Wednesday, July 27, 2011




Morocco WWII



Today I decided to get busy and scan some of the photos I found in the box that I refer to as My Fathers Treasures.

I went through some of the envelopes that he had labeled as Old Negatives.   My parents were married 4 February 1943 before he was shipped to Europe.



What I am most curious about is who took the picture and were they taken after the wedding ceremony.

Some others  ………………………..




Since my mother was born in Germany this was the only job she could find, working in a bake shop.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011



My first job started early, I was in charge of watching my brothers.   I never baby sat for pay, I was just was not interested in watching children.

After high school graduation I did not know what I wanted to do, and actually no one ever sat me down and asked “Claudia, what are your career goals?”   That includes the guidance counselor, who to this day, I considered totally useless.

That summer after graduation I got a job with WOOLWORTH 5 & 10 STORE    My job was waitressing and selling snow cones from a machine which was placed outside the store.  Woolworths is the store on the right with the red letters.  From the cars I would imagine it was in the late 50’s or early 60’s


*I found this image on Google Images, but do not know the credit of this picture.    Published by Imperial Greeting Card Company.  

The snow cones were 5 cents.  The ice was kept in a insulated bin and you inserted the ice and ground into small pieces and then topped it with flavored syrup.   The syrup came in three or four flavors including cherry and orange.

I spent the summer sitting outside and watching the passers by.   I do not remember the relentless heat we have today.  After the summer was over I was waitressing inside as the lunch counter.   Coffee was a dime, hot dogs a quarter as well as ice cream sundaes.   What I remember mostly was you pulled a piece of paper for the banana splits and they ranged from five cents to a quarter.

I also remember the store manager, who never spoke except to criticize…..another thing from that experience that irked me was that he called everyone by their first name but insisted that he be called MR. _______    It is funny that it still irks me to this day.  There also was the fact that some customers treated you rudely because you were waitressing.

After a few months working at this job my biggest enlightenment came to me.   I was not going to spend the rest of my life doing this.   I made a decision and went to Nursing School.   I guess I can say that one of the things it taught me was to get out of there and on with my life doing something more meaningful.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Sunday, July 17, 2011

SNGF I am jealous....

After reading all the posts and the colorful charts, I must admit I am extremely jealous.   Randy wrote to include all you information about you great great grandparents.   Randy, I am lucky I know their names...........and some of then I do not.

This is a problem for me because my first great grandparents came from Ireland in 1874, the second set came in 1880 and 1888.

My grandparents came over in  1923 and the great great parents never left.   I think I can safely say that I am 50% Irish and 50% German.   I would like to make that chart. It would be half purple and half gold.

  Sometimes I get frustrated with not finding my ancestors.  I read everyone's blogs and try to utilize their techniques and hints.  But for some of them it is a brick wall as high as Niagara.  I will keep on plugging.



Somehow, I do not remember long stretches of protracted hear during the summer, when I was a kid.   Have I forgotten them or has it gotten hotter?

In South Western PA no one had A/C.   When walking past a movie theater, with my mother,  I remember the sign proclaiming AIR CONDITIONED.  There was also a movie poster with the picture of Lon Chaney as the Wolfman, I found out much later that it was Lon Chaney.   I never saw the movie but I wondered about the Air-conditioning .

A few days in the summer it would be hot a few days and then cool off.   When it is too hot to fall asleep and you lay awake I wonder how hot it was in the house.   I am thinking in the 90’s.    But, somehow, I would fall asleep and the morning would be not as hot. 

We lived in a two story house and the upstairs would be hotter than the main floor.   My parents bedroom was on the main floor and any complaints about the hot room would fall on deaf ears. 

We would get up early, eat breakfast, and after our chores were done we would be out the door.   My friend lived next door and Jean and I would play with dolls, jack, hop scotch and sometimes just go on an adventure.   I had to be back for lunch.

By that time my mother would find something else to do, usually involved watching my brothers.   I realize now that she probably wanted to do the cleaning and  tidy the house and they were in the way.  Somehow I felt I spent a lot of time watching my siblings.

By the end of summer I was looking forward to going back to school and the cooler weather.   I do not thing my brothers were as much as I.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011



Anna Hackmann and Frederick Schridde circa 1890

Anna Meta Hackmann and Freiderich Schridde, c. 1980’s.

My great grandparents, courtesy of my cousin Angelika S.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011



What you might ask??   Let me go to the very  beginning, actually not that far back.   I belong to the Oakmont Genealogy Study Group, in Oakmont PA.   The second Tuesday of every month we meet and have a discussion and sometimes have a presentation.

Most Tuesdays someone will donate some item related to Genealogy.   Things that perhaps were on sale or purchased at a garage sale or thrift shop.   It keeps the cost down that way.     Sometimes it might be a tote bag or folders etc.

Today I won a Readers Digest Publication entitled OUR FAMILY ARCHIVE  It is a tool for creating a Digital FAmily Scrapbook.   It comes complete with a CD that provides the tools needed to make the scrapbook from  all your special stuff.   

My initial impression was “What am I going to do with this” has been replaced with “Maybe I will just do this”    I suppose I have to hurry because I have 5 siblings and a certain Holiday is around the corner.

Before I promote it charms and usefulness I will have to work on the project.

Monday, July 11, 2011


The one package of negatives my father has listed as “Morocco 1943”   I am very curious about this batch of pictures.    I know my father was in Morocco during the war, but in what time frame I do not know.   With the date 1943 I think it must have been one of his first assignments. 

He said they were not allowed to go into the SOUQ.   One morning my dad woke up with a huge, circular, black and blue mark with the appearance of two “fang” marks.   He went to the doctor who asked if it hurt, was it itchy and how did he feel.    My dad replied he felt nothing and in fact he felt fine.   The doctor said he did not know but if he started to feel sick come back and see him.

I wished I had asked more questions about Morocco.   He did bring back a curved knife.   Looks like a lethal weapon.

I have to figure out what to do with the negatives.

Friday, July 8, 2011


I found that the new format had taken over and every thing was nicely in place.   The learning curve seems to be short.   I have to play with the features and so far I like it a lot.  I was worried prematurely.

In my fathers Treasures I found a photo of Father Carrol, who was pastor of  St Williams Church in East Pittsburgh PA.   Since I am volunteering at the Diocese for research requests, I decided to donate the picture to the archives.   I guess next I should look to see when Father Carrol was pastor.

I am liking my time at the Archives Center.   I am learning a lot about the Church history of the Pittsburgh area and getting better at reading terrible handwriting.   I can not criticize writing, my own is sometimes unreadable, even to me.  I am also becoming more familiar with Latin.

Back to my fathers treasures.  My father was a pack rate and lucky for me I find things of a lot of value to my personal history.  What I found recently is negatives of every picture he had ever taken.   Honestly, I found negatives dating back to 1943, the year they were married.    I have to figure out how and if I can scan those old negatives.   Most of them look good when held up to the light and a few are damaged.

I had started a Genealogy to do list on my Google Docs.  I actually had forgotten that I had started that list.    I should be better at adding and marking done at the end of the ones I have finished.   What I like about Google Docs, is that is free and the fact that I can share the list with family who can add to the list.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011



pictures I took  asst dates 186

Children of Anton Sperl and Katharina Rauscher Sperl

Tuesday, July 5, 2011



I spent a few hours today going through my fathers pictures and things he had saved.  

I have to get scanning the old photos of my sibs and I when we were young.   Each time I look in that box I seem to find something new, or rather new to  me.   

Today I found large manila envelopes envelopes.   The things he saved were mostly World War II related.  The first thing that caught my eye was the front page story of 16 October 1946.  It was published in the Pittsburgh Sun Telegraph.    In two inch high letters it states:



Ex-Reichsmarshal Hermann Wilhelm Goering was scheduled to be hanged.    It  appears that he  committed suicide a few hours before he was scheduled to be executed with the “ten remnants of the Nazi hierarchy”  

“Despite the fact that an American security guards was supposed to be watching his every movement, The Crown Prince of Nazidom managed to place in his mouth, chew and swallow a vial containing cyanide of potassium.

The vial of poison was hidden in a copper cartridge shell. Goering swallowed the poison while Col. S. Burton Andrus, American security commandant,was walking across the prison yard to the death row block to read to him and the ten other condemned Nazi leaders the International Military Tribunal’s sentence of death.”

It seems that Goering or the others did not know the time of the execution, which was to be one hour after the sentence was delivered.

How he managed to know that this was the day or how he concealed the poison on his person remains a mystery.

I will have to find out if the mystery was ever solved.




pictures I took  asst dates 543

Anton Sperl was the first husband of Katharina Rauscher.  He died three months after the birth of his son John Christ Sperl, of typhoid fever.   John was my husbands grandfather. Katharine and Anton married 17 June 1884.   They had five children who died in childhood of infectious diseases.

pictures I took  asst dates 185

Katharine remarried  Joseph Nosseck  15 February 1904.   Joseph died of tuberculosis in 1916.  Josephs second wife, Catherine Stross died on 31 October 1903 also of tuberculosis.  Joseph and Catharina had two daughters.

I have to search more for information on Joseph Nosseck.

The two tombstone are placed beside each other in St Anthony Cemetery in Shaler Pennsylvania

Saturday, July 2, 2011



Each summer my father would take a week off and we would do things locally.   One day was dedicated to the PITTSBURGH ZOO.  It was called the Highland Park Zoo at the time because it was close to one of Pittsburgh’s many city parts, HIGHLAND PARK.    This was before we had a car, and it seemed to take a long time to get there.   The family members were all dressed and we took one bus and two street cars to get there.    This involved transfers from the bus to street cars and the same procedure home again.     My mother always packed a lunch and I suppose she took it in a picnic basket but I have no memories of it being transported.   I suppose they chose a picnic table and left it there for the day.   I do not remember anyone taking our lunch.

Another day was going to the CARNEGIE MUSEUM and my favorite part was the DINOSAURS EXHIBIT which was both frightening and fascinating at the same time.   ARAB COURIER ATTACKED BY LIONS was mounted in1867, it is the oldest exhibit and gruesomely fascinating.

A trip to KENNYWOOD PARK which was one of the many trolley parks build on the end of a line and it was a destination.   They have a Kiddy Land and a large amount of ride for the grownups.   They have three wooden roller coasters including the THUNDERBOLT and the RACER which is a double coaster.   The leave at the same time and ride in parallel tracks along the whole length.   That is one of the few double roller coasters in the  world.   What makes is scary is the fact that they are make of wood and it does not look very sturdy and the clicks and clacks when the coaster slowly makes its way up the hill.

On the other days, if it was sunny, we would go to the local state parks and swim the whole day.   For Kennywood and the parks my mother would pack sandwiches, drink and a desert for our lunch.

It wasn’t until my youngest sister was out of diapers that we went on a week long vacation.