Even the sultry days of summer can't stop these genealogists. People from three states are researching ancestors in our area. Can anybody help them?
"The Dunns are said to have been instrumental in the building of the first church in Dushore -- St. Basil," Russell writes. Her grandmother, Alice Julia Dunn, was born there in the late 1800s. Russell is interested in histories of the Dushore area as well as anything about the Dunns.
Mary, there are a couple of research sources for that area. The Sullivan County Historical Society in Laporte is operating on limited hours for the summer, afternoons Thursday through Saturday. But it offers a paid research service.
Contact the society by phone at (570) 946-5020; by postal mail at P.O. Box 252, Laporte, Pa. 18626.
The Sullivan County Library in Dushore has several histories of the area in its reference department. The library is on Center Street in Dushore. Phone (570) 928-9352. A librarian tells me it is best to visit in person to do research.
Since your ancestors were so active in their church, you might want to see if there is a history of St. Basil's.
Contact Russell by telephone at (412) 782-3286; by postal mail at 410 Brilliant Ave., Pittsburgh, Pa. 15215; by e-mail at mailto:Mary.E.Russell.@MarshMc.com
Robert, I don't know of anyone who has catalogued the ports of entry our area's Irish used. But my experience has been that a lot of immigrants to Northeastern Pennsylvania -- whatever their ethnic group -- came through the ports of New York and Philadelphia. Some of my ancestors from Ireland landed at Baltimore, Md. I've read that many Irish of the 19th century sailed to Canada because of cheap passage there and then moved south to the United States.
Some histories of the Pittston area are available in local libraries. One good starting place would be the Wyoming Historical and Geological Society's library. Among its holdings are "The Ethnic Settlement of Three Communities in the Wyoming Valley," by Garth Myers (1980); and the Pittston Centennial Book (1954). The society's Edward Phillips collection contains a section on origins and history of Pittston.
The Pittston and West Pittston libraries have "History of the City of Pittston," by James Bussacco (1996). Some older histories, such as those by Bradsby in the 1890s and Harvey-Smith in the 1920s, contain chapters on the history of Pittston.
In 1900 and 1950 the now-defunct Pittston Gazette published special editions on the history of Pittston. The West Pittston Library has a copy of the 1900 paper, while The Times Leader has a copy of the 1950 paper.
The Historical Society and the Osterhout Free Library in Wilkes-Barre have complete microfilms of the Luzerne County census going back to 1790.
There is also a history of the Diocese of Scranton, available in various local libraries.
Contact Robert J. Tighe at 71 Roanoak Ave., Willimantic, Conn. 06226.
Daniel knows only that Rhoades was buried from the Kniffen Funeral Home, which lost many of its records in the 1972 flood. The newspaper funeral notice Daniel has bears no date.
Contact Mike Daniel by phone at (410) 437-3904; by fax at (410) 437-5371; or by postal mail at 8415 Alvin Road, Pasadena, Md. 21122.
Letters: Catherine Scheff of Dallas, whose family scrapbook was the subject of a column several months ago, says that response to the article has been overwhelming. "I cannot tell you how many people were interested in my father-in-law's scrapbook or how many people came up to me and told me about the scrapbook they have," she writes. Since that time she has discovered that her father, an avid baseball player, also kept a scrapbook and thereby left her an exciting history of his career.
Tips: Every census has its peculiarities, and they can be easy to miss. The latest newsletter of the Northeast Pennsylvania Genealogical Society points out that the 1880 Soundex microfilm reels place all hospital and other institutional listings after the final "z" alphabetical listings for individuals and families. So if you can't find your ancestor in what seems to be the right place on the reel, go to the end.
News Notes: It never hurts to publicize your searches for ancestors or the information you have compiled about them. A recent Associated Press news story is a case in point. Frank Findlay of Missouri was able to find the long-lost burial place of his great-grandfather, a Union Civil War soldier killed fighting the Confederates in 1864, because Findlay's wife, a family genealogist, had publicized her research on the Web. The discovery happened after writer David Evans learned the identities of three unknown Union soldiers buried in Marietta, Ga., and then tried to locate descendants. He found the Findlays' information on the Web. The result was Findlay's trip to a ceremony dedicating new tombstones for the three, one of them his ancestor, Pvt. James Harris of the 5th Iowa Cavalry.
The state said the series of increases will move Pennsylvania from 10th in the nation for state support of libraries to third.
Tom Mooney, The Times Leader, 15 N. Main St., Wilkes-Barre, Pa. 18711