People of Allen County, Indiana

The Search box on the top of each page will find names and keyword search items on all of our pages. If you can supply biographical material on more people for these pages please Contact Allen INGenWeb.

In May of 1997, Jeff Murphy started collectiong biographies of Allen County, Indiana people using the Kentucky Biographies Project as a model. State coordinators were sought to set up their own state project. They were offered the system design and tools created for the KY project, but were free to set up their project any way they chose. Volunteers were needed to enter, edit, and archive additional biographies for each project. Those biographies are included in these people pages as submitted. Many family histoires were included in the 2006 publication History of Fort Wayne & Allen County, Indiana 1700-2005 Volume 2 available at the Allen County Public Library.

The Allen County, Indiana : Surnames page on Linkpendium has links to around 400 Allen County biographies in books on Internet Archive and Google ebooks online.

Searching on the WorldCat Allen County Biography Bibliography finds dozens of Allen County books on biographies and people of Allen County, Indiana.

History remembers only the celebrated, genealogy remembers them all - Lawrence Overmire from his Memorial page on Find A Grave.

History isn't about dates and places and wars. It's about the people who filled the spaces between them. - Jodi Picoult posted October 18, 2017 by Amy Johnson Crow on Facebook.

Some Allen County, Indiana pioneers : a notebook handwritten personal notes kept by Stopher, John Publication date 1900

Standard atlas of Allen County, Indiana : including a plat book of the villages, cities and townships of the county ... patrons directory, reference business directory ... by Geo. A. Ogle & Co. in 1898 is a good book for early township maps and several pages of portraits of locally prominent citizens starting on page 94!

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  1. ACGSI Records page has a growing list of indexed records for Allen County, Indiana.
  2. Cityscapes - People & Places is on the archives of The News-Sentinel newspaper.
  3. Family Web Sites of Allen County, Indiana is our list of local family web sites as well as how to find web sites that no longer exist via the Wayback Machine using automatic browser extensions to find those archived web pages.
  4. French Families of Allen County, Indiana at The Genealogy Center.
  5. Historical Record Lists has over 400 names of people who served such as ministers, mayors, state representaives and more prior to 1900 in Allen County and other counties in Indiana at
  6. History Journal by The Journal Gazette newspaper started posting almost weekly stories in November 2018. It was previously known as Throwback Thursday with stories from their archive of newspapers going back to the 1800s and a collection of photo negatives beginning in the early 1940s. A History Journal indexed by decade was published January 26, 2020 by Corey McMaken.
  7. April 8, 2017 and August 11, 2017 general discussion of people from Fort Wayne were on You are positively from Fort Wayne, if you remember... Closed group on Facebook.


We have a Surname Queries page where you can post names on our Submit a Surname Query page, or search already submitted names on our Query Index page.

Genealogy of the Tragedies: Death and Sorrow in America Published on November 1, 2018 by Allen County Public Library on YouTube.
Presented by the Genealogy Center at the Allen County Public Library. Every family has at least one tragedy in their family narrative. Let’s explore the process of researching some of these tragedies and how you can apply these same methods to your family history research.

Library Information

The Genealogy Center at the Allen County Public Library has a web page called Life Stories Your Story, Our History, Told By You that has links to interview information and a growing collection of online video Interviews recorded, preserved and presented at the library. Current video interview pages include:

  1. Allen County Public Library Interviews
  2. Community Interviews
  3. Family Resources growing collection of material submitted to The Genealogy Center at the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana
  4. Indiana Artists More than 1,000 entries compiled from the "Indiana Artists" clipping folder of the Indiana Collection Vertical File (which no longer exists).
  5. Lasting Lawyer Legacy Project currently has the most videos of local attorneys. Information not in the history books was one heading in the article Allen County Bar Association project collects oral histories from the legal community by Marilyn Odendahl published August 9, 2017 on The Indiana 
  6. Life Stories Your Story, Our History, Told By You at the Allen County Public Library.
  7. "My Life Indiana" Stories
  8. Surname File Lists other researchers searching same surname w/ contact information
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Books by or About Local People

  1. A History of the Allen County Bar and Courts 1824-2019, subtitled A Light in the Forest, published by the Allen County Bar Foundation. A major find in the research was discovering the old original 1824 Circuit Court docket books at the Genealogy Center of the Allen County Public Library. These large heavy books described what happened each day of court. They were handwritten and difficult to read. From the docket books I learned the names of our first lawyers and judges and what legal business was available. Copied from NEWS-SENTINEL GUEST COLUMN: Allen County courts history dates back 195 years by Don Doxsee published September 21, 2019 in The News-Sentinel newspaper. More information with photos is in the History is in session Courthouse,occupants getbook treatment article published May 12, 2019 in The Journal Gazette newspaper.
  2. Always Carl: Letters from the heart and heartland, 1929-1931 by Amy McVay Abbott. Letters gifted by her aunt love letters written 90 years ago by her grandfather, Carl Enz, to her grandmother, LeNore, that began during their “courting” in fall 1929 and end right before they were married in spring of 1931. Ddiscussed in Letters chronicle love Granddaughter puts handwritten notes in self-published book by Terri Richardson published September 10, 2019 in The Journal Gazette newspaper.
  3. The Autobiography of an Ordinary Man From Letters to my Daughter by Edward Franklin Sonday, (1896-1984). He shares stories about growing up, living and working in Fort Wayne. He writes about his experiences in FTW during WWI, the Great Depression, WWII and a lot about the 41 years that he worked at GE. Photos and discussion June 2, 2019 on You are positively from Fort Wayne, if you remember... Closed group on Facebook.
  4.  Myself When Young by Karl Detzer, published in 1980, written in 1968 has stories about his childhood in Fort Wayne, in particular the central part of the city. Menioned in the Sonday discussion item above.

Other Information

  1. 1875 State Legislators - INGenWeb pdf - name Index
  2. 1860 Lawyers from Livingston's United States Law Register published in the December 5, 1894 Fort Wayne Weekly Sentinel newspaper on the original Great Memories and History of Fort Wayne, Indiana page on Facebook.
  3. 1879 State Legislators on Internet Archive
  4. 108 year old resident: Irene Alma Steiss Burgoon Mensalvas died September 11, 2012. She lived on Ferguson Road farm that became part of Fort Wayne International Airport, lived in Hawaii, several states, a couple other countries before returning to Fort Wayne. From her Fort Wayne Newspapers obituary.
  5. A Brief History of Brewing in Fort Wayne, Indiana on the Wayback Machine formerly
  6. Blood on the Ohio Frontier Tales of Terror by Fritz Zimmerman is a blog that contains several stories relating to our area such as Artifacts and Description of the Last French Fort in Present Day Ft. Wayne, Indiana and Aboite, Indiana Named For Indian Massacre and French Word For "Slaughterhouse."
  7. Business People magazine started their online digital edition in April 2019.
  8. Dialects and 4 part tongue in cheek YouTubeHow To Speak Hoosier video links discussed August 10, 2017 on You are positively from Fort Wayne, if you remember... Closed group on Facebook. Some of the video comments indicate some of these dialects are fading away and not state wide.
  9. Finding Indiana Records a pdf by the Indiana Historical Society
  10. First Name AbbreviationsIn many historic documents, first names were abbreviated. For example, old street directories and city directories always abbreviated common first names. Parish records often abbreviated familiar Christian names. This was done to save space and paper. From Genealogy In Time archived on the Wayback Machine.
  11. Founders Online CORRESPONDENCE AND OTHER WRITINGS OF SIX MAJOR SHAPERS OF THE UNITED STATES: George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams (and family), Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison. Over 182,000 searchable documents, fully annotated, from the authoritative Founding Fathers Papers projects. At The National Archives. Discussed April 4, 2019 on the National Historical Publications and Records CommissionFacebook page.
  12. FORT WAYNE FIVE: Important medical figures published April 9, 2018 in The News-Sentinel newspaper.
  13. Historical Databases of over 18,000 19th-20th Century Indiana Physicians and over 9,000 Union Civil War Surgeons at Ruth Lilly Medical Library at Indiana University of Medicine. 14 Doctors of Allen County search results.
  14. Hoosiers: The Story of Indianafour-part video series explores Indiana’s 200-year history. Based on the definitive history of Indiana, Hoosiers: A New History of Indiana, by James Madison. Produced by WFYI Public Media.
  15. The book Legendary Locals of Fort Wayne by Randy Harter and Craig Hartman is about 182 well known Fort Wayne locals released August 31, 2015 and nnounced July 16, 2015 on You know you've lived in Fort Wayne too long when... closed Facebook group.
  16. Fort Wayne researcher on quest to find 'One Hundred Leading Hoosiers 1816-1916' Fort Wayne woman is trying to track down all of the people profiled in the 1916 newspaper series “One Hundred Leading Hoosiers 1816-1916,” which highlighted people who made major contributions to the state. by Kevin Kilbane published February 4, 2016 in The News-Sentinel newspaper .
  17. Legends of Fort Wayne. Over 400 comments December 28, 2017 on I grew up in Fort Wayne, Indiana on Facebook.
  18. Linkpendium has links to over 9 million surnames worldwide including 160,000 recently added free online biographies according to their November 21, 2015 Facebook post.
  19. List of people from Fort Wayne, Indiana on Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  20. List of people from Indiana on Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  21. Little-known women influenced city by Michael Hawfield in Cityscapes from the archives of The News-Sentinel newspaper.
  22. Miss Fort Wayne Scholarship Organization - list of names from beginning in the 1940s to present on
  23. Most Popular People Born In "Fort Wayne/ Indiana/ USA" lists over 120 people with some claim to fame with Fort Wayne connections on
  24. Old Settlers and pioneers in Indiana by Indiana Division Librarian Andrea Glenn published December 6, 2017 on Indiana State Library blog.
  25. Fort Wayne media personalities discussed August 16, 2017 on You are positively from Fort Wayne, if you remember... Closed group on Facebook.
  26. Surname spellings were often based on what the writer heard, rather than standard English grammar and spelling. Discussed in this blog North American Dialects and Fonetik Speling by Michael J. Leclerc's Genealogy News May 9, 2013 on the Wayback Machine for Mocavo about the North American English Dialects, Based on Pronunciation Patterns Rick Aschmann outlines eight dialects in North America. Discussed again as Where to Find the Best Collections of Regional Dialects and Local Accents by Nick Douglas September 7, 2017 on
  27. Top 5 Names In Each Of The Last 100 Yearsfemale and male names 1917 through the last year on Social
  28. A common myth is some of our ancestors changed the spelling of their name at Ellis Island. Read: Ellis Island -- Names were NOT changed! A very persistent myth perpetuated in our genealogical world ... on the July 10, 2013 National Genealogical Society blog.
  29. USGenWeb has a list of Common Nicknames.
  30. People from Fort Wayne and Allen County on Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
  31. Portraits in the Grand Staircase - portraits of Sam Hanna, Samuel Foster, and Major-General Henry Lawton by Carmen Doyle published September 24, 2014 in the History Center Notes & Queries blog.
  32. 1927 family reunions in newspaper
  33. Reunions - early newspapers published lists of names of people who attended such as this September 14, 1927 newspaper for Reunions of the Thomas, Bieber, Seidel-Schneider and Evard families.
  34. Social Security Administration Top 10 Baby Names have look up by decade and state.
  35. Why is HE so important? (A brief reason why some things in Fort Wayne were named that) (The dead guys with streets and places named after them) by Carmen Doyle published December 24, 2013 in the History Center Notes & Queries blog.
  36. Writing Her Story annually since 2013 by the Indiana Commission for Women.
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  1. In 1966, the famous “Blue Light Special” was invented by a Kmart manager in Fort Wayne, Indiana, who was seeking a way to make it easier for his customers to find the Christmas wrapping paper that he was clearing; the Blue Light Special went on to be adopted chainwide and become an American icon. Copied from Kmart Corporation on
  2. Movies made here or about Fort Wayne.
  3. Television shows with a real or fictional character from Fort Wayne.


From The Journal Gazette newspaper

On Facebook:

On Vimeo over 4,000 videos in 2016:

From The News-Sentinel newspaper videos:

On Facebook:


Over 900 pages of Biographical Sketches in Memorial record of northeastern Indiana published in 1896 by Lewis Publishing Company of Chicago.

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Keys to the Fort

The Key to the Fort goes to individuals who’ve made an extraordinary commitment to the community through a lifetime of stewardship and involvement. The Key is a hand forged replica of the iron key that was at the Fort in the days of Anthony Wayne, circa 1790. The original key is at the History Center. Recipients include the late Charles Redd, a former City Council member and community activist, the late Jane Avery of Community Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Indiana, Bob Chase, legendary Fort Wayne Komets broadcaster and WOWO personality, Belinda Lewis of Animal Care and Control.


2016: Dan Wire, river promoter runs the Tri-State Watershed Alliance

2015: Chuck Surack, founder and president of Sweetwater

2014: FWCS Superintendent Wendy Robinson and Board President Mark GiaQuinta

2013: Michael Packnett, president and CEO of Parkview HealthSystem

2012: Irene Walters, executive director of university relations at IPFW, community volunteer

2011: Larry Wardlaw, chairman of Fort Wayne Metropolitan Human Relations Commission, community volunteer

2010: Meg Distler, executive director of the St. Joseph Community Health Foundation, and Minn Myint Nan Tin, executive director of the Burmese Advocacy Center

2009: Lynn Reecer, co-founder and president of Aboite New Trails

2008: Jane Avery, executive director of Community Harvest Food Bank

2007: Jeff Krull, director of the Allen County Public Library

2006: Hana Stith, founder and curator of the African/African-American Museum

2005: John Stafford, director of the Community Research Institute at IPFW

2004: Shirley Woods, founder of the Euell A. Wilson Center

2003: Donald Andorfer, Sister Elise Kriss, university presidents; Chancellor Mike Wartell

2002: Judges Fran Gull, Steve Sims and John Surbeck, court reform activists

2001: Jim Kelley, philanthropist

2000: Rosetta Moses Hill, education activist

1999: Father Tom O’Connor, founder of St. Mary’s Soup Kitchen

1998: Phil, Joann, Matt, Glen and Ryan Nixon, activists for bike trails, traffic safety

1997: Jane Novak, mental health advocate

1996: Ternae Jordan, Stop the Madness founder

1995: Ian Rolland, Lincoln National CEO, community activist

1994: Irene Walters, Mike Hawfield and Patty Martone, Fort Wayne bicentennial organizers

1993: Jane and Tom Dustin, environmentalists

1992: Joyce Schlatter, Fort Wayne Community Foundation specialist

1991: Don Wolf, founder of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Fort Wayne and Fort Wayne Community Schools Study Connection

1990: Brenda Robinson, director of Old Fort YMCA

1989: Dr. David Porter, child abuse prevention specialist/advocate

1988: Paul Clarke, philanthropist and founder of Fort Wayne Community Foundation

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Page updated: January 27, 2020