Tom Mooney

Tuesday, August 28, 2001

How could a researcher today find out about this long-forgotten event? It is contained in the day-by-day news summary of the Wilkes-Barre Record Almanac published in 1934. These almanacs, published from 1886 to 1963, are invaluable for local researchers trying to track down major events. Complete sets are available at the Osterhout Free Library and the Luzerne County Historical.

Local History Moment: Heat got you down? If you are old enough to recall the summer of 1936, 75 years ago, this past summer must have seemed like a breath of fresh air. Says the book Pocono Weather, a history of the area's wather, ``The scorching summer of 1936 stands pre-eminent in the annals of mid-continental heat in the United States.'' Talk about understatement! During July, 1936, 90-degree-plus temperatures were common, with the Wilkes-Barre and Scranton areas breaking the 100-degree mark several times. The Wilkes-Barre Record Almanac lists 105 as July's top figure for Wyoming Valley, with June and August close behind at 94 and 98 respectively. There were more drownings than usual that summer, testament to the desperation many people felt as they sought a means of cooling off in those Great Depression days when even a small tabletop electric fan was a luxury.

News Notes: Efforts are under way to preserve artifacts connected with the area's coal mining past. The Huber Breaker Preservation Society, which is trying to save the old Ashley breaker as a landmark, is raising money by selling calendars at Ashley businesses. As of press time, negotiations are under way to preserve the imitation, scaled-down breaker at Eckley Miners Village in Foster Township. The structure, which never functioned as a real breaker, was part of the set for the movie The Molly Maguires.

Looking into trying Internet genealogy? The August issue of Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine offers an introduction to a wide variety of software options, describing their advantages and shortcomings. The article is entitled ``Dig Your Own Roots.''

Reprints: Postal mail, PARS International Corp., 102 W. 38th St., Sixth Floor, New York, N.Y. 10018; telephone, (212) 221-9595; fax, (212) 221-9195; e-mail,

Watch your Times Leader for the Boscov's Department Store Campus of Courses ad. I'll be offering two separate sessions on getting started in genealogy. The programs are free.

Remember, this column is now accessible through your computer at

Have you solved some tough genealogical problems in your research? Do you have some tips you'd like to share with others? Would you like to report a success story? Drop me a line here at the paper. I'll get in touch with you and help you bring the benefits of your experience to others.


1) The Drum and Bugle Corps of a Boy Scout troop from Forty Fort marches across the Market Street Bridge in the NRA parade of Sept. 26, 1933, in Wilkes-Barre.

2) A Weatherly Girl Scout troop marches across the Market Street Bridge in the NRA parade of Sept. 26, 1933, in Wilkes-Barre.

3) Floats make their way along West Market Street in Wilkes-Barre in the NRA parade of Sept. 26, 1933.

4) An unidentified marching unit crosses the Market Street Bridge from Wilkes-Barre in the NRA parade of Sept. 26, 1933.

Tom Mooney, The Times Leader, 15 N. Main St., Wilkes-Barre, Pa. 18711. Email is