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This year we will be exploring our roots. We will be learning more about where we came from as part of the bigger community (Pittsburgh, America), the local community (Upper St. Clair) and learn ways to explore our own family community.



March 22, 2015 Presentation

2pm - Upper St. Clair Community and Recreation Center

1700’s - The Roots of Pittsburgh – Dr. Daniel P. Barr


Daniel P. Barr is a professor of early American history at Robert Morris University. Barr earned a bachelor's degree in history in 1994 and a master's in history in 1996 from Slippery Rock University, as well as a doctorate in Early American History from Kent State University in 2001.  Dr. Barr will be presenting on his book,  “A Colony Sprung from Hell: Pittsburgh and the Struggle for Authority on the Western Pennsylvania Frontier, 1744-1794”.


After 10 years of work, Barr finished this book about the Revolution-era power struggle between Virginia and Pennsylvania over the territory that became Western Pennsylvania. He explored the roots of our city and the unique circumstances that drew the region into the American Revolution and set the stage for the Whiskey Rebellion. Barr traces some of Western Pennsylvania's modern character to this era of tumultuous isolation.

His previous books include Unconquered: The Iroquois League at War in Colonial America and The Boundaries between Us: Natives and Newcomers along the Frontiers of the Old Northwest Territory, 1750-1850 (The Kent State University Press, 2006).




April 26, 2015 Presentation

2pm  - Upper St. Clair Community and Recreation Center

1900’s - Our American Roots – Julie Agar


More information to come.


May 16, 2015 Upper St. Clair Community Day

12-4 – Gilfillan Farm


Marilyn Cocchiola Holt, MLS, President-Elect and Program Chair of the Western Pennsylvania Genealogical Society will be available for general questions about genealogy. She will follow-up this visit with a more detailed presentation/workshop on June 28, 2015.


May 31, 2015 Presentation and Hike

2pm - Gilfillan Farm

Some Local Tree Roots - Dianne Machesney


Dianne Machesney is an amateur botanist, a certified Master Gardener from Penn State University, and treasurer of the Wissahickon Nature Club.  Now that she and her husband Bob are retired they spend more time outdoors in search of birds, butterflies and plants. 

She will be speaking on the “Trees of Pennsylvania” giving an overview of the trees generally found in our local forests.  In this presentation the common uses of trees, preferred environments, pests and the interrelation of trees will be discussed. Following her presentation, Machesney will be taking us on a walking tour of the Gilfillan Farm, identifying the trees right here in our own backyard.


June 28, 2015 – Presentation

2pm - Upper St. Clair Community and Recreation Center

Today – Climbing Your Family Tree: Beginning Genealogy


An introduction to the process involved in searching for family roots: how to find the who, when, and where of your family!  Beginning with information gathering from family tradition and oral history interviews, the methodology of recording, organizing, and storing your family history is reviewed. Resources discussed will include census schedules, vital records and courthouse resources, church and cemetery records, military records, and immigration and naturalization.

Marilyn Cocchiola Holt, MLS, is Department Head of the Pennsylvania Department of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and currently serves as President-Elect and Program Chair of the Western Pennsylvania Genealogical Society. She is also an Honorary Vice-President of the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania. Raised in Baldwin Borough, her undergraduate and graduate degrees are from the University of Pittsburgh. Ms. Holt has worked with genealogical patrons for 30 years and has presented numerous programs on local and family history topics, as well as teaching courses on genealogy since 1988.








Gilfillan House Tours

Tours of the Gilfillan House can be scheduled upon request. Please contact us via e-mail or phone to inquire about a tour.


For more information, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..