Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Tuesday's Tip - Pittsburgh Jewish Newspapers Online & Searchable

The last 100+ years of Pittsburgh Jewish Newspapers are available online and are searchable here.  This collection has been invaluable in finding information about my family in Pittsburgh and McKeesport. 
Jewish Criterion, December 1944, obituary for my great-great grandmother, Pearl Tolchin (aka Pesha Riva Lefand Tolchinsky)

I learned that my grandfather's (Lou Tolchin's) nickname was "Toll Bridge Tolchin" because he "was the fastest man down the Ohio Line."  Apparently I have inherited his driving abilities.

I found obituaries for great-great grandparents, wedding announcements, and birth announcements for cousins.
Jewish Criterion, August 1939, Obituary for my great-great grandmother Elizabeth Supkoff (aka Zlata Tzipra Sanshuck Supkoff)

If you're lucky, a relative may be featured in an article.  This is a way to put together family connections and really find out who your family was--more than just names and dates.  It's also interesting to just read through issues and see the perspective of the Jewish community at various times--particularly as what was happening to European Jewry during World War II was becoming known in America.

Papers that are included are:
  • Jewish Criterion (1895-1962)
  • American Jewish Outlook (1934-1962)
  • Jewish Chronicle (1962-present)
  • Y-JCC series (1926-1975).
Note that there are missing issues, but the vast majority of issues are included in this collection.
Jewish Chronicle, September 1971, Obituary for my great grandmother, Esther Rutner Joshowitz

One negative is that the search engine only searches for exact matches.  So you'll need to search for every possible spelling you can think of for family names.  And because they used Optical Character Recognition (OCR)--basically a computer read the documents--sometimes it's wrong, so you may not find every match.  But it's definitely a great start.
w title of the fastest man doi\ n the Ohio lined


  1. "Toll Bridge Tolchin." Love it! Thanks for hi-lighting this resource.

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  3. George H. Lysle is my first cousin 3x removed and was a (non-Jewish) mayor of McKeesport 1920-1937. I found him mentioned in a couple of news stories. Thanks for sharing.