Genealogy Gems: News from the Fort Wayne Library, No. 46, December 31, 2007
From: Genealogy Gems (
Date: Mon, 31 Dec 2007 18:35:12 -0800 (PST)
Genealogy Gems:  News from the Fort Wayne Library
No. 46, December 31, 2007

In this issue:
*Great Old and New Years!
*Spanish Land Grants in Florida
*The World War I Survey
*Preservation Tip of the Month
*New Learning Opportunities
*March Madness--Genealogical Style
*Librarians on Parade
*Area Calendar of Events
*Driving Directions to the Library
*Parking at the Library
*Queries for the Department

Great Old and New Years!
by Curt B. Witcher
An amazing year is drawing to a close.  Back on January 27th of this
year, a greatly expanded and completely renovated Main Library opened.
 All materials available on open shelves, digital microtext scanners,
a wireless network, an in-house cafe, and lots of room for researchers
are among the many benefits of researching in the new Genealogy

And we're excited about all the attention we have attracted.  The
Indiana Genealogical Society held one of their largest April
conferences at the new Main Library.  A few months later in August,
along with the Grand Wayne Convention Center we hosted the Federation
of Genealogical Societies' national conference.  More than 1500
individuals spent the better part of a week enjoying great programs,
fantastic camaraderie, super collections and facilities--and we're
just getting started!  In this issue "Genealogy Gems" you will learn
of new program offerings debuting in 2008.  Read on--and stay tuned!

When I think about the successes of this past year, I feel compelled
to encourage you to take advantage of the many new *and* old things
that are available to enhance your research efforts.

**The Periodical Source Index (PERSI) has been available as the
subject index to the world of genealogical periodical literature since
1987.  2007 saw the uploading of the two millionth subject entry.  If
you haven't used PERSI in a while, you really need to take another
look.  What you're not finding in books or online may be waiting for
you in the newsletter or quarterly of a genealogical society.
**Two more databases have just been added to the very significant
online resources available to researchers who work in our Genealogy
Center.  They are and  Footnote is
currently offering more than twenty-two million historical images and
growing at a rate of two million images per month.  Their unique and
comfortable interface and complete indexing of such record groups as
the Revolutionary War pension files makes the site a worthwhile stop
for any genealogist.  And through the WorldVitalRecords site
researchers have access to more than 864,541,789 names in nearly five
thousand databases.  While one can simply type in "" or
"" in the browser on any ACPL computer, look for
direct links to these sites from the Genealogy Center webpage.
**The website really took off this year.  It is now the
largest Genealogy Wiki on the Internet with pages for more than one
million people and families.  The database of genealogy sites on the
web is one of the best around for family historians.  A new place
index, complete with maps and historical information in many cases,
will be a terrific resource to look forward to using in 2008.  You can
also look forward to the unveiling of a new digital library component
on this site in the New Year.
**The new Military Heritage component of the GenealogyCenter.Info
webpage is becoming a comfortable place for individuals to have
military data posted and to discover the military's contributions to
our country from its earliest days to present.  Please consider
letting us post digital images of some of your family's military
documents, medals, and honors.

Reflecting on a waning year and musing about one just dawning, I can't
help but spend a few moments thinking about how natural disasters
touched so many lives this year.  From the flooding that accompanied
torrential downpours in the central part of the country to the
horrible fires in California, these events disrupted lives, caused
huge losses of property, and robbed so many of their precious
heirlooms, photograph albums, scrapbooks and other family documents.
A good New Year's resolution would be for each of use to consistently
deploy the LOCKSS method of data security--Lots Of Copies Keeps Stuff
Safe.  Make a few DVDs of your genealogical data and share them with
family members.  Even if those family members say they're not
interested in genealogy, ask them simply to hold a copy for you for
safekeeping.  And if you'd like to share your research with others but
don't really have an interest in officially publishing your work, send
the Genealogy Center a copy.  We'll ensure that it's safe and
available for others to use.  Remember that you can also post amazing
amounts of genealogical data, including uploading GEDCOM files, at

>From all of us in the Genealogy Center, Happy New Year!

Spanish Land Grants in Florida
by Melissa Shimkus
While Florida was under Spanish rule, the Spanish government
established procedures to grant land titles to individuals based on
whether they were laborers, soldiers, or aristocrats. First, an
individual had to petition the governor of the territory for the land.
Then the governor would grant the land to the individual with
conditions. A surveyor would interview witnesses to verify information
and survey the land. Finally, a land title would be awarded once the
governor verified that the individual had satisfied the conditions of
the grant.

On March 30, 1822, a territorial government was created in Florida
under the United States. An agreement was made with Spain which
provided individuals who had received land in Florida from the Spanish
government prior to 1818 the right to file claims to their land. A
Board of Commissioners for West Florida and a Board of Commissioners
for East Florida were established to review the validity of claims and
evidence provided.

The Historical Records Survey Program was created by the WPA (Works
Progress Administration) to record state and county archives. In
Florida, they deciphered and interpreted the archival papers of these
Boards of Commissioners, publishing a five volume set, "Spanish Land
Grants in Florida" (975.9 H62sp). The first volume features
unconfirmed claims, while the other four volumes document confirmed
land claims. The records are listed alphabetically by surname.
Information found in the claims varies for each case but can include a
petition for the land, names of family members, military service
information, a survey or plat of the land, depositions of neighbors
and family, deeds, and character testimony. Many individuals supplied
the documents from their land title petition under the Spanish

The record for Guillermo Craig, who claimed ownership of a section of
land along the St. Johns River, offers a wealth of information.
Guillermo provided details of how he acquired the land and the former
owner signed off on the explanation. Three witnesses testified when he
met the conditions required to receive the land title. The names and
ages of the witnesses are provided. A dispute with James Hall over the
land created another entry.

"Spanish Land Grants in Florida" is an informative resource for
Florida researchers, which documents the locations, dates, names, and
some ages for land owners in Florida when it was transferred from the
Spanish government to the United States.

The World War I Survey: Papers compiled from the United States
Military History Institute Collection at Carlisle Barracks,
by Delia Cothrun Bourne
In the early 1970s, the United States Military History Institute
conducted a survey of surviving American participants in World War I
military activities. The result was more than 5500 questionnaires
consisting of answers to 45 questions, dealing with life in camp, duty
overseas, and other aspects of service. In 1985, University
Publications of America produced 39 rolls of microfilm from this
collection, containing what the editors considered the most complete
and useful of these files. In organizing this material for
microfilming, UPA placed them in sections dealing with boot camp and
camp life, the war in France by division, the Occupation, the
Versailles Peace Commission, and auxiliary units, including but not
limited to troopships, Chaplain Corps, Red Cross, Salvation Army,
YMCA, Mexican border and China Expedition. Many respondents added
reminiscences, letters, photographs, and other documentary souvenirs.
For example, Reel #2 includes 210 pages of letters by Victor W. Jones
of Seattle discussing life at Camp Lewis in Washington. On that same
reel are nine pages of photographs of men in training at Camp Shelby,
Mississippi, and of the Hattiesburg Hospital. An examination of the
reminiscences and activities included in the resulting collection
could fuel a number of sociological studies, but, for genealogists,
the big draw is the hope of finding accounts of an actual family
member, or another whose experiences were similar.

While there is no name index to the set, an online guide is available
which provides a table of contents, an introduction detailing the
scope and history of the survey, and the Reel Index, which lists a few
of the respondents by name, and notes which camp or regiment is the
focus of the specific questionnaires, providing frame numbers as a
reference point.

Even if a researcher cannot locate a particular ancestor, the files
provide a fascinating source for understanding the experiences and
feelings of those involved in the war. Additional material contributed
by the veteran can supply data about the men with whom the respondent
served. Paul E.A. Lehman's detailed questionnaire on Reel #14 contains
copies of his daily itinerary and the embarkation passenger list for
Company D, 6th Motor Supply Train, 6th Division, which includes the
name, serial number, next of kin and address for each man in the
Company. The set is filled with such nuggets of genealogical gold,
just awaiting the persistent researcher interested in World War I

Preservation Tip of the Month
by Becky Schipper
Far more photo albums are being lost through neglect and indifference
than are being saved and preserved successfully. Family albums will
bring to life past events and personalities. Every seemingly
inconsequential activity that was photographed will bring to light
family growth, change and sometimes loss. Old family photo albums are
still around in abundance but may fast become a rarity. Reconsider
their value as a family record that you can share. Photos can be
scanned and placed on DVD or other media formats that would make great

New Learning Opportunities
Now that the Genealogy Center staff has had a chance to settle into
our new digs, we are very excited about some new educational
opportunities for researchers, in addition to March Madness week
(detailed below), and our popular month-long Family History Month
events in October.

We figured it's a long time between March and October, so in the
mornings of the fourth Saturday of each month, March through October,
lectures on some aspect of research will be offered. First up will be
"Using Censuses," given by our newest librarian, Melissa Shimkus on
Saturday March 22nd. Other dates to watch for are April 26th, May
24th, July 26th, August 23rd, and September 27th. Did you notice that
we skipped June and October? That's because we are offering expanded
Friday-Saturday Theme Programs on June 27th & 28th, and October 24th &
25th. Keep reading Genealogy Gems for more information.

The other part of our new programming component consists of offering
programs on using some of our databases to the groups that arrange
their research visit at least two months in advance. Starting in
January, when the representative of a visiting group contacts the
Genealogy Center, s/he will have an opportunity to schedule a program
on Ancestry, HeritageQuestOnline, PERSI, or a combination overview of and New England Ancestors. Call 260-421-1225 or email
Genealogy [at] to schedule your group and program. It should be
one more reason to make The Genealogy Center in Fort Wayne your family
history destination.

March Madness--Genealogical Style
Saturday March 1, 2008: "Beginning Genealogy," Margery Graham,
Instructor, sponsored by the Allen County Genealogical Society of
Indiana, Meeting Room A. 9:30-10:30: "How Do I Get Started?"
10:40-11:40: "Methodology & Organization." Question and answer session
11:40-12N. Tour of the Genealogy Center at 12:15 pm.  Fee $10.
Pre-registration required. Call 260-672-2585 for more information, or
use the form at to register.

Sunday March 2, 2008: "The Five Forts That Make Fort Wayne." Presented
by John Beatty. ACPL Theater, 1-2 PM. John Beatty, bibliographer of
the Genealogy Center and co-author of the recent two-volume History of
Fort Wayne and Allen County, Indiana, will discuss the five forts that
have stood at or near the confluence of the three rivers, from the
early 18th century to 1819.  We will look at images of some of the
people and sites that make up the early history of this region.

Monday March 3, 2008: "Searching" Presented by Melissa
Shimkus. Computer Classroom, 2:30-3:30 PM. Discover the tools to begin
uncovering the secrets to your family's past by searching Improve your searches and find new strategies to
maximize your use of Ancestry. Space is limited. Call 260-421-1225 to

Tuesday March 4, 2008: "Fingerprinting Our Families:  Using Ancestral
Origins as a Genealogical Research Key." Presented by Curt Witcher.
Meeting Room C, 1-2 PM. This lecture explores how the concept of
"America, the Great Melting Pot" may really be a flawed concept for
genealogical researchers, and that identifying the particular ethnic
group of one's ancestor or potential ancestor can pay some significant
research dividends.  Topics covered in this lecture include how to
build an historical context for one's ancestor, studying population
clusters, paying attention to patterns of all sorts (naming,
migration, settlement, etc.), understanding the "push and pull" of
migration (i.e. the reasons behind families or individuals migrating),
and locating repositories for various ethnic groups' records.

Wednesday March 5, 2008: "Using PERSI at"
Presented by Delia Bourne. Computer Classroom, 2:30-3:30 PM. Tips on
using the best resource for genealogy and local history periodical
research. Space is limited. Call 260-421-1225 to register.

Thursday March 6, 2008: "Ask the Librarian." Meeting Room A, 2:30-3:30
PM. Genealogy Center Staff will discuss and answer questions submitted
by customers. To submit a question for inclusion, send to
Genealogy [at] , with March 6, 2008 in the subject line by
February 28, 2008. YOUR question could be chosen for discussion!

Friday March 7, 2008: "Not Just Ancestry: Using the Entire Internet
for Genealogy." Presented by Don Litzer. Meeting Room A, 10-11 AM. The
Internet's potential for family history research is much more than
trolling for names.  Some useful data websites are
obvious, others mundane.  Beyond data, it's often overlooked that the
Internet is still at its most powerful in facilitating
communication—networking with people and places with research
knowledge and access.  This program gives you fish and teaches you how
to fish: it offers a five-step strategy for successful Internet
research, recommends a short list of must-see websites that will give
you a core expertise once mastered, and provides numerous examples of
how the Internet can advance your genealogy project.

Librarians on Parade
Curt Witcher
January 10, 2008 , 8:30A to 4P, Palinet, 3000 Market St.,
Philadelphia, PA, American Library Association Sponsored Program
Genealogy Seminar: "Librarians Serving Genealogists--The Strategies
and the Tools."
Feb. 13, 2008 at 6:30 p.m. at the Allen County Public Library's Main
Library, 900 Library Plaza.
Topic: "All That Other Stuff!: Other Census Records Beyond the
Population Schedules."
Mar. 4, 2008 at 1 p.m. at the Allen County Public Library's Main
Library, 900 Library Plaza, Meeting Room C.  Topic: "Fingerprinting
Our Ancestors: Using Ancestral Origins as a Genealogical Research

John Beatty
Mar. 2, 2008 at 1 p.m. at the Allen County Public Library's Main
Library, 900 Library Plaza, Theater.  Topic: "The Five Forts That Make
Fort Wayne."

Delia Bourne
Mar. 5, 2008 at 2:30 p.m. at the Allen County Public Library's Main
Library, 900 Library Plaza, Computer Classroom.  Topic: "Using PERSI

Don Litzer
Jan. 12, 2008 at 2:00 p.m. at Christ Church, Cranbrook, Bloomfield
Hills, MI.  Topic: "What's in a German Name?"
Mar. 7, 2008 at 10 a.m. at the Allen County Public Library's Main
Library, 900 Library Plaza, Meeting Room A.  Topic: "Not Just
Ancestry: Using the Entire Internet for Genealogy."
Mar. 12, 2008 at 6:30 p.m. at the Allen County Public Library's Main
Library, 900 Library Plaza.
Topic: "What's in a German Place Name?"

Melissa Shimkus
Jan. 9, 2008 at 6:30 p.m. at the Allen County Public Library's Main
Library, 900 Library Plaza.
Topic: "Doing Research at the ACPL Genealogy Center."
Mar. 3, 2008 at 2:30 p.m. at the Allen County Public Library's Main
Library, 900 Library Plaza, Computer Classroom. Topic: "Searching"

Area Calendar of Events
Allen County Genealogical Society of Indiana (ACGSI)

Jan. 9, 2008 at 6:30 p.m. at the Allen County Public Library's Main
Library, 900 Library Plaza.
Genealogy Center librarian Melissa Shimkus will present "Doing
Research at the ACPL Genealogy Center."

Feb. 13, 2008 at 6:30 p.m. at the Allen County Public Library's Main
Library, 900 Library Plaza.
Genealogy Center manager Curt Witcher will present "All That Other
Stuff!: Other Census Records Beyond the Population Schedules."

Mar. 12, 2008 at 6:30 p.m. at the Allen County Public Library's Main
Library, 900 Library Plaza.
Genealogy Center librarian Don Litzer will present "What's in a German
Place Name?"

Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) "First Wednesday" program
of lineage assistance is Wednesday, January 2, 2008, 9 am – 7 pm at
the Allen County Public Library's Main Library, 900 Library Plaza, in
the Genealogy Center.  Expert help from members of the DAR on becoming
a member of that organization.

Allen County-Fort Wayne Historical Society, 302 East Berry, Ft. Wayne, IN

Jan. 6, 2008, 2 p.m., Craig Leonard presents "Wing and Mahurin, Ft.
Wayne's Architectural Pioneers"
Feb. 3, 2008, 2 p.m., Rubin L. Brown presents "In Need of Change:
Early African-American Doctors in Ft. Wayne"
Mar. 2, 2008, p.m., Gen Dornbush and Jacqui Seals present "Quilting:
Art, Politics and Superstitions" (Featuring work by Sisters of the

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

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 Ave. which
dead-ends at West State Blvd.  Make an angled left turn onto West
State Blvd.  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 from 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. ACPL
library card holders may use their cards to validate the parking
ticket at the west end of 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 $70.

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 Genealogy Center 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

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 Genealogy Center, 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:  www.GenealogyCenter.Info. 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.

Curt Witcher, editor pro-tem
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