Genealogy Gems: News from the Fort Wayne Library, No. 134, April 30, 2015
From: Genealogy Gems (
Date: Thu, 30 Apr 2015 21:40:43 -0400
Genealogy Gems: News from the Fort Wayne Library
No. 134, April 30, 2015

In this issue:
*A Picture . . . and a Thousand Words
*Fort Toulouse Colonials
*Making of America
*Technology Tip of the Month--Adobe Elements: Recompose Tool
*Quick-Tip of the Month for Preservation--Photographs
*A Day in Allen County: May 1, 2015
*A Preservation and Care of Photographs Discussion
*Global Family Reunion Events at ACPL
*Start a Family History Journey – This Summer!
*Out and About
*Area Calendar of Events
*Driving Directions to the Library
*Parking at the Library
*Queries for The Genealogy Center

A Picture . . . and a Thousand Words
by Curt B. Witcher
For more than a century, the concept of a picture being worth a thousand words has appeared in print and has been used by orators of all types. It is interesting to muse about that value of photographs in our family history collections and personal archives. We so enjoy looking at photographs of ancestors, pictures of the good old days, and images from recent celebrations and activities of our current family members, friends, and colleagues. And we are so grateful when we turn the photographs over or look on the borders of photo albums and see that the people and events portrayed are at least partially described, and sometimes completely identified.

Often times, though, our disappointment with family photographs passed down to us runs fairly deep when box after box, album after album, are filled with amazing images, all unidentified. We muse, why didn’t someone take a few moments all those years ago to make at least a few notes on or about the pictures? My question for you--will our grandchildren and their grandchildren ask the same question about our collections of photographs and images?

The waning days of April and the first couple of days of May have been designated by the American Library Association as “Preservation Week--Pass It On.” This year, The Genealogy Center highlighted the preservation of photographs. We tend to focus a lot of attention on preserving actual photographic entities, whether paper or digital, when we highlight preservation--and that’s appropriate. However, equally of consequence for preservation purposes is identifying the people in the photographs and the events captured in the images.

We are placing the photographic and image histories of our families in great jeopardy if we don’t make the effort to organize and identify them. Take a quick look at the photographs you have taken or captured digitally in the last ten years. Are they all identified? I am guessing for many, the answer is some form of, “no, not exactly.” Take a look at the ones not identified. Can you, today, write meaningful, complete captions for those with confidence? If not, then your ability to truly preserve these unidentified images has started to degrade at generation zero. How many generations of descendants will be able to identify people, places, and events from yesteryear without the accurate and complete captions and notes perhaps only you can create? And once photographs and digital files don’t have obvious relevance, they may be quickly relegated to unimportant, and then recycled.

Do you ever muse about what will happen to all the photographs, documents, and digital files that make up your family’s history after you’re no longer around? Do all the captions and descriptions of your photographs only live in your head? How much of your genealogical work is only recognizable and understandable by you? Even if it is a small amount, I would suggest that needs to change.

As summers are typically the times most of us enjoy family reunions, I strongly suggest that we collectively use this time to commit to identifying images and artifacts in our collections, and further, recording those identifications. Use family reunions as opportunities to solicit assistance from family members who may know more about a particular family grouping, photographic images, or family story than you do. You can also use the task of preparing for family reunions as a great time to “re-unite” information about a photograph with the photographic entity itself. It’s a reunion of a completely different sort!

I can appreciate that going through boxes and gigabytes of unidentified data can be a daunting, arguably overwhelming, task. Recall the proverb, though, that the longest journey begins with the first step. Tackling a large project is most successfully done by breaking it into smaller, more manageable and more doable pieces. If there are many albums of unidentified pictures, pick your favorite one (or smallest one!) to work on first. The same tactic readily applies to boxes of images. Pick the smallest box, the grubbiest box, the cleanest box, the box you recognize or that brings you memories--which ever one piques your interest. Then stop looking at what remains to be done and focus on all the great progress you’re making. If you handle just two photographs a day, you’ll have fourteen done in a week and sixty done in an average month.

Some of us are faced with the challenge of having large collections of images about which we truly know nothing. They may have been handed down to us by a relative, and we just put them away before really examining them and asking the relative for more details. Maybe some were given to us at a family reunion and there was no chance to ask for details. Don’t despair. There are still ways to add some metadata to the images.

**See if the content or subjects of the unidentified photographs match one that is identified. You can then group all those photographs together as potentially coming from the same person, family, or location.

**If you have a number of unidentified photographs but you know they were from your Uncle Marvin, you can group them together as your “Uncle Marvin Collection.” Perhaps there will be an opportunity in the future to converse with an Uncle Marvin family member about the images and obtain more detail at that time.

**If a group of unidentified photographs is in a particular album or other container, attempt to determine if there was a collecting theme for the album, e.g. was it a personal album, a church or family reunion album, a special ceremony album (graduation, birthday, wedding, retirement, etc.), a military scrapbook, a work-related album, and the like. Often times discerning and understanding the collecting context can help us look for opportunities for providing even more context for, and definition to, the images.

Being creative in your analysis of unidentified photographs can provide some significant benefits.

So many of us use our iPhones, iPads, and other tablets to take many hundreds, even thousands, of photographs each week. We may have taken some of these images just for the fun of it--something caught our eye, we were served a particularly delicious-looking dessert, or we found a humorous sign or billboard. However, a good number of the photographs we take with our mobile devices we really intend to be “keepers.” Those graduation images, that christening, the military marker next to that War of 1812 ancestor’s tombstone, the seventy-fifth anniversary of our church--all of these we want to last. Keeping them exclusively on our mobile devices is not the way to ensure that longevity. Downloading those images and saving them in a couple of different locations on a couple of different formats of media is best.

Oh, by the way, just downloading the digital images isn’t quite enough. As we’ve discussed throughout this entire column, we need to identify those images. Using an Excel spreadsheet, or equivalent program, is one way to create a list or inventory. Key the image ID in one column and the description in a corresponding column. One can also use a word processing program. Some individuals are creative enough to put an amazing amount of detail in the actual image file names.  That is truly awesome to behold when done well and consistently.

As I close this column, are you wondering at all about why I titled it the way I did--a picture and a thousand words? When I was an adjunct professor at our regional Indiana University-Purdue University campus teaching continuing education courses on family history, one of the assignments I gave to my students was to pick an ancestor and compile a thousand-word essay on the individual. Yes, that’s right, a thousand words! After getting over the initial surprise and shock of such a request, most eagerly took up the challenge. If you really want to chronicle the lives and times of your ancestors, especially those for whom you have photographs and other images, challenge yourself to write one thousand words about each small, related grouping of photographs. Piece by piece, article by article, you just may be writing your family history.

Writing one thousand words isn’t as difficult as you might think. I hit one thousand words somewhere toward the beginning of the paragraph above that starts with, “So many of us use our iPhones, iPads, and other tablets . . .” Cheers!

Fort Toulouse Colonials
by Delia Bourne
Fort Toulouse (also called Franca choka chula, Fort des Alibamons and Fort Toulouse des Alibamons) was established by the French in 1717, near what is now Wetumpka, Alabama, to counter incursions by the British into the eastern part of colonial Louisiana. The French Marines stationed there quickly established friendly relations with the native Creek population who viewed the French as less of a threat than the British. The original poor living conditions led to a failed mutiny in 1722, but by the 1740s, conditions had improved enough that the troops were importing French wives from Mobile, and intermarrying with the Creek population. After the French lost the area to the British in 1763, the garrison troops left for New Orleans, and some returned to France. Although the British did not occupy the fort, the Americans constructed Fort Jackson in the wake of the War of 1812 at the same site.

In 1987, Johnnie Andrews, Jr., published “Fort Toulouse Colonials: A Compendium of the Colonial Families of Central Alabama, 1717-1823” (976.1 An23f), a biographical listing of the soldiers and Creeks who occupied the fort and its surrounds as well as their wives and children. Each entry includes a footnote reference that provides the researcher with the source document of the material. For example, notes on Jean Baptiste Benoist Aubert, a Swiss native and captain in the French army, and his wife, Louise Marguerite Bernoudy, who had a baby girl on March 22, 1759, were included in the Mobile Catholic Church Archives records. The same records report that Louise died on March 23. There are also listings of D’Erneville’s Company in 1745, a 1762 muster roll for the garrison, and a 1766 census of Alabamons or New Opelousas. Additionally, John Sledge added an introduction which contains the history of the area and of relations between the French and Creek populations, as well as reproductions of several maps to aid in understanding the region.

Anyone interested in further research on this topic will also find a wealth of sources in the bibliography, including original manuscript source materials, published materials, guides to archival materials, derivative sources, and articles. For those interested in colonial Southern research, Andrews’ book provides a gateway.

Making of America
by Melissa C. Tennant
For anyone researching family history – or even general history – in the antebellum period to the Reconstruction era the “Making of America” website, <>, is a significant resource. The site is hosted by the Cornell University Library, and its purpose is to provide free access to digitized original sources that document the expansion and growth of the United States in the pre-twentieth century time period. Currently, the site has 267 monograph volumes and 955 serial volumes, providing users access to 907,750 book and journal pages.

The site can be browsed alphabetically by journal title, book title, or book author. Another set, Civil War Documents, can be browsed by individual volume of “The Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies” and “The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies.” What makes this collection remarkable is the full text of the material is searchable, so a search using only a surname or keyword will reveal contemporary accounts from this historical time era.

For those researching Civil War ancestors, it is possible to search the official records and view reports pertaining to the ancestor, his military unit, or skirmishes that were fought in the vicinity of a family’s residence. If seeking information about slavery, articles can be found relating to Freedmen’s Bureau institutions, anti-slavery movements, missionary work during Reconstruction, slave narratives, and folklore. If an ancestor was involved with a benevolent society, such as the American Missionary Association or the Women’s Home Missionary Association, member obituaries, annual reports, meetings, and committee lists can be found in the society’s published journals. And for the general historian, articles about industry, religion, education, social history and commentary, and much more can be found within these digitized pages.

The “Making of America” website is a wonderfully rich and historically significant resource that is available for anyone interested in the forming of the United States, whether the interest lies in wanting to discover ancestors and to gain a better understanding of their lives, or in learning about the history of a certain industry in this country. Anyone researching in the United States should consider this website.

Technology Tip of the Month--Adobe Elements: Recompose Tool
by Kay Spears
What is the Recompose Tool you may ask? Here is what Adobe says it is: “The Recompose tool facilitates intelligent resizing of photos without changing important visual content such as people, buildings, animals, and more.” Does that help? I know it went right over my head. So I looked at this tool to see what its purpose is, and here’s my opinion. First of all, if all you are planning to do is “restore” a damaged photograph, I don’t see a reason to use this tool. However, if you want to do some manipulating of space in a photograph this is a pretty handy tool. It is a tool that “re” composes a photograph that may not be as artistically composed as you would want.

To use the tool, open Adobe. On the tool bar close to the bottom, you will see an icon that has a square with anchors at the corners and sides. Attached to this square on the lower right corner is what appears to be a gear. If you hover over this icon with your cursor, a pop-up will appear that says Recompose Tool (W).

In order to experience what this tool does, I suggest you find a landscape photograph that has something on the left and right side with an excessive amount of space in between. In my case, I’m going to use an outside scene with trees on both sides of the photograph and in between those trees, a large amount of grass. When I’m done, the trees will be together.

Open your photograph and click on the Recompose Tool. Notice that your image will have a selection box with anchor boxes on the corners and sides. In my version the tool options are on the bottom of my workspace. You should see some brush tools with + and -. Let’s start with the brush+ tool option. You can make the brush any size you want. You are going to apply/paint on the section of the image that you want to protect, in my case the trees. The color that will be painted on the protected area of the image is a transparent green. You need to be as precise as you can be. When you are done covering the protected area, choose the brush- tool option. This brush will be red and you will cover the area that you don’t want to protect – most of it will be deleted. It is not necessary to use the red brush however, if you don’t pay attention to any distortion that may occur in the area not covered by the red. Once all the areas are covered, click on one of the side anchors and the round brush cursor will change to a small arrow with two points. Drag the side in and watch what happens to your image.

If you used the red brush tool, you should see that area disappearing and the green brush tool area will be moved in as far as you want it to go. Adobe does try to adjust and blend, but in my experience there is usually some cloning that needs to be done afterward.  Experiment with all the anchor points to see what the Recompose Tool can do. If you need to do some correcting to the areas you painted click the Cancel Current Operation or red “no” icon. Doing this will activate the brush tools and the eraser tools in the tool option location. Use the eraser tools to eraser the green or red colors that have been applied to the image.

When you have the image the way you want it, click on the green check mark and you are finished.

Next: Examining the Custom Shape Tool in Elements

Quick-Tip of the Month for Preservation--Photographs
We want to thank our friends at the Indiana Genealogical Society for calling our attention to an article on the National Archives website about how – or whether – to remove photographs from old photo albums. According to the National Archives, though older albums probably are not archival, it may be better to leave the photos intact than to risk worse damage by removing them. Read more here:

As this issue of Genealogy Gems hits your email inbox, The Genealogy Center is finishing a week’s worth of free presentations and events focused on preserving and sharing photographs in conjunction with the American Library Association’s annual Preservation Week – Pass It On. You can participate Friday, May 1, in A Day in Allen County 2015 by taking photographs of anything in Allen County, Indiana, and sending them to us via email (Genealogy [at], uploading them to our Genealogy Center Facebook page, or tagging us (@GenealogyCenter) on Twitter or Instagram and including the hashtag #DayinAllenCo2015.

The other event remaining in our Preservation Week is “A Preservation and Care of Photographs Discussion” Saturday, May 2, from 2 to 4 p.m. in Meeting Rooms B-C on the library’s main floor. The discussion will focus on how to best care for our photographs, as well as how to preserve both the artifacts and images. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own photographs for suggestions about how to best care for them.

A Day in Allen County: May 1, 2015
We invite you to capture a day in Allen County, Indiana! On Friday, May 1, 2015, take pictures of anything and everything that is happening in our county in that twenty-four hour time period, and send them to us! What is your view of Allen County that day? These pictures are not limited to marquee events. We want to capture what is going on throughout the entire community, so pictures can be of people at work, children at play, sporting events, weather and blooming flowers, homes and buildings, traffic scenes, hikers and bikers, and people just hanging out. Include a description you would like put with the picture. If it’s happening in the twenty-four hours of May 1, it’s worth capturing!

Email pictures to Genealogy [at] ACPL.Info
Twitter #DayinAllenCo2015 @GenealogyCenter
Upload pictures at
Instagram #DayinAllenCo2015 @GenealogyCenter

Preservation Week: Pass It On . . . A Preservation and Care of Photographs Discussion
So what are you going to do with all of the photographs you’ve collected: The one of your great-great grandparents’ marriage in 1898; the 1930s black and whites; the Kodachrome color ones from that 1973 family vacation? Join us on Saturday, May 2, 2015, from 2 to 4 p.m. in Meeting Rooms B-C for “A Preservation and Care of Photographs Discussion.”  Remarks will focus on how to best care for our photographs as well as how to preserve both the artifacts and the images, and the bulk of the program will be open discussion. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own photographs for suggestions on how to best care for them.

To register for this free event, call 260-421-1225 or email Genealogy [at] ACPL.Info .

Global Family Reunion Events
The Genealogy Center along with the library’s Children’s Services and Young Adults Services will be hosting free events for the entire family Friday through Sunday, June 5-7, 2015, as an official satellite location of the Global Family Reunion. Outdoor games, board games, photo “booths,” and family history presentations will fill the days. Stay tuned for more specifics.

Start a Family History Journey – This Summer!
Congratulations! You’re on the road to family discovery, wanting to learn more about those who came before you. Maybe you have already experimented on, or talked with older relatives to gain more information, or maybe you are just curious about the paths you can take to build your family tree. The Genealogy Center wants to help you navigate your journey with a series for the beginner – or for those who want to make sure they have the process well in hand. These 90-minute classes will be on the last Saturday of each month, June through September, so join us each month to find the route to your roots.

The first session is “Beginning Your Family History Exploration” on Saturday, June 27, 2015, at 9:30 a.m. in Meeting Room A. Discover the basics of gathering information from your living relatives and family sources, and the importance of organization in the research process. The session will also include a brief overview of what records you may discover in your search, and how they may be used to further your family story. We will introduce you to the census collection at and how to use it as a springboard to other records. Finally, take a tour of The Genealogy Center to familiarize yourself with what you can find.

Next, on Saturday July 25, 2015, join us for “Beyond Just Starting” at 9:30 a.m. in Meeting Room C. Learn how to verify the information you find, and the importance of documenting what you find and where you found it. Discover how to harvest as much information as possible from various records. We will also show you how to use the free FamilySearch website, and provide a virtual tour of The Genealogy Center’s licensed databases.

The series will continue on Saturday, August 29, 2015, and Saturday, September 26, 2015, with “Following up with More Records” and “Beginners Guide to Genealogical Software.” More details about these sessions will appear in future issues of Genealogy Gems. Mark your calendars now to attend!

To register for these free events, call 260-421-1225 or email Genealogy [at] ACPL.Info.

Out and About
Curt Witcher:

May 15, 2015
Federation of Genealogical Societies Luncheon at the National  Genealogical Society Annual Conference, St. Charles Convention Center, St. Charles, MO, noon. Presentation: "Lincoln Lives: 21st Century Access to Resources Documenting the Life and Times of Father Abraham."

June 7, 2015
The Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois One-Day Conference, Temple Beth El, 3610 Dundee Road, Northbrook, IL, 2:30 p.m. Presentation: "Navigating Libraries and Archives from Near and Far."

Area Calendar of Events
George Mather Lecture
3 May 2015 – History Center, 302 East Berry, Fort Wayne, Indiana, 2 p.m. Mark GiaQuinta will present “Samuel Hanna.”

DAR Research Help
6 May 2015 – Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center, 900 Library Plaza, Fort Wayne, Indiana, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. The Mary Penrose Wayne Chapter of the National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) is available to help prospective DAR members research their lineage to prove ancestry to an American Revolutionary Patriot.

Allen County Genealogical Society of Indiana Meeting
13 May 2015 – Allen County Public Library, 900 Library Plaza, Fort Wayne, Indiana, 7 p.m. Curt Sylvester will present “Genealogy by Understanding our Ancestors’ Religious Heritage.”

Muster on the St. Marys: A Time Line Event
16-17 May 2015 – The Old Fort, 1201 Spy Run Ave., Fort Wayne, Indiana, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday.

Allen County Genealogical Society of Indiana Genealogy Technology Group
20 May 2015 – Allen County Public Library, 900 Library Plaza, Fort Wayne, Indiana, 7 p.m.

Memorial Day Observance
24 May 2015 – The Old Fort, 1201 Spy Run Ave., Fort Wayne, Indiana, 1-5 p.m.

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, CG & Curt Witcher, co-editors

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