Thursday, November 20, 2014

Friday's Photo/Joseph Krebsbach & Mary Noll Wedding Day And Unlikely Death

     This attractive young couple are Joseph Krebsbach and his wife the former Mary Noll.  Joseph and Mary were both born in Wisconsin to German immigrant parents in 1869, and were married November 9 in 1892 when this picture was snapped.  I love these old photos that show the fashions of their day.  The Krebsbach's lived in Sheboygan after their marriage, and became parents to two children, Edward, born in 1894 and Irene, born in 1899.  Joseph died as a result of a freak accident at his place of employment in 1923, his obituary is below...

Sheboygan Press Telegram - May 21, 1923 
    The serious injury suffered by Joseph Krebsbach, 1701 N. Eleventh street, last week at the Sheboygan Novelty Company when struck by a flying wood splinter in the abdomen, resulted fatally when he died at 3 o'clock in St. Nicholas hospital Sunday afternoon. A splinter five inches long had pierced the abdominal wall to a depth of about four inches when Mr. Krebsbach was working at a machine where lumber was being sawed. He had pulled the splinter out himself and was rushed to the hospital immediately.
    Mr. Krebsbach had worked at the Sheboygan Novelty company for a period of 30 years and was a foreman at the plant. He was born at Charlesburg September 4, 1869 and came to Sheboygan in 1891. In 1892 he was married to Miss Mary Noll, their union being blessed by two children, Miss Irene and Edward Krebsbach living at home. He is also survived by his wife.
    A member of the Catholic Order of Foresters and of the Arbeiter Verein, Mr. Krebsbach was well known and a highly respected citizen of Sheboygan. A large circle of friends and acquaintances mourn his sudden demise.
    Funeral services will be held from Holy Name church. Rt. Rev. Msgr Thill will officiate and interment will be made in the North Side Catholic Cemetery.

     Events like this are so sobering.  One second all is right, and just that fast, an accident occurs that will cost a man his life and forever change three others.  The 1940 census shows a 70 year old Mary and her children Edward, aged 48 and Irene, aged 39 still living together in Sheboygan.  Mary passed away in December of 1943 and is buried next to Joseph in Calvary Cemetery, formerly known as North Side Catholic, in Sheboygan.  Their two children also rest there.

Monday, November 17, 2014

I Wasn't Even Looking For That! In Which I Try The New Roots Ireland


     I finally took the plunge and purchased a one month subscription to Roots Ireland, the site with all the church records.  RI recently changed from pay per view to subscription, and I hadn't taken a real look since the switch.  I've read some negative comments about how the search function has changed also, so I wanted to see if it was as bad as I'd heard.  I have to say, it's not.  You can no longer search on a 20 year span, but 10 seems sufficient for most searches, and if not, just re-do the search with a different start year.  I do wish the search engine wasn't so fussy about combinations of surnames and parishes, and it's still pretty touchy about spelling, searching for the name Honora does not bring up Honor for example, and  it would be nice to see the computerized index each heritage center works from since some spellings are quite bizarre.  I discovered there is a link for name variations, but you really have to look for it.  When a search has been done, take a look at the name in red over the generated hits, in between the first and last name you will see (plus variants)  this is a link even though it doesn't look like one.  Clicking it brings up the different spellings of the name you entered that the search engine will check for.

     Lately I've been looking at my Power relatives in the Tramore area, so I started with them.  Seeing as a large section of the Catholic records no longer exist for Tramore I wasn't expecting any breakthroughs when I typed "Mary Power" and her parent's names, "Edmond Power & Honora Crotty" of Tramore Parish in the baptism search.  As I expected--nothing.  I then decided to try to find her parent's marriage, so I clicked the box to switch to the marriage search form.  This particular search engine auto-fills the name and other data of the previous search to the new search for you, and before I could change the name in the search to Edmond Power, up popped several marriages for Mary Power.  I knew from US census and church records that Mary's husband was Thomas Ryan and I'd always assumed they married in the USA, but when I looked at the record, there he was!  They hadn't married in New York after all, but right in Mary's home parish; and I know it's them because unlike most old marriage records, this one gave the names of the happy couple's parents.  It also gave their address, Picardstown, and named Edmond Power as a witness, quite possibly Mary's brother.  I've always known there were other Power siblings I was missing, there are huge gaps between the ages of the three I've found so I'm always excited to get a lead on more Power's.

     One word of advice, when doing a marriage search try it first without the parent's names, even though there is a space for them.  In most old Irish records the parent's names were not recorded and if your search includes them your results will come up negative even if the marriage (sans parents) in in the database.

     Since Mary and Thomas were married in1860 and didn't show up in US census records until 1870 I figured it was worthwhile to look for the baptisms of some children in Ireland.  I found Patrick Ryan born 1861 in Picardstown, and John Ryan born in Tramore in 1863.  His godfather was Edmond Power, (I'll just bet he's Mary's brother).  Neither of these boys are in the 1870 US census with Thomas and Mary, only daughters Catherine and Ella, both born in New York.  Oddly, in both the 1900 and 1910 censuses Mary says she gave birth to only two children.  

     All in all I was pleased with the subscription.  I'd been tinkering with the old site's free searches for awhile and keeping a list of records I wanted to buy once a sale was announced, (they used to have them occasionally), so I had enough to keep me busy for several days, and of course new things pop up--like that marriage  and the baptism records.  It's very nice to be able to view the records of interest without stopping to wonder if they are really worth purchasing, I feel like I've gotten my money's worth on this one.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Delinquent In Tramore


     Anyone who spends time pursuing their ancestors very quickly comes to the realization that for every question answered, several (or more) questions arise from that answer, in some cases radically changing the way you perceive the lives of your forebears.  That is exactly what has happened since I discovered my great-great-grandfather Philip Power in 19th century arrest records in Tramore, Waterford, Ireland.

     I used to believe the Power family led a quiet life in rural Cullen Castle, (the address on Philip's baptism record), a couple miles north of Tramore, until at some point after Philip's conception his father Edmond Power passed away, spurring the remaining family members to emigrate to America.  I suppose I thought that because I had found nothing to suggest otherwise -- until those court records became available that is.  Philip's first arrest was in May of 1868 when he was ten and a half years old. He and two other boys were accused of  destroying several small trees on the property of John Kelly of Tramore.  The outcome was "no appearance" I don't know if that means they failed to appear, or if the charges were dismissed and they were not required to appear.  It is interesting that one of the other boys charged was Thomas Mahoney; years later and an ocean away in New York State, a man named Thomas Mahoney would marry Ellen Power, Philip's older sister.

     Philip's second arrest came three years later in July of 1871 when he was thirteen years old.  This time the charge was stealing fruit from the garden of a farmer in Crobally, near Tramore.  The sentence was one month at hard labor, which seems a little harsh, but the paperwork generated by this arrest is fascinating.  Since Philip was a minor, he appeared in the Registry of Male Juveniles.  This was a trove of information, along with name, age, offense, and sentence, there were questions about education and religion, past criminal activity and residence.  Philip was asked if he had ever been in the workhouse, if his parents were in the workhouse or incarcerated, if they had absconded or had he absconded from them?  His answers were all "no" until asked if he was without a father, he answered affirmatively to that one.  I knew Edmond had passed away before the family came to America, but was unsure exactly when so it was helpful to learn he was gone by 1871.

     Another record generated by this arrest was that of the Waterford City Gaol where Philip served his month of hard labor.  This one included a physical description!  Great-great-grandfather had grey eyes and a freckled nose.  There was also an address, Convent Hill Tramore.  More questions--what was Convent Hill?  There was indeed a convent there and some charities but my internet searches were largely unsuccessful. I wonder, was there a home for troubled boys there?  Did Philip and his mother Honora live there together in a charitable institution after Edmond's death?  Did she move into town to find work as a servant after losing her husband?

     The records themselves are real eye openers.  On the same page with Philip were two twelve year olds charged with larceny and given five year terms in the reformatory.  One of them had a mother in jail and a father who had been transported; the youngest on the page was a six year old who along with several older children had broken into St. Patrick's Church, his father was in jail at the time.  Someone bailed the child out thank goodness.  Just as disturbing is the column heading pictured below--

     I saw no one who had been sentenced to be whipped, but it's appearance on the page was unsettling nonetheless.  Philip left Ireland in 1874, boarding the ship Helvetia in Queenstown, now Cobh, and sailing to America to join his two older sisters.  His mother Honora followed shortly after.  This sounds like the classic tale of a mother finding it difficult to keep her fatherless son on the right path.  At least in America there were no more arrests.  Philip married, raised a family, and owned a farm of his own.  Of course, how he got it is another interesting tale...


Saturday, November 8, 2014

Find My Past Is Free!!!!


     In case you missed it, the website Find My Past is free this weekend in honor of Veteran's Day.  Even better, I have the weekend off except for babysitting from three this afternoon til late evening, and going out with a friend to the local cider mill tomorrow.  Other than that I'll be parked right here at Ellie's Ancestors headquarters in pursuit of my ancestors.  I've already found a few things that surprised me... actually, finding anything at all surprised me because last time I had the opportunity to use the site I didn't come across anything I hadn't already found free gratis on other sites.  This time around, court records and prison registers have been added.  I think you know where this is going.

     That's right, the only records I've had success in this weekend are the criminal records.  In defense of my ancestors however, it must be noted that in the 19th century, the British were only too happy to extort a few shillings, or throw in jail, some poor Irishman who had had a few drinks and walked home.  One of my best discoveries was the arrest of my great-great-grandfather Philip Power of County Waterford at the tender age of 13.  I really got lucky that he was named Philip because while you can't throw a stone in Waterford without hitting a Power, the forename Philip is rather uncommon.  The records I found were unique in that they were for juvenile offenders so I learned the crime, (stealing fruit from a garden), the sentence, (one month hard labor), and that he was fatherless.  This was important because Philip came to America in 1874, followed by his widowed mother.  He was born in 1857, and arrested in 1871--this record narrows his father Edmond's death a bit more.  There was even a description!  Young Philip was 4'11", had light brown hair, grey eyes, and freckles on his nose.

     I must get back to the search now, but I wanted to let you know about this offer.  Best of luck in your hunt.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Deadly Kitchens Of Yesteryear

     A while ago I wrote about how difficult it can be to fully understand our ancestors who lived in the centuries before us.  I thought about that today while searching the "Canadaigua Daily Messenger" at, and an ad placed by my great-grandmother in 1939 came up.  Now 1939 really isn't all that long ago, my Dad was born in the early 30's, but things were very different even then.

     The ad in question read, "FOR SALE- cook stove with Silent Glow burners".  What on earth is a silent glow burner?  I had no idea.  After much searching I found first of all, you need to use the search term "silent glow OIL burner" to get any worthwhile results, and secondly, this invention was an add on to one's present coal or wood burning stove designed to make the housewife's life a little easier, and the Silent Glow people a little richer.  By the 1930's gas stoves had come into wide use, in fact twice as many were in American homes as coal or wood stoves, so the Silent Glow must have been the option for people living in rural areas with no gas lines, or too cheap frugal to buy a new stove.

Old Silent Glow kerosene bottle.
     Why be a stoker indeed!  I'm certainly no fan of "dirt and toil in the kitchen", and undoubtedly great-grandma wasn't either.  See the little inset on the right in the ad above?  That is what the contraption looked like when in use.  A large glass bottle full of fuel oil hanging upside down on an unstable looking stand with a hose running to your stove.  Actually, the "oil" is kerosene--one article about the burners mentioned homes smelling strongly of it.  How inviting.  And I'm not sure I buy the "absolutely safe" bit.  Even modern kerosene heaters caution you to provide adequate ventilation lest you accidentally asphyxiate yourself.  The US Consumer Product Safety Commission goes ever further stating, "Improper use can cause uncontrolled fire", and many communities near me have banned the use of kerosene heaters altogether.  Call me a Nervous Nellie, but the whole thing makes me a little uneasy.

     Early refrigerators weren't any better.  The GE Monitor Top which came out in 1927 used sulpher-dioxide or methyl formate as a refrigerant.  Those chemicals are so dangerous that if you have one of these babies laying around today, you can't even legally recharge it using the original refrigerant.

     Aside from wondering what my ancestor's day to day lives were like, I sometimes have to wonder how they survived long enough to become my ancestors in the first place?



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.