Friday, February 16, 2018

Irish Genealogy News Blog


     If you're doing Irish Genealogy and aren't reading this blog you should be.  Written by Claire Santry the site has so much to offer it's hard to list it all.  There are links, advice, and of course news about the latest Irish records.  It was Clair's blog I turned to to keep me updated as I impatiently awaited the release of the records from the Valuation office a few years back and I stop in at least once a week to catch up on anything I may have missed.  I was excited to read this headline recently-- "Beyond 2022: project aims to recreate the Public Record Office of Ireland before the 1922 fire".  Read about it here.

     That one made me snap to attention!  How wonderful would it be to have those lost records back?  It's a definite step in the right direction that the remnants of the fire along with copies stored off site are being seriously looked at with an eye to digital recreation.  I would however, have to think that quite a few are gone for good.  For instance, how would one begin to recreate those destroyed censuses?  Sadly, outside of church records the early censuses were one of the few documents to mention by name a significant percentage of laboring class Irishmen in the 19th century.  I've found a few Griffith's, Tithe Applotment, and criminal records for some of my ancestors in addition to church records, but that's about it.  One group from County Carlow, the Michael Hore family, appears in none of those records except church registers. They weren't land owners, didn't leave wills, and many couldn't even sign their names.  Those census records are my Holy Grail.

     The Irish Genealogy Toolkit is another creation of Clair Santry's and is also well written and informative.  On a gray, chilly day like this one it's a perfect diversion.


Saturday, February 10, 2018

It's Not Him, In Which I Admit my Error

     Remember my last post when I talked about my Irish mining ancestors and not learning much from the tract books?  Scratch both, I was wrong.  Uncle Edward Hore from Ricketstown, County Carlow was indeed a miner, and he was doing his mining in Amador County California; I have his voter registration from that county stating his birthplace of Ireland, his occupation as miner, and that he was naturalized in Cayuga County, New York in 1860.  In the city of Auburn to be precise.  But there was another gentleman named Edward Hore in Amador County.  The 1880 census says the other Edward was born in Massachusetts.  After studying the entry in the tract book for Edward Hore, I began to notice some dates that didn't add up.

     Above is the entry.  The date of sale is August of 1872, the problem here is that Uncle Edward died in January of 1872.  So could it be his son Edward Jr.?  No, he was only six years old at the time.  The Act of 1862 mentioned in the entry refers to the homestead act passed that year.  After residing on a claim for five years the settler could file for a final certificate (the CTF in the document above) and become the legal owner of the claim.  So maybe 1872 was the year the claim was "proved"?  Nope.  In 1870 Uncle Edward and his family were living in San Francisco not on the claim as he would have been required to do.  And the final certificate dated in 1878 is clearly the moment the claim became the property of Edward from Massachusetts.

     I was a bit disappointed to learn I had the wrong Edward, but glad I had found the truth.  At this point I don't believe Uncle Edward ever owned any land in California or elsewhere.  He lived  a difficult life, fleeing the famine in Ireland, losing three children, and enduring the grueling life of a nineteenth century miner with little to show for it, dying of meningitis in a tenement in San Francisco at a relatively young age.

San Francisco Call, Jan. 27, 1872-- In this city, January 26, Edward O'Hore, a native of County Carlow, Ireland, aged 45 years. [Auburn (NY) papers please copy.]  Friends and acquaintances are respectfully invited to attend the funeral, tomorrow (Sunday) at 2 1/2 o'clock p.m. from his late residence, Beale Street, between Folsom and Howard, without further notice.

     This is exactly why all sources need to be searched out and considered.  Without digging into the land records it would have been easy to assume this was Uncle Edward's claim.


Friday, February 9, 2018

Another Bounty Land Warrant/ Or How I came To Understand The Tract Books

Transfer of the bounty land of John Vincent in 1862 showing township, range, and section numbers.

     Yesterday's blog dealt with my search for the land given my fourth-great-grandfather Thomas Garner Jr. for his service in the War of 1812.  In it I included links to several sources but neglected to mention the Bureau of Land Management .  That is the site where I found more details about the land acquired by Thomas after the war.  They have information pertaining to land patents, surveys and tract books, but only tract books for Arizona and Iowa are currently online there.  A while back I attempted to use the tract books available at Family Search to find information about land owned in California by my Irish ancestors who followed the lure of gold to that state.  It's not hyperbole to say that it was a total disaster.  I couldn't locate the right piece of land, the handwriting was atrocious, and did I mention they are not indexed?  I soon gave up.  Yesterday I finally cracked the code so to speak.

     The tract books record federal government land transactions and the status of public land.  They are arranged by state, township, range, and section number and can be browsed here.  There is also a "coverage table" here to direct you to the correct volume to browse, provided you are able to use the other sources to determine the township, range, and section numbers.  At first there seemed to be no order at all to the volumes but after playing with them for a bit last evening one became apparent.

     The reason I was having problems was that the township numbers seemed not to go in the right order.   I was looking for township 106, but the volume the table said I needed started at 107 and went to 108 and then to 109, etc... this puzzled me and patience not being my strong suit, I stopped looking.  However, the books are also arranged by range.  Looking again I found that once township 110 and it's first range was completed, the next page reverted to township 106 and it's first range.  Then on to townships 108, 109, and 110, second range.  The next page being township 106 and it's second range and so on.  Once I found the right township AND the correct range number it was easy to browse to the section number I needed.  There was an order to this after all.

     After figuring out how to use the books it seemed wasteful not to do so and I was able to locate the entry for my Irish gold miners near Mt. Diablo in California and one in Minnesota for another fourth-great-grandfather and veteran of 1812, John Vincent.  John died in 1814 of disease at Plattsburgh, New York while in the service but his widow Mary Howland was granted his warrant; which she assigned to a John Larson in 1862 a couple years before her death.  I found nothing to tell me when Mary was given the warrant but a brief, (very brief), mention of bounty land can be found in her widow's pension application dated 3 July 1854 so it must have been before that time even though the patent mentions an act of Congress in 1855.  That must reference the latest act at the time of transfer to John Larson and not the one under which Mary received the warrant.

     I can't say I discovered a great deal in the books and there are some abbreviations I need to research, but they were interesting to read and you may have better luck.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Thomas Garner's War of 1812 Bounty Land


     Today is one of those days I'm feeling a little discouraged.  It's been quite a while since I've found anything new on my ancestors, or even any new ancestors, so I decided to spend today rechecking my old ancestors I haven't looked at lately.  One fellow I'd like to know more about is Thomas Garner Jr., my fourth-great-grandfather.  Thomas was born at Tisbury, Massachusetts on Martha's Vineyard in 1773 to Thomas Garner Sr. and his wife Ann Williams.  The elder Thomas was a soldier of the revolution and Thomas Jr. too battled the British, he in the War of 1812.

     I'd previously read Thomas Jr's pension application and found mention of bounty land but never any details about that land.  Today I did a Google search for-- "Thomas Garner" 1812 Vermont-- I used Vermont because that's where Thomas wound up directly after the war.  A hit at Google Books brought up the book, "War of 1812 Bounty Lands in Illinois", and there on page 183 was Thomas and a description of his land along with a date of April 7, 1818.   The description also gave the number of Thomas' warrant so my next step was to try and find an image of it. By the way, the preface of the book is a good source of information on early land warrants and the rules governing them.  It's worth looking at.

     I found a site with printed material taken from microfilm in the National Archives, but it was cumbersome to use and the volumes were poorly labeled.  Growing frustrated I performed another Google search, this time for-- War of 1812 bounty land numbers-- and got lucky!  At a site called Ancestry Paths  I found an index of warrants arranged by number with links to digital copies of the volumes containing the warrants.  These are handwritten records so not searchable, but they do go in numerical order so they're easy to use providing you have the warrant number.  Reading the warrant I soon realized why I'd had such a hard time using the site I gave up on.  Both the book mentioned above and records on Ancestry, (no image),  give a date of April 7, 1818 for Thomas' land warrant.  The actual warrant uses the date January 25, 1817.  I'm sure they all refer to the same individual as they all say Thomas was a member of the 31st Regiment of Infantry under Capt. Ethan Burnap.  I have no explanation for the discrepancy in the dates.

     Regardless, even though the warrant expressly forbids assigning or transferring the warrant in any manner, it appears that is what Thomas did.  I've found nothing to suggest he ever went to Illinois and in fact the book's preface mentions that by 1825 most of the veterans had sold their claims.  Illinois, which was still a territory at the time, must have seemed a long way off in 1817, distant and uncivilized.  It no doubt made good sense to men with families especially, to take what they could get for their bounty land in the western wilderness and stay on in their present homes.  In Thomas' case his health may have been a factor in remaining in the east; the war had destroyed it and he never fully recovered though he would live a further forty three years dying in Summerhill, New York in 1857 at the age of seventy four.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Sometimes All You Need Is To Write Another Blog


     This happens all the time here at Ellie's Ancestors; I write a blog after weeks of  thorough research, and that same night or the next day I find more information.  Sometimes it clarifies the search, sometimes it muddies the waters.  In this case it points in an interesting direction.

     Yesterday I wrote about Anna Quigley Hennessey who came from Ireland to New York, (presumably), and then westward to Missouri.  Last night I spent some time looking through city directories of Rochester, NY where Anna's brothers and sisters and her elderly mother resided after leaving Ireland.  They were all easy to find, though I didn't find anyone with the surname Quigley who belonged to me living in Rochester before 1890.  Then I looked for Anna with the surname Quigley or Hennessey.  In 1890 and 1891 an Anna Hennessey was employed as a waiter at the New York Central Railroad Station in the city.  She also lived there, which was a thing I'd never considered before, who knew one could board at a station?  Anna doesn't appear in any Rochester directories after 1891, although the rest of her family does.  It appears Anna spent only two years in Rochester.

     I followed Anna's mother, Anna Sr., through the directories beginning in 1890.  In them her son Daniel was always listed with her, while her oldest son John appeared in her household in a couple of cases.  Then I came to 1898 and got a surprise. That entry read, Ann Quigley, removed to Oak Mills Kansas.  After letting that sink in for a minute or two, I started searching for Oak Mills, which I found no longer exists.  There are however a few mentions of the place online, it's major claim to fame was that the Missouri Pacific Railroad went through town and had a station there. The first census I can locate Anna in is 1920 which places her in Jasper, Missouri working as a railroad telegraph operator at the Kansas City Southern Railroad station there.  In 1930 she is in Joplin, Missouri, also right on the Missouri Pacific mainline but also home to the Kansas City Southern Railroad--I was beginning to see a pattern here.

Railroad map 1888 Oak Mills at middle top, Jasper & Joplin bottom right
     The railroad map above was found at the Kansas Memory site, the relevant places are underlined in blue.  You can see all of them are right on the railroad line, beginning with Oak Mills, Kansas, where the 1898 Rochester directory said Anna Sr. had moved to, and through the Missouri cities of Jasper and Joplin where censuses later place Anna Jr.  Her last residence, Asbury Missouri, is about 20 miles west of Joplin, and guess who Asbury's largest employer was?  The Kansas City Southern Railroad for whom Anna worked in 1920!

     I tend to believe Anna Quigley Hennessey landed a job with the railroad and made it her career, first in Rochester then Kansas where she was visited by her mother, who had returned to Rochester by 1899, and lastly in Missouri.  She was fortunate to have that option, in that there were limited job opportunities for women outside of teaching, service or factories at that time.  Her religion forbade remarriage after a divorce, but Anna seems to have done well, she was even a homeowner in Asbury.

     A few questions remain unanswered.  After searching records in Ireland and in Rochester I still can't find Anna's marriage to Mr. Hennessey, nor can I find her in the 1900 or 1910 census though I know right where she was -- but having said that, maybe tonight is the night...

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Sometimes A Little Peek Is All You Need


     Anna Quigley Hennessey was everything one would expect a woman born in 1895 not to be-- independent, divorced, and living over one thousand miles from her family.  Anna's life is a bit of a mystery with only it's beginning well defined, it's ending less so, and the middle mostly unknown.

     Anna was born on 7 April 1859 in County Kildare, Ireland to James Quigley and Anna McGarr, the sister of my second great-grandmother Maria McGarr.  She was baptized  several days later in Baltinglass and grew up in that town with two sisters and two brothers; that is all that is known of her younger days.  Sometime around 1880 Anna emigrated, probably to New York which is where the rest of her family eventually settled, in Rochester.  I can't say whether she was married in Ireland or in America.

     The lives of her brothers and sisters were much easier to trace once they arrived in the United States as young adults.  They all lived in Rochester, New York and it is in their obituaries we find our first glimpses of Anna in her new country.  Her younger sister Sarah died in 1907; listed among her survivors is her sister Anna Hennessey of Kansas.  When Anna's brother Daniel died in 1916 she was referred to as Mrs. A. Hennessey of Kansas City in his obituary.  So was she really in Kansas in 1907 or was it Kansas City?  Newspapers often get such fine distinctions wrong and further complicating things, there is a place called Kansas City in both Kansas and Missouri, right next to each other.  After hours of searching I can't locate Anna in either place in 1900 or 1910, but in the 1920 census she is enumerated in Jasper, Missouri living alone, a divorcee working as a telegraph operator for a railroad.  Or is she?  There is another Anna Hennessey in Kansas City, Missouri of about the right age with a husband and family, I was unsure which Anna was mine.

     In 1930 the divorced Anna had moved a few miles to Joplin, Missouri while the other Anna was still in Kansas City.  Her brother John Quigley's obituary the following year mentions his sister Anna Hennessey of Asbury, Missouri, which is quite near Joplin, seeming to indicate she was indeed the right Anna.  Still, I wasn't totally convinced.  The 1940 census however, placed Anna the divorcee smack in Asbury and indicated she resided there in 1935 also.  After looking around the web I came across an article about a woman celebrating her ninetieth birthday in Asbury, but it was the name that made me sit up straighter, "Annie Quigley Hennessey"!  It was her there in Asbury.  I couldn't read the entire article, only a small bit since I don't subscribe to that archive.  I could however see the name of the newspaper, the Joplin Globe, and luckily Ancestry has that very newspaper on it's site. Below is the full article:

Asbury MO, April 11 1949--Mrs. Annie Quigley Hennessey of Asbury celebrated her ninetieth birthday April 7 at her home in Asbury, where she has lived for 35 years. Mrs. Hennessey is a native of county Kildare Ireland and came to the USA when a young woman.  She served as telegraph operator for the Kansas City Southern RR for many years and retired from active service after she was past 70.  She lives alone and is still quite active.

    Anna died in March of the following year.  Her tombstone is on Find A Grave, but there is no further information on that site and Ancestry doesn't have the March editions of The Globe in it's database.  I was excited to find a Missouri State site with actual images of death certificates, but when Anna's came up all it said was she died in another state and her certificate could be found there.  Found where?  There was no indication of where she died and she was not listed in the Social Security Death index.  I sent off an inquiry to the state site not really expecting an answer, but to my surprise, bright and early the very next morning the answer was waiting in my email--Anna died in Kansas.  Which unfortunately does not post it's death certificates.  I had suspected Kansas was a possibility since she lived so near the border and with all her brothers and sisters in New York deceased by 1950 she'd have no reason to travel there at age ninety one, but why Kansas?

     One possible answer is Anna became ill and a better hospital could be found in Kansas just across the border from her home in Missouri, or a nursing home.  Unless an obituary turns up I probably won't know since I don't plan on paying for the death certificate of a first cousin three times removed, but I would love to know Anna's story and about the shadowy Mr. Hennessey.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

My Cousins Get Together


     There have been some new developments in my Vincent line, and by extension in my Worden line.  The Vincent's are Mom's family and the Worden's are Dad's.  Deciding I'd probably be senile by the time the War of 1812 Pension Application I needed appeared on Fold3, I sent to the National Archives for the application of  the widow of John Vincent.  Namely Mary Clements, who he married in Halfmoon, Saratoga County, NY in 1800, and begot my third great-grandfather Thomas Vincent.  Thomas married Matilda Taylor around 1822 in Saratoga County, moving westwards with her and their young children to Ontario and Cayuga counties in New York about ten years later.  

     There is some debate in online trees as to the father of John Vincent, husband of Mary Clements and father of Thomas, with most coming down on the side of Capt. Jeremiah Vincent of Revolutionary War fame. This is the primary reason I ordered the records, hoping something contained in them would settle the question-- which it has. 

     The records from NARA prove clearly that my fourth-great-grandfather John died during the war, long before 1821 when Capt. Jeremiah made his will and named his son John as executor, thus ruling my John out as the Captain's progeny.  Since this revelation, I've been working to discover who my John's parents might have been without any luck.  His son Thomas died in 1842 in Victory, New York at the early age of 39 leaving not much more than his widow and children, a tombstone, and a few census records and deeds. Since nothing at all has come down in my family about him it's been slow going.

     Part of my research into the lives of Thomas and his father John has involved the family of John's wife Mary Clements because when you run out of sources referencing your subject, it's time to check out the fans, (family and neighbors).  John Vincent's wife Mary  had a brother named Frederick Clements and the probate of his will at least cleared up one mystery.  The 1850 census of Bristol, NY shows Louisa and Emmett Vincent, two children of Thomas Vincent and Matilda Taylor, living with a Jeremiah and Elizabeth Dubois who were both born in Saratoga County.  I'd long wondered how Thomas' children wound up in the Dubois household after their father's death and if this couple, also from Saratoga County, was in some way related.  As luck would have it the Dubois' are mentioned in Frederick Clements' probate records, "Elizabeth, wife of Jeremiah Dubois", being an heir of Frederick Clements-- his daughter!  Louisa and Emmett were living with the daughter of their grandmother's brother, their cousin once removed.  That makes Elizabeth a distant cousin of mine also.

     Elizabeth and Jeremiah Dubois had two children, Mary and Andrew, and looking at various records I found that Andrew had married Mariette Worden.  I knew I had seen the name Mariette Worden before and looking back through my family tree I discovered Mariette was the daughter of Davenport Worden, a brother of my third-great-grandfather Paul Worden, making Mariette also my distant cousin.  I even had the name of her husband Andrew Dubois in my tree, but back when I entered it the name Dubois meant nothing to me.

    As I looked further, I found Mariette Worden aged 14 living with Jeremiah and Elizabeth in the 1865 New York census.  She was enumerated as a servant which made perfect sense as her father Davenport had died of consumption in 1860.  No doubt her mother, who never remarried, found it difficult to support her four children by herself.  Also in the Dubois household in 1865 was their son Andrew, aged 34!  The 1870 census shows Andrew and Mariette Dubois living with his parents with a daughter born in 1868.  They must have married when Mariette was around 17 unless the marriage was rushed...ahem.

     None of this prurient speculation puts me any closer to finding who John Vincent's parents were, but it's interesting how the branches of my tree do twist around.  At least they were my cousins, not each others.