Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Tuesday's Tip/Misspelled Place Names

     I'm sure you've come across this scenario in your research, I have numerous times--you find a record with a place name that seems to exist only in the imagination of the parish priest or other local official.  For instance, I found a baptism that took place in Baltinglass Parish, County Wicklow.  The parent's address was Crossnacool.  I excitedly looked for Crossnacool on the net, but it seemed to be a mythical place.

     An easy solution that often works is to try Google Maps.  Using the search term Baltinglass Wicklow Google Maps on Google brings up a map of Baltinglass naturally.  But one of the options in the box that appears in the upper left corner is "Search Nearby".  Selecting that option, I typed in the first seven letters of Crossnacool and found Crossnacole, obviously the right name for the townland.  

     The beauty of this method is that county borders do not enter into the equation, useful when as in the case of Baltinglass, the parish encompasses several counties and the place could be in either one of them.  As long as the townland is in the vicinity it will appear. This also eliminates the extra step of having to check the locations of possible townlands you might find in compiled lists to see if they're even in the right neighborhood.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Rootsireland As Index

    I rose extra early this morning since this is the only time I seem to have for doing genealogy lately.  Just three days remain on my subscription to rootsireland, and I'm determined to get the most out of them.  With the fantastic news that the parish records for Ireland will be coming online this summer, I've been using the freedom my subscription gives me to look at many of the transcribed records on the site instead of just the few I'm certain of; and I've found lots of peripheral relatives-- brothers, sisters, and cousins.  For instance, my great-great-grandfather James Hore, born in Ricketstown, County Carlow had a sister named Winifred who remained in Ireland after most of her family had sailed away to America in the 1840's.  Before purchasing my subscription I didn't want to pay for the individual records of her family, but now I've found eight of her children.  I suspect there is one more at least since there is a big gap between two of these children, so when the parish records from Rathvilly Parish go online I can concentrate on the years this child would have been born.  Some transcribed records for the parish are online now at http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~irlcar2/Baptism_Rathvilly.htm

     Winifred and  her husband Thomas Lalor had a daughter named Catherine Lalor who married Michael Lalor in 1881. I found seven children for them, all baptized at Baltinglass, but again there is a gap. I couldn't find this family in the 1901 census, but they do appear in 1911 in Baltinglass and sure enough, Kate says she had eight children and all of them are alive.  I still don't know the missing child's name, it was old enough to be on it's own in 1911, but I do know I need to scour the parish records for the years it was probably born.  

     Knowing the names and order of birth can be useful due to the naming pattern used in Irish families, which is why I also need to find a baptism for an eighth child Aunt Winifred and Grandpa James Hore's mother Mary told a US census taker about in 1865 New York.  I've only located seven children for her and this eighth one was probably born first, making his or her name very significant.

     Come summer, some sense may be made of these two odd entries from rootsireland:
Dennis Lalor baptized 18 Feb 1849 at Baltinglass 
Parents- Thomas Lalor and Winifred Dean of Clough
Sponsors- Richard Slater & Mary
Denis Lalor baptized 18 Feb 1849 at Baltinglass 
Parents- Thomas Lalor and Winifred Hoar of Clough
Sponsors- Richard Kelly & Mary Hoar
Something is clearly not kosher here, Denis and Dennis Lalor baptized the same day, in the same place, with the same father.  Add to that, the  first names of the mothers were identical in both records, as were the sponsor's first names.  These are just some of the transcriptions to be investigated on that glorious day when the records come online.  Even entries on rootsireland that seem correct need to be checked against the originals, that's something that should always be done if possible.  With spelling variations, old handwriting and deteriorating registers that didn't microfilm well, transcriptions are not always accurate.  And nobody knows how to spot our ancestor's names in old records like we do.

     You may wonder why I'm so interested in the baptisms and marriages of very distant relatives?  Besides giving a fuller picture of my direct ancestor's lives while in Ireland, these records represent family members who didn't emigrate.  That means they likely have descendants still living in Ireland, and that means I have cousins in Ireland, and that means when I finally visit Ireland I will have family waiting if I can track them down!  Along with my pal Dara.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Apologia For Grandfather

William Bradford of Plymouth Plantation

     The past few days I've been reading everything I could find about my Mayflower ancestor and 11th great- grandfather John Billington.  John is on my Mother's side of the family, and so distant in time that it's hard to find concrete facts about him.  One article claims a completely different scenario than the next.  All agree John was born around 1580 in England and came to what would become the United States on the Mayflower in 1620.  All also agree that John has the dubious distinction of being the first man hanged in New England.  Not all agree however, on how the story unfolded.

     Common belief is that John Billington and his family were troublemakers from the start and the murder charge that would cost him his life was the culmination of a dissolute life.  But circumstances need to be examined here.  Everyone knows the Puritans, or Saints as they flatteringly called themselves, were escaping religious persecution when they set sail for the new world.  Not everyone on the Mayflower was a Puritan however.  In order to make ends meet, Anglicans and even a few Catholics were sold spots on the voyage; much to the chagrin of the Puritans who immediately took to calling them "strangers".  Among the strangers was John Billington and his wife Ellen/Elinor and their two young sons John Jr. and Francis.  Several articles claim the Billington family may have been Catholic which would have made them even more unlikeable to the Puritans.

     And dislike them they did.  It was believed that John was mixed up in disputes and a mutiny on the Mayflower, and his son Francis, (my 10th great-grandfather), almost ended the whole enterprise by firing a gun near a barrel of gunpowder on board, nearly transporting them all to kingdom come prematurely.  Governor William Bradford, in his writings called the Billingtons, "the most profane family", and there are records indicating John was often reprimanded for speaking his mind and generally annoying the powers that be.  But who was in charge at Plymouth?  The Puritans--and a more self-righteous, intolerant group would be hard to find.  It should be remembered these were the same people responsible for the terror of the Salem witch trials.

      The biggest differences among the articles about the Billingtons surround the death of John Newcomen, for which John Billington was executed.  One version holds that John Newcomen was found dead in woods belonging to John Billington, others claim that while John Billington did shoot John N., he then immediately sought help for the injured man.  One says John Billington stalked the man, another that John N. was given to poaching on the land of others, had been warned several times to desist, and that John Billington was only trying to scare him when he shot in his direction.  One says the victim was shot in the back, and yet another that the shoulder wound, (from the front),  was survivable, but infection set in.  One even says John Billington was innocent and offers as proof the writings of a neighbor who called him, "beloved by many".

     Perhaps the truth lies somewhere in the middle.  John Billington and his family clearly did irritate the Puritans who were running the show in Plymouth, but so did many others who dared exhibit any individuality.  Shooting another man is wrong, but one stealing and scaring away the game John needed to feed his family might well provoke him to fire in his direction.  Judging actions that took place centuries ago, in a time so radically different from our own, is nearly impossible.  So I'm cutting 11th great-grandpa some slack. I don't think the "Saints" would have liked me much either, I can see myself in the stocks now.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

An Irish Thanksgiving


     So just how do the Irish celebrate Thanksgiving?  They don't -- it's a North American holiday.  It could be argued however, that first Thanksgiving would not have occurred without the intervention of an Irishman. Times were getting desperate for the Pilgrims in America, they had foolishly set sail from England in September of 1620 and never made landfall in Massachusetts until November; they didn't arrive in Plymouth until late December.  New England winters being what they are, and were, it's somewhat amazing they survived at all, in fact more than half of them did die that first winter, but all was not lost.

     As it happened, one of the Pilgrims was the daughter of a Dublin merchant.  Like any good father he was probably worried about his child in a strange new land, especially in the winter months, and he determined to do something to assist her and her fellow travelers. That assistance arrived in February of 1621 aboard The Lyon, in the form of food and drink and other supplies.  Without that shipment, there would have been more deaths, and most likely the abandonment of Plymouth Colony, and no "first Thanksgiving".  Hence the claim, the Irish saved Thanksgiving, not to mention civilization as we know it, but that's a story for another day.

    I wish you all a happy, safe day, and thank you for reading.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Not Just Anyone Could Get Married In Ohio

     Yesterday I was running some searches for my Ryan/Maher relatives who settled in Lexington, Ohio in the latter half of the 19th century.  At Family Search I found some Ohio records, and among them was the marriage of  Margaret Maher, daughter of Edward Maher and my 3rd great-aunt Ellen Ryan to William H. Zehner.  I also found the marriage of Margaret's daughter and only child, Helen A. Zehner to Walter R. Muth.  I had long ago discerned this information, but it was gratifying to see it confirmed in official records. What was surprising though was the forms themselves.

     Above is Margaret's marriage license from July of 1897, in it we see that in 1897 Ohio, the groom was required to be 21 years of age, but the bride only 18.  I was not aware a man had to be that old to marry in the 19th century.  In Ohio Territory back in 1788, 14 was the age a husband was required to have attained before tying the knot. There was no minimum age for the bride.  OK, next part--not more closely related than 2nd cousins-- that makes sense; next, the couple had to be of "the same color".  That one raised my eyebrows a bit, interracial marriages were not very common back then, but I had no idea Ohio outlawed them.

Helen Zehner and Walter Muth's License Application
           By 1915 when Helen was married, it appears things had loosened up a bit race-wise, but some new restrictions had been added.  Now the form asked if either of the couple were, "an habitual drunkard, epileptic, imbecile or insane, or if they were under the influence of any intoxicating liquor or narcotic drug".  Because we all know an habitual drunkard never lies???  Maybe it was to make any future divorce proceedings easier as in, "He never told me he was such a freaking imbecile."  Yes, I know, when they said "imbecile" they meant mentally impaired in some way, and I guess it's better than the formerly used term "idiot", but not much.  And epileptic?  That one really surprised me, so I Googled it and discovered that around the turn of the century many states had similar laws.  In the UK a law forbidding people with epilepsy to marry was on the books until 1970!

     Also uncommon in bygone days were divorces, but Helen had at least one.  Sometime before 1929 she and Walter Muth split, as in that year "Helen Grader" of Cleveland appeared as the informant on her mother Margaret's death certificate.  I cannot find Helen after the 1920 census, or her son Walter Jr. either until he resurfaces in 1940 living with his father Walter Sr.  The elder Walter was then proprietor of a beauty salon where he worked as a beautician, and his son managed a retail variety store.  Walter Jr. says in this census he was living with his father in 1935, so perhaps Helen had passed away by then?  And really, why do I care so much about these peripheral relatives?  

     Because it totally ticks me off that I can't figure out what happened to Helen.

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 terms include them, your results will come up negative even if the marriage (sans parents) is 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. 

      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 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 Ancestry.com, 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.

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 at least partially 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!


Sunday, October 5, 2014

So? Can I Join The Tribe?


     The DNA test has returned!  I'm Irish!  Well, I knew that, but there is more to investigate.  Ancestry said 35 percent Irish which seems low since my father is 3/4 Irish.  Dad's other 1/4 is British so the 5 percent British was no surprise.  The rest was West European which encompasses Germany, Netherlands, Belgium... no surprise there either, that's my Mother's heritage.  I was however, disappointed to find no Native American DNA as described by a great-great-uncle.  After much reading on the subject of the human genome and nuclear DNA two things happened, first I began to feel really stupid, and second, things became a little clearer.  The test Ancestry uses looks at different parts of your DNA and then comes up with a "range", it's not exact in other words. The range for my Irish DNA was as high as 51 percent.  And since you inherit your DNA randomly, half from each parent, you can actually miss out on some DNA they carried around; also, the further back you go, DNA can get "watered down" (that's a scientific term), so even if there was Native American DNA way back when, it may not show up in the test. And one other thing, it may show up as something else.

    There was still another avenue open,  I downloaded my raw data to Genmatch.com.  They came up with an interesting breakdown, rather different than Ancestry's:

     They break down the results by region, not country.  And sure enough, I found Western Asian, South Asian, and Siberian, all known to show up in Native American DNA, and at .21 percent--Amerindian!  By the way, on Gedmatch's homepage in the left column is a section called "DNA For Dummies" that has some very helpful articles.

     Was Uncle George right about our Native ancestry?  It's difficult to say.  I'm currently trying to figure out if I can talk my father into spitting in a tube for me????

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

It Was There All Along


     Recently I've been taking another look at my Wiggins relatives.  There are several unknowns there that I've been trying to puzzle out.  I looked through some trees on Ancestry and nothing new came up, though I did find a tree with the incorrect parents and death date for my third great grandfather William H. Wiggins.  I left a note, I'm not sure if that will help or annoy the poster?  Anyway I left a copy of my sources, and reading through them again something hit me.  William H. is mentioned in the book, "Landmarks of Wayne County, New York", and in it he is referred to as the last surviving child of Richard Wiggins and his wife.  Her name isn't given, but I know from other records she was Hannah Ostrander.  William's obituary on the other hand, mentions two sisters among his survivors, Hannah Beasley and Nettie Owen.  Contradictions in records are nothing new to family historians but this was sort of a big one; generally speaking, last surviving children do not have two living sisters.

     I pulled up my Wiggins tree and checked through it, and William H. did indeed have a sister named Hannah who appeared to have been born the year their mother Hannah Ostrander passed away.  I always figured she probably died from giving birth to Hannah Jr.  But the other sister Nettie?  Who was she?  Had I missed her somehow?

     Richard Wiggins, father of William H. was born in 1810 somewhere in New York.  New York didn't keep the nice records New England states did, so I've found very little on him.  I know he went west to Michigan, where his daughter Hannah was born in 1848, and that he died around 1857, but there is no conclusive evidence where he died.  Some trees claim in New York, and that he is buried in Victory, NY.  There is a Richard Wiggins buried there, but nothing proves it is the right Richard Wiggins.  His wife Hannah Ostrander died in Michigan in 1848, his mother Elizabeth died in Michigan in 1856, and his sister Phoebe died in Michigan in 1858.  In fact, both of Richard's parents along with his siblings had moved to Michigan shortly after 1850, so I would think Richard likely died there too.   

Clarissa Wiggins
     But then there is Susan Gray.  I was doing a search of the 1860 census for Wiggins' in Michigan and I found a Clarissa Wiggins, born in 1855 in New York.  Clarissa was living with Susan and Abel Aldrich in Lapeer County, Michigan in 1860.  A tree on Ancestry had mentioned a Susan Gray as the second wife of Richard Wiggins.  Since the tree had no sources, I took it with a grain of salt, but kept it in mind.  Now I wondered, could Susan Aldrich be Susan Gray?  She could!  I found her death record on Family Search-- Susan Aldrich, born in New York, died in 1870 in the Lapeer County Poorhouse at age 37 of consumption, father's name...GRAY!  And he too was now living in Michigan.  This could be the widow of Richard Wiggins, making Clarissa from New York their child.  So Richard had returned to New York after all!  

     It now appears Susan and her little daughter Clarissa came to Michigan after Richard's death, possibly to the home of her father, he was there in Michigan by 1860, perhaps even earlier.  Then after a year or two, Susan married Abel Aldrich. Clarissa would have been 15 when her mother died leaving her orphaned,  what became of her after that?

     I couldn't find her in the 1870 census, and hoped she hadn't been a victim of the same disease that killed her mother.  I tried all the name variations I could think of and nothing.  Then I tried a search using just a first name and dates and places, still nothing.  Next, a search using last name, dates and places, BINGO, there was "Janette" Wiggins, age 15 from New York. Still living in Lapeer County, Michigan, now a servant with the Morse family.  
1870 Census Metamora, Lapeer, MI
     Other records confirmed her name was Clarissa Janette Wiggins.  Still I had nagging doubts, (I'm hard to convince).  I had never seen any concrete proof that my Richard Wiggins married Susan Gray and fathered a daughter.  Until last night that is, when I posted that note to the online tree.   

     Doh! (Homer Simpson forehead smack) The proof I sought had been right there in an obituary in my own computer files.  Of course!  Janette Wiggins and Nettie Owen, the other surviving sister from William's obituary, were one and the same!  A Michigan marriage record transcription at Family Search sealed the deal-- 
January 18, 1880, "Natsie" Wiggins, born in New York in 1857, married David Owen in Delhi, Michigan.
She clearly was the daughter of Richard and Susan, and William H. was her half brother, and they knew each other, or at least knew of each other.

     Technically, the book was right, Nettie Owen was not a surviving child of Richard Wiggins and Hannah Ostrander, although Hannah Jr. was, and she, (Hannah Jr.) was really the last surviving child of Richard and Hannah, not William.  Guess for now I can chalk that up to human error.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Friday's Photo/Alma May Magoon

     Little Alma May was born January 21, 1898 in Manchester, New Hampshire.  In the 1900 census she and her two older sisters, Marian and Ruth, were living with their grandparents John and Julia Magoon as were several older children of John and Julia.  By 1910, she and her sisters had returned to the home of their parents Carl and Susan Magoon.  Or so it seemed.

     I didn't know why the girls would be living with their grandparents in 1900?   It seemed odd that all three of them would be residing there.  So I took a look at the family trees on Ancestry.com.  There I discovered Alma's father Carl was widowed in 1899, confirmed by a Family Search death record.  That must be when the girls went to their grandparents.  Since the 1910 census had given me their father's name, I took another look at the 1900 census, and there was Carl listed in the grandparent's household too.  He had taken his girls and moved to his parent's home after the death of his wife.

Death Record From Family Search

     Alma and her sister's mother was in fact May Ellison.  Susan, (Fowler), was the children's stepmother.  Alma is with Carl and Susan in 1920 also, but not in 1930.  It appears she married between those dates.  A tree with no sources says she married and had children, but that information is marked private.  It goes on to say she died in New York City in 1953.

     Several of the trees on Ancestry mistakenly claim Susan was the mother of Alma and her sisters, but the census of 1900 placing them with their grandparents is a dead giveaway that something was up with this family.  It's easy to forget, when the 1910 census tells us the child is a "daughter", that is her relationship to the head of the household only, not to his wife; and it's easy to make assumptions looking at census records. This reminds me of the genealogical golden rule, the more records one can dig up the better.  And don't believe everything you read in an online tree.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

RootsIreland Now A Subscription Site

   This article is from the Irish Genealogy News site

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Best Reason Of All For Family History

     "Behind him, across vast distances of space and time, from the place he had left, he thought he heard music too.  But perhaps it was only an echo."  

     The above thought is that of  a fictional character called, "The Receiver of Memory", and are the last lines in the novel, "The Giver" by Lois Lowry.  Without going into too much detail, the novel describes a utopian society in which fear, hunger and unhappiness have been abolished, but at a price.  The goal is "sameness" no distinctions, no emotions and no memories of the past to trouble the mind.  One member of the group however, is chosen to receive the memories of the unpleasant past in case this information is ever needed to make informed decisions.  He acquires these memories from the previous Receiver, who now takes on the role of "the Giver".  Things go awry when the new Receiver discovers how much richer life is with memories and emotions.

     The whole concept is anathema to family historians.  We too are receivers of memories from vast distances. From places our families left long ago and while we've always know our work had value, we now have a study that proves, (as the Receiver came to understand),  just how much it can add to our lives.  An article that appeared  in the New York Times, written by Bruce Feiler, covered the work of Marshall Duke, a psychologist at Emory University.  After Duke's wife, a learning disability specialist, made the observation that children who knew alot about their families did better in the face of challenges, he set out to test her theory.

     Duke and a colleague developed a set of questions to assess how much the children knew about their family history and compared those results with psychological tests the children had taken.  The results?  "The more children knew about their families' histories, the stronger their sense of control and self-esteem."  In Duke's words, "Children who have the most self confidence have a strong intergenerational self.  They know they belong to something bigger than themselves."

     I think you and I could have told him that, but it's always nice to have a scientific study to back you up.  I find myself drawing inspiration from the strength and determination of my ancestors  quite often.  Especially the Irish ones who arrived here hungry and penniless, and almost without exception built successful lives for themselves and their children.  How sad it would be to lose that knowledge of "us".  It happens all too easily in this highly mobile society we live in.  Many of my friends and acquaintances have grandchildren who live in other states and even other countries.  Long afternoons spent at Grandma or Great-Grandma's home filled with family mementos and stories are not a reality for those kids. 

     So now that a professional has confirmed what we suspected all along, I think we need to make an extra effort to pass along our precious family narratives to the next generation.  Especially to the youngest, whose identities, (not to mention coping mechanisms), are forming right now.

PS  Yes, that is Harold Lloyd, star of the silent screen in the photo above.  I love his movies.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Lying To The Census Taker


     Upstate New York, 47 degrees ( expletive deleted) and raining.  I was going to go out and work in my badly neglected garden this morning, but it looks like I will be doing some genealogy instead.  I'm still working on getting my research notes on Russell Galloway together to send to the historian and was looking through my list of his children when I realized I know very little about his twin sons Edwin and Edward.  I'm not even sure if they were identical or not.  I checked the Lake Shore News on Ancestry and found this--

Lake Shore News Aug 29 1889
In Wolcott at the residence of her uncle, Mr. Edwin Galloway, Aug 21st, Mrs. Mattie M. Bonhotal, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Edward Galloway of Buffalo, aged 17 years and 7 months.

     That was a surprise, I didn't know Edward had moved to Buffalo -- he did later return to the Wolcott area and is buried in Wolcott, New York with the rest of his family.  I also didn't know his daughter Mattie (Martha) married and died at such a young age.  The 1880 census shows Edward in Butler, New York in Wayne County:

Edward Galloway 30 laborer
Alice Galloway     26
Martha Galloway     8
Jane Galloway     6
Fred Galloway     3

    Ancestry includes Edward in the index for Buffalo in the 1892 NY census, but the link goes to the wrong page...he's not on it,  I do believe he was in Buffalo at that time however, since Mattie's obituary places him there in 1889.  Then in the 1900 census, there he is on Breckenridge Street in Buffalo.  I am sure it's him-- Edward Galloway, along with his wife Alice and his youngest child Fred.  All the ages match up, and it even says Alice was the mother of 3, with 2 still living, since poor Mattie had died back in '89.  Everything is as it should be until you look at the birthplaces with the incredible assertion  Edward's father was born in Scotland and his mother in Connecticut???!!!  

     How did the census taker get that so wrong?  Did Alice give mistaken information?  That's not too likely, she must have met her in-laws.  Perhaps Fred was the informant??  But he certainly knew his grandfather.  Did a neighbor give the information?  Also not likely since all the other information was spot-on.  Was Edward pranking the enumerator, had he just had a few nips?  I'm at a loss, but upon further reflection, I've always believed the Galloway's were originally from Scotland, though from other census records I know Edward's father and grandfather were both born in the USA.  His maternal grandmother was born in Connecticut as were her parents, grandparents and great-grandparents but census records show Edward's mother was born in New York where she married his father.  So from whence came this mix-up?  

     If I had to take a guess I would consider the possibility that Edward's paternal side was indeed from Scotland and his mother's line from very early Connecticut and Edward was having a little fun with Mr. Ranney the census man that day in 1900.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Thankful Thursday/The Visit

Grandpa Lash 1899-1955, gift from Aunt Ginny

     My aunts arrived in town Saturday.  One, Mother's eldest sister, from Denver and the other, her youngest sister, from Chicago.  These visits are all too seldom and all too short, but the emotions they evoke leave deep, lingering impressions.  Due to distance, I didn't see much of these aunts while I was growing up, but they and my uncle, (Mom's brother at whose home we all met), are the last tangible links I have to my late mother.  Three members of an ever shrinking group who knew Mom from the time she was a child, knew her in a way I never could.  I believe it comes as a shock to most all children when they discover their mother's had a life before the day they were born.  

     Sitting around the table with my aunts and my uncle and cousins, the memories and stories flowed.  Tales of other times and of people I never met who were nonetheless part of my family's history.  Tragic ones about my grandmother, (their mother), dying in a kerosene explosion leaving seven motherless children. Eerie ones like the time great-great grandmother died, and at noon as the post-funeral meal was being served the heavy, wooden farm table broke in two and collapsed.   Mostly though, we laughed at the anecdotes of childhood pranks and eccentric relatives and neighbors.  And at ones about their school days and importantly, (to me), stories about my mother as a girl and young woman, before marriage and motherhood defined who she was.

     As I looked at their dear faces, and heard their laughter as they were swept away with their memories, I found myself wishing Mom was there with her brother and sisters reliving those long ago days along with them.  Instead it was me, and while I treasured every moment, and laughed til I cried and my ribs ached, there was the slightest twinge of guilt.  This must be akin to what is called survivor's guilt, it seemed unfair I was enjoying this visit so much while she was gone.

     The visit is over, until hopefully next year we will all gather again. My youngest aunt brought letters Mom had written her over the years to give me; will future family historians even have that luxury?  With the advent of e-mail I'm thinking likely not.  Both aunts also brought me family photos and articles I've been pouring over.   But with the aunts came something else just as important, more important actually--that indescribable sense of belonging.  Of being part of this circle, no matter what the future brings we are and will remain family.  For that I'm eternally thankful.