Genealogy Heaven at Allen County Library

By Diane Haddad

Yesterday, the first day of the Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference in Fort Wayne, Ind., the staff at the nearby Allen County Public Library’s Genealogy Center shelved 11,460 books and other materials.

That’s just a fraction of the largest public library genealogy collection in the country, and conference attendees are eager for the chance to search for ancestors between lectures.

Astounding is a good word for the center. Yesterday we toured some of the giant collection of 350,000+ books (including 55,000 family histories; an impressive array of county histories, school yearbooks and records indexes) and 513,000 “microtexts” (microfilm and microfiche). Those include censuses, passenger lists and more.

Hoosiers and non-Hoosiers come here for the resources covering counties across America, plus countries overseas. The library’s staff are the folks behind the Periodical Source Index, too, which references genealogical and historical periodicals dating back to 1800.

Soon you can see more details in a video of the tour in an online video—we’ll let you know when you can see this truly quality visual experience.