Genealogy Gems: News from the Allen County Public Library at Fort Wayne, No. 178, December 31, 2018
From: Genealogy Gems (
Date: Mon, 31 Dec 2018 20:03:22 -0500
Genealogy Gems: News from the Allen County Public Library at Fort Wayne
No. 178, December 31, 2018

In this issue:
*A New Year of Amazing Opportunities
*Fiery Trail
*WorldCat: A Catalog for Researchers
*Technology Tip of the Month: Thoughts and Wrap-up of Photograph Identification
*PERSI Gems--
*History Tidbits: A Closeted History
*Library Catalog Insider--Searching for Names in the Catalog
*DNA Interest Group
*Northeast Indiana Jewish Genealogy Society Seminars
*WinterTech 2019 Brightens the New Year
*Staying Informed about Genealogy Center Programming
*Area Calendar of Events
*Genealogy Center Social Media
*Driving Directions to the Library
*Parking at the Library
*Genealogy Center Queries
*Publishing Note

A New Year of Amazing Opportunities
by Curt B. Witcher
I trust your holidays have been nothing short of terrific—gatherings with family and friends to enjoy good times, great food, wonderful memories, and plans for the future. Have you starting memorializing those times in your writings, recordings, and images? Please allow the recent good times to inspire you to engage more consistently and actively in family history pursuits in the 2019.

Since there are just a few days left in the Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center “Family History Holiday Challenge” (and you might be in search of something to do on New Year’s Day!), why not let the season’s family gatherings and good times inspire you to enter the challenge. Find the details at: Enter the contest at: Challenge entries must entered online by January 3, 2019.

Sometimes we all need a bit of a nudge to get started doing things we know we should. If engaging with a holiday challenge isn’t for you, Google any genealogy or family history term or phrase and you will be presented with many opportunities to be both creative and constructive. Around Thanksgiving I stumbled upon an article in the “New York Times” called “Record and Share Your Family History in 5 Steps.” Pick any one of them, or do all of them.

I am particularly fond of individuals writing their experiences and reflections, whether on social media, in an electronic document, as part of one’s genealogical software, or with pen on paper. (Actually all of those methods could be employed!) Those who have the most success are the people who don’t let perfection get in the way of progress. You are not intentionally setting out to write the next award-winning piece of literature or compiling a work for a doctoral thesis; rather, getting your own thoughts, ideas, and reflections in your own words is the objective. These thoughts and reflections are such a rich and meaningful part of *your story.*

A friend and customer of the Genealogy Center, Cheryn Courtney Whitehurst, gave me permission to share her Facebook reflection posted on December 27, 2018 at 10:42 p.m. What a great reflection!

“This past weekend we were in PA on the family farm. So much can happen without planning a thing. My kids got to see a baby lamb go from almost frozen to running jumping and eating from its mom. They explored and found one not so lucky. Life on a farm is hard for those who work it and the animals too.

“Cousins play hard and love hard. They learned from each other, cared for each other. They enjoyed music together, cuddled together, played together. They are all so different with different talents and abilities. Watching them work with and against each other learning lessons was sometimes hard and others heartwarming.

“Grandpa takes them all under his wing teaching them subtle and sometimes not so subtle lessons. I am glad they get a taste of country when on the farm. Grandma tells them stories and they listen and learn. She tells them jokes that they laugh at and try to repeat. They sit in church waiting and watching for her to sing and love it as much as I do.

“I am blessed to be able to watch them grow and love in a place that means so much to me.  A place where an unplanned driveway chat with neighbors and old friends can take 40 min with no complaints. A place where if you are stranded you know the person who stops and comes to your rescue. I am glad my parents are there and surrounded with such good people. It will always be home no matter how far I go.”

Reading that post, my mind flashed back to when my four sons were young and the nothing-short-of-awesome time they had with their grandfather--those memories warm against my heart. Though he is long ago deceased, Cheryn’s post brought him back to life in a special way that prompted me, after so many years, to write more about the days when “Grandpa said . . . !” rang through the house.

May you stumble upon many such opportunities in the New Year!

Fiery Trail
by Cynthia Theusch
For the past few months, we have heard about the major fires that have swept parts of California and the West. There has been massive destruction and loss of homes, schools, businesses, and even entire towns. As genealogists and family history researchers, we know that personal and governmental records and photos were lost and can never be recovered.

Major fires have affected other parts of the country. Besides the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, fires swept through parts of Wisconsin and Michigan at the same time due to extreme drought and deforestation. Ten years later, the Michigan Thumb area experienced another conflagration with even more significant destruction, becoming known as the Great Fire of 1881. The Boston Globe of September 7, 1881, described the disaster in which about twenty villages were completely destroyed. The effects of the flames and ash could be seen in the skies above Boston on Tuesday, which the newspaper called “Yellow Tuesday.” []

I first learned about the Great Fire of 1881 from my third great-grandfather’s obituary, dated 5 October 1928, in the Cass City Chronicles. “In the fire of 1881, he was burned out. At this time, there were four small children. To keep his wife and children from perishing in the heated atmosphere, he dipped water from a well and threw it about them.”

A useful book about the disaster is “Fiery Trial,” written by Judge James H. Lincoln and James L. Donahue; (GC 977.4 L638FI). It highlights some of the survivors’ experiences, which included locating friends and/or family members who did not survive. The following describes the experience of Robert M. Moore, aged 15, who escaped from the wildfire: “Burning firebrands, carried by the wind, fell around him starting small fires. Burning tree limbs crashed to the road. The fire burned the hair off the horses’ legs. They became wild with fright. To calm them, Moore rode on the wagon tongue, holding on to the harness. He also threw wet blankets over the horses and talked them forward until at last they reached the river. Moore drove the horses, still hitched to the wagon, right into the water where he joined many other people, horses, wagons and cattle.”

The fire began in small areas on August 31, but it developed into a massive fire on September 4 and was still going on September 5. In an article about Tuscola County written by Robert L. Rosentreter for the May/June 1991 issue of “Michigan History Magazine” (GC 977.4 M58675C, vol. 1991), the author offers a grim assessment of the fire’s toll. “In the Thumb, the 1881 fires killed 280 people, left 15,000 homeless and destroyed 2,000 square miles of forests, farms and towns. Ironically, the fires benefitted Tuscola by clearing the county’s many cutover lands, which permitted agriculture to expand. Today, [1991] Tuscola ranks seventh among all Michigan counties in agricultural receipts.”

When such devastation occurs in areas where our ancestors lived, we need to realize that most records of schools, churches, stores, townships, and villages were likely destroyed. The counties that suffered major damage from the Great Fire of 1881 were Huron, Sanilac, and Tuscola. To locate family information, we will need to seek out newspaper accounts of the event.

WorldCat: A Catalog for Researchers
by Allison DePrey Singleton
As genealogists, we look at every possible source to help us prove or disprove the information we uncover in our research. A source that may prove to be helpful to many in that effort is WorldCat is a union catalog, a combined catalog of multiple libraries with public access. The catalog contains more than 2.7 billion holdings from thousands of libraries all over the world. How would this help with family history?

Have you ever found a citation of a book that sounds perfect for your research? How do you find a physical copy of the book? How do you determine if it is digitized? You can turn to WorldCat to find out.  On the home screen of WorldCat, you have the option of searching by categories or through everything.  The categories are Books, DVDs, CDs, or Articles. You are also able to Find a Library or do an Advanced Search from this screen. 

The Find a Library function gives you the option to search by library name, zip code, state, or province. The Advanced Search option lets you search with specific terms such as Keyword, Title, Author, Accession Number, ISBN, ISSN, Journal Source, Subject, as well as by Year, Audience, Content, Format, and Language. The simple search on the home screen is for only one type of search. You can put in the title of the material or the author or do a keyword search. 

Once you have done a search, the results will appear with a filter bar located on the left side of the page. The filter bar will allow you to narrow or refine the search. In the brief summaries of the results, you will be able to see at a glance the title, author(s), material format, language, and publisher. This feature will help you to decide immediately on whether to discard some options. You can also use the filter bar to discard results that are not beneficial to your search. However, be careful to not restrict your search too much, since some sources are cataloged differently at different libraries. 

You will want to begin with a broad search and then narrow it down to fit your needs.  If you are specifically looking to see if a title has been digitized, you can click on the eBook filter option under Format on the left side of the page. Not all books have been digitized, especially those that are still under copyright. You may need to search the printed books for additional copies across the country. 

How will WorldCat assist you with your research? It may point you to a book that you might be able to borrow through interlibrary loan to your local library. Alternately, it may reveal a book that cannot be borrowed but is located at a library close to you. Even if these options are not available, you may still have a list of libraries that you can call for prices of photocopies or research services. 

By searching WorldCat, you will have the catalog results of thousands of libraries at your fingertips.  Better yet, you will find information about eBooks located around the world and available just a click away. No matter how you utilize WorldCat, you will benefit from the options available for your research. Happy hunting!

Technology Tip of the Month: Thoughts and Wrap-up of Photograph Identification
by Kay Spears
Now for some thoughts and suggestions on identifying old photographs. Whenever I speak about photographic identification I always say there are five simple steps. Those steps are:

1. Identify the type of photograph. There are a ton of different types of photographs. The five you may be most familiar with are: Daguerreotype, Ambrotype, Tin Type, Carte de Visite aka CDV, and Cabinet Cards. All of these types have timelines associated with them, but they are not the only “types” out there. There are also Cyanotype, Platinotype, Salt Prints, Lantern slides, Stereographs, Wet Gelatin, Dry Gelatin, Photogravure, Woodburytype, Calotype, and these aren’t all the types and processes of early photography. When identifying the type, I suggest a good resource book or website. One of my favorites is a book called “Photographs, Archival Care and Management” by Mary Lynn Ritzenthaler and Diane Vogt O’Connor.

2. Who was the photographer? Finding out information about the photographer goes a long way in pin-pointing a date. Always remember to look at the front and back of the image for the information. Photography wasn’t always a very lucrative business, and photographers were constantly changing their names, addresses, or buying other photographers out. Use city directories and censuses. I have also found that googling the photographer’s name can sometimes harvest oodles of information. Some of that information will open doors that will lead you down other paths, and it’s all great fun. Also, a number of states have started photographer lists. A website I have found to be very helpful is: Langdon's List of 19th & Early 20th Century Photographers.

3. Settings and Locations. This is the step that may lead to a family project and when you may want those experts close at hand. Study the photograph. Break the photograph up in sections, look at the top left, top right, bottom left, bottom right. What do you see? Is it outside? What is the season? Do you recognize the neighborhood? Are the streets paved? Are there electric or gas lights? Is there a car? Is it a studio photograph? Does it have a backdrop? What kind of furniture is in it? Sometimes there are big hints captured in these photographs. As with all of these steps, having a good source is always handy. And, thanks to an eagle-eye reader of last month’s article, I was reminded that cars are released in September of the year before. So it is possible to have a 1957 Ford in 1956.

4. Hair and Clothing. Closely tied to Step 3 is identifying the clothing and hair styles that the people in the photograph are wearing. But remember, not everyone wore the latest fashion. Some people were nonconformists who might just have created their own look. I have a number of copies of American and European fashion plates and use them to keep me on track when trying to date clothing.

5. Match the Clues with Your Knowledge of Family History. Rely on what you know about your family. Question what someone else is telling you. Pull out that handy-dandy pedigree chart you’ve worked on for thirty years and use it. If someone is telling you that is your grandfather Smith is in that Daguerreotype, but you know your grandfather wasn’t born until 1919, question what you are being told.

Use all of the steps in unison. One step is not more important than the other. They should work together and support each other while you search for the answers.

Finally, remember that photographs are captured moments in time. They connect us to our past, and they can tell stories. The photograph itself can tell a story, or there might be a story about the person in that image. We are the ones who need to record the stories of our past. That old family photograph is a good starting point down the path of remembering.

Some sources: PhotoTree - filled with information on identifying photographs, preservation. Loaded with great information. Maureen Taylor Photo Detective Jeremy Rowe’s Vintage Photography Historic Cameras Pictorial Media Archeology Museum Luminous Lint for Connoisseurs of Fine Photography The Cabinet Card Gallery The History of Photography Archives Library of Congress National Archives George Eastman House Victoria and Albert Museum The Daguerreian Society Society of American Archivists American Antiquarian Society American Institute for Conservation of Historic & Artistic Work.

Next article: Further Adventures with Adobe Elements or Oh No! Upgrade Woes

PERSI Gems—New Year’s
by Adam Barrone and Mike Hudson
Happy New Year from the Periodical Source Index (PERSI). 

We aim to provide a tool to locate hard-to-find gems tucked away in genealogical and historical newsletters and journals. Try a search here:

Enjoy these New Year’s citations we found:

Act to halt gunfiring at New Years, 1774
Pennsylvania Dutchman, v.3n.15, Jan. 1952

Boys hold New Year's party on Barney Scheve pond, is still grumpy about it, 1936
Rawlins County (KS) Chronicle, v.25n.2, Apr. 2011

Fort Wayne citizens' wishes for the New Year, Jan. 1, 1914
Allen County (IN) Lines, v.38n.2, Dec. 2013

New Year chanting and butchering, 19th C.
Historical Review of Berks County (PA), v.73n.1, Win. 2007

Public fox hunt, New Year's, 1935
Whitley County (IN) Hist. Soc. Bulletin, v.31n.6, Dec. 1993

Pueblo greets New Year in lusty style, 1955
Pueblo (CO) Lore, v.30n.1, Jan. 2005

Railway Benevolent Institution New Years collection, death and injury, news item, Jan. 1, 1914
Peterborough and District (Ont.) Family History Society, v.33n.1, Mar. 2014

Shanesville Hall collapses New Years Eve, 1881
Tuscarawas (OH) Pioneer Footprints, v.31n.2, Mar. 2003

History Tidbits: A Closeted History
by Allison DePrey Singleton
Have you ever wondered about the history of closets? It is such a routine task to put things away in a closet. We walk by them and use them every day. How did closets become our method of storage? What is the history of closets? Let’s explore.

Throughout most of history, people stored their personal items in movable storage units such as wardrobes, trunks, chests, and cupboards. They did not have built-in storage spaces such as closets. Depending on their financial status, an entire family could live in a single room while the wealthy could afford to have separate sleeping quarters as well as other rooms. They used bedrooms initially as the space to spend time with visitors, to take up hobbies, and spend the day.

During the medieval period, closets made their first appearance. While people used their bedrooms for entertaining, they had no places for privacy. Enter the concept of the closet. These small rooms were used for private reflection, prayer, quiet time, study, storage of valuables, and a place to escape. They became places known for secrets and solitude.

The phrase, “To come out of the closet” is directly related to leaving a place of secrets and solitude.  It means to admit your secrets publicly. It did not get used by the gay community as a metaphor until the 1960s. Previously, it could have meant a number of things related to secrets or skeletons in their closets. Today, the metaphor of “coming out of the closet” is securely tied to the gay community. 

By the mid- to late seventeenth century, the term “closet” had also begun to be used to describe the bathroom. The term “water closet” or WC is still in use today. A privy is also a nod to a closet as a slang term for private. Private is great word to describe the initial use of closets as a place to be alone.
As time went on, closets became increasingly more functional as places of storage for the wealthy, but not so for the poor. Not until the nineteenth century would people of all economic statuses begin to build closets in their houses. It remains an American custom to have modern houses with the number and size of closets that one typically finds in them. Today, you can get a sense of when a house was built by the number and size of closets it contains. 

Library Catalog Insider--Searching for Names in the Catalog
by Kasia Young
I would like to begin by wishing you a very Happy New Year filled with many successful catalog searches!

Did you know that village, city, township and county histories and anniversary books contain a wealth of genealogical information on the residents?

At the Genealogy Center, the catalogers take a great care in inputting the family names into catalog records, so that our rich resources are easily discoverable.

A simple keyword search in the SEARCH THE ACPL CATALOG box will help you find those wonderful publications.

If you just search LAST NAME + FAMILY as a keyword, the result will be all the instances where those two words appear in a catalog record.
For example: Sievers family yields 77 results.

If you search “LAST NAME + FAMILY” as a keyword, the result will be all the instances where that phrase appears in a catalog record.
For example: “Sievers family” yields 10 results.

If you are looking for a specific family name in a specific location, the best strategy is to use “LAST NAME + FAMILY” + *GHL as your search.
For example: "Sivers family" Pottawattamie County Iowa yields only 1 result.
It is a county history entitled: “Pottawattamie County, Iowa : a collection of historical sketches and family histories”, which was published in 1978 by Pottawattamie County History Book Committee. The genealogical information chapter of the book encompasses ¾ of the entire volume, complete with photographs and family trees of the residents. How cool is that?

*GLH stands for geographic location heading (see Genealogy Gems No. 168, February 28, 2018).

Bonus tip for January:

It is acceptable to omit the words VILLAGE, TOWN, CITY, TOWNSHIP, and COUNTY in the keyword search. If the name of the location is unique enough, it is fine to omit name of the state as well.

For example search for: "Sivers family" Pottawattamie Iowa, and "Sivers family" Pottawattamie will yield the same results as "Sivers family" Pottawattamie County Iowa.

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 Meetings on the 1st Thursday of the month to share and learn from each other! Basic information meeting is from 6:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m., followed by a more advanced discussion from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The next meetings are Thursday, January 3, 2019 in the Discovery Center. Come in and share!

Northeast Indiana Jewish Genealogy Society Seminars
The first of two really excellent seminars is fast approaching. The February and May events should be highlighted on your calendar now. They are both going to be presented in the Genealogy Center’s Discovery Center at 2 p.m. at the Main Library, 900 Library Plaza, Fort Wayne, Indiana.

One February 17, 2019, Lara Diamond will speak on Jewish Genealogy and DNA. Ms. Diamond will present “DNA 101: How to use Genetic Testing for Genealogical Research.” After a brief break, she will offer “Sorting Distant Cousins from Close Family,” including the challenges of endogamous populations such as Ashkenazi Jews.  Plan to join us for both talks! Ms. Diamond’s appearance is made possible by a grant from the Dr. Harry W. Salon Foundation.

On May 5, 2019, Dr. Elizabeth Anthony will discuss the International Tracing Service. For more information, see

WinterTech 2019 Brightens the New Year
Our well-received WinterTech programs are offered on the second Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. each November through February, in the Discovery Center! The Allen County Genealogical Society of Indiana’s monthly meetings are held on the same days at 7:00 p.m. It’s been a much appreciated combination for more than two dozen individuals each of these sessions.

“Saving Digitally from Genealogy Center Resources” will be presented on January 9, 2019 at 2:30 p.m. So many great electronic resources are available through The Genealogy Center website, but the mechanics of actually saving what you find to your USB drive can be confusing. Delia Bourne’s presentation will help one discover how to preserve what is found in our various databases, and how to adapt instructions for use on numerous sites.

“Having Your Genealogical Research at Your Fingertips Using Evernote and Hoopla” will be presented by Cynthia Theusch on February 13, 2019 at 2:30, p.m. Do you need help organizing your research? This presentation will teach you various ways to organize your research projects and how to access your research notes from anywhere. Also, you will discover how Hoopla can help you learn new methods for research as well as understanding the history of where your ancestors lived.

For more information, see the brochure at . To register for these free events, call 260-421-1225 or email Genealogy [at] ACPL.Info.

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
January 9, 2019 - Allen County Public Library, 900 Library Plaza, Fort Wayne, Indiana, refreshments & networking begins at 6:30 p.m., program at 7 p.m. ACGSI Members will present “Great Discoveries and Unique Ancestors.”

The George R. Mather Sunday Lecture Series
January 6, 2019 - History Center, 302 E. Berry Street, Fort Wayne, Indiana, 2 p.m. Lecture presented by John Beatty, who will speak on “Susan Man McCulloch: Heirloom Fruits and Traditional Recipes.”

Genealogy Center Social Media

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.  The meters take credit cards and charge at a rate of $1/hour. Street parking is free after 5 p.m. 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 5 p.m. and 11 p.m.

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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