Genealogy Gems: News from the Fort Wayne Library, No. 140, October 31, 2015
From: Genealogy Gems (
Date: Sat, 31 Oct 2015 21:27:16 -0400
Genealogy Gems: News from the Fort Wayne Library
No. 140, October 31, 2015

In this issue:
*Good to Great
*Passports of Southeastern Pioneers, 1770-1823
*Technology Tip of the Month--Technology Snafu: A Minor Mac-Windows Hiccup Part II: In Search of a Macintosh
*Quick-Tip of the Month for Preservation--How to Begin Caring for Audio & Audio-Visual Materials
*Winter is Coming!
*Out & About
*Area Calendar of Events
*Driving Directions to the Library
*Parking at the Library
*Queries for The Genealogy Center

Good to Great
by Curt B. Witcher
Yes, it is the title of an award-winning Jim Collins book from nearly a decade and a half ago. But it is also the theme for my column this month. The Genealogy Center is on a march from good to great, and we invite you to join us--both along the way and as we celebrate accomplishments. 

Small Renovation--Large Impact

In the middle of November, without a lot of noticeable disruption and with no closures to The Genealogy Center, a modest but significant renovation project will start inside The Center. The eastern half of the Microtext Reading Room will be converted into a digital classroom we are going to call a Discovery Center, and the seldom-used orientation area just inside the entrance to The Genealogy Center will be converted into an area devoted to oral history.

Since the waning years of the last decade, we have noticed a significant drop in microtext usage. That drop is understandable, and indeed quite predictable, as so many records previously available only on National Archives microfilm are now not only available online, but available in ways and with indices that exponentially enhance discoverability. Layer on top of that all the microfilm digitizing being done by FamilySearch, and the massive new digitization projects being accomplished by nearly all the information aggregators in the family history space, and one can quickly understand how we went from using nearly sixty thousand pieces of microtext per month to currently never topping three thousand items used per month.

What to do with all that underutilized space? Still very committed to our high tech-high touch customer service posture, Genealogy Center staff contemplated how to use that space for formal and informal learning opportunities, for pop-up information sessions to orient new researchers and assist visiting groups with more effective use of The Center, and as a space where family historians of all ages and interests could explore new technologies. Inspired by our friends at FamilySearch, we moved toward the creation of a Discovery Center in this space. While it won’t exactly match what one can do in a FamilySearch Discovery Center, we will grow our way in that direction.

Though a substantial portion of our microtext collection is now online, many unique and valuable resources are accessible only in a microtext format. Hence, we will still have more than enough microtext readers to satisfy customers’ needs after the renovation is completed, and we’ve actually increased our complement of digital, microtext reader-printers by adding two new ScanView III machines.

The same effects of changing technology impacted our orientation area. We went from dozens of on-site orientation video views per week to the vast majority of our views now being online. Clearly, this modestly sized orientation area is also underutilized. Since The Genealogy Center team, our customers, and the overall library have increasingly thought and spoken about the power of story, now seemed like a great time to take some action. We recognize and appreciate the importance of both finding and telling our family stories. Why not create a space where interested individuals enjoy being trained and mentored on best practices for interviewing? Why not have a dedicated area inside The Genealogy Center to welcome interviewing and the telling of life stories?

We anticipate construction of these two engaging spaces to be completed near the end of 2015. I want to give a special shout-out to the Allen County Public Library Foundation for understanding our vision, and for so generously supporting these projects.

One Story--Many Lives

For the last several years, StoryCorps has designated Thanksgiving as a day of listening. This year, they are raising the bar. “This coming Thanksgiving weekend StoryCorps is working with teachers and high school students across the country to preserve the voices and stories of an entire generation of Americans over a single holiday weekend. Open to everyone, The Great Thanksgiving Listen is a national assignment to engage people of all ages in the act of listening. The pilot project is specially designed for students ages 13 and over as part of a social studies, history, civics, government, journalism, or political science class, or as an extracurricular activity. All that is needed to participate is a smartphone and the StoryCorps mobile app.”

Since the abovementioned program truly is open to everyone, each of us could commit to our own “Great Thanksgiving Listen.” Use the StoryCorps App found by Googling “Great Thanksgiving Listen” or simply talk with relatives at holiday gatherings during this last weekend of November. Set a high goal for yourself. Each of the four days of Thanksgiving weekend, commit to talking with one relative about his or her life--one story each day. Collectively, those single stories will combine with your genealogical data to create an even fuller and richer story of your family’s history.

One story each day will enhance not only your family’s story; your family’s stories will enrich our communities’ and our country’s stories. If you really want to go crazy and raise the bar almost out of sight, commit to talking with relatives about their life stories for the same number of hours as you commit to Black Friday and “black weekend” shopping!

One Soldier--Many Lives, Sacrifices, and Stories

Veterans’ Day—“A celebration to honor America's veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.” November 11th will again afford us an opportunity to remember our veterans and memorialize their sacrifices, as well as their stories. Make this Veterans’ Day a day of active remembering. Honor members of your family currently in military service, as well as your military ancestors, by writing biographical sketches, capturing images of photographs and military documents, and sharing them with relatives.

Compiling information about your ancestors’ military contributions and placing that information where it will be preserved and presented to generations of interested researchers and genealogists is an important and meaningful way of honoring and paying tribute. I have a suggestion for a twenty-first century military tribute. Identify an image of a military ancestor, capture an image of one document (or more!) relating to that person’s military experience, write a 250 word (or more!) biographical sketch of that person, and send those three items as email attachments to Genealogy [at] ACPL.Info for inclusion on Our Military Heritage website. Your ancestor will be honored, you will be honoring, and we will be honored as well.

That is truly celebrating Veterans Day! And if you’re in the area on Veterans Day itself, stop by the Allen County Public Library at 7 p.m. to hear my presentation entitled, “Roll Call: New Sites and Sources for Military Records and Research.”

Passports of Southeastern Pioneers, 1770-1823
by Delia Bourne
Travel across the North American continent was not easy in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Movement south or west from the east coast colonies might entail passage through territory controlled by British, Spanish, French, and Native American forces. Although Native American affairs, including travel, fell under federal control, as did foreign travel, various people and offices issued passports. Dorothy Williams Potter’s “Passports of Southeastern Pioneers, 1770-1823” (975 P85P) contains records of passports and other travel documents.

Passports authorized travel for purposes of trade, to collect debts, to recover stolen or strayed goods and chattels, to visit with a view toward settlement or to just travel through. Character references were often provided and effort was made to deny access to those who might trouble the public peace. There were no standardized forms, only requests for passports, generally by letter.

The volume is divided into sections, including: Spanish passports for the Mississippi Valley;
British and Spanish passports for West Florida; War Department passports for various Indian agencies including Creek, Choctaw and Chickasaw, and Cherokee; State Department passports into the Southwest Territory, Mississippi Territory, Louisiana, Orleans and Missouri Territory (including Illinois); and state issued passports from Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee and Kentucky. Each section provides historical background to the area and contemporary events. The volume includes a name and subject (location) index, and an excellent section of notes and references.
Some of the documents transcribed include letters, such as the 1796 correspondence of Andrew Pickens of Hopewell, thanking James Robertson of Tennessee for hospitality extended to Pickens’s nephew Ebenezer Miller, or the 1801 Creek Agency letter of Benjamin Hawkins noting that John Elijah Ofin had a pass from the governor of New Orleans. African American slaves were often named when transported through or into an area, as was the case with 14 year old Sam, about four feet nine inches tall, who was transported through Indian Territory in 1812 by Major Neal.

Other mentions of “intruders” are included. Silas Dinsmoor, of Knoxville, submitted to Tennessee Governor Siever a list of all non-Native residents of the area in 1797, noting names, ethnic connection and occupation. Aside from Americans, there are men from Scotland, Ireland, England and the Netherlands. Most were traders or the servants and hirelings of those traders, including Jack Civils, a trader and his servant Anthony Civils, both listed as Negro. Some were identified as undesirable, such as Bob Kilgore (“the worst of bad characters”), George Philips (“ranks among the most worthless”), Thomas Tunbridge (“trader who bears the worst of bad character”), and Jacob Hogner (“a stolen horse buyer of bad character").

This is a valuable resource for those researching early American travelers, as well as being a fascinating read for anyone interested in history.

by Melissa C. Tennant
For those seeking ancestors, “Photogrammar” <>, a website hosted by Yale University, is not name-rich, but does provide a rich visual landscape of the Great Depression and World War II. With 170,000 photographs spanning the years from 1935 to 1946, this site’s extraordinary images encapsulate stories ranging from the haunting to the jovial.

Collections include those created by the United States Farm Security Administration and the Domestic and Overseas Operations Branches of the Office of War Information (FSA-OWI); the Office of Emergency Management – Office of War Information, which features News Bureau photographs; as well as the Portrait of America photographs.

Using the site’s interactive map, one can narrow the results of a search by date range or the name of a photographer. Zooming in on the map, one can select a location that is of interest. For example, selecting Monongalia County, WV, yielded 300 pictures taken from 1935 to 1938, while choosing its neighbor, Marion County, produced only four images taken in January, 1939. The photographs depict scenes ranging from towns to local farms and mining camps to individuals. Though a majority of the individuals are not identified, browsing through a specific locality’s images could lead to the discovery of a familial relation.

For those wanting to search for something specific, complete a general search by keyword or a more advanced search by photographer, lot number (photographic assignment designation), classification tags (subject headings), location (state, county, city), or date range. Based on the photo classification, a listing of similar photos is provided for researchers interested in finding images on a particular subject.

For anyone interested in the history of a region, the plight of Americans struggling through the Great Depression and World War II, the joys of a growing nation, or in discovering an image of a family member, the “Photogrammar” website is an easy-to-use and fascinating digital gallery worth exploring.

Technology Tip of the Month--Technology Snafu: A Minor Mac-Windows Hiccup Part II: In Search of a Macintosh
by Kay Spears
In the last article, we left off with a lovely family history donation which was missing some photographs. The original document had been created on a Macintosh computer and the missing images had been copy/pasted. For whatever reason, our Windows computer was not able to “see” those images. This is what we had to do – we had to find a Macintosh computer. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? I found just one in a sea of Windows devices.

When I opened the donation on our one Macintosh – Voila – I could see the images. However, it wouldn’t do any good to save the document again as a PDF in a Macintosh environment, because when I opened it up in Windows the images which I could see a few minutes before would still not be there. It was at this point that a “what if” came to mind. What if I saved this as a Microsoft Word document on the Macintosh, then saved the Word document as a PDF on a Windows computer? That is just what I did. And, there they were again – all those lovely images. There was just one itsy-bitsy problem. Saving the PDF to a Word document had reformatted all the pages. This changed the page numbering, which made the wonderful table of contents and the fantastic index irrelevant. It was time for another “what if” moment. What if I “copied” the images in the Word document and “pasted” them into the original PDF document? Because I have Adobe Acrobat, that is exactly what I did. Now, the images were restored and the table of contents and index were once again relevant.

I also experimented with taking each page that had a missing image out of the PDF file, saving just that page in Word, inserting the image, then saving it as a PDF and inserting it back into the original PDF file. Both methods worked.

What do we learn from this little snafu? We learn that sometimes there are little unexpected computer glitches, sometimes different platforms don’t communicate properly, but with a little patience, a teeny bit of persistence and one Macintosh, we can find a work-around.

Next article: An Excel snafu.

Quick-Tip of the Month for Preservation--How to Begin Caring for Audio & Audio-Visual Materials
This month’s quick tip is to begin paying more consistent attention to preserving and passing along audio and audio-visual recordings. Whether we have old, audio cassette tapes, super-8 movies, VHS, BETA, and micro-recorder tapes, or iPad and smart-phone videos, paying some worthwhile attention to preserving these treasures will help ensure that generations of family members are able to enjoy them.

Focusing on the legacy materials (and leaving the iPad and smart phone galleries for another time), one quickly discovers that the Library of Congress has many web pages devoted to information on preserving all kinds of audio-visual formats. <>

Most of us have learned that, for nearly every interest, there is an association devoted to serving that interest. In the audio preservation context, the Association for Recorded Sound Collections is one useful resource. Their webpage <> provides the following introduction:

“The Association for Recorded Sound Collections, Inc. (ARSC) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and study of sound recordings—in all genres of music and speech, in all formats, and from all periods. (This organization) is unique in bringing together private individuals and institutional professionals. Archivists, librarians, and curators representing many of the world’s leading audiovisual repositories participate  . . . alongside record collectors, record dealers, researchers, historians, discographers, musicians, engineers, producers, reviewers, and broadcasters.”

The following URL is a link to a free, downloadable, 252-page work entitled, “ARSC Guide to Audio Preservation.” <> Though it may be a bit technical, and a lengthy read, the easily digested, stand-alone chapters make it quite useable and useful.

Finally, continue to embrace the old adage that “lots of copies keeps stuff safe,” and share good copies of your audio and audio-visual recordings with other family members and interested organizations.

by Adam Barrone and Mike Hudson
Have you ever found an old clipping, school souvenir, club membership list, or some other bit of ephemera which you think might help another researcher?  The next time you do, consider submitting it to the editor of your local genealogical newsletter or one which focuses on the geographical area associated with your found item.  When published, your submission will likely find its way to our library shelves and then gain an entry in PERSI, so that it can be found more easily by researchers far and wide.  The Periodical Source Index (PERSI) can be searched online at:

We are grateful to all who work to publish items of lasting value in society newsletters and journals.  Hats off to those who submitted these gems for publication:

Bear hunters' prank, prop dead bear's skull in Dr. R. K. Trueblood's dentist chair, 1939
Glendale Arizona Historical Society Newsletter, v.31n.2, Feb. 2011

Boston Burt shot mother-in-law, was captured, married men think he should be acquitted, 1881, SC
Homeplace (Old Edgefield Dist. African American Genealogical Society, SC), v.5n.2, Sum. 2010

Boy steals watermelons from Sherman's Stock Farm, chased with whip, falls into grave, 1886, n.p.
Historian (Burrillville Historical & Preservation Society, RI), Jun. 2010

Buster Scott, man with the largest feet in the world, shoe size 42, visits Marshall, 1939
Searcy County Ancestor Information Exchange (AR), v.20n.3, Oct. 2010

Button, pet chicken of Mrs. J. J. Douglass, death notice and tribute, d. 1884, Aurora, NE
Plainsman News (NE), Sum. 2011

C. W. McDonald newspaper editorial against the blatant blatherskites who shot off windy bazoos, 1885
Kanhistique (KS), v.7n.2, Jun. 1981

Winter Is Coming!
And that means WinterTech 2015-2016 is just around the corner! WinterTech is The Genealogy Center’s annual series, held November through February, featuring technology-based programs on the afternoons of the monthly ACGSI meetings (second Wednesday of each month). This enables you to attend two genealogy events in one day!

WinterTech starts off in November with John Beatty presenting “Ireland Online,” a close-up look at FindMyPast and other Irish databases, on Wednesday, November 11, 2015, 2:30-3:30 p.m., in Meeting Room A. Stay until 7 p.m., and join ACGSI, also in Meeting Room A, to hear Curt Witcher present “Roll Call: New Sites and Sources for Military Records and Research.”

Melissa Tennant continues WinterTech in December with “Where Art Thou, PERSI?” on Wednesday, December 9, 2015, 2:30-3:30 p.m., in Meeting Room B&C. Cynthia Theusch will present “Technology Tour of The Genealogy Center,” Wednesday, January 13, 2016, 2:30–3:30 p.m., in Meeting Room B&C. And Delia Bourne will finish the series on Wednesday, February 10, 2016, 2:30–3:30 p.m., in Meeting Room C, with “Hear Ye, Hear Ye! Using the African American Historical Newspapers Databases.” For more information about each session, see the brochure at . To register for any of these free events, call 260-421-1225 or email Genealogy [at] ACPL.Info .

So join us the second Wednesday of each of the next four chilly months and let technology keep you warm and your research hot!

Out & About
Curt Witcher
11 November 2015
Fort Wayne, IN, Allen County Public Library, 900 Library Plaza, Fort Wayne, IN. Allen County Genealogical Society of Indiana program, 6:30 p.m. refreshments, 7:00 p.m. presentation. Presenting: “Roll Call: New Sites and Sources for Military Records and Research”

14 November 2015
Troy, MI, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, 5500 North Adams Troy, MI 48098. Joint program between the Detroit Society for Genealogical Research and the Oakland County Genealogical Society, 1:00 p.m. Presenting: “Planning & Preparing for a Successful Research Trip”

15 November 2015
Fort Wayne, IN, Allen County Public Library, 900 Library Plaza, Fort Wayne, IN. Collaborative program with Congregation Achduth Vesholom, the IPFW Institute for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, the Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center, and the Campus Outreach Lecture Program of the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, supported by Jack and Goldie Wolfe Miller, 1:00 p.m. Co-presenting: "Genealogy and the Holocaust"

21 November 2015
Ashley, IN, Masonic Lodge Hall, 223 West Hobart Street, Ashley, IN, DeKalb County Historical Society Annual Banquet, 6 p.m. Presenting: “Celebrate Indiana’s Bicentennial With Your Family History”

Area Calendar of Events
George R. Mather Lecture
01 November 2015 – History Center, 302 East Berry St., Fort Wayne, IN, 2 p.m. Kayleen Reusser will present, “WWII Legacies: Stories or Northeast Indiana Veterans.”

Miami Indian Heritage Days
November 7-8, 2015 - Chief Richardville House, 5705 Bluffton Road, Fort Wayne, IN, 10:00-5:00 Saturday, 12:00-4:00 Sunday. Traders' Days - traditional Miami and regional tribes' crafts, goods, and wares for sale, as well as hands on demonstrations and interactive educational programs.

ACGSI Meeting
11 November 2015 – Allen County Public Library, 900 Library Plaza, 7 p.m. Curt Witcher will present, “Roll Call: New Sites and Sources for Military Records and Research.”
ACGSI Genealogy Technology Group
18 November 2015 – Allen County Public Library, 900 Library Plaza, Fort Wayne, Indiana, 7 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.

Curt Witcher, co-editor and Steven Myers, guest co-editor
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