Thursday, February 21, 2013

Thankful Thursday - The Monessen Daily Independent

As most of us genealogy nuts know, local newspapers can provide a ton of important, valuable and interesting information about our ancestors. I am thankful for The Monessen Daily Independent, the local newspaper in Monessen, PA where my ancestors lived from about 1912-1945. I am lucky because most of the editions of this newspaper are available on - I can search from my home in New Jersey. I also know that not all of what is found in a local newspaper will be factual or true, and take what I find as a starting point for more research.

Searching for my ancestors in The Monessen Daily Independent has helped me find death and marriage dates so that I was able to request vital records. I have found articles on bankruptcy meetings, car accidents and hospital stays. In the "society" pages, I have learned about the social lives of my family - clubs, church groups, and trips to Pittsburgh.

All of these articles, announcements, obituaries, records, and mentions have helped me to put "flesh on the bones" of my ancestors and fill in the gaps between vital and census records. Adding this information (with a grain of salt regarding all of it's validity) to my other research has helped me see who these ancestors really were, as well as what life was like in the growing city of Monessen. 

For example, I learned a lot about my grandmother, Agnes Speck, as a child: she played the piano and had many recitals, she performed in several operettas and plays, she won second place in a humorous reading contest and went to a national speech competition at Bucknell University, she had her appendix removed when she was 23 years old, and she worked at Page Wire & Steel until she was married.

Below are just a handful of my many "finds" from The Monessen Daily Independent:



  1. I also love local newspapers! Unfortunately, none of my hometown newspapers are available online, but maybe someday. I was intriqued by your last clipping...the husband claims cruelty and indignities? That is unusual.

  2. Aren't they the best! I wish that I was able to access more of the localities that I am researching. These articles provide so much color! I found that divorce article interesting too. It was my great grand uncle who was granted the divorce. I wonder what she did!