Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Access the Archives of Colleges & Universities

Genealogy and College Archives
The obituary of my husband's great-grandfather mentions that he was an 1898 graduate of Washington & Jefferson College, which is located in Washington, PA. So I decided to check out that school's archives to see what information they had about alumni.

In the U. Grant Miller Library Digital Archives on W&J's website, there are two alumni directories that cover the years 1802 to 1945. They also include information on college presidents, faculty, and alumni who died in various wars. On page 536 of the first volume, under the graduating class of 1898, it says this about my husband's great-grandfather:
"STEWART, JOHN BOYD DINSMORE--Son of John W. and Elizabeth Gamble Stewart; born in McKeesport, Pa., Nov. 7, 1874; graduated West Penn Medical College, 1901; practiced medicine McKeesport, '01--; married Feb. 16, '99, Anna M. Kirkendall. Physician, McKeesport, Pa."
I browsed the index and learned that John's older brother also graduated from W&J, in 1890:
"STEWART, MURRAY WILSON--Son of John W. and Lizzie G. Stewart; born McKeesport, Pa., April 30, 1865; law student with E. P. Douglass, of Pittsburg; practiced his profession in Pittsburg and McKeesport. Residence, McKeesport, Pa."
If you had ancestors who were fortunate to attend a college or university, alumni publications are another great resource for your genealogy research.


  1. I wonder if any of our ancestors knew each other?! My great-grandfather's brother, Christian Edward Ludwig, was at W & J in 1904 - I found his photo and information - it said he 'has a voice like the rumble of mighty thunder' and was 'a great love of mustard' among other things! :)

    1. That's great! It's always fun to find hints about our relatives' personalities. The "great love of mustard" definitely made me smile. Wouldn't that be amazing if our ancestors did know each other? You never know...


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