Saturday, February 4, 2012

Ten year mystery solved ????? Or just more questions !!!!

     I found this old cabinet card photograph at least ten years ago in a cardboard box of items that once belonged to my paternal grandmother, Sarah Margaret VanGilder Hughes.  The mystery--who are these people? 

     It made sense to me that the baby was my paternal grandmother with her parents, George Ethelbert VanGilder and Jessica Pool VanGilder.  The question was...why did they go from Morgantown, West Virginia to McKeesport, Pennsylvania to have a photograph taken?  Were there family members living in McKeesport that they were visiting and while there, decided to have the local photographer take the picture?

     Although I haven't come to a definite conclusion to this photo mystery, I have recently found a piece of information that gives me a clue.  Once again I am turning to those newly added Pittsburgh City Directories that are on  I think I have put every possible Pittsburgh family name into the search engine.  On a whim, I decided to try the surname "Pinyerd".  John A. and Sarah Pool Pinyerd lived in North Charleroi, Pennsylvania in the early 1900's and although North Charleroi is quite a ways down the Monongahela River from Pittsburgh, it was worth a shot. 

     Up came this record!  John A Pinyerd did live in McKeesport, Pennsylvania in 1897.  WHOA!!!  Unfortunately, this is the only city directory with their name listed.  Sarah Pool Pinyerd was my paternal great grandmother's sister.   I do know that Sarah Pinyerd was back in Morgantown, West Virginia on the 1900 census.  If the Pinyerd's were still living in McKeesport in 1899, that baby could be my grandmother OR this could be a picture of John and Sarah Pinyerd with their little daughter that died as an infant or child.

     The man in the photograph appears to have brown eyes.  The few photos I have of my paternal great grandfather show him with light eyes, probably blue.  The woman in the photograph favors my paternal great grandmother, but her face is somewhat fuller in photos I have that were taken during the late 1890's. 

     My money is on the Pinyerds; however, I will never probably know for sure.  They had no descendants.

Additional Pinyerd blogs on Flipside:

John A. Pinyerd

Sarah Ann Pool Pinyerd

I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU. All comments are welcome; however, if they are inappropriate, they will not be published.   PLEASE post your e-mail in the comment section if you would like to network about a particular surname or topic. I will capture it for my use only and not include it when I publish your comment.
© 2012, copyright Linda Hughes Hiser


  1. Would it help or hurt your theory to think about the fact that a 1897 directory may have taken 1 to 2 years to come to the public, meaning that they may have been living there in 1895 to 1896, not 1897??

    Some of my directory listings overlap census, they are not on the, say, 1910 census, but, are listed in the 1910 and even the 1911 directories for that locality.

    Just like our phone books, it takes a year or so to appear in one after you change your phone number or move, same idea.