Thursday, March 05, 2009

Researching Slovak Genealogy through Pittsburgh

I've been researching my family's genealogy for a number of years. Today, I happened upon an interesting book at Amazon, Slovak Pittsburgh PA (Images of America) by Lisa A. Alzo. The family of my grandmother, Julia Kovach Nagy, came to the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area from Eastern Europe.
No other city in the United States is home to more Slovaks than Pittsburgh. It is estimated that close to 100,000 Slovak immigrants came to the area in the 1890s looking for work and the chance for a better life. The hills and valleys of this new land reminded newcomers of the farms, forests, and mountains they left behind. They lived in neighborhoods close to their work, forming numerous cluster communities in such places as Braddock, Duquesne, Homestead, Munhall, the North Side, Rankin, and Swissvale.

Once settled, Slovak immigrants founded their own churches, schools, fraternal benefit societies, and social clubs. Many of these organizations still enjoy an active presence in Pittsburgh today, serving to pass on the customs and traditions of the Slovak people. Through nearly 200 photographs, Slovak Pittsburgh celebrates the lives of those Slovaks who settled in Pittsburgh and western Pennsylvania, and the rich heritage that is their legacy.

Lisa A. Alzo is the author of this interesting book, having written much about immigrant history. Not only is she a native of Pittsburgh, but she is a freelance writer, instructor, and lecturer.

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