Presenting Civil War topics at Allen County

I am thrilled to be the featured speaker at the ACPL Genealogy Center’s Military Symposium this year. With the upcoming sesquicentennial of the Civil War, this year’s symposium will revolve around Civil War topics. I will present one of the lectures on Friday and all four on Saturday.

The symposium is sponsored by the Allen County Genealogical Society of Indiana, Inc.

On Friday, October 8:

  • 2:30-3:30: “Using Military Records for Genealogical Research” by Curt Witcher
  • 4:00-5:00: “The Last Full Measure: Military Burials” (I have some cool examples that I’m very excited about!)

On Saturday, October 9:

  • 9:30-10:30: “Researching Your Civil War Ancestor Online”
  • 11:00-12:00: “State and Local Records for Civil War Research”
  • 1:30-2:30: “After Mustering Out: Researching Civil War Veterans”
  • 3:00-4:00: “For Benefit of the Soldier: Civil War Fraternal Organizations”

All of the sessions will be in meeting room A-B at the Allen County Public Library, 900 Library Plaza, Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Cost is $25. Make checks payable to ACGSI and send to:

Allen County Genealogical Society of Indiana
PO Box 12003
Fort Wayne, IN 46862

For more information, visit the Genealogy Center’s programs page or call (260) 421-1225. I look forward to seeing you there!

Our Military Heritage – An Update

You are probably familiar with the fantastic genealogical collection at the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana. What you might not be familiar with is their growing collection of databases available on their website.

One section of the website is “Our Military Heritage,” which is a collection of digitized books, photographs, letters, diaries… ¬†anything that pertains to military service. There are resources for military engagements from the colonial wars all the way through the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I’ve written about this collection before, but my how it has grown!

The World War II collection has some fascinating resources, including four large collections of letters. “Another Side of War: Soldiers Letters to Miss Ann Adang” includes digitized images of the hundreds of letters sent by twelve soldiers to Ann Adang of Fort Wayne. It is very interesting to read the similarities and differences of the soldiers and sailors from different backgrounds serving in different parts of the world. “Letters of Glenn and Ellen Baker and Letters from Home, World War II” includes the letters exchanged between a husband and wife separated by war.

There is an extensive Civil War section, including unit histories, GAR publications, and pension/service records. One of my favorite resources on this site is Woman’s Work in the Civil War: A Record of Heroism, Patriotism and Patience. (In the interest of full disclosure, I should point out that a copy of my senior honors thesis “With Diplomas of Patriotism: African American Civil War Veterans in Ohio” is also available on this site.)

Some of the resources are quite lengthy, while others, such as the WWI military record of Nicholas J. Martin, are a single page.

Printed materials have been run through an OCR program and are full text searchable.

A Way to Honor Your Military Ancestors

The Genealogy Center at the Allen County Public Library offers you the opportunity not only to research your military ancestors, but also to share your military resources. If you would like to contribute letters to and from service personnel, diaries of military ancestors, copies of pension and service records, pictures of medals and citations, discharge papers, military burials and the like, please contact Curt Witcher [CWitcher@ACPL.Info or 260.421.1226] or simply send digital copies of the military documents (scanned at 300 dpi) to:
The Genealogy Center, Attn.: Curt Witcher, Allen County Public Library, 900 Library Plaza, Ft.Wayne, IN 46802.

Lincoln Collection at the Allen County Public Library

Ever since the announcement that the documents from the Lincoln Collection at the former Lincoln Museum would move to the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, I’ve been anxious to see just what treasures are in the collection. If the first round of digital images are any indication, the collection is beyond “cool.”

When the Lincoln Museum closed, the Lincoln Financial Foundation gave the artifacts to the Indiana State Museum and the records to the Allen County Public Library. Work has begun on digitizing the records and posting them online. The images that they’ve posted so far are rather tantalizing. My favorite is an undated note written by Lincoln: “Let Master Tad have a Navy sword. A. Lincoln”.

Although not part of the Lincoln Collection, the Genealogy Center at ACPL also has posted an image of a silk ribbon commemorating Lincoln’s death. As they note on the website, it is a rare glimpse into life in Fort Wayne at the time, as the newspapers from April 1865 have been lost.

A recent article in the Journal Gazette has some behind-the-scene photos and more detail about the Lincoln Collection at ACPL. It will be interesting to watch as more and more images are posted on the Lincoln Collection website.

More military resources

From the latest issue of Genealogy Gems, published by the Genealogy Center at the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne:

In the “Our Military Heritage” portion of GenealogyCenter.info are the following new resources:

Civil War:
Abstract of General Orders and Proceedings of the 26th Annual Encampment, Department of New York, G.A.R. [Grand Army of the Republic]

Indian Wars:
The Black Hawk War, Including a Review of Black Hawk’s Life

Revolutionary War:
Revolutionary War Veterans Buried in Spring Grove Cemetery, Cincinnati, Hamilton County, Ohio

World War I:
With a Field Ambulance at Ypres, Being Letters Written March 7 – August 15, 1915 by William Boyd

World War II:
The World War II Letters of Maxwell P. Smith

Directories, Yearbooks, and Other General Works:
Names of Invalid Pensioners of the United States Who Have Been Admitted to the Rolls Since March 3, 1849

[NOTE: You can subscribe to “Genealogy Gems,” the free monthly ezine published by the Genealogy Center at the Allen County Public Library by going to GenealogyCenter.info and filling out the subscription form at the bottom of the page.]

Our Military Heritage

The Genealogy Center at the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana has done it again. They’ve come up with another wonderful resource for genealogists: Our Military Heritage

Our Military Heritage has numerous digitized books that are full-text searchable. They range in subject from the Lucky Bag (the Naval Academy yearbook) for 1906 to The United States Navy in the World War (an awesome collection of photos from the War Department) and the Valley Forge Orderly Book of General George Weedon. One book I was particularly impressed with was Woman’s Work in the Civil War. It contains dozens of biographies of women who served as nurses, aid society organizers, etc. (I particularly liked the section titled “Ladies Distinguished for Service in Soldiers’ Homes and Volunteer Refreshment Saloons.” (Funny, I thought the latter were called “bars” :-) )

There are also original documents, such as the Civil War diary of Robert E. Best of the 36th Indiana Volunteer Infantry, letters of John C. Potts of the 95th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, and a World War II diary of George P. Martin, a purchasing agent in Brazil.

Most of the resources can be found in the Genealogy Center at the Allen County Public Library. (The website even gives the call number when it’s available.) They are encouraging people to submit their own material, too.

With materials ranging from the Colonial Wars to World War II (with material for the Korean War, Vietnam and, one would presume, more recent wars to be coming soon), there is something for everyone on Our Military Heritage. This is definitely a site worth keeping an eye on and checking often!