Monday, August 6, 2012

What We Were Looking For

When our family took our recent whirlwind research trip to the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, we were looking for a few specific things. While we only had a few hours in which to accomplish our goals, I’d say those six hours turned out to be relatively productive.

My goal was to retrace my steps from an ages-old visit to the Sutro Library in San Francisco, where I had stumbled upon a book listing Taliaferro descendants. Serendipitously, the list had included my grandmother’s name. While I’ve yet to find that title from those early, more naïve, days of genealogical research when I couldn’t even manage to jot down the title or call number of the book (!) I’ve since found scores of other resources that more than satisfy my quest on that surname. My end game strategy is to secure documentation to qualify for membership in the Daughters of the American Revolution. The link is there for the taking with the Taliaferro line. At this point, it’s just the minutiae of the grunt work that lies ahead.

While that was my primary purpose for my limited research time at Fort Wayne, my husband had his own agenda. Descended from a family settling in Ohio in the early 1800s, his hope was to find a viable way to document that residence of his Flowers line prior to 1821 so he and all his siblings could be designated part of the Ohio Genealogical Society's lineage society known as First Families of Ohio.

His link to that status was tenuous, last time we looked. We can find biographical accounts listing his ancestor’s younger brother’s birth in Ohio before 1820, but no documentation for this particular ancestor’s arrival there. Of course, where a child is born, a mother can’t be far away—at least in my amateur mind’s way of thinking. And mothers qualify as ancestors, too, last time I checked. However, with spotty baptismal records serving as the only official documents of the time—and wouldn’t you know it, even this brother’s birth didn’t make the cut when the itinerant priest came by to do his duty—I have had to look elsewhere for some type of verification of the family’s residence in those early years.

Unfortunately, that missing link will have to continue under its status of UTL—Unable To Locate—for now. However, while perusing several volumes published by the Perry County, Ohio, Genealogical Society within the collection at the Fort Wayne Library, we were delighted to uncover another possible route to that First Families designation: a biographical sketch acknowledging the arrival of a Snider family link within the required time frame. We may now have two routes to our goal to pursue on that account.

Using our Flip Pal Scanner as well as the library’s copy machines, we had plenty of resources to capture for further study after leaving the library, further accelerating our research progress.

Who says research goals can’t be conquered despite large collections in the face of limited time? Zeroing in on specific goals, resized proportionately for time allotted, can still permit a researcher—or, in our case, a research team—to claim “mission accomplished.”


  1. The Taliaferro family is pretty prominent in the Culpeper, Virginia area in the mid 1700s. If you're connected to this family, they were contemporaries of my Read, Freeman, Ballard and Thornhill lines in Culpeper & Central Virginia.

    1. Patrick, not only is that Taliaferro family pretty prominent in the Culpeper area, but it is also large! While they may have been contemporaries of your ancestor lines there, unfortunately, none of those surnames show up in my database. However, I do have quite a bit of work to do on that line, which I am so looking forward to. That area--and time period--is so rich with history.

  2. I've wanted to visit the Allen County PL's genealogy library for years! I'm just not sure how much help it will be with my ancestral lines. I have to make a SLC trip first.

    -- Colleen @

    1. Colleen, making the trip to SLC first makes sense from our geographic perspective--but if you ever find yourself in the same position as I'm in, traveling nearby in the midwest, by all means, check it out.

      One thing I like about the Allen County library's genealogy collection is that so much of it is searchable online. You can get a pretty good idea of whether the trip will be productive for you by first trawling through their online databases and catalog.

      However, for sheer size of collection, I'm sure SLC trumps Fort Wayne hands down.

  3. Going through the effort of a DAR application myself, I find myself less enamored with the ancestor(s) that were patriots and more awed by some of the "folks" I've found along the way. As you commented to Patrick, there is so much history, and so many (lost to the family) stories one might uncover involving ancestors several generations removed.

    I appreciate all the help you have given me with the effort. Just one (of the several) recovered family "legends" has made all the effort worthwhile.

    1. And you have so many family stories--already uncovered and yet to find--in your own family history, Iggy. I've really enjoyed reading about the stories you've been able to uncover along the way--and the photographs, like the one you just posted.

      I think posting these stories helps amplify the results. Who knows who will stumble upon blog posts like those and discover a part of their family heritage that they never knew.


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