Thursday, March 26, 2015

Lord I Want To Un-see This

     Have you ever stumbled across something so revolting, that the more you tried to forget it, the more firmly it became ingrained in your imagination?  Well it happened again tonight.  I was browsing a newspaper, circa 1943, from my hometown when this jumped out at me, (the article, not the opossum)--

     Arthur Worden was the product of my third great-grandfather Paul Worden's second marriage, born when G-pa Paul was nearly 50 years old.  I mention this only because Web MD notes it could help explain Arthur's peculiar dining habits.  Arthur was not a destitute person in need of a meal; he lived in upstate New York, worked for the Lehigh Valley Railroad, and also did some farming.  And he ate least it was free range.

     Horrified, yet fascinated, I checked the net for roast possum recipes, and believe it or not there were plenty, like this one I found at (I swear)--
     First catch the possum.  Dress it, (will business casual work?), and soak it in salt water for 6-12 hours depending on size and age of possum.  Drain, then parboil in salt water for half an hour.  Prepare stuffing and stuff possum, then place in baking pan with a little water and roast for 15 to 20 minutes. Pour off liquid and reserve, (I'm not making this up), for future use.  Lay sweet potatoes around possum.  Place bacon strips over and around possum and pour reserved liquid over all, let bake an hour longer.

     Nowhere does the recipe suggest killing the possum before you parboil it, but that seems the kindest course of action.  

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Happy Saint Patrick's Day! And A Tip

     Wishing all of you a happy day as we celebrate our proud heritage.  This link will take you to a booklet put together by Claire Santry at Irish Genealogy News, listing all the Irish resources that came online in 2014.  

                        Beanna htaí na Féile Pádraig oraibh! 
                        St. Patrick's Day blessings upon you!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

The Quigley Kids Are All Accounted For

St. Patrick's Cathedral Rochester, NY

     I very recently discovered, quite by accident after browsing DNA results, that my great-great-grandmother Maria McGarr O'Hora's younger sister Anne McGarr Quigley had emigrated to America just like her three older sisters Maria, Bridget and Catherine.  Those accidental finds are the best, they stop you dead in your tracks and what a rush, genealogically speaking.

     Anna was enumerated in the 1892 New York State census, living in Rochester, NY with two of her sons; that along with subsequent research proved she was who I believed her to be.  Using census records, and obituaries found at the Old Fulton Postcards site, I was able to locate all the Quigley children who appeared in the baptismal registers of Baltinglass Parish in County Wicklow; the microfilm of which I had rented a few years back from the LDS.  All of them except Sarah that is.  

     The 1900 census noted that Anna was the mother of five children who were all living, so Sarah was alive and well and out there somewhere.  But being the curious sort I wanted needed to know where!  Did she come over with her mother, brothers and sisters, or was she still in Ireland?  Late last night I was running some newspaper searches for Mary Deyo, the married name of one of Anna's daughters, and a grainy obituary from the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle popped up, it read:

Friday morning, April 25, 1907, at her home 65 Champlain St., Sarah, widow of Martin Tobin.  She leaves her mother Mrs. Anna Quigley; three sons George Raymond, John Elmer and Martin Francis Tobin; two sisters, Mrs. Anna Hennessey of Kansas and Mrs. Mary Deyo of Rochester, and two brothers John and Daniel Quigley.

     Bingo! I had proof the entire family, except the father James Quigley who died in Ireland, had emigrated.  I'm sure I didn't find Sarah's obituary earlier because the print quality was so poor that previous searches for her mother and brother's names did not bring it up.  Finding Sarah's married name of course meant that I needed to find her in census records, passenger lists, other news articles, etc. etc.  No wonder I'm always sleepy.  I learned that Sarah married Martin Tobin at St. Patrick's Cathedral on 24 June1885, just a few years after her arrival in America.  But where was St. Patrick's Cathedral?  I've lived in Rochester suburbs all my life, there is no cathedral named St. Patrick's.  Our cathedral is Sacred Heart.

     Running another search, I soon discovered St. Patrick's was the first Catholic parish established in Rochester, before it even was Rochester, and St. Patrick's Cathedral was the last in a line of ever larger churches built in that steadily growing parish.  The property was purchased by Kodak and the cathedral was demolished in 1937.  Being from the area, I found the article fascinating.  You may not, but I include the link if you'd like to read more.  Actually, it's very interesting just as a short study of an early Irish Catholic parish even if you're not a local, so maybe check it out.

     See what I mean about accidental discoveries?

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Friday's Photo/Margaret McMahon, New Britain, CT

     Margaret, the daughter of Irish immigrants Michael McMahon and Joanna White was born in 1868 in Connecticut.  At the time of her birth the city of New Britain, where this photo was taken and where her family lived, was known as the hardware capital of the world. Several companies, including Stanley were located there along with others that manufactured household items. No doubt many immigrants were drawn there to work in those factories. Margaret's father Michael worked as a silver plater in one.

     In the 1880 census we can see Joanna's sister Mary White living with the family and employed as a school teacher.  Her niece Margaret would also become a teacher in the public schools of New Britain.  Margaret was still living with her widowed mother at the age of 59 in 1930, so it's doubtful she ever married.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Well No Wonder They Weren't In The Civil Registration Index


     The match was labelled, "Third to fourth cousin, confidence extremely high".  That seemed promising.  I'm talking about's DNA matching system of course.  Upon opening the family tree submitted to Ancestry by my Dad's, (and my), match, the lone surname I found of any significance was Quigley.  My McGarr great-great-grandmother Maria had a sister named Ann who married James Quigley back in Baltinglass parish in Ireland in 1858, could this match be part of that family?  I clicked on the name Elizabeth Quigley in the tree, and was disappointed to find no parents names given.  She was born in 1907 however, so she should be in the 1910 census.  Hopefully with her parents and any siblings.  I searched for her in that census, and found her living in Rochester, NY with her family.  

     Elizabeth's father was John Quigley, her mother Ann-- both from Ireland.  Next step was finding John in earlier census records which proved fairly easy, he was in Rochester from 1892 and every year thereafter through 1930.  I checked the federal censuses first, then the New York State censuses.  What I found in 1892 floored me.  John was living with Ann Quigley, an older widow, and a younger man named Daniel Quigley.  Check, check, check.  The John Quigley in my tree had a younger brother named Daniel, and his mother was named Ann.  Their ages were not exactly what they should be, but close.  I hadn't found the elder Ann Quigley in 1900; didn't even know to look for her since I hadn't yet viewed the 1892 census.  I went back and found her still in Rochester in 1900, still living with her son Daniel.  I also found in that census that she had given birth to five children, all still alive.  I knew from Baltinglass baptismal records that Ann McGarr Quigley had in fact been the mother of five! Things were really starting to add up, could it possibly be them?

     Neither John nor his wife, (the younger Ann),  appeared in the 1940 census, so they must have died between 1930 and 40.  What I needed was a really descriptive obituary, but after searching every site I could think of I found nothing for John; I did however find his wife's obituary dated 1934 that described her as a widow.  That narrowed the date of John's death considerably.  After trying some creative searches, I finally found what I was looking for.  John died on November 21st in 1931.  His obituary opened with the line--"John Quigley, a native of county Wicklow."  Check!  The Quigley family did indeed live in Wicklow, just across its border with Kildare. I was getting a little excited now.  John's parent's names weren't included in his obituary unfortunately, but after giving some thought to where else I might expect to find their names, I thought of his marriage record and remembered the ongoing Rochester Churches Indexing Project.  

     Twenty five Catholic parishes are indexed here, and browsing the list I noticed Immaculate Conception.  John's obituary said he  was buried from Immaculate Conception, maybe he was married there too, it was worth a try.  I filled in the surname Quigley on the marriage search form, selected Immaculate Conception, and hit the search button. The second result was John marrying Ann, (aka Anna,), Doyle, and to my utter amazement and delight, John's parents, "James and Anna McGarra".  It was them!  It really was them!  Ann McGarr Quigley, the fourth daughter of Daniel and Ann Donahoe McGarr had come to America just like her three older sisters.  Only Sarah, the fifth and youngest McGarr daughter, remained in Ballyraggan, where with her husband Thomas Hughes she inherited the lease on her father's farm at his death.

      I found long ago what I believe to be Ann's husband James Quigley's death in the Irish Civil Registration index in the year 1869; so unless it was a different James who died that year, Ann was a widow when she emigrated.  I'm still so jazzed about finding this, all thanks to that DNA test.  I had absolutely no idea Ann and her children came to America. Now I must go begin the re-writes on my McGarr family history...

Saturday, February 28, 2015

One Happy Family--In Which Dad Is Proven Right

Ryan reunion circa 1920 New York State

     While I was growing up, I remember my father used to say that all the Irish people in our hometown of Manchester, New York were related either by blood or marriage.  I never paid much attention to that, but I'm starting to think he may have been on to something.  As you know, my Gunn ancestors have been getting all the press lately, and last night I worked on that line til the wee hours.  What I found was amazing.  My recently discovered Aunt Johanna Gunn/O'Connor (1852-1906), who lived and died in Listowel, Kerry had a son William O'Connor, who came to America and lived with Johanna's sister Mary Gunn/Power (my 2X great-grandma) in Manchester.  Upon reading William's obituary, I found that his sister Mary O'Connor had also immigrated!  She married Maurice Mahoney and lived in Palmyra, NY just a few miles from her brother William. 

     Mary and Maurice Mahoney had six children, including a daughter named Marguerite (1916-2010).  Marguerite grew up in Palmyra, and in 1945, she married a young man from Limerick named James C. Quinn who was living at the time with relatives in Manchester.  In 1953, their son James Quinn Jr. was born in Manchester.  He was a few years older than me, but I knew Jim.  I went to school with Jim.  We had the same circle of friends and hung out together and we never knew we were cousins!  (I'm glad we never dated or went to the prom or anything.) Third cousins once removed to be precise--so I guess if we had dated it wouldn't have been icky.  There may also be a connection by marriage to the Mahoney family; Mary Gunn/Power's husband Philip, from County Waterford, had a sister named Ellen who married Thomas Mahoney in 1871 in Palmyra.

     This isn't the first instance of this sort of thing I've found.  Sarah Browne, the sister of Mary Gunn/Power's mother Margaret, married Michael Griffin in Palmyra, and their son Michael married Anna Ryan, daughter of my great-great- uncle Andrew Ryan from Tipperary.

     I know this is cliche, but it really is a small world.  Now I need to go tell my father he was right...

Friday, February 27, 2015

Friday's Photo/ John Joseph Gunn Of Rochester, NY


      I've been spending a good deal of time on my Gunn ancestors this past week, and came across this grainy photograph in the Rochester, NY Democrat & Chronicle from January of 1918.  John was the oldest son of Francis Gunn, the baby brother of my 2nd great grandmother Mary Gunn Power from County Kerry.  Francis came to the USA in 1885 and was a "motorman" in Rochester.  Once here, he married Elizabeth Bunce from Tarbert which is near Ballygologue, Francis' hometown in Kerry.  Their first child, John J. pictured above was born in 1894.

     John joined the Navy during World War1 and was home on furlough when the above picture appeared in the newspaper.  When the 1920 census was taken, John was residing with his parents and working as the foreman of a bakery.  The 1930 census finds him still at home at age 36 working as a railroad agent.

     I couldn't find John in the 1940 census.  His sister, Sister Cecilia Vincent, of the Sisters of St. Joseph named Mr. and Mrs. John J. Gunn of Williamsport, Pennsylvania on her contact list however.  He must have married rather late in life and left the state.  The contact list is not dated, but her obituary in 1948 doesn't mention John so perhaps he was deceased by 1940?  

     Recalling that the Old Fulton Postcards site has newspapers from PA, I ran a search there and sure enough, there was John's obituary in 1940 along with another photograph.

     I also found his wedding in the newspaper, on October 17, five and a half years before his death he had married Margaret Lynch of Elmira, NY, a librarian twelve years his junior.  How sad their marriage was cut so short, not to mention his life--he was only 46 when he died.  Margaret carried on, and five years after John's death she married Dr. Philip Reilly.  I feel fortunate to have found not only one, but two pictures of John.  He must have been someone fairly well known in his day, at least locally.