Years ago there was a radio show called "I Love a Mystery." Genealogists are probably today's greatest lovers of mysteries because they plunge so readily into the unknown, often spending decades in a quest.
Let's see if we can help Neil and Dorothy Weir, who found a century-old family photo, bearing a Wilkes-Barre photo studio's name, but little other information.
"We have a photo of five children whose names we think were William, Beatrice, Harry, Charles and Fred. We do not have the surname of these children, but we think the mother's maiden name may have been Clara Appleton, and she was born about 1860 in Philadelphia."
The Weirs have a family story that Clara's people emigrated to America about 1856 and were involved in jelly/jam manufacturing.
Neil and Dorothy, I did spot an 1874 "Genealogy of the Appleton Family" online. It lists many Appletons in Britain of the early 1800s. Let me know if you find anything familiar in it.
If you have information you think can help the Weirs contact me at the email address at the end of this column.
Progress Report: Recently Brinley Crahall wrote to me for help in identifying the family that left a quantity of letters and other papers in a home that Crahall's family bought in Courtdale. In response, Ronalee Schall sent me a collection of sources and other information that she believes could be of help to Crahall in his quest. Brinley, I'm forwarding Ronalee's information to you immediately.
Resources: The Northeast Pennsylvania Genealogical Society has started its project of digitizing old Hazleton-area newspapers. The group has also added the Forty Fort Cemetery interment book and lot book and the Wyoming Cemetery lot cards. Also digitized are several years of the old Nanticoke Sentinel newspaper from the 1930s.
Tip: I've said it before and I'll say it again: You'll find a lot of help for your genealogical pursuits in the pages and the online offerings of Family Tree Magazine. The bi-monthly publication offers reams of articles, websites, webinars, courses and other helps — including some highly specialized ones such as research in specific cities —in every issue. Take a look at its website at www.familytreemagazine.com.
News Notes: Take a walk on the weird side when the Luzerne County Historical Society opens its 2012 series of "Downtown Wilkes-Barre Ghost Tours." The walks are at night, of course. They'll be held on Friday and Saturday evenings, starting this week, with more scheduled for the following two weekends. Reservations are required, so call the society at 823-6244 ext. 3 or go to facebook.com/luzernehistory.
Tracing Quaker ancestors? Check out "Finding Friends in Pennsylvania," a webinar offered through the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania. It's set for 7-8:30 p.m. on Oct. 24. The cost is modest. Register online at www.genpa.org.
• Don't miss Tom Jesso's talk on "Shawnee Cemetery: A Cemetery Steeped in History" at the next meeting of the Northeast Pennsylvania Genealogical Society. The meeting, open to the public, is at 7 p.m. on Oct. 23 in Room 106 of the McGowan Building, King's College. The McGowan Building is at North River and West Union streets in downtown Wilkes-Barre. Jesso heads the Shawnee Cemetery Preservation Association.
• Jonathan Stayer will discuss "Genealogical Resources at the Pennsylvania State Archives" at the next meeting of the Genealogical Society of Northeastern Pennsylvania. The meeting will be at 1 p.m. on Oct. 20 at the society's Research Center, 1100 Main St., Peckville. Contact the society at 383-7661 to reserve a seat. The wesbsite is www.grsnp.org.
Tom Mooney is a Times Leader genealogy columnist. Reach him at email@example.com