Whenever I have research (for myself or for a client) in an area where I'm not familiar with the records, I go to the APG Directory and look for someone who is there in the area. Although I was in Pittsburgh this last summer for the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh I did not get a chance to explore the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh as I had planned. So when I got home I checked the directory to get the email address for Suzanne Johnston, in order to request research. I needed some obituaries from the Pittsburgh newspapers, and it wasn't long after I'd emailed her until I had a link to a Dropbox folder filled with records:
This created a terrific opportunity for me to illustrate how to hire another researcher for the presentation I'm preparing on Finding and Using Historic Newspapers. (Multitasking at its finest!) I went to look at Suzanne's directory entry again, and was immediately struck by her educational background: a BS in Speech and Hearing, and an MA in Audiology.
This was very significant to me, because the same client that I had Suzanne do the Pittsburgh research for, has a set of great-great grandparents who were deaf, and who attended the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf between 1848 and 1858.
I sent her another email, explaining what I needed, and asking if she knew where the records for the school were. She sent me the link to the Gallaudet University Library Archives, which has the records for the school from 1816-1984.
In no time at all, I had the answer to my question - and all I had to do was ask another expert!
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