Research in Pittsburgh #general


Rae M. Barent <RaeBarent@...>
 

I must take exception to a recent post.. I currently live in
Pittsburgh and have visited the Pennsylvania room of the Carnegie
Library many times. While it is a valuable resource for obituaries
and Pittsburgh census information, is is virtually useless for
cemetery records for two reasons: virtually none of the cities Jewish
cemeteries have been catalogued in print and the books that do exist
are very old. Bear in mind, too, that the Pennsylvania Room is
staffed and was compiled by the Western PA Genealogical Society which
focusses on non-Jewish genealogy. I'm sure that if my grandparents
had belonged to Rodef Shalom in the mid 1800's I might be able to
find references in the books in the Pennsylvania Room, but mine were
part of the mass immigration >from Eastern Europe and neither the
Russian cemetery, Beth Abraham, nor the Romanian one, New Light ever
found their way into a book.

On the other hand, the Rauh Jewish Archives of the John Heinz History
Center has become for Pittsburghers and former Pittsburghers, the
resource center of choice. It is the repository for , among others, the
records of Bnai Israel Congregation, the Irene Kaufmann Settlement,
the YM&WHA, Dor Hodosh Congregation . As for Rodef Shalom records, they
are found in their own excellent archives and include a comprehensive
set of Jewish Criterions.
As for the Rauh Archive cemetery project, it will be when completed, a
complete listing of every grave in every Jewish cemetery in Western PA
done not >from error-prone records but >from actual observation. Nine of
these have been included in JOWBR; more will be in the future.
I would argue that while the "bulk of the world's published information"
may have been in books and libraries ten or twenty years ago, this is no
longer true.

Rae Melnick Barent
Pittsburgh, PA

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