Sunday, September 30, 2001

By Tom Mooney


   Genealogists doing research in the Wilkes-Barre area will find a more direct link to the invaluable Luzerne County Historical Society with its updated Web site.

   Access it at the new address of http://www.luzernecountyhistory.com.

   The spiffed-up site will give you the hours for all the society's buildings, news of upcoming events, a description of Ryan Lindbuchler's upcoming book listing the area's Civil War burial sites and just about anything else you could need to learn about the society's library, museum, programs and publications.

   One of the events you'll want to take note of is a series of guided tours of Wilkes-Barre's historic Hollenback Cemetery. Opened in 1855, it is the resting place of many of the community's founders as well as thousands of ordinary folk.

   Tours are set for 1:30 and 4 p.m. on Oct. 21 and 6:30 p.m.

(candlelight) on Oct. 24. Each tour will last about 90 minutes and is limited to 30 people. A $5 donation is requested. The tours are held in cooperation with the Hollenback Cemetery Association.

   To register, contact the society by phone at (570) 823-6244, by e-mail at cemeterytours@luzernecountyhistory.com or through the society's Web site, listed above.


Genealogical Society News

   Work is progressing on the Northeast Pennsylvania Genealogical

Society's new headquarters on 156 N. Main St. in the Shavertown section of Kingston Township, just behind Cook's Pharmacy. When finished, it will house the society's growing collection of local genealogical research materials.

   ``We need your time and donations to bring this library to

completion,'' the society announces in its newsletter. ``Construction supplies such as plumbing, lumber, paint and electrical materials are needed.'' To help, contact the society at P.O. Box 1776, Shavertown, PA 18708-0776.

   The building isn't the only project the society is busy with these days. Along with its cataloguing of burial lists of all area cemeteries, the society is developing a master listing of all the cemeteries themselves, complete with directions on how to get there. The project started more than two years ago and is being done by society volunteers who are patiently plodding their way through fields and overgrowth.

   ``There are many people buried out there and no one knows anything about them,'' said Dean Sawyer, formerly society president and now head of the burial list project. ``We found one (cemetery) with four graves.''

   Sawyer could give no time frame for completing the project. It all depends on the volunteers, and the list will not be released until it is complete.

   ``There's an awful lot of people who lived in this area, but their descendants do not,'' he said. ``In fact, about 75 percent of the descendants are out of the area. It's hard for them to find out.''



   Q. ``Are there any books or maps available that would even roughly define the boundaries of Wilkes-Barre around the 1860s? My questions revolve around whether the area of Hillard Street in East End would have even been considered part of Wilkes-Barre when the 1860 census was performed.''    Mary O'Donnell Mulcahy, New Jersey.


   A. Mary, a couple of old map books at the Luzerne County Historical Society throw light on your question. An 1872 map of the city of Wilkes-Barre shows that the East End section extended roughly as far as present-day Schoolhouse Lane, though that street has no name listed for it. Many nearby streets that one would encounter today - such as Hillard Street - did not yet exist.

   An 1882 map book, however, does show a Hillard Street right where it is today. No buildings are shown on it, though some lots bear numbers indicating they have listed owners. What I found odd was the presence of a long street labeled ``Hillard's Lane'' parallel to Hillard Street and just a block away. I don't see that street in East End today. The closest equivalent would be Chapel Street, which does not run as far as Hillard's Lane did but is still a pretty close match according to an 1894 map.


Q. ``I am searching for descendants of Christoph (Christian)

Mailander, born 1825 at Nattheim, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany. ... His son Johannes (John) moved to Wilkes-Barre (sometime before 1877) and opened a shop there.''    Frank Mailaender.


   A. Frank, the 1882 Wilkes-Barre City Directory lists a John Mailander as a ``junk'' dealer living on Oregon Street, near Hanover Street, in a section of the city now known as South Wilkes-Barre. Some old Times Leader clippings from the 1930s through the 1960s also might be of interest to you. I'll send you copies of them.

   Anyone who can help may contact Frank Mailaender (note the different spelling) at ahnen@mailaender.org.


   Q. Judy Obaza of Pen Argyl is looking for descendants of the brothers of Kate Wolfe of Plymouth Township, who became the first wife of Frank Obaza about 1902. Kate, who died shortly after 1910, is Judy Obaza's great-grandmother. Kate's brothers' names are Joseph, Anthony and Thomas Wolfe.


   A. Judy, the surname Wolfe is a common one in the Wilkes-Barre area, and it is found in numerous families living in the general area of Plymouth Township and nearby communities. Hopefully someone will come through for you. Contact Obaza at 1158 Candlewood Drive, Pen Argyl, PA  18702 or by e-mail at hedgehog40@juno.com.


   Correction: The e-mail address for Lynn Mitchell, who is seeking information on people whose ancestors emigrated from the Leimen Rhineland area of Germany to America, is cil1dcm@att.net.


   Local History Moment

   Think scam artists are a modern development - part of a changing moral climate? In 1882 a local newspaper warned of a couple of men going door to door in the Hazleton area, claiming to be electroplaters. ``The goods are afterwards returned untouched in any way, and the money collected by the expressman,'' said the paper. How about that? They even got a delivery company to do their dirty work for them.


News Notes:

   The first of my ``Getting Started in Genealogy'' classes is set for 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. tomorrow in the fourth-floor auditorium area of Boscov's Department Store in Wilkes-Barre. It will be repeated from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday. The classes are free, but Boscov's urges people to register ahead of time so that adequate seating can be assured, but we always manage to fit everybody in. Call (570) 823-4141 and ask for Campus of Courses.

   Whether you're a beginner or just want to pick up a few tips, bring a notepad and pen and plenty of questions. I'll have some handouts for you. If you're not familiar with downtown Wilkes-Barre, all you have to do is park in the store's South Franklin Street parkade and walk right into the building.

    Remember, this column is now accessible through your computer at www.timesleader.com and also on the Luzerne County Genweb.

    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.


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