Saturday, July 16, 2016

Quigley Family Revisited

     A year ago I wrote a blog about my great-great-grandmother, Maria McGarr's sister Anna and her family who immigrated to the USA from Ireland many years after Grandma did.  You can read it here.  It concerned the "disappearance" of Daniel Quigley, the youngest son of the widow Anna McGarr Quigley; who up until 1908 resided with his mother.  I found an obituary for him that cleared up where he had gone, but not why unfortunately.

     I couldn't find Anna or Daniel in the 1910 census--and I still can't-- but today I found Anna's obituary so at least I have an idea what happened and where she was.  I ran many searches for this obit before giving up last year.  Today I revisited the cemetery website which holds what I believed to be details about Anna's burial.  I noted the burial date was 24 September 1913.  That suggests she died the 21st or 22nd day of September.  I then went to the Old Fulton site and began combing those editions of the local newspaper page by page, hoping to find the article, which I did!

Rochester, NY Democrat & Chronicle September 23, 1913

     I'm betting you can see why this didn't turn up in my searches, it's barely legible, the software couldn't read it, but I could--

QUIGLEY-- At St. Ann's Home For the Aged Sunday evening, September 21, 1913, Mrs. Anna Quigley, aged 81 years.  She leaves two sons and two daughters.  The body was taken to the home of her son John Quigley at No. 203 Atkinson St. [I know the street number only from the city directory]
    Funeral Wednesday morning ... at Immaculate Conception Church.  Interment at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery.

     It was definitely her in the cemetery index, My Anna's son John indeed lived on Atkinson St., and one of her five children had predeceased her, leaving Anna with four children.  Something clearly happened in or around 1908, the last year I find Anna and Daniel together in the Rochester directory.  Or find them at all for that matter, I can't locate Daniel in the 1915 NY census either.  Maybe Anna became too ill for Daniel to care for, though it makes me curious why her daughter or older married son didn't take her in?  Putting one's parent into a nursing home wasn't all that common in the early part of the 20th century.  I wonder if it was something like Alzheimer's or dementia and perhaps they were just unable to deal with it?  Although, it just occurred to me, Rochester Library has microfilm of Holy Sepulchre burial registers up til about 1915 and like the registers in San Francisco, they contain a cause of death!  There may be yet another sequel to this story.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Wednesday's Website/San Franscisco Area Catholic Burials


     I recently came across this week's websites whilst researching my San Francisco O'Hore family.  There are two links in this blog, the first is to an index of the burial records of Mt. Calvary and Holy Cross Cemeteries here, the second, here is to the actual registers for Calvary and Holy Cross!  Why am I so excited about that?  For one thing the records run from 1851--well before death certificates--to 2006 and these are images of the registers, not transcriptions. Also, like many older burial registers, the entries up to and including March of 1888 contain a cause of death!   Something often difficult to find in cases without certificates.

     A little background on the cemetery situation in San Francisco is probably in order; in the early days, several large cemeteries were built west of the city, huge actually, and they took up vast amounts of land.  As the population  of SF rapidly multiplied, the land on which the cemeteries were situated became quite valuable; by the 1880's a campaign to remove the cemeteries had begun. At that time Catholic Archbishop Patrick W. Riordan, along with two Jewish cemetery associations purchased land in Colma to establish new cemeteries to ease the over crowding in their existing burial grounds.  

     In 1901 a law was passed banning any new interments within San Francisco's city limits and finding a burial spot became much harder.  More cemetery associations began purchasing land in Colma and over time the large cemeteries in SF began disinterring their "residents" and moving them there.  Those buried in Catholic Mt. Calvary were sent to the new Holy Cross Cemetery in Colma. For the most part, the bodies wound up in mass graves with a single marker to identify their new resting place.  Survivors were given the option to have tombstones relocated with the bodies of their loved ones for a fee, but most stones never made it to Colma.  Unfortunately, not all the bodies made it to Colma either.  Hundreds were left behind at what is today the campus of the University Of San Francisco.  Every time construction on new buildings has begun, human remains have turned up.

    But back to the websites.  The index is easy to search and the registers only slightly harder.  The index links to cards with information like who purchased the grave, age of the deceased and the date of burial, (which in many cases I've seen is actually the death date, not burial date), and it's location.  It does not link to the register images but with the date from the index card it's a simple process to look up the burial in the register which is where you find the good stuff--like the cause, along with an address.

     There remains a nagging question about the O'Hore's of San Francisco.  Edward O'Hore and his wife Sarah Frazier had a daughter named Sarah in late 1859 in Auburn, NY, shortly before heading west to California.  In 1864 another daughter, this one born in California, was also named Sarah.  I naturally assumed the first Sarah had passed away, but a cousin in California who was a direct descendant insisted the first Sarah had lived until January 6th of 1874.  I had my doubts, but noticed that the Jan. 6 date was exactly the same as the death date of another daughter, Agnes R. O'Hore who was born in 1872.  I found Agnes through her obituary several years ago, but since she died in 1874 from scarlet fever, she appeared in no censuses and my cousin, (now deceased herself), didn't know of her existence.  She had however apparently seen the burial record in person and somehow turned Agnes R. into Sarah.  With the register now being online I was able to find the record, which clearly says, "Agnes R. O'Hore" daughter of Edward & Sarah, died at age 1 and a half of scarlatina.

Index card for Agnes R. O'Hore
     I don't know why my late cousin wanted this to be the burial of the first Sarah badly enough that she twisted the record to suit her purposes, instead of considering there could have been an additional child named Agnes.  I do know that in the future I won't be so quick to think a direct descendant living in the original location necessarily has better research than my own.  The question remains however, with the 1870 census showing two girls named Sarah in the household--could one be adopted?  I've seen the older Sarah's baptism record, my great-great-grandfather was her sponsor so it's not her.  And yet, the younger Sarah bears the middle name Rachel--the name of Sarah Frazier's mother.  Also odd, the R in Agnes R?  It's for Rachel and an older sister, Winifred, had the middle name of Agnes.  These folks were maybe not too imaginative when it came to naming their children?

Friday, July 1, 2016

Friday's Photo/Thomas Ryan Of Manchester, NY

Thomas J. Ryan 1861-1940
     This is my first cousin three times removed if I'm reading the chart correctly.  Thomas was born in Walworth, NY, coincidentally the town I now reside in and he passed away in Manchester, NY -- coincidentally, the town I grew up in.  I'm not sure why, but I really love this photo of him; it was sent to me by my cousin John in Vegas, and I use it here with his kind permission.

    Thomas was the fourth of twelve children born to Irish immigrants Andrew Ryan, (brother of my great-great-grandmother Anna), and Bridget Hogan.  His father Andrew was born in Goldengarden Tipperary, and his mother Bridget probably in or near Knockavilla  Tipperary.  For much of their lives in America  Thomas' parents lived in Perinton, NY on Ryan Road.

      Thomas married Mary Josephine Lyons in about 1884 and the couple had seven children, all born in Perinton.  Around 1902 they moved to Manchester where several of his direct descendants still live  today. Thomas worked as a farmer and later in the large railroad yards in Manchester.  His death certificate says he died of myocarditis, a fairly uncommon ailment marked by inflammation of the heart muscle, and caused by a virus or auto-immune response as in rheumatoid arthritis or lupus.

Monday, June 20, 2016

St. Anne's Catholic Church Columbia CA

                                                                                                                   Phillip Fish

      My immigrant Irish ancestors almost invariably supported themselves and their families by farming.  One notable exception was my third great-uncle Edward Hore for whom my great-grandfather was named.  Like his brothers and one sister, after leaving County Carlow he started his life in America in Auburn, New York.  Unlike the others who never strayed more than 35 miles from that place, he ended his life in California where he had gone with his young family in 1862 to seek his fortune in the northern California mines.  Uncle Edward never did strike it rich, dying in San Francisco of meningitis at the young age of 42. 

      I've been looking at the different places this family lived in California, first Columbia, then Copperopolis and finally Sutter's Creek before they headed south to the Bay.  While reading about Columbia, I came across this lovely video of the Catholic Church built there in 1856, making it the oldest brick church west of the Rockies.  

     This is the church Uncle Edward would have attended, he would have actually sat in those pews and his daughter Winifred would have been baptized there! Probably from the very same marble font shown in the video.  I can almost picture Edward and Sarah walking up Kennebec Hill with their infant daughter, their three older children from ages seven to three alongside them, and through the doors.  It makes me feel so connected--to him, to my faith, to the past.

     It distresses me that twenty five years ago I spent a day in Columbia while vacationing in California and had no idea of my family's history there.  I doubt I'll ever get back, New York is a very long way from California, but at least I have this beautifully done video to enjoy.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Another Piece Falls Into Place

     Monday I posted a blog about my strategy to compare the church records of Keyes and White families in Palmyra, NY with those of Rathdowney Parish in County Laois.  My great-great-grandfather James White, the only second great-grandparent I have been unable to find in Irish records, gave his parent's names as Margaret Keyes and James White at his marriage in Palmyra in 1856.  In Monday's blog I wrote about finding a Keyes family from Rathdowney in Palmyra records, and today I've found a White family!  Keep in mind Palmyra was a small place.

     As it happens, there was another James White about the same age as James White Jr., the son of my great-great-grandfather, living in Palmyra.  This unknown James, (I'll call him Jim to distinguish him from the other two), was born in Ireland in 1853 according to his tombstone in St. Anne's cemetery in Palmyra.  I've tried before  to connect him to my James White, but with no success.  Today I decided to take another stab at it and began compiling all the facts I had gathered into a timeline for Jim.  I started with his marriage record, also at St. Anne's, which gave his parent's names as William White and Anastasia Delahunty... wait, Delahunty?!  That.  Is a name I've seen in Rathdowney church records.

     A search of Rathdowney baptisms at Ancestry for 1853 turned up no James White [Jim] born that year.  However, there was a baptism for Peggy White, daughter of William White and Nancy Delahunty.  Yes!  I'm pretty sure Nancy is a variant of Anastasia.  And they were living in none other than Kyleahaw which figures prominently in my White research.  I played around with the search terms on Ancestry, finally settling on surname -White, place of any event - Rathdowney, mother's name - Nancy and a year- 1850 +10.  That did it, I found Mary born in 1848, James in 1850, Peggy in 1853 and Catherine in 1856.  Nancy worked better than William in the search because while one transcription said "William", another was "Ketty", one "Willy" and yet another read "Hilly"; all gave the mother's name as Nancy though.  Sometimes you need to be creative.

     I'm still not sure how Jim is related to my James, if at all, but I've long suspected there was a good chance they were family.  My Grandpa James and William White, Jim's father, could well have been brothers, and there are similarities in the other names.  My James had a sister named Catherine who also came to Palmyra and as I found, William named a daughter Catherine; Catherine here in Palmyra named a son William, and so did James.  Another interesting fact-- when Jim's sister Peggy was baptized in Rathdowney, her godfather was James Henesey (sic).  In Palmyra, the Hennessey family and Whites are found together in various church records.  Still no absolutes, but I feel I'm getting closer everyday.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Still Seeking James White-- In Which I Try A New Tactic


     What do you do when the church records you desperately need to prove the lineage of your 2nd great-grandfather are nowhere to be found?  You do what I'm doing, doggedly looking for any scrap of evidence of James White's, (or his associate's), townland in Ireland-- though I'm pretty well convinced it's in Rathdowney Parish in the county of Queens, aka Laois.  Over the years I've collected all the church records containing the surnames White and Keyes in the registers of St. Anne's Catholic Church in Palmyra, NY since those are the surnames of Grandpa James' parents, and St. Anne's was his Parish. 

     Now that the Catholic records from Ireland are available online, I've begun doing the same for Rathdowney Parish in Laois.  The problem with that, is the rather large gap in Rathdowney records which includes the years grandfather and his only known sibling Catherine White were born.  Unfortunately, it's also the time frame many of the early immigrants to Palmyra were born.  Why can't curates and priests take better care of the records entrusted to them?  Someday I'm going to look up who was on watch when these records vanished, though undoubtedly it's too late to chastise them for their negligence.

     Anyway, by comparing the two sets of church records I have been able to definitely connect at least one family of Keyes who lived in the Rathdowney townland of Kyleahaw with several Keyes immigrants to Palmyra!  By the way, Kyleahaw is the very townland Margaret and Michael Treacy gave as their home address when they came to America in 1909 and 1914 to their Aunt and Uncle Mary Ford and James White Jr. in Palmyra.  A bit more about that here.

     But back to the Keyes family--once in America, a Mary Keyes married Edward Hennessey at St. Anne's in 1863.  In 1870, Mary's brother William married Mary McGreal, also at St. Anne's.  Both Mary and William gave their parent's names as Daniel Keyes and Mary Fogarty.  I was unable to find baptisms for Mary or William Keyes in Rathdowney, their births most likely fall in the period for which the records are missing.  But! I was able to locate a baptism there for Daniel Key, child of  Daniel Key and Mary Fogarty born in 1843, about the time those records commence again.  (In most Irish records the name is recorded as Key while in America it's Keyes.) 

     Then too, it's an accepted fact that Irish immigrants in America tended to settle near family and friends from their old townlands and I've found more than a few former Rathdowney residents in 19th century Palmyra and vicinity.  I even found a photo of one of them in a Google search, Michael Delaney, a railroad man in Palmyra was born in Rathdowney in 1846.
     Since there are no church records for Grandfather James, I have a feeling I'll be looking for circumstantial evidence for some time to come-- but there are times when that's all that's available. Circumstantial though it may be, the evidence continues to mount...

Friday, June 3, 2016

Darby Hogan On Division Street/Or Tracing Darby's Last Moments

     Darby Hogan is an old friend here at Ellie's Ancestors.  His name first came to our attention in cemetery records for St. Anne's in Palmyra, NY.  My third great-grandfather Cornelius Ryan and his son Cornelius Jr. are both buried with Darby as is Mathew (sic) Ryan, husband of my 3rd great-aunt Catherine White Ryan.  My cousin John made the breakthrough on finding Darby's townland in Ireland, but we're not much closer to figuring out why the Ryans are in his plot.

     After finding the above mentioned cemetery record, I did some searching on the net for Darby and found his obituary--many of you have seen it but I'm re-posting part of it below, it's such a tragic tale:

April, 1861:  Darby Hogan, who had been for 8 or 9 years, employed by the Central RR as a watchman and switch tender at the Palmyra Station, was killed Friday morning last by a train of cars passing over him.  “Mr. Hogan was returning home from the station where he had been on duty the night previous, when he was overtaken by the New York mail train going west.  He stepped from the track to allow the train to pass, and not knowing that the work train was a short distance in the rear on the same track, he resumed his position on the track- seeing which, the brakeman on the mail train made a motion with his hands intended as a warning that another train was close at hand; but Hogan mistaking this for a salutation, responded cordially, and remained on the track. 
     The noise made by the mail train prevented his hearing the approach of the work train – and the wind blew the smoke to the rear of the train and enveloped Hogan in smoke that he was not seen by the engineer of the work train in time even to check the speed of his engine.  As soon as the man was discovered, every means was taken to warn him, by the engineer, and a woman standing near the tracks, calling him by name and gesticulating violently with her hands, but such was the noise that he heard not and heeded not.  The engine came upon him unawares, throwing him across the track, and the entire train passing over him.  Hogan was nearly severed in twain, the heart and lungs being thrown some distance.  The men on the work train placed the mangled corpse on a board and carried it to the former home of the deceased about 6 rods from the scene of the disaster...

     For some reason, I always had the idea that Darby's death took place in the village of Palmyra where I assumed the train station was probably located.  Taking a look at the 1860 census I noted the place was Palmyra, NOT the Village of Palmyra.  I also noticed Mathew Ryan right above Darby's entry, something I already knew--they were neighbors.  But where were their homes located?  I'm just curious about things like that.  But then I noticed for the first time that there was no house number given for Mathew Ryan.  Could he and his family have been living with Darby?

     I pulled up the New York State Land Records database on Family Search and found Darby, or rather Jeremiah Hogan purchasing land near the railroad station in 1855.  The description of the property in the deed was fairly good, so I looked for some land ownership maps from around 1855.  I found an earlier one, but though a few of the names on it matched up with those on the description I still couldn't pinpoint the exact location.  After looking at several maps, I tried going a bit later, Darby died in 1861 so I looked for that year's map.  There he was, not just the names of those individuals surrounding his land, but Darby himself!  Why do I always do things the hard way?

     Darby's property can be seen next to the red X in the upper left, the other X towards the right is the RR Depot, both are outside the village proper.  Another map from about 1900 gave a clearer view of the area:

     I've marked the approximate spot where Darby lived and the train station to the right. This fits the land description in Darby's deed to a T.  Now I compared the old maps to current maps that gave street names and found Darby lived on Division Street!  I know exactly where that is, it's only 2 or 3 miles from my house.  I also did some conversions online using the 6 rods figure given in the obituary, (which may or may not be accurate), and it appears Darby was within 33 yards of home when he was struck by the train.  I would love to know who the woman by the tracks was, but that is probably something I'll never discover.  Being so close to his home at the time of the accident, it could well have been Aunt Catherine White Ryan though...