Thursday, March 26, 2015

Lord I Want To Un-see This

     Have you ever stumbled across something so revolting, that the more you tried to forget it, the more firmly it became ingrained in your imagination?  Well it happened again tonight.  I was browsing a newspaper, circa 1943, from my hometown when this jumped out at me, (the article, not the opossum)--

     Arthur Worden was the product of my third great-grandfather Paul Worden's second marriage, born when G-pa Paul was nearly 50 years old.  I mention this only because Web MD notes it could help explain Arthur's peculiar dining habits.  Arthur was not a destitute person in need of a meal; he lived in upstate New York, worked for the Lehigh Valley Railroad, and also did some farming.  And he ate least it was free range.

     Horrified, yet fascinated, I checked the net for roast possum recipes, and believe it or not there were plenty, like this one I found at (I swear)--
     First catch the possum.  Dress it, (will business casual work?), and soak it in salt water for 6-12 hours depending on size and age of possum.  Drain, then parboil in salt water for half an hour.  Prepare stuffing and stuff possum, then place in baking pan with a little water and roast for 15 to 20 minutes. Pour off liquid and reserve, (I'm not making this up), for future use.  Lay sweet potatoes around possum.  Place bacon strips over and around possum and pour reserved liquid over all, let bake an hour longer.

     Nowhere does the recipe suggest killing the possum before you parboil it, but that seems the kindest course of action.  

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Happy Saint Patrick's Day! And A Tip

     Wishing all of you a happy day as we celebrate our proud heritage.  This link will take you to a booklet put together by Claire Santry at Irish Genealogy News, listing all the Irish resources that came online in 2014.  

                        Beanna htaí na Féile Pádraig oraibh! 
                        St. Patrick's Day blessings upon you!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

The Quigley Kids Are All Accounted For


     I very recently discovered, quite by accident after browsing DNA results, that my great-great-grandmother Maria McGarr O'Hora's younger sister Anne McGarr Quigley had emigrated to America just like her three older sisters Maria, Bridget and Catherine.  Those accidental finds are the best, they stop you dead in your tracks and what a rush, genealogically speaking.

     Anna was enumerated in the 1892 New York State census, living in Rochester, NY with two of her sons; that along with subsequent research proved she was who I believed her to be.  Using census records, and obituaries found at the Old Fulton Postcards site, I was able to locate all the Quigley children who appeared in the baptismal registers of Baltinglass Parish in County Wicklow; the microfilm of which I had rented a few years back from the LDS.  All of them except Sarah that is.  

     The 1900 census noted that Anna was the mother of five children who were all living, so Sarah was alive and well and out there somewhere.  But being the curious sort I wanted needed to know where!  Did she come over with her mother, brothers and sisters, or was she still in Ireland?  Late last night I was running some newspaper searches for Mary Deyo, the married name of one of Anna's daughters, and a grainy obituary from the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle popped up, it read:

Friday morning, April 25, 1907, at her home 65 Champlain St., Sarah, widow of Martin Tobin.  She leaves her mother Mrs. Anna Quigley; three sons George Raymond, John Elmer and Martin Francis Tobin; two sisters, Mrs. Anna Hennessey of Kansas and Mrs. Mary Deyo of Rochester, and two brothers John and Daniel Quigley.

     Bingo! I had proof the entire family, except the father James Quigley who died in Ireland, had emigrated.  I'm sure I didn't find Sarah's obituary earlier because the print quality was so poor that previous searches for her mother and brother's names did not bring it up.  Finding Sarah's married name of course meant that I needed to find her in census records, passenger lists, other news articles, etc. etc.  No wonder I'm always sleepy.  I learned that Sarah married Martin Tobin at St. Patrick's Cathedral on 24 June1885, just a few years after her arrival in America.  But where was St. Patrick's Cathedral?  I've lived in Rochester suburbs all my life, there is no cathedral named St. Patrick's.  Our cathedral is Sacred Heart.

     Running another search, I soon discovered St. Patrick's was the first Catholic parish established in Rochester, before it even was Rochester, and St. Patrick's Cathedral was the last in a line of ever larger churches built in that steadily growing parish.  The property was purchased by Kodak and the cathedral was demolished in 1937.  Being from the area, I found the article fascinating.  You may not, but I include the link if you'd like to read more.  Actually, it's very interesting just as a short study of an early Irish Catholic parish even if you're not a local, so maybe check it out.

     See what I mean about accidental discoveries?

Friday, March 6, 2015

Well No Wonder They Weren't In The Civil Registration Index

     The match was labelled, "Third to fourth cousin, confidence extremely high".  That seemed promising.  I'm talking about's DNA matching system of course.  Upon opening the family tree submitted to Ancestry by my Dad's, (and my), match, the lone surname I found of any significance was Quigley.  My McGarr great-great-grandmother Maria had a sister named Ann who married James Quigley back in Baltinglass parish in Ireland in 1858, could this match be part of that family?  I clicked on the name Elizabeth Quigley in the tree, and was disappointed to find no parents names given.  She was born in 1907 however, so she should be in the 1910 census.  Hopefully with her parents and any siblings.  I searched for her in that census, and found her living in Rochester, NY with her family.  

     Elizabeth's father was John Quigley, her mother Ann-- both from Ireland.  Next step was finding John in earlier census records which proved fairly easy, he was in Rochester from 1892 and every year thereafter through 1930.  I checked the federal censuses first, then the New York State censuses.  What I found in 1892 floored me.  John was living with Ann Quigley, an older widow, and a younger man named Daniel Quigley.  Check, check, check.  The John Quigley in my tree had a younger brother named Daniel, and his mother was named Ann.  Their ages were not exactly what they should be, but close.  I hadn't found the elder Ann Quigley in 1900; didn't even know to look for her since I hadn't yet viewed the 1892 census.  I went back and found her still in Rochester in 1900, still living with her son Daniel.  I also found in that census that she had given birth to five children, all still alive.  I knew from Baltinglass baptismal records that Ann McGarr Quigley had in fact been the mother of five! Things were really starting to add up, could it possibly be them?

     Neither John nor his wife, (the younger Ann),  appeared in the 1940 census, so they must have died between 1930 and 40.  What I needed was a really descriptive obituary, but after searching every site I could think of I found nothing for John; I did however find his wife's obituary dated 1934 that described her as a widow.  That narrowed the date of John's death considerably.  After trying some creative searches, I finally found what I was looking for.  John died on November 21st in 1931.  His obituary opened with the line--"John Quigley, a native of county Wicklow."  Check!  The Quigley family did indeed live in Wicklow, just across its border with Kildare. I was getting a little excited now.  John's parent's names weren't included in his obituary unfortunately, but after giving some thought to where else I might expect to find their names, I thought of his marriage record and remembered the ongoing Rochester Churches Indexing Project.  

     Twenty five Catholic parishes are indexed here, and browsing the list I noticed Immaculate Conception.  John's obituary said he  was buried from Immaculate Conception, maybe he was married there too, it was worth a try.  I filled in the surname Quigley on the marriage search form, selected Immaculate Conception, and hit the search button. The second result was John marrying Ann, (aka Anna,), Doyle, and to my utter amazement and delight, John's parents, "James and Anna McGarra".  It was them!  It really was them!  Ann McGarr Quigley, the fourth daughter of Daniel and Ann Donahoe McGarr had come to America just like her three older sisters.  Only Sarah, the fifth and youngest McGarr daughter, remained in Ballyraggan, where with her husband Thomas Hughes she inherited the lease on her father's farm at his death.

      I found long ago what I believe to be Ann's husband James Quigley's death in the Irish Civil Registration index in the year 1869; so unless it was a different James who died that year, Ann was a widow when she emigrated.  I'm still so jazzed about finding this, all thanks to that DNA test.  I had absolutely no idea Ann and her children came to America. Now I must go begin the re-writes on my McGarr family history...