Monday, May 30, 2011





Obituary, Michael O’Rourke, son of my grandmothers brother Thomas.


Mrs. Thomas O’Rourke of 126 Lynwood Avenue, East Pittsburgh has received word from the War Department that her son, Pvt. Michael O’Rourke was killed in action in Belgium on January 27. 

In the service since April 1943, he is survived by three brothers, all in the service, Sgt. Thomas in England; William C., WT2/c with the Navy in the Pacific and PFC., Patrick stationed in California; and one sister, Elizabeth, at home.

A graduate of Union High School, Turtle Creek, he worked for the Union Switch and Signal Company in Swissvale, before entering the service.  He had been overseas since October 1944.

Requiem high mass was sung at St.Colman’s Church on Saturday, March 3 for Pvt. O’Rourke.


Michael is buried in All Saints Catholic Cemetery (Braddock Catholic Cemetery)  In North Braddock, PA in the Soldiers Section.

I never knew him but my grandmother kept his picture in her living room.   By the dates sand location he was killed in the BATTLE OF THE BULGE



Michael O'Rourke

Michael J O’Rourke

Obit from collection of my cousin Joanne D.  Portrait from my collection.

Sunday, May 29, 2011



Found a great web site this morning in the Pittsburgh Tribune Review.    It is called  PENNSYLVANIA CIVIL WAR 150    The information is about Pennsylvania in the Civil War, as you might suspect from the title.

There are many links including a section on Genealogy and a store. I have to explore it more thoroughly and wanted to share this link.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011



I came up with an idea on how to proceed with Olive Bower/Maude Bowser.  On her death certificate and Obit it states that she is buried in Grandview Cemetery in Salem OH.    Since it is about a forty five minute drive from my home I decided to drive there and my husband said he would go with me.  

I was hoping that she has a tombstone and perhaps there is a middle initial.   More than that I am hoping the cemetery office has some records and perhaps I will find more information on her middle name.

With my luck I probably will find the cemetery records have been destroyed in a fire.  


Picture of my father, Thomas Dowd, circa 1920.   From the collection of my cousin Joanne D.

Friday, May 20, 2011


After not finding Olive Bowser (b1874 Armstrong County PA)   I decided to search for a child  with another name in the same time frame as Olive.  

I searched for _______ Bowser, parents Jacob and Mary Bowser, b 1874, Armstrong County in the 1880 PA census on Ancestry.

What I found was Jacob Bowser (age 50) and his wife M Ann (age 47)   living in Armstrong County, Mahoning Township, district 14.     Also are listed  S May (daughter) age 16, Andrew L age 9, Gertrude age 7, Maud age 6 (that would put Maud born in 1874), Enos age 4 and Annie J age 1.

In 1850 Jacob and Mary are living in Pine Township.  The only child is Nathaniel

In 1860 I find Nathaniel 10, Lewella 7, Calven 6, Lafaette 3, Matthias 1.   I have been following this particular family for a few months. 

Can not locate the family in 1870.  I have to do a wider search for them in 1870.

I am thinking that perhaps Maud was Olives middle or first name.  I have not found any documentation of a middle name for Olive. On her husbands Civil War Pension File she is listed only as Olive.  On the documents she does not sign, just makes her markl

More searching to be done,  my instinct tells me this is Olives Family, and Olive and Maud are the same child.  I just have to prove it.  I will start with searching for Gertrude and Enos.  Jacob and Mary Ann are not very common as a couple in Armstrong County.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


After a drive to Armstrong County Courthouse I easily found a parking space.    Then in the records department I sat down with the micro fiche reader and began my search.   My two Jacob Bowser wills proved to be a  negative search. 

I could have searched the deeds and records for Jacob and Mary but there were about 80 Jacob Bowser, I need a middle name or initial.   The Bowser name in Armstrong County is as common as Smith. 

On to lunch, and a stop at  an antique store whose owner had a shop cat named Chella.    She got Chella from a lady who was moving to New Mexico and the cat came and stayed.   She will come up for a few pats and then follow you around the store.   Nice cat was she.

At noon the Genealogy Library opened and I perused several of the books that they had to no avail.    The ladies suggested writing a inquiry for the next newsletter and gave a suggestion that perhaps Olive was not her given name, but rather one she   used.   I am hoping one of those "several brothers and sisters" are doing genealogy and have some information.

Now for the second part of the plan of research is to do a wild search for   *  Bowser, birthday 1874, parents Jacob and Mary, and female in Armstrong County in the 1880 census to see what I will come up with.   I am pretty pessimistic right now about the outcome of this search.



Last night I did the downloads and found the software for my Epson computer.  The computer is a few years old and never used because of two other functioning computers.  I refused to throw away something that works and getting software to work  drives me crazy.   

I have Windows 7 on my new computer.   I had visions of trials and tribulations finding and installing the drivers because Windows 7 was not around when the printer was made.    

To my great joy and satisfaction it downloaded and works like a charm.  I just had to go into the bowels of Epson and I must admit their information and downloading programs is great.   No problem at all.

What I did was scan about half of the photos from the album that I had found that belonged to my father side of the family.

The biggest obstacle was getting the photos unstuck after being in the album for about thirty years.   I do not know who had but them there, but they were really stuck.   What I did, since most of them were snapshots and not formal portraits, was gently inserting a slim knife under the picture and gently manipulating the release of the photo from the album.   There were no fatalities in destroying the pictures.  There were some of them at I could not get the edge of the photo to release to start the process.   I will scan them with my hand held scanner, I just need to replace the batteries on that tool.

A lot of them were thin, but the few formal portraits were made of better paper.  It was a tedious job but I was able to remove most of the pictures.

A few of the pictures I could identify but most of them I could not.   I wrote to my cousin and hopefully she can help me solve the mystery.

Claudia and Gerda c. 1946  

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Gerda and Claudia

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Tomorrow my plan is to go to the Armstrong County Courthouse and search some records.  I am still on the trail of finding the family of Olive Bowser.   She is proving to be the hardest to locate.  I have the information on the two files and the lady who answered my questions told me that they have some birth records. 

I am hoping that I will find some concrete information, but the way my luck goes I would not be surprised if I find nothing.   Or, perhaps my Karma will change.

Still have to get busy on putting the ink in the scanner/printer.   I should really quit writing about it and just get it done.

Sunday, May 15, 2011



I think the Honeymoon phase of my retirement is about over.   I have enjoyed my time off doing essentially nothing.  One goal, and the most important in my eyes, is to get organized.  

I have only been doing research for about three years.  At the beginning there was not too much information on citing your sources.  I did make a notations about when I obtained my information but not everything in my collection.

  Now I am sorry because I was searching for the immigration record (my theory, has not been proven) my great grandfather Patrick O’Rourke,  I can not find it !!!!!!!   What I remember was a record that listed “P O’Rourke”    The location and timing was in the right time frame, but can I find what I had copied?   NO and my biggest initial source of documentation was and is ANCESTRY. COM.   I have tried to search again to no avail. 

They seem to have changed the search.  When I choose the Immigration selection I get a massive run down on all areas.  I am now trying to find a needle in a haystack, a portion of which has been my own doing.

In the need to get moving I went again to the box that held my fathers photographs and some of family papers.   I really never had examined this box thoroughly.   I found some more childhood pictures of the sibs and I.

At the bottom of the box was a blue photo album which I haven’t recalled seeing before.   This must have belonged to my grandmother Gertrude O’Rourke or her brother William O’Rourke.   What I found was many pictures belonging to the O’Rourke side of the family.  I found a picture of my great grandparents Patrick and Ellen plus much more.   Now I have to get the printer and scanner connected to copy my new finds. 

The pictures are presenting a new challenge.   They were stored in one of those “magnetic” sleeves that stuck on the backing and were covered with a plastic sheet.  The photos are literally stuck to the back sheet.   It will be quite a endeavor to safely remove and scan them.   The problem remains how do I treat the now sticky photos.   I have to find some mechanism to safely store the pictures.  They must have been in that album or forty years.

Good start to achieving my goals for today.

picturesbyclaudia 002

My current picture of Ellen Mortel and Patrick O’Rourke

Sunday, May 8, 2011



Gerda Schridde Dowd

Gerda SCHRIDDE Dowd circa 1925 (2)


Gerda SHRIDDE Dowd circa1935

pictures I took  asst dates 222

Saturday, May 7, 2011


After my frustration declined I decided to email the person who claimed my work as theirs I decided to send them an email rather than post a nasty gram on her site.  

In my email I noted that one warm sunny day my husband and I went to the cemetery and took pictures of our ancestors.    I noted that they were still on my hard drive as well as some I had not posted.   I requested that they remove their name from my pictures...

The reply was that they had removed reply was Thank You.

I really can not understand the logic of that at all.

Friday, May 6, 2011



On Wednesday I   went to Armstrong County Genealogical Society to do research on Olive Bowser.    I had a VERY difficult time trying to locate records that I had placed on my flash drive.  I had been looking for Olives Obit.   

I obsessively compulsively had everything in neat folders arranged by family names.   Then I got the idea to copy them onto my new computer.    Much to my horror……..they did not move in files.   They moved into one enormous file arranged alphabetically by the name on the digital image.    The C people in my line were among the Christmas Flower show and Chilhuly glass pictures that I had taken.   

I began a long process of changing the labels on some of the images only to have them go poof and disappeared somewhere else in my digital mess.   It took several hours to make new folders and sort things per family again.    I still haven’t found my childhood photos but I have two more computers to check.  

After I got everything in a folder I had to go back and eliminate the duplicates (census records and such)  This ordeal told me I need to get better organized and if I decided to do that again I should manually move folder by folder.   

Now I have to go and separate Christmas Flower show from the Chilhuly glass pictures and many scenes from innumerable vacations.      

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Find a Grave Website

Today I am quite a bit irked.   A few years ago I had added photos and the dates of births and deaths of some of my family members and the photos I had taken in Allegheny County Pennsylvania.

For the past week or so I have been getting no reply emails telling me they are duplicate postings and for me to remove them.   I know when I posted (35 or so of my family) there were no other memorial of my relatives and that is why I added and posted them in the first place..   To top it off the pictures that I had taken personally and added to the website are now gone.

What is going on here?  Who would take it upon themselves to remove my photographs?  And change the information?    After that I went to St Anthony's cemetery in Shaler site and checked to see if my listing were still there.   They were but another person has inserted her name and claimed the photos that I had taken.

Do I need to get a watermark before I can post all my photos?    I see people have the names of their blogs on their photos, perhaps I should do that too.   This really annoys me to a great extent.



Yesterday I took a drive to KITTANNING, PA  which is located in ARMSTRONG COUNTY PA.  Kittanning is located on the banks of the Allegheny River and it is a beautiful setting.

This time I used my GPS and did not get lost in a town without a map, it was easier with the GPS because most of the street signs are non existent.

The ARMSTRONG COUNTY GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY is located in the same building as the Historical Society.    I joined this group at the beginning of this year.  These little local societies operate on a shoestring budget and I feel that it is necessary to support them.

When they asked me what I was searching I explained my quest to find Olive Boswer Stephens and her parents and siblings.  First to Olives Death Certificate.



The information was given by her second husband, Oswald Rauhut at the time of her death (23 December 1923) in Salem Ohio, Columbiana County.   It lists her father as Jacob Bowser  and mother Mary, maiden name unknown.

The second item is her obituary printed in the Salem Ohio Newspaper:


                              Mrs. Oswalt Rauhut

        Mrs. Olive Rauhut, 49, wife of Oswalt Rauhut, died at 5:30 PM   Monday at her home, 115 East Pershing Ave.  She had been ill of heart trouble only 18 hours.

        Mrs. Rauhut, daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Bowser, was born in Armstrong county Pennsylvania, and spent most of her life in Pittsburg.  Two years ago she and her husband to Salem to make their home.

       Surviving are the husband, one son James (Stephens); two daughters, Mrs. Irene Scheuring, north of Salem and Mrs. Mary Spell (Sperl) of Millvale Pa. and several brothers and sisters. 

      The funeral service will be a 2 PM, Thursday at the home on Pershing Ave, in charge of Rev. H L Miller. burial in Grandview Cemetery. 


{The Obit came in the form of a PDF and I did not know how to cut and paste a section, anyone out there know how to do this?}


To my delight and surprise a woman, Linda, was there researching the same line.   After going through the entire census of Armstrong County the only one I could find that could possibly relate was the 1860 census in Pine Township, Armstrong County.   This image was downloaded from


Jacob bowser pine 1860 census

It lists Jacob Bowser age 32, wife Mary A (Ann) age 27, Nathaniel 10, Lewela 7, Calven 6, Lafaett 3, Mathias 1 and  Thomas Murphy 65  (retired farmer) Margaret Brunbaugh 24 and Martha B. aged 1.  Linda said that Thomas Murphy was Mary Ann's father but who is Margaret Brunbaugh and Martha B?

We both looked for this family in the 1870 census but neither of us could find them.   I did find Lafayette living with another family in Armstrong County working on a farm.   Where are the rest of them?

In 1880 Mathias was living with relatives in Huron County Ohio.

With a little research in a book of Wills index I found a death of Jacob Bowser in 1878.  If this is Olives father she would have been four years old.   Did Mary Ann died earlier and then the children moved with relatives when the father died?

I have to go back to the courthouse to review the records.   It is like Olive did not exist until the 1900 census, with the exception of the date on her death certificate and obituary.

Linda also had three other children born after Mathias….Mary Elizabeth, Lillian, and Harriet Jane.    Linda and I are quite excited to find out if Olive is one of this family.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011



Today I was reading many of the blogs on my list I can across a post on the   ADVENTURES IN GENEALOGY BLOG.  The article stated a few references on what to include.

I should have realized what but I was always confused or undecided what I should list.   I read Thomas MacEntee’s article on BLOGS LABELS AND TAGS and my mental lethargy has been solved.

It is such a simple idea and why did I not figured it out by myself.  Now that I have the idea I can proceed and perhaps people who are searching some of my same names or town will find me.

Flowers make me happy…..



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