Friday, November 30, 2007

Introducing PaHr-Access.

I'am just getting in some news about the People For Better Access to Pennsylvania Historical Records.There is some news to note.
First of, the group which was called "PBAPHR " is now under a more easier name now called :


Secondly, the group's spokesman, Tim Gruber, has announced the opeing of PaHr-Access' official website !
You can find the website at the following address :

This website will be evolving and growing as this movement grows.

Once again, spread the word !

Get your PA genealogy friends and even your kin involved in letter writing. If you are a state resident of PA, contact your elected officials and let them know how you feel on access to State records.
As I said to spokesman Tim, I never have been a resident of PA, but I did allow myself to write a letter to the Governor of Pennsylvania. In this time of instant messages, taking the time to write an old fashioned letter, with a pen signature means a lot.

I will be updating news and their happenings of PaHr-Access in the coming months.

Please feel free to comment on the subject, and give me any kind of feedback.

Have a great weekend.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Genealogy memes- 161 and Can you top this ?

There is a first time for everything...
I have already done some memes on my personal blog, which is called Home in France.
But, never a genealogy meme !

I have been tagged by Miriam of AnceStories, to do these two memes.Miriam is a super genealogy blogger; I marvel at the variety of interesting posts that she writes.

Here are my memes:


Here are the rules :
In this meme, you're supposed to go to page 161 of the book you're currently reading and list the 6th sentence on that page. Then you tag five other bloggers to do the same.

I'am not currently reading a book; my last novel dates from this past summer. I hope that it's OK if I just quote the page 161 from this book.
It is called "Absolution by murder" by Peter Tremayne.
If you would like to read my book review of this excellent medeval mystery, set Ireland in the 7th century.You can click here, to be directed to this post on my personal blog.

Here's the sentence. Since I read the book in French, I will publish the original sentence, than my translation.
" Dites-vous que certains désaccords devaient être réglés avant la discussion publique ? "
It translates :
"You say that certain disagreements had to be settled before the public debate ? "
I 'am not sure what is the exact sentence in the English version, so this is just my translation.

These are excellent novels if you are interested in the History of Ireland, and I can only highly recommend them !

The second meme that I have been tagged with is called " Can you top this ? "
This meme was started by John Newmark of Transylvanian Dutch.
It's purpose is to list your most prolific ancestor. John's great-great-grandfather had 22 children with three wives. He gives you extra credit if you show a screen shot from your family tree program to illustrate your ancestor's feat.

I do not have a family tree program to illustrate my most prolific ancestors, and I think that I already can't beat you.

The couple that are my most prolific are Patrick McEntee ( June 15 1830,Ireland-November 15,1916, Philadelphia,PA) and Agnes Haines ( January 22,1830-Feb. 14,1907 )

According to family sources, that still has to be verified, this couple had 24 children. I can account for 12 , through the Census, and a genealogy collegue.
This line still needs to be carefully checked.I'am wondering if there could have been several multiple births, and I can't rule out high infant mortality.And who knows if there could be also other marriages??
For the moment, I'am just going with the 12 known names...

Otherwise, with my Carroll line, it is much more modest; 8 children.

So, John & Miriam, you topped me !

Does anyone want to try these memes? I don't know a lot of genealogy bloggers. It could be a nice chance to get to know other bloggers and each one's genealogy work.
I may keep an eye open on genealogy blogs that are new for me, maybe try and tag someone !

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, November 22, 2007


I'am just letting everyone know about some new items...
Since my last post , I had been slowed down to get my letter out to Governor Rendell. I will spare you the details, but I did mail my letter to the Governor of Pennsylvania yesterday.
Signed,sealed and( soon to be )delivered..

I sent an e-mail to Tim Gruber, spokesman for the PBAPHR ( People For Better Access to Pennsylvania Historical Records ). Tim had a few bits of news to share.
Quoted from Tim's e-mail :

"We are making progress and have several state legislators onboard and starting to gain endorsements from historical and genealogical societies".
So, this is encouraging, if there are some State Legislators that have joined us.

Once again, here is Tim's e-mail address for all those who would like to join us :



Getting back to my Carroll family research, we have so far struck out twice for obituaries.

I made two requests for searches by genealogy volunteers ( one of which I'am still waiting for).
The one request that was to try and find an obit for Andrew Carroll,the son of James "Big Jim" Carroll. After a lead found in ancestry, there was an Andrew Carroll who died in 1939 in Chicago.Unfortunately, no obit was found for him.
I always say, if you don't try, you will never know...

Always Thank people for their efforts, even when the answer is a negative one.

The second obit lookup was done by my friend, Rita. She put out a search through the Free Library of Philadelphia. Thank you again, Rita. She was searching for an eventual notice about Catherine Burke's passing. Although Catherine ( widow of Andrew Carroll ) moved to Chicago with her children, and passed on there in 1904, there could have been an obit for her kin in Philadelphia.
No such obit was found in the Philadelphia newspapers.
It was exactly for Catherine Burke that my second obit look up request was made.The volunteer in Chicago has answered me, and I can expect an answer in the coming weeks.

Adding to the Chicago look-ups, my letter sent to the Free Library of Philadelphia.

If the luck of the Irish is with us, there may be either an obit for John Joseph Carroll or his spouse, Jeannette "Jenny" McEntee .
FYI about look ups at the Free Library of Philadelphia :

Send a written request with the person's name, date of death(month,day,year) or burial date
and Self addressed stamped envelope. They will check only two newspapers. Photocopies cost 50 cents per page with a one dollar minimum.Maximum of two obituaries can be requested at the same time.

Send request to :

Free Library of Philadelphia
Newspapers & Microfilm Center
1901 Vine Street
Philadelphia,PA 19103

Happy Thanksgiving weekend to all !

May your blessings be numerous and your worries few.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

YES for better access to PA archives !

Note: This is a new and updated copy of the announcement that I previously made. For those of you here for the first time, this is a campaign to obtain an online database for PA death records. Something which is currently unavailable in the State.

Special Thanks to Tim Gruber. He contacted me and sent me a rewritten version.
I'am in, folks... I just finished my letter to the Governor this morning. It just needs to be proof read and off it goes to Harrisburg.... Au revoir !


In an effort to bring Pennsylvania into the current century; this grass roots effort may help :

Requesting Genealogists/Researchers/Historians Lobbying Participation

People For Better Access To Pennsylvania Historical Records (PBAPHR)

We are asking for your help in a grassroots lobbying campaign to make older Pennsylvania state death certificates available on-line. As you may already know, all death certificates recorded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania since 1906 have restricted access and require the knowledge of when and where the person died, the expenditure of $9 and a wait of 5 weeks or longer for each and every death certificate, regardless of how long ago the person died. We’re sure many of you have experienced the frustration of either being told they couldn’t find
the death certificate or being sent the wrong death certificate.

Several other states have already made their older death certificates available on-line including
Arizona, Kentucky, Missouri, Utah and West Virginia. But Pennsylvania continues its outdated and costly process of issuing these older death certificates one at a time.

We understand the concerns about privacy, identity theft and terrorism. However, there is no reason to keep all of these records restricted indefinitely.
Therefore, our basic proposal is that the death certificates that would be accessible on-line would have to be at least 50 years old . Currently that would mean only persons who died before 1957 (and if necessary were born before 1907) would be made accessible on-line. As each year passes the next year in line would be added to this on-line to the public.

The Social Security Death Master File (with names, dates, places and numbers), which is updated quarterly, is an identity verification database used to thwart identity theft and fraud. Expanding our proposed database to include all death records (but with the same limited public access as outlined above) could be used in a similar manner by law enforcement and government agencies including the Division of Vital Records.

We are asking you to contact certain Pennsylvania state officials, preferably in writing or in person since it will have the most impact, but at least by phone or email. As we understand it only the Pennsylvania State Legislature can change the law. The governor would have to approve this change and the Pennsylvania Department of Health would have to implement any change. If you live in Pennsylvania please contact your representatives in the state legislature in person, by letter, by phone or at the very least by email. Everyone, including out of state
residents, should write, phone or at the very least email to the governor and even the Division of Vital Records. Naturally the more letters and other forms of contact that are made and the more people involved the better.

Here is an example of what our goal is. This one is for the State of West Virginia: or

( (Archives and History) (Births,
Deaths, and Marriages) (Deaths)

Contact information for Pennsylvania State
Representatives can be found at:

( (Find Members By)

Contact information for Governor Ed Rendell :

Governor Edward G. Rendell's Office
225 Main Capitol Building Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17120

Telephone 717) 787-2500
Facsimile: 717-772-8284
E-mail link :

Contact information for Pennsylvania Vital Records Division can be found at:

Talking points:

1. In the long run, having death certificates on the Internet in a publically accessible database would be a cost savings to the state and the state gets away from the antiquated system of manually processing each request one at a time. If the database was expanded to include all death records, the Division of Vital Records would be able to use this database to process requests electronically. Law enforcement and government agencies would be able to use this same database for identity verification to thwart identity theft of deceased persons.

2. The public would be much better served and easier access would allow far greater utilization of these historic records by the many people who would be interested in such a database. As indicated above, government itself would also be able to better utilize these records.

3. There is no practical reason all of these records should be kept confidential indefinitely especially after a fairly long lapse of time. The year of death guideline addresses privacy concerns.

Other states have already made death certificates available on-line. Why not, Pennsylvania?

If you have any questions or would like to see some sample letters please contact the spokesperson for PaHR-Access: Tim Gruber 610-791-9294 or

Thank you for your help and support, and remember the slogan : Just do it .