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.
Questions or comments about this site contact
LAAAGS is gathering information on early Black families in Greater Lansing for a publication.  To contribute
information to this publication you may call 517-882-1293 or email
This page was last updated February 2017
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 is Saturday, March 11, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. The meeting is at the Delta Township District
, 5131 Davenport Drive (near Lansing Mall) Lansing, MI. This is a planning meeting for the Spring
Conference to be held in April.
The public is invited to attend!
The dues for LAAAGS have changed!
Please note that dues have increased from $20 to
$25 dollars annual
ly. Annual dues for 2017 are now
due, starting January 2017.
Upcoming Events
LAAAGS Spring Conference!
Saturday, April 8, 2017, 10:30 a.m.- 3:30 p.m.
State Library and Museum
702 W. Kalamazoo St.
Lansing, MI
       The February 2017 LAAAGS meeting was held at the Lansing Family History Center (LFHC) at the Church
of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 431 E. Saginaw St., East Lansing, MI 48823. This meeting was considered
by all to be a rousing success. Fourteen members attended this meeting which consisted of an excellent
presentation by LFHC personnel. The staff gave a presentation on use of the web page for Family Search: Demonstrations were presented on the use of online and the use of the Family
search catalog. The catalog lets you know what is in the national family history library in Utah. So if your
search topic is not in the online database you can check the national catalog and find what you need. One can
order directly from the national library and have the information sent directly to the LFHC. Other topics
covered included:
  • How to find a FHC in another location  
  • How to transfer family trees from Ancestry to Family Search family trees
  • FHC conference, April 22, 2017. Info on FHC website: