Genealogy Gems: News from the Fort Wayne Library, No. 68, October 31, 2009
From: Genealogy Gems (
Date: Sat, 31 Oct 2009 18:32:46 -0700 (PDT)
Genealogy Gems:  News from the Fort Wayne Library
No. 68, October 31, 2009

In this issue:
*Telling Our Stories, Treasuring Our Lives
*Fraternal Herald-Bratrsky Vestnik Death Index – Not Just for Czechs!
*Technology Tip of the Month--Photo Restoration with Adobe Photoshop,
Version 9.02: The Nitty Gritty I
*Preservation Tip of the Month--Recovering from Disaster Related Water Damage
*Get Going with WinterTech
*Area Calendar of Events
*Driving Directions to the Library
*Parking at the Library
*Queries for the Department

Telling Our Stories, Treasuring Our Lives
by Curt B. Witcher
Moments ago, the first International Black Genealogy Summit
successfully concluded in Fort Wayne.  More than four hundred and
fifty attendees from nearly half the states in the union came for
three days of research, learning, and networking.  The Genealogy
Center’s extended research hours were a big hit as was our new African
American Gateway <www.GenealogyCenter.Info/africanamerican/>,
providing attendees with increased opportunities to use the vast
resources available for African American research.  Throughout the
conference, it was clear just how important it is for genealogists to
continually put their research in an ethnic context, whether African
American, German, Irish, English or one of many others now part of the
fabric of America.  Too often, genealogists miss important record
groups and key sources of information by not keeping an ethnic context
in mind.

The keynote speaker at the banquet this past Friday evening was a
remarkable researcher, author, and lecturer, Dorothy Redford.  She
challenged us to “show up for your own history.”  In articulating the
importance of genealogical research endeavors, she asked “if we don’t
write our history, who will?”  And if we relegate our own history to
someone else’s pen, how do we know it will be accurate?  Truly, we can
value and treasure our lives by telling our stories--by recording our
own histories.  And this treasure is *the* gift we can give to our
children’s children.

Next month, on November 27th, you are invited to participate in the
National Day of Listening.  On this day StoryCorps encourages all
Americans to set aside one hour to record a conversation with a
grandparent, neighbor, friend, aunt, or military veteran.  Let’s use
this day to actually do something tangible, something right now,
something lasting, so generations from now our stories will be read
and our lives treasured.

by Melissa Shimkus
Placing ancestors in historical context gives researchers a greater
understanding of the lives of their forebears and also can provide
clues for locating pertinent records. The lives of previous
generations may have been touched and shaped by war, disease, natural
disaster or other events.

For example, populations living along the Eastern seaboard and the
Gulf Coast have been affected by hurricanes for centuries. Today,
hurricanes and tropical storms are given names, such as Andrew and
Hugo, and closely tracked. But many unnamed storms, such as the 1900
Galveston hurricane, the 1915 New Orleans hurricane and the 1921
Florida hurricane, struck without warning and caused devastation that
changed the lives of those who experienced them. The Genealogy Center
owns several titles that detail the histories of hurricanes and
document their effects on specific areas and individuals.

“Galveston in Nineteen Hundred” (976.402 G13O) was published to pay
for schools recuperating from the devastation of the Galveston
hurricane. The book describes Galveston, Texas, prior to, during and
following the storm, and explains how the hurricane forever altered
the landscape of the island and its community. Individual Galveston
residents are mentioned throughout the book, such as Clay Stone Briggs
who participated in relief work and Mrs. J. Greve and her daughter,
Louise, who were among the dead.

Another title, “1938 Hurricane as We Remember It” (974.701 SU2QU), was
written as a memorial to the storm that ravaged the towns of
Westhampton Beach and Quogue, New York. It includes personal stories
of individuals who survived the hurricane, such as Norman Hubbard who
was a volunteer in the search for the missing.

Researchers can learn about the Gulf Coast region’s historic battles
with storms by reading accounts based on newspaper reports and
published interviews, such as “The Cedar Keys Hurricane of 1896”
(975.902 C32OI) and “Hurricane Audrey” (976.301 C14R). Other titles in
the collection, such as “Hurricane Destruction in South Carolina”
(975.7 R824HU) and “North Carolina’s Hurricane History” (975.6 B262N),
detail some of the storms that ravaged the Carolina coastlines from
1667 to 1989 and 1524 to 1996, respectively.

Since the first settlers arrived in America, hurricanes have
influenced the lives of those living along the coastlines.
Understanding how such natural disasters or other historic events
impacted individuals may provide researchers with additional research
clues, as well as a deeper understanding of their ancestors.

Fraternal Herald-Bratrsky Vestnik Death Index – Not Just for Czechs!
by Delia Cothrun Bourne
Mutual aid societies, also known as benefit societies, have been
around for centuries and were the precursors of the insurance industry
of today. Often based on a shared occupation, religion, geographic
location of origin or ethnic background, these societies provided
educational benefits and aided members in time of illness, economic
crisis or death. By making regular contributions, members ensured aid
and protection for themselves and their families in time of need.

The Zapadni Ceska Bratrsky Jednota (Western Bohemian Fraternal
Association) was one of the many mutual aid societies that sprang up
throughout the United States in the 19th and 20th centuries. Organized
in 1897, it originally accepted only men of Czech ancestry as members,
but quickly changed to accept women, and later removed any ethnic
requirement, becoming the Western Fraternal Life Association in 1957.
Its monthly publication, “Bratrsky Vestnik,” initially was published
in Czech, then in a mixture of Czech and English starting in the
1940s, and eventually all in English.

Each issue included a “Payment of Mortuary Claims” list enumerating
each death benefit paid. The association kept a card index of these
payments and the few obituaries that were published. This index was
microfilmed by the Eastern Nebraska Genealogical Society in the early

Each card on the microfilm notes the name of the deceased, date and
place of death, lodge number and the year he or she had become a
member. Some cards include additional information, such as occupation,
age or cause of death. For example, Mary R. Juarez, who joined in
1981, died September 28, 1983, in Cushing, Oklahoma, at age 46. Frank
Jesina, a 65-year old salesman and member since 1921, died of heart
failure May 5, 1936, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. A death claim was paid for
him in June 1936. The microfilm also includes a list of the lodges by
number, providing each lodge’s name, location, date organized and
status in 1991 (active, disbanded or merged). Also provided are lists
of the lodges arranged by state. The heaviest concentrations of lodges
were in Nebraska (36), Wisconsin (35) and Minnesota (22), but there
were five lodges in California, and even one in Fairhope, Alabama,
that was still active in 1991.

The Genealogy Center owns this set of seven microfilms (cabinet
66-B-7), as well as a printed copy of the explanatory material and
lodge lists titled “Name Index, July 1897-July 1991, Fraternal Herald
Bratrsky Vestnik” (973.004 N15). Although this is a wonderful source
for Czech relatives scattered across the continent, remember that all
comers were accepted in later years.

Technology Tip of the Month--Photo Restoration with Adobe Photoshop,
Version 9.02: The Nitty Gritty I
by Kay Spears
The next few articles will cover some basic tools used in photo
restoration: contrast/brightness, hue/saturation, feathering, layers
and cloning. These tools should be in all photoshop applications, not
just Adobe Photoshop. The procedures for using them may vary in each
program, but the function of the tools will be the same.

To begin, remember that what you see on the computer screen can be
deceiving. There are a number of things working against your eyes –
the light coming in the window, the calibration of the computer, and
the type of computer used. The same image will appear darker in
Windows, lighter on a MacIntosh. Sometimes what you print will not be
the same as what you see on your screen, especially if you are trying
to restore color photographs. Just remember that each computer is
different. And be patient.

When I’m restoring photos in Adobe Photoshop, I always have the
Toolbox and Layer palette dialog box open on my work area. The Toolbox
has all the mouse/cursor tools on it: zoom, movement, clone, erase,
select, crop, etc. The Layer palette dialog box allows you to view and
work with different layers. Working with layers is a bit more
complicated, but we will do a quick walk-through later.

First, evaluate each photo, deciding what needs to be done. Beginners
should start with the simplest fix and work up through the more
complex problems. For me, the easiest problem to fix is the faded
photograph. Save the scratches, watermarks and cracks until later. To
handle fading, Adobe Photoshop provides some Auto correction features:
Auto Level and Auto Contrast, located under Image>Adjustments. Just
click on them and voila, the image is no longer faded. The limitation
with using the Auto tools is that you don’t have any control over the
amount of fade correction, so learn to use the Brightness/Contrast
tool also located under Image>Adjustments. When the
Brightness/Contrast tool dialog box is open, make sure you check the
preview check box; in fact, make a habit of always checking the
preview box for any dialog box that you may use. This allows you to
watch the changes as you progress. When adjusting the
Brightness/Contrast dialog box, use either the slide bars or type in
the numbers. For beginners, play with the slide bars until you are
used to them, then click OK. To go beyond the basics, there are also
Curves, Shadow/Highlight and Exposure tools.

At this point, I recommend you print the corrected image. If you like
the way the photograph looks when printed, save it. Remember, you do
not want to overwrite the original image, so use “save as” to save the
corrected image in a different file. When I restore an image, I always
work from a copy and not the original. You may also want to invest in
some gloss or matte finish photographic paper, which can be purchased
at Office Depot, Staples or most any craft store. I recommend the
finished photograph be printed on a laser printer. Even though the
color of a desk jet printer is more vibrant, the laser printer ink is
permanent and does not run or spot if any moisture gets on it.

Next article in the Nitty Gritty: Cloning

Preservation Tip of the Month-- Recovering from Disaster Related Water Damage
by Becky Schipper
Most natural or man-made disasters, such as floods or fire, involve
water in some manner.  Even a small leak from a roof or a water pipe
can cause serious damage to a paper based collection. When such a
disaster occurs, contact a regional agency, paper conservator, or a
cultural institution for assistance if you don’t know how to properly
dry wet materials.  Immediate response within the first forty-eight
(48) hours is crucial to the successful recovery of materials and to
prevent mold growth.  [Source: American Institute for Conservation]

The Indiana State Library <> and the Indiana
Historical Society <> are good resources for
conservation and advice.

Get Going with WinterTech
Get your research off to a hot start this winter by attending our
WinterTech lectures, at 2:30 PM on the second Wednesday of each month
from November through February. Scheduled to coincide with the Allen
County Genealogy Society of Indiana's monthly meetings at 7 PM on the
same days, the courses will spotlight the various ways technology can
enhance your family history quest. On November 11 at 2:30 p.m. in
Meeting Room C, Delia Cothrun Bourne will discuss "Newspaper Searching
with Ancestry's Historical Newspapers and Newspaper Archive." Local
newspapers often included all kinds of local events, such as births,
marriages, deaths, court cases, tax lists, and social activities. Come
learn about two of the online resources that the Genealogy Center
offers for searching newspapers throughout the United States. Future
WinterTech classes will feature Melissa Shimkus on "Reading Genealogy
Blogs" in December, Cynthia Theusch discussing "Genealogy Software To
Record Your Family History" in January, and the "Basics of Scanning
Photographs" with Kay Spears in February. Call 260-421-1225 to
register, or send us an email at Genealogy [at] ACPL.Info .

Area Calendar of Events
Allen County Genealogical Society of Indiana (ACGSI)
November 11, 2009, 6:30 p.m. social time; 7 p.m. program.  Allen
County Public Library, 900 Library Plaza, Meeting Room A.  Bill Crane
will present “Civil War: First Flag on the Summit.”

Allen County-Fort Wayne Historical Society, 302 East Berry, Ft. Wayne, IN
November 1, 2009, 2:00 p.m. - Will Clark and George Morrison will
present “The Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Plaza."

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
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the subject line.

Steve Myers & Curt Witcher, co-editors
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