Wednesday, October 29, 2014

More James Ryan And Another Convict Or Two?

     


     At the moment I'm pretty fascinated by the idea of having Aussie relatives, even if they didn't exactly arrive there of their own accord.  A few days ago I blogged about the convict James Ryan and his wife Margaret Dwyer, and I've since found a bit more information about him.  James was a dairyman, convicted of stealing a horse for which he was sentenced to transportation for life!  I've also found some of those annoying discrepancies that cause me to lose sleep--some records say he was a native of Tipperary and some say Limerick.  The National Archives records say Tipperary and give his wife Margaret Dwyer's address as "Ana Carty", so for now I'm going with that.

     I've also learned that James was eventually given a "ticket of leave".  That document enabled him to work and live on his own, and even acquire property within a designated district although his sentence had not yet expired.  Lifers like James had to wait at least 8 years before they were given tickets of leave, and though the index I found did not have the date James received his, I think it was probably 1831, the year he sent for his wife Margaret Dwyer.  A convict had to possess a ticket of leave and be able to support a wife before she would be allowed to join him in exile.  In November of 1837 James was granted a conditional pardon, the condition being he never return to Ireland or England.

     Finding all this data on James, made me wonder if a record I found years ago for the convict Margaret McGarr might now have some new information regarding it online.  One branch of my family tree is occupied by the McGarrs of Ballyraggan, Kildare and you just never know.


At left is Margaret's Certificate of Freedom.  These were given to convicts upon the completion of their sentences.  Margaret's was issued 29 August 1834, and shows that she arrived in Australia on the ship Edinburgh in 1828.  She was from County Kildare, and was a "country servant' convicted of picking pockets.  It even gives a physical description--she was just over 5 feet tall, with a ruddy, freckled complexion, sandy hair, and hazel eyes.  She had several scars, and was the wife of William Hague. Below that is "Per John Barry" Who is he??

     That's quite alot of information to go on, so I began searching Australian databases, but not finding much.  Next I did a Google search.  I wasn't sure what to use for search terms so I kept it simple -- ["Margaret McGarr" pickpocket], that generated only two hits, one was clearly not related, but the second one very definitely was.  It was a PDF file of a short work by Stephen Cooper entitled "Burglars and Sheepstealers"(Isn't the internet wonderful?)  In it I found the following about William Hague:
   "Shortly after he had first obtained a ticket of leave, he had remarried!  His bride was Margaret McGarr, a convict who had arrived in 1828 on board the City of Edinburgh.  At 24 Margaret was some years younger than her husband.  She had been a farm servant and dairy woman in Kildare... The convict indent for her ship shows her complexion was much freckled and her eyes were "red hazel"... she also had a nose inclined to the right and cock'd."

     Cock'd nose?  Red hazel eyes?  She doesn't sound like much of a looker, but William didn't mind.  The essay went on to give the place and date of their marriage (St. Philip's in Sydney, November of 1830) and noted that William in fact already had a wife still in England who had testified against him at his trial.  The image below is from the New South Wales Government State Records site, and is William's application to be allowed to marry Margaret.

From Index of Convict's Applications To Marry--Aha! John Barry Was William's Ship

     What amazing information!  It also clarified Margaret's husband's surname the first letter of which was a little hard to read in the handwritten certificate.  I've sent an email to St. Philip's and I'm hoping to get a response and perhaps the names of Margaret's parents and a townland.  At another site I found excerpts from a journal kept by the Edinburgh's ship surgeon, William Anderson.  He didn't mention Margaret, but noted there were several very young convicts on board; among them was Honora Crotty aged 17.  Holy Mother of Pearl! That's my 3rd great grandmother's name!  I know this wasn't her, she didn't go to Australia, she went to the USA,  but it could be a relative of hers.  I'd better get on this right away...

    

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Ryans Down Under?

     
Margaret Dwyer to join her husband, the convict James Ryan from the ship Mangles

     Transportation-- the heartless punishment favored by the19th century British empire for minor offenses like theft or forgery, although it was better than the 18th century sentence, which was hanging.  Even children were not exempt from this cruelty, one of  the youngest I've found was a 14 year old girl, Nancy Adams of  County Antrim, who was transported to Australia for ten years for the crime of burglary in 1842.  I've read of children as young as nine also being sent away from their homes and families.

     Before the American Revolution, many victims of the British justice system found themselves banished to North America.  Afterwards, a penal colony built in New South Wales, (Australia), became the destination for most.  Along with the loss of their freedom and home and families, that meant four to six months on a prison ship; in itself an ordeal for men and women who had never before been more than a few miles from home. The sentence for their crime could be life or a set term of years.  In practice it usually became a life sentence since even after the assigned number of years had passed, the convict was responsible for getting him or herself back home to Ireland.  Given the distance and expense, only a handful ever returned. 

     Upon landing and being processed, most all but the hard cases were assigned to settlers who had made application for them, and worked as servants for the duration of their sentences.  I found this reference to some of the prisoners aboard the 1822 sailing of the ship Mangles--
The British Convict Ship Mangles

"Some convicts were sent to private individuals ...... Humphrey Lynch, John Kenny, John Grady, Martin Grady, Patrick Byrne, Dennis Gleeson Snr & Jnr, Dennis Gorman, John Dalton, James Ryan, Michael Coughlin, Thoms Donoghue ALL to William Howe Esq at Upper Minto" 
Since there was only one James Ryan on the Mangles in 1822, I feel sure it was James from Annacarty, Tipperary who became the servant of William Howe.
 
     At another site I learned the Mangles with it's cargo of 189 prisoners left from the Cove of Cork on June 21 and arrived in NSW on November 8, 1822, having lost only one prisoner on the voyage.  That being twenty-two year old James Costello from County Mayo who was sailing to a life sentence for "administering unlawful oaths", in other words he was a political prisoner.  Once settled, if the convicts behaved themselves, they could apply to have their wives and families sent to join them in Australia.  That appears to be what happened in the case of James Ryan of Annacaty. 

     The index image at the top of this page, from the National Archives of Ireland, doesn't specify James' crime, but he must have been a well behaved prisoner since we see in August of 1831, the governor of the colony recommended that his wife Margaret Dwyer of "Ana Carty" be given passage to join him.  Looking at the dates, we see nine years had passed since James and Margaret last saw each other!  How did she support herself those long years without her husband, and how many times did they apply before permission was granted?

      While I can't be sure these individuals are related to me, I do have direct ancestors named Ryan and Dwyer who lived in Annacarty Parish.  However, those surnames happen to be the most common in the parish, and the forenames are also very common.  Without a townland it would be hard to determine, but I image that more of us of Irish descent than we think, have long lost relatives in Australia.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Sometimes, I Just Want To Kick Myself

    


      Finally a day off, nothing calling for my time.  So of course instead of tidying up my house or garden I thought I'd just sit in front of my computer for a few hours... more or less.  Every now and then I get the urge to organize my genealogy files in the hope that future generations will be able to decipher them.  Naturally I get distracted and that doesn't happen, but my intentions are good. 

      Now I noticed I still hadn't found an obituary for Milo Galloway, and I really, really need to do that.  While looking for Wayne County, NY newspapers that might contain this item, I found one that was supposedly available at the Ontario County Historical Society.  I was a little skeptical about that group having a Wayne County newspaper so I went to their site where I discovered a search function had been added since my last visit.  I plugged in the surname Galloway, and sat back.  I was surprised at the number of hits that were generated, and scrolling down through them I came to the marriage category.  My jaw dropped as I read, Galloway, Phebe E. married Daniel Gray!  I've been looking for that marriage for a long time to clear up the true parentage of Ellen Galloway, (or Gray depending on the census year).  I had searched all the Ontario County sites except this one--because last time I looked it was not searchable.

     The link in the previous paragraph will give you the details, but briefly, Ellen Galloway appeared at first to be the youngest daughter in the Russell Galloway household, but several censuses later, she was listed as a granddaughter and her surname suddenly changed to Gray.  Either she married, or she was a Gray all along.  If she wasn't Russell's daughter, her parent had to be his eldest daughter Phebe about whom I knew nothing.  I needed to find a marriage to a Gray for either Phebe or Ellen.

     Now that I had a first name for Phebe's husband, I could do a real search!  (See how easy it is to get distracted?)  In the Google search box I typed, "Daniel Gray" "Phebe E. Galloway", and up came "Ontario County Marriages and Deaths From the Ontario County Messenger".  There it was in the January 15, 1851 edition--

 "At Vienna New Year's morning, by Rev. S. Hawley, Mr. Daniel Gray and Miss Phebe E. Galloway, both of Phelps." 

      I had done searches for this marriage before, but I didn't have the husband's forename, or the bride's middle initial, and that made all the difference.  Next I turned to the 1850 census to see if I could find Daniel Gray.  And find him I did, living in Phelps with Russell Galloway!  I hadn't looked at that census in a long time and in my defense, the last time I did I wasn't looking for anyone named Gray; this is the point at which all illusions of competence flew out the window.  He was right there all along, hiding in plain sight.  

1850 Russell, Harriet, Phebe, Erastus, Selecta, George, twins Edward & Edwin and Daniel Gray
     Unfortunately, I have hit another wall, I cannot find anything more about this couple.  I believe they both passed away not too long after their daughter's birth since Ellen was raised by her Galloway grandparents from at least age 4, but all my searches have been in vain.  No obituaries, no grave stones, no deeds, nothing at all, and it's about 30 years too early for a death certificate.  

     My current plan is to visit the Historical Society to see if their records hold more information, and then the Wayne County Historian to see what I can find there.  I know from land records that the senior Galloway's moved from Ontario County to Wayne County around 1852, and that by the time the NYS 1855 census was taken, Phebe and Daniel were no longer living with them.  I have searched the Ontario County census for that year, and not finding Phebe and Dan, now need to examine  the Wayne County version, (not available online), to see if perhaps they moved to Wayne County as Phebe's father Russell did.

     So what have I learned today, other than that the marriage did exist and Ellen was the product of that marriage?  Well, I learned to re-check sites because new things do get added, and re-check old records you already have for bits you may have forgotten that now make sense.  And never, ever give up, as they say on the X-Files, "the truth is out there"!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Somewhere In Time

     


     I've recently begun corresponding with a long-lost cousin and as usually happens when Irish genealogy is being discussed, bemoaning the fact that there is a dearth of records before the 1800's, and you just don't get back that far in time unless of course your ancestor was lord of the manor, who in my case was the fellow subjugating my ancestors.  I've sort of accepted it by this point, and in fact I feel fortunate to have gotten to the late 18th century in several lines, I'm told that is an accomplishment.  I still daydream however, that in a dusty forgotten corner of some obscure repository or attic a collection of the destroyed Irish censuses will someday be discovered.
  
     At the opposite end of the spectrum, I also have several lines that were in America at the time of the Revolutionary War; one of them, the Worden family, was actually on the second or third ship into Plymouth Harbor. Their lineage has been done and redone and traced to one of the barons who forced King John to sign the Magna Carta.  I find this interesting and exciting on some level, but do I feel particularly close to these early ancestors?  Honestly--no.  It's difficult to feel a real connection to a knight running around Runnymede in 1215, though I did like that an ancestor of mine was sticking it to the king.

     I wonder, do other researchers feel this way? Through this prism of modern day sensibilities, I just cannot get inside their heads.  We are not only separated by different cultures and distance, but that most enigmatic of dimensions, time-- oceans of it.  In 1215 Genghis Khan was still rampaging and people were marching away on crusades, not things I can readily identify with.  I can try to imagine how they felt, but without much success.  Even later Irish history can be difficult, thankfully I will never know how it feels to watch my children starve, or board a filthy ship and sail across a terrifying sea for weeks and weeks; pondering between bouts of seasickness what lay in store for me at journey's end.

     I'm not sure we can ever fully understand long past events, however much we'd like to.  I'm still very interested in extending my tree further back, but for the most part I content myself with gathering every bit of data possible on the ancestors that are within my reach,  mostly mid-19th century to the present; reconstructing their lives down to the last detail or as close as I can.  I know their friends, cousins and neighbors.  I know in many cases how many acres of potatoes they grew and how many pounds of butter they churned.  I know their political views and their favorite pastimes.  Do I "know" them?  Of course not, but I feel I've come to understand their world view and in many cases what motivated them, and that's enough...for now.  Ever hear of wormholes???

  

Friday, October 17, 2014

Friday's Photo/ Leo Shannon

 L to r back row--Shannon, Phalen, Cooper, Hutchinson, Thompson, Thompson, Swarthout Shannon, Burr
1st Row--McGee, Mosey, Shannon, Thompson

     Leo Francis Shannon is the young man in the back row, one in from the right wearing a Newark uniform.  Leo was my uncle by virtue of his marriage to my great-aunt Alice O'Hora in 1935 at St. Dominic's in Shortsville, NY.  I'm not sure what year this photo was taken; Leo was born in 1910 in Stanley, NY and he doesn't look very old here, I think I'd put it shortly before their marriage.  He obviously gave this picture to Alice, it was found in her photo album after her death in 1981. 

    I don't know what team this might be, if in fact it is a team-- there are uniforms here from Newark, Stanley and that G is probably for Geneva.  The best thing about this picture, other than Uncle Leo being in it, is that he took the time to write the names of the individuals on the back!  It's only last names, but still better than what is on the back of most old photos-- namely nothing.




     Beneath the names it reads, "3 Shannons and 3 Thompson. Isn't this a great picture..." Written sideways at the end of the card is:
"Pat Sev? drownded Nov. 4, 1937".  This was clearly added later, the names are in ink and the notation in pencil.  I'm sure my uncle wrote it, Aunt Alice was a teacher and would never have made that spelling error.  Nothing in this picture seems to relate to Pat Sev. Was that a nickname?  I wondered if I could find a news article at the Old Fulton site, but I didn't have much to go on.  Not expecting much I typed in "drowned November 1937 Patrick", and came up with over 900 hits.  I noticed a good many were from Brooklyn, so I added "-Brooklyn" to the search terms.  That's more like it, only 605, good grief!  I scrolled down anyway and a short way down I saw a local newspaper, the Geneva Daily Times, so I clicked on it.  I was floored when up popped an article about Stanley, NY, my uncle's hometown--

      
     The unfortunate victim was the young man standing just to the left of Uncle Leo in the Camillus uniform in the above photo.  This article didn't say how the young men ended up in the water, but another one I found said they were in a motorboat that capsized.  I'm still not sure how Pat Sev turns into Leonard Swarthout, but there you have it, "Pat" must have been what the fellows called him and I just lucked out that the name Patrick appeared somewhere on the same page as the obituary.  You know, looking again at that handwriting, I think it says "Sw" not "Sev", maybe it's time for new reading glasses?

Saturday, October 11, 2014

An Irish Who Do You Think You Are

     
Dublin Castle, lair of the British occupation forces.


     I know you're all familiar with the TLC show Who Do You Think You Are, and many of you know the show is a spin off of the UK show of the same name.  Perhaps not as widely known, you can view episodes not only from the USA and UK, but Australian and South African versions as well at You Tube.  Today I watched the UK episode profiling Brendan O'Carroll, a well known Irish comedian, and I was blown away!

     The show looked into the tragic murder of his grandfather Peter O'Carroll during  the Irish War of Independence.  In the wee hours of an October morning the O'Carroll family was awakened by a knock on their door.  Mr. O'Carroll arose and went down the stairs to answer whereupon his wife heard a thud, then silence.  Descending the stairs herself, she found her husband murdered.  To add insult to injury, a note had been pinned upon his body with the chilling message, "A traitor to Ireland, shot by the IRA".  No one in the family or neighborhood took this seriously as three of the O'Carroll sons were themselves members of the Irish Republican Army.

     A sham court of inquiry was convened to investigate the murder but Mrs. O'Carroll refused to testify, saying in a letter to the Dublin Corporation:

     "At about 1:50 a.m. on Saturday the 16th, my husband Peter O'Carroll was foully and brutally murdered by members of the Army of Occupation.  Not content with this they placed a label on his body that maligned the living and defamed the dead.  Myself and members of my family have been notified to attend an inquiry which is to be held today by the same Army of Occupation.  I cannot see my way to recognize this inquiry for the simple reason  that it is to be conducted by the murderers of my husband."

     I. Love. This. Woman. What courage to stand up to those murderous thugs otherwise known as the Black & Tans!  She knew full well what they were capable of, her husband was far from the only one to be killed in this cowardly fashion in his own home during their vicious reign.  I don't want to say more and give the story away, but I highly recommend this video, it has an amazing ending and I think you will find it as gripping as I did.  There are only a few ads, and they are the 5 second kind, making it highly watchable.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Things That Go Bump

     


     The days are getting shorter here in upstate New York and there's a decided chill in the air.  As the sun's angle grows shallower, the light it casts seems to have a harsh quality that renders everything it falls upon starker in color and outline, unlike the soft, warm light of summer.  For the most part I find this terribly annoying. I'm not a fall/winter person, but it does signal the approach of Halloween.  I have loved Halloween since I was small.  On this one night of the year I was allowed out after dark to roam our small village unaccompanied, imagining ghosts behind every tree as the October wind blew the falling leaves spookily (is that a word?) up the sidewalks...does it get any better?  It wasn't even the candy that drew me, most of which my brother consumed anyway, it was the aura, the other worldliness of it that I adored and still do.

     I was pleased when years ago I discovered the origins of this auspicious evening lay in Ireland, specifically with the Celts who called it Samhain.  Could this be why I am so fond of the holiday? Maybe it's in my blood.  It was here too the eerie aspect I love so much began.  On the eve of October 31st the boundary between worlds was loosed and spirits, pukas and malevolent fairies roamed at will and witches found their powers increased-- what's not to love?

     So it's entirely appropriate that yesterday I discovered the final link between myself and Winifred Benham aka "The Witch of Wallingford".  I had the genealogy worked out to my satisfaction all the way back to James Benham, born 1679 in Wallingford, but just couldn't find the proof that Winifred was James' mother.  I saw online trees that made that assertion, but you know me, I needed proof!  Then yesterday I read, "The History of Wallingford, Connecticut, From it's Settlement in 1670 to the Present Time."  
In it I found this,  
"James Benham; male, birth-1679 of Wallingford, New Haven, Connecticut; Death 10 May 1745; Father Joseph Benham; Mother Winifred King; Spouse Esther Preston.
  
     A deed from 1743 mentioned James giving land to "his loving son Samuel Benham" and James' executor was another son, Jehiel Benham.  My line was from Samuel to his son, another Jehiel, (clearly Samuel named him after his brother) then to Jehiel's daughter Phoebe Benham who married Abijah Moore.  Those last two generations are well documented.  I had my proof, in time for Halloween yet.

     Grandma Winifred was never found guilty of witchcraft, though they tried three times to convict her, the last time along with her teenage daughter Winifred Jr.  The family left Connecticut after that last trial, and I can't say I blame them, but the trial of Winifred King Benham and her daughter was the last one ever conducted in Connecticut. What was it about Winifred that caused her fellow Puritans to believe she consorted with the devil?  Was she annoying, hard to get along with?  Her neighbor Hannah Parker in particular made accusations, in fact Joseph Benham threatened to shoot Hannah if she continued, landing himself in some hot water.  There is lots on the web about Winifred if you're interested in reading more about her and her fellow "witches".
       Happy, spooky Halloween season to you all!