PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — You never know what you’ll find when you dig into the family archives.
Louise Silk shares photographic memories with archival assistant Eric Lidji, at Heinz History Center.
“I just felt like it was sitting in my house,” she says. “It really wasn’t very useful for me. And maybe it would be preserved in a way that would be useful.”
“Through this, we can look at the family collection of 166 families from across western Pennsylvania,” archivist Susan Melnick says, as she scrolls through a History Center website.
She says Louise Silk’s ancestors, family name Shapiro, are among the Jewish family histories funded by a grant from philanthropist Richard Rauh.
“We’ve had the opportunity to showcase our family collections, and provide access to those collections, to people over the Internet.”
The program is called “Generation to generation: Rauh Jewish Archives.”
“Photographs, synagogue records, business records, and they’re all here for people to learn from and to document Jewish life in this region,” the archivist adds.
We learn that Louise Silk’s immigrant grandfather founded National Record Mart. The stores are gone now. The photos are not.
Thousands of Jewish families live in western Pennsylvania. Generations of stories yet to be told. Like the memories of the Shapiro family, frozen in time.
“I’m happy to share it,” Louise Silk concludes. “I don’t mind sharing it. But the more important thing is that I have access to it, and to know it will be here forever.”