Published: Sunday, April 21, 2002

Section: NEWS

Page: 1B

When Joe Mehm was working for the U.S. Navy and raising a family, he never thought that someday he would be a genealogy guru - Internet style - with a national audience.

But that's just what's happened. Mehm, 61, born in Wilkes-Barre and now a resident of Jacksonville, Fla., is the proprietor of three Web sites, two devoted to his Mehm and Mulhern/Mulherin ancestors and a third offering links to a host of genealogy sites he's found interesting.

Mehm got a lot of help in the beginning from son Joe Jr., who found the domain names mehm.com, mulhern.com and luzernecounty.com were all available and helped him put the Web pages together. Now, Mehm said, ``I've been teaching myself Web site design. It is time-consuming, but the more adept I get, the easier it becomes.''

His Mehm site, the first he developed, follows the principle that everybody benefits when family historians researching a name can meet online and exchange information.

``There are quite a few distant relatives who have found my site and I'm in contact with them. They've just plugged in the family name and found my site. I've tried to make it a gathering place for Mehms around the world. Soon I will be doing the same thing for the Mulherns.''

The Luzerne County site is research-oriented, offering links to the Times Leader, Luzerne County Genweb, Folkfinders, the county courthouse Web site and other sites of interest to people researching ancestors from the Wilkes-Barre area. Additionally, it offers links to sites containing information on coal mining and other major focuses of local history.

Mehm, a graduate of GAR High School in Wilkes-Barre, moved first to New Jersey. Now, in Florida, he works part-time as a stagehand. ``So the rest of the time I've got pretty much to myself, and I spend a lot of that time on the computer.''

He's by no means finished with his sites. His plans include completing the Mulhern/Mulherin site and adding message boards and other features.

``I'd like to add a memory page - Harveys Lake and other things we did growing up, totally different from today.

``(Web sites are) just like genealogy: Once you start, it's a lifelong project.''


Q. Joyce Bellas of Centermoreland has a 1926 edition of the Wilkes-Barre Telegram and is looking for facts about that paper.

A. Joyce, the Telegram you're speaking of was published Sundays during the 1920s and 1930s from an office in the Bennett Building, on Wilkes-Barre's North Main Street just around the corner from Public Square. Your copy is probably a rarity, since I know of no place that has any microfilm files of that paper. Hang onto it.

Local History Moment

People who are accustomed to music, sports or information on demand would certainly have felt deprived back in 1922 after buying a newfangled radio set and tuning into the area's first station - WBAX. Broadcasting out of his home on Gildersleeve Street in Wilkes-Barre, pioneer radio man John Stenger had to leave the air after only a few

hours each day because he had to share the frequency with other stations that his listeners might or might not be able to receive.

News Notes

The Northeast Pennsylvania Genealogical Society meets at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the second-floor meeting room of the Veterans Hospital, near Wyoming Valley Mall. Guest speaker Linda Reis, head of the CORE Services Section, Division of Archives and Manuscripts, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, will speak on the use of

photographs and photography in family research. Meetings are open to the public.

The Genealogical Research Society of Northeastern Pennsylvania meets 7 to 9 p.m. May 15 in the community room of the Lackawanna Heritage Apartments, 211 Susquehanna Ave., Olyphant. Speaker Tom Klopfer will deliver the talk ``What's in a Name? How Our Towns were Named and Other Trivia.'' He will focus on the origin of names of

towns in the area, with emphasis on the small towns of the rural counties. Klopfer is the author of ``The Anthracite Idiom'' and ``Toponyms and Trivia.''

Charles Ciesla's new book, ``A History of Sans Souci Park,'' sold out when it was published recently, will go to a second printing, Ciesla says. He could not give an exact date but said more copies should be available in just a few weeks at area book stores. The hardbound book, with text and photos, traces the history of the one-time recreation

park in Hanover Township from its beginnings more than a century ago to its demolition in the early 1970s.

``Out on a Limb,'' the Times Leader's award-winning local genealogy column, appears every other Sunday. It is also accessible at www.timesleader.com and on the Luzerne County Genweb. Back columns are archived on the Genweb.

Contact Tom Mooney, Times Leader, 15 N. Main St., Wilkes-Barre, PA 18711. E-mail is tmooney@leader.net.


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