Genealogy by the States: Pennsylvania coal region

Hidden Genealogy Nuggets has started a new weekly blog prompt called Genealogy by the States.  This week’s prompt is the state of Pennsylvania.  Luckily for me, my family (or at least part of it) has called The Keystone State home for over 200 years.

Of the lines I have traced back to the point of immigration to America, each arrived and directly settled in Pennsylvania.  While there are a few twigs that have branched out across the Unites States, the bulk of the tree has remained within a three hour drive from where our ancestors settled over more than two centuries ago.

Since this week’s post is all about Pennsylvania, I figured I would list some of the web sites I have found most helpful…aside from and Family Search.  I also use Find A Grave on a regular basis; this is a great tool but data included in memorials cannot be considered absolute fact.  Since my people are primarily in the central Pennsylvania coal region, I am only listing sites related to that region.


State Wide

The Pennsylvania State Archives

The Pennsylvania State Archives: Digital Copies of Documents  Digital scans of a variety of valuable records to aid in online research.  Included in the images are landowner maps from the 19th century that have aided in finding where my ancestors have lived.

Pennsylvania Department of Health: Public Records  PA birth and death indices for those records which are public records due to their age.  I use this to get death certificates for the years 1906 thru 1962.

Online Pennsylvania Death Indexes and Obituaries  Various genealogy records; this site put me in touch with a volunteer in Nevada who provided me with a free copy of an old obituary from her local library.

Genealogy Inc  Pennsylvania county formation map.


Northumberland County

Northumberland County USGenWeb  Various transcriptions of Northumberland County records.

Shamokin  Shamokin nostalgia.

Dalado Photography: The Thomas Collection  Photographs from Thomas Studios, regional photographer.

Roy Schreffler’s Homepage  Stone Valley Cemetery Listing.


Columbia County

Columbia County USGenWeb  Various transcriptions of Columbia County records.


Dauphin County

Civil War Blog  While historical society’s primary focus is the preservation of the history and heritage of northern Dauphin County, their blogs also cover the people and history of central Pennsylvania.


Schuylkill County

Schuylkill County USGenWeb  Various transcriptions of Schuylkill County records.



News Item  I use this for keeping up with deaths and local information, including occasional historical information.

Historic American Newspapers – Chronicling America  Great source for older newspaper archives; doesn’t include every paper but still good.



The Mount Carmel Area Public Library  Northumberland County newspaper and obituary resource.

Genealogy and Local History Materials at the Pottsville Free Public Library  Excellent resource for all things Schuylkill County related.

Genealogy by the States: Summers in Delaware

Swinging by I saw that there is a new blogging prompt created by Hidden Genealogy Nuggets that focuses on a different state each week.  I love this idea as my family lines have scattered throughout the US and searching in other states can be a bit different that searching in your own town.  Not to mention, this will help me focus on a specific topic at least once a week for this year.

I don’t remember exactly when it happened but at some point when I was very young my grandparents purchased a summer home in Delaware.  Heck, they may have bought it before I was born as it seems to me that it was always there.  Being their little angel throughout my childhood, I spent every summer, all summer, with Peggy and Rudy at the shore house that lie in Bay Shore Park on the Indian River Bay.  George Rudolph Nahodil and Alma (who went by Peggy since childhood) Strausser owned the best place in the whole world and it was that place on Possum Road that left magnificent memories with all who entered.

This is the only picture I have of the home in Bay Shore, Delaware; luckily, my pop is in it.

This is the only picture I have of the home in Bay Shore, Delaware; luckily, my pop is in it.

Though it was small, everyone was welcome and room was always made; I am sure we broke occupancy limits many a time.  If there wasn’t room at my grandparents, people would head a few streets over to stay at their daughter Linda’s place.  Even though I had my own room, I secretly enjoyed giving it up so I could sleep on the floor next to my grandparents bed…I swear I never intended to be an obstacle course separating my pop from his bathroom.  My grandparent never pressured me to “camp out” on the enclosed porch on a folding foam sleeper chair and keep their tight path of navigation free and clear.

Breakfast almost always was either a double BLT or scrambled eggs with fried potatoes and toast smothered with orange marmalade or apple butter.  Lunch was some sort of lunchmeat sandwich if we were home or Grottos Pizza if we were at the beach.  Dinner varied each day depending on who was there and where we were but it was always something or somewhere new.  I do remember that we frequently went out to chicken dinner at one of the local fire houses or community centers; for one price you could eat all the chicken, mashed potatoes, corn and coleslaw that you wanted.  Mealtime was very important as this was when everyone came together no matter what they were doing…this was family time.

Being location between Bethany Beach and Rehoboth Beach, we would frequently go to Bethany during the day (they had the best mini-golf) and Rehoboth at night (they had the best games and rides).  There was always something to do; hanging out in the game room of Sandy Cove, crabbing, or exploring the bay shoreline during low tide examining everything the tide left behind…including those prehistoric looking horseshoe crabs.  When the rains came we played cards or school (I loved the Weekly Reader and other exercise books my Pop bought for me).  When the night came…we played cards.  There was always somebody coming by to play cards, often into the wee hours of the morning.  The cards had a permanent home on the counter right behind Rudy’s spot at the kitchen table.

While I knew my grandparents loved me I realized in writing this blog that they did everything for me right down to making my favorite foods every day.  There was never anything I wanted for other than to stay with them in Delaware for another day.  Sadly, the shore was never the same after my Aunt Linda passed away in 1990 and fewer people went each year after that.  Within a couple of months of my Pop’s passing in 2000 the house was sold and the family of the past would no longer come together.  Funny how a person or place could bring so many together.

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