south on Clinton to Washington
Boulevard. Turn right on Washington and go three blocks. The Library
will be on the right.

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.  Turn left on
Wayne Street.  The Library will be in the second block on the right.

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.  Library Plaza will be on the right.

Parking at the Library
At the Library, underground parking can be accessed off of Wayne
Street. Other library parking lots are at Washington and Webster, and
Wayne and Webster. Hourly parking is $1 per hour with a  $7 maximum.
ALPC card holders may use their cards validate the parking ticket in
the Great Hall of the Library. Out of county residents may purchase a
subscription card with proof of identification and residence. The
current fee for an Individual Subscription Card is $65.

Public lots are located at the corner of Ewing and Wayne Streets ($1
each for the first two half-hours, $1 per hour after, with a $4 per
day maximum) and the corner of Jefferson Boulevard and Harrison Street
($3 per day).

Street (metered) parking on Ewing and Wayne Streets. 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 garage 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.

Genealogy Center Queries
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.

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

If you do not want to receive this e-zine, please follow the link at
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Curt Witcher, editor pro-tem
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