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ACPL’S GENEALOGY CENTER CELEBRATES FAMILY HISTORY MONTH WITH 31 DAYS OF PROGRAMS

Throughout the month of October, the Allen County Public Library’s Genealogy Center is celebrating Family History Month with a full thirty-one days of programming geared toward seasoned and beginning researchers looking to make new discoveries about their families’ stories. All programming is free and open to the public.


“Family History Month is the perfect opportunity to start the journey, or to get back to it if it’s been a while,” says Curt Witcher, ACPL’s Genealogy Center manager and director of Special Collections. “This research doesn’t have to be difficult; sometimes you just need some extra help along the way. That’s where a place like the Genealogy Center can come in and help you break through those brick-walls and make new discoveries.”


The Genealogy Center is a world-renowned facility with 42,000 square feet of research space housing a little more than 1.2 million items in its physical collection and more than 6.2 million items in its free digital collections, making it the largest public library genealogy research center in the United States. Each year, the Genealogy Center is cited as one of the key tourism features of the region drawing guests from around the globe.


Witcher particularly wants Allen County residents to know what a gem they have right here in Fort Wayne. “Our team is passionate about Hoosier history and eager to help our neighbors discover their stories. All northeast Indiana folks are welcome to come in, bring your kids, and check out what an incredible resource is right here in your own backyard.”

Witcher explains that one of the perks of being local to Allen County is that you can take advantage of the unique in-person activities that are happening at the Genealogy Center this Family History Month as well as use the amazing licensed onsitedatabases. See the following for some highlights that can only be enjoyed by connecting in-person. All activities are at the Genealogy Center at the Main Library (900 Library Plaza, Fort Wayne) unless otherwise indicated:


Cemeteries Are Not Just for Ghosts: Lindenwood Cemetery – Genealogy Services Manager, Allison DePrey Singleton, will lead a walking tour with discussion of cemetery etiquette, gravestone carvings and symbolism, and how cemeteries can be an invaluable resource for family history research. All ages are welcome. Saturday, October 7 from 10 a.m. to noon at Lindenwood Cemetery (2324 W. Main St., Fort Wayne)


From Deed to Discovery: Tracing Williams Woodland Park Neighborhood Home Histories – Senior Librarian Elizabeth Hodges will guide a tour through one of Fort Wayne’s most historic neighborhoods with a focus on the area’s intriguing history including how to use land deeds, maps, photographs, and stories to trace the history of neighborhoods and reveal the secrets within their homes. Saturday, October 21 from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Templo Aposento Alto Church (307 W. Woodland Ave., Fort Wayne)


Scanapalooza – Director of Special Collections Curt Witcher of Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center and Rick Voight of Vivid-Pix will guide guests through the process organizing, scanning, and revitalizing your cherished photographs while capturing and sharing family narratives. Friday, October 27 from 2 to 5 p.m.


Extended hours at the Genealogy Center – The Genealogy Center in downtown Fort Wayne will be open for extended hours giving researchers additional access to the Center’s librarians, as well as, its extensive collection of physical and digital resources that can only be found within the Library’s facility. Friday, October 27 from 6 to 9 p.m.


“We’ve seen how researchers embraced new tools and techniques during the pandemic; now they can also leverage the expertise and experience of educated experts who can in-person help fill in the gaps and break through those research brick-walls,” said Witcher. “We’ve learned that what our patrons want is a mix of programs that meet them where they are and adapt to their journey as they seek to find their own unique stories. Stories are what we do here at the Library and I believe that is why the Genealogy Center here in Fort Wayne continues to be at the forefront of the family history field.”


The expert genealogists at the Library’s Genealogy Center have curated an extensive list of programs intended to serve all people, regardless of where they are on their family research journeys with a mix of in-person programs, virtual workshops, and social media engagements. They will also provide one-on-one assistance via appointment or walk-ins (as available). The Center’s full collection is available to patrons for research on their own during normal Library operating hours as well.


“Everyone has a story, and the Allen County Public Library is using Family History Month to draw attention to genealogy resources available to the entire world right here in Allen County,” says Witcher. “The Genealogy Center can help you find and tell your story with a different engagement every day of October.”


All events are free and open to the public. A full list of programs can be accessed at acpl.info/family-history-month. For more information, contact the Genealogy Center at 260-421-1225 or Genealogy@ACPL.Info.

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