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County Genweb a huge project to update site OUT ON A LIMB TOM MOONEY

Mary Ann Lubansky, new webmaster of the Luzerne County Genweb, would rather be accurate than fast as she prepares to place her stamp on the site.

“I’m not really familiar with Luzerne County,” said the Schuylkill County resident, who admits that she still needs “a feel for the place.”

She’s been updating the Genweb as much as she can, putting her name where it belongs and fixing broken links. But more substantial changes will have to wait for her to visit some of the area‘s top sources of genealogical and historical information.

“I’d like to get up there and see what’s there. I plan on doing that a little at a time -- making a few trips.”

The Luzerne County Genweb is part of a national network of interlocking genealogy-related Web sites. It contains local data of interest to family history researchers, links to related Web sites and a query board.

A self-styled “nut case when it comes to genealogy,” Lubansky’s already webmaster of three Ireland-related sites and of two for the Ancient Order of Hibernians.

Despite Lubansky’s caution, a few possibilities are under study. One is going beyond institutional links and listing the actual holdings of libraries and historical societies. Another is soliciting more blocs of local genealogy-related information from readers.


Thomas Yaglowski of Auburn, N.Y. is looking for records of the transfer of his grandparents’ Kingston Township farm to the state for construction of Frances Slocum State Park in the 1960s.

Thomas, the Pennsylvania State Archives maintains records of property transfers to the state, according to Jonathan R. Stayer, head of the reference section. If you get a chance to go to Harrisburg, the reference department is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. Or you may call Stayer at (717) 783-2669 for a rundown on information his office will require to do a search by mail, at variable cost.

You can also try the Recorder of Deeds office in the Luzerne County Courthouse here in Wilkes-Barre.

Barbara Couch of Texas wants to know who was living at 241 N. Washington St. in Wilkes-Barre around 1899-1900, where widow and invalid Harriet Price was being taken care of by friends. Price does not appear in the U.S. Census for 1900.

Barbara, Wilkes-Barre city directories offer some information. They show a Roger Howell, gardener, living there in 1900 and 1901. He moved there after 1897 and had moved again by 1904. The directories don’t show anyone else living at the address, however.

Susie McManus of Maryland wants to confirm that her grandfather, Charles McManus, operated a café decades ago on Public Square.

Susie, you are correct. A Charles McManus did have a café next to what is now the F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts. That building is gone, but an old sign for the café is still visible from South Washington Street. The arts center was known as the Comerford Theater when it opened as a movie house in 1938, and later as the Paramount Theater.

News Notes: The Historical and Preservation Society of the Greater Shickshinny Area will hold a joint meeting with the Business Association of the Greater Shickshinny Area at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Scott’s Furniture Store.

on the web

For more columns by Tom Mooney, go to: www.


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