Senator John Heinz History Center - Pittsburgh - Genealogy Weekend February 25 & 26, 2012

Feb 08, 2012

The Senator John Heinz History Center Presents a Genealogy Weekend:

Saturday, Feb. 25, 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 26, 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

On Sat., Feb. 25 at 1 p.m., join noted genealogist Dr. Deborah Abbott for a workshop presentation on some of the finer points of African American genealogical research.
During her presentation, titled “A Journey of Discovery,” Dr. Abbott will trace the ancestry of an African American family from Ohio and Illinois back to their roots in Kentucky and provide insight on her genealogical methods. Dr. Abbott will demonstrate the various techniques and resources that help to aid anyone who is tracing an ancestor with limited facts and information, particularly ancestors who were enslaved and emancipated.

Dr. Abbott is a recently retired professor at Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland and past president of the African American Genealogical Society in Cleveland. She holds both a bachelor and masters degree from Tuskegee University and a Ph.D. from Kent State University. She is a member of the National Genealogical Society, Federation of Genealogical Societies, the Association of Professional Genealogists, and the Genealogical Speakers Guild.
“A Journey of Discovery” is co-sponsored by the Afro-American Historical & Genealogical Society of Pittsburgh and the Senator John Heinz History Center. The program is supported by the U.S. Department of Education and is one of the feature programs of the History Center’s upcoming exhibition, From Slavery to Freedom: Pittsburgh and the Underground Railroad, which will open in Nov. 2012.
Admission is free but registration is encouraged. To pre-register call 412-431-5849 or 412-454-6373 or e-mail or

This project was funded by the U.S. Department of Education Underground Railroad Educational and Cultural (URR) Program.

Finding Your Family’s Story: Genealogy and the Rauh Jewish Archives
Sun., Feb. 26
Presentations: 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. with a break for lunch on your own
Open house: 2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Learn to trace your family in Western Pennsylvania and beyond! The Rauh Jewish Archives is hosting a day of genealogical programming with presentations on using online genealogical resources and the opportunity to consult with genealogists about your family research.

Presentations will include demonstrations of,, the Pittsburgh Jewish Newspaper Project website, and a talk on “Finding Family in the Old Country.” Following the presentations, the experts will be available for questions during an open house session.

Cost: free


10:00 a.m. Why I like it
Presenter: David Grinnell
David Grinnell is the reference and access archivist at the University of Pittsburgh and has been an active genealogist for more than 30 years. Grinnell will provide an overview of and discuss valuable search options on the popular site.

11:00 a.m.
Beginning Your Journey through
Presenter: Debbie Kapp
Debbie Kapp is a professional genealogist with 14 years of research experience. Beginning Your Journey through JewishGen is a guided tour of the go-to website for starting Jewish family history research. Visitors will explore the content of various databases and review basic navigation and search techniques available on the JewishGen site.

11:45 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Lunch on your own.

12:30 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Mining the Pittsburgh Jewish Newspaper Project
Presenter: Martha L. Berg
Martha Berg is a professional archivist whose family roots in Pittsburgh go back to the 18th century. As an archivist at the Rauh Jewish Archives and for Rodef Shalom Congregation, she helps people all over the world discover their families’ connections. Mining the Pittsburgh Jewish Newspaper Project will demonstrate the type of family information accessible through the PJN website and the most efficient ways to find it.

1:15 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Finding Family in the Old World
Presenter: Evan W. Wolfson
Evan Wolfson is an attorney who previously worked at the University of Judaism's library, assisting with research inquiries. He has been researching his family for 20 years, and currently serves on the Rauh Jewish Archives Advisory Committee. This seminar is designed to help visitors locate family members in ancestral towns and villages using readily available resources and a little ingenuity, while tackling common issues such as name changes and lack of knowledge about family's shtetl.

2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Open House
All presenters will be available to assist visitors with their research, Alexis Macklin, director of the Library & Archives, and Susan Melnick, archivist, Rauh Jewish Archives, will also be on hand to answer visitor’s research questions.

Refreshments provided. Dietary laws observed.

For questions and to RSVP, please contact Natalie DeRiso at 412-454-6373 or

Underwritten with the generous support of the William M. Lowenstein Genealogical Research Endowment Fund at the Jewish Community Foundation of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh