Fox Footprints: local history

The Appleton Public Library is very interested in preserving local history and collecting our shared stories. Here you will find unique photos and stories, updates on our projects and information on our programs in local history and researching your family history. If you have a great photo or story, let us know!   -Diana

Do you have "brick wall" ancestors?

Do you have ancestors who are very difficult to find? They may be part of a small ethnic group, never belonged to a large established church so there aren't church records to go on, or they were a member of an overlooked segment of the population.  These are sometimes known as "brick wall" ancestors because you feel like you hit a brick wall and so were not able to move on with your research activities to find that ancestor.

Join us for Researching Your Marginalized Ancestors, the next Find Your Ancestors program, on January 10, 2015 from 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm in Lower Level Meeting Room C.  Nick Hoffman, Chief Curator at the History Museum at the Castle, will explain methods and give research tips that will help you search for those tough to locate family members. 

If you viewed the display A Stone of Hope you saw results from this type of search.  Using lesser-known sources, researchers can find information on people who didn't appear in the "regular" records.  Perhaps using these methods will help you break through that brick wall.


Memory Project Adds New Materials

Good news for those interested in local history or genealogy!  The Appleton Memory Project  (part of the InfoSoup Memory Project)  has expanded to include more digital materials.  With the assistance of the Outagamie-Waupaca Library System and a grant through the Library Services and Technology Act we have been able to make available more city directories and other unique items.

tourism brochure1904 Appleton City directory

They include the Neenah-Menasha City Directory from 1938 and Appleton City Directories from 1877-78, 1884-85, 1897-98, 1901, 1904 and 1915.  Unique items include a tourism brochure created by the Chamber of Commerce titled “Appleton Wisconsin:  You’ll Like It”,  a brochure from the Appleton City Free Public Library circa 1936, the "Appleton Vocational School News" of 1920 and “Breezes of 1927” which was put out by the vocational school.

Vocational School news

To view these materials through the Appleton Public Library web page click the elibrary tab, choosing APL-created and then Digital Image Collections.  Choose Appleton Memory Project from the list.

To access from the Infosoup catalog you should choose Digital Collections from the I’m looking for list in the upper right, then Infosoup Memory ProjectAppleton Memory Project will be first on the list.

We are working on more projects to provide information to you, so check back either on this blog, or through one of the links above.

Trace Your House History

Join us Saturday, December 13 at 1:00 pm for Trace Your House History - Who Loved Your House Before You Did, the second program in our Find Your Ancestors series. Staff member Melody Hanson will explain how she traced her historic home’s history, learning about the families who lived there, when it was built and how it has changed over the years.

Even if you don’t live in a historic home you will learn how to do research at the library and other local organizations to round out your family history with photos of the neighborhood, changes to streets and more.

The Trace Your House History booklist has a list of resources to help you.

Appleton winter celebrations past

Love to look at photos of Appleton in years gone by?  Stop by the Appleton Public Library table at the Appleton Historical Society’s History Fair on Saturday, December 6, from 9:00 am to 12:30 pm and help identify unmarked photos for us.  We will have photos and newspaper articles about Appleton’s past winter celebrations such as the Avenue of Angels and the Great White Way to view.

The History Fair theme this year is Appleton Christmas Past.  It takes place during the Indoor Farmer’s Market in Appleton City Center Plaza at 10 College Avenue.

For those who can't make it to the History Fair, the display on the second floor of the library will have information about and photos of winter celebrations in Appleton throughout the month of December.

Military veterans and ancestors

D-day Landing

Veterans Day is November 11, when we honor military personnel who served the United States in all wars, especially living veterans.  Please stop in the Wisconsin Collection area on the second floor of the Appleton Public Library for veteran-related displays.

Military memorabilia including hats, photos, mess kits and more may be found in the tall cases along with Appleton Public Library books concerning veterans’ service.  These items are courtesy of the Military Veterans Museum in Oshkosh.

The New Books stand includes a shelf of veterans’ stories from different wars.  You are welcome to check these out.

Information on the Find Your Ancestors series on genealogy fills the glass case.  This series will begin Saturday, November 15 at 1:00-2:30 in the Lower Level Meeting Room C, with speaker Russell Horton from the Wisconsin Veterans Museum.  He will provide information on what records are available at the museum and how to find information on military service for your ancestors.  The program does not require registration, and is free to the public.  Please join us.

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