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Archived News

February 14, 2015

Eckhart Winter Research

Are you looking for something to warm up your winter? Make reading and research your winter sports at Eckhart Public Library.

Readers and researchers of all ages can earn prizes for six weeks as part of Eckhart Winter Read, Monday, January 5, through Saturday, February 14.

More information about Eckhart Winter Read can be found on Charlie Chat!


September 10, 2014

Family History Fall Bootcamp

The Willennar Genealogy Center is offering a Family History Fall Boot Camp! If you want to learn more about researching family history or genealogy, this is the course for you!

"Boot camp" runs for four Wednesdays in a row. Attendees will watch a 30-minute DVD lecture by Dr. John Philip Colletta, a genealogy professor, and then, with the help and guidance of Willennar Genealogy Center staff members, including supervisor Jenny Kobiela-Mondor, will be able to begin putting what they learned into practice using Willennar Genealogy Center materials.

The course will be on August 20, August 27, September 3, and September 10, from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Attendees are invited to bring a brown bag dinner to eat during the program. Register online or call 925-2414 ext. 420 or email for more information!

July 16, 2014

John Martin Smith Collection Presentation

Staff of the Willennar Genealogy Center will give a presentation on their current work with the John Martin Smith Collection next week.

Genealogy assistant Mike Mapes will give a short talk at 6 p.m. Wednesday, July 16, at the Sinclair Station at 1304 N. Main Street.

The talk will be followed by an open house, where guests will be able to take a closer look at various items of interest from the collection. Genealogy interns Amber Braun and Chelsea Molin will be available to talk about their work with the collection and answer questions.

Guests will also have the opportunity to learn how they might get involved through volunteering.


June 18, 2014

ACRES Land Trust Presentation

Heather Barth from ACRES Land Trust will be at the Willennar Genealogy Center on Wednesday, June 18, at 6 p.m. to talk about ACRES, including its recently announced plan to open a 93-acre nature preserve south of Auburn. Read more about her visit on Charlie Chat!

June 02, 2014

Summer Research Club

The Willennar Genealogy Center will offer prizes for its Summer Research Club. For each hour of research completed at the Willennar Genealogy Center, a Service of Eckhart Public Library, researchers will be entered into a drawing for a weekly prize. In addition, each researcher who participates will receive a small prize while supplies last. Weekly prizes are: June 9, June 16, and June 23, local history book; June 30, Flip video camera; July 14, two-hour private research “lock-in” for winner and up to ten friends; and July 21, private viewing of items from the John Martin Smith Collection, which is currently being digitized by the Willennar Genealogy Center staff and volunteers. All entries turned in during Summer Reading Club will be in the grand prize drawing on July 21, to win a six-month gift subscription to

March 19, 2014

Bird Woman of Indiana

Terri Gorney of Fort Wayne will talk about Jane Hine on Wednesday, March 19 at 6 p.m. in the Learning Lab at the Willennar Genealogy Center.

Hine is a DeKalb County legend, who wrote about and photographed nature, especially the birds she saw at her home, Birdlawn, and the adjoining farm, called Meadow Lark, in Richland Township.

Hine’s most famous writing is “Game and Land Birds of an Indiana Farm,” a 175-page piece published in the Biennial Report of the Commissioner of Fisheries and Game for Indiana in 1911. She also wrote articles for other publications and was one of four women to contribute to “Birds of Indiana” by Amos Butler. She also was given credit for the first sighting of a bobolink in Noble County, and for seeing the rare Olive-sided Flycatcher.

In 1914, Hine was invited to the summer home of President Woodrow Wilson for a party called Bird Masque, which called attention to the destruction of birds for their feathers.

Hine died in 1916, just shy of her 85th birthday, and is buried in Waterloo Memorial Cemetery.

Gorney has researched northeast Indiana’s early conservationists, and is also a volunteer for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources; a member of several nature organizations; and president of the Friends of the Limberlost.

February 19, 2014

The Voice of Indiana’s 44th Regiment

Margaret Hobson will share stories about the brave men who served in this regiment. Hobson has published two books on the 44th Regiment, and aims to “keep the memory alive of the ordinary soldier whose faith, sense of duty and love of country carried him through the rain, mud, snow, cold, sickness, boredom, death and desertions going on around him,” according to her second book, The Voice of Indiana’s 44th Regiment Part 2: Formation and Photos.  

An ancestor of Hobson’s, Lewis Griffith, served in the 44th Regiment, which was mustered out of Fort Wayne and fought in major campaigns in Tennessee at Fort Donelson, Shiloh, Stones River and Chickamauga. Books will be available for purchasing and to be signed by the author.

November 06, 2013

Digitization Assistance

We will soon be offering digitization assistance to the public!

Beginning November 6, people who want to preserve photos and documents digitally can book an hour with a Willennar Genealogy Center employee to learn how to use the genealogy center’s scanners to work on their own preservation projects. The employee will guide the person through the process of digitization and be on hand to assist them as they scan their items.  

Employees can be booked for one-hour slots on Wednesdays at 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. and Thursdays at 1 and 2 p.m. by calling the genealogy center at 925-2414, Ext. 400, or by coming in to the Willennar Genealogy Center during its regular hours. People should bring a flash drive or external hard drive on which to save their scans. 

The staff is excited to get the opportunity to help people digitally preserve their photos and documents. Digitization has been a big focus at Eckhart Public Library, especially as we work on the John Martin Smith collection, and we are thrilled that members of the community can digitally preserve their own treasures here, too! 

People who digitize their own collections will also have the option of donating digital rights to some or all of their items to the Willennar Genealogy Center.

August 23, 2013

Resource Spotlight: Microfilm

The Genealogy Center offers DeKalb County papers, both historic and current papers, on microfilm.  The Center also has numerous records on microfilm including the federal census, 1850-1920; agricultural census 1850-1880; social statistics; DeKalb County Pioneer applications; and some DeKalb County Court records such as marriage applications, guardianship packets, and estate packets.  The Genealogy Center has four microfilm machines for your researching needs.  One of them is a reader only, two can print, and one is a scanner that allows you to edit your selections and print or save. 
Please see a staff member for more information on what records we have and how to use the microfilm machines.     


June 21, 2013

Resource Spotlight: Vertical File


Located along the north wall of the Research Room,  the Vertical File is a treasure trove of information on local history and culture organized by topic.  The Vertical File is maintained by Genealogy Center staff and volunteers who scour local, state, and national sources for additions to each file.  Are you looking for information about the life of William McIntosh?  Check the vertical file on him for Auburn Courier articles from over 100 years ago.  Interested in agricultural development in DeKalb County?  The Eckhart Carriage Company?  DeKalb Township Schools?  Stop in and peruse the Vertical Files!    

June 20, 2013

Job Opportunities at Eckhart Public Library

Eckhart Public Library is currently accepting applicants for the position(s) listed below. Click on the job title for the job description. 

If you're interested in applying, send your resume to Chris Grogg at Chris can also be contacted for any questions. Jobs will be posted until the position is filled.

Genealogy Supervisor



June 07, 2013

Lock-In with Lynn Registration

Don't forget to register for the Genealogy Lock-In on Friday, June 7th from 6-10.  Register online or call 925-2414 ext. 420 to ensure your spot for after-hours research.

May 21, 2013

Cemetary Records

 If you can't make it to Lunch Bunch for Tiptoe Through the Graveyard, you can always check out our cemetery records.  We have cemetery books for DeKalb County as well as some surrounding counties in Indiana and Ohio.  

Ask staff for details.


April 01, 2013

Peek into the Past!

Photo from Willennar Genealogy Center Collection

This picture was taken in 1976 by Davis Studio, of four children posing in front of the bikeway sign north of Auburn on the East side of State Road 427 in the area of DeKalb High School. The bikeway that runs between Waterloo and Auburn was built over the old interurban line in one of the first rails-to-trails initiatives in the state.

Check out our Photo Archives for more scenes from the past. People and places are identified by genealogy staff and volunteers using the best resources available. If you have any information about unidentified people and places in our photos, please contact us.  

February 20, 2013

Marriage Customs

Join the History Discussion Group on Wednesday, February 20th at 6 PM to discuss marriage customs of our British ancestors as they settled in North America.  Recommended reading is David Hackett Fischer's Albion's Seed, or check out the links below for other background reading.

Colonial American Marriage

Appalachian American Genealogy: Marriages 

Colonial Marriage Customs

Marriage Customs in Colonial America

A Brief History of Quaker Marriage Practice

History of Marriage

January 31, 2013

Ring in the New Year with Research!

Willennar Genealogy Center is proud to provide our patrons access to and  Fold3 can be accessed by our patrons from home with a valid library or computer-use card or at The Genealogy Center.  Patrons can search millions of photographs, military records, and city directories. is a great source for British and Irish records and must be used at The Genealogy Center.  Please see staff for details.

December 17, 2012

No Lunch Bunch

 There is no Lunch Bunch the week of December 17th. Have a wonderful holiday season!

November 20, 2012

View the Sidney B. Pepe Collection!

The first images from the Sidney B. Pepe Collection of covered and iron bridges are now available in our Photo Archives.  You can visit our Photo Database and use the Search or Advanced Search features to find specific bridges.  If you would like to browse a sampling of the collection, visit our Virtual Exhibit page!

October 31, 2012

Heritage Quest

Eckhart Public Library now offers computer users remote access to Heritage Quest. Just click on the Heritage Quest link and enter your library card number.

If you do not have a library card and do not live in Union Township, you can get a computer use card at no cost at the Information Desk in the main library.

October 24, 2012

Friends Book Sale

 The Friends of Eckhart Public Library will be having their book sale October 24th-26th!

October 24th: Exclusive to Friends Members (Memberships available at the door)
4:00 pm to 8:00 pm

October 25th: Open to Public
10:00 am to 7:00 pm

October 26th: Open to Public
10:00 am to 2:00 pm
$1 a bag special.
The next book sale will take place in February 2013

The book sales will take place at Willennar Administrative Annex.


October 17, 2012

British Ancestors in North America

Have you traced your ancestors back to Europe and want more than just names and dates?  Join us Wednesday, October 17, at 6 PM, for the first in a series of talks about how the places our ancestors came from influenced the culture and language of the regions of the United States they settled.  We will begin this group discussing our British ancestors.  Were the Puritans really puritanical?  Was the back country really backward?  Some of the facts may surprise you.  Source material includes David Hackett Fischer's 1989 book Albion's Seed.  If you do not have access to this book, check out these websites for some background reading.

The Puritan Migration: Albion's Seed Sets Sail Albion's Seed Grows in the Cumberland Gap

September 04, 2012

Lunch Bunch

If you have ever been confused about just what records you can get from the DeKalb County Courthouse, do not miss Lunch Bunch in September.  The County Recorder will be at Lunch Bunch on September 4 to talk about what information is available in the Recorder's Office.  The County Clerk will be here on the September 18 to cover what information is available for genealogists in the Clerk's Office.  Registration is not required.

August 04, 2012

"Transportation in Indiana" Reception

The genealogy center was awarded a 2012 LSTA digitization grant to digitize the Sidney B. Pepe Collection.  The Pepe Collection includes thousands of photographs of interurbans, trolleys, iron bridges, covered bridges, and many more materials detailing Indiana's past as a transportation hub.  Join us for a reception on Saturday, August 4, 2012 to learn more about the Pepe Collection and our plans for the future in digitization.  Light refreshments will be serves.  Please RSVP by July 25 to or to 925-2414 ext. 401.

July 18, 2012

Join us for a Cemetery Walk!

Don't miss the first cemetery walk of the season at Big Run. Learn from re-enactors about area families, as well Civil War veterans and their families. Big Run Cemetery was established in 1854. This cemetery is listed in Indiana's Cemetery and Burial Grounds Registry of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. From Butler, travel east on U.S. 6 to County Road 75 and turn right (south) on County Road 75. The cemetery is approximately located 1/4 mile on the right (west) side of County Road 75. It is just south of Big Run Church. If you can't make it, stop in and look through our cemetery records for this and other township cemeteries.

Family names include Moughler, Hackley, Diehl, Arford, Crise, Shatto, Steckly, Riser, Blaker, Gunsenhouser, Cather and Imhoff.

June 11, 2012

Genealogical Research & Adoptees

If you are an adoptee or come across an adoptee in your genealogical research, we have a few aides for you.  Click here for how Indiana handles adoption records and original birth certificate requests, as well as some tips on national and global adoption research.

June 06, 2012

Scenes from Butler Screening

Join us for a screening of Scenes from Butler, 1937 and see if you can identify people and places from long ago. This 45-minute presentation was compiled with footage shot over the course of several months in and around Butler in 1937. Wednesday evening at 6:00 PM, June 6, 2012 at Willennar Genealogy Center.

June 01, 2012

Research Lock-in

Register now for the Research Lock-in at Willennar Genealogy Center, Friday, June 1 from 6-10 PM. Whether you are just beginning or are an experienced researcher, you can use our resources and talk with other genealogists.

April 28, 2012

Ancient Egypt Resources

Click here for a list of suggested resources for May's History Discussion Group. For more information, click here!

April 26, 2012

Township School Memories

The DeKalb County Historical Society wants your memories of township schools.  Click here to download a form to fill out and send back to us at You can also stop in to the genealogy or the main library to fill out these forms.

April 11, 2012

War of 1812 Presentation

Was your great, great, great grandfather in the Battle of New Orleans?  Join Robert Wilder for a presentation about researching your War of 1812 ancestors. Click here for more information!

April 06, 2012

Heritage Quest

If you want to search census records but the Genealogy Center is closed, try Heritage Quest!  You can search and browse at home.  The Genealogy Center subscribes to Heritage Quest, through which you can search the U.S. census and The Freedman's Bank, or browse the Periodical Search Index (PERSI) and request journal articles for your research.  If you would like more information, please stop by and talk to our staff or contact us.

April 04, 2012

1940 Census

On Monday, the National Archives released information from the 1940 Census. Click here to find out more about what that information can give us!


If you need help finding an address to search the 1940 census, Genealogy has city directories that will help! Contact us for more information.

March 15, 2012

Holocaust Resources

Click here for a list of resources for the next History Discussion Group on April 19th. This month's topic is the Holocaust.

March 01, 2012

Women's History Month

March is Women’s History Month, and to celebrate, The Genealogy Center will be hosting a discussion on the Women’s Suffrage Movement, March 15, at 2:30 PM.  If you can’t make it to the discussion, you may be interested in checking out some of our newspapers on microfilm from that era to get an idea of how the Women’s Suffrage Movement affected Auburn and the surrounding communities.  

Click here for our list of Women's History resources. 

February 23, 2012

From the National Archives

"On April 2, 2012, users will be able to search, browse, and download the 1940 census schedules, free of charge, from their own computers or from the public computers at National Archives locations nationwide through the new 1940 census website. The public is encouraged to bookmark the website now in order to more quickly access the 1940 census data when it goes live. No other website will host the 1940 census data on its April 2 release date.”

For more information, contact the genealogy staff!

February 13, 2012

Making Sense of the Civil War

This year, Eckhart Public Library is hosting many events about the Civil War. Come in and check out the beautiful displays of DeKalb County Civil War soldiers' photos at Willennar Genealogy Center. Contact us for more information.

January 30, 2012

Civil Rights Resources

This month's history discussion group is about the Civil Rights Movement. Study of this topic prior to the meeting is encouraged but not required. For a list of resources, click here!

January 25, 2012

Turn Your Slides & Negatives into Photographs!

If you have old slides or photo negatives, you can view them or make prints at The Genealogy Center. We have a new Viewscan Microfilm Reader that can do more than just read microfilm. Contact staff for  more information.

January 23, 2012

Writing Your Life Story

Are you interested in learning how to tell your personal and family history? You won't want to miss this month's Family History Flick! Click here for more information.

January 07, 2012

Organizing Your Work

Learn more tips and tricks on organizing genealogy "clutter". There is not a right or wrong way; each researcher has a unique method. Please attend Lunch Bunch and share! 

For more information click here.

December 05, 2011

Lunch Bunch

If you geek Lunch Bunch, be sure to attend the potluck lunch on Tuesday, December 6, at noon.Bring a favorite dish to share while you enjoy the holiday spirit. For more information, click here.

There will be no meeting on December 20th.

November 28, 2011

Changes at Willennar Genealogy Center

Gregg Williamson, manager of Willennar Genealogy Center, has been hired as the new director of Kendallville Public Library.We will miss him, but we offer our congratulations. Darcy Davidson will take on the role of administrative supervisor.She is a 2008 graduate of Manchester College with a B.A. in history.She looks forward to meeting the patrons of Willennar Genealogy Center and learning more about local history.

November 09, 2011

Library Closed

The Eckhart Public Library campus will be closed on Friday, November 11th. We will be open again on Saturday, November 12th.

September 06, 2011

Willennar Genealogy Important News

The staff of the Willennar Genealogy Center is working to create several new online databases.  The first will be an obituary and vital record database.  Using the thousands of obituaries already collected by the genealogy center will be make a searchable tool patrons will be able to use from their home.