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

Step-by-Step - Back to Your Norwegian Ancestors

Wisconsin was a primary destination for immigrants from Norway. In 1900, one quarter of Norwegians who had immigrated to America lived in the state of Wisconsin. If your ancestors came from this Scandinavian country, please join us for the first Find Your Ancestors program of the year.  

Experienced Norwegian researcher Mary Ellen Petersen will present Step-by-Step - Back to Your Norwegian Ancestors on Saturday, November 14, from 2:00-3:30 pm in Meeting Room C.

Funded by the Friends of Appleton Public Library. 

Steampunk Saturday is October 10

Ladies and gentlemen, rogues and explorers - mark your calendar for Saturday, October 10!  That is the day steampunk comes to the library, with presentations by Cassie & Jerry Beyer, steampunks of style and discernment.   You will have a chance to talk with role-playing game designer/author, Ken Vinson. Be present for our first tea dueling demo and learn about the importance of tea in the world of steampunk. 

Dress in your best retro-futuristic style if desired; the costume contest (for all ages) begins at 2:00, or you may pose for a souvenir Victorian-style photo. We will have plenty of steampunk crafts and prizes, so bring your friends!  We hope to see you then.

Searching for your Dutch and German Ancestors

Learning about our immigrant ancestors is both exciting and complicated.  We have two local experts who will speak at our March 14 Find Your Ancestors program.  Paul West, an officer of the Little Chute Historical Society, will describe his methods in researching his Dutch ancestors and suggest ways you can find yours. 

Antoinette Powell, Lawrence University Music Librarian and Associate Professor, will be our second speaker.  Winner of this year's Lillian F. Mackesy Historian of the Year Award, presented by the Outagamie County Historical Society, she will describe how to find your German ancestors as well as answer questions and give research tips.

Saturday, March 14 in Lower Level Meeting Room C, from 1:00-2:30 pm.  Free, with no registration required.

Researching Land Records in Wisconsin

If you’ve ever wondered how land descriptions work or how to read a deed, our next Find Your Ancestors program is for you.  Randy Bixby, Land Records Archivist at the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands will be our featured speaker.  She will explain how early land records worked—land patents, deeds, plats and more.  An experienced genealogist, Randy knows how to make the connection between the land and the families who lived there.  There will be local plat maps and Sanford Insurance maps to view as well as items she will be bringing from Madison.

This free program will take place Saturday, February 14 in Lower Level Meeting Room C, from 1:00-2:30 pm.  No registration required.

2015 Fox Cities Reads book is announced

Christina Baker Kline’s book Orphan Train is this year’s Fox Cities Reads title.    Each year a book is selected by a committee of public libraries and the University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley to be read and discussed by members of the community.  The goals are to promote literacy and build a sense of community through activities, author visits and related programs.  The chosen book was revealed at the History Museum at the Castle on Wednesday.

Orphan Train, a New York Times bestseller, tells the story of a young Irish woman, Vivian Daly, who immigrated from Ireland with her parents to New York City.  Due to her fractured home life she, along with other children, is sent on an orphan train towards a new life in the West.  Much later in life, after returning to the East Coast, she meets 17-year-old Molly Ayer, who is also a foster child.   As they sort through Vivian’s mementos past and present challenges are revealed.

As part of the Fox Cities Book Festival, author Cristina Baker Kline will give presentations on April 20 and 21.  For a greeting by the author and more information about Fox Cities Reads programs, please go to  Copies of the book are available for checkout at local libraries and a brochure with programs and a reading list is available.

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