Genealogy Meccas

When we first started this trip there were a few places I wanted to visit, mainly for the purpose of following up on some genealogical questions I had.  But what has happened is I’ve stumbled onto the genealogical mecca tour, quite by accident.

Our first stop on this magical genealogical tour was the ultimate repository, the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.  I had been there before, but it was fun to return with a little more experience, and some questions that needed answers.

The next stop was a couple of weeks ago when we were in Madison, WI and I spent time in the Wisconsin Historical Society’s library and got to look at the actual Draper Manuscripts.  That was very cool and I came away with a few stories about ancestors I’ll have to follow up on.

Last week, while in Chicago, I spent two days at the Newberry Library, a center for mid-west and family research.  I was able to begin the process of solving one of those perplexing questions, this time centered on German immigration into the Chicago area.

And then today was my second day in the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, IN.  For those who don’t know, this is one of those places with a unique collection.  They subscribe to every periodical related to local history and genealogy and create an index of those publications...the PERSI…PERiodcal Source Index.  It was pretty cool to actually look in the PERSI and then go get the relevant publication and read the article.  Trust me, other genealogists are envious.

A good portion of the second floor is devoted to the Genealogy Center which encompasses five different rooms of stacks, two large rooms with research tables (all with electrical outlets for computers) and a large microfilm reading room with scanners and printers (free by the way).  The book copy machines are a nickel a copy.

This is my first visit to ACPL and I’m quite impressed.  The staff is helpful, the facilities generous and the overall feeling is one of  interesting family stories just waiting to be uncovered.

It was also sort of neat to look up the Humboldt Historian (they subscribe) and find my name.

8 Responses to “Genealogy Meccas”
  1. Martha Haynes 20 August 2010 at 5:41 am #

    This is one of the times I really miss my parents. I have questions to which there are no longer answers, or at least some details so I could search for the answers as you are doing.

  2. Mel 20 August 2010 at 6:06 am #


  3. Linda 20 August 2010 at 7:43 am #

    I am “green” with envy or is that jealously. Either way I wish I was there and you were here.We have not seen much of the sun for this whole month of Fogust. We are having a busy month at work. You’ll have to come by and see when you get home. I am enjoying your vacation so much. I look forward to pictures from the Quilt show.Allen County looks so cool, I bet you found all kind of interesting things.

  4. durry 20 August 2010 at 12:48 pm #

    Mel…I’m done until New York.
    Linda…when you and Jeff retire and get your trailer you’ll have just as much fun.

  5. donna 20 August 2010 at 1:34 pm #

    Martha – we know EXACTLY how you feel. It seems that folks in generations past kept lots of secrets. I don’t recall that my father ever talked with us about his family. With Durry’s research we are finding that there were lots of his family members close by in California. We had no contact with them, and no one left to answer any of our questions. My sister tells me that my maternal grandmother wouldn’t talk about her late husband because she was “mad” at him. All the stories are gone. Durry has files and files of family history and so far, our generation’s decedents don’t seem to show any interest.

  6. Martha Haynes 22 August 2010 at 6:02 am #

    Scott or Jonathan will ask a question about an ancestor and I have no idea. Mother told me stories about a great-grandfather who lived in St. Louis. He was a lawyer, got run over by a trolley, and his partners did nothing to take care of his wife and children. What a story! but I have no names. One of the things I want to do when we are back east in September is go to Wenona, my home town, and look at my grandfather’s birth date on his gravestone. I don’t know if that will help, but… And I know nothing about my father’s family. Tina, on the other hand, Scott’s wife, returned from England with all sorts of photos and documents about her family’s history.

  7. donna 22 August 2010 at 11:44 am #

    Martha — when you go to the cemetery check at the main office to see if they have any more information about your grandfather. There may be some paperwork that night give you lots of information. You then might be led to the county courthouse to look for a birth and or death record. You then might find next of kin, cause of death…..perhaps lots of little secrets. Then to the library to look for the obit in the paper. And it all begins from there! Tell me again when you are going to be in Connecticut? We have reserved a campsite in Old Bethpage on Long Island from September 1 -22.

  8. Martha Haynes 23 August 2010 at 6:56 am #

    We fly out of here on the 20th, all things being equal. Between the fog and airport shut-downs, due to construction. My friend in Maine died on Aug. 2. Her memorial service in our home town is on 9/22, which is in South Jersey, just outside of Philadelphia. The reunion is that weekend, after which we will spend the next week in Philadelphia with Bob’s kids who live there. It looks like we will not cross paths.

    Thanks for the suggestions about the management of the cemetery. I will have to find out who that person might be; I know who the manager used to be, but he has taken up residence, unfortunately.

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