Thursday, February 27, 2014



By luck I found a link to the Bohemian Census records from 1869.

BOHEMIAN RECORDS it takes a bit of time to figure out where you want to go and then the next problem is trying to read the writing.  The form seems to be set up with each little house in each village and in Rosshaupt/Rozavadov there are about twenty.  

In 1869 my husband’s second great grandfather left Bohemia headed for the land where streets were paved with gold.  They first settled in Baltimore and then on to Millvale, Allegheny County, PA, USA  Millvale is a borough bordering on the city of Pittsburgh.

I found a Johannes Sperl, who was born in the 1820’s.  Is this Christof Sperl’s brother?   I have to check the years of birth of both but if Johannes was older and inherited the land that could possibly why Christof left the old country.

Christof’s wife, Catherine Rauscher, also said she was from the same town but I initially did not find her family’s name.   It is quite possible she came from a village close to that town.   I will need a tiny town map and how  to read Kurrent script.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014



This is a link for the blog AnceStories: The Stories of My Ancestors by Miriam J Robbins.  There are many links in the various counties of Pennsylvania and most of them were written in the late 1800's.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Norah Naughton Connolly

I haven't been finding much lately, but the other day I was following the Shaky Leaves on Ancestry and came upon a Find A Grave for my great grandmother's (Bridget Naughton Dowd) sister, Margaret Naughton Stanton.

A descendant of hers had transcribed her obituary to the site; and behold, it mentioned a surviving sister Mrs. John Connolly (Nora).  There were a few Connolly men married with a wife named Nora in Allegheny County and I was quite excited to find her husband was John.   That bit of information had been a mystery for about two years.

I found a few census and the name of some of their children, the interesting thing was when I searched for their addresses I found they live close to each on adjacent streets.   I was very excited, as with many of my other ancestors, Margaret's house is now a vacant lot.  Now I will have to search the church records and see what else I can find ab out the sisters that I do not know.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


Today, would have been my parents seventy first Wedding Anniversary. They married in Goldsboro, North Carolina, on 4 February 1943.  My father was in the Army and due to be shipped to Europe. 

He called her and told her if she wanted to get married to catch the train and and they would do it before he left.   They were together five days and would not see each other until January, 1946

Tom and Gerda Wedding 1943 001
I have often wondered when this picture was taken.  My mother said it was their wedding picture.

Monday, February 3, 2014


Nancy of MY ANCESTORS AND ME made a suggestion that I should Google the Pittsburgh newspapers to find the death day of Nora O'Donnell Avington nee Dowd to see if I could find her Obit.

I find searching newspapers a daunting and difficult task.   So I tried the collection one by one; what I found something I did not know.   I found her name connected to the death of her son Michael Richard.   I had him listed on my tree as Richard and he was a person that I was unable to find any information about him.

Here is why:

Michael Richard was killed at Normandy on 8 June 1944.   The date of this Obituary was 3 September 1948.    I thought that the troops were buried in Normandy, and how did Nora get him back to the states for burial?   Four years seems a long time to wait  to bury your child.  Michael O'Donnell was my father,Thomas Dowd, first cousin.   His father, also Thomas Dowd, was Nora's brother.

Further research told me he was a medic.  Honor Role 507 Division   You have to scroll down to the bottom of the list.

Sunday, February 2, 2014


Like a lot of newbies I took the date given for my grand Aunt as correct.  I had not searched for the death dates for my grandfathers siblings because I (erroneously) thought they were correct.  All but one was correct and that is my mystery.

I was looking for the obits of my grand aunts and uncles to get my papers in order when I discovered that two of the death dates were the same.  That would be correct if there had been a violent accident.  I did a search and found that the date given was good for Nora's sister Mary Cole was correct and she was buried in St. Petersburg, FL.   In Mary's obit it did not mention Nora or an accident. On a brighter note I did find Mary's Obit, she died 27 July 1983, there was no mention about parents, husband or siblings.

Next I re-read the obit for her sister, Agnes Dowd Hendershot, she died 10 November 1980 and it mention her siblings as Richard Dowd and Mary Dowd Cole, of Florida.   So, Nora died before 1980.   I looked for an obit for Richard and did not find one, but he died 6 February, 1981.

On Family Search I found a marriage license application for Nora's son, and it listed her as alive and living in Pittsburgh, this was 1948.  So somewhere between 1948-1980 Nora died, I did not find her in Find A Grave, or Ancestry.  It is like she disappeared from the face of the earth, she is not in the SSDI.  Where in the world has she gone and how to find her?   I could order her death certificate if I knew when she died and that is the problem...

Nora died 25 April 1964 and is buried in All Saints Catholic Cemetery (Braddock Catholic) in North Braddock PA