Genealogy Gems: News from the Allen County Public Library at Fort Wayne, No. 193, March 31, 2020
From: Genealogy Gems (
Date: Tue, 31 Mar 2020 21:33:27 -0400
Genealogy Gems: News from the Allen County Public Library at Fort Wayne
No. 193, March 31, 2020

In this issue:
*Finding the Bonus . . .
*Read from Home: Internet Archive
*Blacks in Gold Rush California
*Technology Tip of the Month: Guided Tab, Special Edits, Replace Background, and Select Tool Brush
*PERSI Gems--Recovery
*History Tidbits: 102 Years Ago, the 1918 Influenza Pandemic
*Library Catalog Insider--Discovery of Electronic Resources
*DNA and Genealogy Interest Group Meeting Cancelled and Pushed Online
*April Technology in Genealogy User Group Meeting Cancelled
*Preservation Week Is Cancelled.
*Staying Informed about Genealogy Center Programming
*Area Calendar of Events Cancelled
*Genealogy Center Social Media
*Driving Directions to the Library
*Parking at the Library
*Genealogy Center Queries
*Publishing Note

Finding the Bonus . . .
by Curt B. Witcher
Last month we wrote about the extra day the leap brought to us. It appears that we can talk about “the extra” or “the bonus” again this month. In February, we discussed the extra day and how we might leverage that to our family history advantage. This month, many of us can muse about the extra time we have due to COVID19 related stay-at-home orders. When life throws us a challenge, it’s worthwhile on so many levels to pick up that challenge and do something meaningful with it.  

We should take advantage of this situation that we did not ask for by committing to actively advancing our family history discovery endeavors. Our first challenge is to stay healthy and help our family and friends to stay healthy. The second challenge is to make good use of the time to find our families’ stories.

This afternoon at 2:30 p.m. I did a virtual program on Zoom about interviewing family members to assist us in finding our stories. For some of us, it might be a good time to interview those family members with whom we are sequestered. You might be surprised at all the stories you discover for the first time. And you can reach out through Skype, Facebook Live, and other platforms to talk with those distant relatives. (My presentation slide deck is posted on the Genealogy Center Facebook page under “Events.” The recorded program will appear in a few weeks on the Allen County Public Library’s YouTube channel in the Genealogy section.)

There are many other ways we can further our family history endeavors with all the “found” time at home. In the April 2020 (V. 4, N.4, P.1) issue of “Descendants,” the newsletter of the Contra Costa County Genealogical Society, their president, Madeline Yanov, provides her members with ten great activities they can engage in during these trying times. Madeline wishes to acknowledge a LegacyTree blog that inspired some of the tips she articulated.

1. Journal about the 2020 Coronavirus Pandemic.
2. Start a family history scrapbook using Snapfish or Shutterfly.
3. Record your own life story.
4. Track your family traditions.
5. Use the FamilySearch Wiki to help further your research.
6. Scan and organize your old family photographs (make sure to identify them!).
7. Clean up your online trees and get rid of duplicates and bad entries.
8. Map your ancestors and track their migration.
9. Volunteer to index FamilySearch records.
10. Take advantage of FREE genealogy webinars, podcasts, and other online opportunities.

One of my colleagues pointed me to a great list of twenty items on Legacy Family Tree that one can do while being required to stay at home. <> These items are cleverly called, “A Genealogical To-Do List While You Keep Your Distance.”

There is an unbelievable number of free online classes linked in FamilySearch’s Research Wiki, also totally free. <> The classes are done by individuals in the know, are clear and well organized, and are offered at no cost. This is a great opportunity to update our skill sets.

Amy Johnson Crow offers a "Generations Cafe" podcast that people can listen to on any podcast app or on her website, This week’s podcast episode is going to be devoted to family history activities you can do when you can’t stay focused. Also, inside Amy's free Facebook group you'll find new tutorials on websites beyond the “big” ones. Last week, DPLA (Digital Public Library of America) was featured. The Facebook group can be found at the following link.

So many opportunities, and now with some time. Take some family history adventures in your own home!

Read from Home: Internet Archive
by Allison De Prey Singleton
As we all are learning to accept our new norms due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, we are looking for new ways of entertainment and more importantly for genealogists, research. In my last article in December 2019, I discussed the Free Databases offered by The Genealogy Center. In it, I mentioned that Internet Archive ( has digitized many of our books as well. Let us explore what else they have to offer researchers.
The first thing to remember that it is free to use Internet Archive, and you can even check out books as you would at a traditional library. The books in the Internet Archive collection come from all over the world and cover a variety of topics. For our purposes, let us explore the genealogy books. There is even a category on this topic. To get there, click on the “Books” icon in the upper left corner of the screen. Once you do that, a filter screen at the top of the page will open. One of the options is “Genealogy.” When you click on it, it takes you to a descriptor page, and you will need to click on the tab for “Collection.” From there, you can browse or search the genealogy collection for books on your topic of choice. If you choose “Text contents,” it will search inside of the books as well as the titles.
Another way to search Internet Archive for genealogy books is to click on the orange icon of the book in the middle of the page. It will then take you to all of the eBooks and Texts in the collection. You are then able to do a search of all eBooks and Texts in the search bar on the left side of the screen. You are also able to search the inside of the books using the filter option of “Text contents.”

To search the entire Internet Archive collection of books, articles, videos, audio clips, and more, you can do a general search on the homepage. If you do a search from the homepage under all of the multi-colored icons, you will search everything. This could be great if there is a long lost audio or video clip of a family member. You might also find something on a location where your ancestor lived. There are a multitude of things you may find that could prove helpful to your genealogy research on Internet Archive.

As you are sitting at home, make sure you check Internet Archive for genealogy sources (after checking The Genealogy Center Free Databases). You never know what gem you might uncover. There are plenty of digital resources for us to discover while not at the library.

Blacks in Gold Rush California
by Cynthia Theusch
When we, as researchers, lose people from local records between 1848 and 1860, we are reminded to look at records of the California Gold Rush as a possible place to find them. This rule applies not only to whites but also to African Americans. A useful resource is Rudolph M. Lapp’s “Blacks in Gold Rush California” (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1977) [979.4 L31e]. Lapp notes that in 1850 more than 1,000 blacks lived in California. By 1860, that number rose to 5,000.

Most black individuals who went west in this period did so more to escape a hard lot than to seek their fortune. Once in California, some decided to take up mining, either alone or by joining with whites. Others formed companies that included both free blacks and slaves.

In his book Lapp points out that some African Americans were already living in California long before the Gold Rush. The Spanish brought free blacks and slaves into “New Spain” as early as 1527 or 1528. The first was Stephen Estebanico, known as “Black Stephen.” Also, slave traders and others brought Africans to California. Some deserted the ships on which they worked. Before California became part of the United States, its residents generated a variety of records that included evidence of African Americans. For example, Charles Brown, a white former sailor who had deserted his ship, became a lumberman who hired two black sawyers, Jorge Williams and “Freeman.”

During the Gold Rush era, several blacks went to California to earn money to purchase their own freedom as well as those of their families. James Taylor went west with the hope of earning enough to purchase his wife and seven children.

Besides owning or working in mines, several African Americans went to San Francisco and Sacramento for the opportunity to own a business or to work for higher wages. The Battery House, one of San Francisco’s early restaurants, hired staff that could earn up to $100 per day. The top three skilled jobs included cooks, stewards, and barbers.

In the 1850s, a group of African Americans decided to establish a Colored Convention in California similar to those of other states. These conventions promoted abolitionism, leadership, educational reform, and social justice, and are considered precursors of much larger organizations, such as the Colored National Labor Union, that advocated for minority rights in the late nineteenth century. Some national convention leaders, including Frederick Douglass, traveled there and assisted in organizing three statewide conventions. Many members of these groups subscribed to abolitionist newspapers, and a few wrote articles for such publications as the “Frederick Douglas Paper” and William Lloyd Garrison’s “Liberator.”

Lapp refers to another source for researching ancestors in California - Delilah Beasley’s “Negro Trail Blazers of California: A Compilation of Records from the California Archives in the Bancroft Library at the University of California in Berkeley, and from the Diaries, Old Papers, and Conversations of Old” (New York: Negro Universities Press, 1969) [979.4 B375N]. As its title suggests, it includes numerous references to African Americans from various archival sources.

“Blacks in Gold Rush California” is a great resource for learning more about people of color who went to California in the late 1840s and for locating various records to help you in researching this era.

Technology Tip of the Month: Guided Tab, Special Edits, Replace Background, and Select Tool Brush
by Kay Spears
We continue with Guided Tab, Special Edits, Replace Background, and a look at the next “Select” tool, the “Brush.”

Last month we looked at the “Quick Select” tool, now it’s time for the Brush tool. We are still inside the Replace Background tab. Click on Brush. By the way, we are going to paint with our cursor.

When you click on Brush, you will notice that there are some tool options available for the Brush. These are Add and Subtract. A drop-down tab gives you Selection or Mask options. We will look at both of these options.

Choose “Selection” from the drop down box. Now you have a brush drop down, a size, and hardness available. Your cursor should have changed to a circle, and since we have chosen the Selection tool, it should be a moving ants/dotted line circle. Move this over the area you want to remain in the photo, then import photo or change the background. Everything you have not selected will change. In case you were wondering about the Hardness tool, this is what I found out. The Hardness slide bar seems to control how soft or hard the edge of your selection is. The less Hardness applied, the more the edges of the selection blend into the background. Now let’s look at the Mask.

I love using a mask tool. When you start playing with layers, you will eventually discover that a mask tool is so much better than erasing things. The mask allows you a bigger range of things to do and is easier to correct if you should make a mistake.

Refresh your image, or open another one. This time when you click on the Brush tool, choose “Mask” from the drop-down box. Notice, you have another option available. You still have the brush, size, and hardness, but now you also have Overlay and a Color Palette. The Color Palette should default to red, but you may change the color if you want. The Overlay slide bar controls the transparency of the color we are going to paint onto our image. I usually don’t paint an Overlay at 100%, because I like a little transparency when I paint. Now, paint over the area in which you want to have your background show up. In other words you are “Masking” the area you don’t want. You should see red or whatever color you choose on the image. When you have the area finished, click “Import Photo.” Choose your background photo, and it should appear on your image as background.

And, that’s the brush tool. In the next article we will complete the Replace Background tab by looking at the Refine tool.

PERSI Gems--Recovery
by Adam Barrone and Mike Hudson
“Boyd Carter, enumerator in the North and South Newport, Lenora and Furport [WA] Districts, is recovering from an attack of snow blindness and severe exhaustion suffered while at work in his precinct. Carter was found in a dazed condition in his parked car several nights ago. He was taken to Newport, and later to his home in Usk, where he is convalescing. Snow and long trips by snowshoe were blamed for his condition.” This report, originally published in the Spokesman Review, Feb. 21, 1935, was reprinted in the Dec. 2008 issue of the Eastern Washington Genealogical Society Bulletin.  

Mr. Carter is joined, today, by a multitude of workers who struggle to keep essential government and public services running despite threatening conditions. We recognize their service and extend our hopes and best wishes for their success and wellbeing.  

Whatever challenges, ailments, or injuries you suffer in these challenging times, we wish you a speedy recovery.

The Periodical Source Index (PERSI) points the way to tales of adversity and recovery.  Try a search here:

You may find citations like these:

Boyd Carter, farm census enumerator, recovering from snow blindness, 1935, WA
Eastern Washington Genealogical Society Bulletin, v.45n.4, Dec. 2008

Caleb Carney recovers from MRSA to be star athlete, 2008, McAlester, OK
Chickasaw Times, v.43n.1, Oct. 2008

Charles White vomits snake, cures his stomach ailments, 1891, Watertown, WI
Out on a Limb (Dodge & Jefferson County Gen. Soc., WI), v.20n.2, May 2005

Charley B. Smith recovers from hiccoughs after ten days, 1907, GA
Pike County (GA) Historical Society Newsletter, v.8n.2, Spr. 2009

George Bugher bitten by copperhead, expected to recover, 1884, Guernsey Co., OH
Guernsey County (OH) Roots and Branches, v.35n.1, Jan. 2011

Golda F. Foster Walker family anecdote, cow cured of warts, 1930S, LA
Ark-La-Tex Genealogical Association (LA), v.46n.1, 2012

Hector Smith will recover from scalp wound suffered from encounter with train, 1900, MO
Pioneer Wagon (Jackson County Genealogical Society, MO), v.22n.2, Sum. 2008

Ian Jacob Goins recovered from premature birth, 2006-2007, n.p.
Grassroots (Grant Co. Museum, AR), n.3, Dec. 2007

Judge R. D. Wigginton recovered from La Grippe, 1896, MS
Jackson County (MS) Genealogical Society Journal, v. 21, Dec. 2014

Tom Martin recovered from malaria note, 1891, WA
Yakima Valley (WA) Genealogical Society Bulletin, v.42n.3, Sep. 2010

Webb Low and Bowen Herrington recover from injuries, 1905, Mico, MS
Jones County (MS) Journeys, v.13n.2, Sep. 2006

History Tidbits: 102 Years Ago, the 1918 Influenza Pandemic
by Allison DePrey Singleton
It seems timely to examine a historic pandemic event while we are currently in the midst of another. It might seem stunning to think it has been over 100 years since the last significant pandemic. Modern medicine and hygiene standards probably have something to do with the long span between them, and these are also the reasons why this current pandemic is unprecedented given that modern health standards were unable to prevent it. Let us look at the 1918 Influenza Pandemic and see if there are any lessons we can learn from what our ancestors did to stop it.

In the year 1918, the world was in the midst of the Great War, and the Influenza Pandemic, otherwise known as the Spanish Flu (a form of H1N1), was making its way across the world. While no one knows exactly where it originated, historians agree that it spread due to the war. One theory holds that it originated in China, while others theories suggest a British army base in France and a U.S. army base in Kansas. Soldiers with compromised immune systems became susceptible to the illness and took it to their respective countries while on leave.

The reason the 1918 Influenza Pandemic is called the Spanish Flu is easier to answer. Physicians in Spain first identified the illness. There is also some confusion over what Influenza actually is. Some people commonly mistake the “Flu” for the norovirus or stomach flu. The Flu is actually short for Influenza, which is a respiratory illness. The symptoms of the Spanish Flu included headache, lethargy, dry coughing, loss of appetite, stomach issues, and sweating. Eventually, the Spanish Flu affected the respiratory organs and turned into pneumonia. While the people most at risk were obviously the ones who were vulnerable such as the old and very young, this illness attacked those in the 20-40 year old range to an unusual extent.
The number of people affected by the pandemic varies according to the source. Most sources agree that around one third of the world’s population had the disease and around 50 million died from it. It was a rapidly-spreading disease. Madrid, Spain, first reported the disease and within two weeks, more than 100,000 people became ill. Physicians were at a loss as to how to prevent the spread of the disease. They began recommending avoiding crowds and even distancing themselves from other people. People were advised to avoid touching, and schools and theaters began closing. People wore masks and were terrified to go out. At first, Americans were not as concerned about the Spanish Flu (see article in the New York Herald on 6 Oct 1918) but soon learned it was a fast moving epidemic (see article in the New York Tribune on 17 Oct 1918).

The 1918 Influenza Pandemic was the last time the U.S. Supreme Court had postponed oral arguments until the Coronavirus Pandemic of 2020. The 1918 Influenza Pandemic saw closures of businesses, schools, and social distancing. Even with these measures, an estimated one third of the world population still came down with the Spanish Flu. Our ancestors lived through and may have even died during this historic event. Currently, we are living through our own historic pandemic. How will your descendants learn about this event? Make sure you are documenting your experience for future generations.
Sources and Newspaper Articles:
Langford, Christopher. "Did the 1918-19 Influenza Pandemic Originate in China?" Population and Development Review 31, no. 3 (2005): 473-505.

Library Catalog Insider--Discovery of Electronic Resources
by Kasia Young
Hello April!

Last month, we talked about the most efficient way to search The Genealogy Center’s catalog using our new discovery system--WISE. This month, we will guide you through a discovery of electronic resources that are part of our collection.

What are electronic resources, you might ask? Simply put, electronic resources (or e-resources) are materials in digital format that are accessible electronically, such as books, periodicals, and photographs.

It is quite simple to access our collection of e-resources. Here are the steps to follow for a successful discovery:

1. Go to:
2. Type your query into the FIND box
3. Narrow down your search by BRANCH and select GENEALOGY
4. Narrow down your search further, by selecting MATERIAL TYPE and ELECTRONIC RESOURCES
5. Select the tile of interest from the results list
6. Select MORE INFO tab
7. Scroll down to WEBLINK
8. Click the link and enjoy free access from the comfort of your home!

For example, we searched for “fort wayne + history” in the catalog. We got 346 system-wide results, 243 Genealogy Center results, and 69 Electronic Resources results.

To make your searches more focused, you are now able to use SUBJECT facets in your searches. In the example above, we were able to pick from 15 different subjects that fit “fort wayne + history” search. We picked HISTORIC BUILDINGS and were presented with a list of 7 e-resources.

We hope that you will spend some time exploring our digital offerings this month, and beyond.

As always, we are happy to answer any catalog questions that you might have. Until the next time!

Bonus tip for April:

To make things easier for you, all of our e-resources are marked with distinguishable weblink symbol.

DNA and Genealogy Interest Group Meeting Cancelled and Pushed Online 
Due to the pandemic, the Indiana governor’s stay-at-home order, and the subsequent temporary closure of the Allen County Public Library, the DNA and Genealogy Interest Group will not be meeting in person in April. An online Zoom Q & A session will take its place on Thursday afternoon, April 2, 2020 at 2:30 p.m. See the details below.

Title: DNA and Genealogy: Information and Q & A
Presenter: Sara Allen
Description: Sara will present information about using DNA to solve genealogical problems and will answer your questions about DNA testing for genealogical purposes.

Find information and a link to the Zoom program on the Genealogy Center Facebook page in the events section.

April Technology in Genealogy User Group Meeting Cancelled
Due to the pandemic, the Indiana governor’s stay-at-home order, and the subsequent temporary closure of the Allen County Public Library, the Technology in Genealogy User Group will not be meeting in person in April.

Preservation Week Is Cancelled
Due to the Pandemic, Preservation Week is cancelled. Please look for preservation topics to be featured in future e-programs on Zoom.

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 offer email updates for The Genealogy Center’s programming schedule.  Don’t miss out!  Sign up at  

Area Calendar of Events Cancelled
Due to the pandemic, all area events have been cancelled.

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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