Saturday, June 28, 2014


With the release of the PA Death Certificates on, I found some things I had never considered.  I was looking for information on my husbands  2x Great grandparents.  They just seem to have disappeared off the face of the earth.   With the possibility they may have lived to an advanced as I entered their names, Charles Stephens and Hannah Lonsdale Stephens.

The last time I found the couple is in the 1880 census living in Allegheny City, Allegheny County in Pennsylvania.   In 1882 was the last time Charles was in the City Directory in the same city.  Where did they go?  But I feel that in the eighteen years between 1882 and 1900 they have probably have died.

I did  not found Charles and Hannah but I did find the death certificates of four out of five siblings of Robert Stephens.   The surprising thing was that three were his sisters.   They woman had married and all stayed in the Pittsburgh area, and two of them in the same neighborhood when they had been born.  I am working on their lines and so far have the names of the husbands.   I think I will go as far as the sisters children in working down the lines.  

How far do you research a line that is not a direct ancestor?   I am thinking that it will be far enough in case someone finds it and discovers that I have researched in England or perhaps someone who knew the married names and had no clue about their maiden names.

There are also a few people that I know died,  but can not find the death record,  the only thing I can imagine is that they went on a trip and died while away.  I need to find a good web site that has newspapers, but very few have the Pittsburgh newspapers in great number, or perhaps I really do not know how to search the papers very, probably the latter.


  1. I have to agree - I am having a lot of fun exploring Pennsylvania Death Certificates on! Pittsburgh area for my maternal grandmother's extended family and Philadelphia for my mother-in-law's maternal extended family. It is hard to decide how far to research, but I do like to confirm parent names if I can find them on several siblings' death certificates. With my husband's Jewish ancestry, I can't go very far back in time, so I do tend to "work sideways" more. Ultimately I hope to use the FAN (friends, associates, neighbors) principle to confirm which shtetl in Europe some of these ancestors came from.

  2. I search sideways (siblings of direct ancestors) in the hopes of finding the father's and mother's town/city of origin noted on a death certificate. I haven't been so lucky yet, but I keep hoping!

    Google newspapers has 4 or 5 Pittsburgh newspapers. If you go to the newspaper I think you can search for a name there (instead of searching all of google newspapers). The link for the newspapers is Then you'll have to scroll down to the newspapers that begin with P.

    I noticed that ancestry has a collection of PA and NJ church and town records from 1708 to 1985 at I found several ancestors there (but the indexed locations were not accurate).

    Good luck with your searches, Claudia! It's sometimes such a challenge.