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Washington County "Little Washington" Pennsylvania
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Judith Florian's Interests
This page is not specific to genealogy.  It is to introduce myself,
and tell about a few things that are important to me.

 

I was born and raised in Washington County, on "Goat Hill."  I grew up in a time when it was normal to see billowing white smoke from the three major plants near my home: Washington Steel, down over the hill towards Jefferson Avenue; Jessop Steel located north off Weirich Avenue, and Brockway Glass Plant at the split of West Wylie Ave and Weirich Avenue.  It was during the 1960s, when we walked miles to school, made candy stops at neighborhood mom & pop stores, and there were no malls yet.

My father was a postal carrier.  My parents were instrumental in forming the local National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC).  My mother was an L.P.N. and homemaker.  

My mother's mother was the genealogist of the family.  But as most kids, I rarely listened to all that "grown-up talk" when we had family get-togethers.  Grandma Ruthie's house was always the gathering point on Grandpap's August birthday, after weddings such as Aunt Mary's second marriage, Laura and daughter Wynona's visit from California (state), and funerals-unfortunately, our family had to endure too many funerals (Grandma buried son Howard Jr. as a baby, her daughters Marcella-my mom- and Betty Ruth). I didn't even know Grandma was interested in genealogy when I lived at her house after both my parents died. It was not until my 20s that I really started listening to Grandma's great knowledge of family, through each person's life - and death. Grandpap had died; I wished I could ease Grandma's pain, but the only idea I had was to show interest in her hobby of genealogy, hoping I could help Grandma think of something else than her teenage sweetheart for a few hours a day.  My plan sounds now so naive, hoping to soothe grief with a past-time.  But I do think our daily talks gave her a little distraction in those difficult months.  And in the next years, both of us found enjoyment and excitement over each new "find" in our Lane family.  I was happy to be able to tell Grandma I had found Brethren minister Rev. Daniel Lane in the Tax records, his father's 1844 newspaper obituary, and proof that Daniel had 3 siblings Grandma had never heard of before.

The need for a job after graduating nursing school took me to Ohio within two years of showing interest in grandma's hobby.  But in that time, I had turned the Court House upside down for records on every Lane I could find, and I had gone to 2 states and 4 counties to follow hot leads that ended a few times in gold mine results and other times ended in more  new questions than the answers we'd sought.  By the time I had moved residences to Ohio we had enough to fill a book.  

And that's exactly what we did.  Through calls every day, several times a day, I picked grandma's brain over every fact she knew, comparing her info to official documents.  We did a mass mailing to family members to get more info on the living and dead of individual families.  Somehow we pulled it all into our first genealogy book, which grandma gave as gifts to her remaining daughter Mary, and to her 12 grandchildren.  My sister, Grandma and I started our second book... but they both died before it was finished.

 

So this is a bit about how I got started in genealogy.  Never underestimate the power of a hobby to bring you closer to your family is the lesson I learned from my simple wish to ease an old woman's grief.

 

Special acknowledgement to my genealogy teacher, co-researcher, my grandmother
Ruth Lane McGary
Special acknowledgement to my co-researcher, co-author, and co-trouble-maker, my sister
Cathy Caldwell 

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Life in Washington, PA

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Brethren and other Families of "Washpa"


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All newspaper items posted with permission of the Observer-Reporter Oct. 13, 2005.

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(c) Judith Ann Florian
Copyright Notice - Data / info. for individuals and surnames may be reproduced for personal family histories only, but not for any commercial use or sale. Please give credit to Judith Florian and Catherine L. Caldwell for locating newspaper items and original documents. You may use J. Florian's research conclusions if credit is given. No other data or images may be reproduced without permission. August 2005-present, Judith Florian, Copyright All rights reserved.

Dates of Site updates and new content added: Dec 2005;  Jan to Dec 2006; Jan to Dec 2007; Jan to Dec. 2008; Jan to Dec. 2009; Jan to Dec. 2010; Jan-Feb 2011; Dec. 2012; Nov. 2013; Nov 2014
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