The Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Ind., is the home of The Genealogy Center, “the best single research stop for family historians between Salt Lake City and the East Coast.”

A description of the library’s holdings are listed in a booklet, “The Genealogy Center: A Tradition of Excellence,” which can be found at They include family histories, census records, city directories, passenger lists, military records, U.S. local records, U.S. special collections, Native American records, African American records, Canadian records, British Isles records, German records, other countries’ records, periodicals, online databases and more.

A most helpful booklet for learning how to make best use of your time at The Genealogy Center is Harold Henderson’s “Finding Ancestors in Fort Wayne: The Genealogist’s Unofficial One-Stop Guide to the Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center,” which can be read/downloaded (in pdf format) at

Although a printed copy of this guide is a handy reference, viewing the guide on a computer monitor enables one to click on links to related materials.

For example, on page 10 of the guide are links to The Genealogy Center’s own collection of free databases. These include Allen County resources, Community Album, Indiana resources, other states’ resources, family files contributed by researchers, family Bible records and The Genealogy Center surname file plus access to sources for important specialties: African American Gateway, Native American Gateway and Our Military Heritage.

The other states’ resources include links to resources in the states of Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Also a goodie “you might miss if you didn’t know about” it is The Lincoln Financial Foundation’s Lincoln Collection in Indiana with 4,907 Lincoln photographs and illustrations online at

Knock down those genealogical “brick walls” and conduct your research at this world-renown facility!

Facial hair styles

“Weeks before he (Lincoln) was elected president, an 11-year-old girl wrote to him suggesting he grow a beard. He did, and in short time the chin curtain craze took off.”

A website with details of varying facial hair styles at may include a style your ancestor wore.

Any similarity to today’s styles?

It should be noted that “WWI soldiers had to be clean-shaven to wear gas masks.”

Access 1950 and more recent censuses

U.S. Census records are not available until 72 years after they were taken. Thus the 1950 census will not become available to the public until 2022. However, if you are named in the census or are the heir of the person named in the census, you may access the 1950 or more recent census for a fee of $65 and the completion of form BC-600. (Visit .)

“Census records often are accepted as evidence of age, citizenship, and place of birth for employment, Social Security benefits, insurance and other purposes.”

Queries, as well as a general exchange of genealogical material that readers would like to share, will be printed in the column for free. Contact Joan Griffis by e-mailing

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