Did you know that this is the 15th anniversary for Facebook? What a useful tool, having come out of such a humble beginning. I don’t know how else I could keep up with the thoughts and activities of family around the country. Many of our relatives have private individual Facebook pages that will probably require membership and a “Friend” request, if you’re interested, but here we are concentrating only on what we consider the very best public community spaces as a more contemporary compliment to our family history. Please take a moment to view the beautiful pictures and listen in on the interesting conversations at these sites: local organizations and activities, churches, schools, libraries, museums, and societies. Don’t forget to click on the links inside each Facebook page. Think of this information as the answer to the question genealogists might logically ask about their subjects’ communities: “Where are they and what are they doing now?” As this section is ever-expanding, do send me new discoveries via the comment block below. Also, I have arbitrarily categorized the links by location and subject matter and have made some contextual comments for your interest. This arrangement may change, so check back.
Larry Pearce, Administrator
WEST DEER TOWNSHIP – This Allegheny County, PA, municipality was the meeting place for our Gray, Campbell, and other Scots-Irish ancestors in the mid-19th century. It was half way between their first Allegheny River farms and settlements and farther north into Butler County, where some of the Grays and Pearces ended up.
*WDT Region – A look inside everyday life, complete with complaints
O’HARA TOWNSHIP – Having come through Westmoreland and Indiana Counties, across the Allegheny River into former Indian Territory of the same name, the Campbells established rich farms, eventually supplying the nearby H.J. Heinz plant with tomatoes and other vegetables for ketchup and other products. Part of the area overlooking the river became the wealthy borough of Fox Chapel in 1928.
*Township of O’Hara – Enjoy the beautiful rural photos of Campbell Lake & other sites
*Fox Chapel – Wealthy homes, magnificent churches, and fun stores make up this village
NORTH HILLS – Everything in Allegheny County north of Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers was considered the market place for our family farmers and craftsmen. Besides food, our Gray-associated families sold their carpentry skills, modes of transportation, and early technology networks
*North Hills Genealogists – Talk to the experts on our family history via these pages
ALLEGHENY COUNTY, PA – With the City of Pittsburgh, her people, and institutions at its core, this world-class metropolis offers major universities, museums, churches, and historic sites dating back to the founding of Fort Pitt in 1758. Lots to see and do here.
BUTLER COUNTY, PA – My immediate Pearces and Grays began to settle just over the northern Allegheny County line on Middlesex Township, southern Butler County in the 1920s. Rts. 8 and 19, and now I-79, connect the ports of Pittsburgh and Erie, providing commerce, education, recreation, and more
*Butler County – You’ll enjoy the local flavor, including a bagpipe video
*Butler County Genealogy Society – Make contact with the experts to answer questions
WESTERN PA GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY – With an entire room housing their holdings in the Carnegie Library in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh, the public is welcome to browse and take notes from family history books, immigration records, and so much more. And the best part is that librarians and researchers are on hand to help.
*Western PA Genealogical Society – Every one of our families is represented here
SOME FAMILY CHURCHES – Coming from Scotland and Northern Ireland to Western Pennsylvania two or more centuries ago, our Gray and associated families were proud Presbyterians. If not charter members of the following congregations, they soon became part of the mortar that held the church missions together. When their days on earth were complete, they most often were laid to rest in the respective cemeteries.
*Bull Creek Presbyterian, West Deer Twp. – Grays under the Rev. Abraham Boyd
*East Union Presbyterian, Cheswick – Campbells & Grays buried here. No Facebook
*Glade Run Presbyterian, Valencia – Paul Gray, Ralph Pearce, & other family
WESTMINSTER COLLEGE – This small liberal arts school in New Wilmington, PA, tied to the Presbyterian church, was the site of our Cousin Ellis Emerson Craig Campbell’s apparent hazing that led to his death in 1926. He planned to be a minister. Our cousin, Dr. David Gray, who was ordained, was Professor of Psychology there for over 35 years.
*Westminster College – Be sure to check the links here for clubs & activities on campus
SCOTLAND – I estimate that all but one of the ten Gray-associated families have origins in the rugged northern British Isles of poet Robert Burns. We dare you to say the surnames of Gray, MacKrell, Norris, or Browne without rolling your “Rs.” Of course, most of our families became emigres to the plantations of Northern Ireland under King James I before coming to America, but you can visit the sites there too, as listed below.
*Visit Scotland – The wild beauty of these lands, the high and the low, are wonderful
*The Scotland Region – See behind the scenes photographs at this unusual site
*BBC Scotland – A look at the land through the lens of a broadcaster
*Welcome Scotland – You’ll feel the warmth of your own personal guide on this page
*Visit Historic Scotland – This is limited to the important locations of our Scots’ history
NORTHERN IRELAND – While tracing our exact origins through Ulster can be very difficult without the help of a professional genealogist, one can tour and enjoy the North on ones own with a little help from online: rental cars, B & Bs, geological & historical landmarks, and oh so much more. Allow yourself at least a week though.
*Discover Northern Ireland – Know before you go with these incredible photographs
*BBC Northern Ireland – Collections of visual impressions from television specials
Last revised 2/5/19