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Postcard --Finding Stu's Roots in Ohio and Pennsylvania

Postcard --Finding Stu's Roots in Ohio and Pennsylvania

     “Well, that makes you Westmoreland County royalty!” said Anita of the Westmoreland County Historical Society. This came after we had confirmed that John Culbertson, Stu’s 5th Great Grandfather, had purchased several hundred acres at Hanna’s Town from the widow of the town’s founder, Robert Hanna, in 1786. Unfortunately, no castles or palaces accompany the “royal” status.

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      John Culbertson's 1786 property sale and a Culbertson Memorial

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Postcard - Touring New York & Pennsylvania

Postcard - Touring New York & Pennsylvania

     When we mentioned to people that we planned to visit Scranton, we’d often get a puzzled look, or maybe a raised eyebrow accompanied by, “why?” We’d always say ancestors or family history, but we hit upon another reason: Steamtown. It’s a National Historic Site devoted to steam railroading history that arguably rivals our own California Railroad Museum in Sacramento. Run by the National Park Service, we found it in downtown Scranton. Our tour of the Technology Museum and locomotive repair shops, made it definitely worth a trip.

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      Steamtown:  Locomotive and old Scranton poster


    This was just one of several pleasant surprises that burnished our family-history-oriented trip. From waterfalls, to Falling Water, from Pittsburgh to Gettysburg, we found places that justify a journey here even if you’re not chasing down ancestors.

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Postcard -- PA, NJ and NY Family History

Postcard -- PA, NJ and NY Family History

Black. When Henry turned out the lights it was totally black—not a photon of light reached our eyes. The Lackawanna Coal Mine Tour took us several hundred feet below the surface on a track-mounted cart descending an inclined shaft where our guide, Henry pointed out the coal seams, explained mining techniques, demonstrated equipment and procedures and compellingly described the mine worker’s life. Then he flipped the switch plunging us into absolute darkness. Henry had worked in the mines and comes from a family that had done so for generations. He described the work as you’d imagine—dangerous, dirty and difficult.

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 Old photo of miners on their way to work. Janet poses in front what used to be her family's Duckworth building.

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