As of yesterday, Pennsylvania’s birth records (1906 – 1908) are available on Ancestry. This is in addition to the death records (1906 – 1963) that were previously digitized on the site.
So, how do you access this great resource?
If you’re a PA resident, you can view these records for free even if you don’t have an Ancestry subscription. Just visit the following page at the State Archives website, put in your zip code, and follow the instructions: http://phmc.info/ancestrypa
I also recommend following the Facebook page of the People for Better Pennsylvania Historical Records Access. They actively discuss any glitches they’re encountering on Ancestry Pennsylvania, share tips, and talk about other records coming available online.
To learn about the birth and death records available in Fayette County, visit the Vital Records page right here on the blog.
There was some discussion last week on the Fayette County Historical Society’s excellent Facebook page about Uniontown’s centennial celebration. I knew we had relevant artifacts here in the PA Room, so I thought I’d look into the history of the event.
First, to clear something up: While lots were drawn for Beeson’s Town in 1776, our borough was not formally established until 1796. Hence, the 1896 Centennial.
We weren’t 20 years late for our own party. Phew.
Map of the original Beeson’s Town lots, printed in the July 4, 1896 edition of the Daily News Standard.
If you live in Fayette County, you likely heard about the railroad cars that derailed behind the courthouse last week. Happily, no one was injured and no hazardous materials were spilled. There were no disruptions at the library, though we did listen to the steady thrumming of an engine for a few days while part of the train idled nearby.
I often come across railroad and trolley accidents while working with the PA Room’s obituary index. Still, the deaths I see were usually caused by passenger error — a person attempted to hop onto a moving train and lost their grip, for instance, or they got hit while walking the tracks.
There is one local railroad catastrophe that has clung to my memory, however: the wreck of the Duquesne Limited.
The smoking car on the Pennsylvania Special, a train belonging to a rival of the B&O: the Pennsylvania Railroad. (Wikimedia Commons)
Like many of our patrons, we received mail from some distant locales this holiday season. One package arrived from the Museum of South Texas History, whose curator sent us two pictures to add to our collection.
The images date back to 1933 and depict National Guard troops stationed in Brownsville during the coal strikes. Both were stamped for distribution through the Central Press Association and arrived with suggestion captions taped to the back.
“BROWNSVILLE, PA . . . Pennsylvania National Guard troops sent to prevent violence in the coal regions establish their camp three miles west of Brownsville.” July 31, 1933.