Weinen und Lachen ...


Wolfgang nach seiner Amerika-Reise im März 2001:

"Wenn ich jemals im Lotto gewinne, will ich für 2 Wochen nach Pennsylvania, nicht nur für 2 Tage. Bis jetzt haben wir schon eine Menge erfahren über Paul, das meiste dank der Hilfe von Mike. Aber dann hätten wir genug Zeit um endlich rauszukriegen - wenn man überhaupt was rauskriegen kann -  wie und wo Paul dort gelebt hat, was er dachte, wer seine Freunde waren, woran er arbeitete, und wo er begraben wurde."


Never give up. Never surrender. Never forget. 

Marlies Niehues wrote

Hi y'all!
Another trial and error! But don't give up! Sent a mail right now to 
Fayette County Genealogy Project.

Grateful for any ideas! Best wishes and love,
Marlies and Wolfgang

Paul MARNACH and unknown friend, 
July 1913, Connellsville.
Paul had emigrated from Germany in 1912 and worked as a civil engineer or house carpenter in Fayette County. He died of pneumonia in Owensdale PA in December 1914, aged 25. All we know about his death is month, year, and the city. 
But everything else is very vague.

You can find a photo of Paul and friend in their photo gallery:
Fayette County Genealogy Project 



Bea, Chicago, wrote:

Dear Marlies -
My motto: Never give up. Never surrender. Never forget. 
The answer is out there somewhere. Good luck.

I saw Paul's picture on the website. That is a nice thing. I wish more websites did that.



Mails to Fayette County Genealogy Project

... to know more about our longlost Paul

Marlies wrote to Christina, 

Dear Christina,
I am sending you this mail from the other side of the Atlantic, from Germany. Found your email address in the register of Some Small Cemeteries, Fayette Co, PA and want to say Thankyou for all the work you've done. 

Let me tell you my problem: since 6 years I have been searching my uncle's
gravesite. Most probably near Connellsville in Owensdale PA, where he
died of pneumonia in December 1914, 25 years old. PAUL MARNACH had come
from Germany 3 years before, January 1912, and worked in Connellsville or
Uniontown as an architect or a constructing engineer.

Our youngest son Wolfgang has done a lot of research on his own already, did a lot of foot-work and visited PA in 2001. (...) In the end Wolfgang came to Owensdale and was told that Owensdale had two small family cemeteries. "But they are no longer in existence due to strip mining in the 30's", some inhabitants assured. (If you would like to read about this journey, please go to http://www.marnach.info -> Gesucht wird: Paul! In Search of Paul!) Wolfgang finished his research, feeling sick after being wet through because of cold and rain, and feeling not very well after a sinusitis. - Some years later we found the Owensdale map (attached) in the Internet. There are still 3 small cemeteries! 

Can you tell me more about these small cemeteries? give me a hint? Or are there any traces of PAUL MARNACH, 1889 - 1914, roman catholic, German? Our whole family would be happy to get to know more about our longlost Uncle Paul. Thank you very much indeed! Best wishes for you and for your work!

Marlies Niehues-Marnach, Germany


Foto by Ken O'Neal: 
Dunbar Iron Furnace (alter Eisenschmelz-Ofen in Fayette County) There hasn't been a fire in that furnace for over 175 years.

Have you heard the old saying "Just because there is snow on the roof, doesn't mean there is no fire in the furnace" ?

Christina, Fayette County Genealogy Project, wrote:

Good day -
I received this email along with a couple of photos. I always try to make a special effort for people from outside the U.S.

If anyone can help this family with an answer to where Paul Marnach is buried, that would be a good deed. :) 


Three small private Owensdale cemeteries 


Marlies wrote to Christina and Dawne, Fayette County Genealogy Project

Dear Christina, dear Dawne,

Thank you so much for trying to find out information, it really means a lot to us that you made an effort searching for it! After having tried to trace my uncle Paul's final resting place in the neighbouring parishes on Owensdale, after my son Wolfgang having asked many kind parsons and other helpful people, without result, let me tell you:

We are getting more and more sure that he is buried in one of the three small private Owensdale cemeteries (attached). Do you think that it would be a good idea if we perhaps contacted the owners of the land where the cemeteries are? How could we get to know their names and addresses to ask them if there is any old register of the persons buried in their plot of land? Since burial marks will be weathered and illegible or lost. Or do you think that it wouldn't be beneficial? It's just that we don't want to take away even more of your time. We already feel indebted to you, really appreciating all the work you do for your fellow beings. Again, we are extremely grateful for you having lent us your helping hands!

God bless! Regards from Germany!

Marlies and Wolfgang Niehues (Marnach)

Foto: 3 Owensdale Cemeteries, Google Earth



Dawne, Fayette County Genealogy Project, wrote:

This doesn't help with the burial of Paul Marnach, but I found a Paul Marnach in the New York Passenger lists, He arrived 3 Jan 1912, age 22, port of departure Rotterdam on the S.S. Potsdam. He was a house carpenter. Lived in Dortmund.
I am wondering if his death certificate would have where he was buried or at least name an undertaker who might still have the records.

I think that it might help to contact the owners. You could also send the attachments to Ken O'Neal. He has surveyed many cemeteries in Fayette County and might know the names of these private cemeteries. His email address is <ken>.  He is a nice man and will help you if he can.

By the way, my Aunt Ricki who was married to my Uncle was born in Berlin and met my Uncle during WWII. She was one of the best cooks anywhere!



Marlies wrote to Dawne, Fayette County Genealogy Project:

Dear Dawne,
I sent the attachments to Ken O'Neal. You are right: > He is a nice man and will help you if he can. ... He is really a jewel! Thank you for giving me this hint!

Best wishes,


Dawne wrote:

Hello Marlies and Wilhelm!

I just looked at your web site. You did a wonderful job. Ken O'Neal and I both think that there has to be a death record for Paul somewhere. Fayette County's records are not always very well organized, but we hope that somewhere we can find out where Paul is buried. At any rate we will keep looking.



Marlies wrote to Wolfgang:

> und was sagst du zu meiner mail an
> http://www.rootsweb.com/~pafayett/  Fayette County Genealogy Project???

Wolfgang answered:

Die Mail war sehr gut!  
Und selbst wenn es vielleicht nicht wie ein native speaker war ... find mal einen Ami in deinem Alter, der so gut Deutsch spricht wie du Englisch! :)


Mails to some Parishes in Fayette County PA:

Owensdale - final resting place of my granduncle?

Wolfgang wrote to several Reverends 
Date: Sat, 09 Dec 2006 01:07:41 +0100
From: Wolfgang Niehues <email>

Dear Rev. x, Rev. xx, and Rev. xxx,

Greetings from Germany! I'm researching details about my late granduncle,
Paul MARNACH, who died from pneumonia in Owensdale PA in 1914, aged 25. He
had emigrated from Germany in 1912 and worked as a civil engineer or house
carpenter in Connellsville.

All we know about his death is the date and the city, but everything else is very vague. We have been trying for the past few years to find out if he may be buried in or near Owensdale. We already tried the department of Vital Records in New Castle PA (did not have any death record), the Carnegie Library in Connellsville, and several Roman-Catholic parishes in Scottdale, Everson, Morgan, and Connellsville (he was born Roman-Catholic). I even managed to try to find out some more in the Owensdale area when I visited it shortly on my way from Buffalo to Chicago in 2001...but all to no avail, sadly.

Hence, I turn to you and devoutly hope that you - having profound knowledge
about Owensdale since it has a Methodist church - might shed more light onto
that mystery. I wondered if my granduncle might have received his last blessings at your church in Owensdale. Did the church already exist in 1914? And if so - could there be any records that might contain information about him?

And if the Owensdale church did not yet exist in 1914, it would be great if you would be so kind to share some of your knowledge of Owensdale. I saw on a map (from Terraserver) that there are three small (private?) cemeteries in or near Owensdale (see map attached where we marked the spots on GoogleEarth)...could it be that he wasn't transported to Scottdale, Everson or Connellsville but buried right there in Owensdale (after all, he was still single and had no family in the U.S.)? How could we find out on whose property they are in order to contact their owners for more information? Or do you know someone from Owensdale who knows a lot about its history?

We would just like to know where he was laid to his final rest after his untimely death far away from his family - and we feel that we might be closer than ever to the answer. If you could help us a little bit with your knowledge or assistance, we would greatly appreciate and be profoundly grateful. It would be like a Christmas present to us. It would be great if you could let me know what you think about it. I can also call one of your offices if you let me know when.

Many thanks in advance and God bless,
Wolfgang Niehues

P.S.: here his data, just in case
LAST NAME: Marnach
GIVEN NAMES: Paul Aloysius
BORN: March 14, 1889 in Bochum, Germany
DIED: December 1914 in Owensdale (one source also says "spring 1914")
RELIGION: Roman-catholic

P.P.S.: a little about me - I'm a 34 year-old lecturer and PhD student of American studies at Dortmund University, Germany. I was also born here in this region that bears strong resemblance with the Pittsburgh region since it was heavily influenced by coal and steel. I lived for two years in Atlanta GA, working as a teaching assistant at a small university there.


From: Rev. Kimberly King, United Methodist Church - UMC, Fayette County PA

Dear Mr Niehues,
Thank you for your inquiry. I currently reside in Owensdale and I'm very interested in our local history. The map correctly defines the locations of the Owensdale cemeteries. The name Marnach is not familiar however, I will do some research and reply as soon as possible.

As you mentioned your relative was listed as Roman Catholic. There are 3 Roman Catholic Cemeteries in Scottdale/Everson Area; The Scottdale Roman Catholic Cemetery (older section) The Scottdale Roman Catholic Cemetery (newer section) both carrying the name St John's Roman Catholic Cemetery and St Joseph's Roman Catholic Cemetery in Everson. There is also a larger cemetery (non/denominational) bearing the name The Scottdale Cemetery.

The Owensdale United Methodist Church - UMC
originally The Evangelical United Brethren was built in 1884. And continues to exist today.

Please allow some time to research and I will forward any information.

...... I'm sorry but I haven't found any information at this time. Should I come 
across any, I will forward along. May your New Year be blessed with health and happiness.

Peace be with you,
Pastor Kim


Sister Susanne, St. John the Baptist Parish ,Fayette County PA, wrote:

Dear Mr Niehues,
Greetings from Scottdale, PA. We have looked through our records and found nothing pertaining to Paul Marnach. We also don't know where you might find info locally about where he might be buried. Burial records for the State of Pennsylvania are housed at:

Division of Vital Records
P O Box 1528
New Castle, PA 16103

We felt that was the best place for information. Hope your search is successful

Sincerely, Sister Susanne Chenot
Pastoral Associate
St. John the Baptist Parish 


Mails to Ken O'Neal 


... trying to find small family cemeteries in SWPennsylvania

Marlies wrote:

Dear Mr. O'Neal,

Dawne Temple thinks you might probably know the names and the owners of those private cemeteries (attached) in Owensdale PA. My son Wolfgang and I,  we would really appreciate your help! You can find a photo of Paul and friend in the photo gallery:  http://www.rootsweb.com/~pafayett/pictures/gallery2.htm

Friendly thoughts across the miles!
Marlies and Wolfgang Niehues from Germany

Ken O'Neal, Fayette County Genealogy Project, wrote:


Dear Marlies
My name is Ken O'Neal, I have been trying to find and record small family cemeteries in Fayette Co. I will do my best to find your uncle Paul Marnach. One thing you should know is that I do not have your uncle in cemeteries I have recorded.  

I will try to explain how things were / are done here, as I do believe it is very different than is done in Germany. Most of the old Private cemeteries are not maintained, with a few exceptions, and are overgrown with heavy brush. You must also realize there have not been any burials in these family cemeteries for over 100 years. 

Owensdale is now a small village of about 10 to 20 houses, In early 1900s when the coal mines and coke ovens were running there were about 100 houses, and was a thriving town. There are at least 3 large active cemeteries within a 5 mile radius of Owensdale and several old family cemeteries. Could it be he is there ? Does he have a marker ? Was he married ? Might be possible to find him through his wife.

Cemetery #1 on this map  
was the King Cemetery and was destroyed about 25 years ago, when the landowner cleared land with a bulldozer. I do not know if he was aware of the cemetery was there at time of clearing. I looked for stones several years ago and found none. I talked with landowner at the time, and they said they didn't know anything about a cemetery. I also talked to a Mr. King who told me that, his ancestors were buried there as were 15 or so others. Very possible Paul was buried there, or in 

Cemetery # 2
the Strickler Cem. I recorded it several years ago, but did not find Paul, but there were several stones that weathered so bad, they could not be read. Sending a picture of the cemetery I took recently and List of stones I found. Cem # 2 is Strickler Cem that I recorded and is in bad shape now.  Was there a month ago to take pictures of stones, is overgrown with briars. (Foto below by Ken O'Neal)

Cem # 3 
is Vance Cem was mostly destroyed by 1935 , by railroad going through it. It has been restored recently, but many of the original stones were not found, It was recorded about 40 years ago, and they gave names from a family Bible, of people who were buried there. They are all Vance and Strickler.

If Paul is buried in a family cemetery in Owensdale, I would think he would be in either the King or Strickler Cemeteries, but we can not be sure. Don't feel too bad, as I can;t find the graves of my great-grandparents, who are buried in Hill Grove cemetery, a large active cemetery, because they apparently did not have marker stones and records of burials were list many years ago, We Americans are not good at keeping records. Don't give up, and if you learn any more on your uncle, let me know , and I will do my best to find him, and send a picture of his stone.

Take care
Ken O'Neal

For stones sometimes crumble to dust ...

Marlies wrote to Ken:

Dear Ken,

I am really moved to tears about your long mail. Thank you so much, thank you for comforting me by telling me about your ggrandparents forgotten graves. I think there was no marker on Paul's grave, he was not married, our family in Germany only got to know (remember WW1): Paul died in Owensdale PA in December 1914 (no day!). We are really very grateful! Thank you once more!

Knowing since long your LETTER TO THE EDITOR and just read your message in
> about a used car dealer putting his junked cars on cemetery property for years, and > violating zoning laws. The county commissioners were / are checking on the >problem, or so they say, but so far NOTHING has changed.... 

On the one hand I am afraid my Uncle Paul Marnach might be buried in such junkyard cemetery, or perhaps we shall never get to know where, on the other hand I know: you are doing your job with all your heart. Thank you for your work, thanks to Christina and to Dawne as well!

Marlies (Marnach) Niehues from Germany

by Thelma Greene Reagan 

(...)Today we recorded for kith and kin - The graves of ancestors past;
To be preserved for generations hence, - A record we hope will last.
Cherish it, my friend; preserve it, my friend, - For stones sometimes crumble to dust - 
And generations of folks yet to come - Will be grateful for your trust.


Why there is no death record ...

Ken wrote:

Dear Marlies
One thing that you should keep in mind, is that he may not be buried in the family cemeteries in Owensdale , but in one of the numerous Catholic Cemeteries, I do see that you have checked on this, but records may be lacking there also. It is hard to understand why there is no death record. Could it be that being he was German, and possibly didn't speak English well, that his name was misspelled ? Where did you learn that he died in Owensdale of pneumonia in 1914 ? 

>From our oral family tradition, no written documents. Perhaps his father (my >grandfather) got a telephone call? But remember WW1, WW2, the long time ago, >when Paul died ... If you read the very beginning of "Gesucht wird Paul!" there is a >handwritten note by which my father (Paul's youngest brother) in the 1930s tries to >coordinate all family information about Paul, without results.

If there is no marker, could be he did have a marker made of wood, as that was fairly common in late 1800s and early 1900s. I would say that his grave would be very hard to find. -
My aunt had shown my sister the general area, of cemetery, where my grandparents were buried, from what she remembered being told, as a child. There are slight depressions that could be graves, but we have no way of knowing positively . I have my Family tree on line at http://worldconnect.rootsweb.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?db=ken_227  We are back to 1660s in Maryland , but haven't gotten back old Country. My father's side
was from Ireland, but most of maternal side of his family were either German or Welsh. On Mother's side the Eichers were from Austria and most grandmothers were German Dutch or English. So I have a Irish name, but have mostly German blood.  

>Yes, I guessed it, Ken O'Neal meaning Ken, son of Neill? 
>German blood, German heart? I think I felt your kindred spirit!? 
>Btw: I love those people from the celtic fringe! Our family's origin may be in >Caledonia in the Scottish Highlands!
The Clan story is only hypothetical, more or >less. Our name MARNACH, a rather rare name, you can find in former times as a >family name only in Luxemburg and - detected by FamilySearch - in the Scottish >Highlands, Aberdeenshire, derived from parish and church of an Iro-Scottish saint >there: Saint Marnach, - Marnoch is the corrupted English version.
Good night! Almost Good Morning! ... in Germany. Marlies

I wish I could have found more information on your uncle, but who knows still might find something, in future. I will keep the name in mind and let you know if I find anything.

Take care
Ken O'Neal



A Postcard to Dortmund, Germany

Marlies wrote:

Dear Ken,

just went to http://worldconnect.rootsweb.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?db=ken_227  
What a lot of people! What a lot of fateful stories behind! Most impressing
the portrait of Abraham Eicher in the old familyphotos, a good face! And
the powerful old lady, sister of your Granny?  and what a great mixture of ancestors! I think the most intelligent and flexible descendants come from people's combined qualities. 

I myself am such lucky mixture from Westphalia, from the Rhine, Ostpreussen, Luxemburg, possibly Caledonia... Attached the postcard's back written in Connellsville. Paul sent it on (Thursday) 17th of July 1913 to his parents in Dortmund, Germany, showing the photograph of
himself and another man sitting in an armchair. Beautiful handwriting, isn't it?

Take care! Marlies




Ken wrote:

Dear Marlies
I have learned that no matter how hard we might try to learn the facts, our ancestors have a way of keeping some from us. One thing I will mention is that there are 2 large active cemeteries with in 4 miles of Owensdale, but they are in Westmoreland County. Have you checked there ? ... 
looked at your Family Tree, and see you have gone back alot farther than I, 1500s WOW!. Only problem is, you with out a doubt, understand English better than I do German. I won't try to trace family across the pond, as that requires more time than I can spend on it. 

>I think you'll understand, looking at the many pictures and reading the scattered >English parts of the stories... 

As for the O'Neil / O'Neal clan, when my ancestors left Ireland, mid 1600s, there were too many with that name, for me to try to trace. When they came here they WERE Catholic, and had plantations in Maryland, but when it was ruled by the British that Catholic's could not own land most turned Protestant ( which most are today) or gave up their land and headed West.

Will keep my eyes and ears open, for any information on your uncle. One never knows, when or where he might turn up. Best of luck to you and your son in your search.

Take care


About Paul's Family

Marlies wrote:

Dear Ken,

> I have learned that no matter how hard we might try to learn the facts, our >ancestors have a way of keeping some from us. 

You are right, sigh! Please, let me tell you my idea of Paul Marnach ... hope not to bother you and to waste alltoomuch of your time.

Paul (2. left) was brought up in a well-to-do family in the 1900s in Dortmund, region of steel mills and coal mines, his father being a steel mill engineer and technical director of the APLERBECKER HÜTTE. But nevertheless Paul noticed the misery of the hardworking coal miners and workers in the steel mills and on the other hand the luxury and leisure of the rich people in Kaiserreich of Wilhelm 2.

>"A certain sense of pride of a hard days work for an honest dayspay still lives on in the mind set of >the Fayette County workforce, even to today. Robert Adamovich, Local Historian, PA"

Shouting revolutionary slogans (the town of Dortmund was a stronghold of Socialism, criminal association in those times!) and getting caught up in brawls he was no longer p.c. for his family and had to leave Germany. That's the way I see it, listening to our oral family tradition after almost 100 years. My father (Paul's youngest brother) died when I was 8 years old, my grandfather long before. I could not ask any eyewitness. In Owensdale, so I was told, Paul worked in his profession as a civil engineer or house carpenter (?), building administration buildings in CONNELLSVILLE??? or maybe for the coal miners in the Frick Comp coal patches???

Why do we know only vague facts? No wife asked for a Social Security pension, Paul died "December 1914" 25 years old of pneumonia after a car ride (???), 1914 beginning WW1, Germany cut off from all foreign connections. Paul's brothers being soldiers, his father, an old man, a lonely widower. How did he get to know that his son had died? Maybe months later, maybe by phone? Or by a message sent by some buddy of Paul? or told by a person returning from PA? Paul lived as a boarder in an miner's family, I suppose, or in an Owensdale boardinghouse, died in December, when the soil was frozen. Perhaps he was buried weeks or months later since you could not dig his grave? ... when the correct day of his death was long forgotten? - When I was a child, I listened to what was mentioned about Paul, but it was rather unimportant to me. Today I think it was a tragedy.

I have to apologize for this long sermon, please, excuse me! Thank you for your patience! I really appreciate it. Thank you for the fotos and the cemetery register you attached! Forgot to mention it, sorry!

Your grateful email pal Marlies from Germany

Foto: www.marnach.info ---> Kindheit am Apfelbaumbach, 
Paul Marnach und seine Geschwister und ihr Hund Trapp.

Ken wrote

Would seem that you did your homework well. I would think there would be a death or burial record somewhere, all we need to do is find it. I know records weren't kept as well in 1914 as they are now, but there should be a record. Next time I go to courthouse, I will check there to see if there might be a record of somekind. Will keep your messages and will contact you if I learn anything.

I have been enjoying the pictures on your Family Tree. You do have a informative site, even if I can't read German. I don't have a webpage yet, but plan on having one in near future. My cousin who lives in Ohio, has one at http://www.onealwebsite.com/  He has alot of family and other info. there.

>When I first spotted your Ohio cousin riding that roaring bike I never expected a >story like this! Looking forward to reading your own website! Thank you for going >on looking for a record of Paul Marnach!

Take care

Thank you for being a friend!

Ken wrote:

Dear Marlies
 Sorry to take so long to get back to you, but have been away over the weekend. I see that Wolfgang was in Owensdale, and Connellsville, and took some good pictures. The Vance cemetery is about 1/2 mile down the railroad tracks, from where he took pictures, and the other cemetery (Strickler) is about 1/2 mile behind him when he took the picture of the overpass, The King Cemetery was about 1/2 mile foreword and to left of the overpass. He was almost in the middle of the possible burial places for Paul . If he would get back this way, let me know, as I would like to meet him, and show him around the area. 

I did enjoy seeing your site! You have some pictures of Connellsville that I have not seen before. I was born and have lived in Connellsville area all of my life. I retired from Anchor Glass Corp. in 1997 after working there 38 years. Please keep in contact, and I will do best to see if I can find anything on the death and hopefully, burial place for him. 

As for the fact of him being German and WW I starting, I do not think there was hostility toward German people, in this area, because most of population, in this area, was either of German descent, or had relatives and friends that were. So I don't think he would have been treated any differently, than anyone else. Just can't figure why record of his death is so hard to find.

Take care
Your friend Ken 

>Thank you for being a friend!
>Your friend Marlies

Foto: Cherokee Rose, www.traceablecreations.com 


Marlies wrote:

Dear Ken,
It's just that I don't want to take away even more of your time. We already feel indebted to you, really appreciating all the work you do for us. I am very happy to have found you in cyberspace! Thank you very much for the fotos! Will it be okay if I copy part of your article about Fayette County & Surrounding County Coal Mines including the author's name for the Paul story? and the Company store as well? Your opinion is the same as mine: legalized slavery! But I dared not say so at first, being a foreigner, not accustomed to the region's past.

I wanted to say nothing about hostility (a little misunderstanding!), "1914 beginning WW1, Germany cut off from all foreign connections." I do know that an important part of PA is of German Dutch Austrian origin. But after WW1 outbreak sending overseas messages to and fro Germany was no longer possible, not via France or via Great Britain! Perhaps via Scandinavia? much more difficult.


emembering German emigrants who settled in Pennsylvania.

Marlies wrote in February 2007:

Dear Chris, dear Dawne, dear Ken,
greetings from our German home country Northrhine-Westphalia to Fayette County Genealogy Project! If you would like, please, read the article below (abridged).
Best wishes, Marlies

Cooperation Agreement Signed for Energy Sector
Minister President Rüttgers in Pennsylvania

During his visit to the United States, the minister president of Northrhine-Westphalia [Germany's most populated and most industrialized state], Jürgen Rüttgers and governor Ed Rendell signed an agreement in Pittsburgh on extending the cooperation with the state of Pennsylvania. The main topic: structural change and energy.

Rüttgers chose Pennsylvania as destination for this year's trip to the United States, because he wanted to learn more about how this region is made from a coal and steel region into a technology hub [the main region of Northrhine-Westphalia, the Ruhr Area, undergoes the same changes]. He said that he learned a lot about successfully organizing such a transitional process, similar to the one he plans for the Ruhrgebiet.

Both Rüttgers and Rendell emphasized the similarities between the German and the American state. Rüttgers pointed out that both states are connected by having a long tradition of coal and steel industry. Rendell went back as far as the 17th century, remembering German emigrants who settled in Pennsylvania.


From: www.wdr.de
Translation and photo by Wolfgang Niehues, Dortmund, Germany.

Photo: Former metallurgical plant in the Ruhr Area, today artistically illuminated as a Monument of the Industrial Age.

Telegrams in the 1910s

1.  It must be remembered that a telegram  (handwritten in former times!)  is transmitted letter by letter and sent

2.  .....transformed into the Telegraph key, also known as the Morse key, a generic term for any switching device used primarily to send Morse code. Similar keys are used for all forms of manual telegraphy.

-- --- ·-· ··· · / -·-· --- -·· ·
M O R S E (space) C O D E                               

3.  The Telegraph key has to be re-transformed into letters (handwritten in former times!) and words  for the telegram's recipient.......)

Telegraph Operators

"Telegraph operators, like post office employees, are expert in reading handwriting,
 but even so, words cannot be guessed at. If you write the word "opportunity" very clearly as far as "oppo" and the rest of the word is a mere scribble, it cannot be transmitted in that fashion. It must be "opportunity" or nothing. If you sign your name "John" followed by a series of hen tracks, neither can that be transmitted. You may have intended the word for "Johnson," but you cannot reasonably expect the telegraph employee to be a mind reader as well as an operator." 
(after A Small Booklet by Nelson E. Ross, 1928)

Till the end of the 1900s sending a telegram was the best way to announce important, mostly unforeseen events as fast as possible: death, birth, sudden voyages.

From: www.wdr.de
Fernschreiberinnen bei der Arbeit, Stich um 1880 ... ob die Mädels wirklich täglich so aufgedonnert zum Dienst erschienen? eher unwahrscheinlich.


A Postwoman

After all I suppose my grandfather got the message about Paul's death by a HANDWRITTEN telegram, transmitted letter by letter, delivered by a postwoman or a postman. Therefore some misspelling and the missing day of death? It is only hypothetical, trying to solve the enigma.  

Did you ever know how telegrams were sent in those times? handwritten! no typewriter! no telephone easily  available, no Internet, not even a Telex Machine, but Morse Code - Telegraph Key  for transmitting a telegram! On top of it all: There were no capital letters in the Telegraph key, and ...  the telegraph operator in Germany did not know the American state abbreviations, I suppose? ... maybe he did not even speak the English language as a LINGUA FRANCA? We modern people forget how things got done in bygone times.

From: www.wdr.de 


A Sketchy Note

Many mistakes when writing and when getting and reading the message as well! That was what I discovered only some days ago! I was perplexed. Now we could explain perhaps why our Grandfather only got this sketchy note. The date of death missing, perhaps some numbers escaped when crossing the Atlantic by Morse Code - Telegraph Key!??? Only "December 1914". Not telling the US State where Owensdale belonged to, only NORDAMERIKA, written perhaps Na instead of Pa. 
Written in Telegraph key letter 
P looks like this:  P
· - - ·      N looks like this:  N - · 
N being the 2nd half of P! Easily causing a mix-up! ... Believe me, it's a detective story!

Attached a telegram from abt 1914, the year when Paul died. Very difficult to read! a sad message from the British War Office in London to Teignmouth in Devon reporting  that the Irish Genadier Captain E.R. Cooke was killed. Signed by Lord Kitchener, died in 1916

War Office London
TO Cooke Grenadiers Teignmouth Devon

Deeply regret to inform you
that Capt E. R. Cooke
Irish Grenadiers was killed in
action 26 th april Lord Kitchener
expresses his sympathy

                                Secretary War Office 



More Mails


Why it would be hard for you to know more

Ken wrote:

I can see why it would be hard for you to know more about Paul's death. As for taking my time, I don't mind at all, in fact I enjoy hearing from you. In the Winter I spend alot of time on the computer, working on Family Tree, and other things. Come Spring I will be busy trying to find old family cemeteries, to post online. Once the plants are up and in full leaves, I won't hunt cemeteries, unless I have very good directions to them, as stones are hard to see in dense foliage. You asked Will it be okay if I copy part of your article about Fayette?

Marlies, You can do what ever you want with the information and pictures, Will send note of old mines and coke ovens. There were many coke ovens at Owensdale, but most have been removed now, and land is used for other things.

You also said Your opinion is the same as mine: legalized slavery! I believe in telling things, the way I see them. even if others would rather I didn't. I'm glad you agree.

Keep in contact, and don't worry about taking my time, if I'm busy, it might take longer to get back to you, that's all.

Take care

The Lookout Rock

Marlies wrote:

Dear Ken,

thank you for your message and the fotos! ... and for your kind words! Just updated the Paul Story. If you would like to read, please, go to the chapters TRÜBE GEDANKEN and WOLFGANG MEINT. Hope you will say: okay!

Did you ever see this Paul foto? He (left) is sitting on a gorgeous cliff somewhere in Fayette County, I suppose.

After all I think: "Ken lived in Connellsville area all of his life. He is a devoted Historian and Genealogist. If there will be a note about Paul Marnach wheresoever ... Ken will trace it."

Take care!  Marlies 

Ken wrote:

You do have some interesting pictures from this area of Fayette County. Yes, I saw the picture, of Paul on the rock. and have been trying to think where it might be. It might be at Casparis, but I'm not sure. You have a picture of Lookout Rock overlooking the Youghogheny River Valley. This is the river that runs through Connellsville. You also have a picture of the "Casparis Caves" that were actually holes drilled into the rock to extract stones for the Stone Quarry that was there. 

In late 1800s and early 1900s Casparis was a active thriving town that had many houses and a school. My grandfather worked there in early 1900s. All has been gone for many years, My father was born at Casparis, and my g-grandfather owned a farm there too. The old foundation of his house is still there. 

Take care and keep up the good work

Your Friend in Pennsylvania 


... love this statement!

Marlies wrote:

Dear Ken,

thank you for bringing me back to reality, thank you for being patient when I was whining about my forgotten Paul. It's no use crying over spilt milk, right?

You say: "I don't like the way things are being done now ..." You yourself know, things in the past were not better, rather worse. Remember your ardent speech about coal miners and company stores (I really do love this statement!): legalized slavery! I myself would not wish back times when persons were not allowed - by the pope, or under the reign of some criminal moron, or of some greedy company owner - to think for themselves. To hell with those times!
Let us sum up: we shall not dig up Paul's final restingplace  - most probably in one of the three Owensdale cemeteries - neither find a tombstone nor a grave mark nor a note in a written cemetery register.  There is one source left Rossi tried to make use of in 2001 in the Carnegie Library: an entry in any register, written or printed, in any orbituary, archive, Newspaper, Funeral Service about Paul - or at least about an epidemic Flue towards the end of 1914 in Fayette County, C'ville or Owensdale ... Maybe Rossi was not familiar enough with Connellsville region to succeed. People in the Carnegie Library told about such epidemic Flue in 1914. I wonder if they were right or if they were speaking of the Spanish Flue outbreaking in 1918.

Hope Allegheny River at Pittsburgh, supposed to get near freezing next week, and the cold weather keep you at home in front of your computer, sending mails! Winter in Region of the Ruhr happened on a Thursday morning 2/8 this year. The Daffodils' green is already coming up. But weather is still cold and dark.

Take care!

Your Friend in Germany, 



A Farm in Owensdale


Dawne wrote:

Hi Marlies,

Tonight I had dinner with friends who live near Owensdale. I told them about Paul and one of my friends told me that he knows an elderly man who lives on a farm in Owensdale. He is going to ask him if he knows anything about Paul or where he might be buried. So I am hoping that this will lead to something, but can't be sure.



Marlies wrote:

Dear Dawne,

thank you for remembering me, thank you for remembering Paul! Thanks to your friends as well! Hope the elderly gentleman on the farm saved something in his mind about bygone times in Owensdale. He cannot be an eye witness of Paul, but perhaps his farming parents or grandparents bumped into Paul, between January 1912 and end of 1914?

Greetings from Germany!


Old Postcard of Owensdale

Ken wrote:

I found A old postcard of Owensdale (1923) on E-Bay while looking for Paul.
It is still there at.



My son recently subscribed to Ancestry.com. There you can see old newspapers, and census records. Paul wouldn't be in census records, because they are taken every 10 years. I could not find anything on him in papers. I haven't gone to the Uniontown Library yet, but will soon. Will look to see if I still have telegram.

I have been looking for Paul, was hoping to surprise you, when I sent the info.

Take care

Marlies wrote:

Hi Ken,

I should rely on my first impression of you, when I wrote to Dawne :
he is a jewel. You really are! Your silent friendship touched my heart again. You were "hoping to surprise me". You did not forget my Paul! Thank you so much!  M

Many unrecorded deaths a hundred years ago

Ken wrote:


I was told of a cemetery on a farm in Franklin Twp., at the Genealogy meeting. Turns out it was near my friend's homeplace, and she knew the owner. We talked to him, and he told us that there was one baby, and a 16 year old girl buried "without markers" in the orchard. The girl was his aunt, she died in 1918, from the Spanish flu. The amazing thing is, he said the death was NOT reported, so there would be no record. I wonder if that is what happened to Paul.

I told about problem finding Paul at Genealogy meeting. The head of the Society is going to a conference in a week or so, and asked for info, so he can see what he can find. I gave him info you gave me, about Paul, and LINK to his webpage. He also said that there were many unrecorded deaths a hundred years ago, and wasn't surprised you could find no record.

Take care

Patrick Trimble, Fayette County Genealogy Project, wrote:

Top of the day to All,

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania did not require birth, death or marriages records until 1886. Between 1886 and 1906 the burden of maintaining these records were by the individual counties. In 1906 the state took over the birth and death reporting/recording tasks.

Between 1886 and 1906 the nearest 'justice of the peace' or 'local city official' was notified of a birth or death (notification was not always done). Once a year the justice of the peace would report to the county his records for that year as to births and deaths.

Ken will tell you that many of the early burials are in plots on the family farms in this area.

Enjoy, Pat

Marlies wrote:

Dear Ken, dear Mr Trimble,
thank you very much for your mails and quick responses!

Patrick Trimble wrote:
> Ken will tell you that many of the early burials are in plots on the
> family farms in this area.

Ken did. The problem is: we don't know in which plot Paul may be buried, who was the owner then, and who is the owner today? And: Did the present owner still keep the old records?

Ken O'Neal wrote:
> Marlies & Rossi
> Looking at the NO RECORD CERTIFICATION. I wonder if there might be a
> chance of finding a record if you ONLY used Paul Marnach, as a name for
> search. ... Did you use full name both times ?

No, we didn't use full names both times. We had the same idea as you: too many names. For the second time we filled in PAUL as first name, ALOYSIUS as middle name, MARNACH as last name. But we dared not write ONLY Paul Marnach and nothing else. (Maria as 2nd Middle name is confusing, especially for a boy, isn't it? Hilarious German custom.)

Forwarded your mails to Rossi, waiting for his answer. We are very grateful for your help, thank you once more! Wishing you a fine long weekend,

Marlies Niehues née Marnach


                   "That Lonesome Road"                  

Walk down that lonesome road all by yourself
Don't turn your head back over your shoulder
And only stop to rest yourself when the silver moon
Is shining high above the trees ...

"That Lonesome Road" by James Taylor
as sung by Dixie Chicks 


Graphic arts by Boston Mountain Publishing


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