Monday, September 12, 2011

Day 7 on the Seaver Midwest Genealogy Tour

It took seven days, but I finally did some real genealogy (re)search work on our Seaver Midwest Genealogy Tour.  To review, Day 1 was a travel day to Springfield, Illinois (flew Southwest Airlines from San Diego to Chicago, then drove to Springfield), Days 2 to 5 were spent attending the Federation of Genealogy Societies Conference in Springfield, and Day 6 was another travel day to Fort Wayne Indiana (325 miles).

I carried my research notebook (complete with to-do lists and "already found" lists), but not my laptop, to the Genealogy Center at the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne.  Parking was easy in the underground garage, and I was there when the doors opened.  The Genealogy Center is in the northeast corner of a block-long library building - and it is impressive.  I had no sooner found a table to put my gear down than Curt Witcher came by to say hello and offer advice.  I asked him how to make copies, and he took me over to get a free copy card (copies are 10 cents each).  Then Michelle, a library employee, came around to tell me she read my blog, and I asked her how to use the online catalog.  She showed me, easy peasy!  Now I'm ready and it's only 9:10 a.m.

I went through my book "to-do" list in the online catalog and found about 80% of my targets were in the collection.  First up was the periodicals that I don't have access to in San Diego - and I copied about ten articles in the process and found about ten that did not apply. 

Then it was over to the Family History section, and I quickly found eight surname or multi-surname books that were on my list, and I copied about 150 pages.  The best of the bunch was the four volumes of The Ancestry of Eva Belle Kempton, 1878-1908 by Dean Crawford Smith, edited by Melinde Lutz Sanborn.  For each family sketch, the English background (if known), the bibliographic references, the vital record details, the family history details (including transcriptions of important documents), and then the family summary is provided, all referenced to original or authoritative derivative sources.  That's the kind of book I want to produce eventually.

It was lunch time, so I asked Michelle where a McDonalds was, and she gave me a map that had 45 restaurants within five blocks of the library.  I walked the three short blocks to McDonalds, and had my usual Randy Meal (6 chicken nuggets, three chocolate chip cookies, a small chocolate shake) for $5.46 (the cheapest I've found in Chula Vista is $6.83 for the Randy Meal).  I hiked back to the library - elapsed time for lunch was 35 minutes. 

I wanted to browse through the state and county books, including Prince Georges County MD, Dodge and Dane Counties WI, Louisa and Bedford Counties IA, Andrew County MO, Cloud, Marshall and Cheyenne Counties KS.  I found some goodies in these searches, but didn't find anything monumental.  You never know what you're going to find!  While I was in the stacks, genea-blogger Tina Lyons came by to say hello.  You never know who is going to find you!

Genea-Musings reader (and distant Seaver cousin) Ann and her friend, from Michigan, came over to say hello and remind me that I have the wrong Eunice Seaver married to William Raymond on my web page.  I assured her that I would fix this when I got home.  I just checked, and I have it right in my RootsMagic database.  Ann asked me some questions about RootsMagic too, and I showed her how to do several tasks.

I went back to the Family History section for the last hour, and used every small bill and coin that I had in my pocket to make copies from four more surname books.  I now have over 300 pages of more paper with information to add to my database, including sources, and then file in my surname notebooks (more likely is I'll put them in my to-be-filed piled). 

That was fun!

I left at 5:15 p.m. for the hotel and picked up Linda and took her out to dinner at the Jimmy John's sandwich shop (pretty good, cheap, fast) - Linda likes it, which is the most important.  She has struggled to find restaurant meals without soy on the trip, and has had her fill of salads at this point.  We finished it off with ice cream at the Bob Evans next to our hotel. 

My opinion about the Genealogy Center at the Allen County Public Library?  Wonderful layout and amenities.  Superb resources.  Helpful staff.  One of the best in the world!  I didn't even look at the computer resources available, or the microfilms, or the city directories.    I could spend weeks there...but I had only one day, so I made the best of it.

We're off to Michigan for a day with a friend (can you guess who?), and then we're off for five days of research in Wisconsin.  Stay tuned!


Sheri Fenley said...

Seaver! I have roots in Prince Georges County, Maryland and in Marshall County, Kansas!

Prince Georges surnames are NAYLOR and AUSTIN

Marshall County surnames are DELANEY, WINTERBOTTOM and HURLBUT

Who are you and Linda shacking up with in Michigan? Let's see there's Jasia and Pam Warren (Granny Pam) do tell, do tell!

Amy Coffin, MLIS said...

I know where you'll be in Michigan, but I won't spoil it for the rest. Have fun!

Becky Wiseman said...

The ACPL is indeed a superb resource. Too bad you had only one day there! Hmm, I think I know who you might be going to see in Michigan. Will confirm or deny when you post about the visit! Sounds like you are having fun. Hope you keep safe on the rest of the trip.

Anonymous said...

In a word, awesome. That’s how I’d describe my visit to Fort Wayne. Canada welcomes more than 35 million temporary residents (non-immigrants) each year. A trip to Fort Wayne means a chance to do enjoy everything from sightseeing tours and visiting museums to enjoying fun recreational activities and attending annual festivals.

Elyse said...

So jealous!! Sounds like you had a great time and I hope poor Linda wasn't bored to tears.

Martin said...

Aren't Melinde's books just awesome? They are what we all should aspire to.