Genealogy Gems: News from the Fort Wayne Library, No. 165, November 30, 2017
From: Genealogy Gems (
Date: Thu, 30 Nov 2017 21:38:51 -0500

Genealogy Gems: News from the Fort Wayne Library
No. 165, November 30, 2017

In this issue:
*Getting in the Spirit of the Season--Family History Style!
*Substitutes of Lost Irish Records: The Rich World of Genealogical Manuscript Collections
*Western Massachusetts Families in 1790
*Technology Tip of the Month--Old photographs--Ambrotypes
*Quick-Tip of the Month for Preservation--Just Do Something!
*History Tidbits: Hanukkah
*DNA Interest Group
*Make Tracks to WinterTech!
*Interested in Jewish Genealogy?
*Staying Informed about Genealogy Center Programming
*Area Calendar of Events
*Driving Directions to the Library
*Parking at the Library
*Genealogy Center Queries
*Publishing Note

Getting in the Spirit of the Season--Family History Style!
by Curt B. Witcher
On the first day of Christmas, for my family history I shared old family photos.

On the second day of Christmas, for my family history I picked a generation to explore further.

On the third day of Christmas, for my family history I made family recipes.

On the fourth day of Christmas, for my family history I interviewed a family member.

On the fifth day of Christmas, for my family history I labeled photos.

On the sixth day of Christmas, for my family history I explored an ancestor's job.

On the seventh day of Christmas, for my family history I found my ancestor's land.

On the eighth day of Christmas, for my family history I worked on a female line.

On the ninth day of Christmas, for my family history I sent in my DNA kit.

On the tenth day of Christmas, for my family history I picked a veteran ancestor to document further.

On the eleventh day of Christmas, for my family history I set aside the funds to register for the FGS conference being held in Fort Wayne, Indiana, August 22-25, 2018.

On the twelfth day of Christmas, for my family history I reserved a room for the FGS conference. (Which you can do at

I just wanted to give you some holiday ideas as well as holiday cheer! Peace and all good things to you and your family during this holiday season and well into the New Year!

Substitutes of Lost Irish Records: The Rich World of Genealogical Manuscript Collections
by John D. Beatty, CG*
On June 30, 1922, the Irish Free State Army launched a shell into the Four Courts Building in Dublin, Ireland, which the anti-treaty forces had used for months as a munitions depot. The ensuing explosion destroyed the Public Record Office and along with it, centuries of valuable archives pertaining to the history and people of Ireland. Census records from 1821 to 1851, wills, court records, and about 1,000 Church of Ireland parish registers were among the treasures lost in the flames. As catastrophic as this loss has been for generations of genealogists, it did not destroy every record of genealogical value in Ireland. Some documents, such as deeds and 20th-century census returns, were kept in other buildings in Dublin. Some churches never sent their parish registers to the Public Record Office. As every Irish genealogist knows, the situation is far from hopeless.

Of the records that were destroyed, copies and abstracts sometimes survive, giving genealogists a way around the terrible record loss. Irish lawyers kept copies of certain wills in the files of their offices, and these are now part of the holdings of various Irish Archives, both in Dublin and Belfast. The Deputy Keeper of Public Records inventoried and indexed certain records that were later lost. These were published in the Deputy Keeper Reports (GC 941.50004 Ir216p). Indexes of lost Irish wills survive for many dioceses.

Also valuable as alternative sources are the papers of certain genealogists, who did research in the Public Record Office before the fire. The earliest of these was Sir William Betham (1779-1853), who was appointed Ulster King of Arms in 1820 and held the office until his death. Using an often sloppy hand, Betham set about the task of abstracting all of the prerogative wills and administrations of Ireland before 1800. A “prerogative” estate was one in which the testator or decedent had holdings in more than one Irish diocese, requiring that the will or estate be probated in a prerogative, rather than diocesan, court. Betham entered the abstracts into notebooks, sometimes noting witnesses and drawing coats of arms if they were contained in a seal on the will. He was often careless in his abstracting and missed some heirs in certain wills, but the collection nonetheless is a goldmine of information. Find My Past (, a subscription website available at the Genealogy Center, offers digital images and every-name indexes of all of the 489,000 records in Betham’s probate collection ( Betham also abstracted more than 21,000 Irish marriage licenses dating from 1629 to 1810, available on Find My Past:  Most of these collections pertain to Irish Protestants, and not Catholics, who, because of the Penal Laws, were disenfranchised in Ireland during this period.

Other important genealogists were Dr. Francis Crossle and his son, Philip Crossle (1875-1953), who abstracted many documents for certain surnames in the pre-fire period. Francis Crossle focused much of his work on the area of Northern Ireland, while Philip worked extensively in the Public Record Office, where he abstracted both diocesan and prerogative wills from across Ireland, as well as marriage records, parish registers, military rosters, deeds, and exchequer bills. If you are lucky enough to have one of the surnames on which Crossle worked, you can find a windfall of useful material, though other associated names will often be found in these papers. The Crossle collection consisting of some 657,000 records is now available digitally and indexed on Find My Past.

Another tireless Irish genealogist working between 1900 and 1920 was Gertrude Thrift.  An indexer of wills, her genealogical manuscripts and pedigrees numbering some 150,000 records are also now available digitally and are searchable on Find My Past. Like Crossle, Thrift worked on selected Irish families, but the Find My Past database allows for a quick search of relevant material on a given surname or individual.

Additional collections of Irish genealogists are becoming available digitally on Familysearch (, while others exist only on microfilm at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, or in libraries and archives in Ireland. Unfortunately, they are not yet indexed there. Notable collections include those of Arthur Tenison Groves, Harry A. S. Upton, and John Joseph Greene, and the Pieces Originales collection of French manuscripts pertaining to Irish-French families. Some of these collections are well worth studying by way of finding aids and catalogs.

David Rencher has written extensively about Irish genealogical manuscript collections. See the attached links: and Rencher also authored a series of detailed articles on this subject for “The Septs,” the publication of the Irish Genealogical Society International, published between 2007 and 2010 in volumes 28 through 30 (GC 929.121 IR391se). These articles discuss manuscript collections in considerable detail, both at Salt Lake City and elsewhere, and for those in the Family History Library, the microfilm numbers are given, which can be easily cross-referenced on the Familysearch website.

**“CG” and “Certified Genealogist” are service marks from the Board for Certification of Genealogists® and are used by authorized associates following periodic, peer-reviewed competency evaluations. Certificate no. 1050, awarded 8 August 2014, expires 8 August 2019.

Western Massachusetts Families in 1790
by Sara Allen
The New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) began the Western Massachusetts Families in 1790 project in 2008 by inviting members to submit biographical sketches for western Massachusetts ancestors, who were listed in the 1790 Massachusetts Federal Census. NEHGS staff and the project editor, Helen Schatvet Ullmann, edited these submissions, added sources, and began publishing the compilations in 2012. Three print volumes have now been released in this ongoing series (GC call number 974.4 UL44WE), while additional submissions have been posted online on NEHGS’s American Ancestors database. 

For the purposes of this series, Western Massachusetts is defined as the two counties of Berkshire and Hampshire according to their 1790 boundaries. It also includes the two modern-day counties of Franklin and Hampden, which broke off from Hampshire County in the early 1800s. The biographical sketches are arranged alphabetically by surname. Each sketch starts out with the 1790 census entry for the family, and then includes the family group in Register format, along with extensive footnotes for most entries. The name of the submitter of the sketch is included, along with contact information. Each volume includes an every-name index to the biographical sketches, as well as a geographical index arranged by state and then by town name.

Let’s examine the entry for Nathaniel Chapman (vol. 1, pg. 74ff), father of John Chapman, aka Johnny Appleseed, as an example. According to the 1790 census enumeration, the Chapman family lived in Longmeadow, Hampshire County, Massachusetts, and consisted of 1 white male over 16, 2 white males under 16, and 2 white females. In the sketch we learn that this entry points to a household headed by Nathaniel Chapman, born in 1746, and various members of his family unit that included at different times: first wife, Elizabeth (Symonds) Chapman and their three children (including John born 1774); and second wife Lucy (Cooley) Chapman and their ten children. The entry contains detailed information, such as parentage for Nathaniel and his wives, exact dates of birth for the children, and biographical and death information for eight of the children. The sketch was submitted by Judy Bedford.

This is an important resource, similar to the “Vermont Families in 1791” series by the Genealogical Society of Vermont and the “Maine Families in 1790” series by the Maine Genealogical Society. It covers a time period when fewer records are available at the town and county level in New England and helps to fill this gap. The set is recommended for all early New England researchers.

Technology Tip of the Month--Old photographs--Ambrotypes
by Kay Spears
I will be honest – I am a nerd. There’s nothing I like better than a giant box of old dusty photographs. For years, I had read about a certain type of photograph called an ambrotype and occasionally had been able to look at some brought in by patrons. But I was never able to spend any length of time with one in order to examine it closely. So, imagine my excitement when a giant box of donations crossed my desk and inside of that box was not one, but three ambrotypes. And, for ambrotypes they were in pretty good shape. Why are ambrotypes so special for me? Because they are made out of glass. They are like little jewels with images on them. They also should not be confused with glass negatives. I’m sure you know without me even telling you that because they are glass, they are also very fragile.

Let’s meet the Ambrotype. The ambrotype was around for a short time, so if you have one in your collection and you are trying to put a date on it, you have a small window open to you. Ambrotypes were popular between approximately 1854 and 1866 – only about twelve years. They may be packaged in a case like daguerreotypes (if you are lucky). Though they do not have the shine of a daguerreotype and unlike daguerreotypes they do not tarnish. But they have other problems, especially if they are out of their case. One of the biggest problems, besides breaking, is that they will flake, and here’s why.  The process of creating an ambrotype may vary from photographer to photographer, but here is sort of the basics: a piece of glass is coated with a silver solution and then exposed to light. The early ones were then backed by a piece of cloth, metal, secondary glass or even painted with dark varnish on the back. Later on, a piece of “ruby” glass was used, (sometimes dark green glass). When the “ruby” glass was used, additional backing was not needed. This type of ambrotype was popular starting around 1858.

While ambrotypes are really fragile, the resulting images from them are remarkable in their detail. When you have an ambrotype, pay attention to whether it’s still in its casing, along with its matte and preserver. Rule of thumb: the simpler the design of the case, matte, and preserver, the older the image. If the image is sandwiched between two pieces of glass, it was probably taken between 1855 and 1857. If the image is on colored glass, the date would have to be after 1858. Make sure you look at the clothing and hairstyle in the photograph to help you come up with a better date. Remember, you have a pretty small timeline with which to work when you have an ambrotype, so that’s a good thing.

How do you store an ambrotype? As with all artifacts, handle these carefully. Record all the information you can, the condition of the ambrotype, every little detail your eye sees. Then carefully scan it – carefully. Now you are ready to put it away and never touch it again. Oh yes – warning Will Robinson! If you are not a qualified archivist, do not try to clean it, do not use any chemicals on the matte or preserver, and do not even try to brush the surface with even the softest of brush, if there are two pieces of glass do not take them apart. In fact, if they are still in their case (no matter how mangled it might be) do not take it apart. A lot of do nots, aren’t there?

Storage recommendations from Photographs, Archival Care and Management by Mary Lynn Ritzenthaler & Diane Vogt-O’Connor: if the ambrotypes are still in their case, they should be wrapped individually and stored flat in a single layer in a shallow drawer or document box. Best practice should be to lay images facedown. If the ambrotypes are not in their case, then a case/container can be cut from four-ply alkaline buffered museum board. Because you will sandwich the photograph between these two boards, they should be the approximate size of the image; you don’t want too much wiggle room. Position the image between the boards and tie with archival linen string/ribbon. The knots of this string/ribbon should be tied on the sides. This package should then be stored just like the one still in its case. Limit the amount of handling, which is why you record everything before you get to the point you are putting it away in storage.

Recommendations: PhotoTree
Mary Lynn Ritzentahler & Diane Vogt-Conner. Photographs, Archival Care and Management, IPC Print Services, St. Joseph, MI. 2006 Archival Supplies Archival Supplies Archival Supplies Archival Supplies 

Northeast Document Conservation Center
100 Brickstone Square
Andover, MA 01810
Phone: 978-470-1010
Fax: 978-475-6021
Email: info [at]
ICA Art Conservation
2915 Detroit Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44113
p 216.658.8700

Next month: Old photographs, Tintypes

Quick-Tip of the Month for Preservation--Just Do Something!
As we look toward the end of another year filled with fires, floods, and storms of all types, the best tip for this month is to just do something. Many continue to wait for the right time, or promise themselves that the perfect day to preserve and archive is just around the corner. And then disaster strikes, and it’s too late. All of the I-wish-I-would-have statements are wasted breath after a catastrophic event. Begin the journey to a preserved collection of family history materials today by just doing something.

by Adam Barrone and Michael Hudson
Through our genealogical work, we treasure and celebrate the value of family.  We carefully document life events beginning at birth and progressing through childhood, adulthood, and advanced age.  This month we feature families which experienced a very special life event:  a multiple birth.

Soon after a young Barrone couple dug out from the exceptionally-severe Blizzard of 1978, a trip to the hospital brought an earlier-than-expected pair of infants.  After a lengthy hospital stay, the twins came home, first the little girl, and later the future genealogist.  The new parents called in reinforcements.  Two grandmothers and an aunt formed a rotating schedule ready to handle double the life events, some messier than others.  Through family history we record the stories of the caregivers who gave us our starts in life.

The Periodical Source Index (PERSI) is a vital tool in researching the babies and their caregivers who have gone before.  Try a search here:

Here are a few of the multiple births we found:

Adam and Eve Eve twins baptism notice, 1829, High Easter, England
Essex (Eng.) Family Historian, n.136, Jun. 2010

Ann Palgrave-Dr. Edward Rigby quadruplets named Primus, Secundus, Tertius, Quarta, 1815, Eng.
Greenwood Tree (Somerset & Dorset Fam. His. Soc., Eng.), v.13n.2, Apr. 1988

Census collector encounters man from Hulme with newborn twins, nobody sleeps in his house, 1851
Family History Society of Cheshire (Eng.) Journal, v.14n.4, Jun. 1985

Dionne quintuplets on train passing through Sault Ste. Marie, photo and note, Jan. 24, 1952
River Soundings (Chippewa County Historical Society, MI), n.55, Apr. 2009

Doctor J. F. Deadman-Sophronia Eagle wedding notice, 1893, MI
Mrs. J. F. Deadman triplets birth notice, b. 1897, MI
Chippewa (MI) Gentalk, v.11n.4, Oct. 2011

Flake M. Keys-Alma Curry and quadruplet daughters family history, cover photo, 1903-1997, TX
Tree Tracers (Southwest Oklahoma Gen. Soc.), v.25n.1, Sep 2010

Sidney, Sylvester, Sedate Windecker, triplets, b. 1844, NY
Lewis County (NY) Hist. Soc. Journal, v.28, Nov. 2002

History Tidbits: Hanukkah
by Allison DePrey Singleton
Last December we covered Christmas, so this year we are examining another holiday that typically falls during this month. Hanukkah, or Chanukah, was once a minor Jewish holiday that has grown into a major holiday alongside Christmas. Unlike the major Jewish holidays of Passover and Rosh Hashanah, Hanukkah does not require a day of rest or special clothing. People go to work and do their regular activities during Hanukkah until prayer time in the evening. The celebration lasts eight nights, and a candle is lit every evening. The reason Hanukkah has grown into a major holiday in the Jewish communities is due to competition with Christmas. 

While the religious beliefs behind Hanukkah and Christmas differ, they both involve the giving of gifts that interest especially children. December is a time for gifts, surprises, family gatherings, and traditions. Even if a culture does not celebrate Christmas, it is bound to find aspects of the holiday trickling into its own religious traditions. This has occurred with increased gift giving during Hanukkah. Traditionally, children received Hanukkah gelt (coins), but this has morphed into the giving of gifts each day of the holiday, along with the Hanukkah gelt.

Hanukkah’s origin is fascinating and miraculous. The Jewish people suffered oppression under their ruler, Antiochus IV Epiphanes, in the land of Judea around 168 B.C. After outlawing the Jewish religion, he sent soldiers to Jerusalem to massacre and desecrate their temple. A rebellion began under the leadership of Mattathias, a Jewish priest, and then followed by his son, Judah Maccabee. The rebellion proved successful, and the Second Temple was cleansed. Judah had the altar rebuilt and lit the menorah, a candelabra with nine places for candles. The temple leaders only had enough oil to keep the menorah lit for one evening. However, the miracle occurred when it stayed lit for eight nights until more oil could be procured. Hanukkah is the celebration of the rededication of the second temple in Jerusalem and the miracle of the menorah remaining lit. 

Hanukkah traditions include eating foods fried in oil, prayers, songs, and playing with the dreidel, a four-sided top. Each evening celebrants light a candle until all eight are lit at once. The ninth candle on the menorah is the helper used to light the other candles on their proper evenings. These traditions are passed down from generation to generation and morph with the changing times just like every other holiday. It is important to remember these traditions and family ties that make us who we are today. 

No matter what holiday you celebrate this December, enjoy your time with your family and friends. Happy Holidays!

DNA and Genealogy Interest Group
Have you done a DNA test for genealogical purposes? Do you completely understand the results you received? Do you need advice in interpreting your results? Are you interested and wonder what the best test is for you? Come to the DNA & Genealogy Interest Group Meeting on the 1st Thursday of the month from 6:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. to share and learn from each other! The next meeting is Thursday, December 7, 2017. Come in and share!

Make Tracks to WinterTech!
Be sure to attend December’s WinterTech program, "Using Evernote for Your Genealogical Research," presented by Cynthia Theusch on Wednesday, December 13, 2017, 2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m., in the Discovery Center. Evernote is a digital notebook that interfaces between your computer, smartphone, and tablet. Enhance your notes with links, checklists, tables, attachments, and audio recordings. Even handwritten notes are searchable. Learn how Evernote can help you in all areas of your family history research.  Remember, WinterTech is offered in the afternoons of the Allen County Genealogical Society of Indiana’s monthly meeting, so stay to hear Curt Witcher present “The Genealogy Center Online,” in Meeting Room A at 7:00 p.m.

Delia Bourne will continue the WinterTech in January with "Finding Free Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps Online" and Melissa Tennant will finish the series with "On the Record: African American Newspapers" in February. For more information about each session, see the WinterTech brochure at . To register for any of these free events, call 260-421-1225 or email Genealogy [at] ACPL.Info.

Interested in Jewish Genealogy?
Work is underway to establish a local chapter of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies to serve Northeast Indiana. Activities would include exchanging ideas, working on projects of interest, and connecting to the broader Jewish genealogical community. If you are interested in becoming a member, please send an email confirming your interest to the Allen County Public Library' Genealogy Center at Genealogy [at]

Staying Informed about Genealogy Center Programming
Do you want to know what we’ve got planned? Are you interested in one of our events, but forget? We are now offering email updates for The Genealogy Center’s programming schedule.  Don’t miss out!  Sign up at

Area Calendar of Events
Allen County Genealogical Society of Indiana, Inc. (ACGSI) Monthly Program
December 13, 2017- Allen County Public Library, 900 Library Plaza, Fort Wayne, Indiana, refreshments & networking begins at 6:30 p.m., program at 7 p.m. Curt Witcher will present “The Genealogy Center Online.”

Mary Penrose Wayne DAR Chapter Library Help Day for Prospective Members
December 6, 2017 – The Genealogy Center, Allen County Public Library, 900 Library Plaza, Fort Wayne, Indiana, 10 - 4 p.m. Members of the Mary Penrose Wayne Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution will provide help to those interested in joining the D.A.R. who would like advice and assistance in their research. No appointment is necessary.

The George R. Mather Lecture Series
January 7, 2018 – The History Center, 302 East Berry Street, Fort Wayne, Indiana, 2 p.m.
Jason Kissel presents "ACRES Land Trust: Preserving Places and Their History."

Festival of Gingerbread
December 1-10, 2017 - The History Center, 302 East Berry Street, Fort Wayne, Indiana, “Festival of Gingerbread.”

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 302.  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 312.  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 B. Witcher and John D. Beatty, CG, co-editors

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