St Clair Cemetery, Mt Lebanon, Allegheny Co, PA

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Friday, February 26, 2010

Follow Friday: Following "Da Burgh" Roots

Being a genealogy fiend, I find it useful to belong to local historical and genealogy societies in the areas where I spend my valuable research time. Since air fare and time can be prohibitive, I really enjoy societies who have taken the time to really provide a great service and look into the past.

I've been a card carrying member of the Western Pennsylvania Genealogical Society for a number of years. I've gone through the process to be a certified (documented) member of the First Families of Western PA as well as sending a Civil War Era Diary of my great great aunt Hannah. For those who are interested, Hannah's diary was first published in 2006 in the WPGS Quarterly. My cousins and I thought that the Quarterly would be a great fit for the diary as Hannah was born, reared, and died in Allegheny Co, PA.

The WPGS website has gone through some fantastic renovations over the years. Now they offer early issues online for their members. So, if you've got some roots in Da Burgh, I would heartily recommend joining the society. It's a great value and I've met some friends through it over the years-- even though I live hundreds of miles away.

If you're looking for me over the next few days, just remember I'm busy looking at old journals in addition to the all volunteer group of folks indexing deaths and marriages from Pittsburgh newspapers. As an update, our little project now has over 13000 entries in less than a month! And it's all free and online!!

Click here for WPGS and here to go to the Allegheny Co Death Index.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday: Another Family Pic- But Who?

This dag style picture was found among the papers of one of my dear cousins. We suspect the gent to be his great grandfather and the brother of my great grandfather.

But is this him? Perhaps someone who knows the insignia on the hat and the chest could be of assistance in this quest of firmly identifying the photo?

What a great genealogy treasure this is if it is indeed Uncle Addison as he served during the Civil War in the Pennsylvania 5th Heavy Artillery. I also have a diary he kept during his time serving the Union.

Sure would be cool to put a face on the diary's author.

Update: I have not uncovered a pic of my uncle in later life although I do have a pic of his son and of his daughter. The pic of my great grandfather in the same time period does not indicate the heaviness of the eyebrows.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Boy King Tells His Story

Fascinating results are in on the DNA testing of the Boy King, King Tut. Malaria? Too much inbreeding? Read the full story here as told by the National Geographic....

King Tut may be seen as the golden boy of ancient Egypt today, but during his reign, Tutankhamun wasn't exactly a strapping sun god.

Instead, a new DNA study says, King Tut was a frail pharaoh,...

Wordless Wednesday: Fianlly, A Face for the Name

I've been fascinated with the gent in this picture for quite some time. Austin McClain Brendel (1878-1935) was the first cousin of my grandmother.

Why the fascination? I first heard the name when I was looking at the old cemetery records at Southside Cemetery in Allegheny Co, PA back in the late 1980s. Who was this man buried in our family plot? A cousin of my dad's told me it was some cousin who didn't have any place to be buried when he died. So the search began.

It took some years for the life of Austin to be told in bits and pieces. You can read more of Austin at

Now, a picture of Austin has made its way to me just this week. When was it taken? Perhaps in the early 1900s? Do I see a family resemblance? I think not, so perhaps he took on the looks of his father's family?

Ah, genealogy. What great cousins I have who take the time to keep me in the loop with their new finds.

Thanks, Frank. I just went speechless with your kind genealogy gift.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

What Were They Thinking in 1899?

I came across some interesting remedies that gave me pause. Perhaps you will enjoy them as well...

Cure for Baby's Fits

From the London Lancet.
At the annual collective examination held in Natal in a paper on health and temperature the question occurred: "Write out some simple directions to be followed in cases of convulsions i infants." One answer ran thus:
Put the infant quickly into a bath of boiling water up to the neck. Put ice on its head. Then give him a mild epidemic followed by a teaspoonful of castor oil.
Why Rats Should be Eaten

From the Lahore Tribune.
A Chinaman advocates the use of rats thus. "What a carrot is to a horse's coat a rat is to the human hair. Neither fact can be explained, but every horseman knows that a regimen of carrots will make his stud smooth and lustrous as velvet, and the Chinese, especially the women, know that rats used as food stop the falling out of hair and make the locks soft, silky and beautiful. I have seen it tried many times."

The Pittsburgh Press
Feb, 8, 1899

Ah, genealogy. It's a kick, although this time, I think I'll pass.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Good Reputation

I recently came across the obituary for Robert S PEARSON, son of Nathaniel Plummer PEARSON of St Clair Township, Allegheny Co, PA. While the obit does not detail where young PEARSON would rest, I believe he is in my "family" cemetery, otherwise known as the St Clair Cemetery in Mount Lebanon, a suburb of Pittsburgh.

Young Robert is not listed as being in the cemetery, but let's look at the circumstantial evidence to support my theory.
1- His grandparents were part of the early Associate Reformed Church of Saw Mill Run which is now known as the Mt Lebanon United Presbyterian Church.
2- His parents were also members there.
3-His grandparents and parents are both buried at the St Clair Cemetery.
4-By tradition, young Robert would have been buried in the family plot.

I have no doubt that many of my blood line kin were there as they, too, were neighbors and members of the same church. I have no doubt that young Robert was mourned. I also am of the belief that the closeness of the two families, in proximity in the neighborhood (and census records) and in the same church, would have young Robert as the probable best friend of William, my 2g grandfather, and perhaps a suitor for the hand of one of William's sisters. After all, they were the proverbial girls next door.

We remember you, young Robert.

Here is his obit along with a poem that was published with his obit. I don't know who the author was but I like to think it was someone special to the family.

Died on Friday evening, the 19th instant, of a pulmonary complaint, Mr Robert S PEARSON, of St Clair Township, son of Nathaniel P Pearson, in the 19th year of his age. This young man sustained a good reputation, and was highly esteemed by those who knew him. His illness, which continued for six weeks, he bore with fortitude and Christian patience. For the last two weeks of his life appeared ebbing out, and the vital spark dimmer; still for some days before his death, he appeared deeply concerned about his salvation. That he obtained peace with God is believed, from that calmness of mind he maintained from the hopes of better life, which sustained him, and from the declarations he made to his friends of his willingness to submit to the Divine will. But he is gone, and has left a long train of mourners to lament the sad bereavement.

Hark, a voice it cries from Heaven,
Happy in the Lord who die,
Happy are they to whom "tis given
From a world of grief to fly;
They indeed are truly blest,
From their labors then they rest.

All their toils and conflicts over,
Lo they dwell with Christ above;
Oh what glories they discover
In the Saviour whom they love.
Now they see him face to face.
Him who saved them by his grace.

"Tis enough, enough for ever,
"Tis his people's bright reward;
They are blest, indeed, who never
Shall be absent from the Lord,
Oh that we may die like those
Who in Jesus then repose.

Source: The Daily Pittsburgh Gazette, Feb 25, 1836

Got to love digging up those genealogy roots of times past!

Friday, February 05, 2010

"Ancestry": A Poem Published Almost 100 Years Ago

While continuing on my journey in to the past with old Pittsburgh newspapers, my attention was directed to the following poem. Enjoy.

Author Unknown

I was proud of the distinguished ancestry;
Of lineage I made a fad-
Of course, I only read of them,
Knew not even good or bad.
I thought of how William the Conqueror
Brought the head of my house from France:
Ormonde, the duke, whose name I bear,
Who came to Ireland by chance.

What joy if I could discover
That some forbear of mine
Had bravely fought the Caracen
On the fields of Palestine:
But this is a practical age,
And my children, with look intent,
Say, "Pa, you had better forget it-
It'll never bring you a cent."

Just below the poem is the following which is sure to bring a smile to your face:

She Keeps Tab All Right

"I wonder if your sister realizes, Johnny, that during the last three months I have spent many dollars in sweets on her?"
"I'm sure she does Mr Sweetly; that's why she's not letting on she's engaged to Mr. Bigger."- New York Mail

Source: The Pittsburgh Press, Apr 29, 1912

Old newspapers are such a kick- for a smile, genealogy or even just a glimpse into a long ago way of life.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday: Why Fear Death?

I've been busy compiling a death index for Pittsburgh. Naturally, there are a number of us working on this project. In the last two weeks, we've been able to index and post something like 5600 deaths. Kinda cool. Click here if you would like to go hunting for your kin.

What is even more cool is reading the old newspapers. I found this little treasure today and thought I'd share it.

Kaiser Wilhelm (20 years ago) writes a letter to his sister, the Queen of Greece: "Our offensive is progressing successfully on all fronts. On the eastern front the Russians have lost since the beginning of the war, 700,000 men, including 70,000 officers. On the western front, the French have had a few local successes, but so great are their losses that it will suit us admirably if they continue to have a great number of similar successes. Our final victory is certain. Woe to those who still dare to draw the sword against us.".... Charles Frohman's last words as he went down on the Lusitania: "Why fear death? It is the most beautiful adventure in life.
Source: Pittsburgh Post Gazette, May 13, 1935

Interesting that the 20 years before would have been in 1915 right at the beginning of the World War I era. Guess we know what happened!

Ah, genealogy. Aint' it illuminating?