New!! LAAAGS Online Newsletter
Welcome to the Home Page of the Lansing Area African American Genealogical Society.  LAAAGS was
founded in 2001 and is located in Lansing, Michigan.  The purpose of LAAAGS is to promote the
preservation of  African American family history for Lansing area residents and other interested persons.
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This page was last updated February 2019
Reflections from the Fort Wayne Library Historical Trip - 2015
Helen Mickens

I had heard of the Allen County Library, in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, for years. It sounded almost like a mythic place for anyone
interested in family history. Finally, on Saturday, June 13, 2015, I got to visit the famous Allen County Library (established in
1895) with the Lansing Area African American Genealogical Society. It was everything that I had heard and even more!
The beautiful 84 million dollar building (financed by a public bond) is one block by one block. Huge! It has rooms for kids,
technology, art, media, a genealogy center, and meeting rooms available for the public to use. It also has its own Dunkin' Donuts
where you can either buy food or bring your own and just relax there. On Saturday afternoons concerts by "four amateur bands"
are held in the outdoor courtyard. The Allen County Library is a lively, diverse, and welcoming place.
According to the site:, "The Allen County Library is the largest genealogy collection in a public library in
the United States." (People think of the Mormon holdings as the biggest. But their collection in Salt Lake City, Utah, is a private
collection. The Allen County Library is not only public but it's aggressive in getting its collections and information to anyone in the
world, for free or at a very small cost.)
The Allen County Library's holdings, "include more than 350,000 printed volumes and 513,000 items on microfilm and microfiche."
It has "more than 50,000 family histories, nearly 200,000 local histories" - from all over the United States, Canada, and beyond -
"a significant number of North Carolina records on microfilm, and numerous important collections. The Genealogy Center [at the
Allen County Library] also has significant resources for Native American and African American research." They have high school
and college yearbooks and church histories. And lots more!
If you're at all interested in your family's history, you would love the Allen County Library. They have more city directories than
the Library of Congress. Canadian family researchers are often referred to the Allen County Library by Canadian libraries
because of its extensive collection of Canadian documents and records. They accept high school yearbooks and personal family
histories from anyone who wants to contribute to their collection. (There's a process where they make two photo copies, put one
bound copy on their shelves, and return the original family history to the donor.)
They have lots of computers for which you need to have a library card. BUT, they give visitors a "temporary library card" that
gets you into their computers and into their system of state, national, and international online resources for free!
But the beautiful facilities and the fantastic people who run the Allen County Library make it even more special. It is THE most
user-friendly library I have ever been in. I love all libraries. However, the institutional adaptations and the attitudes of the staff
at the Allen County Library are amazing. "We're Dewey Decimal contrarians. If it doesn't make sense for us, we catalog and shelve
things the way our patrons would be looking for it." Their photo copies are only 10 cents, regardless of whether they are 8 1/2 by
11 inches or 11 by 17 inches. Their copy machines use a digital bar reader that works like swiping a credit card. They go out of
their way to help patrons. A reference librarian even carried my stack of books to my table for me when he saw that my hands
were full! Over and over in our brief four hour stay, the enthusiasm, good humor, and extensive knowledge of the Allen County
Library staff came shining through.
I can't recommend the Allen County Library highly enough.

The next meeting for LAAAGS will be Saturday, February 16, 2019, 10:00 a.m. The meeting will be held at our
original meeting location. We will meet
the State Library and Museum, 702 W. Kalamazoo St., Lansing, MI
The public is invited to attend!
The dues for LAAAGS have changed!
Please note that dues have increased from $20 to
$25 dollars annually. Annual dues for 2017 are now
due, starting January 2017.
Form for Dues Submission

2018 June Research Trip

    LAAAGS members took a Research Trip to the Charles H. Wright
Museum of African American History in Detroit on June 30th. Members
attending: Gary and Ruby Wilkes, Jessica Trotter, and Mike and Willye
Bryan. The museum visit was an excellent opportunity to see a great
historical presentation of the African American experience from Mother
Africa, through the Middle Passage to the U.S. and Caribbean Islands.
The curation culminates into present day U.S. history. This was a
memorable trip and recommended by all that attended! The day was made
even more enjoyable by a trip to Detroit's Eastern Market!
The dues for LAAAGS have changed!
Please note that dues have increased from $20 to
$25 dollars annually.
Annual dues for 2019 are
now due, starting January 2019
Form for Dues Submission
Current Officers for 2019
President: Gary Wilkes
Vice President: Jessica Trotter
Recording Secretary: Willye Bryan
Treasurer: Mike Bryan