Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Tuesday's Tip/Check Those Pension Apps

Captain Charles E. Pearse, Company D 16th NYHA

     Well, we've finished viewing Ken Burns' Civil War documentary, but I'm still thinking about the Civil War.  I've exhausted most of the online sources for my cousins George Hackett and William H. Lead and I have to say, finding information about the 16th New York Heavy Artillery Regiment was a royal pain.  George wound up in Company H of the 16th, while his cousin William, with whom he joined the army in1864 when both were 18, found himself in company D.  I'm sure the boys, who grew up together, planned on serving together and were disappointed when they found themselves assigned to different companies.  Keeping track of their movements was problematic because a large group of the later enlistees in this regiment were "detached", that is they were loaned to other regiments.

     From what I can gather, the summer of '64 found George outside Petersburg, Virginia during the long siege, while William was stationed at Fort Magruder also in Virginia.  Ironically, it would be William, posted in the relative security of the fort, who would become ill with "congested lungs" and perish that fall, while George in the midst of the struggle survived.  

     While looking for any bit of information that might add to my understanding of William and George's experiences, I came across a pension application for William filed in 1880, sixteen years after his death??  William never married, but upon opening the link I found the claim was filed by his mother.  I hadn't realized a parent could file such a claim, but it was not uncommon.

     Called "mother's pensions", they could actually be filed by either parent or by a minor child.  The really interesting element  for genealogists is the pensions were granted to parents only if they could prove they were dependent upon their soldier's income.  The necessary proof was a letter or letters from the soldier to his parent mentioning the money he sent home.  Those letters remained with the soldier's case file, now residing at the National Archives in Washington. 

     William's mother filing at the time she did is also a clue that William's stepfather had probably recently passed away, and sure enough he does not appear in the 1880 census, though I couldn't find him in the mortality schedule either.

     So, today's tip is -- check pension applications even if you're sure your ancestor was killed, and or unmarried.  Someone may have filed for his pension.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Sunday's Obituary/William McGinty

    Today's post is about Bill McGinty, the husband of my 3rd great aunt Sarah Jane O'Hora.

Shortsville, NY Enterprise, January 18, 1934
      Shortsville has lost another of its old "characters" in the person of William McGinty, who died on Friday at the Ontario County Home, Hopewell. He was aged 73 years. William McGinty was born in Shortsville during the year 1861, to Owen and Margaret Murphy McGinty. He was married in 1894 to Miss Sarah O'Hora of Shortsville, who soon became invalided by rheumatism and died seven years after their union. The marriage took place at the old Harrington Hotel, which formerly occupied the plot where the bandstand now is.

     Bill, as he was familiarly known to all, was by trade, a moulder and worked for years in that capacity for the Empire Drill Company. For many years he had made in his home in the little house at the intersection of High street and Pioneer Road.
    For many years Bill had been an invalid, being a great sufferer from asthma. Yet that did not interfere with his good nature. He had always been a favorite with the boys of the village, and the writer recalls well of being entertained by Bill's poems and wise cracks. He was removed to the County Home last November. So far as we are able to learn, there are no survivors. Funeral services took place Monday morning at 9:30 o'clock, from St. Dominic's church, conducted by the pastor, the Rev. John E. Napier. The remains were laid at rest in St. Rose Cemetery.

      As they are wont to do, the editors got a few details wrong. The marriage took place in 1889 not 1894 so they had a thirteen year marriage, still tragically short, and they were married in Clifton Springs, New York at the residence of Sarah's priest Father Lee, not at a hotel.  One thing they got right was the "character" part.  

     When I first began seeking my O'Hora family I spoke with the Shortsville historian, an elderly lady who was very helpful, even letting me take irreplaceable old photos to the copy shop. As we discussed my family, William's name came up.  She smiled broadly and told me that when she was a girl, "Bill", then himself an elderly man, used to be the guard at the railroad crossing in Shortsville.  The photo above was taken by someone standing on Main Street, where Bill would have stood.  She went on to relate how he used to entertain the children with funny stories and how they loved to visit the crossing to see him.  Uncle Bill is definitely on my "I wish I could have known them" list.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

New York Death Records 1957-63 at Family Search

     Somehow I missed this one!  On December 19, 1913, Family Search quietly added this database--
New York State Health Department, Genealogical Research Death Index, 1957-1963!  This data has been available online for awhile at the New York State website, I wrote about it in July, for the details, look here.  Also, Ancestry has added vital record indexes for New York City!  It looks like this is the beginning of the promised partnership bringing the vital records index in it's entirety to Ancestry.

     The Family Search version of the 1957-63 index is a vast improvement over New York's-- those folks at FS know their stuff when it comes to genealogy.  The NYS site forces you to fool around with a "residence code" instead of just telling you where the event took place.  The Family Search site gives you that information up front.  I still can't figure out why NYS went to the trouble of creating and using a code?????  Were they bored that day?  Here's a suggestion, if you're at loose ends New York, try reading your mail and taking less than a year to respond.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Reasons To Revisit Old Websites And Searches


     The past two nights my husband and I have been re-watching Ken Burn's Civil War documentary.  It aired on PBS for the first time so long ago that we hadn't even met yet, but we enjoy it and every once in awhile we watch it again.  A few days ago we noticed it was available on Netflix, so here we are.  I'm a confirmed history geek, whatcha gonna do?

     As I watched, my thoughts naturally turned to the ancestors who had served and died in the Civil War.  It was only five or so years ago I discovered these soldiers, three McGarrs and one William H. Lead.  Of the four none came home, all done in not by enemy bullets but disease, the number one killer in that conflict.  After my husband went to bed, I sat down at my desk and typed in "Lead William H" 16th Artillery New York.  Sometimes backwards works when forwards doesn't.  This brought up a pdf that listed members of the 16th with some regimental notes along with enlistment dates and places.  It confirmed William died of disease at the post hospital at Fort Magruder, Virginia a mere eight months after enlisting.  Then I ran a search of the document using "Fort Magruder" for the search terms and discovered quite a few other deaths from disease there in the same time frame.  Next, I tried a search using "Manchester" where William lived and enlisted at the tender age of 18.  This one brought up, among others, George Hackett also 18 at enlistment.

     I knew I was related to the Hacketts of Manchester.  I found George in my files which jogged my memory, he was the son of Rhoda Wheat Hackett who was the sister of Cornelia Wheat Lead, William's mother. Both were sisters of my great-great-great grandmother Louisa Wheat Worden. That meant William and George were cousins who enlisted together on January 4th in 1864, a fifth soldier in the family!  They probably felt very adult and excited  to join the army, their mothers were probably horrified.  Cornelia had been widowed and remarried about the time Will was 14, it makes me wonder if he didn't hit it off with his step-father? This may have semed like a good way out of the house, 18 year olds always and ever believing themselves invincible.  Discovering this cousin connection between Will and George, (who made it home), doesn't really get me any further back in my genealogy, but it paints a clearer picture of what was happening in my family which is important to me.

     This set me off on a tangent of researching other members of this family line, (at midnight -- no wonder I'm always tired) and I found a detailed obit for my great-great-great-aunt Flora Worden Post, daughter of Louisa Wheat Worden.  She would have been 11 when her cousins left for the war.  I knew Flora had picked up and gone to Kansas for a few years in 1884.  I didn't know why she went to Kansas of all places or what she did there.  I always figured she had gone to teach on the frontier since she was a teacher, and that her widowed father's marriage to a woman his youngest daughter's age might have been the reason she left town. That may well have been the reason she left, but from this obituary I discovered what she did in Kansas.  I had found a short obituary earlier, but the one I found last night was from her hometown paper that hadn't been online until recently.  This obituary spelled it out:

      She learned the millinery trade at the Lawrence store in Canandaigua and later went with them to Kansas where she was employed for two years. She returned to Manchester in 1886 and was married the same year to William H. Post of that village. He passed away in 1916.
    I never knew where Flora learned the millinery trade til now, perhaps a book?  How To Make Hats For Fun And Profit?   No, the obituary cleared that up too.  I looked around the net for a reference to the "Lawrence store", and found an old trade card, don't you love the net? 
     After her marriage, Flora opened her own shop in her home which is also the home my father grew up in years later. My Grandmother's front parlor used to be a millinery shop--amazing!

     It's easy to forget websites, especially if you believe you've mined all the information they contain, and tedious to keep doing the same Google searches over and over.  But what I need to keep in mind is that data is being added to the net constantly and to keep checking back.  Which you can probably tell is no problem for me, I love this stuff.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Tombstone Tuesday/Marblehead Massachusetts' Miraculous Memorials


Samuel Waldron's stone  1691 from 

      Like the title?  That's called alliteration.

     Now, is it weird that I want to go to Marblehead and visit a cemetery where none of my ancestors rest?  Not a single one? (that I know of) You can tell me, I won't be offended.

     I've been looking around the net for my Galloway ancestors, and the 1790 census shows all the Massachusetts Galloway's, (which is where they claim to be from), in Essex county.  They're mostly residing in Ipswich but one is living in Marblehead.  I came across this cemetery site looking for Marblehead records, http://www.oldburialhill.org/

     This cemetery is amazing, and the imagery on the stones is remarkable.  The site has a section that explains what some of the images on tombstones mean, that and the photographs make it worth a look.  What I'd like to know, is how can a 322 year old tombstone look this good? (see above)  And in coastal New England winters yet?  There are stones in my local graveyards that are illegible after a measly hundred years!  What did they make them out of back then, kyryptonite?

     As fascinating as it was, I didn't have much luck finding any ancestors on the site, though I did find an Abigale Galloway in the Old North Churchyard in Ipswich--hey, isn't that where Paul Revere hung out?  No wait, that was the Old North Church--and it was in Boston...never mind. 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Eureka! Russell Galloway's Parents Found!


     I've been searching quite awhile for the parents of Milo Galloway, because I believe he is my great-great-great-grandpa Russell Galloway's brother--so his parents are Russell's parents and I was having no luck at all finding Russell's parents.  Well, actually I did find them, but I couldn't prove they were who I thought they were, which is the same as not finding them. And so I began the task of trying to prove Milo's parentage.  I believed George and Armenia Galloway born in Massachusetts were the likely suspects. Yesterday in one of those genealogical twists of fate, I instead proved the parents of  Russell.  Which is even better, but I still have to prove Milo and Russell were indeed brothers.  Why you ask?  Cause I can.

     I spent yesterday at the office of the Wayne County, New York Historian.  I wanted to check three New York State censuses taken in 1855, 1865 and 1875.  For reasons unknown to me, Wayne County is not included in those censuses on the Family Search website, necessitating a visit to  the historian's office.  I've noted all my circumstantial evidence in an earlier post, but to briefly re-cap-- George Galloway was in Vermont in 1800 the same year Milo was born in Vermont. George was in Jefferson County, New York in 1810, where Russell was born in 1807.  Next stop-Arcadia New York where all three lived at one time or another as adults, (and when Milo and Russell were children I believe, though you can't see they are together since those early censuses were head of household, but two sons of the right age group were with George)  Then in the 1850 Phelps, New York census we get to see George's wife's name at long last--Armenia, and their place of birth, Massachusetts.  They are living alone at that point, their sons being grown men, although Russell is also living in Phelps.

     This is where things stood until 2:34 pm yesterday afternoon.  That is when I opened the book containing the 1855 census of Arcadia and saw this entry--
Russell Galloway age 48, resident for 44 years, born Jefferson Co
Harriet Galloway age 44 wife
Selecta Galloway age 19 daughter
George Galloway age 16 son
Edward A. Galloway age 5 son
Edwin Galloway age 5 son
Armina Galloway age 78, resident 3 years, Mother born Mass. Widow
Erastus Galloway age 22 son
Ellen Galloway  [wife of Erastus]

    There it was in black and white, Armina/Armenia Galloway--MOTHER!  Believe me, that was not a common name.  I still haven't found the record of George and Armenia's marriage which is odd considering the great records Massachusetts kept, but I'll keep searching. Tenacious is my middle name...well,actually it's Mary, but you know what I mean.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Follow Friday/Free E-Zine

     Some of you probably already know about this, but for those who don't, the free Irish genealogy digital magazine Irish Lives Remembered can be downloaded, or read page by page on-line here.  January's issue is now available along with older editions.

     Each month the magazine features a genealogy guide to a different county in addition to general genealogy articles, so don't just read the editions spotlighting your counties of interest, they all have some good articles. The majority of the contributors are based in Ireland, with a few scattered in Australia, the US and the UK.  I'm not sure what they'll do when they run out of counties, perhaps a focus on different parishes.  That would be great, hopefully they'll start with the ones I'm interested in like Listowel in Kerry, Baltinglass in Wicklow/Kildare, or Annacarty/Donohill parish in South Tipp.  

     Speaking of Tipperary, the issue focusing on that county mentions a lesser known source called, The Reproductive Loan Funds.  I'd never heard of this--and no, they didn't want more Irishmen, these loans were intended to be used for the purchase of livestock, tools for a trade or to establish small cottage industries.  Supervised by London, the plan was only implemented in nine counties, Clare, West Cork, Mayo, Sligo, Galway, Roscommon, Leitrim, Limerick and Tipperary.

     At present the original documents rest in the UK National Archives, but part of them dating from 1848 to 1854 are available online at Moving Here (skip down to Irish Community when you get there).  The records available on this site were a follow up done to see how the loan recipients were getting on.  I went through the files and was greatly excited to see Donohill, Tipperary, home of my Ryans and O'Dwyers listed, but they weren't mentioned.  Only three names appeared--Mary Hogan, Norry Flin and James Nelson, all in "poor circumstances" at the time their loans were issued.  Mary and Norry got their loans in 1846, James in 1847.  The money didn't do them much good. Mary was dead by December of 1850, Norry, the wife of a farm laborer, died in the workhouse that same month and James, a weaver, was forced to enlist in the British Army to survive.

     Then I got excited all over again when I saw an entry for Silverhill, a tiny townland near Donohill where my 4th great grandfather Andrew Dwyer was recorded in the Tithe Applotments.  Again, no dice.  What is interesting about this though, is in spite of not finding my ancestors in these records, they  tell me a great deal about the area in which they lived.  The purpose of the loans was to "eradicate pockets of poverty", and no doubt make upstanding rent and tax paying British citizens of these unfortunate residents of an occupied country--but I digress.  As I was saying, what is interesting is that this area of  relatively prosperous South Tipperary was included in the program with counties like Sligo and Mayo, known for their extreme poverty during that period.

     When you get a chance look through these fascinating records if you have ancestors in the covered counties, you may get luckier than I was.  And check the e-zine, I think you'll find some useful advice there.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Wordless Wednesday/Lazy Beds

Photo: Dr. Charles Nelson

Cattle grazing in Connemara.  Note the remains of "lazy beds".  Sod was piled up in rows and potatoes planted atop, creating drainage ditches that always followed the slope of the land.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Irish Soldier Deaths In The American West

Myles Keogh
     I've recently discovered a list of Irish soldiers who died in the western states during the mid to late 19th century. Taken from Army enlistment records, the list gives the soldier's name, place of birth, cause of death and a physical description.  Enlistment and death dates are included. Some of the causes are odd, Mark Adams from Derry for example, died in Washington Territory in 1858 from the effects of ingesting "poisonous roots", while others are blood curdling--Michael T. Donahue died in 1877 in Wyoming Territory from disease (undoubtedly infection) after both feet were amputated due to frostbite.

     The list, while quite extensive, is a secondary source posted by a generous individual who took the time to copy the records, so of course double check anything you find there.  It's not an all inclusive list, I found one notable name missing, that of Myles Keogh, who died at the Little Bighorn with General Custer

     I first became familiar with Myles' story while researching the Throop-Martin family of Owasco, New York near Auburn.  My great-great-grandfather James O'Hora from Rathvilly Parish in County Carlow leased his first farm from the Throop-Martins and I hoped to find a mention of him in their papers.  I found they were a wealthy, prominent family with extensive property and an estate on the banks of Owasco Lake called Willowbrook, but no mention of Grandfather.  Enos Throop, former governor of New York had built Willowbrook, and upon his death it passed to his nephew E T Throop-Martin.  Maps show the farm Grandfather leased was right across the road.

    Myles Keogh was a frequent visitor at Willowbrook along with notables like Jenny Lind, General Custer and General Ulysses S. Grant.  Myles was himself born in County Carlow near my grandfather's birthplace, though his life was dramatically different.  Myles' family was well enough off to send him to the Jesuit St. Patrick's College. After graduating, he began his military career in the Papal Army with around 1,400 other Irishmen when in 1860 Pope Pius  IX called for Catholics worldwide to defend the Papal states against Garibaldi's attempt to unite them with the rest of Italy.  Myles earned several Papal medals for bravery, which he proudly wore the rest of his life.  Whenever he was photographed in dress uniform, those medals were on his chest.  In 1862 Myles arrived in New York and joined the US Army, serving at Chancellorsville, Gettysburg and the Georgia campaign with General Sherman.

Nelly Martin

     Myles had become friendly with the Throop-Martin family after an Army friend married their daughter Evelina.  There were rumors of a romance between Evelina's sister Cornelia, (Nelly), Martin and Myles, and some say they were in love.  But the odds of a rich, waspy family like the Throop-Martins allowing their daughter to marry an Irish Catholic, even one as dashing and handsome as Myles, were remote.  They were close friends however, often exchanging letters when Myles was away on duty, and the whole family was undeniably fond of him.  After his death at the Little Bighorn the Throop Martins had his body shipped to Auburn and interred in their family plot at Fort Hill Cemetery where until her death, Nelly, who never married, made sure fresh flowers were placed regularly.  She even designed his monument, later adding a white marble cross at the request of Myles' sister Margaret in Ireland, who was probably aghast her brother did not rest in a Catholic cemetery.

     I sometimes wonder if my great-great-grandfather ever had the occasion to meet Myles Keogh and maybe exchange memories of home, I don't suppose I'll ever know...

Friday, January 10, 2014

Irish Woman Turns 111 Today

Looking through my e-mail this morning, I came across this at Irish Central-- Oldest Living Irish Woman  She is 111 and lives about a mile from my house here in New York.  Her story is so fascinating I had to let you know about it, well worth the read.  Happy Birthday Helen!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Wordles Wednesday/Stereotype in a Stereoview

     A rather insulting, but typical 19th century staged view of an Irish wake.  Note the young girl on the floor guzzling alcohol, the man trying to force a drink on a woman to the far left, and in the background another man tipping a bottle into the mouth of the corpse.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Success Story/The Cottage in Ballyraggan

The section of the original cottage, which shows the former location of a window, is right in front of the wheelbarrow of apples

     Using records ordered from the Valuation Office in Dublin, and Ordinance Survey maps, I have been able to locate the site of my great-great-great-grandfather Daniel McGarr's cottage in Ballyraggan, Kildare.  I wrote a blog about how I did it here.  It was very exciting to find exactly where he lived, I could even use Google Street View to stroll to the beginning of his lane, but that was as far as I got.  Google never went down that lane to record what laid at the end of it.

     Enter fellow blogger Dara of Black Raven Genealogy.  Dara's blog is new, and has a uniquely Irish point of view--because she lives and writes in Ireland.  I really enjoy reading Dara's blog, and while perusing her bio, noticed her home is in Kildare.  I asked her if she was near Ballyraggan, and amazingly, she was!  Even more amazing, this lovely lady offered to go there for me!  Which she did.

     Dara and her husband snapped wonderful photos for me of the property, the home that stands there now, and the lone remaining fragment of the original cottage.  You can see it in the picture above, kind of a blocky U-shape in the left corner where a window used to be.  They spoke with the current owner of the property who has spent his entire life there, and even got a few pictures of him.  He described to them a cottage with mud walls and a thatch roof in which he lived with his parents, and the storm that took the building down sometime in his early childhood.  Naturally I was disappointed that I will never get to see Great-Great-Great-Grandfather's cottage, but that description and the photos Dara and her husband took are wonderful substitutes.  I'm so grateful to them both, and to the owner, who gave them the description and according to Dara, serenaded them to boot.

     Getting my passport photos this week, and  hopefully within a year or so I'll get to meet the owner of Grandpa's farm for myself, and personally thank Dara, one kind and generous lady.  Take a peek at her blog, I'm sure you'll like it as much as I do.


Saturday, January 4, 2014

Where the Heck is the Rest of Ricketstown?

Part of Ricketstown?????

      I've been trying to learn more about my O'Hora/O'Hore/Hore/Hoar relatives in County Carlow.  I'm pretty confident they lived in Ricketstown near Rathvilly since Ricketstown is the address on each of their children's baptism records.  They don't appear in the Valuation, but most of them were in America by the time that was done so I really wasn't surprised not to find them.  They don't show up in the Tithe Applotments either to my chagrin, except for a John Hore.  He could be my guy, I'm just not sure, and I thought there would be more of them.

     Another annoyance, the heading on the Tithe page reads, "Part of Ricketstown".  So where is the rest of Ricketstown?  It's not in the Rahill Parish book with part one, it's not in the Kineagh Parish book nor in Rathvilly Parish book either.  There's really nowhere else it could logically be than one of those three.  The page isn't missing from the Rahill book, look below and you can see the totals for the parish and only "Part of Ricketstown" is included on line 3.  No mention is made of the remaining part of Ricketstown so it must be in another parish.

     When I checked Kineagh Parish right next door, it does mention, "the lands of Rickettestown", but there is no list of inhabitants for that place in this book either.  I know Ricketstown was sometimes called Bettyfield, but could find no entries for that place.  The indexing for this project however, leaves alot to be desired. When I searched for the townland of Ballyraggan, home to my McGarrs,  nothing came up, even when I used the spelling the Tithe Commissioners used--"Ballyraggon", until I added County Longford to the search terms--which of course is wrong too, Ballyraggan is in Kildare.  Perhaps the missing part of Ricketstown is there somewhere placed in the wrong county, or maybe the remaining part of the townland actually was in Kineagh Parish but was nontaxable grazing land. Ah the joys of Irish research!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Wordless Wednesday/Irish Suffragettes

     This photo was taken in 1920 at the New York St. Patrick's Day Parade.  The Irish women pictured here were campaigning for women's suffrage.  The phrase on the banner they marched under that day is a quote by Dublin born William Rooney-- Sinn Fein member, writer and Gaelic revivalist.  

     Looking around the internet I see it has been appropriated by several white supremacist sites that attempt to twist his meaning but Rooney was here referring to the Irish race, not to the white race.  There oughta be a law...