Monday, May 16, 2011

Remembering Allegheny County Area World War I Veterans

During the last year, a group of 46 volunteers has been reading the old Pittsburgh area newspapers in search of deaths, marriages, divorces and photographs. This group has indexed over 73,000 death entries which can be found on the PA USGenWeb Archives pages.

Last December, one of the faithful volunteers contacted the coordinator to see if there would be interest in setting up a new index specifically for those Allegheny County area men and women who served America in World War I.

The index posed was readily accepted by coordinator Ann S Eldredge. So volunteer, Lynn Beatty who had grown up in Allegheny County and left the area some 30 years ago, spent five months indexing the World War I veterans. This military index includes the names found in the 1918-1919 Pittsburgh newspapers, the letters, the stories, the deaths and the celebrations of coming home.

When asked why she wanted to do this index, Beatty said, "When I saw some of the articles were personal about western Pennsylvanians, I knew somebody had to make a record of those. It just snowballed! This is the part of genealogy I like best - the stories about real people - like the soldier whose family was being evicted while he was a POW."

Coordinator Eldredge smiles as she recalls the thrill she felt when her grandfather's name was found. "HIs service records had been lost in the fire," she said. "All I had was his Company and his Infantry unit. Those I found on his headstone. I had researched the history of his unit and was surprised to see the 11th Infantry had seen 43 days of combat with 386 casualties. Of these, 348 were wounded in action, including my grandfather."

"Lynn's dedication to the project brought some joy to me as I found when my grandpa returned to the United States, and more specifically, to Pittsburgh. Now, I can identify the location and approximate date of the picture I have of him sitting in front of the US General Hospital #24 in Parkview Station with his future bride."

The Military Index now contains 85733 entries, and can be seen at Norm Meinert's Allegheny River Family Archives,
or on the PA USGenWebArchives, .

The Military Index can be searched to locate the veteran's name,type of article, unit of service, newspaper name, date and page. With this information, the Allegheny River Family Archives can be utilized to go to the actual date the information appears.

Eldredge said, "It's just a wonderful gift of love Lynn has given to the genealogy community that has its heart in Pittsburgh. This genealogy group is just so giving- of themselves and their time in an unending quest to help others."

Ann S Eldredge

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