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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

AncestryDNA $49 Reduced Price Has Expired

Just before I signed into Ancestry.com tonight, I thought to check on the reduced price webpage for an AncestryDNA test. It appears the reduced pricing of $49 is now over and the cost of an Ancestry DNA test is now back to $99.

If you missed it, I advise to checking the website often to keep an eye out for any future sales.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Update on: Thank You Ancestry.com for a Simple and Uncomplicated Refund

This is an update to my post on July 4th, "Thank You Ancestry.com for a Simple and Uncomplicated Refund for my Non-Processed Y-DNA and mtDNA Tests."
Ancestry.com's retired test kits for Y-DNA and mtDNA.

It's July 14th. The refund from Ancestry.com for my unused Y-DNA and mtDNA tests did not make my latest credit card statement so I was contemplating calling the card company to see if the refund had arrived after the statement was sent out.

But no need to do so. 

Today's postal mail contained a check from Ancestry.com (written on July 10th) for the complete price I paid for both tests and the sales tax I paid. So the only thing I lost was $6.19 -- the cost of postage. I can deal with that.

Thank you, Ancestry.com.

We may not like that you exited the Y-DNA and mtDNA marketplace, but in our case your decision got our butts in gear. Our other tests are performed, mailed and being processed as I write. We have autosomal tests at both Ancestry.com and FamilyTree DNA. It will be interesting to see how the ethnicity reports of the two companies compare. I'm not expecting anything surprising or exotic though I do have a couple unknowns in Dad's side of the tree in the only non-German branch.

Hey, FamilyTree DNA how about a sale on the entry Y-DNA tests sometime this year? I may have the money now but I really like a deal.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Save Money on an AncestryDNA Test -- If You Access the Correct Page it Only Costs $49

I discovered this deal tonight July 11, 2014, while checking on the status of an AncestryDNA test that did not arrive at the same time as the other I mailed on the same day. Now, I don't know how long it has been this way or how long it will last.

If you've been thinking about taking an autosomal DNA test it seems Ancestry.com has lowered the price -- if you find the right page on its website.

If you are signed into Ancestry.com and click on the order button for an AncestryDNA test on either the DNA page or the Store page, you will see that the price of the AncestryDNA test is $99, the regular price.

BUT I discovered a different page when I signed out of my account while on my DNA page. After signing out, a page with lots of information on the AncestryDNA test came up but this page says the AncestryDNA test is now ... $49. That is a $50 savings from the regular price. I tried again to bring this page up without signing into Ancestry.com and I was able to get to it again.

At the Ancestry.com splash page do not sign in, click the Search at the top to bring up the traditional home page then click on the DNA tab and surprise the AncestryDNA information page with the $49 appears again!

Now if you click the order button from the informational page (where it says $49), it brings up a Create a Free Account page. BUT if you already have an Ancestry.com membership or user id, just click on the "Sign in here" which is in small type just under the Create A Free Account headline. Once you are signed in, you are taken to an order page and the price is .... $49.

I don't know if this is a marketing test or a foreshadowing of a change in the regular price.

You can save even more by using the free DNA shipping code -- FREESHIPDNA -- from RetailMeNot which is good until February 1, 2015. (This is the expiration date of the free shipping for DNA offer. I do not know how long this lower price on AncestryDNA will last.)

OF COURSE, you have to decide for yourself how you feel about Ancestry.com's commitment to DNA testing in light of its recent exit from Y-DNA and mtDNA testing.

I had two previously purchased AncestryDNA tests from before the June announcement which I finally preformed and mailed in for processing. I also have two equivalent tests (FamilyFinder) from FamilyTree DNA also purchased prior to the June announcement.

Would a price drop like this sway me? Maybe. In essence I could test two people for what would be the regular price of one test. Normally a good sale on this test is about $79. Testing with Ancestry.com may be beneficial if you have a tree (public or private) on its website.

Am I considering purchasing an AncestryDNA test at this $49 price? Yes, but I have not decided to do so yet partly because I have to consider who to test and the potential benefit to my research. And I have to consider that with FamilyTree DNA if I order a FamilyFinder (autosomal) test I can order an upgrade test (a YDNA or mtDNA) in the future usually without having to perform another test on the person I had tested.

Many DNA/genealogy experts suggest testing with each company because not everyone tests with each company and you may find a match on one site but not the other. Of course, not everyone can afford to do so. This lower price might make it easier.

DNA testing -- each of the three types Y-DNA, mtDNA, and autosomal DNA -- has proven to be a beneficial tool for genealogists. You just have to learn and know how to apply it. 

NOTE: Just to be clear, no person or company asked me to write this or payed me to do so. It is something I discovered and thought others may be interested in knowing too. The opinions/purchase rationals I presented here are my own.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Thank you Ancestry.com for a Simple and Uncomplicated Refund for my Non-Processed Y-DNA and mtDNA Tests

At the beginning of this June, Ancestry.com announced that it was retiring several of the websites it had purchased over the years AND its Y-DNA and mtDNA testing (referred to as LegacyDNA). I do not know how many people were affected by this elimination of Y-DNA and mtDNA testing, but I was one of them. The way I was affected though was probably different than most.

Back in 2008 we had bought the tests (on sale) to test a sister and brother. For various reasons we had not been able to perform and mail in the tests. Last year, sometime in the Spring-time, I had called Ancestry.com's customer service to make sure the tests were still valid. Since we had not performed the tests and the DNA would be fresh, the representative said yes the tests were still okay to use. I had hoped to perform the test shortly after that but it was not to be.

Fast forward to this June's announcement. At first I was devastated. Now what do I do? But then I started thinking of it as: well, if we had actually done the tests we would now be scrambling to download the data and screen capture the matches/potential matches and trying to figure out how to best handle the situation.

Ancestry.com had a phone number on the FAQ page for the LegacyDNA to call if your LegacyDNA test had not been processed. I could not call immediately because we were headed out on vacation. Once we returned the Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack occurred that Monday and I thought I would give Ancestry.com some time to deal with the situation. I ended up not calling the phone number until June 27.

Though I had a wait over five minutes for a representative, I was really surprised by the experience. I honestly thought I would have to argue to get any money back. But that was not the case.

What happened was me saying that I called regarding the retirement of the Y-DNA and mtDNA testing and that I had one test of each that had not been processed. The representative responded with something like, "and you would like a refund." She took some information, verified that I was me and what I paid for the tests and put me on hold to fill in the refund form. (Yes, I had a copy of my purchase confirmation sitting in front of me so I could verify when and how much I paid for each test.) When she came back on the line she explained the refund process and what she could tell me of the timing of how long it would take for a refund. It was that simple. No arguing and no attempt to keep the money by offering me something else instead of a refund.

So hopefully, sometime this week or so my credit card will receive the refund and I will not have to change/update this post into a bad experience. The representative did caution if they had a problem crediting the credit card that they would then issue a check which would lengthen the time to receive the refund.

I hope others in similar situations as me have a good experience also.

With this event happening, it prompted us to actually perform the various autosomal tests (from Ancestry and FamilyTree DNA) that we have purchased and mail them in. Earlier this year I got a great price on a full-sequence mt-DNA test from another company so we made sure to perform that one too. It will be interesting to see what differences in ethnic heritage there may be between the two companies and their autosomal tests.

Now if FamilyTree DNA would offer a sale on its entry or mid-point Y-DNA tests as a "Come Join Us" offer, things will continue to be looking up.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

My Vist to the Midwest Genealogy Center of the Mid-Continent Public Library

Midwest Genealogy Center in Independence, Missouri
The main focus of our trip last week to Missouri was not a visit to the Midwest Genealogy Center of the Mid-Continent Public Library. Rather it was for us (my sister and I) to drive my mother to her eldest granddaughter's house to meet the newest member of the family -- a great grandson who now makes three in that generation.

But while there (after an eleven or so hour drive) why not visit the library since it is less than thirty minutes away in Independence, Missouri? We, as genealogists, would be crazy to pass up that opportunity, right?

Like for our trip to the Allen County Public Library the key is to plan ahead.
MCPL Home Page

Begin with the Library's Website

The Mid-Continent Public Library's website is the place to start your planning. From the library's homepage click on the "Genealogy" tab to get to the page for the Midwest Genealogy Center page. Besides the About, Directions and Hours, there is information for beginners in genealogy/family research that covers what to look for and a variety of family history forms to download.
The Genealogy Center Page

The Digital Collections contains links to "Jackson County and Kansas City Plat books" and "Digitized Books." The Mid-Continent Public Library-Midwest Genealogy Center (MCPL-MGC) actually participates in the FamilySearch Family History Books Collection so this link takes you there.

The Archival Collections takes you to a page with a variety of finding aids and indexes for the library's archival collection that focuses on Jackson, Clay and Platte counties in Missouri. So if you have ancestors in these areas it seems a great place to check out.

I don't have ancestors in those counties. In fact, I maybe have a couple really distant collateral relatives in Missouri ... like count on one hand with plenty of fingers left over. So why did we take the time to visit this library? For all the other stuff they have. Read on.

In my opinion, the main links of importance to your planning are the Library's Catalog (located in the tabs at the top of the page) and categorized lists of online databases available at the library located (kind of hidden) under Related Information.

MCPL-MGC's Library Catalog. While the Library's Catalog does not have a cute name, it does have some helpful features like the ability to create a list -- think shopping list -- of the books you want to explore.

Advanced Search
Remember to search the catalog like you would for any other genealogy library visit. Do searches using your Surnames of interest. Do searches using your locations of interest remembering to try all types (County, Town/Township, City/Village) of locations. Make your fingers walk the book shelves before you even enter the building. Remember when doing a county search to include the state.

Once at the catalog page, I suggest clicking on the Library Catalog Advanced Search. Here you can empower your search a bit more. You can limit your search to "Genealogy Materials." You have the option to search by key words or exact phrase, tell it not to show you items with specific words, or search by title, author, or subject.

Check the box for items of interest.
As you scan the results page, check the box to the left of each item you are interested in looking at when at the library. Before you move to the next results page, click the "Select an Action" button and choose one of the following: Add to My Lists, Email, Text it to Me, or Print. Now if you just print, what ever you selected on this page prints together. But if you select Add to My Lists, you can create a shopping list by subject (i.e. all items of interest regarding Dutchess County, New York, or all items of interest for the surname Dunham.)

When you are done selecting items for the subject, click on the My Lists at the top of the webpage. After selecting everything in the Temporary My List you can print or email the whole list at one time. After that is done, delete the items and perform a new search to create a new shopping list. You do not have to log in to use the My Lists feature. If you are fortunate to have a library card, you could save your various subject lists.
Save items to My Lists

So what were my lists like? I went to a very large genealogy library in Missouri and I looked at vast number of books (usually I prefer original records) on: Dutchess County, New York; Albany County, New York; Greene County, New York; Bristol County, Massachusetts; Newport, Rhode Island; York County, Ontario; Catahoula, Louisiana; Bedfordshire, England; Hertfordshire, England; and a few other places. The closest we came to Missouri was my sister looking at a couple counties in Oklahoma. Now some of these books I have not seen before. Some I may have seen before but I wanted to look for names discovered since that last time I looked at the book. I used these "My Lists" to keep track of: if I looked at the item, what I looked for and the results. I'll transfer that information to an overall list later.
My Lists button at top of page.

Looking for a periodical? Check out the Midwest Genealogy Center Periodical Collection to see if they have the one you seek or one that covers the area/surname you are researching. The list is sorted in several ways for your convenience.  The link to this on the Genealogy page is located under Related Information.




My Lists
Print or Email My Lists












The Databases. The vast quantity of these databases makes it a jewel of this library. Most libraries have a few, this library has a ton. They have been organized in several ways so a particular database may appear on more than one list. Online Database Categories of interest to genealogists include: Genealogy Databases, US History Databases, World History Databases, Newspaper Databases, and Geography Databases.

You can click on the different databases to learn what each contains that may be of interest to you during your visit to the library. For those that don't give much indication, usually a Google search can locate a listing of each service's particular offerings.

Guest Pass. I spent sometime in the various newspaper databases that I do not normally have access to through my libraries or paid subscriptions. Visitors to the Midwest Genealogy Center, who are not residents with library cards, can get a guest pass good for that day at the MGC. (See the main desk.) This is needed to use the computers and it gets you 60 minutes of time on the computer. Don't forget to log out to stop your minutes. There are certain computers designated for genealogy research though there is a computer room for residents doing other computer/internet work.

Years back when the internet was moving from message boards and mail lists to what today is more subscription websites with digitized content, the MCPL-MGC used to sell library cards to non-residents through the postal mail. A few years ago this practice stopped but those who had the card already were "grandfathered in." Lucky those people who have access to this online jewel.

Research Card. But, if you are there physically visiting the Mid-Continent Public Library's Midwest Genealogy Center, non-area residents can purchase a Research Card for $20 that is good for six-months and it gets you off-site access to all of the online databases (except Ancestry and Fold3.) Though the Research Card is non-renewable, if you visit again in person you can purchase another Research Card. Too bad Missouri is so far away for me. But I will be happily playing with these databases until the end of the year.
First view of the Midwest Genealogy Center

The Service and Information Desk

At the Library

Welcome Package and My Lists
Parking is plentiful at the library and there is no charge. The building itself is HUGE! Don't forget to stop by the main desk on your right-hand side once you enter the main floor. Sign the visitor log and if it is your first visit let them know so you receive a welcome package. It contains a map of each floor so you can see where things are located -- including restrooms. There is an eating area on the first floor near the entrance so you can brown bag your lunch (and dinner?) if you want. There are eating establishments in the area but not real close.

Reading Tables next to Copy Area
Cash, Card or USB Drive. There are a variety of ways to make copies ... depending on what you are copying. If you are using microfilm/microfiche, unfortunately, the only way to make a copy is to make a paper copy. These machines have not gone digital yet. And to make a paper copy, you need to get a copy card. There is no charge for the card itself and there are two dispensers in the microform room to add value to the card. (When I found this out I suggested they look at the film/fiche scanners that the Archives of Ontario uses -- those are sweet.)

Now for books, etc., there are photocopiers with two ways to use them. Insert coin (sorry, I did not look to see how much) and get a paper copy. But insert a USB drive into the same machine and get a free digital scan of your item.

Also, available for use (for free) at the MCPL-MGC, is a Zeta Overhead Book Copy and Scan System. This is what we used. It also requires a USB drive. Once you understand the "what-to-dos" of how to scan, it is fast and easy. The advantage of the book scan system over the photocopier scan is that you do not have to flip your book over face down then pick it up to turn the page then flip it back over to scan the next page. You simply place the book and level it on the floating base, lay the clear Plexiglas panel on top of the pages, use the touch pad to scan, lift the clear plastic panel, flip the page and replace it on top of the book and press scan. Repeat as necessary.

Zeta Book Copy and Scan System by Zeutschel
The book scan system offered many choices for file type (pdf, tiff, jpg, etc.) and three DPI resolutions (200, 300, and 600.) The book scan system worked wonderfully though we did freeze it at one point -- copies from many books in one session may have warmed it up too much. But nothing was lost because we were telling it to save the page/file directly after scanning it and not waiting for it to save the file when we pressed the scan button for the next page. Thankfully we did it that way though if we had done it the other way, we would have only lost one page (the last one scanned before the freeze). Another advantage of the book scan system is that it scans both pages of the book as separate files at the same time instead of both as one file.

Patron Baskets
Reading Tables. There are plenty of small (four person) reading tables throughout the library. But each table only has two chairs. If you have a party of three and all want to share a small table, don't be afraid to ask someone at another table if you can borrow a chair. We visited the library twice, once on Tuesday (11 a.m. - 5 p.m.) with just my sister and I; and once on Friday (9 a.m. - 3 p.m.) with all three of us. Tuesday was quite busy with a bus group from the Iowa State Genealogy Society. While Friday it was pretty close to empty. So it is going to vary day-to-day what you find crowd-wise.

Book Carts. The 411 on the book carts at this library is this: Black Metal Book Carts are the book return carts. They are located at the ends of many of the aisles of shelves. MCPL-MGC patrons have the option of using shopping baskets to carry their selections from shelf to table. There are also a few "shopping carts" to roll around two baskets for your convenience. On Tuesday available baskets and carts were scarce and black metal book carts were stacked full all over the library. On Friday there were many baskets/carts to choose from and lots of black carts with available space. Both days of our visit were productive.
View from top of stairs at Midwest Genealogy Center

Second Floor view of Midwest Genealogy Center

Second Floor view of Midwest Genealogy Center

Second Floor view of Midwest Genealogy Center
Library Staff. Though we really did not need much help, the interactions that we did have with the staff were all positive and friendly.

Summing it Up

We got A LOT looked at and checked off our To-Do Lists for this library. Now comes the sit down and review what we found and enter the information. Desk work is not always as fun as research work unfortunately.

So is this library a must visit if you don't have Missouri ancestors? That depends.

Judge for yourself by what you find in the library's catalog and the library's distance from you. Like I said at the beginning of this post, our purpose for the trip was to see family and since the library was close we made a point to visit it. Yes, we might have found some of those items at a closer library (like Allen County Public Library) but likely not at our home town/state library since we looked at resources for states other than our own.

On our Friday visit, I overheard a couple talking to a librarian (after seeking help) that the library was midway between their home and their travel destination so they decided to stop in and check out the resources. That is one way to make the visit. (Since their visit was very short, they were taking the team effort approach: she did the seeking in the books and he did the scanning of the finds.)

A Side Note With a Bit of Funny

For this long drive to territories unknown we used a combination of directional aids to help us. We had our Google Map directions printed out with maps. We had an early TomTom GPS Directional Device. We had up-to-date, old-fashioned folded paper AAA maps of each state we would drive through. None of these aids were without problems.

  • Google and TomTom could not agree which route was the fastest route. So TomTom would get mad at us -- I kid you not. I realized it would have been better to make sure the laptop we had with us had the software installed where we could better tweak the routes ahead of time rather than just rely on the device itself and hope recalculate would magically match Google. Bringing TomTom was a last minute, oh yeah we should take this with us thought.
  • Part way through the trip I realized that when printing the Google Map directions something strange had happened. The printout of the directions from the Hotel to the Destination had the correct text but the maps were for the Destination to the Hotel -- they didn't go with each other. (And no I did not mix up the pages, this mismatch was on the same piece of paper.) The appearance of the directions seemed different than in the past so I think Google did an update to its Map/Directions feature and it still has some bugs. Also the maps for the directions (that were correct) were not as good as in the past.
  • Old-fashioned folded paper maps worked good when the manual navigator knew for sure our present location. Thank you TomTom for at least knowing that aside from the couple times it said we were in the corn field next to the road. (Lost GPS signal maybe?)

In the end, we relied on all three aids to guide us which is probably why TomTom got mad. Now this might have been really annoying with the standard voice that comes with TomTom, but over a year ago I installed a free voice as a joke (the device belongs to my sister). Since I forgot TomTom on our trip to Ontario the year before this was the first time the voice made "an appearance." The voice I selected was that of a Cylon from Battlestar Galactica. So now imagine that Cylon voice announcing the directions as you drive. I knew I was really in trouble (a.k.a. not going where it told me) when Cylon TomTom announced that "colonial vipers were circling, take evasive action."

But Cylon TomTom had us really laughing when it kept insisting that I turn right ... at the Land Fill. I asked my sister and mother, "Is the Cylon trying to ditch US at the dump or Itself?" Needless to say, I didn't listen -- again -- and eventually a long way up the road Cylon TomTom shut up, recalculated and figured out which way were were headed home.

If you are traveling, have a safe trip and don't listen to every direction a Cylon gives you.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

My Tips from a Visit to the Allen County Public Library's Genealogical Collection

Last week was a first. Instead of driving straight home from a trip to one of my sisters, we veered and ended up in Fort Wayne, Indiana, for a visit to the Allen County Public Library’s Genealogical Collection.

This was not our first visit to the library. It was actually our third or fourth visit. But it was the first time we had thought of working a visit to the library in with this well-worn drive to my sister. The veer was not close but do-able. Our last library visit was when the library was at a temporary site ... so it has been quite a while between visits.

I thought I would share my tips and thoughts about visiting this library.

First, plan everything before you depart! Use the library’s website. Use your favorite trip/hotel planning sites for the non-library stuff. Do not wait until you arrive to figure out where to stay and what to search.

The Library Website


Using the library’s website is a must before you visit. By searching the various catalogs and making a To-Do List, you get more time to do research on-site. From the Allen County Public Library’s main page, click on the genealogy tab to enter The Genealogy Center. Or just go straight there from the link here.

The Genealogy Center website is your hub for planning your visit. Add it to your bookmarks/favorites.

Check boxes to the left of entries allow lists to be made.
There are several links throughout the main site page to the main ACPL Catalog. I suggest using the Advanced Search to control your searches better. Looking for a specific book, put it in the title to see if the library has it. To catch the most possibilities, use the subject to search by County and State, or Surname. Make a list of items to look at by clicking the check box by each individual item you want and when done, select the print link under the Genealogy Center Catalog logo. (I “printed” my choices to PDF files and then printed certain ones to paper later.) This catalog shows you books, microfilm & microfiche, online documents, and magazines & newspapers.

But this is not the only catalog you should investigate.

Under the Databases tab, you’ll find two choices. On-site Databases is a listing of the subscription databases available for use while at the library. See one you don’t have access to already? Add it to your list with what you want to investigate on it. The Free Databases is where you will find links to a wide variety of specialized catalogs. Definitely click this link.

The Microtext Catalog is segmented into specific categories. The best way I found to make a To-Do List from this catalog is to copy and paste into a Word or Excel document file. This way I got specifically what I wanted instead of everything on the page. If the main catalog shows microfilm and microfiche, why use this catalog? Because I spotted that not all of the microtext shows up in the main catalog. And, the microtext catalog gives you links to more details about what is on each film/fiche for most collections.

For example, I discovered searching the Microtext Catalog by state “New York” that ACPL has microfilm of the Robert Livingston Papers. I was not expecting this! A search of the main catalog with Robert Livingston as the subject brings up 7 items. One item is a book guide to the films but the others are just books. So back in the microtext catalog, clicking on the name “Robert Livingston Papers” brings up a list describing the 57 reels of film for this collection. I printed this detailed list for later use.

Also among the Free Databases are specialized catalogs for Family Bible Records; Family Resources; Allen County, Indiana, Resources; Indiana Resources; African-American and Native American Resources; Other States Resources; and Our Military Heritage. Another catalog is the Genealogy Center Surname File which can be searched to find others who have visited ACPL that are searching your surnames.

I think you can see how quickly your To-Do List will grow. Make sure to prioritize your list so you get to those items you really want to see first.

From the main tab links at the top of the main page, Pathfinders will take you a variety of help guides including ones on how to search the catalogs better. Most of these are the same handouts at the library. Why wait to find out what goodies they contain? Find the topics and states that you need, read the PDF version of the handout and add items to your To-Do List.

Near the bottom of the page on the left is the "Planning to Visit?" section which organizes more than just the library hours. The Local Information button will take you to a page with the library address, a Google map showing the location and buttons to PDF files of the library layout, eateries map and parking map that you can save/print. The Orientation Video link on the page did not work for me. But I was able to find the orientation video on the library’s YouTube channel. Though it is about six years old, the video which is in two parts (part 1 and part 2) is still relevant. You get a good lay of the land for the Genealogy Center by watching these videos.

The Events Section lets you see what is going on at the library. Got a question you have not found the answer to on the website? Use the Contact Us link. The response is fairly quick.

At the Library

A USB drive turns a printer into a scanner.

Ask Desk. Once you get to the library, do stop at the main Ask Desk as you enter the Genealogy Collection. Pick up a handout with the more detailed floor layout for the collection. If you plan to use the computers and on-site databases, pick up a temporary library card printout. (These are good for just that day.)

Copy Cards. Do you have an older ACPL Copy Card from a previous visit? Not sure if there is any money left on it? Bring the card with you. If you stop at the main Ask Desk, they can check the card for value and if there is, they will transfer it to a new copy card. My ACPL Copy card had the logo printed in red. Sometime after the logos were printed in maroon (as seen in the orientation video). Currently the ACPL Copy Cards have a black logo with a bar code instead of a magnetic strip.


One of the Reading Table Areas.
USB Flash Drives. ALSO, bring a USB flash drive with you. With a USB flash drive inserted into a photocopier you can turn it into a scanner. The scans are free but you need a copy card with value on it to activate/unlock the copier. Check the settings prior to scanning anything. The default setting is a 200 resolution PDF file. So everything scanned in one session will end up in one file. I preferred to scan my various books at a resolution of 300, grayscale or color and saved with the tiff/jpg setting. This gave me individual files for each scan. That way I can rename each individual file with a meaningful name for each page image later. If you forget your USB drive, the Ask Desk has some for sale. (I don’t know for what price but at least you don’t have to find the nearest store.)


Wood versus Black Metal.
Reading Tables. Reading tables are located in two spots of the Genealogy Collection. Most of the tables have built in power outlets. The library has wireless internet so your laptop/tablet/smart phone can stay connected. (Obviously don’t leave your valuables unattended. There are no patron lockers.)

The Book Carts. Here’s the 411 on the book carts. The wood book carts are return carts that staff periodically roll away to reshelf the books. So when you are done with a book place it on a wood cart. The black metal book carts are for the use of patrons. Don’t feel shy about using them. The book shelf you want is likely a good distance away from where you are seated. For the safety of yourself and the books, use a black metal book cart to move the books around.

Microfilm Cabinet
Microfilm/Microfiche and Scanning. At the desk in front of the Microtext Reading Room, pick up a handout with the detailed layout of the microtext cabinets. Finding a specific microfilm/microfiche is quicker with a map. In the reading room, you will find row after row of film readers. And, a couple rows of microfilm/microfiche scanners. If the library is busy, find your item with a reader and then use the scanner. With the film scanners, you do not need a copy card to activate them. Just insert your USB flash drive into the computer. Directions on how to use the scanners are not readily available, so ask a librarian for help. There are two different scan programs. One is overly simplistic but the librarian could not give me details on the settings used and there was no cropping available. The other has many user selectable scan settings but the program is very slow to make each scan.

I found these scanners were not as easy to use as the film scanners at the Archives of Ontario which is a different system. Film scanning was the last thing we did before leaving. If I had more time to play with the settings and check the results on my laptop right there, I think I would be a bit happier with the results. The next visit we make to this library, these films are at the top of the To-Do List.
Microtext Reading Room with scanners.

The Other Stuff


As far as hotels, we did not see any need for us to stay in downtown Fort Wayne where prices are much higher. The hotel we picked was not the cheapest nor the most expensive. What it did have was good reviews for cleanliness/service and a location just 15 minutes from the library. Now for some that may sound too far away but it really was a super quick and easy drive from the hotel to the parking garage below the library.

Speaking of parking, though the library’s website shows where the closest parking is in relation to the library it does not mention costs. The garage and lots nearby are $1 per hour with a maximum of $7 per day. Don’t leave your parking ticket in the car, take it with you. You pay by cash or credit card at the kiosk in the library’s lobby to the right of the check-out counter. You have 15 minutes to get back to the car and exit the lot. Otherwise, you can pay at the gate with a credit card when exiting. I also noted a sign in the garage said you have to have your car out of the garage by 9:30 pm. (I think for security reasons you get towed if it is still there.)

Summing it Up


We got a lot checked off our To-Do List for this library, but there is still plenty left on it.

ACPL has a large collection of Ontario cemetery readings and other books. (I feel Canada is a bit behind in getting cemetery tombstones on the internet. There does not seem to be as many posted as for the United States.) So we concentrated on Ontario for a good part of the day and then moved onto New York books that we had not seen yet. The last thing we looked at were the microfilms of the Robert Livingston Papers. Unfortunately, we ran low on energy and did not get through the films that looked promising. We scanned several pages but have a list of other pages found that will need to be copied during the next visit. This collection will be at the top of our revised To-Do List.

One of my next steps now that we are home, besides entering our finds, is to investigate the Robert Livingston Papers more thoroughly. I want to determine the origin of the collection on these microfilm. The catalog entry mentions the New York Historical Society. Are these books/papers the same or different than the what is in the Livingston collection at Princeton University? The ones at Princeton are on my wish list of sources to see one day.

It was a long, productive and exhausting day. (Probably because I was the driver.) We could have stayed a day or two more but we kept it short. Hopefully, our next visit to Allen County Public Library will be before the library remodels or moves again.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Happy Birthday -- Martha!

Just realized today while working on her family that my 5th Great Grandmother Martha's birthday was two days ago! So today that makes her 261 years and 2 days old! Sorry Grams for not realizing it two days ago. Unfortunately I don't have time today to write much more.