Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Where Can I Look for Records for the Pittsburgh Area Circa 1775?

Found in Ancestry's database, "U.S., Atlantic Ports Seamen's Protection Certificates, 1792-1869"; originally from The National Archives and Records Administration; Washington, D.C.; Proofs of Citizenship Used to Apply for Seamen's Certificates for the Port of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1792-1863.  These certificates can also be found for free in the image-only "Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Seamen's Proofs of Citizenship, 1791-1861" at FamilySearch.

My 4th great grandfather Solomon Hartley reported being born "at Pitsborough in the Commonwealth [of Pennsylvania]" according to his seaman's certificate.  If he was about 28 years old as of November 3, 1803, then he was likely born about 1775.


"Sollomoan Hartley to his certain knowledge was Born at Pitsborough"


Although his son's William and Abner reported that their father's place of birth was either Germany or Poland in the 1880 Census, I do have this one piece of evidence pointing to him being possibly born in the colonies at the eve of the American Revolution.

This means that he is saying that his mother, a woman whose name has remained completely unknown to modern descendants, was somewhere out in the Pittsburgh area before it was Pittsburgh.  It is unknown to me if she was married (although I have just assumed so up to now that Solomon's parent were together at this point, possibly a Mr. and Mrs. George Hartley).

One thing that becomes clear after a while is that that area was not conveniently assigned to just one area--it was in some gray jurisdiction between Pennsylvania (from Cumberland (?) to Bedford (1771) to Westmoreland (1773) to Alleghany (1788) county) and Virginia (West Augusta District)*.


I am going to start looking at records at the Historic Pittsburgh site and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, and try to get a handle on what types of information are even possible to ascertain about that area in that time, and what people lived there.  My lack of education of the history of Pennsylvania and Virginia is showing.




*see the moving county borders at MapofUS - Pennsylvania.



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