An interesting source for documenting a lost branch of your family is the Alaska Pioneer Home registers. A home for infirmed and destitute pioneer men was founded in 1913 in abandoned U.S. Marine barracks in Sitka. Other homes were founded much later.
Who Were the Alaska Pioneers
Who were these men? Many came to Alaska seeking their fortune in the gold rushes, only to find themselves busted and broke. They came from all over the world and when they found themselves destitute they never went home. Their families, often wives and children, never heard from them again. They came from all over Alaska to the Sitka Home where they lived their remainder of their lives.
The records are simple but provide important insights. For example, in 1914, Peter Farrell from Iditarod was admitted. He was born in Ireland on 25 April 1847 and had arrived in Alaska in 1894. In 1916, Edward J. Taylor from Ketchikan was admitted. He was born in Ireland on 8 April 1856. He had arrived in Alaska on 9 August 1897. The variety of men from around the world who can be found admitted to the Sitka Pioneer Home is enough to make any researcher pause and reflect.
The Sitka Pioneer Home Records
There are several places where the admission registers have been transcribed. An old publication is History of the Alaska Pioneer Home 1913-1962 (196?) a typescript published in the 1960s takes a history of the Sitka Home from 1913-1962). A newer more complete work is Robert N. DeArmond’s Roster of Residents. Sitka Pioneers’ Home, 1913-1993 (1994).
These sources can lead to others to supplement the information from the Sitka Home. An excellent textbook for identifying other resources is (2001), by Connie Malcolm Bradbury and David Albert Hales.
If you would like to learn more about Alaska family history or your genealogy in general check us out here
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