A few weeks ago we received this photograph of a World War I soldier. The donor didn’t have any details on the man, but among the spare copies of the picture, they found a name: Pasquale Cimaglia.
. . . Yes, that was the sound of me breathing a sigh of relief! Unidentified photographs make me sad. I always feel like the person in the picture has been cut adrift; it makes me wonder who they were and what their story was.
But give me a name and I’m off to the races.
Pennsylvania Room volunteer Paul Davis spotted this story in the Daily News Standard while seeking an obituary. Hell hath no fury, right?
Daily News Standard, September 25, 1906.
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.
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)