In the course of my research I have spent time trying to find out who and where my ancestors were in any given time. Today, as the new year begins to unravel, I will attempt to find out the type of people my ancestors were. What were their beliefs? Their values? Their hobbies? How did they perceive the world?
Since there are precious few relatives who can give me answers to some or most of these questions, I will have to rely on the study of our history during the times and in the locations in which they lived. I will start by delving into the history and life of anthracite coal miners in Northeastern Pennsylvania, where many of my ancestors lived and worked. I will start my series by providing links and videos that provide a cursory outline of Anthracite Coal Mining in Pennsylvania.
A good place to start is the United States Department of Labor Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), which has some wonderful information. The link will take you to a timeline of history of Anthracite Coal, which is the type of coal my ancestors mined. The website owning that link will also give you some basic coal-mining definitions and some graphics of how coal mining works.
Below is a series of YouTube videos shot inside a coal mine in Pennsylvania. I find it fascinating to see what life underground is like, and as I watch this basic documentary, I find myself trying to place my ancestors "down there".
If you like photographic biographies, you'll like this final cut of the day.