Saturday, April 08, 2006

Hooked on Genealogy

My dad's father was an only child. So was my dad. So I never knew anyone who had my last name. A newspaper clipping that my brother found when he was cleaning out my grandmother's house led me to start researching my grandfather's family.

My grandfather was only four months old when his dad was killed in the coalmines. I didn't even know his father's name until I saw that clipping. That led me on a search to learn more. I spent hours pouring over old census records on microfiche at the LDS Family History Center. It is a glimpse into another world. I found out that my great-grandfather was already working in the coal mines at 15 years of age. And he was dead at 25.

Now that there is so much online, I am finding more. Northumberland Mine Fatalities 1909.

Here is the entry of my great-grandfather's death:

13-Aug Millard, Lot- English, Miner, 25, M, Locust Gap. Killed by fall of slate at face of breast while trying to bar it down.

Both of my grandfathers were coal miners. And they both lost their fathers to the mines. Looking into the past certainly opens your eyes to a very hard life. If you read that document and see the circumstances to so many deaths, it is really shocking and heartbreaking.

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