As we discussed last week, it’s good to take time to learn new things. I attended the Family History Workshop in Moorhead Minnesota last weekend. It was a great day of learning. The main speaker was Curt B. Witcher, MLS, FUGS, IGSF from the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
For those of us not in the Fort Wayne area, he shared the many online opportunities available. Lucky for us many years ago, the director had the foresight to provide services and materials geared towards genealogists. According to Witcher, this library has a large collection dedicated to genealogy-related materials and equally as important, they are dedicated to delivering great service to genealogists. Here are some tips he shared.
o get started go to their Genealogy Center page. Here you can find main topics across the top bar such as Pathfinders, Genealogy Communities, Databases and Services. Be sure to use the drop-down menus under these to find even more information. One of the key things about this library is that they are willing to take and publish small databases that might not have a home in larger companies. This means that there are obscure topics and information that can only be found online here. And even if you don’t have roots in Indiana, you’ll find that they have materials and topics from all states and globally. While I can’t promise that you’ll find your family, you may find some interesting histories or be a lucky soul and find a copy of the family pages of a bible that ties back to yours.
In addition to all the materials that they have online and onsite, they provide links to other sites that you might not have considered before. For those materials that are not available, you can ask a specific question at Ask a Librarian. You may also want to receive their monthly E-Zine, Genealogy Gems. You can sign up for the newsletter here. There are many back issues available for viewing online.
Links from the Genealogy Center site.
Internet Archive “Books from the Allen County Public Library. Books digitized by the Internet Archive for the Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center in Fort Wayne Indiana.” I tried this one using “Ontario” as my search criteria and the results included many historical society journals. Have fun and be creative as you search.
The LinkPendium.com does a search across many sites, providing links to sites based on a name or topic or locations. On this site, I searched for family names and had some luck finding sites or articles I hadn’t seen before.
WeRelate.org has a goal of creating a unified family tree. Look around and see if you have a family connection.
Family History Books links back to books on the familysearch.org site. Most books found on this site can be viewed online. Some require you to go to the Family Centers to view the contents.
FamilySearch.org provides many records for free. They do require that you registered to use the site.
Take some time to explore the Genealogy Center of Allen Library—you may find a tidbit related to your family or local history. Think about how your local library. Do they have treasures both online and onsite that you can explore? Remember not everything is online yet but it is certainly a blessing when we do find information online!
“A great library contains the diary of the human race.”
--George Mercer Dawso
With a lifelong passion for genealogy and history, the author enjoys the opportunity to share genealogy tidbits, inspiring others to research and write their family story.