Genealogy Gems: News from the Fort Wayne Library, No. 109, March 31, 2013
From: Genealogy Gems (
Date: Sun, 31 Mar 2013 15:25:34 -0700 (PDT)
Genealogy Gems: News from the Fort Wayne Library
No. 109, March 31, 2013

In this issue:
*RootsTech 2013--A Review
*Guides to Archives and Manuscript Collections in the United States
*Technology Tip of the Month--Adobe Photoshop/Elements, A look at Blending Modes, Part II: What to do with Screen, Overlay and Multiply Blending Modes
*Quick-Tip of the Month for Preservation--Memories trapped on Slides and Negatives"
*Beginner's Workshop Offered by ACGSI
*Go Beyond Ancestry's Leaves and Branches
*Family History Fundamentals
*Out and About
*Area Calendar of Events
*Driving Directions to the Library
*Parking at the Library
*Queries for The Genealogy Center

RootsTech 2013--A Review
by Curt B. Witcher
One week ago, the final sessions of RootsTech 2013 were concluding. And if attendees were at all like me, they likely were beginning to feel numb from all the ideas, experiences, and expertise shared during those three days. This was the third annual RootsTech conference, a conference that advertises itself as “an opportunity unlike any other to discover the latest family history tools and techniques, connect with experts to help you in your research, and be inspired in the pursuit of your ancestors. Learn how to find, organize, preserve and share your family's connections and history.” I believe this year’s RootsTech hit its mark!

First, the numbers! We must at least take a quick look at the numbers. I appreciate that some are not impressed by numbers, and indeed, push back at any evaluation of metrics as lacking relevance or being something that somehow gets twisted to validate nearly any point one wants to make. However, gathering nearly eight thousand people in one place to talk about family history and the application of new technologies to this field is nothing short of amazing. Kudos to FamilySearch for realizing the increasing importance of exploring and understanding the intersection of genealogy and technology. In addition to the eight thousand conference attendees, more than two thousand young people showed-up on the last day of the event to explore the exhibit hall, learn about scouting merit badges for family history, and engage both presenters and exhibitors about technologies in this field. Add to those numbers the tens of thousands who watched the web-streamed presentations and one is left with one feeling--amazing!

From the very first keynote of this year’s RootsTech, I felt affirmed in the passion I have been sharing for some time, and the topic of my musings in last month’s “Genealogy Gems”--the power of story. Here in The Genealogy Center we had an entire week’s worth of programs about story at the beginning of March, and woven as a major thread through this year’s entire RootsTech at the end of March was the importance of story--finding, organizing, preserving and sharing your story. Story [at] Home and nationally known storytellers were a prominent part of this event. Indeed, on the Friday evening of the conference there was a two-hour storytelling event that drew a big crowd--an event that invited all of us, in wonderful and engaging ways, to recall our own families’ histories of growing up and meeting challenges through the stories we were hearing.

Dennis Brimhall, CEO of FamilySearch, delivered the first keynote of the conference on Thursday morning. The initial highlight for me was listening to the story of his father’s WWII experiences, and seeing remarkable footage of his father’s plane being shot down. That footage added texture and context to Dennis’ father’s WWII story, and helped his daughter know her grandfather better. That knowledge led to a remarkable book being published, “My Mission to Fulfill.” Two additional highlights in Dennis’ presentation were thought-provoking statements: (1) everyone has the right to exist, and people really don’t exist until we know their stories; and (2) what would our great-great-grandchildren wish we would have done? Both give one cause for pause.

Syd Lieberman, a noted American storyteller who has been telling stories professionally for more than three decades, followed in that same Thursday opening session by showing us the pure joy of telling a story well. Joshua Taylor wrapped up the first-day opening session with a timely and relevant look at how we should be welcoming technologies into the genealogy and family history space. He challenged us not to think about them, plan for them, or muse about them, but rather, get on with using the technology that can be powerful family history tools--tools for finding, organizing, preserving and sharing our stories.

The first keynoters on Friday and Saturday were equally engaging. Jyl Pattee lead-off the second day with the power of “WOW,” and how we should all create WOW moments by making small moments count. She advised us not to look for the big WOW moments but to focus on all the WOW moments along the paths of our lives. Like Dennis’ keynote, she also strongly encouraged attendees to capture, archive, and share these WOW moments. We cannot just stop at capturing the moments--we need to make sure they’re around for future generations, and then we need to share them with today’s family members of every generation. She told us about capturing her mother’s own words via audio recorder that described her life, and how she now remembers her mother with her siblings and her children by making a particular cookie recipe.

Saturday’s primary keynoter was David Pogue, the “New York Times” technology columnist. His message about the exciting new technologies we have available to us today was very timely, and his presentation style had us all rolling with laughter. It is a must-see presentation, one of many streamed off the RootsTech 2013 conference website at: Scroll down to the “Daily Recaps” section to find all of the keynotes as well as ten other sessions available for online viewing.

There was a lot of attention paid in the exhibit area to back-ups and cloud storage, as well as to new program offerings and updates from the major technology companies in the genealogy space. One vendor that really caught my eye was This company is deploying facial recognition software to assist family historians in identifying older pictures of relatives from younger, known pictures and vice-versa. If a database of known images for a particular area is large enough, many families may be able to identify previously unknown images. There is definitely a lot of promise and a lot of potential for such technology. And who would have thought something from the homeland security area would be a direct benefit to our family history pursuits?! It is certainly something to watch.

Is it worth marking February 6-8, 2014 on your calendar for RootsTech 2014 in Salt Lake City? You bet! We truly are living in the best of times for family historians!

Guides to Archives and Manuscript Collections in the United States
by Dawne Slater-Putt, CG(sm)*
 “Guides to Archives and Manuscript Collections in the United States: An Annotated Bibliography” (929 D51g), compiled by Donald L. DeWitt, can help you identify published finding aids for navigating manuscript collections throughout the United States.

Don’t let the title of this reference source mislead you – the “s” at the end of the word “Guides” in the title of the book is very important. This is not a guide to archives and manuscript collections; it is a guide TO GUIDES for such collections. The purpose of this book was to gather as comprehensive a list as possible of published finding aids for the various manuscript collections that abound in our libraries, archives, colleges and other institutions in the United States.

Guides to manuscript collections are important, because manuscripts are much less likely than published sources to have been indexed, abstracted or their contents been digitized and uploaded to online sites for searching. Published finding aids usually give detailed information about the scope and contents of the collection and a description of how the collection is organized. They can be invaluable to the researcher.

Guides described in DeWitt’s book are arranged by subject area, including general collections, business collections, ethnic minorities and women, federal archives, fine arts collections, literary collections, military collections, political collections, professional groups and organizations, regional collections, religious groups, foreign repositories holding U.S.-related records and U.S. repositories holding foreign records. Most of these categories are subdivided further, such as agriculture and forestry, maritime industries, organized labor and transportation under business collections.

Each entry for a collection guide includes the bibliographic information for the guide, such as compiler or author, title, publisher and number of pages. This is followed by a description of the guide, which necessarily includes some general information about the collection it covers. With the publication information, readers can do a search in and determine in what libraries a published guide to a particular manuscript collection can be found.

To the family historian, manuscript collections can be an underutilized, but important resource because they often contain information that is unique and may be found in no other source. “Guides to Archives and Manuscript Collections” can help identify finding aids to these collections and make navigating them easier.

*“CG” & “Certified Genealogist” are service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, and are used by authorized associates following periodic, peer-reviewed competency evaluations. Certificate No. 386 awarded 4 July 1996; expires 4 July 2016.

by Cynthia Theusch
Genealogy Trails ( is a web site that offers free access to genealogical and historical data files and record transcripts for all over the United States. It was created in March 2000 by the Genealogy Trails History Group, an independent organization of volunteers initially dedicated to gathering information specifically for the state of Illinois. Six years later, Genealogy Trails has added materials for all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

On the Genealogy Trails opening page, you will find categories such as African American Data, Chuckwagon Recipes, Events, Historical Data, Maps, Military Data, Native American Data, Slavery Data, State Data, Newspaper Gleanings, People, Presidents and Research Aids. There also are options for submitting an obituary or searching the site. On the left side of the page is list of links to resources by state.

Each state page includes a brief state history, state facts and links to county pages, plus other content that varies by state. The Indiana Trails web page ( has a link for Indiana trivia. Did you know that the courthouse roof in Greensburg, Indiana has a tree growing from it? Or that the main station of the Underground Railroad was in Fountain County, Indiana?

County pages include a list of townships, villages and cities within their boundaries and links to the pages of neighboring counties. Content subject headings that may be found on all county pages are biographies, birth records, cemeteries, census, church history/records, county history, death records, family histories/records, land records, marriages, military, miscellaneous data, newspaper data, obituaries, schools and wills/probate records. How much information, if any, is beneath each of these headings varies greatly from one locality to the next. Some counties with an active site host may have additional material besides what is listed just above, such as other county records and photographs.

For example, in Community News under Newspaper Gleanings on the Stark County, Ohio, page is an article transcription with the multi-deck headline, “Mrs. Royer Tells of Old Days. Changes In Massillon Since She Became a Resident. Her Home on Post Office Site. She Came to the United States From Belgium in 1852 – It Took Forty-Seven Days to Cross the Atlantic – Came Down From Cleveland by Canal Boat.” The article itself begins, “Mrs. Mary Royer, now 74 years of age, … tells of the improvements made in Massillon since she became a resident here in 1859,” and is transcribed in full on the site.

Sites like rely on volunteers to contribute content. When you visit the GenealogyTrails county and state pages for the localities where your ancestors lived, consider adding information. You might transcribe obituaries or other records from your files, or while reviewing microfilm or county books, create an index of names that can be submitted. These pieces are not the complete story, but each one may help someone who is researching that family.

Technology Tip of the Month--Adobe Photoshop/Elements, A look at Blending Modes, Part II: What to do with Screen, Overlay and Multiply Blending Modes
by Kay Spears
Now we are ready to experiment with some of the Blending Mode options. I chose Screen, Overlay and Multiply because those are the three that I use most often. However, I suggest that you experiment with all available choices because, as I have stressed previously, what works for one photograph may not work for another. 

The first step is to open a faded photograph, either color or black and white. Make sure that the Layers Palette is also open. Once the photograph is open, look at the Layers Palette. You should see one layer that says Background. You also should see a drop-down box with the word “Normal.” Normal is the default setting for Blending Mode and at this time it should be grayed out or inactive.

Next, we are going to create a duplicate layer. To do so, select the background layer and right click, then choose Duplicate Layer and left click. At this point, there should be two layers, one labeled Background and one labeled Background Copy. (Incidentally, there is also a method for creating a duplicate layer using the Levels tool, but for this article, we are going to keep it simple.) Select the layer labeled Background Copy and in the drop-down box that says “Normal,” select “Screen.” This should cause the image to get dramatically lighter.

Make sure the Background Copy layer is still selected and right click on Duplicate Layer again. Now there are three layers and a very light image. Select Background Copy 2 and change “Screen” to “Overlay” in the Blending Option drop-down box. If the image is still too light, change “Overlay” to “Multiply.”  Remember, the success of these tools depends on the original image, so you may need to experiment with different combinations to get the desired result. But this is one more option available in Adobe for improving your faded photographs.

Next: Time for some fun! Blending Modes III: Using Blending Modes in Adobe Photoshop/Elements to create exciting images.

Quick-Tip of the Month for Preservation--Memories Trapped on Slides and Negatives
by Dawne Slater-Putt, CG(sm)*
My grandfather was an avid amateur photographer.  Much of my childhood is preserved, and yet trapped, in the hundreds of boxes of slides that he took during the 1960s and 1970s. If your family has boxes of slides or multiple sleeves of negatives for which the prints have been lost, take heart! There are ways to convert slides and negatives to digital images, either by doing it yourself or hiring a service to do it for you.

Two do-it-yourself procedures are:

This video shows how to photograph the images in slides with a digital camera by building an apparatus that shines light through the slide, illuminating the image. This may not produce the high-quality results that can be expected with expensive, high-tech equipment, but could be a low-budget option for a family historian with many slides and more time than money. See:

Another do-it-yourself method is to create an adapter that allows scanning of slides and negatives directly into your computer via a conventional scanner. These step-by-step instructions explain the procedure:

The WikiHow blog had an entry about scanning slides into the computer that provided a great deal of detailed information. Read about it at

Finally, here’s an exchange at about the subject with some give and take from various respondents:

Other options are to have your slides and negatives converted by a chain store, like Costco or Walmart, to check with local non-chain photography stores in your area for their recommendations, or to send them off to a professional scanning service. You can find information about the latter by typing the words slides to photographs in the search box of your browser.

*“CG” & “Certified Genealogist” are service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, and are used by authorized associates following periodic, peer-reviewed competency evaluations. Certificate No. 386 awarded 4 July 1996; expires 4 July 2016.

Beginner's Workshop Offered by ACGSI
The Allen County Genealogical Society of Indiana will offer "Getting Started in Family History and Genealogy Research," taught by Margery Graham, on Saturday, April 6, 2013. This full-morning seminar starts at 9 a.m. in Meeting Rooms A&B at the Main Library, and will help you as you begin your search in family history. Ms. Graham will discuss gathering and organizing your information, basic research methods and how to apply proven methods to keep your search on track. The seminar will end at noon with a tour of the Genealogy Center. Cost is $10 pre-paid. For more information, see the flyer at, call 260-672-2585 or email gramar57 [at]

Go Beyond Ancestry's Leaves and Branches
The Genealogy Center is offering two summer series for your research enjoyment and education. The first is designed to help you to go "Beyond Ancestry's Leaves and Branches." The first offering is Thursday, April 11, when Melissa Shimkus and Aaron Smith will offer "What Can I Find at The Genealogy Center: A Catalog Tour" from 2 to 4 p.m. in Meeting Room A. Melissa, our Center Assistant Manager of Public Services, and Aaron, the Center Assistant Manager of the Materials Handling Unit and Cataloger, will teach you how to locate materials in the more-than-one-million-item-collection, and will highlight the other features of the system, including creating special notes and making lists.

Other events in this series are: "Finding Births, Marriages and Deaths Online," 10-11 a.m., Wednesday, May 29; "WeRelate Overview," 2-3 p.m. Monday, June 24; "Genealogy Jargon," 2-3 p.m. Wednesday, July 24; and "Public Member Trees on," 2-3 p.m. Thursday, September 12. All of these sessions will be held in Meeting Room A. To learn more, see the brochure at To register for any of these presentations, email Genealogy [at] ACPL.Info or call 260-421-1225. Check to see What's Beyond Ancestry's Leaves and Branches!

Family History Fundamentals
The second summer lecture series is "Family History Fundamentals." This series is to get you started, or to remind you of some basic sources for your research. "Researching Church Records" is the first session, scheduled for Saturday, May 25, followed by "Locating Newspapers Online" Saturday, June 8. "Just Start 'Looking' on” is Saturday, July 13, and "Jumping Off Points: Getting the Most Out of a Single Record" is Saturday September 14. All sessions are 10-11 a.m. in Meeting Room A. To learn more, see the brochure at To register for any of these free classes, email Genealogy [at] ACPL.Info or call 260-421-1225. It's time to get back to fundamentals!

Out and About
Curt Witcher

April 9, 2013
Friends of the Indiana State Archives 2013 Annual Meeting--Indiana State Library, 315 West Ohio Street, Indianapolis, IN, 12N. Presentation: “Living and Local: History in Our Hands.”

April 20, 2013
Indiana SAR Meeting--Indiana War Memorial, 431 North Meridian Street, Indianapolis, IN, 12N. Presentation with Brock Bierman on the “Preserve the Pensions!” project to digitize the War of 1812 pension files.

April 27, 2013
Indiana Genealogical Society Meeting--Monroe County Public Library, 303 E. Kirkwood Ave., Bloomington, IN, 11:15 am-12:15 pm. Presentation: “Mining The Mother Lode: Using Periodical Literature for Genealogical Research.”

Area Calendar of Events
Allen County Genealogical Society of Indiana (ACGSI)
10 April 2013--Allen County Public Library, 900 Library Plaza, Fort Wayne, Indiana. 6:30 p.m.
refreshments followed at 7 p.m. by John Beatty’s presentation: “Fort Wayne in Photographs, 1852-1930.”

Allen County-Fort Wayne Historical Society
7 April 2013—History Center, 302 E. Berry Street, Fort Wayne, Indiana. 2 p.m. George R. Mather Sunday Lecture Series featuring John Stafford on “Downtown Fort Wayne: From Urban Renewal to Urban Revitalization.”

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 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.

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: Scroll to the bottom, click on E-zine, and fill out the form. 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 Genealogy Gems you just received or send an email to kspears [at] with "unsubscribe e-zine" in the subject line.

Dawne Slater-Putt, CG & Curt Witcher, co-editors

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