Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Tuesday's Tip ~ Pittsburgh City Directories

Historical City Directories can be useful in family history research and I enjoy browsing them. Different city directories are found at different websites.

For the city of Pittsburgh (and its North Side, formerly Allegheny City), historical City Directories can be found at a website offered by the University of Pittsburgh at Historic Pittsburgh.

I haven't fully explored this site, but you can find a range of dates of historic Pittsburgh City Directories at Historic Pittsburgh City Directories.

I used these directories to narrow down the date of death of one of my 3rd great grandfathers, James Freeland. In the Directory of Pittsburgh and Allegheny cities 1861-1862, James Freeland, plumber, is at the corner of Beaver and Geyer's [Avenue?] in Allegheny:

In Directory of Pittsburgh and Allegheny cities 1862-1863, James Freeland is at 29 Ohio, with his home at 187 Beaver in Allegheny:

In Directory of Pittsburgh and Allegheny cities 1863/1864, Nancy Freeland is listed as the widow of James, at the address of 187 Beaver, in Allegheny:

This narrows down James Freeland's date of death to sometime in 1863. There were a couple of James Freelands from Pennsylvania who served in the Civil War, but I have yet to determine if one of them is my 3rd great-grandfather.

As I noted in yesterday's post about his wife, Nancy (Rainey) Freeland, I also used this same method to determine the year of her death as 1903.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Matrilineal Monday ~ Nancy Rainey Freeland

I have written about long-lived maternal ancestors before. One third great-grandmother, Nancy (Rainey) Freeland, who died about 1903 was well into her 80's, if not 90 when she died. She outlived her husband by over 40 years.

Determining her birth date from census records is a challenge, as most of them indicate a different birth year.

In the 1900 U.S. Census, Nancy Freeland lives at 1415 Buena Vista Street in Allegheny City, Pennsylvania with two unmarried children.

This census record says that she was born in December 1813, is 86 years old and a widow. She was mother of 7 [?] children, of whom three are still living. (I'm only sure of five of these children-see below.) She was born in Ireland (and her parents were born in Ireland). She immigrated in 1831, and has been living in the United States for 69 years. She (as well as the others in the household) can read, write, and speak English, and she rents her home.

Her household includes her son, William J. Freeland, who was born in August 1854, age 45 years. His occupation is "Conductor R R" and he was not out of work in the prior twelve months.

Also in the home is her daughter, Anna C., born in February 1857, age 43 years, and a schoolteacher. She was out of work for 10 months in the prior year.

There is also a 23-year-old Pennsylvania-born servant, Myrtle Kniess.


Twenty years earlier, in 1880, the U.S. Federal Census shows widowed Nancy Freeland living at 87 Buena Vista Street in Allegheny with three unmarried children.

In this census record, Nancy is listed at 65 years old, implying a birth year of about 1815. She has a mark in the column indicating she is a widow and her occupation is "Keeping House."

Her son William J. is 27 years old (born about 1853) and works as "R.R. Brakeman. One daughter is listed as Claude A., age 25 (born about 1855) and a School Teacher. I have long puzzled about whether Claude A. in 1880 is Anna C. in 1900, and I am pretty sure they are the same person. (I have found many names for this third great aunt.) A younger daughter, Emma, is 22 (born about 1858) and also a School Teacher. I lose track of Emma after this census, so she either married, thus changing her surname, or died.

And here are the Freelands as listed in the Directory of Pittsburgh and Allegheny cities, 1880:


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Workday Wednesday ~ 1850's Plumber

Imagine my surprise (several years ago) when, in looking up census records for my mother's side of the family, I found a 3rd great grandfather who was a plumber!

Following is the top of the page of the 1850 census where I found James Freeland and his family in Allegheny, Pennsylvania:

U.S. Federal Census. Year: 1850; Census Place: Allegheny Ward 2, Allegheny, Pennsylvania;
Roll: M432_744; Page: 76B; Lines 7-10: Record for James Freeland family

Line 7 shows James Freeland, age 35, with the occupation of Plumber. He owns no real estate and his place of birth is Scotland.
Line 8 shows Nancy Freeland, age 30 and indicates that she was born in Ireland.
Line 9 shows Mary Freeland, age 8/12, which implies that she was born in February of 1850, based on the date of this census, which is written in the header: twenty-ninth day of October 1850. She was born in Pennsylvania.

The official enumeration day of the 1850 census was 1 June 1850. All questions asked were supposed to refer to that date, but other information I have confirms that Mary was born in February 1850. Mary Freeland is my 2nd great grandmother. See a photo of her and her husband here.

Line 10 shows David Freeland, age 65, with the occupation of Weaver, and born in Scotland. Unfortunately, the 1850 census does not indicate the relation of members of a household to the head of household, but I am pretty sure that David is James' father.

From page 32 of Fahnestock's Pittsburgh directory for 1850, found at Historic Pittsburgh City Directories:

It looks like my third great grandfather was in the Freeland & Logan plumbing business on Federal Street in Allegheny in 1850. He is the only Freeland listed in that year's directory.