Monday, September 29, 2014

Which Newspaper Site Is Best for Your Genealogy Research?

There are some sites you can visit to access historical newspapers for free. Chronicling America from the Library of Congress is definitely one you should explore. But if you're thinking about subscribing to one of the paid newspaper websites, it's easy to get confused. Which one should you choose for your research?

Some of the paid sites include:

Basically, one site isn't best for everyone. I subscribed to GenealogyBank for a year because it seemed to have the most newspapers. But I found out that it didn't work well for my genealogy research because it didn't have many newspapers around the Pittsburgh, PA area. I now work with and have been much happier with what I'm finding. The number of Pittsburgh newspapers is still limited, but I've found some great information on relatives in newspapers from nearby Canonsburg, Indiana, and Monongahela.

Be sure to sign up for a free trial to test out a newspaper website before you commit. Newspapers are a key resource for your genealogy research, so it's important to find the one that's best for you.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Don't Be Afraid of Cemeteries

One of my favorite activities is to visit cemeteries. With my job and being a mom, I don't go very often, but I've dragged my sister to about 5 cemeteries in the Pittsburgh area. Very few of our relatives have headstones. But when we do find one, it's a beautiful moment.

For those of you who also love cemeteries and Pittsburgh, you have to check out this blog: Pittsburgh Cemeteries | The Art and Architecture of Death. There are photos of headstones from cemeteries located all over the Pittsburgh area, with new images added almost every day. I love this site!

If you have any questions about your family history, please contact me. I could spend all day digging for answers, so I'd love to help.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Research Can Lead You to a Murder

I stumbled upon this article from 1906, describing the horrible accidental death of Lena Abel in Pittsburgh, PA. She's not a relative, but it caught my eye. She was so young.

I had just been searching, so I was curious to know where she was buried. Since Pennsylvania death certificates for the years 1906-1944 are on, I decided to search for Lena there. Her death certificate popped up on my computer screen. She was born in Germany, was the daughter of Joseph & Mary Lang, and was buried in St. Michael's Cemetery on the South Side of Pittsburgh. Several of my Stenglein ancestors are there, too.

But are you ready for a shock? It says on her death certificate that she had burns but died of stab wounds. Apparently, someone started the fire to cover up the crime.

The article above from appeared in The Indiana Gazette on January 8, 1906. I browsed The Pittsburgh Press in the Google archive and found more details. Her husband, Andrew, was detained because the story of his morning activities didn't add up. Also, a man who roomed at the Abel house indicated that they argued a lot.

The 1910 census shows Andrew J. Abel was an inmate in the Western Penitentiary of Pennsylvania in Allegheny County, so he must have been convicted of her murder.  R.I.P. Lena Lang Abel.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Love of Genealogy = Love of History

My Dad loves history. He reads a lot about historical figures and events and can rattle off all kinds of facts about almost any topic. One of my younger sisters was a history major. Was I a fan of history in school? Not so much.

But I love genealogy and research and could spend all day digging through newspapers, records and books. So it may have taken me a while to appreciate it, but I must be a history nut, too. It must be in my blood!

If you need any help with your family history, particularly in the Pittsburgh area, let me know. I'd thoroughly enjoy it and would be honored to help you.