The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


August 6, 2009

Quilts: A study in genealogy

LEWISBURG — The Packwood House Museum, 15 N. Water St., Lewisburg, is sponsoring a three-day Quilt Weekend Aug. 21-23.

The event, along with the museum’s current quilt exhibit “Pennsylvania Quilts: Studies in Color,” on display through Oct. 24, looks to showcase the area’s past in regard to special events, culture and heritage.

One of the museum’s strongest links to the past is a quilt that was brought into the public eye earlier this year. The quilt, likely from the 19th century, is on display at the museum and features 312 names.

After these names were revealed in The Daily Item in May, quilt exhibit co-chair Ruth Burnham, of Lewisburg, was contacted by several people and stories about those listed on the quilt have begun to emerge. Any information helps in determining when the quilt was created.

“A woman in Mifflinburg sent me some important genealogical information. She listed five members of one family, and (for) the youngest of them, she gave me a birth date, so we know the quilt could not have been made before that date,” Burnham said.

Searching for knowledge

In addition to people sharing stories about the names on the quilt, others are reaching out to the museum for information about their own family histories.

“I got a call from a man in Pittsburgh whose name is Harold Donachy IV. The name Harold Donachy appears on the quilt twice — we don’t know if this was a mistake or father (and) son. But Donachy IV called asking me if I had any genealogical information on the Donachys mentioned on the quilt,” Burnham said.

The quilt also links the past and present. When Burnham researched the name Mrs. F. Donehower, she discovered the Donehowers “were merchants and had been merchants in Lewisburg (for) 130 years … not always the same kind, but still merchants.”

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