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Location: Arizona, United States

My name is Colleen and I find dead people.

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23 February, 2006

It's All Gone to the Dogs

This entry is dedicated to our canine ancestors. Except for Pepe, the French Poodle we once had. I don't have a picture of him (he chewed them all up!).

Shaggy, one of my grandmother Hodick's dogs

Vesta Hodick (Kovaleski) Kinney's son David Kinney with Shaggy.

Aunt Norie with Flippy; Celia Hodick, Jack Thomas, John Hodick, Joe, Mary, & Marianne McHugh with Flippy.

Skipper and Mandy, the two dogs I had while growing up. Skipper, the Irish Setter mix, was quite old by the time we got the rather young Mandy (who may have been a Pointer mix). I just love this picture -- I can imagine what Skipper thought about having a younger sibling!

21 February, 2006

The Breaker Girls?

Here is another picture in my Hodick collection that I believe is from the Nanticoke area. I don't know who the young ladies are, but I'm wondering if the girl on the right is my grandmother's sister, Susan Hodick. Behind them is a coal breaker that I'm trying to identify.

WWI Draft Registration Cards from 1917 & 1918 show that my grandmother Mary Hodick's brothers worked for coal mines in Luzerne County, PA. William and Anthony Hodick worked as miners for the D.L. & W Co. at the Truesdale Mines. Joseph worked as a miner for D.L. & W Co. at Bliss (click link for a sketch). Thomas Hodick also worked for D.L. & W. Co at the Bell Colliery in Nanticoke.

I did a few Google searches today for these mines, using both the "Web Search" tool and the "Images Search" tool. I found a picture of the Truesdale Mine that in some ways resembles this picture; mainly the building itself and the fact that the Truesdale Mine on the website looks to have significant empty land around it, as does this picture's mine. The height of the shaft coming down from the above building is quite different from that of the one on the website, though; perhaps too much lower to be accounted for by a mere difference in camera angles. I did notice, however, that the picture of the Truesdale mine was possibly taken in 1916.

If anyone out there in blogland recognizes this mine, or the young ladies, please email me and enlighten me!

09 February, 2006

Maybe I Lied

Or maybe I just wasn't thinking when I said I only had one picture of Nanticoke! Turns out, I have many! In fact, the three pictures below contain a mystery in my Hodick family history.

These pictures, I believe, were taken in Nanticoke, Luzerne County, PA. The stylish woman in the white is most likely my grandmother, Mary Hodick. The stylish one in the middle picture, I think, is her sister Sue. If these deductions are correct, then it goes to follow that the stylish woman in the third picture is my grandmother's other sister, Sylvestina (better known as Vesta). I believe the pictures would be from the early 1920’s, given the clothing styles and the fact that my grandmother looks to be a bit younger than she does in her wedding picture (taken in 1925).

The picture is obviously in front of a store. With the name "Hodick's" printed on the window, I'm led to believe that perhaps the family owned the store. But no one I’ve talked to seems to know anything about our ancestors being shopkeepers; we’ve always known most of the male Hodick’s to be coal miners. The store could have been a short-lived venture. Or it could be that they didn’t own the store but for some reason were prominent enough to the owners to have their name on it. Or it could even be the business of a relative that we don’t know about yet! Alas, it could also just be an unrelated coincidence and the girls thought it’d be a kick to have their pictures taken outside a store bearing their name.

If any readers familiar with Nanticoke can give me some ideas, I’d welcome them with open arms (and mind!).

06 February, 2006

More Than a Name

While I await a new firestorm of information on my familial lines, I think it's important to dig a little deeper into my ancestry than just figuring out who was who and to whom did they belong. Looking through the old family photos that got me started in this research, I got a few glimpses of the personalities of my ancestors. I just ordered a book from Maureen Taylor, an authority on using photographs to identify ancestors, that I hope will give me even more insight. So I'm awaiting that task, as well. But I have a little problem: I HATE waiting. So I won't. Instead, I'll change my focus a little bit and learn a little bit about the hometowns of my ancestors: Pittston and Nanticoke, both townships in Luzerne County of NE Pennsylvania.

Highway sign to Pittston, and Main Street in Pittston. Main Street for years housed the Doyle, O'Rourke, Tighe, and Williams families. Other streets known to house these families include Cliff Street, Chapel Street, Cornelia Street, and Union Street. Many thanks to my cousin Pat Dunn for these shots (and the others in my Pittston library!). Many of the O'Rourke folk, and I think some of the Doyles, too, were railroaders.

My paternal lines, the Hodick line and the McHugh line, settled nearby in Nanticoke. Many of these ancestors were coal miners. I've been reading up on the history of coal mining in NEPA. Between what I've read and the recent tragedies in W.V., I've gained a deep respect for the people who labor so hard in the mines! My prayers are with the families and towns in W.V. that were affected.

The picture below is from the Nanticoke Online website at, and is published here with permission from it's photographer, Nick Pucino. Click on the picture for a link to the website!

I don't have any other pictures of Nanticoke yet, but I'm glad this is one I was able to get permission to use, as the plaque gives a short history of the town. If you're only going to have only one picture, have one that tells a story!

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