Genealogy Gems: News from the Fort Wayne Library, No. 49, March 31, 2008
From: Genealogy Gems (
Date: Mon, 31 Mar 2008 18:55:59 -0700 (PDT)
Genealogy Gems:  News from the Fort Wayne Library
No. 49, March 31, 2008

In this issue:
*An Amazing Collection of Collections
*Holland Land Company Papers
*Scottish Roots
*Preservation Tip of the Month
*Tree Talks--A Family History Lecture Series
*Military Symposium
*Librarians On Parade
*Area Calendar of Events
*Driving Directions to the Library
*Parking at the Library
*Queries for the Department

An Amazing Collection of Collections
by Curt B. Witcher
At first it might sound just a bit silly for me to say that I am
continually amazed at what outstanding resources are available for
genealogists and family historians here in the Genealogy Center.  Now
I can just hear the some folks immediately quipping back, "Well, of
course--you work there!"  Stepping back, though, and setting aside my
personal and professional interests in the Center, the several hundred
thousand volumes and the more one half million microtext items bring
so much family and local history from across the continent and beyond
right to the fingertips researchers here in Fort Wayne that I can't
help but be amazed.  And seeing many hundreds of new titles added
month after month adds to that amazement.

The collection of online databases offered in the Genealogy Center is
equally amazing. is the world's largest genealogical
database.  And it grows by many millions of new records and images
each week!  Many have called it a genealogist's playground as it is
such a great place to search for family names across many databases. features the "Periodical Source Index" (the
largest subject index to genealogical periodical literature in the
world compiled right here in Fort Wayne by our Genealogy Center) and
the "U.S. Serial Set" (an index to hundreds of federal government
documents that include names of veterans, pensioners, individuals
involved in commerce and banking, and memorials and tributes just to
mention some of the records containing individual names) in addition
to its other substantial offerings. is a relatively new
site of history databases that already has millions of record images
and a fantastic indexing scheme to provide remarkable access to
keystone record groups. The user experience on that site is quite
different from other sites in the field--something a researcher should
definitely want to explore.  America's GenealogyBank and ProQuest
Obituaries are great sites for finding both historical and
contemporary obituaries with America's GenealogyBank also having many
thousands of digitized brief historical works and yet another version
of the Social Security Death Index. provides
great assistance to one researching in New England states with its
thousands of databases.  One of our newest offerings is  Now being branded as Family Link, their
growing collection of searchable databases includes more one billion
names in over seven thousand data files.  All together, this is truly
an amazing collection of databases!

The collection of programs being offered by both the Genealogy Center
and the Allen County Genealogical Society easily fits under the banner
of amazing.  Our local genealogical society provides an excellent
program on some aspect of family history research the second Wednesday
of each month, September through May.  We always list the next couple
of society programs, which are held at the new main library, in this
newsletter under "Area Calendar of Events."  The Genealogy Center now
offers a series of programs called "Tree Talks" on the fourth Saturday
of each month from March through October.  The next three programs are
listed further on in this newsletter.  In addition to the "Tree Talks"
series, our Military Symposium is scheduled for September 26 & 27,
2008 (it's not too early to sign up--details below!) and we are
putting the finishing touches on a forthcoming series of
skill-building mini-courses.  Amazing--simply amazing!

A rich complement to all of the abovementioned collections of the
Genealogy Center, researchers also will find one of the most
experienced "collections" of family history experts in a genealogical
research facility anywhere in the country.  Our "collection" of
talented librarians can help one begin the research process, get
started in a particular era or geographic area, get more comfortable
using online resources, get through, over, and around a brick-wall or
two, and much more.  It's worth your time to engage them if you're not
finding what you need or if you're in any way uncertain about how to
access information in the center.  You may be amazed at the assistance
they can provide.

So I trust you will understand that I had to smile when a colleague
sent me a link to a KNXV Phoenix, Arizona television broadcast where,
in a story about genealogy, the newscaster stated the top three places
in the country to engage in genealogical research are the Library of
Congress, the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, and our own
Genealogy Center in Fort Wayne. That's pretty amazing company!  And,
as always, I extend an invitation to you to come to the Genealogy
Center and be amazed yourself!

Holland Land Company Papers
by John D. Beatty
The Holland Land Company was a stock corporation organized by six
Dutch banking houses for the purpose of speculating in lands located
in western New York State and western Pennsylvania. After the land
became available by treaty in 1797, the company purchased 3.3 million
acres west of the Genesee River, which it subsequently had surveyed
into townships and ranges, and further into specific lots or parcels
of 360 acres. The company appointed land agents, and the land became
open for settlement in 1800. Settlers streamed into the area and
purchased individual lots at a land office at Batavia. To encourage
purchases and to compete with other land companies, the company
allowed settlers to buy land on credit by signing articles of
agreement, usually requiring a small down payment and outlining the
purchase terms, usually completed within eight to ten years.
Typically, the company did not issue deeds until the purchase was
final, though the company faced pressure to issue deeds for parts of
parcels, because settlers demanded the right to vote, which required
that they own property.

The records of the Holland Land Company, available on 41 microfilm
rolls, are a useful tool for researching settlers in the counties of
Allegany, Wyoming, Genesee, Orleans, Cattaraugus, Erie, Niagara, and
Chautauqua in western New York from the period of about 1804 to 1840.
The archives consist of maps, surveys, meeting minutes, journals,
correspondence, account books, reports, and lists or "land tables,"
containing the names of purchasers. The set is complex and difficult
to use, however, and since it contains no comprehensive index, it is
challenging even for experienced genealogists. Still, the material is
of primary source value and may be worth the effort to retrieve it.

A good place to begin is with Karen Livsey's two-volume "Western New
York Land Transactions," which covers the years from 1804 to 1824 and
1825 to 1835 (974.7 L763w). These volumes index thousands of names
appearing in the land tables, but they do not purport to index the
entire set of records. Livsey gives the name of the purchaser, the
date of purchase, the land coordinates, the type of document (which is
letter coded), and the inventory number and page. The inventory number
is translated into a microfilm roll number through a key in the
introduction. These volumes are also searchable online at

Another useful companion to the series is the "Inventory of the
Archives of the Holland Land Company," compiled by Wilhelmina C.
Pieterse for the Municipal Archives of Amsterdam (016.3333 P61i,
microtext guide section). This work provides an item by item inventory
of the records, though the references are not directly keyed to the
film. The inventory is indexed, but it does not list specific

Scottish Roots
by Steven W. Myers
Researchers with any hint of Scottish heritage in their background
will find it useful to become familiar with the plethora of
genealogical reference books produced by the indefatigable David
Dobson. Over the last 25 years, he has combed unusual printed sources,
newspaper archives and manuscript collections looking for records that
provide linkages between the Scottish diaspora and individual Scottish
emigrants and specific places in Scotland.

Conducting an author search for David Dobson in the online catalog of
Genealogy Center print publications yields 71 items that represent the
fruits of these labors thus far. The wide range of titles reflects the
scope of his efforts, from his "Directory of Scots Banished to the
American Plantations, 1650-1775" to "The French and Indian War from
Scottish Sources." Most of his work focuses on the late 16th to early
19th centuries, supplying the names of specific individuals with
links, not just to Colonial America, but to Canada, the West Indies,
Latin America, Scandinavia, Poland, Russia, the Baltic States and
Australasia, among others. Some volumes focus on links with specific
places in America, such as "Scots on the Chesapeake, 1607-1830."
Others feature linkages with specific areas in Scotland, such as his
multi-volume "Scottish Highlanders on the Eve of the Great Migration,
1725-1775," each volume covering a different county. Dobson also pays
significant attention to his Irish cousins with his two series
"Scots-Irish Links, 1575-1725" and "Irish Emigrants in North America,"
each in six parts. Many, but not all, of these volumes are also
searchable online at

For those not lucky enough to find their ancestor on a passenger list,
Dobson has also compiled several volumes listing voyages of specific
ships to America. These could supply a valuable clue in researching
family origins and include "Transatlantic Voyages, 1600-1699," "Ships
from Scotland to America, 1628-1828" (3 vols.), "Ships from Scotland
to North America, 1830-1860," and "Ships from Ireland to Early
America, 1623-1850." In addition, Dobson recently produced an
important research guide titled "Searching for Scotch-Irish Roots in
Scottish Records, 1600-1750." This valuable tool identifies source
material in Scottish archives that could help genealogists of
Scotch-Irish descent locate their family's place of origin in
Scotland. Researchers would benefit from examining Dobson's many
existing volumes, as well as keeping an eye out for his regular
additions to our online catalog (available at

Preservation Tip of the Month
By Becky Schipper
The polystyrene cases in which CD-ROMs & DVDs are sold are acceptable
for long-term storage. Jackets made of paper (unless it is acid-free,
archival paper), cardboard, PVC, and plasticized polymers are not
recommended. Adhesive labels can cause long-term problems and affect
the balance of the disk during reading. If you're planning on writing
directly on the disk with a felt tip pen and expect to save that disk
for a long time, consult the pen manufacturer to see if there are any
potential problems with the ink interacting with the surface of the
disk. In the event of degradation or if the media begins to become
obsolete, the data should be transferred to new media. While there is
some debate about how often this transfer really needs to be done, to
be safe one should refresh one's storage media every thirty-six to
sixty months.

Tree Talks--A Family History Lecture Series
by Delia Bourne and Melissa Shimkus
Continuing our fourth Saturday educational opportunities for
researchers is John Beatty presenting "Indiana Church Records" on
Saturday, April 26, 2008, 10:00 a.m., in Meeting Room A at the Allen
County Public Library's Main Branch. John is a Genealogy Center

Church records are a significant and little-used resource for
genealogical research. John will discuss the different types of
records that churches produce, including parish registers, minutes of
meetings, and directories. He will illustrate the types of records
that exist for various denominations, and through them, provide
descriptions of the information these records contain. He will also
offer some strategies for locating these records.

Mark your calendars now for the next two Tree Talks lectures which
will be "Networking Genealogically on the Internet" presented by Don
Litzer on Saturday, May 24, 2008, 10:00 a.m., in Meeting Room A, and
" Genealogy" presented by Sara Patalita on Saturday, June
28, 2008, 10:00 a.m., also in Meeting Room A.  ( is a
social bookmarks manager--using "bookmarklets," you can add and
categorize bookmarks in a new way.)

Military Symposium
by Delia Bourne and Melissa Shimkus
A couple of times each year, the Genealogy Center will present a
two-day symposium on selected aspects of historical and genealogical
research.  The first of these, a "Military Symposium" presented by
Marie Varrelman Melchiori, CG, CGL, is planned for Friday and
Saturday, September 26 & 27, 2008.

Ms. Melchiori is an excellent researcher and acclaimed lecturer with a
long tenure of service to the genealogical research community.  She
will begin the symposium with a presentation entitled "Using Records
at the National Archives: A Researcher's View," on September 26 at
3pm.  This will be followed by research time in the Genealogy Center,
where registered attendees may stay researching until the 6:30 p.m.
dinner. Friday evening, after dinner at the library, Curt Witcher will
speak on the Genealogy Center's "Military Heritage" website.

Saturday morning, the symposium will continue with Ms. Melchiori
presenting "If Grandpa Wore Blue: Union Records in the National
Archives" and "If Grandpa Wore Gray: Confederate Records in the
National Archives." The two morning sessions will end at noon,
allowing plenty of research time and an opportunity for individual
consultations in the afternoon. Space is limited so one should
register early.

Registration (including Friday evening dinner) is $50 payable to the
Allen County Public Library.  Information as well as a registration
form can be found on our website at:
<> Or you can
simply send a check for $50 with your name, postal address and email
address to:  Military Symposium 2008, Allen County Public Library
Genealogy Center, P.O. Box 2270, Fort Wayne, IN 46801-2270.  If you
have any questions, please feel free to contact us at 260-421-1225 or
Genealogy [at] ACPL.Info

Librarians on Parade
Curt Witcher
Apr. 4, 2008, Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library, 200 SE Martin
Luther King, Jr. Blvd., Evansville, IN.  Indiana Genealogical
Society's Society Management Seminar
Apr. 5, 2008, Indiana Genealogical Society Annual Conference, The
Centre, 715 Locust Street, Evansville, IN.  Topic:  "Time for Reaping:
Finding & Using Our Ancestors' Death Event Records"
Apr. 12, 2008, Burlington Public Library, 210 Court Street,
Burlington, IA.  All day seminar: "Using Military Records for
Genealogical Research," "Passenger & Immigration Research," "Using
Periodical Literature in Genealogical Research," and "Effective Use of
the Allen County Public Library"
Apr. 18 & 19, 2008, Ohio Genealogical Society Conference, Sheraton
Cincinnati North, 11320 Chester Road, Cincinnati, OH.  Topics:
"Finding the World with WorldCat" and "A New Era of Collections and
Services at Fort Wayne's Genealogy Center"
Apr. 21, 2008 at 7 p.m., Steuben County Genealogical Society, Carnegie
Public Library, 322 S. Wayne Street, Angola, IN.  Topic: "Using
Military Records for Genealogical Research"
Apr. 23, 2008 at 10 a.m., INDIGO (Indiana Gov. Docs. Mtg.), Meeting
Room "B," Allen County Public Library, 900 Library Plaza, Fort Wayne,
IN.  Topic: "Using Government Documents for Genealogical Research"
Apr. 30, 2008, Utah Library Association Annual Conference, Hilton-Salt
Lake City Center.  Topics: "More Toys and a Bigger Sandbox: Future
Trends in Digital Libraries" and "Something for Everyone: Genealogical
Reference Services in the 21st Century"
May 27, 2008 at 6:30 p.m., Bluffton-Wells County Public Library, 200
W. Washington St., Bluffton, IN.  Topic: "Historical Research
May 28, 2008 at 7 p.m., Theater, Allen County Public Library, 900
Library Plaza, Fort Wayne, IN.  Topic: Capturing & Preserving Family

John Beatty
Apr. 26, 2008 at 10 a.m. at the Allen County Public Library's Main
Library, 900 Library Plaza, Meeting Room A.  Topic: "Indiana Church

Don Litzer
April 12, 2008, Wisconsin State Genealogical Society Gene-A-Rama, The
Plaza Conference Centre, 1202 W. Clairemont Avenue, Eau Claire, WI.
Topics: "Gem at the Crossroads of America: The Genealogy Center at
Allen County Public Library" and "The Mysteries of PERSI: The
Periodical Source Index"
May 12, 2008, DeKalb County Genealogical Society, Willenar Genealogy
Center, 603 S. Jackson St., Auburn, IN. Topic: "What's in a German
Place Name?"
May 24, 2008, Allen County Public Library, Tree Talks Series.  Topic:
"Networking Genealogically on the Internet"

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

Apr. 9, 2008 at 6:30 p.m. at the Allen County Public Library's Main
Library, 900 Library Plaza.  ACGSI members Adam Barrone, Sue Downey,
and Phil Husband will present "Software Available for Doing

May 14, 2008 at 6:30 p.m. at the Allen County Public Library's Main
Library, 900 Library Plaza.  ACGSI member Marge Graham will present
"How to Retrieve Information from Other Sites."

June 18, 2008, Annual Meeting and Dinner, place and time to be determined.

Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) "First Wednesday" program
of lineage assistance is Wednesday, April 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

Apr. 6, 2008, 2 p.m., Terry Lacy presents "The Artist as Historian:
Painting the Wabash & Erie Canal"

May 4, 2008, 2 p.m., Donn Werling presents "Down on the Farm"
(Following the lecture, History Center members will be invited to
visit the historic Werling farm which dates back to 1856.)

June 1, 2008, 2 p.m., Jim Sack presents "A Most German Town: How
Germans Came to Dominate Fort Wayne"

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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