Genealogy Gems: News from the Fort Wayne Library, No. 124, June 30, 2014
From: Genealogy Gems (
Date: Mon, 30 Jun 2014 23:24:24 -0400
Genealogy Gems: News from the Fort Wayne Library
No. 124, June 30, 2014

In this issue:
*Life Lived in the Little Places . . .
*Leave No One Behind . . . Continued--Month Two
*Forts of the United States
*American Immigrant Autobiographies
*Technology Tip of the Month--Exploring the Big Microsoft PowerPoint Book
*Quick-Tip of the Month for Preservation--Physical Memories
*A Call to Arms to Preserve the War of 1812 Pension Files
*July's Digital Discoveries
*Out and About
*Area Calendar of Events
*Driving Directions to the Library
*Parking at the Library
*Queries for The Genealogy Center

Life Lived in the Little Places . . .
by Curt B. Witcher
Some of my colleagues, and likely some of you, have heard me articulate many times in the past about life lived in the small places. It has significant meaning and importance to me, particularly in a society that is so focused on “getting there” rather than “enjoying the journey.” I believe the drive to “get there” often may spill over into our family history work. The search for the quickest answers overshadows consistent efforts to find the best answers. And the mega online sites in the genealogy and family history space often take all our research time, leaving no time to explore the small but so incredibly useful sources that are slightly off the beaten path. Yes, life lived, and ancestors discovered, in the small places.

A colleague and I, along with a fellow researcher and friend, recently worked on digitizing and transcribing an early brand book for Franklin County, Indiana. (Look for it on the site in the coming weeks.) The first entry is dated 1811, five years before statehood in Indiana. In this little brand book is evidence of early Hoosier settlers that one will be hard pressed to find in other records, even among those records found on our favorite .com websites.

The Genealogy Center recently added to the robust list of onsite databases we have available for customers to use. I typically like to take new databases for a “spin,” and decided to look for information about my father, Charles, in the papers of his native Jasper, Indiana. Finding tidbits of his life was so engaging – reminding me of things I knew, as well as allowing me to discover a number of things I had never heard of before. In the Jasper “Herald,” I read of his promotion to manager of the Western Union office in Saginaw, Michigan; I learned of a thirty-day leave he had from the air force to visit parents and friends; I discovered the specific dates he entered the service and completed his training, as well as the bases at which he was stationed in Japan and Texas; I found the date and place of a surprise birthday party for his mother; I read that he was the best man at my mother’s younger sister’s wedding; and I located a citation indicating he and my mother visited their home city of Jasper from Bay City, Michigan, in August of 1956.

Further exploration of the “Herald” uncovered a number of neat things about his younger life, e.g., he received his Life badge from the Boy Scouts in July of 1947; he attended a one-week school program in statesmanship, civics and government in 1949; he was in a Jasper High School play, “Life of the Party,” in 1950, as well as making the honor roll; and he attended St. Joseph’s College in Rensselaer with a grade point average of 2.50 out of 3.0. Finding the little facts about my father’s life gives me a much better idea about who he was and what his life was really like. The little things combine to make a bigger and clearer picture.

Every July, more than a hundred high school alumni return to Garrett, Indiana, a small city just thirty minutes north of Fort Wayne, to celebrate growing up in this small northeast Indiana town.  Annual events at Alumni Days usually include visits to the local library.  The alums are welcomed with a display of high school class pictures that cover the years 1900 through 1948. Several years ago, these pictures were deemed trash and destined for dumpsters.  Rescued by a local historian, they were given to the library to preserve as part of its local history collection. While the class numbers and fashion vary greatly throughout the years, the pictures highlight young high school graduates ready to “go out into the world.” 

One is not able to tell who came from prominent families when looking at the pictures. The stories of who these students were and what their families were like emerge when family members and friends view the pictures. One hears about one’s mother attending Radcliffe, secretly marrying her high school sweetheart, and being kicked out of the university. (Married women were not allowed to attend the university.) One learns that the new bride of a high school football star woke herself up at 3 a.m. to curl her hair so she would look good in the morning. Pictures of those who fought in World War II are often highlighted by grandchildren and great nieces. There are poignant descriptions of those who did not return from the war. Many of the male students became railroad workers following the tradition of their ancestors who came to Garrett to work the rails.

Some of the Garrett alums are known nationally for their accomplishments. Those that have not achieved acclaim are recognized in just as lasting ways. Their relatives speak about them with affection, providing anecdotes about their lives growing up in a small town in Indiana. These class pictures capture young people ready to begin their adult lives. They represent what is universal about all towns: The promise of youth, the continuity of family, the moving on so a new generation can take its place in the community – life lived in the small places.

Leave No One Behind . . . Continued--Month Two
by Curt B. Witcher
Continuing last month’s theme of honoring our veterans, The Genealogy Center posted a number of grave markers and memorials from our WWII fallen buried in Europe. A list is below, with the actual data found at GenealogyCenter.Info/Military. It’s our way of tangibly celebrating the Fourth of July. The WWII fallen paid the ultimate price for the same freedom that our Revolutionary War ancestors fought for. What have you done to leave no one behind? And more, what will you do this coming month of July to leave no one behind?

8th Air Force Memorial, Royal Air Force Museum, London, England
Abbonizio, Fred J., 44th Engineer Combat Bn
Cantrell, Sidney L., 8th Infantry, 4th Division
Gorden, James A., 301st Infantry, 94th Division
Herman, Elder, 358th Infantry, 90th Division
Jerves, William C., 134th Infantry, 35th Division
Johnson, Delmer G., 347th Infantry, 87th Division
Knappenberger, Allan F., 358th Infantry, 90th Division
Lepowitch, Philip, 319th Infantry, 80th Division
Mackey, Frank E., U.S. Army
Mossburg, Louis G., U.S. Army Air Forces
Siff, Stanley, 110th Infantry, 28th Division
Snyder, Lelon A., 346th Infantry, 87th Division
Thompson, John W., 424th Infantry, 106th Division
Van Quekelberghe, Arnold H., 347th Infantry, 87th Division
Wilson, William, Jr., 2nd Infantry, 5th Division
Zessar, Roy, 47th Infantry, 9th Division

Forts of the United States
by Dawne Slater-Putt, CG*
Bud Hannings’s volume “Forts of the United States: An Historical Dictionary, 16th through 19th Centuries” (973 H196f) features 627 pages of information about forts in the United States and its territories, followed by several appendices and a detailed index. It can be useful as background information for genealogists whose ancestors were associated with a particular fort during a military action or pioneer period, or just for reading about the beginnings of an ancestral city or town.

For example, the section on Fort de Vincennes notes that “The French from Canada established a trading post in the vicinity of Vincennes during 1683. Later, during 1702, the French established an Indian mission there.” The passage continues with additional history of the establishment of the town of Vincennes, Indiana, as well as the change in control of the fort from the French to the British to the Americans. The book includes information about forts, camps, blockhouses, arsenals, stations and garrisons and is arranged by state or territory, and within each state or territory, alphabetically by name of the entity.

Wolf’s Fort in Washington County, Rhode Island, was established during the 1770s. According to Hannings’s book, “On one occasion, a woman named Priscilla Peak (or Peck) was caught, while sick in bed at her home, by Indians. She escaped but an Indian chased and scalped her, but she was able to make it to the fort before she was tomahawked to death. Other similar incidents also occurred at the fort.” A few of these personal mentions are in the book and the names of the individuals are in the index, however the author does not provide reference sources for any of the information in the volume.

Appendices include: Washington, D.C., Civil War Defenses; Florida Seminole Indian War Forts; Pony Express Depots; Spanish Missions and Presidios; Conflicts in America and Europe, 1492-1898: A Chronology; and Twentieth Century U.S. Forts, Posts, Bases and Stations.

Many forts were established as training facilities during the Civil War. For those with Civil War ancestors, the information about these locations might be useful as background information when writing family history or a biographical sketch.

*“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.

American Immigrant Autobiographies – Part 1
by Cynthia Theusch
The “American Immigrant Autobiographies Part 1” microfilms include selected autobiographies from a larger collection of personal papers that are at the Immigration History Research Center at the University of Minnesota in St. Paul. This set of seven rolls of microfilm is stored in the U.S. Special Collections area (Cabinet 64, Drawer B-11). The manuscripts are either typed or handwritten in their native language. A guide to “American Immigrant Autobiographies Part 1” has been printed and is at the Microtext desk. This guide lists the names of 67 individuals and their answers to the 15 questions they were asked to help them write their stories. The first seven questions were genealogy related, such as country of origin, occupation, reason for immigrating, date of immigration, where they settled in the United States, and the type of job they had here.

Reels 1 through part of 6 contain 38 autobiographies of individuals from Italy, Sicily, Croatia, Yugoslavia, Austria-Hungary, Turkey, Hungary, Russia, Poland, Lithuania, Ukraine and Finland.  Reels 6 and 7 contain memoirs or autobiographies of 29 people from the Finnish-American Family History Project. This microfilm collection is only a small portion of the holdings in the Immigration History Research Collection housed at the University of Minnesota. 

Robert Ferrari, who lived in New York City, wrote an autobiography that has 21 chapters and is 442 pages long. He was born in the United States and included stories about his parents who lived in Rocca Nova, Italy, and immigrated to the United States. Robert’s father immigrated in 1872 and his mother came over in 1878. The family plan was to go to Buenos Aires, but the ship that was ready to leave Naples was heading to the United States. The voyage was slow and it took about three weeks before they entered the New York Harbor, heading for Castle Garden, where they would disembark.

Andrew Devich wrote 18 pages. He was born in Krasno, Croatia, Yugoslavia, in 1896. As a child, he tended sheep and goats. Andrew left Krasno in 1913 with four other young men. He settled in Cusson, Minnesota, with his four brothers who came over earlier.

Sophia (Chakiris) Fergis was born in Platiano, Turkey and was Greek. She came over with her mother and younger brother in 1916 to be with her father. They settled in Cincinnati, Ohio, and later moved to Norwood, Ohio.

Take a look at the guide to see if your ancestor is listed. These autobiographies give us a better understanding of what it was like in the old country and what our ancestors may have endured on their travels to the United States. 

Technology Tip of the Month--Exploring the Big Microsoft PowerPoint Book
by Kay Spears
Bullets. Ever since the invention of PowerPoint, speakers have been presenting us with programs filled with bullets. Whenever I see a presentation with bullets I usually say to myself “Oh, no not bullets!” My personal opinion is that speakers overuse bullets in PowerPoint. They should be used for emphasis, but they are used so often that they become a distraction from whatever point the speaker is trying to make, so use them sparingly. For all of you who feel you must have bullets in your talk, here is how to do it. 
First, insert a text box onto a slide. Next, make your list of points inside the box. Select or highlight your list. Go to your ribbon>Home>Paragraph. The Bullet tool is in the upper left corner of the Paragraph section. If you run your mouse over the Bullet option, a pop-up button appears telling you that this is the Bullet Tool. The Bullet Tool has a drop down arrow. Choose that option and a dialog box will appear. This dialog box has about six default button options and you may choose any of those you want, but for our purpose let’s choose the Bullets and Numbering option. Another dialog box appears. This one has two tabs at the top, a Bulleted tab and a Numbered tab. We are not going to pick those; instead we are going to choose the button at the bottom that says Picture. When we do so, another dialog box appears. In this dialog box are some tiny clip art buttons from which to choose. You may also search for more options by inserting the word “bullet” in the Search Text box. When you do this you will get more bullet options and some photographs with actual bullets in them. You may also “import” your own images as bullets. Just remember that you will need to shrink an image down considerably to use it as a bullet.
If you want, you may now add animation to your bullet points. You can make them bounce or dance, have them twist or turn, flip or fade, or even explode when they appear. (I made that last up – you can’t really make them explode.) Once you add the “trigger” mechanism, your bullets will appear one at a time, either On Click (on a manual mouse click), With Previous or After Previous. You may also add automatic timing if you want to, so that each bullet appears a scheduled time after the previous one. However, I don’t recommend using timing – it makes it difficult to keep up with your bullet points as you are speaking.

When using bullets, just as with any other PowerPoint tool, remember that the eyes of the audience should be on you, not on the flashy special effects of your slide show. Your presentation is just there to support what you are saying. 
Next: More from the Big PowerPoint Book

Quick-Tip of the Month for Preservation--Physical Memories
by Delia Bourne
Do you have memory boxes? You know what I mean. They can be elaborate wooden or plastic boxes, highly decorated and elegant, or, often more likely, they can be shoe or paper boxes. They might be memories of a specific person (high school boyfriend comes to mind), or a specific time (that trip across the U.S. with friends), or a specific activity (softball). In these boxes you might place a napkin with the name of the restaurant you went to on prom night, or a series of post cards, or awards and clippings. Maybe these items were sitting around during or after the time they were gathered, then you put them away as other people and activities took precedence. They were items to keep, but maybe not display anymore. You might look at them once in a while, and the box gathers dust as you move to another apartment, another house. Every time you move, you think, I should just throw that away. But you don’t. They were nice memories. They are important to you.

But what will they mean to your heirs? When you are gone, will your family understand what these items meant to you? Will they look inside the box, pluck out one or two items that they might be able to use, then dump the rest in the dumpster? Is that where you want these items to end up?

First, next time you pull out the box to look through, take a few minutes to make a list identifying each item, such as, “Red ribbon, second place, track meet, junior year at Concordia High School, Fort Wayne, Fall 1989” or “ash trays stolen from restaurants, Spring Break trip, Kentucky to Florida, 1978.” Yeah, I know. It wasn’t very nice, but it’s your collection! If you don’t identify them, no one will understand their significance.

Next, take a few minutes to show them to interested family members. While I wouldn’t suggest trying to tell your son-in-law while he’s grilling those steaks on the Fourth of July, you might tell your soccer-star grandson that you’d like to show him your keepsakes from when you played football in high school. Your mutual interest in sports may whet his curiosity and he may wish to preserve them, and pass them along, after you are gone.

Take the initiative to preserve your memories! Start now!

A Call to Arms to Preserve the War of 1812 Pension Files
The month of July is well known as a time when Americans celebrate our independence and reflect on the Revolutionary War. It can also be a time when we remember the “Second Revolution” and the men who won our independence again and affirmed our liberty in the War of 1812.

The Preserve the Pensions Project wants to *raise $1,812 every day of the month of July*. Meeting this goal will bring in a total of $56,172 for the month--with the match, it would mean an incredible $112,344 for the project!

You can help by contributing right now at Your gift is tax deductible and does some tremendous things.
**It goes directly to preserve military pension records which are at risk of deteriorating due to age and use.
**It puts original records in every classroom in America that has an Internet connection so our children can learn the story of our country from primary source documents.
**It demonstrates our commitment to preserving and making accessible important records.
**It is a statement of your commitment to leave no soldier’s records unpreserved--to leave no soldier un-remembered, un-honored.

Please make your contribution today. And it would be awesome if you took it up a notch and decided to have a monthly donation amount charged to your credit card or debit card each month for twelve months. The pack of hot-dogs, the hamburgers and chips, the cool drinks and other libations--when you purchase those for your fourth of July celebrations, please consider giving an equal share to the Preserve the Pensions project. You really can afford it, and that gift will last for the ages, long after the last firework has faded to a memory and the embers in the grill are cold.

Tell your family, friends, neighbors, Facebook friends--everyone! You don't have to be a genealogist to feel good about contributing to such a worthwhile endeavor. Make a positive difference and donate at today and encourage someone else to donate as well!   

July's Digital Discoveries
The third part of The Genealogy Center’s “Digital Discoveries” series concentrates on “Discovering FamilySearch.” Dawne Slater-Putt will guide you on a tour of the new and improved She will discuss what the site has to offer and tips for searching its historical records databases, catalog and other prominent features. Make plans today to attend on Wednesday, July 9, 2014, from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. in Meeting Room A.

Future sessions will include “Discovering PERSI,” on August 13, and “Discovering Newspaper Databases,” on September 10. For more information, see the brochure at To register for any of these free events, email Genealogy [at] ACPL.Info or call 260-421-1225.

Out and About
Melissa Tennant
July 21, 2014, Wabash County Genealogical Society Meeting, Winchester Senior Center, Wabash, IN, 6-7 p.m. Presentation: “Discovering Our Female Ancestors.”

Area Calendar of Events
Historic Fort Wayne
12-13 July 2014, Historic Fort Wayne, 1201 Spy Run Ave., Fort Wayne, Indiana. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday & 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. Revolutionary War – The Western Front 1777.

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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