Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Irish Census and Search Forms Uploaded!

National Archives Building

     Some fabulous records came online yesterday.  The Irish National Archives  in conjunction with findmypast have uploaded the fragments of the 1821, 1831, 1841 and 1851 Irish censuses along with the Census Search Forms!  This is part of the 100 records in 100 days promise from findmypast, and they are free.  There are really not many surviving census fragments, (I didn't find any ancestors though you might), but the Search Forms contain many more names and most if not all counties are included. 

     The forms are tied to the Old Age Pension Act of 1908, which covered England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales; it granted pensions to those over 70 with an income of less than £31 10 00 annually.  Proving one was over 70 presented a problem in Ireland. Civil registration didn't begin there until 1864, so anyone born before that year had no documents to prove their age.  The solution was to show that the person in question had been enumerated in the 1841 or 1851 censuses, which in 1908 still existed.  The forms officials used to find the applicants in the census included more information than the census itself, they also asked for father's name and the mother's maiden name.

     On this search page, you plug in the county you're searching, and a page of hits appears, at which point you can sort by last name or address.  The beauty of these records is that in addition to learning mother's maiden name, many more persons can be found in them than in the census fragments which are quite limited.  Of course the individual had to be alive in 1908, over 70, and living in Britain or Ireland, so famine immigrants naturally wouldn't be found among these records.

     This record set will be uploaded to Family Search soon, and  records from the Valuation Office are slated for release before long.  What a wonderful time to be an Irish researcher!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Tuesday's Tip/ Searching The Chronicling America Site

Great Hall of the Library of Congress

     In my search for ancestors I sometimes find a Google search will bring me to the Library of Congress newspaper site "Chronicling America".  It's a handy resource to have, but the search terms are not highlighted on the page when you come in via a Google search, and directions for searching individual pages is quite complicated, at least for me, to wit:

Searching newspaper pages is also possible via OpenSearch. This is advertised in a LINK header element of the site's HTML template as "NDNP Page Search", using this OpenSearch Description document.
Page search parameters:
  • andtext: the search query
  • format: 'html' (default), or 'json', or 'atom' (optional)
  • page: for paging results (optional)
     Yikes!  I don't think so.  I have discovered however, rather than reading the entire page one can convert the said page to an easily searchable PDF by clicking the PDF button atop the newspaper page image.  You can also do an advanced search once you get to the site, but it's more involved than converting, and sometimes I'm in a hurry--so many ancestors, so little time!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Grandma Galloway And The Haunted House

Cottage at Hydesville
      Yesterday I wrote about my 4th great-grandmother Armina Galloway and her peculiar living arrangements.  Since I'm always looking for clues, (some might say I don't know when to stop), I checked the internet for some histories of Hydesville, the hamlet founded by Armina's employer Henry Hyde.  I also checked New York land records at Family Search to see what Henry's holdings might be, with an eye to finding the house Grandmother got for a "kernel of grain".  After searching ten years worth of records I gave up, in that short time Henry had amassed hundreds of acres, no telling which property it might have been.

     The histories I read were more illuminating.  If you grew up in the Rochester, New York area as I did, at some point you would have heard of the Fox sisters.  I heard the story years ago, but had forgotten that the site of their home was Hydesville!  But let me begin at the beginning-- in 1815 Henry Hyde built a cottage on property he owned and as others built homes nearby, it became known as the hamlet of  Hydesville.  The history gave the names of subsequent occupants of the cottage over the years, but it didn't go back far enough for my purposes.  It occurred to me however, the Hydesville cottage could very well have been the property Grandmother lived on previous to living with Henry.  The home was described as "humble with two fair sized parlors, a bedroom and pantry on the first floor, with stairs leading to a half story above."  Not the sort of residence a well off doctor would live in for long, probably a temporary residence while his mansion was being built.

     After Henry Hyde's death, ownership of the Hydesville property passed to his son who in 1842 rented it to the Bell family-- this is where the legend of the haunted cottage begins.  As the story goes; Mrs. Bell, covetous of the lovely goods shown her by a traveling peddler, murdered the man and buried him in the cellar.  Soon after, mysterious noises began to be heard within the walls, and before another year passed, the Bells left for parts unknown.  The next occupants were the Weekman family.  They too heard the strange noises, and their children reported being touched by a "cold hand".  One daughter even claimed to have seen a vision of a man in the cottage.  Shortly after that, the Weekmans also fled the cottage.

The Fox Sisters
     In December of 1847, the place was again rented out, this time to the Fox family.  The noises resumed, along with the sound of footsteps and the movement of furniture.  Supposedly the Foxes were able to communicate with the spirit causing the phenomena and claimed he was the peddler who visited the Bell family years earlier, and that he had been murdered in the house.  Kate and Maggie Fox, the two youngest daughters were said to be the most attuned to the spirit, and soon after became well known, traveling  all over the states of New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and beyond demonstrating their ability to commune with the dead.  They are credited with the founding of "Modern American Spiritualism".

     The sisters later admitted it had all been a hoax, and died in poverty.  But the true believers still carried on the new religion.  As for Grandmother?  She would have lived in the cottage long before the supernatural disturbances if she lived there at all.  But it's sort of fun to speculate. 


Saturday, April 26, 2014

The Things You Come Across In Land Records


     For no particular reason I've been thinking lately about my 4th great-grandmother Armenia or Armina Galloway who was born around 1776 in Massachusetts.  Probably because I know next to nothing about her and it bugs me.  I don't even know her maiden name, though I suspect it may have been Russell since she chose that name for her second son.  For that matter, even the spelling of her first name is uncertain, in the 1850 census it is "Armenia" and in the 1855 it is Armina.  I've done searches using her husband's name and her first name, <"George Galloway" Armina>, but all the results I get are for some British politician named George Galloway and the country of Armenia or my own blog.

     Looking at Galloway land transactions in Wayne and Ontario Counties in New York on Family Search, I was surprised to see in the grantee index, "Armina Galloway" in 1825!  Women didn't buy much land in 1825 New York, so that was unexpected.  Upon looking up the original deed, I found it wasn't a deed at all, it was an agreement between Armina and Henry Hyde--
  January 8, 1825
     Know all men by these presents that I, Henry Hyde of Lyons, NY do agree with Armina Galloway of the same place, that she may have the use of the present dwelling house and lot where she now lives for the yearly rent of one kernel of grain, so long as she may live on the said premises in person, or she may rent the same and have the rent herself as long as she will take good care of said Hyde and his children at the said Hyde’s expense of provisions, clothing etc. at his own dwelling in said Lyons. 
    Witness my hand at Lyons the 3rd day of January, 1825. N.B. If the said Armina should choose after living with said Hyde to return to her present dwelling she may have the privilege as above stated.

     I was unsure what N.B. stood for, so I consulted Wikipedia which states it's an abbreviation for the Latin Nota Bene, meaning, "note well".  Today we would just write "note" in a document to emphasize the subject being addressed.  Besides learning a little new Latin, I also found that the learned Henry Hyde and the 1855 census taker both spelled Grandmother's name, "Armina". 

    I love the kernel of grain as rent and was curious about Henry Hyde.  I found for sale here a diary from his early years, and if I had $2,000 I didn't have any use for I would purchase it, however...
This is a description--
    Dr. Henry Hyde (1774-1828), was from Milton, Vermont and in 1810 he went to Ohio looking for land.  Not finding what he wanted, he returned east and purchased a farm near Lyons, NY.  

    I also found him in the 1820 census of Lyons with a large family.  He went on to found the town of Hydesville near Lyons, so I guess he could afford to let property for a kernel of grain.  It appears his wife had passed away by the time Armina agreed to take care of him and his family, but three years later, Henry himself passed away at age 54.  I wonder if the agreement continued in force?  I found it odd that she agreed to live with Henry, a man about her own age, while her husband George was still alive, but I imagine free rent would be hard to pass up.  I'd love to fill in these details someday, so I'm keeping my eyes open for new documents coming online.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Friday's Photo/Lena Grimes Massachusetts

     This picture was taken in Woburn, Massachusetts,  a little over nine miles from Somerville where in the 1900 census, we find 6 year old Lena living with her parents. Lena was born in August of 1893 to Herman Grimes, a produce dealer, born in Vermont, and his wife Juliette, a native of Massachusetts. This family later moved to Melrose, Massachusetts.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Where Do Old Posts Go To Die?

                                                                                                Oscar Kosy

      Easter is almost here, meaning the Easter rush will soon be over and the bakery I work for will, in the immortal words of President Warren G. Harding, "return to normalcy".  At that point I will get a few days off!  Which means I am already plotting what to do with the time, genealogically speaking.  One option that comes to mind is re-posting my family information to all the message boards.  It may seem like a simple thing, but for some reason, (laziness?) I've been putting it off.

     Why go to the trouble to re-post data and queries I already have out there?  For one thing, over the intervening years I have discovered much more data on my family lines and found allied families and new locations to be investigated.

     For another, I don't know about you, but if I see a post from oh say, 1999 or thereabout, the odds are very good I won't bother to pursue it.  I may use the information, if any, that it contains as clues, but I tend not to reply to old posts.  They won't see it, their e-mail address has probably changed, (mine has), they may not still be cetera.

     I can't be the only pessimist out there, some of my message board posts are quite ancient and people are probably ignoring me!   However, when I think of the  herculean task of re-posting all my lines, (and it's not really--I'm such a total wuss), I decide to put it off for another day.  No more!  This week I am going to begin new posting; I will let you know if this results in anything useful, but in the meantime, I'd love to know if anyone else out there disregards the older posts?  Please tell me I'm not the only one.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Tuesday's Tip/Digital Newspaper Search


      I recently stumbled across this site, Elephind, whose stated goal is, "to make it possible to search all the world's historic newspapers from one place."  They aren't there yet, but with 2,447 titles, they are well on their way.  

     There is a basic search, and advanced search function, along with a page of tips for searching and a list of titles.  You can also browse the newspapers.  New pages are being added regularly, so this site is worth checking periodically.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Friday's Photo/Ruth Lois Connor, Medford, Massachusetts

     This little girl is Ruth Connor, the oldest child of William and Elizabeth Connor of Medford, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, born in 1893/94. Ruth had two younger brothers, Raymond and Thomas, and in 1900, twins Clarence and Gladys were born. It seems the twins did not survive, they are not shown in the 1910 census.  

     Ruth's parents, William and Elizabeth, were both natives of Massachusetts, and the children of Irish immigrants.  This photo of Ruth was taken in 1900 according to the label on the back, when she would have been six or seven years old.
      It appears Ruth never married, she lived with her parents, supporting herself as a clerical worker in a broker's office. Her father William died before the 1940 census where we see Ruth aged 46, living with her mother Elizabeth and her brother Thomas.

   Looking at the SSDI there are two women by the name of Ruth Connor, one born in 1893 and one in 1894 who died in Massachusetts.  Only one of the two lived in Middlesex County, so I'm leaning towards that one being the correct Ruth, though maybe neither one is her.  The woman from Middlesex county passed away in July of 1981 in Arlington, Massachusetts.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Missing McGarrs Located

Monona County

     I've spent the past few days looking at military records, so I figured I might as well see if any new ones had been added for my McGarr family who lost three members in the American Civil War, and sure enough there was John McGarr.  John enlisted at Watervliet, New York in Albany County in 1866, after the close of the Civil War that had claimed his oldest brother Daniel.  I had some difficulty reading the place name in the record, but after pulling up a list of towns and villages in New York I was able to figure it out, I think it was the "rvl" in the center of Watervliet that was throwing me, along with the poor handwriting.

     Although John enlisted many miles from Auburn, New York where I would have expected to find him in 1866, further along in the record his birthplace was given and it was indeed Auburn.  I'm not sure how John's line fits into my McGarr tree, but I'm confident there is a relation.  All the McGarrs who emigrated to Auburn were from Kildare or from just across the county line in Wicklow.

     Once I discovered John's enlistment, I grew curious about his family so I turned to the wonderful research done by Evelyn Twining on the Auburn McGarrs back in the late 1970's.  I copied it twelve years ago on a trip to the historian's office in Auburn where it now resides and as far as I'm concerned it's the definitive work on the Auburn McGarr family to date. It's all the more amazing because there were no indexed census or church records back then.  In it I found John's family; his father John Sr. from Ireland and his mother Hannah Kilfoyle , (or sometimes Guilfoyle), also from Ireland along with his brothers and sisters.  

     Evelyn hadn't been able to determine what became of this family, other than the eldest son dying in the war and several other children dying young and being buried in Auburn.  Of course, Evelyn didn't have the internet when she compiled her research, so she couldn't have known John Jr. traveled far from home and joined the military or that his parents ultimately traveled over one thousand miles to settle in Iowa.

     I stumbled upon that fact by happy accident.  I did a Google search for <"John McGarr" Auburn NY> and a history of Monona County Iowa, containing the following came up--

     It was very compelling that John came to town the same year as Philip O'Neal, a man from Auburn.  Looking again at Evelyn's research I noticed the marriage of John McGarr Sr.'s daughter Eliza to Philip O'Neal, and saw that he did have a son named William.  I also found some burial records for John Sr., Hannah and their daughter Eliza McGarr O'Neal in the local Catholic cemetery.  Eliza died in 1871, just a year after arriving in Iowa.  The last sentence in the above excerpt makes it appear her husband Philip got himself into a bind after her death.  

     The presence of those pertinent names along with the mention of the city of Auburn convinces me that this is the John McGarr family that went missing from Auburn after the 1865 NY census.  I'm not yet sure what became of John Jr. but I'm working on it.  I wish I could tell Evelyn, but I'm sure she herself has passed on by now, when I copied it I was told she was elderly and confined to a nursing home. Her fantastic research lives on however, and inspires me to get mine together in a form another human being could comprehend.  I've discovered quite alot about this family over the years, and someday I'd like my folder next to hers in the historian's office.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

The Two William Coopers


      Since returning from our southern sojourn, I've been thinking about my Civil War ancestors.  Am I the only one with such a short attention span?  I can be working intently on one family line and then something reminds me of another topic and I'm off.  This time what happened was my proximity to several battlefields and my skimming through a history of Ionia County Michigan where some of my Wiggins line settled.  In this history it was noted that William W. Cooper of Berlin, Ionia County, who enlisted in 1861 at Ionia County, died at the battle of Gaines Mill in 1862.  My 4th great aunt Catherine Wiggins married Peter Cooper, and William was their first child, did he die in action?  If so he's the only one of my cousins who did, the rest succumbed to disease.

     I checked the 1850 census and to my dismay there were two William Coopers of the appropriate ages in Michigan and one actually had the initial W, but he wasn't my cousin, my cousin was still living with his parents in 1850 in Ionia County.  The other William was in Pittsford, Hillsdale County with his parents along with a Lucy aged 17 and Mary aged 11.  Was he the one who actually died in Virginia?  He did have that W.  

     The 1860 census shows my cousin no longer in his parent's household, but a William Cooper was living in nearby Berlin with a wife Sarepta Johnson Cooper.  The William who died in the war was definitely from Berlin, so this was the right man, but was he my cousin?  The other William Cooper was now "William N." and was in Ann Arbor with Lucy Cooper, and their ages were 10 years older than 1850 so I'm pretty sure these were the former residents of Pittsford.

     Upon consulting the 1870 census, I found Sarepta living with her parents in Palo, Ionia county, but no William.  The other William and Lucy were still in Ann Arbor that year. The 1870 census didn't specify marital status, but in 1880 Sarepta was enumerated as a widow living with her widowed mother, still in Palo.  I was starting to conclude that William Cooper of Berlin was in fact the son of Peter and Catherine Wiggins Cooper.  

      I then pulled up a map to see the distance between these places.  Pittsford, the home of William W. in 1850, and Ann Arbor, his home in 1860 are 65.5 miles apart, and both are about 120 miles from Ionia county, a two hour drive today, in 1860 you could probably double that figure.  The city of Detroit was only 44.6 miles from Ann Arbor, it didn't make sense that William of Ann Arbor would go all the way to Ionia county to enlist, even assuming he couldn't in Ann Arbor.  And of course he is still alive in 1870, but I like to cover all my bases.  Some might say I like to make things more difficult for myself but hey, you NEED to be sure about these things!

     So, I'm 99 percent convinced that William W. (for mother's maiden name of Wiggins?) who died at Gaines Mill and is buried in Palo cemetery is my relative.  He is definitely the man mentioned in the history book and the husband of Sarepta, and no other William Coopers his age lived in Ionia County.  Ancestry has very little information about him, perhaps I need to consider a Fold 3 subscription...

Friday, April 4, 2014

Friday's Photo/Almy In Illinois

    This photo of Tony and his human A. M. Almy, (as written on the back), was taken in Sandwich Illinois.

      In the 1900 census, we find in Bristol Illinois:

Andrew Almy age 44 born Rhode Island
Lucy Almy age 40
Harriet Almy age 23
Cora Almy age 11

     Bristol is only 13 miles from Sandwich where the photo was taken.  

     In the 1930 census Andrew used his middle initial of M. and that along with his residence in 1900 leads me to believe he is likely the man in this photo.  Andrew and Lucy had moved on to Michigan by 1930, he died later that same year in Michigan.  I've been unable to trace Tony.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Bandon, County Cork Site

Main Street, Bandon, Ireland

     This morning I found a website that is new to me, my favorite kind of website--it's free.  If you are lucky enough to have ancestors from the area of Bandon in County Cork you can spend hours perusing this site!  There is the usual, Griffiths, Tithe Applotments and maps, but there is so much more.  Parish records, family trees and emigrant records; leases, tenancies, churches, graveyard inscriptions, directories, military's all here.

     Unfortunately, I have no known ancestors in that area, but I took a look since the whereabouts of my 3rd great-grandfather James White's roots are still unknown to me.  I wish all townlands had such wonderful sites, it would make things so much easier.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Getting Back To Those Ancestors


     You may have noticed a strange lack of activity here at the headquarters of Ellie's Ancestors.  The upstate New York weather finally got the best of my husband and myself and we left for warmer climes.  It's amazing what some time at the beach will do to restore a person.  And we even missed what I sincerely hope will be the last major snow storm of this wretched winter!

     Rest assured the staff did not completely eschew genealogy, in fact I even attempted to get a blog out but the hotel's wi-fi connection was dismal so I finally gave up.  However, as it happens we were staying within 30 miles of my husband's ancestral roots.  His family owned a small plantation on Catfish Creek, (don't you love it?),  and we spent some time prowling that area.  Unfortunately, no trace of the place remains.  We couldn't even find a foundation, not that we looked all that hard--there are snakes and bugs and alligators in the area, and wading through a vermin infested swamp is too much even for me.  We did speak with the Marion County historian who told us the whole area had been bulldozed years ago.  Even the cemetery was dozed into the swamp!  That horrified me.  I think it may have been a small family cemetery and no family members were left in the area to protest.  Most of them appear to have left after the Civil War, (they were on the Confederate side), and headed to the southwest where my husband was born.

     The plantation owner was my husband's 4th great-grandfather Willis "Cornmaker" Finklea, who was born around 1785.  I don't know if that nickname  means he grew corn, or my husband's interpretation--he made corn whiskey.  It's certainly possible ole' Willis had a still running out there on the creek.  The historian also told us that Willis donated land for a church called "Ebeneezer Church".  That was easy to find, but there was only one Finklea stone in the graveyard, that of Martha, daughter of Willis.  That lack of Finklea stones further leads me to believe the rest of the family now rests in the swamp.

      I think Willis must have been fairly prosperous, poor men don't donate pieces of land, and the inventory of his estate done at the time of his death in 1842 mentioned eleven slaves. Since Willis died before the war began, at least he wasn't forced to witness the decline in the family fortunes in it's aftermath.  I think I need to spend some time looking into this family, there are many unanswered questions, and not alot of sources to check; things like hurricanes and floods may have something to do with that, I'm thinking.