Uncover your family’s history at the Genealogy Center

Do you ever wonder where your ancestors came from, just how deep your roots are, or how far branches of your family tree reach? You can answer those questions right here in downtown Fort Wayne.

The Genealogy Center at the main branch of the Allen County Public Library (ACPL) is one of the premier genealogy research centers in the United States. If you haven’t visited yet, you should!

As you prepare for your visit, collect and organize all the information you have about your family history from personal records and relatives . If there are gaps, don’t worry. That’s what the center is for.

The Genealogy Center at the main branch of the Allen County Public Library has been a fixture in the community since 1961.

The Genealogy Center at the main branch of the Allen County Public Library has been a fixture in the community since 1961.

After chatting with Curt B. Witcher, manager of the Genealogy Center, he recommends spending time on the website to get familiar with everything the center has to offer prior to visiting. Not only is there a searchable catalog of the materials in stock, there’s also a listing of the online databases you can access via ACPL.

At the beginning of your first visit, definitely stop at the front desk and talk to any of the genealogy librarians on duty. Beyond the books and databases, these knowledgeable individuals are going to be your main resource and guide to tying all of these research tools together.

If your family is not from Fort Wayne, you might be asking if you can still find useful information at the center.

The answer is yes!

Materials are in stock from across North America with an additional collection available on the British Isles.

In fact, visitors from across the country travel to Fort Wayne to research and learn about their loved ones. Usually you can find them at one of the many computers available or pulled up to a table with a stack (or even cart) of books and a lot of caffeine.

In stock you’ll find surname history books, city directories, select archived newspapers on microfilm, yearbooks, geographic region histories, and much, much more.

I found out who my grandfather lived with in 1930 by viewing Census records accessed through one of the center’s online databases. Access to databases like Ancestry.com can be a bit pricey for a novice researcher, but they’re free to you on-site as a patron at ACPL and well worth it.

So, go ahead and grab a family member to go with you if you wish – it could be a great bonding activity for the two of you as you both discover where you came from!

Visit genealogycenter.org to find information about all the services available at the center.

The Genealogy Center is located at the Allen County Public Library – Main Branch, 900 Library Plaza (W. Wayne and Webster Streets), Fort Wayne, Indiana, 46802. Contact them at (260) 421-1225 or Genealogy@ACPL.info. Hours are Monday – Thursday, 9:00 am – 9:00 pm; Friday and Saturday, 9:00 am – 6:00 pm; and Sunday, 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm. The library is closed on Sundays from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

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Tim Zink

Author: Tim Zink

Director-at-Large of Communications for Young Leaders of Northeast Indiana. Adviser to current Living Fort Wayne leadership team. Contributor to Living Fort Wayne since April 2014.

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