7. Shellie’s Family History and Tour to Ancestral Places. Finding my Great-Grandpa’s House.

Happy Birthday Sissy! Sis is the daughter of my grandfather’s oldest sister Stella. Since there was over 15 years difference in age between Stella, the oldest, and Dutchie, the baby of the family, Dutchie and Sis seemed more like sisters than aunt and niece.

Stella and Sis were who our family turned to for memoires and family reunions. I was young and not interested in family reunions back then. Oh how I wish I could turn back time! I think that one common emotion that is encountered during family history research is regret. To think that I had such a fascinating family and I didn’t even realize it until they are now long gone. This work has made me realize how important it is to appreciate your family while you have them with you.

Last fall, around October of 2008, I found our family in the 1930 census and I identified the address: 416 Highland Avenue, Aliquippa, PA. The family moved from Export to Aliquippa in 1920 shortly after my g-grandfather Stanislaw had a close-call in a mining accident. Aniela said that her sons would never work underground and she searched for a better place to live. Someone told her that in Aliquippa, men worked above ground in steel mills, so she asked someone to take her there to visit. When she came home, she announced that she rented a house in Aliquippa and they were moving immediately. That didn’t go over very well with my g-grandfather, who refused to go, but in the end as the rest of the family drove off, he gave up and joined them. From then on, my coal mining g-grandfather was a steelworker. I was back in my home town to visit my parents and took my mom down to Aliquippa to find the house. I found the house and jumped out to take photos. I was so excited to find it.

Green House at 416 Highland Ave

Green House at 416 Highland Ave

Dutchie was also excited when I told her that I had photos of the house, because she thought it had been torn down. She told me that my g-grandmother Aniela had a big brick oven in the back where she would bake and bake and bake loaves of wonderful bread. When they sat on the porch, they could see the steel mill and the Ohio river. That’s when I started to realize that something was wrong – it didn’t seem like we were talking about the same street. But I was so careful about finding Highland Avenue and I know that I was standing in front of house 416….then we realized that I WAS on the wrong street. There were 2 Highland Avenues in the Aliquippa area, one downtown, and the other across Constitution Blvd from West Aliquippa, which was just about a mile or so away. We had a pretty good laugh over that. Last week, I asked my father to drive over to the correct Highland Avenue and take a photo of the house. This is what he sent to me:

416 Highland Avenue. West Aliquippa

416 Highland Avenue. West Aliquippa

The house and grandma’s brick oven were gone. I hate to think that the house is gone, but we had a good laugh over my mistake!

Shellie

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