Pittsburgh and Allegheny County

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

A Little History

First, I thought I would start off with a little history of my own...

To my maternal 4th great grandparents, and any descendants thereof. My English ancestors who immigrated in the 1880's, and early 1900's to Pittsburgh and Allegheny County. Most, if not all of my ancestral roots are from the "Burgh", and the surrounding areas: Avalon, Banksville, Bellevue, Ingram, (Old Oakland Section), Pittsburgh, and Allegheny County, Beaver County, and Westmoreland County, Crawford County to the Tri-State area's of Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. Including Jefferson County, Ohio, to Hancock, Brooke and Ohio counties of West Virginia (Virginia).

I grew up being inquisitive. I had always asked my grandaunt Mabel Kuhn; who was who and how I was related to someone. She knew everyone. After my grandmother passed in 1965, it was a weekly Sunday visit with my grandaunt Mabel. She reminded me so much of my grandmother. I would listen to her stories, and she could talk to you about every little thing from knowing all the types of birds that visited her bird feeders, to Walter Cronkite to even believing she saw a UFO. Even as I grew into my teens and into adulthood, I would still stop and visit with her. Maybe, that is where my interest began. That and my love of history. You are never too old to learn. I learn something new each and every day.

My maternal family tree was handed down in complied tree from my mother's father and mother, and several of their cousin's who all worked on this together. They did this when doing a family tree was done via the "old-fashioned" way by U.S. Mail, personal letters, personal phone calls, visiting libraries, and courthouses. It originally comprised of the family tree with 2032 relatives, and ancestors. Myself, I have far exceeded that research on the original number, confirming, and verifying and documenting every name, every step of the way. Sometimes, it is simple to search. Sometimes, you really have to dig, and come up with an answer.

I knew my father's maternal side of the family line of all my grand aunts and uncles. Most of whom I had the chance to know. This was in my early 20's. And when I visited them, I had my questions, and asked what they could tell me.

What I knew of my paternal father's line, my surname, I knew absolutely NIL. I knew my father's parents, and when they died. That was it. All I remembered and knew, was attending all the funerals when I was a child. That is why you always must talk to your older relatives. They are a wealth of information. After my father's mother passed, my grandfather lived with us, and I listened to his stories, but he was a private man. I did not know my grandfather was one of 13 children born to my great grandmother. I knew absolutely nothing about his family, his siblings or their family history. Thus began my journey to find my past.

So I began like most using the FREE guest user ID on ancestry.com; and supplementing my research with what I could learn from https://familysearch.org/.  Starting my tree on ancestry.com with a FREE user ID. I began as most do using find a grave at http://www.findagrave.com/. These sites tend to go hand in hand. Trying to find memorials or burial information for ancestors. I searched memorials, created memorials from information as I learned from death certificates, obituaries,  mailing, emailing or calling for cemetery internment records. I have created close to over 1400 memorials without stepping one foot in a cemetery. Not that I do not want to. Just I am unable to. When I was in college abt. 1985, as part of one of my advanced History courses I mapped, charted, and transcribed the local town's old cemetery. My work still housed in the archives of the college I attended. Yet it has been duplicated time and again by others from my alma mater using cellphones, and find a grave, and other genealogical web-sites.

Even in this day and age of high tech gadgetry, computers, and cellphones.

I know there are a lot ancestry researchers including older and elderly seniors would have no idea on how to use ancestry.com or familysearch.org. Not everyone in the world are on facebook. Not every ancestry researcher or user is apprised of, or even aware of all the fancy changes and updates that have been made on the ancestry.com. In addition, not everyone knows of, or is aware of all the tutorials, etc that are available on https://www.youtube.com/. I apologize, I am interested in searching for records, not spending time on searching video's on the how to's by someone else. Most of my time is spent searching records, or searching obituaries. Personally, I may have spent more than 5000+ hours in this past few years searching records, death certificates, and for obituaries.

I learned a lot of what I know by doing whatever I needed to do. I didn't watch fancy videos, nor did I read how to use any of the sites. I just did it.

Just because they have it online, doesn't mean everyone knows how to use it. Not all seniors have the luxury of being able to afford a new computer to operate with all the newest system updates. In other words, they are left with their internet worlds spinning to upload.

Now onward, I hope to share what I have learned and to be as helpful as I can.

There are a lot of helpful people in regards to doing genealogy online, and then there are a few who can make you not want to visit or use a particular message board or facebook genealogy group.
*Prime example; join and visit the ancestry.com facebook group  (https://www.facebook.com/groups/5603418246/) versus one of the State or County genealogy facebooks groups, and you will get a better idea of what I am referring to.
Some users tend to be brutal towards others. As Rodney Dangerfield used to say, "No Respect".
I myself felt personally attacked by long time users. But that is not the case for all facebook genealogy groups or the rootsweb/ancestry.com message boards.

Or visit the rootsweb Message Boards > Localities > North America > United States > States > Pennsylvania > Counties > Allegheny: http://boards.rootsweb.com/localities.northam.usa.states.pennsylvania.counties.allegheny/mb.ashx

After your visit there, you will get a "PICTURE" of the problem!

I promise I am not going to write silly letters to my now deceased ancestors. Much to my surprise it would even be sillier if they sent me a reply! Nor do I intend to share genealogy postcards with you. There is enough of that nonsense elsewhere. I would be ever so amused if of my "dear departed dead ancestors" did drop me a line and send me a postcard whether it was postmarked from "heaven" or "hell" and it was postmarked 1885. I will not do a famous dance like Walter Huston upon striking gold in 1948 "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre" for a so called, "Happy Dance" when I make a genealogical discovery at 4:00 a.m EST in the morning.

I do hope to share my insights, experiences, and the important aspects of what one may consider simple basics to advanced searching and techniques. From copying and creating a simple citation from familysearch.org for use on your tree on ancestry.com. If done correctly, it will create a hyperlink on the person's profile on your tree on ancestry.com. So if you are looking inside the profile of a person on your tree, and your click on it, it will redirect you to the record on familysearch.org. I did this from the very start. It saved a lot of time having to remember where I found a record, and where or what folder in was in on my familysearch.org account SOURCE BOX. I will share the links that may help you find what you are looking for.

Hopefully, I can do this in an orderly fashion. Be patient as I am just learning the basics of setting up this blog for you to read.

There are great resources from where I began using:

and starting posting on the
Message Boards > Localities > North America > United States > States > Pennsylvania > Counties > Allegheny

You can get a FREE user account by registering here at:

To using online genealogy facebook ancestry groups such as Allegheny County PA Genealogy at https://www.facebook.com/groups/122539950638/, and Pennsylvania Genealogy Network at https://www.facebook.com/groups/123343704418143/.

The first connection I made using the messages boards was with one of my 2nd cousins on my father's side of the family, and from there I have made connections with, and talked with many of my not so distant relatives all over the county via email, through personal phone calls, and even letters. One very recent and interesting discovery I will share with you in the future. All in all, I have made some great friends online through find a grave, and through the messages boards, and the facebook genealogy groups. It is all there! At your fingertips to explore and discover. It does help if you have someone to help guide you along in the right direction. By no means am I an expert or professional, but I am serious about my tree, the documentation, and everything associated with it. I have proven the entire tree handed down to me by my mother. I continue to work on as much as I can.

I look forward towards suggestion on what you may be interested in.

Sites I  use include:
find a grave
World Vital Records
Fold3 (footenote)
The British Newspaper Archives

Yours truly,
Allegheny Ancestry and Genealogy Trails