Genealogy Gems: News from the Fort Wayne Library, No. 77, July 31, 2010
From: Genealogy Gems (
Date: Sat, 31 Jul 2010 19:01:55 -0700 (PDT)
Genealogy Gems:  News from the Fort Wayne Library
No. 77, July 31, 2010

In this issue:
*Take a Look Around . . .
*Researching Mine Deaths
*Free Negro Tax Books
*Technology Tip of the Month--Further Adventures with Adobe Photoshop:
The Photomerge Tool
*Preservation Tip of the Month--More “Care” of Photographs
*Genealogy @ Night
*Genealogy Center Mini-Course: Beyond Basics
*Coming Soon: Family History Month 2010
*Help Us Keep and Tell the Stories
*Librarians on Parade
*Area Calendar of Events
*Driving Directions to the Library
*Parking at the Library
*Queries for the Department

Take a Look Around. . .
by Curt B. Witcher
Many times in our research, we get so focused on a particular ancestor
and a specific fact we are trying to discover that we lose context and
unnecessarily narrow our resource pool.  We should remind ourselves
that looking around on a census record for neighbors of an ancestor
might provide us with valuable context and help us engage in nearby
research, that looking at all the early landowners for a particular
area might help us determine a town or village of origin in the old
country, and that paying attention to members of specific churches in
a geographic area might also provide clues to ancestral origins.

When using online resources, even for the one hundredth time, it can
be quite useful to “look around” a bit.  You may have already
conducted all your online census searching and have concluded that
you’ve found everything there is to find.  But, did you know that
Ancestry, FamilySearch and others continue to enhance both census
images and indexing?  There are many similar sites where the posture
of “been there, done that!” may leave you missing some key
information.  The GenealogyCenter.Info website recently added many
thousands of images and records to searchable data files and to the
“Our Military Heritage” portion of the site.  The FamilySearch Wiki
and Record Search continue to grow.  Even our favorite state or county
website is likely adding new content continuously.  The Indiana
Genealogical Society, as an example, added more than one hundred
searchable files to its website in the last year.  There is much to
discover and use, if we take a moment or two to look around.

Looking around can also help us look forward.  And I really urge you
to look forward to October of this year and Family History Month 2010.
 We have planned an extra special Family History Month this year.  As
we have done the past several years, there will be a family history
activity of some kind taking place every day of the month.  This year,
as you will read later in this ezine, we have developed general themes
for the weeks. In addition, we are offering several very special

First, our third annual Military Symposium will take place October 8th
and 9th.  Since 2011 begins five years of commemorative activities
marking the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, we have engaged the
services of Amy Johnson Crow, CG to present a general talk that Friday
about military burials and four talks on Saturday on Civil War
research.  This symposium will definitely be packed with useful
information--researching your Civil War soldier online, using state
and local records for Civil War research, and taking a look at Civil
War veterans post-war and their fraternal organizations.

Second, we are presenting a really fine set of programs at the very
end of the month.  We have created a “banner” for this neat set of
programs called “Start Sharing the News--A Celebration of
Collaboration.”  The events start Friday evening, October 29th, with a
dinner event at the historic Baker Street Train Station in downtown
Fort Wayne.  I will be presenting a program after dinner on “How the
Genealogy Center became a National Tourist Attraction.”  All day on
Saturday, October 30th, there are a number of programs focusing on how
to collaborate in the family history field and how information can be
posted on the web for wider access and enhanced sharing.  Sunday
morning, October 31st, we will feature a tour of the historic
Lindenwood Cemetery.

Finally, each Tuesday afternoon in October, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., we
will offer one-on-one research consultations.  This is the perfect
opportunity to get some professional assistance with a challenging
research problem or genealogical brickwall you have encountered.  So
many times it helps to let a fresh set of eyes look at a research
problem with which we are struggling.

In sixty-one days, Family History Month 2010 will start.  Support your
Genealogy Center and your continuing genealogical education by taking
part in a number of activities that month.  To do that, you should
really start planning today.

Researching Mine Deaths
by Delia Cothrun Bourne
Historically, mining is one of the most dangerous occupations in the
United States. From the coal mines of West Virginia to the zinc mines
of Oklahoma, fatal accidents claimed the lives of both native-born
Americans and immigrants. The Genealogy Center holds a number of
sources that describe these calamities and list their victims. The
information has been culled from a variety of sources, including the
reports of mine inspectors, church records and funeral home ledgers.
Following are just a few examples.

Arranged chronologically, with a name index of victims, “Fatalities in
West Virginia Coal Mines, 1883-1925,” compiled by Helen S. Stinson,
(975.4 ST5F), includes the date and cause of accident, the name of the
mine, and the names of the victims and their dates of death. Entries
also may note each victim’s nationality, length of experience, age,
marital status, number of dependents, and the amount of insurance
carried. Most of these casualties were African-American, but the list
also includes Hungarians, Italians, and others. For example, 49 year
old W. McGinnis, a Scottish immigrant with 17 years of experience, was
injured and died in the Pocahontas Mine in Wood County. McGinnis left
a widow and nine children. An online index is being compiled at, but is incomplete at

An unusual book is “Chesterfield County, Virginia Uncovered: The
Records of Death and Slave Insurance Records for the Coal Mining
Industry, 1810-1895,” by Nancy C. Frantel (975.501 C42FR). This volume
includes lists of slaves leased to mines by their owners. While many
slave lists include only the owner’s name, this insurance list gives
slave names and includes age, gender and the identity of the policy
applicant (the slave owner). Appendices include an 1837 list of slaves
by owner, and an inventory of slaves sold at an estate sale in the

“From Hell to Heaven: Death-Related Mining Accidents in North Idaho,”
by Gene Hyde (979.6 H993FR) provides historical context in the form of
reproductions of safety posters and a glossary of mining terms, along
with the expected accounts of mine accidents and deaths.

Men from all over the world and across the United States worked and
sometimes died in mines in pursuit of the earth’s riches. Information
about mine accidents and victims may be found in books in The
Genealogy Center collection, in government documents, or in
unpublished source material – treasure for the diligent researcher to

Free Negro Tax Books
by Melissa Shimkus
As early as 1756, the South Carolina General Assembly established a
capitation tax, or head tax, on free blacks. In 1804, the state
legislature finally fixed the taxable age for these individuals at
between fifteen and fifty years. The amount charged varied through the
years, but was set at two dollars for most years from 1795 through
1857. It rose to three dollars in 1860 and ended at ten dollars in

“The South Carolina State Free Negro Capitation Tax Books” collection
contains twenty-nine volumes listing free blacks who lived in
Charleston, South Carolina in 1811, 1821-23, 1826-27, 1832-46,
1848-52, 1855, 1857 and 1860. The books are organized by year, then
the first letter of the surname, and are available on two microfilm
rolls in The Genealogy Center.

These volumes were created to monitor those who had paid and those who
were delinquent on their capitation taxes. For genealogists, the
entries verify that an individual was living in Charleston in a
specific year and may allow calculation of an approximate birth year.
They also provide other valuable details, such as an individual’s
state of health and occupation, as well as notations of deaths or
migration from the area. For example, Elizabeth Bland Proren was
infirm in 1848 and Daniel Johnson was disabled in 1850. In 1823, Sarah
Seymour was noted as dead, leading the researcher to look for
corroborating records. Richard Savage’s occupation in 1823 was given
as carpenter. People moving out of the area were documented, such as
Marcus Simone in 1823 and William Eden in 1850, both of whom were
recorded as living in Georgetown. When individuals reached fifty-one,
surpassing the maximum age for the tax, they were noted as “overage.”
This was the case for Tom Strobel in 1823 and Mary Davis in 1850.

“The South Carolina State Free Negro Capitation Tax Books” are a
wonderful source for discovering previously unknown details about free
African American ancestors in Charleston, South Carolina.

Technology Tip of the Month--Further Adventures with Adobe Photoshop:
The Photomerge Tool
by Kay Spears
Many people have inherited one or two long photographs that are rolled
up. These panoramic photographs could be a cityscape, landscape,
school class, military unit, or reunion group. Over the years these
photographs have probably become brittle and if you try to unroll
them, they will start to crack. So, what can be done to unroll such a
picture safely and then scan it on a scanner that is too small?

First, start what could be a very long process of relaxing the photo.
Methods involving chemicals, water, or steam could be used, but all
add moisture to a photograph that is already degrading. I recommend
that you DO NOT use any method that is going to add moisture to an old
photograph. What I do recommend is this. Cover the photograph with
some acid free paper to prevent any scratching, and then gradually add
small weights to flatten it, starting at the center, and eventually
moving those weights to the edge of the photograph. If you don’t have
weights, two small books work just as well. Relaxing the photograph
with this dry method may take anywhere from two weeks to three months,
so you need to be patient, but eventually you will be able to flatten

The next step is to scan the photograph. In most cases, the panoramic
photograph will be too big for the scanner, so this is one of the few
times you will scan a photo in sections. Be sure to have at least an
inch of overlapping edge on each section, so that Photoshop can match
these overlaps and merge them into an almost seamless image. All
sections of the photograph should be scanned at 300 dpi and saved as
TIFFs. These files will be large and the merge process uses a lot of
memory, so make sure that all the other programs on your computer are
off. Otherwise, you may lock up your computer and have to reboot.

In Photoshop go to File>Automate>Photomerge. The Photomerge dialog box
will open. Now click Browse and find the folder that contains the
images that you want to merge. Hold your shift key down and select all
of the images you want to merge. (For this to work, assign consecutive
file names such as Smith1, Smith2, Smith3.) Click Open. The image
files should now be listed in the dialog box. Click OK. When you do
this, your computer monitor will become animated as it goes through
the process of opening all of the files, so don’t be alarmed.
Eventually, a preview screen with the merged images will open. If
everything looks good, click OK. This step may take a few minutes and
your computer monitor will become animated once again, but eventually
you will see the finished merged image.

Now all you need to do is save it. I always save mine as a TIFF. What
you will have is the panoramic view digitally recorded.

Next: TIFF or JPEG

Preservation Tip of the Month--More “Care” of Photographs
by Curt Witcher
Last month, my colleague shared some advice about caring for your
photographs.  We know how important photographic images are to our
family stories, and we all have a strong interest in making sure those
images survive long beyond our lifetimes.  In addition to caring for
the physical photographs, there are ways of employing technology to
assure the images are well preserved and available for future
generations of family members.

Digitizing and sharing photographic images is an important 21st
century way of preserving photographs.  Many are familiar with the
acronym LOCKSS, which stands for “lots of copies keeps stuff safe.”
Today it is relatively easy and virtually free to digitize photographs
and make them available in a number of formats and places.  First, if
several family members are working on the genealogies of related
lines, suggest that all researchers make a digital copy of all their
photographs and share those on DVDs or flash/jump drives with all
other interested family members.  Doing that helps protect against a
disaster wiping-out a valuable collection.

Next, look for opportunities to contribute photographic images to
virtual web sites.  If you have pictures of tombstones, contemplate
contributing them to the “Find-A-Grave” website.  Consider creating a
family page for yourself on won’t cost you a cent.
Create a family photograph album for yourself on Flickr, and then
invite family members to view and contribute.  Investigate
contributing photographic images to a virtual community album that the
local library or historical society might be hosting in the area where
your family lived.

There are many ways we can employ ever-advancing technology in the
care of our photographs.

Genealogy @ Night
Our summer series concludes on Tuesday, August 17, at 6:30 p.m. when
Dawne Slater-Putt presents "Cataloging 3-D Items & Heirlooms." Learn
ways of recording information about three-dimensional objects so that
future genealogists can enjoy not just the artifacts, but the history
and special stories that go along with them. Look for more information
at our Website and register
via email to Genealogy [at] ACPL.Info or by phone at 260-421-1225. Join us
for this last blast of summer!

Genealogy Center Mini-Course: Beyond the Basics
The popular mini-course, "Family History: Beyond the Basics," will be
offered September 17 & 18, 2010.  Instructors Margery Graham, CG and
Steve Myers, MLS will share their knowledge as well as guide tours of
the Genealogy Center and provide assisted research and personal
consultations. "Family History: Beyond the Basics" will cover the
following topics.

Day One:
Session 1: Problem Solving: Breaking through Brick Walls in Your
Research - Every family historian eventually encounters obstacles in
their research that seem insurmountable. Learn some basic strategies
for tackling these so-called "brick walls" that can lead you to
genealogical breakthroughs.

Session 2: Probate Records - Learn how to find and use wills,
administrations and guardianships, as well as the other "goodies"
contained in probate records.

Session 3: Land Records and Tax Lists - Learn the basics of land
descriptions and how deed and land grant records, as well as
associated tax lists, can all help advance your research.

Day Two:

Session 4: Military Records - Following an overview of military record
sources, learn the basics of researching ancestors who served in the
American Civil War (1861-1865) and in the American Revolutionary War

Session 5: Church Records - Learn how to identify, locate and use
these important sources of early birth, marriage and death information
for a time period that pre-dates government registration of so-called
"vital records."

Session 6: Tracing Your Ancestors Across the Atlantic - Learn how to
find and use the many sources that bear on this crucial research step.
Naturalization records, passenger lists, European emigration records
and other sources will be discussed.

This course will be in Room BC of the Main Library, 900 Library Plaza,
Fort Wayne, Indiana. The registration fee for the "Family History:
Beyond the Basics" mini-course is $50. Checks should be made payable
to "ACPL Foundation" and mailed to: Genealogy Center, Allen County
Public Library, P.O. Box 2270, Fort Wayne, IN 46801-2270. Mini-course
attendance will be limited, so register early to avoid disappointment.
Additional information and a workshop schedule will be posted soon on
our Web site at

Coming Soon: Family History Month 2010
A great month of events is in the works for your genealogical
pleasure. This year, each week will highlight a specific aspect of
research, with General Week, October 1st through 9th; Preservation
Week October 10th through 16th; Technology Week, October 17th through
23rd; and Dead Week, October 24th through 31st.  Other highlights
include One-on-One Consultations every Tuesday and the annual Military
Symposium on October 8th & 9th as well as the Cemetery Seekers’ "Start
Sharing the News" dinner at the Baker Street Station on October 29th,
presentations on October 30th, and Lindenwood Cemetery Tour on
Halloween. Add to all that the traditional Midnight Madness Extended
Research Hours on Friday, October 29th. We anticipate an exciting
month and hope you'll join us! Watch our website for more information.

Help Us Keep and Tell Our Stories
by Curt B. Witcher
To acquire, process, maintain, and provide access to hundreds of
thousands of records, documents, and publications is a significant
undertaking in any economic climate.  In today’s economic climate, the
challenge is even greater as traditional tax-based funding sources are
decreasing dramatically.
Help us keep and make available the records that both document our
heritage and assist with our stories by supporting the Genealogy
Center Endowment Fund.  One hundred percent of the money donated to
this endowment supports the collections and activities of the
Genealogy Center.  And it’s easy to contribute.  Go to
<www.ACPL.Info>, click on the “Support Your Library. . .” link in the
bottom right corner, then click on “Donate to the ACPL Foundation,”
and fill out the secure form, choosing “Genealogy Center” from the
list of giving options.  If you prefer a more traditional payment
method, checks to the ACPLF--Genealogy Endowment can be sent to Allen
County Public Library, P. O. Box 2270, Ft. Wayne, IN 4680-2270.  Thank
you for helping us provide the best for you.

Librarians on Parade in June 2010
Curt Witcher
August 18-21, 2010, Federation of Genealogical Societies annual
conference, Knoxville, TN. Four presentations: “SOS! SOS! Saving Our
Societies: Answering Our Distress Beacons,” “The Dollars and Cents of
Fundraising,” “Being a Leader in Your Society: Tactics and
Techniques,” and “Marching On: The Allen County Public Library’s ‘Our
Military Heritage” Project.”

September 8, 2010, Allen County Genealogical Society, Allen County
Public Library, 900 Library Plaza, 6:30 p.m. refreshments, 7 p.m.
program. Presentation: “What’s New . . . In Online Resources at the
Genealogy Center.

September 18, 2010, Florida Genealogical Society (Tampa) Fall Seminar,
University of South Florida, Marshall Student Center, Room 2708, all
day seminar. Presentations: “Using Military Records for Genealogical
Research,” “Using Church Records in Your Genealogical Research,”
“Doing Effective Genealogical Research in Libraries,” and “Mining the
Motherlode: Using Periodical Literature for Genealogical Research.

September 25, 2010, Elwood Pipecreek Genealogy Society, Family Life
Center, 2535 Main Street, Elwood, IN, 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Presentations:  “Using Military Records for Genealogical Research,”
“An Ancestor’s Death-A Time for Reaping,” and “Historical Research

Dawne Slater-Putt
August 17, 2010, Allen County Public Library, 900 Library Plaza, Fort
Wayne, IN, Meeting Room A, 6:30 p.m. Presentation: "’Cataloging’ 3-D
Items & Heirlooms”

Area Calendar of Events
Allen County Genealogical Society of Indiana (ACGSI)
Next meeting--September 8, 2010

Allen County-Fort Wayne Historical Society, 302 East Berry, Ft. Wayne, IN
Lecture series will resume in the fall.

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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