Monday, December 28, 2015

New Year Project


     As usual, I have a number of resolutions lined up for the new year and I've actually gotten a head start on one, the organization of my ancestor photographs.  It's all well and good to digitize photos and store them on your computer, or even better in the cloud; in fact it's an excellent idea.  But what happens when I want to show my father, or another older relative these images?  I can't very well drag my desktop over to their place, and they have difficulty viewing them on my so called "smart" phone, (no, I haven't forgiven it for erasing my blog pics yet).  Pictured above is my solution!

     I've decided the ideal vehicle in which to display antique photos is an antique photo album.  However, after visiting several antique shops I discovered these albums are pretty pricey.  Especially if they are in any kind of decent condition, $75 and up in my locale, which was a bit more than I envisioned spending.  I then turned to Ebay and for a paltry $20 (plus $12 for shipping), this beautiful album was mine.  It's latch is bronze, and bears a patent date of 1882.  The cover is of a lovely emerald green velvet, very appropriate for housing pictures of my Irish ancestors.


     The insides are in great shape too, in fact it looks barely used.  The pages are illustrated with quite beautiful graphics of flowers, and sparrow like birds which appear to be peering down at the openings where photos will soon reside.  As appealing as these pages are, sadly they are not acid free.  The process to manufacture acid free paper was not invented until the 1950's.  I'm not about to place my old family photos in an acidic environment so I came up with what I think is a workable compromise.  

     The plan is to begin scanning the photos I wish to include in the album in high resolution, then to upload the file to a photo printing service like Shutterfly or Walgreen's.  I will also need a frame of some sort.  If you look at old cabinet cards they are usually on a piece of chipboard, often with the photographer's name across the bottom.  In other words, the image doesn't fill the entire opening on the album page.  Since I want this project to look as authentic as possible, a frame is imperative.  And I think I've found the method I'm going to use.  The website www.befunky.com allows uploaded photos to be framed, cropped, and otherwise edited, and it's free!

     After the completion of this project, I'm tackling (again) the writing of a short bio for each of my ancestors along with a list of the sources I used...really I am. 
  


Friday, November 13, 2015

Friday's Photo/Grace Galloway Lash Wolcott, NY

Grace Galloway Lash 1898-1934
     Grace is my mother's mother, she was born in Wolcott, New York to Russell Carlton Galloway and his wife Harriet Elizabeth Vincent.  In the above photograph she is about sixteen years old.  Inscribed on the back is --"To Grandpa & Grandma Love, Grace"  They would have been her father's father George Galloway and his wife Harriet Foster.  Harriet was Grace's step-grandmother, and her aunt!  Harriet's sister, the late Clarissa Foster, was Grace's actual grandmother. 

     Grace's other set of grandparents John Vincent and Sarah Charlotte  Fowler, who was the subject of my last blog, were deceased by the time this photo was taken in 1914.  Sarah died of TB in 1883 and John passed in 1905.

     Grace married Lewis Lash in 1921, the young couple lived with his mother Mary Wiggins Lash until they purchased their own home in Butler, New York.  They had seven children, my mother being the fifth.  Grace died in a tragic accident when the kerosene can she was holding exploded while she was filling her stove.  Several of her children including my mother were in the room, and several more in the barn with their father.  Upon hearing the explosion, Lewis came running and wrapped his wife in a blanket to extinguish the flames but the damage was done.  She died seven hours later in a small, local hospital.  

Monday, November 9, 2015

The White Plague

                                                                   Photo by Henry Peach Robinson 1858

     It was spoken of in hushed tones, and certainly never outside the family circle, a certain stigma attached.  Whatever name you knew it by, be it phthisis, king's evil, consumption, the euphemistic "decline", or tuberculosis, it was usually a sentence of death; sometimes quickly, other times only after decades of suffering.  The first symptoms were fatigue, weight loss, and the cough. Later stages were characterized by pallor, sunken yet luminous eyes, night sweats and the horrifying expectoration of blood.  Death came when the infected lungs became so ravaged they could no longer perform their job, though this could be a long process.

      No one knew why whole families were sometimes afflicted, and it was once believed to be hereditary.  Not until 1882 would the responsible bacillus be discovered, but it would be over a decade longer before the medical community accepted that TB was a communicable disease caused by a specific bacteria.  Of course finding the cause was not the same as finding a cure, and with the knowledge that a contagious agent was behind the deadly illness, sufferers lives became that much worse.  They found themselves shunned and sometimes even wrenched from their homes and families and forced into public institutions.

     Several of my ancestors died of tuberculosis, four that I'm aware of, but I'd be willing to bet there were others.  It's been estimated that by the 19th century, TB had killed one in seven of all people who had ever lived.  That's an astounding number.  One particularly heartbreaking case was that of my third great-grandmother Sarah Charlotte Fowler Vincent.  Sarah lived with her family in the rural community of Butler, New York.  She died at her home in the summer of 1883 when she was fifty years of age, eleven days after the death of her twenty year old daughter Mary Ann from the same disease.  Sarah left a husband and three other children none of whom, to my knowledge, ever developed TB.

       Another was the equally sad case of my great-grandmother Ellen White O'Hora's sister Julia Sullivan. Julia, who had lost her husband years earlier to nephritis, died in Rochester, New York in 1917 at fifty-three, leaving an orphaned son of thirteen.  He doesn't appear to have contracted the illness either.  I found it puzzling that individuals living in close contact with, and caring for TB victims somehow escaped it's clutches.  So I did some research on tuberculosis.  

     After much reading, I learned that TB is spread when a person with an active case coughs, sneezes, or even talks thereby spreading droplets that can be inhaled by others.  Once that happens, several different things can occur.  The person can develop a TB infection themselves, but surprisingly,  in the majority of cases that does not happen.  Their immune system is usually able to overcome the bacteria, only one in ten of those exposed to TB will go on to develop the disease; usually those with weakened immune systems.  A third possibility is the person's immune system does not destroy the bacteria, but is able to keep it inactive.  Known as latent TB, this stage is not contagious; but if the immune system should weaken, an active case could result many years after the initial infection.

     The fourth known case in my family happened in Ballyraggan, County Kildare, Ireland in 1866; and was that of yet another third great-grandmother of mine, Anne Donahoe McGarr.  Anne's death certificate says she died of phthisis at the age of sixty six, after an eighteen month illness.  The book, "Medicine, Disease and the State in Ireland", by Greta Jones states that at the time of Anne's passing, tuberculosis was the leading cause of death in Ireland, just as it was in America, killing many more people than smallpox, typhus and cholera combined.  The last-named diseases however, had more dramatic onsets, tended to occur in epidemics and caused death in a much shorter period, so they received more attention in the 19th century than the easier to hide (up to a point) TB.  

     Anne's case fascinates me because the story in our family is that she was a folk doctor specializing in the treatment of skin cancer.  From what I've read of the old healers, they were often believers in the "fairy faith".  This may or may not have been true of Grandma Anne, but I'm quite curious as to how her illness was perceived.  A stroke of bad luck or a fairy stroke?

     The discovery of streptomycin in 1943, followed by numerous other drugs finally put an end to this scourge that had plagued mankind since the time of the pharaohs.  While there have been recent outbreaks of drug-resistant strains, tuberculosis is no longer the menace so feared by our ancestors.  After all the articles I've read, and my new understanding of how prevalent TB was in the 19th and early 20th centuries, I have to wonder who else in my family may have been it's victim.

    
     

Monday, November 2, 2015

Tuesday's Tip/Searching Startegy



     George Newton Bigelow Jr. lived in Palmyra, NY his entire life.  So why couldn't I find his obituary?  I tried searching with his middle name of Newton, tried with the middle initial N, and with just George Bigelow, all with no luck.  Finally I used the search terms --Palmyra NY, 1910 (the year of his death) and Bigelow.  The obituary came right up!  The problem was with the condition of the newspaper.  See below:


  
     The software couldn't read the darkened name George.  In another case, the name was on two lines and was hyphenated to Bige-low.  The software didn't catch that one either.  Often, if I'm not finding what I want and the database is for a smallish town, I search on a last or even a first name.  I've also found my person by limiting the search to only Irish born individuals and using no name.  Larger towns and databases can be searched this way with a date range; for instance, I found the death of Ellen Maher in Ohio by using just "Ellen", "Richland County" and her year of death.  She was mistakenly listed as Ellen "Marker".  I've found searching without a name particularly helpful with my Irish ancestors.  Officialdom had a great deal of difficulty with Irish surnames with which they were unfamiliar.  Some of the spellings were mind boggling.

     I've had success with newspapers, census records, death records and other databases using this method.  I wouldn't want to try a search of New York City or any other large metropolis using it, but it does have it's place.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Black Sheep Sunday/They Really Didn't Like Us Much

     
Gilman Bigelow Howe

     Check out the snooty looking fellow above.  He didn't much care for Irish Catholics.  Sure and he wasn't alone, there is a long history of such bigotry in America which after all, was settled primarily by the English.  Since colonial times there has been a strong bias against Catholicism culminating with the Know Nothing Party of the 1850's.  It didn't end there of course, but over the intervening years has slowly diminished.  Historian Arthur Schlesinger termed prejudice against Catholics, "the deepest bias in the history of the American people."  In 1925 the "cartoon" below featuring the KKK appeared.  That's right, even the Klan didn't like us.


     But back to Gilman-- in 1890 he published a genealogy of the Bigelow family which can be found online at Google Books.  The only reason I'm interested in the Bigelows is that George N. Bigelow Jr's wife was one Bridget from Ireland.  They had two sons, and then divorced.  Bridget Bigelow is buried in the family plot of Darby Hogan in Palmyra, NY along with my 3rd great-grandfather Cornelius Ryan and his son Cornelius Jr.  I'd like very much to know Bridget's maiden name, so yesterday I was searching all over the net to see if I could locate it.  I can just go down to the parish and check the records, I live about two miles from Palmyra, but I work and their hours are limited so I thought I'd try the net first.

     I searched Gilman's book and found George, but all it said was he "married in Palmyra".

     Just about every other entry in this lengthy book gives the name of the subject's bride or husband, except in this case.  It wouldn't have been difficult to find her name, they married in 1863 less than thirty years before the book was written, not in the distant past.  I believe she was excluded due to who she was.  I did have a laugh at Gilman's expense, George Jr. was not a photographer, his and Bridget's son George (4133) was.  In fact George Jr. must have been a huge disappointment to his Yale educated father, who was a doctor.  George Jr. was listed as a "gardener" in one census" and a "stone cutter" in the next.  And he married an Irish immigrant who was Roman Catholic to boot, talk about black sheep!

     Another case I found was that of Timothy E. McGarr, a distant cousin who despite being orphaned at age thirteen rose to become secretary to United States Senator Roscoe Conkling of New York, and later the secretary of New York State's Department of Mental Hygiene and in the process became a wealthy man.  He was listed in "The Albany and Troy Society Blue Book: Elite Family Directory" in 1917.  Still, his protestant father-in-law despised him for his Catholic faith.

     While there are still pockets of intense anti-Catholicism today, for the most part those sentiments are a thing of the past, though not long past.  Pope Francis' overwhelming welcome to these shores was welcome proof of that. 

     




Friday, October 30, 2015

Friday's Photo/Isolena Thomas Bigham, Texas



     This week there are two photos taken at different times of the same person.  Isolina Thomas was born in Texas, the daughter of G W Thomas and his wife Mattie, in August of 1875.  Both of her parents were from Arkansas and married young.  Mattie was only 16 when she gave birth to Isolina, and 18 when her son William was born.  Isolina was named for her aunt who can be found living next to her in the 1880 Bell County Texas census.

     Below is a shot of a much younger Isolina:



    
     In 1895 Isolina married James W. Bigham.  The 1900 census of Bell County shows them with two sons, 2 year old Eric and newborn George. "Lina" and James are buried together in Rogers Cemetery in Bell County.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Mystery Monday/Where Did The O Go?

     


     My ancestors from Rathvilly, County Carlow had a weird surname. I'm sorry, but it is decidedly odd.  Hore.  Would you want to be called Hore?  No, and neither did my Grandmother and Aunt who as soon as they were old enough, changed it to O'Hara.  Early records from Auburn, New York where the family first settled, use the "Hore" or "Hoare" spelling.  After a few years, say about 1855 or 1860, the name became O'Hore or O'Hora.  By Grandma's generation they were the O'Hara's although, the Auburn branch of our family even today retains the O'Hora spelling .
     
     A few weeks ago I wrote about my Lawler relatives who remained in Ireland during the famine while most other family members emigrated to the USA.  In that blog I noted that Anne Lawler gave her mother's name as Winifred "O'Hara" in 1916.  Below is Winifred's baptism at Rathvilly Parish in County Carlow, there is no O prefix before her surname:

Church Baptism Record
Winifred Hore
 Date of Baptism:    24-Mar-1822
Address: Ricketstown    Parish:   RATHVILLY
Denomination:    Roman Catholic
Father:    Michael Hore   
Mother:    Mary Travis        

Sponsors:   Ned Hore  Catherine Kelly

     This got me wondering, (again), where the surname Hore could have originated.  It obviously sounds like a not so nice name to call a woman, so I started by looking up the word's etymology.  I found that the pejorative meaning has been around since at least 1530, and was found in Middle English, so yeah, everyone knew what it meant by the time my ancestors were using it as their surname.

     But from whence did it come?   My first thought was that it was a Norman name, like Fitzgerald or Power.  But then I began seeing the name spelled with the O prefix in a few pre-famine records in Ireland, the earliest being the 1845 marriage of Winifred's brother John to Catherine McGarr, although when their first child was born a year later the PP wrote "Hoare" as the surname. So was it a Gaelic name after all?  Was it just the vagaries of the Priest who wrote the record?  It must also be remembered that the use of Gaelic prefixes like O and Mc were outlawed for a time.  I recently saw these statistics at a great site called Your Irish Heritage.com:

YEAR                         Percentage of Population Using The O Prefix
1866                                                      4%
1890                                                     13%
1914                                                     20%
1944                                                     60%

     You can see that as time went by, and pride in their national heritage grew, Irish men and women began to return to the older forms of their names.  I still tend to believe there was no O prefix in the original name.  Probably the first Hore in Ireland was a Norman knight named Sir William le Hore who came in 1169.  He was granted an estate in County Wexford about 45 miles from Rathvilly.  There are still families of that name in Wexford and up through Wicklow and of course in Carlow.

     It's still puzzling to me why the American Hore's decided to add the O, certainly in 1850's America there was no real advantage to being Irish.  Quite the opposite, many Americans were not happy about the influx of Irish immigrants during and after the famine and treated them quite badly.

     For now, I'm going with the Norman origin of the name.  It's well known that the descendants of those early soldiers who came to Ireland intermarried with the locals and assimilated their customs, language and manner of dressing.  By the 1300's some of them couldn't even speak English!  This so distressed England that in 1366 the Statutes of Kilkenny were introduced forbidding intermarriage, the use of Irish language and names and Irish laws.  Given the proximity of those first "Hores" to where my ancestors lived, it makes perfect sense.

     




Saturday, October 24, 2015

Sympathy Saturday/Oliver Ryan's Misfortune

    
Oliver Ryan and his second wife Margaret Cotter


      Last year I wrote a blog about my 3rd-great uncle Cornelius Ryan, who with his parents came to America from South Tipperary  in 1860.  Con was born in 1844, the year before the famine began in Ireland, in the small townland of Goldengarden.  In Palmyra, New York Con became a shoemaker, and it was there that he married Anne Hennessy.  There too, their son Oliver was born in 1870.   No fairy-tale ending awaited this Ryan family however.  In the fall of 1877 Cornelius died, and six months later his wife Anne also passed away leaving eight year old Oliver an orphan.  For some time I believed Oliver went to live with his mother's brother, Edward Hennessy in Port Gibson after her death, since he was with him and his family  in the 1880 census.  Then a Ryan cousin stumbled across guardianship papers for Oliver filed in 1878 naming Edward Welch, the husband of Ellen Welch as Oliver's guardian.


     That of course begs the question, why was Oliver not living with Edward and Ellen Welch in 1880?  Looking at the papers themselves and the way they were worded, Ellen's name was grouped with several Hennessy relatives, like she was one of them.  I next looked at the 1880 census but no Edward and Ellen Welch could be found in or near Palmyra.  I then checked the Catholic Cemetery in Palmyra, and there they were, Ellen Welch age 39 died in 1879 and Edward Welch age 60 also died in 1879.  They died the same year...there just might be a story there, so the next stop was the Old Fulton site with it's wealth of newspapers.  There was a story all right!  Ellen had passed away first, leaving Edward so grief stricken over the loss of his young wife that he committed suicide by shooting himself in the head.  He was found lying on her grave in St. Anne's Cemetery in Palmyra--

May 28, 1879--At Palmyra Edward Welch, a laborer, shot himself dead on the grave of his wife who had died two weeks before.  After her death he would not work but wandered around bewailing his loss.

     I then checked Ancestry's deaths section and there I found a copy of Edward's will made on 22 April 1879.  In it Edward named Oliver Ryan, "my nephew who lives with me and is now my adopted son", as his sole heir.  No mention at all is made of Ellen so it appears to me she probably died in mid April.  I think the newspaper was mistaken when it claimed Ellen had been dead only two weeks when her husband took his life.  Edward made the will providing for Oliver and just over four weeks later he ended his life and his anguish.  And the poor little boy who had just lost a second mother figure was uprooted yet again.  I hope Oliver was able to remain with his Uncle Edward's family til he was grown.  There of course is no 1890 census, but New York's 1892 census shows Oliver in Farmington just a few miles from Port Gibson listed next to the Gorman family.  He might even have been living with them, that census does not give relationships or house numbers.  His Hennessy grandmother Bridget was a Gorman before her marriage so these people may have been family to Oliver.  

     The following year he married Elizabeth Cotter, and they had two children, Oliver Jr. in 1894 and Grace in 1896.  Elizabeth and Oliver's happiness would be short lived; twenty-one months after Grace's birth, in December of 1897, Elizabeth died.  In January of 1901 Oliver married again, this time to Margaret Cotter who may have been a sister or cousin of his first wife.  This marriage would last 24 years until tragedy struck once again in August of 1925 when Margaret passed away.  Oliver Jr. died in 1941, quite suddenly according to his obituary.

     Oliver himself died 21 February 1953, aged 83 at the home of his daughter-in-law, Oliver Jr's widow, Mary.  His daughter Grace survived him.  Oliver Ryan was one of those unfortunate people whose lives are plagued with tragedy.  It seems unfair he had to endure so much from such a young age.  I earnestly hope there were many joyful moments as well for Oliver.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

The Source Of Knowledge Is Experience (And Original Documents)

    
     
      I've been sifting through some records I received years ago from a distant cousin who is also researching my Hore/O'Hore line.  She commissioned a search in Ireland long before we met and was generous enough to share the resulting documents with me.  This morning I finally got around to going through the images of church records at the NLI site to confirm the dates in those documents, and see if any additional information could be found.  Always a good idea, and boy was there more information!

     Awhile back I wrote about my search for the parents of my 3rd great-grandfather Daniel McGarr, theorizing that Garretstown in County Carlow seemed to be a likely spot for his birthplace.  This morning I looked up the 1814 marriage of my 3rd great-grandparents on the Hore side, Michael Hore and Mary Travers, (their son James married Daniel McGarr's daughter Maria). I did look at Michael and Mary's marriage record briefly when the web site first came online, but back then I hadn't formulated my Garretstown theory.  Today when I studied the image those words jumped out--Michael Hoare (sic) Garretstown!  Just one address is given, so I'm not sure if Michael and Mary were both from Garretstown or if the PP only noted his address.

     There were other discoveries waiting-- in 1830 John Hore,(suspected brother of Michael), of Garretstown married Sarah Doyle of Ricketstown, (future home of Michael and Mary), and in 1841 Pat Hore of Ricketstown,(son of Michael and Mary), married Margaret Lawlor of Garretstown.  None of these addresses was mentioned in the report sent from Ireland, nor was the fact that when Pat and Margaret were married, along with witnesses Tim Lawlor and Anne Nolan there was a third witness to that union, Pat's sister Winny Hore.  With the dearth of genealogical information pertaining to that period in Ireland, bits of information like addresses and names can be so important, I can't understand why they weren't included in the report?  The fact that Michael and John Hore were both from Garretstown really bolsters my theory that they were brothers.  Similarly, Winny Hore being part of Pat Hore's wedding tends to confirm that Pat was Michael's son since Michael had a daughter named Winifred.  That information would have been nice to have and is very pertinent.

     It's really true, even if you have multiple sources for church events, or any event for that matter, it's always worth the time to seek out the original if possible.  I'm so grateful, and still amazed, that these records are available at my desk!  Thank you NLI.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Don't You Sometimes WANT To Choose Your Relatives?

     
    
     OK, I'm not going to be naming names here, I don't want to rattle any cages, we'll just say my relative's name is "Dee Ceitful".  (Get it?)  Dee contacted me a few years ago looking for information on some shared ancestors.  I haven't found very many living connections from this family, so I was pleased to hear from her.  I should have suspected something was amiss when in that very first email, she gloated about having the family bible and photos she hadn't shared with anyone.  In fact I did find her attitude off putting, but naturally she promised she would share these things with me as we exchanged information, so I sent her some of my research on our shared line.  Then ...nothing.  No photos, no copies of bible pages, just a big fat nothing.

     After a few weeks went by I emailed her thinking she had lost my address or perhaps been detained by the authorities.  In her reply she mentioned how her daughter had traveled to the ancestral village I had sent her the name of, but not a word about any family photos. The nerve!  At that point I knew no photos would be forthcoming and vowed to send nothing further to this moocher.

     Like all good moochers though, her requests didn't stop coming for a long time.  Every once in awhile out of the blue, a question about the family would appear in my mailbox.  No reciprocal family data, just requests for more from me. As welcome as an algae bloom in my koi pond, her missives were promptly deleted.  This scenario has actually happened to me several times and it makes me sad.  Working together we could uncover so much, why don't these people know that?  Is it just me with these short sighted ones in their tree?

      Finally it seemed I had shaken this sponge, no new mailings had shown up in my box for almost a year.  And then it happened.  In an odd twist of fate, a favorite cousin of mine happens to bear the exact same first and last names as Dee (her real ones that is).  Last month after returning late from the local Celtic Festival I remembered it was my cousin's birthday.  I hurriedly sent a happy birthday email to her and, you guessed it.. in my haste I mistakenly sent it to Dee.  Along with the same name, they also have the same internet provider, and get this-- they actually have birthdays within three weeks of each other???  The narcissist never suspected the birthday wishes were not intended for her and the floodgates were reopened, sigh.  At least I still have that delete button...

Monday, October 5, 2015

Tuesday's Tip/Newest Websites



     This is one of our favorite free web sites here at Ellie's Ancestors headquarters-- Genealogy In Time Magazine
     
     The site is home to the frequently updated series entitled, "Newest Genealogy Records", a guide listing worldwide resources as they come online which can be searched by date or country.  It also features a library of articles with titles like: More Genealogy Brick Wall Solutions, Hot Tips On How To Use Google For Genealogy Searches, and Simple Ways To Improve Your Genealogy Productivity to name just a few.  

     There is a free weekly newsletter available and a genealogy search engine along with a family tree search engine.  If it's news from the genealogical community you're after, this site offers that also and there is a world time zone map thrown in just because.  This site does a great job of keeping me up to date with what's new online and in the world of genealogy. And occupied with something other than cute animal videos and pictures, like the one below--




Saturday, October 3, 2015

Surname Saturday/Lawler

    I've been taking a closer look at my Lawlor/Lalor ancestors lately. I have them in two branches of my family tree, both on my paternal grandmother's side. One line is on her fathers side, the Rathvilly, County Carlow Lawlers, and the other is on her mother's side, the South Tipperary Lawlers.  Both are peripheral relatives, by marriage, but the children of these unions would be my distant cousins, so I find them worth taking a second look at in view of my someday trip to Ireland.

     Today I searched the Census Return Forms at the Irish National Archives site where I found Anne Lawlor, born at Rathvilly Parish to Thomas Lawlor and Winifred "O'Hara".  I know from years of research that this Winifred is in fact Winifred Hore/O'Hore, not O'Hara, and she is the oldest sister of  my great-great-grandfather James Hore who along with most of his family emigrated to America during the famine.  Winnie however, stayed in Ireland and raised a family there.  For an explanation of what the Census Return Forms are, check this earlier blog written at the time of their online premier. 

    


     At first glance there doesn't seem to be much of use here other than Anne's parent's names, but there is actually lots of relevant information contained in this form.  Right at the top is "Date of receipt".  Anne must have filed this with the authorities on January 28, 1916.  The address is interesting also, 3 Aston's Quay in Dublin.  So now I know that in 1916 Anne was living in Dublin.  Nineteen sixteen was a momentous year in Dublin, that was the year of the Easter Rising!  And my cousin Anne was there, I find that quite exciting.  She must have heard the British artillery open up near the castle on Easter Tuesday, and certainly the onslaught that commenced three days later at the GPO.  I never knew any of my family were in Dublin in 1916.  The Carlow relatives, which Anne was, were the closest to the city, but their home was still 57 miles away.

     Peter Conway, the name given with the address on the form may have been her employer or contact if Anne was illiterate.  He may even have been her husband.  And she might or might not have actually lived at number 3 Aston; it could have been the address of Mr. Conway and/or his place of business--but she surely was in Dublin.  I ran a few searches for "Peter Conway" and "3 Aston Quay" without much luck.  The 1911 census lists Catherine Cummins, an elderly widowed piano dealer living at number 3 Aston, which the house and building return terms a "dwelling and shop".  Two widows and a child also lived at that address. Perhaps after Mrs. Cummin's demise the property was purchased by Mr. Conway, or he boarded there.

     Also of note, Anne wasn't sure where she might be found in the 1851 census, which was taken about the time of her birth.  On the line for "Residence in 1851" she gave two possible townlands, Ballyoliver and Coppenagh.  A few lines further down is "Return searched by" and here we can see that Anne wasn't found in either place.  It's entirely possible she was born too late in 1851 to be included in the census, or perhaps not until 1852.  So why not just search the 1861, 1871, 1881 or even 1891 censuses you may wonder?  Because they had been destroyed.  Intentionally.  Cringe.  Sad to say, the 1861 and 1871 censuses were destroyed shortly after they were taken and the 1881 and 1891 were pulped during the First World War.  This is the stuff of genealogist's nightmares.

     I don't think Anne was any clearer on her age than she was on her residence in 1851, so it's really not surprising her name wasn't found in the census.  The Old Age Pension Act of 1908 provided for individuals of 70 and upwards, Anne was probably five or six years away from her 70th birthday in 1916 but again, if she was illiterate she may not have kept close track of her age. Finding Anne in Dublin makes me wonder how many other relatives wound up there, and if any of them took part in the rising?  That would be beyond awesome!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Friday's Photo/Loraine McGreevy Reum


     This sweet little cherub is Loraine McGreevy, she was two years old when the above photo was taken.  Loraine was born in Chicago in 1894 to Thomas McGreevy, an Irish immigrant who operated a saloon on State Street, and his wife Theresa. Sometime between the 1900 and 1910 censuses Theresa passed away and Thomas remarried, this time to a German immigrant named Mary.  
     Thomas himself died in 1915, the year after Loraine had married Arthur Reum in Chicago.  Thomas never met his grandson Russell who was born in 1916, or his granddaughter Loraine Jr. born in 1920.
     Loraine McGreevy passed away in 1973, four months before her 80th birthday, in Homewood, Cook County, Illinois.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Tombstone Tuesday/Jeremiah & Clarinda Wood Garner

    I've written quite alot about my third great-grandfather Jeremiah Garner lately, so it seemed fitting that since I would be in the neighborhood on my way to the Thousand Islands in northern New York last week, that I visit his grave.  Which is also the grave of my third great-grandmother Clarinda Wood who is buried there with him to my unending amazement.  
    In earlier blogs I've described their relationship and it's demise, along with Grandpa's other wives.  Standing by the grave it occurred to me, Clarinda died nine years before Jeremiah--if you take a look at the inscription on the stone, you will see Jeremiah got top billing along with fancier lettering.  Grandma was consigned to rather nondescript script, labeling her for eternity the wife of the man who deserted her and his family.  It's a pretty good bet that Jeremiah was the one behind this grave marker.  I've often wondered how their children could have possibly come up with such a tombstone, but now I think it's likely Jeremiah himself commissioned it.  
    Perhaps he was in ill health when he finally returned from his long absence and for reasons best known to himself wanted to be buried next to the woman he had wronged so many years earlier.  All evidence points to his return being five years after her death.  I wonder, was he aware she had died?  Was it a shock when he returned and found she was gone?  Was this stone a form of atonement or the final act of arrogance?

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Almost Wordless Wednesday/Clifton Springs, NY Sanitarium


Edward James O'Hora 1868-1920
The Sanitarium as it looked at the time my great-great-grandfather Edward O'Hora was a patient, attempting to cure the rheumatism that would eventually lead to his death.  People came from all over the country to avail themselves of the sulpher water that flowed near the sanitarium.  The "San" still stands today though without it's copper domes, and is housing for senior citizens. Below is a photo of the veranda overlooking Main Street, visible in the top photo.  Perhaps Grandfather sat there while he was a patient?



Saturday, September 12, 2015

Much Married 3rd Great-Grandpa Garner's Second "Wife"

     Today's blog is a sequel to one I wrote two weeks ago titled, Grandpa The Bigamist  (If you have time, please skim that first piece, this one will make much more sense if you do.)  In that blog I speculated that when Grandpa Jeremiah was married in Canada in 1868, his second bride, Betsey Grandy, was his neighbor from New York.  She being the Betsey Grandy whose child was buried in the same cemetery as the Garner family.  Betsey lived with her husband John Grandy in Sterling, New York right next door to Grandpa's town of Wolcott. 

     To find proof of that, I used cemetery indexes, a single sentence from a website I was unable to access, and Ancestry's public family trees.  Not that I would blindly accept anything I found in a family tree unless I could see the sources.  I also used Cyndi's list to locate Canadian marriage records; websites Ancestry and Family Search have some, but they didn't give the bride's maiden name which was what I needed since along the way I had discovered Betsey in Sterling was a Chase before she was a Grandy.  I did in fact find the record of the Canadian marriage with the bride's name and it was Chase, convincing me that my theory was correct, but still ... I wasn't quite satisfied.

     Now however, after more searching, I'm ready to say I have proved Betsey's identity, even to myself.  This is the icing on the cake, the piece de resistance-- the nail in the coffin?  I'm convinced Grandpa Jeremiah and Betsey Chase Grandy did run away together and ended up in Canada.  Below you will see Betsey's (Elizabeth) death record from Canada:

     
     Note Elizabeth's birthplace, Sterling, Cayuga, NY!  I've since found Jeremiah in many city directories in Canada, listed as an innkeeper as in the record above, and he was Methodist and lived in Hastings.  Everything fits.  Except the "L" Garner which should be J. Garner, but I have no doubt it's a mistake by clerk J. Ryan.

     It appears Jeremiah returned to New York around 1891.  He died there in 1894, quite likely at the home of his daughter Frances in Red Creek, NY--still in the same neighborhood as Wolcott and Sterling.  Why did he come home to stay after all those long years?  The 1891 census of Canada shows his third "wife" Angeline living with her son, and though she says she is a married woman, Jeremiah is not with her.  Did she toss him out?  Was he becoming reflective and feeling a bit guilty as he grew older and looked back over his life, longing to see his family?  That part I'll probably never know, but at least I'm ready to say about the early years in Canada, "that's how it happened".

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Lucy Garner The Suffragette?

 

      Colonial American women had little or no voice in affairs outside the home, and very little even within it. Upon marriage, women became non-entities; they could not sign contracts, acquire property, or control any monies they might inherit or earn.  No woman could enter the professions, or college.  Even back then however, there were a few exceptions.  In 1756 Lydia Chapman Taft cast her ballot in Massachusetts, and New Jersey women of property were able to vote during that era due to a loophole in the state's election laws.  Unfortunately, after the declaration of independence from England American states began writing laws that specifically excluded women from the franchise.  In New York women lost the right to vote in 1777.  How paradoxical that a nation formed upon the premise of equality chose to deny the rights of almost half it's citizens.

     I would imagine that like myself, many of you who are pursuing your family's history have learned a bit about history in general during the process.  I was surprised to read about Lydia Taft and her Massachusetts vote, and I had formerly believed that the women's suffrage movement really didn't begin until after the Civil War; how wrong I was.  In the decades after the revolution women embraced it's concepts of, "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness".  Though few in number in those early years, social issues such as the temperance and abolitionist movements began to draw women into the public sphere.  It was only a matter of time before they realized their own freedom was also a goal worth fighting for.

     Still, the last thing I expected to find was a female ancestor of mine, living in an early 19th century farming community, being mentioned in election returns. Yet last evening, while checking the New York State Historic Newspapers site for the surname "Garner", I found the article below.  Most of the search results were for the verbs "garner" or "garnered", but this one article, dated 1831, was quite different.  In fact I read it twice just to be sure I was interpreting it correctly.  In November of that year, Lucy Garner received one vote for the office of county coroner!  In 1831!  In Cayuga County, New York!

Lucy's name by the red X

     I have no real explanation for this, but it's mentioned twice in the article--it's no typo.  Did Lucy really run for office? Was this someone's idea of a joke?  My husband's comment was, "she voted for herself".  Well, no she didn't--women could not vote in 1831.  Further research on early election laws revealed Lucy was likely what today would be termed a write in candidate, assuming she was in fact a candidate at all.  In the early part of the century, there really was no formal ballot; voters simply wrote the name of their favored candidate on a slip of paper and placed it in the box.  This mode of voting was followed by the use of pre-printed ballots distributed by the various political parties.  Each had their own color and was deposited in the box in full view of one's neighbors, not much privacy there.  It would not be until the end of the century (19th) that the secret ballot came to be the norm in the United States.

     I would dearly love to know who it was who voted for Lucy, and what their motivation was, but all my attempts to find more information about this have proven fruitless.  I don't know that she actually wanted the position of coroner, or that she actively solicited votes.  She certainly could not have expected to prevail.  Thirty five years later in 1866, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, a close associate of Susan B. Anthony, would run for a seat in congress to highlight the absurdity of a woman's legal ability to run for office, while at the same time being ineligible to vote.  Maybe Lucy Garner did the same?

Monday, September 7, 2015

Birthday, Or--The Apple Doesn't Fall Far From The Tree


     I had a birthday a short time ago, and I want to share this amazing gift from my son.  I can always count on a unique and usually Irish themed gift from Christy.  Over the years he has given me a lovely bodhoran, hand crafted and signed by political prisoners, a year's subscription to An Phoblacht, and an Easter Lily badge to name a few.

     When I opened this present I wasn't quite sure what I was looking at, the cover with it's psychedelic colors and design could easily grace any 60's counter culture tome. As soon as I saw the Gaelic word "Saorstat" though, I knew exactly what it was, another wonderful Irish gift from my youngest child-- the Official Handbook of the Irish Free State.  This photo really doesn't do justice to the vibrancy of the poly-chrome colors, and there is more on the back; inside are wonderful woodblock engravings by Irish painter Harry Kernoff and etchings by Irish painters Sean O'Sullivan, Paul Henry and others.

     This unabashedly Irish book published by an Irish publishing house, on Irish paper, with illustrations by Irish artists, was published in 1932 and edited by Bulmer Hobson who wrote the introduction:
   The treaty of 1921 and the establishment of Saorstat Eireann marked the opening of a new epoch.  For the first time since the middle ages the needs and wishes of the Irish people now shape the policy of an Irish government.  We in our day have seen what generations of our people hoped in vain to see--the victorious outcome of the struggle for national independence... and the longest and most evil chapter in Irish history has been closed. 

     It's thirty three chapters on diverse topics such as the importance of the Irish language, music, folklore, history, the constitution and land ownership were written by some of the top scholars of the time.  Chapter fourteen is devoted to the economic challenges facing "the Gaeltecacht", the Irish speaking district in the west.  There are150 pages of ads in the back section and they offer an intriguing look at 1930's Ireland.  If you can find a copy in a library or antique book store, I think you'll enjoy thumbing through it.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Grandpa The Bigamist

     

     Almost two years ago, I wrote a blog about my 3rd great grandfather entitled, Jeremiah Garner, Misbegotten or Misunderstood?  Back then I was looking for, among other things, the birthplace of Jeremiah's father Thomas, which I'm pleased to say I've found!  He was born at Tisbury Massachusetts on Martha's Vineyard the 17th day of November in 1773.  His father Thomas Sr. and mother Ann Williams were married on the island in 1768 according to the "Vital Records of Tisbury", now online.  I discovered the location to search for those events in Thomas Jr.'s War of 1812 pension application on Fold3.  Happily, since I don't have a subscription to that site, those particular records are FREE.

     As for the blog's title question, I'm now ready to weigh in-- definitely misbegotten.  Figuring out Jeremiah's life has been a long road with many twists.  In 1840 he was in Wolcott, New York with his young but growing family; having married my 3rd great grandmother Clarinda Wood, a native of Cayuga County, New York, five years earlier. The census of 1850 finds the couple still in Wolcott, now with six children.  By 1860 however, their marriage is over.  We find Clarinda living apart from Jeremiah though he is still in the vicinity, living at the farm home of his employer.

     At some point between 1860 and 1868 Jeremiah decamps for Canada.  I thought that an odd thing for a father of six to do.  A cousin suggested he may have worked for a time on a ship going back and forth on Lake Ontario between the US and Canada which could well be the case; the part of Wolcott where the Garners resided is right on the lake and the port of Fair Haven is close by.  But I've found another reason Jeremiah may have been anxious to leave his old neighborhood behind, and her name was Betsey.  Looking at Canadian records on Family Search, I found not one, but two marriages for Jeremiah in the Provence of Ontario.  One to Angeline Peck in 1871 and also an earlier one, in 1868, to Betsey "Gandy".  As I noted in the first blog, in an alphabetized index for VanFleet Cemetery in Wolcott, below the entry for Grandma Clarinda's burial in 1886 is this entry--
GRANDY, Willie  son of M. & Betsey  d. Dec. 29, 1853    ae   1y  5m  4d.

    I ended that blog with the question, "Betsey Grandy, could it be?"  Well, yes it could.  After much digging over the past few days, I found that the father of the infant buried in the same cemetery as the Garner clan was not "M. Grandy", but rather John M. Grandy.  I searched and searched for a marriage record for John and Betsey to determine her maiden name, but was unable to locate one.  Then I tried a Google search for-- "John Grandy" Betsey.  Among the 948 results was one from myHeritage with this in the description, "John Grandy, Grondy, married Betsey Chase".  I was unable to see more since I don't have a subscription to that site either, (unfortunately we're on a budget here at EA headquarters), but it was certainly worth checking out.

     Not having even a location to begin looking for the Grandy/Chase nuptials, I turned to Ancestry, where I do have a subscription, and began searching public member trees for Betsey Chase born around 1826 according to the 1850 census, (which showed Betsey and John Grandy living in the town of Sterling, NY, right next to Wolcott).  I found three likely trees that all claimed Betsey died in 1870.  No mention of any marriages for her or a place of death, or any sources--just a death date.  Then I looked at her parent's information, Stephen and Abigail.  Stephen passed away in 1864 in WOLCOTT!  This could be her!  Same locale and her death in 1870 would have left Jeremiah free to marry Angeline in 1871, not that Jeremiah worried about things like living spouses when he felt the urge to get married. Now if I could just find a record of Jeremiah and Betsey's wedding with her maiden name instead of her first husband's surname.  Was Betsey Grandy really the former Betsey Chase of Wolcott?

     I searched for hours trying to find that marriage record.  Finally I looked at Cyndi's List where I found a site called, "Ontario and Upper Canada Genealogy and History"  This is a self described "bare bones" index site, if you want more you need to send them $25.  But the index was enough, there it was in big bold letters, GARNER JEREMIAH.. CHASE BETSEY..  ONTARIO MARRIAGE REGISTRATION.  Almost as exciting as winning the lottery, but not quite, then I'd have subscriptions to everything.  The thought keeps running through my mind, if I hadn't looked at the cemetery index and just happened to read the entry under the Garner's and then remembered that Canadian marriage to Betsey "Gandy" I probably would have thought Betsey was just someone Jeremiah met in Canada. I've said it before, and I'm saying it again, I love it when things come together.  And when my short term memory functions.

    I now feel confident in saying Jeremiah was not a great guy.  He left his large family, took his paramour to Canada where he committed bigamy by marrying her, (and maybe so did she), and after her death he committed bigamy a second time by marrying Angeline.  And the wives kept getting younger too, Betsey was ten years younger than Jeremiah, and Angeline was sixteen years his junior.  The only part I still don't understand is why his son would name a child after him, and why he's buried next to Clarinda in Wolcott? 

Sunday, August 23, 2015

The 64 Million Shilling Question

      


     While making still another attempt to clean up the computer files here at Ellie's Ancestors tonight, I came across the copy of a receipt my 4th great-uncle Milo Galloway received in 1830 when he supplied lumber to the Erie Canal to shore up their banks in Palmyra, NY.  Rereading it, I noticed the terms were 10,000 feet of lumber at 5 shillings per 100. Why was a shilling being used as legal tender in 1830?  Why didn't this question occur to me earlier?  It probably did, but I got side tracked--(I do that alot, I'm supposed to be organizing files right now, not writing a blog...see what I mean?).  This time, I pursued the question and I'd like to share what I found.

     The USA had switched to it's own currency years before 1830, but there was still in use here something called a New York Shilling. Just to be clear, the shilling being discussed was not British coinage, in fact it wasn't a coin at all.  Rather it was, "a unit of accounting used to keep track of sales, store accounts and the like, and even issued as bank script for trade".  
 
New York 10 Shilling Note 1786

      Some other states had similar monetary units and all were valued at different rates, in New York a shilling was worth 12 1/2 cents.  I did the math, (even working mathematical equations is better than cleaning up files), and it indeed worked out to $62.50.

     A further search found that as late as 1846, thirty years after the USA began issuing it's own money, the shilling was still being used, and so was the pence!  That year the Boston & Providence Railroad was paying it's employees in shillings and pence, with carpenters raking in six shillings, ninepence per diem. How odd!  Even when the workers were paid in dollars they were often expressed in fractions like $1.58-1/3 which equated to British shilling and pence, odder still!

     I was unable to find a satisfactory answer as to why this was the case. In an article written in 2006, the author inquired of Professor John J. McKusker, author and noted expert in US currency and economics, why these monetary units were being used at that time by a large US corporation like the railroad?  The professor expressed surprise and had no answer, but if I was a gambling woman, I'd bet there was some economic advantage to the company for doing so.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Tombstone Tuesday/McGarr Alabama

     

     After finding so much new information in the recently released Irish Catholic registers, I've been re-reading my McGarr files, hoping that some of the data I've gathered over the years will now make more sense.  I've also been looking at Ancestry's online McGarr family trees and finding some pretty ridiculous stuff.  Catherine McGarr was the daughter of John McGarr from County Carlow, and his wife Mary Kelly.  Catherine married another McGarr, William Lannes McGarr from Wicklow, to be exact.  The online tree submitters are really thrown by her marrying a fellow McGarr, and they have come up with some astonishing scenarios, I'll show you one tomorrow.

   Catherine and William grew up in Auburn, NY, but spent most of their married life in Alabama, where William was a Superintendent and Road Master for the Selma, Rome and Dalton Railroad.  Just before William's retirement they moved to Pennsylvania where he became Road Master for the Beach Creek Railroad in Lock Haven.

     They had three children, none of whom would survive childhood.  In the 1900 census it's spelled out; mother of how many children--3, number living--0. The 1870 census of Shelby County Alabama lists a one year old baby named Robert in their household, but by 1880 he is gone.  I checked Find A Grave in Shelby County for Robert, and found him in Leach Cemetery, he died a short time after the census was taken at only two years old, on 5 April 1871.  His full name was Robert Emmet, after the great Irish patriot.  It occurred to me then, another of Catherine and William's children just might be buried there, so I did a search of Leach Cemetery.  What I found made my heart drop, then break.  All the McGarr children died that April.  The only name I had known was Robert's from the 1870 census, but now I found William age 3 who died 8 April, and Mary Estelle who died 25 April at 7 months, all engraved on the same monument.  I'm not sure why William Jr. is not listed in the 1870 census, but it wouldn't be the first time I've seen a name omitted.

     I'm at a loss as to what took all three of them in just twenty days, yellow fever, cholera, diphtheria?  All were common back then, two years after their deaths a full blown yellow fever epidemic ravaged Shelby County.  The McGarrs had no more children after this loss, and who could blame them?  Catherine was only 26 when she lost her babies and her mother had passed just two years earlier. It's hard to fathom how she got through a tragedy of such magnitude, and I'm sure there were days when she wondered herself.

     By 1890 she and William were back in Auburn, living in his family's old homestead which he had purchased and renovated.  Catherine was active in the church, and an article I found (and have now managed to lose) spoke warmly of her comforting families of railroad workers who had died in accidents during her husband's tenure.  Somehow she and William got through their horrible loss, bless them both.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Another Piece To The McGarr Puzzle

     


     A while back I blogged about my search for the parents of Daniel McGarr of Ballyraggan, Kildare.  Daniel was my great-great-great-grandfather.  He never came to America, but many of his children did including Maria my great-great-grandmother; around the time of the famine.  In my previous post I wrote about the possibility that Daniel was a brother of John McGarr, who like the others settled in Auburn, New York.  As luck would have it, John married Mary Kelly in Auburn and the record of that marriage contains the names of his parents, John McGarr and Catherine Murphy.  Obviously, if he and Daniel were in fact brothers, they would probably have the same parents.  To make it even more interesting, Daniel back in Ballyraggan named his oldest daughter Catherine, and of his two sons, the youngest was named John. 

      Now that the NLI has put their Catholic registers online, I've been pouring over Baltinglass records, the parish Ballyraggan residents were part of, but it occurred to me-- Rathvilly Parish is very close to Baltinglass Parish; Ballyraggan townland is almost as close to Rathvilly village as it is to Baltinglass village. If Daniel was born as little as a mile or two from Ballyraggan his birthplace could very well have been in Rathvilly Parish, and my hunch paid off.  Daniel and John's births appear to have been too early to be recorded, but in 1802 Richard McGarr was born in Garretstown, County Carlow, (near Ballyraggan), to John and Catherine McGarr.  In 1805 Elizabeth McGarr was born there, and in 1808 Edward McGarr, all to John and Catherine. Incidentally, the other of Daniel's two sons was named Richard, not a terribly common name, and John Jr. also had a Richard.  But there's more, in 1801 a child whose name unfortunately I can't make out, was christened at Rathvilly.   His godparents were Michael and Winifred Hore, the address was also Garretstown.  I believe Michael and Winifred Hore were the grandparents of James Hore who married Daniel's daughter Maria McGarr in Auburn.

     One of the oldest, and first McGarrs in Auburn was Mary McGarr nee Hayden.  Her broken tombstone in that city bears the inscription, "Native of Ballyraggan"!  Burial records from Holy Family Parish there refer to Mary, daughter of William Hayden and Honora Kavanaugh, aged 98.  Three years after Mary's death in 1866, another entry in the Holy Family burial register records the death of Eliza Kelly, married daughter of Michael McGarr and Mary Haydon.  I make note of this because...in 1802 Elizabeth McGarr, daughter of Michael and Mary, was baptized at Rathvilly.  Her address?  Garretstown!  So... wait, back up a minute, I just realized there are two Kelly's in this blog, the one who married John McGarr in Auburn and Patrick Kelly who married Eliza McGarr.  This is why I blog, it organizes my thoughts like nothing else.  And of course to attract cousins, which coincidentally happened recently, and will be the subject of my next blog...

     Summing up, it's beginning to look like Mary Hayden McGarr, the "native of Ballyraggan", may have been born there, but moved the short distance to Garretstown after her marriage to Michael McGarr.  And John McGarr (brother of Michael?) (father of Daniel and John Jr.?), was also living there in Garretstown.  And great-great-great-grandpa was likely born at Garretstown.  And the Hore family was also near by.  None of this is proof, but these tantalizing clues seem to point to my theory being right.  While it IS only a theory, the evidence continues to mount.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Friday's Photo/Jailbait?

Mary O'Hora & Lawrence Warner 1928

     Here's another old photo from my parent's house, it shows my grandparents Mary O'Hora and Lawrence Warner.  This photo is dated July 1928 on the reverse, three years before their marriage and... wait, wait just one second, that would make Grandma fifteen and a half years old, and Grandpa twenty-one!  I don't think that would fly today, that would be like a high school sophomore dating a college junior!  Maybe they were just friends at that point..but they look pretty chummy.

      This made me wonder if the laws concerning such things were perhaps different in the early 1900's, and as it turns out they were.  I found an article on the very subject, (is there any subject you can't find an article about on the net?), Statutory Rape Laws In Historical Context.  I'm not implying any hanky-panky here by the way, just to be perfectly clear.

     The writer of said article delved into the history of statutory rape laws and how they evolved over the years.  Also included on page 23, (page 15 on the toolbar), is a table of the changing legal age of consent for all the different US states, along with permissible, "age spans", the age difference between the subjects.  My grandparents lived in New York state so in looking at that section I saw that in1885 the age of consent was ten.  Yes, ten years old -- and if you think that was weird, in Delaware it was seven!  By 1890 it had risen to sixteen in New York, and to eighteen by 1920.  By 1999 it had been lowered to seventeen.  The allowable age span was five years. The table isn't detailed enough to show exactly what year the age changes occurred, but I feel confident that in 1928 the age of consent in New York was not fifteen and a half.  Seems like Grandpa may have been playing with fire but by December, when Grandma turned sixteen, they were at least within the five year age span!

     

Monday, July 20, 2015

Thoughts On The NLI Parish Registers

     
Married Cornelius Ryan & Alice Dwyer in presence of John Lacey, Mchl Ryan & Tim Dwyer Churchfield


     I have to start by saying I haven't found alot in the registers that is new, although I'm far from done.  I began by confirming the dates of events I had collected over the years from other sources and was pleasantly surprised to find they were all correct.  Several years ago I commissioned Tipperary Excel Heritage to find my Ryan and Dwyer ancestors in South Tipp, (I had no choice, only they had Cashel & Emly records), they sent me among other things, a transcription of the record from Anacarty/Donohill Parish, of the marriage of my 3rd great-grandparents Cornelius Ryan and Alice Dwyer, witnesses John Lacey and Michael Ryan.  That was all correct, but in looking at the actual image, (see above),  I found there was a third witness to the marriage, Tim Dwyer!  In browsing through the marriage register it became clear that having three witnesses was rather common in Anacarty Parish.  

     Another thing I discovered was that every other entry in the baptism and marriage records of that particular parish contained the surname Ryan and/or Dwyer, and I'm not exaggerating.  Sometimes it was even a Ryan marrying another Ryan or vice versa!  Imagine how overwhelming it would have been to travel thousands of miles to Ireland, with a limited time to stay, and finding those entries, many with the same forenames as well.  It would have taken the whole trip to even begin to sort them all out... after I finished crying.

     Seeing those registers online brought home how hard they can be to decipher and how many gaps there are.  Even when the date you're seeking is included in the available records, the particular page you need may be unreadable.  The page upon which I'm sure Uncle John Crotty's baptism in Tramore Parish resides is virtually blank.  All that remains now, 200 years later, are a few ghostly faded loops of what were once letters, widely scattered on a  glaring white page.  The following page however,  is infuriatingly legible.  Another interesting thing was the language the parish priest used to record the events.  Some parishes were in English, as seen above, others in Latin.  Here in the USA, all the 19th century Catholic records I've seen are written in Latin.

     I'm quite annoyed the parish records of Tramore in County Waterford are not complete.  On the pay site RootsIreland I found the baptism of my great-great-grandfather Philip Power in Tramore on 20 November 1857.  The online baptisms at the NLI site stop at October 1831.  I know those later baptism registers exist, why aren't they online I wonder?  Same with Listowel Parish in County Kerry, the free site Irish Genealogy Limited, has a transcription of the 1860 baptism of great-great-grandma Mary Gunn, but the NLI site has no baptisms for Listowel after 1855.  I really don't mean to complain, this site is an amazing milestone in Irish genealogy and well done; it's easy to navigate, has maps to help you locate the correct parish and surrounding parishes along with an added feature I didn't notice at first, the dates of the register pages being viewed appear in the upper left corner--so helpful.  A big thank you to the NLI!