Over 100,000 entries have been made during the Jan 2010- June 2011 time frame in the death, marriage, divorce, photo and WWI Military Personnel indices. It’s been a great blast in to the past as we seek to preserve our Pittsburgh roots. - AS Eldredge

May 30, 2011
New for Memorial Day: Relive World War I History Thru 1919 Articles

Last month, my genealogy buddy, Lynn B, sought my opinion on whether she should transcribe some World War I newspaper stories she had found while working on the indexing project. She sent a sample and I responded with a resounding “yes.”

With the assistance of our favorite RootsWeb Files Manager, Ellis Michaels, on the Allegheny County PA GenWeb Archives site, these articles are now available for viewing.

The transcriptions are taken from the 1919 Pittsburg Press. The article series is
A History of Pittsburg and Western Pennsylvania Troops in the War written by John V Hanlon.

I will say my world came to a screeching halt as I read about the battles and the events which described how and where my grandfather was wounded and severely gassed. After I took a few moments to say a prayer of thanks for his service and that of his fallen doughboy comrades, I eagerly read the other chapters.

In reading the 21 chapters, you will undoubtably gain a new appreciation for the sacrifices made by our World War I veterans. Relive the joy, the pain, the sorrow and the tragedies of the day.

You can find these wonderful articles here:

May 16, 2011
Remembering Allegheny County WWI Veterans

During the last year, a group of 46 volunteers has been reading the old Pittsburgh area newspapers in search of deaths, marriages, divorces and photographs. This group has indexed over 73,000 death entries which can be found on the PA USGenWeb Archives pages.

Last December, one of the faithful volunteers contacted the coordinator to see if there would be interest in setting up a new index specifically for those Allegheny County area men and women who served America in World War I.

The proposed index was readily accepted by coordinator Ann S Eldredge. Volunteer Lynn Beatty who had grown up in Allegheny County and left the area some 30 years ago spent five months indexing the World War I veterans. This military index includes the names found in the 1918-1919 Pittsburgh newspapers, the letters, the stories, the deaths and the celebrations of coming home.

When asked why she wanted to do this index, Beatty said, “When I saw some of the articles were personal about western Pennsylvanians, I knew somebody had to make a record of those. It just snowballed! This is the part of genealogy I like best - the stories about real people - like the soldier whose family was being evicted while he was a POW.”

Coordinator Eldredge smiles as she recalls the thrill she felt when her grandfather’s name was found. “His service records had been lost in the fire according to the Department of Defense,” she said. “All I had were his Company and his Infantry unit. Those I found on his headstone. I had researched the history of his unit and was surprised to see the 11th Infantry had seen 43 days of combat with 386 casualties. Of these, 348 were wounded in action, including my grandfather.”

“Lynn’s dedication to the project brought joy to me as I found whey my grandpa returned to the United States, and more specifically, to Pittsburgh. Now, I can indentify the location and the approximate date of the picture I have of him sitting in front of US General Hospital #24 in Parkview Station with his future bride.”

The Military Index now contains 85,733 entries, and can be seen online at Norm Meinert’s Allegheny River Family Archives,
http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~njm1/index.html or on the PA USGenWebArchives, http://www.usgwarchives.net/pa/allegheny/death-index.htm .

The Military Index can be searched to locate the veteran’s name, type of article, unit of service, newspaper name, date and page. With this information, the Allegheny River Family Archives of the PA USGenWebArchives can be utilized to go to the actual date the information appears.

Eldredge said, “It’s just a wonderful gift of love Lynn has given to the genealogy community that has its hears in Pittsburgh. This genealogy group is just so giving - of themselves and their time in an unending quest to help others reclaim their roots.

August 2010
Early Pittsburgh Marriages and Deaths Indices are Online and Growing

In January 2010, a small band of genealogy seekers embarked on a project to make anyone who has roots in the Pittsburgh area jump for joy.  43 volunteers have been indexing marriages, deaths, and divorces from early Allegheny County newspapers and putting it all online at no cost.  Over 52,000 death entries and over 11,000 marriages have been indexed and put online through August.  The dates of the newspapers range from 1806-1987.

Project co-ordinator Ann S Eldredge says the idea of an index came to her as she regularly keeps in touch with other Pittsburgh researchers on the popular mailing list of Allegheny County sponsored by
RootsWeb.com.  An avid genealogy researcher, Eldredge remarked, "I saw on the list that Google had put images of several old newspapers online and Pittsburgh was on it. After spending many hours of looking for my family and investing in Visine for the eye strain, I realized I couldn't be the only one who had uncovered a few golden nuggets of information. It seemed so simple.  If anyone was looking at any of the dates, they could write down all the names of that day.  After all, how many of your ancestors do you not know when they married or died?"

With that simple question posed to the group, an index was born.  Eldredge volunteered to capture the names the volunteers put on the list. List member Norm Meinert quickly set up a page for the newspapers submitted so there would be no duplication of efforts.  USGenWeb Allegheny County Archives File Manager Ellis Michaels volunteered to get the submitted indices online. 

The daily newspaper lists began to pour in.  "It didn't take long for the sheer volume of names being submitted to become overwhelming," said Eldredge.  "I quickly realized I needed help.  I put a call out for volunteers to assist on my end, and they came. The enthusiasm and dedication of the volunteers are inspiring.  The work they are doing for family researchers and genealogy buffs is just fantastic.  What a gift to give."

"It's been an amazing journey over the last eight months as the volunteers have graciously given their time to read the old newspapers.  We have so many death and marriage entries from 1889 and 1890.  Since the census was lost for 1890, this almost serves as a substitute. I've found my relatives through this project.  Some of the death entries have even led to connections with living cousins.  It's been worth it."

"Stop on by and see what our volunteers have done," Eldredge said as a smile came across her face. "After all, the good folks of Pittsburgh are just dying to get in."

To view the death, marriage and divorce indices, go to 
http://www.usgwarchives.net/pa/allegheny/death-index.htm .