Jump to Access Fort Wayne, Discovery Center, Digital Center, Genealogy Center, Genealogy Gems, Lincoln Collection, Microfilm, More Infomation, PERSI, Timeline, Videos
Allen County Public Library
900 Library Plaza
Fort Wayne, IN 46802
January 11, 2024 post by Input Fort Wayne on Facebook:
In late 2023, the Allen County Public Library shared its strategic, four-year plan. We learn what that means for the future of the library, including how they're updating their technology and adding positions to better serve the community.
How the Allen County Public Library is innovating for the future while cherishing library traditions
Facebook: Timeline post by the Allen County Public Library:
Carnegie Library of Fort Wayne Opens January 7, 1904 in Fort Wayne, Indiana
The Carnegie Library was dedicated on this date in 1904
January 25, 2020 post by the Allen County Public Library:
Today we are celebrating our 125th birthday. When we first opened our doors in 1895, ACPL was a single room in City Hall with 3,606 books. We've since grown to 14 locations across Allen County, housing a collection of millions of items and hosting over 8,000 free programs every year.
Over the past 125 years, we've delivered books on horseback, organized rallies to support our troops, transitioned from handwritten card catalogs to full digital databases, and offered every music format from phonograph records to online streaming.
As we begin this new chapter, we would like to thank our community for your endless support. We thank our volunteers and community partners who see the value in what we do and contribute their valuable skills, time, and, donations. We thank our brilliant staff for their passion and dedication to serving their communities.
Thank you for being part of our story.
April 9, 2018 post by The History Center on Facebook:
It’s National Library Week. As a nationally recognized institution, the Allen County Public Library has been integral to the development, education, and entertainment of local residents for over one-hundred and twenty years. The public library system in Fort Wayne began in 1895 with the founding of the Fort Wayne Public Library. This initial library system was housed in City Hall (today the History Center) until 1898 when the Brackenridge Home was purchased as a new location. By 1904, the Fort Wayne Public Library was able to open a Carnegie-funded building which served as its main location until 1968. In 1923, the library system expanded outward to the entire county, becoming the Public Library of Fort Wayne and Allen County. In 1980, the library was renamed the Allen County Public Library. The main library we know today was granted bond financing of $84 million by the county taxpayers in 2001 for renovations and additions. These additions were completed in 2007. Today, the Allen County Public Library has fourteen branches throughout Fort Wayne and Allen County. #sociallyhistory
June 7, 2023 post by The History Center on Facebook:
In Allen County, the public library system is a much revered institution. The roots of the public library date back to 1895, with the founding of the Fort Wayne Public Library. The library was originally located in the City Hall (today the History Center) from January to September of 1895 before moving into the former home of Sol. D. Bayless at the corner of Wayne and Clinton streets. Outgrowing this second location, the library moved once again in 1898 to the remodeled Brackenridge Home at the corner of Wayne and Webster streets. Once again outgrowing its location, the library moved into temporary quarters on the second floor the Elektron Building, 215 E. Berry, so the Breckenridge house could be razed to make way for a new building. On June 7, 1904, exactly 119 years ago today, the Fort Wayne Public Library dedicated their new building. It cost $110,000, with $90,000 coming from the wealthy industrialist Andrew Carnegie. The new building was built in the Neoclassical style, featuring a pediment with columns and a central circular hall. This library, which served generations of Fort Wayne residents, was razed in 1965 to make way for a new modern building. #sociallyhistory
- 1895 – Library opened in City Hall on January 28 with 3,606 volumes.
- 1898 – Library Board purchased the Brackenridge Home at Wayne Street and Webster Street for $14,000.
- 1904 – Carnegie-funded library building opened after he gave the city $90,000 to build it. It was designed by Alfred Grindle of Fort Wayne. From comments by Randy Harter, Fort Wayne historian and author.
- 1923 – Service to county residents began. Fort Wayne Public Library became Public Library of Fort Wayne and Allen County.
- 1944 – Main Library expansion began with purchase of Hollywood Building on Washington Boulevard to house administrative offices.
- 1952 – Young Adult Department opened in basement of main library, the first such department in the country.
- 1968 – 173,500-square-foot (16,120 m2) building at Wayne and Webster Streets was dedicated August 21, 1968.
- 1977 – Construction of the new addition to the Main Library began.
- 1980 – Public Library of Fort Wayne and Allen County officially became Allen County Public Library by act of the state legislature on January 1.
- 1985 – Estimated 5,500 people ate 2,731 pizzas during system's 90th birthday celebration.
- 1997 – Library Board and staff began system-wide space needs analysis for all library facilities.
- 2001 – Allen County taxpayers approved bond financing of the $84 million library expansion project.
- 2007 – Renovation and expansion of main library nears completion. Grand opening held on January 27, 2007, with Randall T. Shepard, Chief Justice of the Indiana Supreme Court, among the speakers. Copied from Allen County Public Library on Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.
December 18, 2023 post by the Genealogy Center on Facebook:
We extend our congratulations to Curt Witcher, our Director of Special Collections, who has been honored with the "I Love My Librarian Award!" Library users from across the nation were invited to acknowledge the achievements of exceptional librarians, resulting in nearly 1,400 submissions highlighting their outstanding contributions. The 10 distinguished honorees for 2024 were selected for their remarkable public service accomplishments.
Curt's impact extends beyond our library's walls; he has supported the establishment of local genealogy societies, collaborated with FamilySearch and the Internet Archive to enhance online accessibility to public domain sections of our collection, and so much more!
Read more about Curt’s accomplishments here: https://ilovelibraries.org/love-my-librarian/curt-witcher/
Warmest congratulations, Curt, on this well-deserved accolade!
December 18, 2023 post by the Allen County Public Library on Facebook used the same images:
Congratulations to our own Curt Witcher for winning the "I Love My Librarian Award!"
Library users from all over the country were invited to recognize the accomplishments of exceptional librarians. Nearly 1,400 library users submitted stories highlighting how their librarians have gone above and beyond in their communities. The 10 honorees for 2024 were selected for their outstanding public service accomplishments.
Fort Wayne draws thousands of visitors each year thanks to the genealogy expertise of ACPL’s Curt Witcher. His decades of work in African American and Jewish genealogy, Native American research, and more have helped cultivate one of the largest genealogy collections in the country and positioned it as an international destination for researchers.
Curt has supported the founding of other local genealogy societies, forged partnerships with FamilySearch and the Internet Archive to make public domain portions of the center’s collection accessible online, and collaborated with an Indiana Tech professor to build a literature and genealogy course.
Congratulations, Curt, on this well-deserved award!
#genealogycenter #library #fortwayne #ilovemylibrarianaward2024
December 18, 2023 post by the American Library Association on Facebook:
We're so excited to announce this year's recipients of the #ILoveMyLibrarian Award! Congratulations to these 10 outstanding librarians. Thank you for going above and beyond to make your communities strong. Learn more: 2024 Honorees
January 19, 2024 post by the Genealogy Center on Facebook:
🎉 Join us for a live broadcast tonight as our own Curt Witcher accepts the "I Love My Librarian" award. The ceremony kicks off at 6 pm and will be available for streaming on the American Library Association’s YouTube channel. 📚🏆 Don't miss this exciting moment!🔗
Link to the live stream:
The 2024 I Love My Librarian Award nominees have been recognized for their exceptional public service achievements. Curt Witcher's profound expertise in genealogy, particularly in African American, Jewish, and Native American research, has turned Fort Wayne into a genealogy hub, drawing thousands of visitors annually. His decades of dedication have contributed to establishing one of the country's largest genealogy collections, making it an international destination for researchers.
Congratulations, Curt, on this well-deserved honor! 🏅
The I Love My Librarian Award encourages library users to recognize the accomplishments of exceptional public, school, college, community college, or university librarians. Each year 10 librarians are selected by leaders from the library community to receive a plaque and $5,000 cash award. This event will showcase the accomplishments of this year's amazing award winners. Learn more and meet the 2024 honorees: Congratulations to the 2024 recipients of the I Love My Librarian Award!
January 28, 2024 post by Allen County Public Library on Facebook:
Congratulations to the ACPL's Curt Witcher, recipient of the Distinguished Hoosier Award. The award was presented by ACPL Executive Director, Susan Baier at the recent meeting of the Library Board of Trustees.
This is honor has been awarded by Indiana governors for over 50 years to celebrate exceptional Indiana residents. This award is meant for those who distinguish themselves by significant contributions to their communities, and whose qualities and actions endear them in the hearts and minds of Hoosiers.
Way to go, Curt!
May 26, 2023 post by the Genealogy Center on Facebook:
Did you know that we have been serving the Genealogy community since 1961? The collection started with 1,000 genealogical books on the shelves. This article, published in the Fort Wayne News Sentinel in 1970 discusses the growing Genealogy department at the Allen County Public Library, headed by Dorothy Lower at the time. By 1970, the collection contained some 40,000 volumes.
Today, our collection contains more than 1.3 million items!
Plan your visit to the Genealogy Center: https://acpl.lib.in.us/explore-genealogy/plan-your-visit
Shackelford, Carol (1970, April 06). “Family Tree Search Becomes Popular”. Fort Wayne News Sentinel, 1b.
December 29, 2023 post by the Genealogy Center on Facebook:
Discover millions of records through our free databases! Accessible from anywhere, each database is searchable independently. Explore now: https://www.genealogy.acpl.lib.in.us/research-resources-1
Delve into hundreds of thousands of titles from our collection at home via Internet Archive and FamilySearch Digital Library: https://www.genealogy.acpl.lib.in.us/family-history-archives
April 18, 2023 post by The Journal Gazetteon Facebook:
Visits and borrowing at the Allen County Public Library increased last year, and the library had more registered users, internet users and program attendees than in 2021, according to a new report.
Access Fort Wayne
Public television channels at the Allen County Public Library. They have Access One, Access Two and a YouTube website where they post some of their current and historical videos also shown on cable television public access channels. A discussion with Alan Bengs February 26, 2019 on You are positively from Fort Wayne, if you remember... Archived group only visible to existing members on Facebookwas the source for these videos. A few are listed below and others are on some of our other pages:
- Access Fort Wayne collection is on Archive.org.
- ACPL Presents: Lincoln Highway Across Indiana - Show 13700, 54 minute video - November 27, 2018 lecture recorded at the library
- Street Series 1970s videos of various streets up to an hour long, those videos and more can be found on our Streets of Fort Wayne page.
The Genealogy Center
January 8, 2024 post by the Genealogy Center on Facebook:
Happy Monday! What genealogy puzzle are you diving into today? 🧐
This picture shows The Public Library of Fort Wayne and Allen County: Genealogy dept., showing patrons using microfilm readers in old Purdue Building. News Sentinel, 27 April 1968.
Explore our Community Album here: http://contentdm.acpl.lib.in.us/
July 24, 2023 post by the Allen County Public Library on Facebook:
Did you know, the Genealogy Center, located in our Main Branch downtown, is the second largest genealogy center in the entire country?! Whether you are an experienced researcher or someone who is just getting started, our helpful and friendly staff is available to assist you through your research journey. For more information, please visit: acpl.lib.in.us/genealogy
#genealogy #library #familyhistory
June 16, 2023 post by the Genealogy Center on Facebook:
Visit the Genealogy Center to explore our extensive collection of 1.3 million physical items and a wide range of digital resources. Take advantage of our 23 on-site databases for all of your genealogy research needs. Plan your visit: https://acpl.lib.in.us/explore-genealogy/plan-your-visit
January 12, 2024 post by the Genealogy Center on Facebook:
Have you checked out our YouTube channel lately?!
Discover a collection of over 290 pre-recorded programs ready for you to enjoy anytime! Check them out here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL8AE558B5D8661B31
March 24, 2023 post by Fort Wayne Now on Facebook:
I found my great-grandmother in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Actually, she didn't live in Indiana but on an island in the Baltic Sea. After years of searching for her birthplace, experts at the second-largest genealogical research collection in the U.S. did what ...
Find your roots in Fort Wayne: Visit The Genealogy Center on a getaway to Indiana's second city Katherine Rodeghier, March 24, 2023 in DailyHearld Chicago, IL.
March 1, 2023 post by Genealogy Center on Facebook:
Happy Wednesday! Take a look at these photos of the Genealogy Center from 1999! These pictures include a view of the open stacks, the microfilm room catalog and cabinets, and the reference desk and card catalog.
These photos are courtesy of our Community Album. View them and thousands more images here: http://contentdm.acpl.lib.in.us/.
April 9, 2015 post by the Genealogy Center on Facebook:.
The Genealogy Center still has the Photocopy Exchange Program. If you have written a family history (it must be something YOU have written), you can give us a manuscript and we will make 1 bound copy for you and 1 bound copy for our collection. This is how we have obtained many of the very rare family history volumes in our collection.
October 2, 2021 post by the Genealogy Center on Facebook:
Meet the Genealogy Center: Curt Witcher Manager, The Genealogy Center Director of Special Collections
Learn more about Curt and our other genealogy librarians: https://acpl.lib.in.us/community/genealogy-
March 27, 2023 post by by the Genealogy Center on Facebook:
Have you checked out our Pathfinders? These handy lists of selected research guides and record indexes located within the Genealogy Center can help you get started on your research within a particular state, country, or subject!
Click the 'Pathfinders' link here to start exploring: https://acpl.lib.in.us/genealogy
October 9, 2023 post by by the Genealogy Center on Facebook:
Are you looking for hard-to-find genealogy records? Don't miss The Genealogy Center's extensive collection of microfilm records! We have just under 800,000 rolls microfilm, covering everything from city directories to newspapers to local histories! Browse our catalog to uncover hidden gems and valuable information about your ancestors. Our knowledgeable staff is also here to assist you with any questions you may have. Let's dive into the past together! #microfilmgenealogy #familyhistory #thegenealogycenter
Online Internet Archive collections:
- Over 36,000 rolls of Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center-microfilm from the The Genealogy Center Microtext by County list
- Records relating to War of 1812 over 450 rolls of microfilmed National Archive Indexes
February 26, 2024 post by the Genealogy Center on Facebook:
Did you know?!
Explore our microfilm catalog here: https://www.genealogycenter.info/search_microtext.php
October 16, 2023 post by by the Genealogy Center on Facebook:
Looking to trace your ancestors' migration patterns? Check out the wealth of migration genealogy records available at The Genealogy Center! From passenger lists to naturalization records, we have a wide range of resources to help you uncover your family's migration history. Be sure to explore our catalog and utilize our Periodical Source Index (PERSI) to discover hidden gems related to your family's story. Let's discover the journeys of our ancestors together! #migrationgenealogy #familyhistory#thegenealogycenter
November 10, 2023 post by by the Genealogy Center on Facebook:
Did you know that when you visit The Genealogy Center, you can access 23 licensed databases for FREE?!
This extensive list includes AmericanAncestors. AmericanAncestors.org, produced by the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS), provides a wealth of resources for researching New England and early American families. The site includes many searchable databases, the NEHGS library catalog and publications list, and more.
View all of our available databases at this link: https://www.genealogy.acpl.lib.in.us/research-resources
December 4, 2023 post by by the Genealogy Center on Facebook:
Happy #ManuscriptMonday! Have you heard about The Genealogy Center's extensive collection of more than 70,000 family histories? Dive into the past by exploring these books in person. Plus, we're committed to sharing public domain portions of our collection online through various initiatives.
Check out our digitized books at:
Explore our complete holdings in the catalog here: https://www.genealogy.acpl.lib.in.us/
December 14, 2023 post by by the Genealogy Center on Facebook:
A digital ribbon cutting ceremony was held today at the Main library to officially add the United Hispanic Americans, Inc. Collection to our online Community Album.
United Hispanic Americans, Inc., founded in 1971, was the first of its kind founded in Allen County and operated out of the Benito Juarez Cultural Center for four decades. It was key to the success and empowerment of Latinos in our community. One of the Founders, Rosa Gerra, was on site to launch the new portal!
#hispanicamericans #genealogy #allencountypubliclibrary
The United Hispanic American, Inc. Collection
Allen County Public Library launches first Hispanic, Latino community album December 15, 2023 The Journal Gazette newspaper
Back to top
Over 119,000 digitized items in the Allen County Public Library Collection from the Allen County Public Library are on the Internet Archive website. Many of their ebooks are scattered throughout our site particulary on our Allen County Resources, City Directories, eBooks, and Fort Wayne pages.
Library transforms photos into history Frank Gray February 4, 2016 The Journal Gazette newspaper now archived on the Internet Archive Wayback Machine
Wednesdays will usually find Donald Weber at the Allen County Public Library downtown, scanning old pictures into computers and loading them into a digitized photo album of the city of Fort Wayne, complete with information on where and when the photo was taken and the names of people pictured.
Weber had his own photography business years ago. He took school photos. He was also a Fort Wayne firefighter, and in 1973, using historic photos, assembled the first history of the fire department. Then there were the photos he took himself.
[ Fire Fighter Photographs in the Allen County Public Library Digital Collections at the Allen County Public Library]
Those old photographs, whether you realize it or not, are part of history, and Weber, as a volunteer for the library, is helping preserve that history.
Over the years, Weber has scanned thousands of old photographs into the library’s computer system. He says he’s working on No. 12,500 or so right now.
It’s important to save the old photos.
But a lot of them never get saved. People die, and relatives, sifting through what they have left behind, often find and just throw away piles of photos of people who lived long, long ago, and places as they were long, long ago.
Weber tells the story of another firefighter who had over the course of his career taken thousands of photographs of fires and firefighters on the job. The photos and the negatives were carefully stored in boxes.
Weber heard about the hoard of old pictures and looked up the man’s widow.
She told him she wished he had come by a couple of years ago, Weber said. After the man’s death, she had tried to find anyone who was interested in the pictures. No one was interested. After awhile she just put it all in the trash.
Most every household has stacks of old photographs sitting around in boxes or trunks. Some of them might seem dull and pointless, photos of old buildings, photos of people lined up, staring at the camera. In one way, they are terrible photos.
But as time goes on, those terrible old photos get interesting, fascinating actually. They are the closest thing we have to time travel.
So the library is also inviting the public to offer up their old photographs to become part of a community photo album. They can drop off CDs with pictures or USB drives. They can even offer up original photographs.
“They contact the library, the library contacts me, and I get together with them,” Weber says. “They get the pictures back,”
Melissa Tennant, assistant manager of the genealogy department, said: “Anyone can donate material or lend it to the library. It will be forever preserved for future generations.”
But one thing the library would like to have with those old pictures – information: When was the photo taken, where is the place pictured, and who are the people in the photos.
February 24, 2023 post by Allen County Public Library on Facebook:
Did you know, nestled in the lower levels of the Main Library, production to digitize public-domain materials, such as yearbooks from the 1920s, a collection of books dating back to the 1880s and old photographs is in full swing? This effort is led by a group of full-time volunteers who scan donated materials like family history logs and old newspapers for genealogy research, making them easily accessible in a community album, no matter your location. These detailed processes require handling materials dating back over one hundred years, which helps ultimately provide direction to researchers looking for a particular person in a particular place at a particular time.
April 7, 2023 post by Allen County Public Library on Facebook:
The Genealogy Center is active in several initiatives to make significant public domain portions of its collection available online! This includes a partnership with Internet Archive.
View thousands of digitized materials from our collection at this link: https://archive.org/details/allen_county?tab=collection
August 28, 2023 post by the Genealogy Center on Facebook:
The Genealogy Center is active in several initiatives to make significant public domain portions of its collection available online. This includes a partnership with Internet Archive. We now have over 118,000 items digitized from our collection, that you can search and view from home!
View thousands of digitized materials from our collection at this link: Allen County Public Library collection
December 11, 2023 post by Internet Archive on Facebook:
Interested in researching your family history? Learn how genealogist Taneya Y. Koonce uses the Internet Archive's vast collections of digitized yearbooks, newspapers, location histories & government records to piece together her family’s story:
Genealogist uncovers family histories with help of Internet Archive
- There are thousands of ebooks online depending on how you search such as City of Fort Wayne, Indiana with over 15,000 city documents, Fort Wayne Indiana with over 20,000 ordinance documents, Fort Wayne Americana 20,000 more items, and Allen County Indiana over 55,000 items including non-Allen County "stuff" online at Archive.org.
- Links to some of those books are also organized by publication date or subject on our Timeline, People, and Places pages.
January 25, 2013 post by the Internet Archive on Facebook:
"Archive" is a documentary focused on the future of long-term digital storage, the history of the Internet and attempts to preserve its contents on a massive scale. Jonathan Minard, its creator, shared a section of it with us that features the Internet Archive. Take a look!
November 17, 2023 post by The Library of Congress on Facebook:
A new, 4,000-square-foot Digital Scan Center employs sophisticated equipment to help staff digitize the Library's vast and remarkable collections. One fully automated machine turns book pages as high-resolution scanning proceeds. Another, designed especially to avoid damage to rare and fragile books, requires volumes to open only to 60 degrees to capture images using a prism.
Read more in the latest issue of the Library of Congress Magazine: http://go.loc.gov/Zz0Z50Q79oa
Back to top
The Lincoln Collection at the Allen County Public Libraryhas a YouTubevideo channel with over 20 videos about Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States. The Lincoln Financial Foundation Collection at Archive.org has over 15,000 ebooks available to billions of people around the world. Volumes that in the past may have been opened only a few times a year are now often downloaded thousands of times each month! Links to those ebooks are still being organized on our pages by topics such as cemetery, church, or school.
Lincoln was shot April 14, 1865 by John Wilkes Booth at Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C., and died the next day. Andrew Johnson becomes 17th president of the U.S. after Lincoln's assassination. Thousands of Lincoln photos, documents and books are online in the Lincoln Collection at the Allen County Public Library which also has speaker presentation videos archived as Lincoln Programs at the Allen County Public Library on Archive.org where the Description states:
This collection showcases library-sponsored programs based around the life and times of Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States. The Allen County Public Library has been documenting Lincoln events at the library since 2010. These video clips are available to authors, scholars, TV producers, educators, students, Lincoln enthusiasts, and the general public. Topics include little-known facts about the Lincoln family, descriptions of life during the American Civil War, details about Lincoln’s assassination and much more. The Friends of Lincoln Collection and highlighted in Fort Wayne collection preserves impressions of Lincoln for the ages by Bob Caylor published April 15, 2015 now on the Internet Archive Wayback Machine. Stories, videos, photos and more to remember the day Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in Abraham Lincoln: 1809-1865 published in The News-Sentinel newspaper. There are over 3,500 Lincoln Financial Foundation Collection items on Internet Archive.
March 27, 2015 post by the Lincoln Collection on Facebook:
This gilt-edged leather-bound copy of “Decisive Battles since Waterloo: The Most Important Military Events from 1815 to 1887” by Thomas Knox was printed in 1900. Four Civil War battles – the Monitor and Merrimac, Gettysburg, Vicksburg, and Five Forks – have chapters in the book, but otherwise there is no connection to Lincoln in the text. However, when the pages of the book are displayed in just the right way, Lincoln appears. The illustration of Lincoln’s life, from the cabin to the White House, is a fore-edge painting, hidden from view until the pages are correctly seen. Fore-edge paintings first appeared on books as early as the Middle Ages, but became especially popular in the late 19th century.
February 3, 2017 post by the Lincoln Collection on Facebook:
There are thousands of quotations—some sentimental, some humorous, some wise—attributed to Abraham Lincoln. Many, however, fall into the “Lincoln never said that” category. The quotation on this 1908 postcard published by M.T. Sheahan of Boston is one example. In this case, the quotation is a near miss—Lincoln likely said something like this in his Farewell Address to the crowd at the Springfield, Illinois, Great Western Railroad station as he left for Washington in February 1861. Reporters at the scene published three versions of his remarks, one of which bears a resemblance to the postcard quotation: “I feel that I cannot succeed without the same Divine aid which sustained [George Washington], and on the same Almighty Being I place my reliance for support, and I hope you, my friends, will all pray that I may receive that Divine assistance without which I cannot succeed, but with which success is certain.” Although not an accurate quotation, Sheahan’s version fit better on a postcard.
February 20, 2023 post by Visit Fort Wayne is at Allen County Public Libraryon Facebook:
Explore the life and times of Abraham Lincoln at the Rolland Center for Lincoln Research inside the Allen County Public Library! Interactive, immersive technology brings to life this incredible collection of photos, letters, diaries, and more. Details: bit.ly/lincolnacpl
ACPL The Rolland Center for Lincoln Research
Friends of the Lincoln Collection The Rolland Center for Lincoln Research: Now Open at the Allen County Public Library
The Lincoln Financial Foundation Collection and the Friends of the Lincoln Collection are thrilled to announce that the Rolland Center for Lincoln Research is officially open.
April 10, 2023 post by Genealogy Center on Facebook:
Have you explored our YouTube channel lately? We have over 230 previously recorded programs available to view! Take a look here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist
We have many of their videos scattered among our many pages.
- The Allen County Public Libraryhas a YouTube video channel.
- The Genealogy Center at the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indianahas over 200 genealogy videos on their YouTubechannel.
- WPTA 21 Country Stories is a collection of videos by Eric Olson their longest-serving reporter who is now retired. A journalist for 40 years, 30 of them working in Fort Wayne. Eric covered local news for many years but for two decades developed the 21Country franchise into a viewer favorite, producing nearly 3000 feature stories on interesting people, places and history that is now being adding to The Genealogy Center at the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indianaonline video collection.
Rescuing Photos from Dying Digital Platforms: How to Save by Allen County Public Library published on Apr 30, 2019 on YouTube
Presented by the Genealogy Center of the Allen County Public Library. "Rescuing Photos from Dying Digital Platforms: How to Save" With the news that Google+ is shutting down, people are scrambling to make sure they have saved their content. Let's explore how to save digital platform content that you and family members have put online. We will be focusing on Facebook, with additional tips for Twitter, Instagram, and websites. Macs, PCs, IPhone, and Android will be used for this presentation.
- Access Fort Wayne has an Access Fort Wayne channelon YouTube, 40 Things to Know About Access Fort Wayne Annual report Cable Fund Advisory Board Meeting April 29, 2021, and around 350 items on Access Fort Wayne This collection is an archive of the "Access Fort Wayne" Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/AccessFortWayne on the Internet Archive.
- 15 minute video Dedication of the Discovery Center by the The Genealogy Center at the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indianaon YouTube published March 15, 2016 by AccessFortWayne.
- Genealogy Center, Allen County Public Library 9 minute video with librarians John and Amy Beatty published August 14, 2007
- Genealogy Center, Allen County Public Library II 7:30 minute video with librarian John Beatty published August 14, 2007
- Ancestors Are Interesting 7 minute video of school children published March 13, 2012
- Internet Archive Midwest Digitization Center 9:30 minute video published January 3, 2016
- Family History Month at the Genealogy Center one minute video published October 4, 2016
- The Genealogy Center at the Allen County Public Library 4:30 minute video by Visit Fort Wayne published October 21, 2009 YouTube
- How to File a FOIA Request with the National Archives US National Archives published March 9, 2017 by the US National Archives
- Street Scenes--New Haven Public Library Published by Allen County Public Libraryon YouTube November 11, 2016.
This clip is from the July 2nd, 1976 taping of New Haven from the Street Scenes Series created by Steven Fortriede. Produced by the Fort Wayne Public Library. Camera and Editing by Steve Fortriede.
April 24, 2023 post by Genealogy Center on Facebook:
Are you subscribed to Genealogy Gems? Genealogy Gems is our free monthly e-zine, published at the end of each month. The e-zine contains information about the department's collections and articles discussing many useful research tips!
Click here to subscribe and to browse previously published editions:
A separate Genealogy Gems Archive back to the first issue September 30, 2004 is maintained by Friends of the Allen County Library.
Janaury 5, 2024 post by Genealogy Center on Facebook:
Are you subscribed to Genealogy Gems?! Our free monthly newsletter is packed with details on the department's collections and valuable research tips. Sign up with your email address, and it will be delivered to your inbox at the end of every month! 💻
Subscribe now and access previous newsletters at: Genealogy Gems
A separate Genealogy Gems Archive back to the first issue September 30, 2004 is maintained by Friends of the Allen County Library.
Genealogy Gems: News from the Allen County Public Library at Fort Wayne, No. 230, April 30, 2023
Another Look at Reasonably Exhaustive Research
by Curt B. Witcher
Last week I had the very good fortune of being invited by Sarah Kirby to speak at the Huntington City-Township Public Library during National Library Week. I was asked to present a methodology talk on how we can find more records, access more data, in our quest to engage in “reasonably exhaustive research.” I thought it might be worthwhile to cover some of the points I shared in that presentation in this end-of-April column.
There are numerous ways one can approach the task of engaging in reasonably exhaustive research, and much has been written on the topic. One way I like to approach the topic is to be much more intentional in identifying a great number of repositories in which one will find records about people, places, time periods, and events. A good way to do that for ancestors in the United States is to divide records evidencing our ancestors’ lives into published, official or governmental, and unpublished. Further, explore for those records in repositories at the local level, state level, and national level.
The best among numerous places to look for published records at the local level is to explore the local public library. With very few exceptions, most public libraries have rich collections of materials that rather comprehensively cover the jurisdictions they serve. They typically collect histories of all types that cover the institutions, organizations and people of the particular area. Their collections most frequently contain city, county and rural directories, newspapers of all types, phone books, indices to vital records and court records, obituary and cemetery files, and pamphlet files that detail special events, individuals, and groups in the area. Yes, much of the aforementioned information can be found on the websites of large information aggregators such as Ancestry, FamilySearch, MyHeritage, FindMyPast, and the Internet Archive to name some of the largest. However, if one is committed to engaging in reasonably exhaustive research, one truly must visit the websites and use the catalogs of the local public libraries to ensure that one is truly looking at, taking advantage of, and benefiting from all available data.
State libraries represent significant record repositories that should be often visited for published information about the state in which one is researching. In some states, the state library and state archive are a combined entity; in a few other states that don’t have a state library, the state historical society often performs the major roles of a state library. In a way, state libraries function like the public library for the state. Their holdings of directories, newspapers, and published histories are significant collections that they make available to researchers. Engaging their online discovery tools will almost assuredly lead one to many resources. They also typically have very robust collections of state government documents. While those documents may seem dusty-dry at first glance, they can hold valuable information about aspects of our ancestors’ lives. I appreciate that library catalogs can be challenging to use and are not all together that intuitive. Alas, in most instances they are all we have to get a virtual look at a library’s collection. Hence, take time to play a bit, try different search terms, and engage any Ask-A-Librarian services that may be offered as methods to more clearly understand their resources and services.
At the national level, libraries that one should consider exploring when doing reasonably exhaustive research in published materials include the Allen County Public Library, the Clayton Library of the Houston Public Library, the FamilySearch Library, the Midwest Genealogy Center, the NSDAR Library in Washington, DC, the New York Public Library, the New England Historic Genealogical Society library in Boston, the Newberry Library in Chicago, the Dallas Public Library, the Los Angeles Public Library, the Library of Congress, and many more. As mentioned previously, each of their online catalogs works a little differently so expect to spend a bit of time exploring different search terms and engaging any advanced search features you may find. And keep an eye peeled for any chat or live information services they may offer.
The template we can deploy in seeking official or governmental records is relatively straightforward—local courthouses and record repositories, state archives, and the National Archives. It can be easy for some to forget that for most of the repositories in this category, they are collecting records of the various governmental units. They typically are not collecting family histories, newspapers, and directories. The various libraries we previously discussed tend to take care of that responsibility.
Birth, marriage and death records, will and probate records, land records including grantor and grantee indices, pleadings and proceedings of local lawsuits, payment of taxes and fees, records of licenses of all types—basically anything that is the work of local government and local government offices will be found for some period of time in local courthouses or local government archives. One should determine the official local office responsible for a particular record or record group, and then inquire about their holdings, record retention schedules, and the process for accessing information and copies of documents. In some communities, the local public library or a local college or university may serve as a repository for some of the records of a local governmental unit, particularly the more historic documents and records. Don’t expect a lot from the websites of local archives and record repositories. A lot of their web real estate is consumed with contemporary hearings, rulings, and public meetings as well as public and political initiatives.
At the state level, state archives truly are a genealogist’s friend. First, the records they curate and provide access to are rich with data relating to the lives and times of our ancestors--both specific details and excellent contexting data. And second, the websites of many state archives contain very useful finding aids, indices, and increasingly, digital copies of actual documents. I know since I am a Hoosier this may be viewed as a biased comment; however, the Indiana Archives and Records Administration is a great website to look at as an example of what one may find available online. <www.in.gov/iara/> Nearly one and a half million names are searchable from this website just for starters. The Tennessee State Library and Archives and the Missouri State Archives are two other excellent state archive sites.
The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) with its various regional branches is the national level archive that curates many hundreds of millions of historical documents of great value to genealogists and historical researchers. This tremendously large website may appear intimidating and challenging to navigate. As referenced previously, it is truly worthwhile to take time to explore and play with the various search and discovery options. NARA partners with numerous large information aggregators in making digital copies of many records available online, the two most prominent being Ancestry and FamilySearch. In the coming three to five years look for some of the records digitized through these partnerships to be even more widely available online as embargo periods expire. It would take me at least several columns to begin exploring even a part of what NARA has to offer online. One may just want to devote a bit of scheduled time to exploring the Archives.gov website.
The button on the main page of the NARA website that likely bears exploring first is named “Research Our Records.” Under that button one can find links to search the catalog (take your time as the catalog initially can be quite frustrating!), other online research tools including Access to Archival Databases (AAD), researching your ancestry, and researching military records. The sheer quantity of data on this site begs one to explore. This site is so consequential that the Genealogy Center has posted many NARA finding guides for easier viewing at <www.genealogycenter.info/nara/>. It’s worth at least a quick look.
Exploring for unpublished materials--photographs, letters, diaries, daybooks, store ledgers, company records, and the like--may seem like a formidable task, particularly if we are committed to finding all the data possible. It helps to keep your geographic foci in mind. First, look on the local level, and for that we would be looking at local historical societies of all types. City and county historical societies typically have the most robust collections but don’t forget about ethnic, religious, and occupational historical societies. Some of these societies have very modest sized collections, while some are quite extensive. You won’t know until you look. Some local historical society websites are extremely poor relative to online indices, finding aids and collection descriptions. A phone call or email prior to a visit may be necessary to ascertain what resources are available to researchers.
State historical societies typically have amazingly robust collections of records and documents for the geographic areas they cover. In addition, their websites are typically quite good in providing meaningful discovery layers for their collections. Increasingly state historical societies are linking significant digital collections from their websites. Articulating Hoosier pride again, the Indiana Historical Society’s webpage offers much to explore. <IndianaHistory.org> Two links that can quickly lead to resources include the library catalog and digital collections links. Online finding aids can greatly assist in finding specific collections worth further exploration. Among other state historical societies of note are the Wisconsin Historical Society, the Ohio History Connection, the Kentucky Historical Society, and the Georgia Historical Society. Please note, though, that the website of the state historical society in the state where you are conducting research is always worth exploring.
In the category of national historical societies, I would suggest we consider historical societies that cover regions of the country if not the entire country. Such historical societies or organizations tend to be occupationally or ethnically based. These national historical societies tend to be overlooked by genealogists. The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Historical Society and the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia are two examples of such organizations that may benefit family historians.
Though I am a big fan of using our just articulated strategy of published, official/governmental, and unpublished materials collected at the local, state and national levels as a guide in conducting reasonably exhaustive research, I must also offer that nearly any library or archive may have a manuscript collection that is most relevant to one’s research. Further, this library or archive might be outside our articulated strategy for locating such materials. A supplemental strategy is worth embracing: consult NUCMC (National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections), ArchiveGrid, Google and ChatGPT to locate important manuscript collections in repositories you may not initially consider searching.
Keep brainstorming ideas for engaging in reasonably exhaustive research!
PERSI - PERiodical Source Index
A monthly section on using and searching PERSI is posted in the Genealogy Gems monthly E-Zine which lists information about the department's collections and useful research tips emailed to subscribers. A separate Genealogy Gems Archive back to the first issue September 30, 2004 is maintained by Friends of the Allen County Library. One example is shown below:
Genealogy Gems: News from the Allen County Public Library at Fort Wayne, No. 230, April 30, 2023
PERSI: A Research Gem
by Allison DePrey Singleton
The Genealogy Center is delighted to be the home of the Periodical Source Index (PERSI). Created in 1985, PERSI assists genealogy researchers in finding articles in more than 11,000 titles of periodicals and is designed to make that research easier, since many publications do not have their own indexes. Researchers have difficulty knowing every periodical that might benefit their research due to such factors as limited availability, the unexpected location of information, and the size of the organization that creates the periodical. The library staff designed PERSI to help overcome these obstacles and leave no stone unturned. Even though it has been around for more than 37 years, it has only come to be hosted on the Genealogy Center website this past year. Let’s explore how to use PERSI.
The indexed periodicals come from local, regional, and state genealogical societies, historical societies, museums, academic institutions, special interest groups, for-profit publishers, individuals, and many other organizations. Currently, the Genealogy Center receives more than 3,000 periodical subscriptions that are part of its permanent collection. Once we have a full run of a periodical, they are bound and shelved based on topic or location. The current periodicals are kept unbound in alphabetical order. All of them have been cataloged into our collection.
PERSI indexes the titles of articles. The content is not itself indexed, which means researchers need to look for topics and subjects surrounding their ancestors’ lives. PERSI has a surname index that can be searched, but it is unusual for entire articles to be written about one person or one family. Often, these articles include a wide variety of information, including transcriptions of court records, cemetery markers, wills, and other types of records or historical topics. It is best to look for both the surname and the topics or subjects for each ancestor being researched.
Searching PERSI is a learned skill. We recommend that you watch at least one of our videos on PERSI: Ask the Experts: PERSI or Welcome to the New, FREE, Periodical Source Index (PERSI)!. [SHOWN BELOW] Both of these videos will supply tips and tricks to get the most out of PERSI. Wildcards are not available at this time, but it is possible to enter search terms in quotes. More specific results will be found this way. It is also important to think of every term that can be used to describe an event in an ancestor’s life. For example, if seeking material on a death event, use terms such as death, die, funeral, wake, burial, bury, cemetery, grave, headstone, homicide, suicide, murder, kill, will, probate, etc. Be creative!
After an exciting discovery has been made within PERSI, obtaining a copy of the article is the next step. The first option is to visit the Genealogy Center to view the article in person. Researchers are able to make photocopies, scans, or take pictures. We then recommend contacting the publisher for each periodical to see if an inexpensive or free copy could be obtained. The next step is to see if there is a copy of the article in a local library. WorldCat.org is the best option for finding locations of these titles. Lastly, an article order can be made through the Genealogy Center at a small fee. The order form needs to be filled out here: https://acpl.lib.in.us/images/Documents/Gendocs/Forms/articlerequest.pdf. The form can be mailed or emailed. Pre-payment is no longer necessary. The best part of the Genealogy Center’s hosting PERSI, creating the index, and having the periodicals on the premises is that our staff are also here to assist. We want your search to be successful.
April 17, 2023 post by Genealogy Center on Facebook:
Have you searched PERSI lately? 🔍 PERSI, our Periodical Source Index, is the premier subject index for genealogy and local history periodicals, and is produced by the staff of The Genealogy Center. This valuable resource provides more than 3 million citations to readily-available periodical sources!
Start searching here: https://www.genealogycenter.info/persi/
Periodical Source Index is free at the The Genealogy Center. PERSI is a subject index to genealogy and local history periodical literature started in 1985. See Check out the New PERSI! published January 12, 2022 on Genealogy Pants.com. PERSI scopes out genealogy journals - Index developed at ACPL gets to root of the issue a short history and future plans July 14, 2013 by Dan Stockman of The Journal Gazette newspaper. Some of the pre-1923 off copyright publications indexed on PERSI can be found on the Find My Past PERSI Collection on Archive.org.
If you’ve been following the Library for a while, you know we preserve and digitize materials that come to us in all kinds of physical formats. That includes video tapes! Here’s a look inside the Video Preservation Lab at the National Audio-Visual Conservation Center. pic.twitter.com/lY1rroBWjF— Library of Congress (@librarycongress) September 21, 2023
September 21, 2023 same video post by The Library of Congress on Facebook:
- Allen County Public Library Website
- Allen County Public Library Community Album digital images.
- Library transforms photos into history about the Community Album at the Allen County Public Libraryby Frank Gray published February 4, 2016 in The Journal Gazette newspaper now on the Internet Archive Wayback Machine.
- Archive.orghas a collection of over 60 volumes of pamphlets and stories on local people and places published by the Public Library of Fort Wayne and Allen County. Titles like Finding list of the Public Library ... 1897 .. by Public Library of Fort Wayne and Allen County, 1897 ; Bulletin by Public Library of Fort Wayne and Allen County, 1915; This is your library by Public Library of Fort Wayne and Allen County; Grimshaw, Ivan Gerould; Faust, Mary Craig, 1956;
- Allen County Public Library wiki at FamilySearch.org.
- Allen County Public Library at the Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopediaarticle
- Allen County’s Amazing Library from Fort Wayne Monthly “Along the Heritage Trail with Tom Castaldi” – March 2011, No. 76. re-published November 24, 2015 on History Center Notes & Queries blog.
- Allen County Public Library Film local sports videos at the Internet Archiveon Zollner Pistons
- Genealogy Center web site
- Allen County Resources at The Genealogy Center
- ebooks 30,000 titles on Allen County, Indiana at the Internet Archive
- Friends of Allen County
The Friends of the Allen County Public Library, a non-profit, membership organization, has a common concern for the library's expansion and participation in community life. Since 1981, the Friends of the Allen County Public Library has made significant contributions to the steady growth of the library and its services to the community.Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ACPLFriends/
- Over 90,000 eBooks digitized from the The Genealogy Center at the Allen County Public Libraryby the The Genealogy Center
- Instagram Account: www.instagram.com/genealogycenter
- Carnegie Libraries, Indiana received more Carnegie grants than any other state from Indiana at 200: Carnegie libraries distinguish Indiana's intellectual landscape by Andrea Neal published March 1, 2016 in The Herald-Tribune.
January 15, 2016 post by the Indiana Bicentennial Commission on Facebook:
Did you know that 113 years ago today the first Carnegie Library in Indiana opened in Goshen, Indiana? Over the next 20 years, the state would lead the nation with a total of 164 Carnegie libraries in 155 communities. You can learn more about the history of the Carnegie libraries in Indiana by reading: Indiana’s Carnegie Libraries Yaël Ksander August 13, 2007 via WFIU Public Radio
- Family Bibles list - More Free Family Bibles published May 9, 2017 on The Genealogy Center blog.
- Finding historical sports items at ACPL can be fun adventure by Blake Sebring published December 26, 2017 in The News-Sentinel newspaper.
- The Genealogy Center Our Blog, WordPress blog, Genealogy Gems list by year then month back to issue No. 1, March 31, 2004 with subscription form, and Genealogy Gems Mailling List monthly index from current issue back to issue 18A September 17, 2005 by the Friends of Allen County.
- Genealogical reference materials available in the Public Library of Fort Wayne and Allen County by Wilkens, Cleo Goff; Public Library of Fort Wayne and Allen County Publication date 1959
- History Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 on The Genealogy Center blog
- Harold Henderson Midwestern Microhistory: A Genealogy Blog Finding Ancestors in Fort Wayne: The Genealogist's Unofficial One-Stop Guide to the Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center.
- Indiana State Library has millions of records in their 18 Indexes - see their List of Indexes.
- Genealogy Librarian finds distant relatives of Vietnam veteran honored by community December 29, 2015 Facebook post.
- Librarian able to find family of WWII flier January 3, 2016 Facebook post.
- Microtext Catalog at The Genealogy Center
- Online databases at The Genealogy Center
- Think of Us Before You Move.... blog posted by The Genealogy Center May 28, 2015
January 23, 2024 post by the Library of Virginia on Facebook:
"What does that say?" Each year on #NationalHandwritingDay we like to share our recorded workshop on Reading Old Handwriting. Originally created for participants of our Making History transcription events (www.virginiamemory.com/makinghistory/events), this video is very helpful for anyone trying to decipher historic handwritten documents to find an ancestor or research a topic. Reading Old Handwriting
#archives #handwriting #research #genealogy #VirginiaHistory
- Beyond books : Allen County's public library history, 1895-1995 - Slater-Putt, Dawne, Includes bibliographical references and index
- Finding list of the Public Library ... 1897 .. (Volume yr.1897) - Public Library of Fort Wayne and Allen County published a book of all the titles in the library in 1897!
Back to top