Tuesday, June 16, 2015
Find A Grave started out as a wonderful, wonderful idea. It enabled researchers who couldn't make the trip to an ancestor's far off grave the chance to visit it, if only online in a photograph. Something happened along the way however, now the site is full of "memorials" containing no tombstone photos, but plenty of speculation by the poster. I've personally found several cases of what I know to be erroneous information, I've even tried contacting the person responsible to no avail...even when presented with irrefutable proof...I give up. I read somewhere the site had degenerated into a competition of who can post the largest number of these memorials and tombstones and I'm starting to believe that is truly the case.
Just yesterday I received an email stating a correction I had sent was not accepted. The correction? Pointing out that an eight year old girl could not possibly have given birth. It's a well documented fact that my 6th great-grandfather Captain Jeremiah Vincent had two wives, the second one, Mary Merritt, quite a bit younger than he, (but certainly not that young). Most of his children are from his first marriage to an unknown woman, but I constantly see the children of the first marriage attributed to the second. This particular memorial even had the correct birth dates for Mary and her "daughter", (who was actually the daughter of Jeremiah's first wife). They were born eight years apart. Does it really make sense that Mary was this girl's mother???
I think this annoys me so much because some researchers may mistakenly believe that the data on this site all comes from an actual tombstone or a cemetery record. It doesn't, nor is all of it accurate. While it's still a very worthwhile source, please be sure to double check before accepting the information found on one of the memorials with no photograph of the stone.
Sunday, June 14, 2015
In typical fashion, for me at least, I've been distracted yet again from the research into my Irish families and am now on the trail of John Vincent, known as John I. Vincent in some circles. I've read that he appears in his father's (Capt. Jeremiah Vincent) will, but he's really hard to nail down after that. I know he and three siblings were probably born at Half Moon, New York, (love that name), to the Captain and his unknown first wife around 1778. Some trees online have his mother as Mary Merritt, but she was the Captain's second wife and they didn't marry until John was already 13 years old.
None of the trees have any mention at all of when or where John might have died. A few say John's wife was Mary Clements who died in Victory, NY at some point, but none mention where this information was obtained. Everything I've seen agrees that John had only one child, a son named Thomas, born in 1803. Having only one makes me think perhaps Mary C. died at a young age. Let's just assume for a moment that is the case and that John then married a woman named Lucretia. Let's also assume he went west afterwards. I know that's alot of assuming going on, and I'm not for one second suggesting any of this is fact, but I do have a reason for speculating.
While searching I discovered that Captain Jeremiah and his second wife Mary Merritt had two children of their own, Elizabeth and Stephen, (who would be half siblings to John), in addition to those he had with his unknown wife. I also learned that Stephen had a son named James Vincent who moved to La Crosse, Wisconsin after a stint in the California gold fields. There were several John Vincents floating around, but upon searching the 1860 census, the closest match I could find to John I. was a man living in the very same La Crosse, Wisconsin. I tried searches on that person, but found nothing much except his and his wife Lucretia's burials on Find A Grave.
I did find a bio of Stephen's son James Vincent however, who became a prominent lumberman, which states he moved his family including his parents to La Crosse. What if that family also included his Uncle John and Aunt Lucretia? It's certainly possible given that no one knows what became of John, and he wouldn't be the first disappearing ancestor I've found in the mid-west. This John is the right age, was living in the same county as his (maybe) half brother, and was born in New York-- though in the mid 19th century a large part of the population of Wisconsin was born in New York.
After further research, this theory has been disproved. The John Vincent who married Lucretia was born in Dutchess County, then moved northwards to Niagara before heading west.
Friday, June 12, 2015
|Caroline, Grace, Harry and Florence McCabe|
This photograph was given to me by my cousin Rita. Pictured are four of the seven children of James McCabe and his wife Bridget Finnerty of Auburn, NY-- making them the grandchildren of my 3rd great-aunt Mary O'Hora and her husband Patrick McCabe. I'm not sure exactly when the photo above was taken, though the uniform of a World War I soldier gives away the time frame. The names of the individuals are written on the back of the photo, but I have my reservations about the young woman in the middle. She is purported to be Grace, but I'm not so sure.
Harry enlisted at Auburn in May of 1917 and was assigned to Company M of the 3rd Infantry which a few months later, became the 108th. This enlistment is where the question arises. Grace McCabe died in 1914, there is no question about that. Her obituary and funeral announcements appeared in the Auburn papers that year. But if her brother Harry didn't enlist until 1917, how is it that she is pictured with him in his uniform?
Harry, along with young men he had known since childhood, eventually found themselves in the nightmarish trenches of France, surrounded by mud, rats, and an enemy bent on their destruction. Sadly, he watched several of his comrades lose their lives in the fighting. Harry fought in one of the most important engagements of the war, he was there on September 29, 1918 when the Hindenburg line fell to the Allies. That same day Harry was gassed. His official record states he was "severely" wounded by this attack, but by the time of his discharge in 1919 had recovered. In a letter home to his widowed mother Bridget shortly afterward, he makes light of his injury, clearly so as not to worry her, but it was obviously a serious matter.
|Harry's military record|
Harry returned home after the war and worked as a prison guard at the Auburn State Prison in the city; he was there at the time of the 1929 prison riots. Not so very different from trench warfare. He and his wife Anna purchased a home in nearby Owasco where they and their son Paul lived until Harry's death in May of 1950 at age 54.
Harry's sister Caroline, known as Carrie to her family, married Thomas Monahan in Auburn where she passed away in 1940. Grace died at her parent's home at age 22 of heart problems while studying to be a nurse. Florence married Lawrence Dalton and they moved to Georgia where she died in 1985.
I can't help but wonder if "Grace" in the above photo was in fact her sister Sarah McCabe, born a year earlier than Grace. She married Carl Meyer, and lived until 1985. It makes sense to me that before Harry went overseas, he posed for a snapshot with his three surviving sisters, but I don't supposed I'll ever be sure.
Sunday, June 7, 2015
|Packet Ship America|
I have finally found the ship that brought my 3rd great-grandmother to America! I've been searching a long time for this, a lack of online records and ever-changing surnames conspiring to keep the ship and arrival date of Grandma Mary Hore unknown. Sometimes the name was Hore, some days Hora, and at other times O'Hore or O'Hora. Today I decided to give Ancestry another try. I typed in "Mary Hore" since that appeared to be the earliest form of the name, along with birth date 1795 +/- 10. Five hits came up. The first three appeared to be for the same person who arrived in 1828, much too early to be Grandma Mary who arrived around the time of the famine. Another was an 1871 arrival, too late to be her since she appeared in the 1855 New York census.
The remaining hit was the one. Mary Hore, who was born in Ireland in 1802, sailed into New York Harbor on board the packet ship "America" on the 13th day of August in 1852. I scoured the ship's manifest, but I couldn't discern anyone who seemed to be traveling with her. I hope some family member at least accompanied her to the port in Dublin, forty five miles away from her home in Ricketstown, County Carlow, and put her on the boat to Liverpool. By 1852, many of her children were already in the United States; John had left four years earlier with his wife and infant daughter, and James (my great-great-grandfather) a few years after that. Mary's other children Michael, Edward and Mary Jr. had also left Ireland and were awaiting her arrival in Auburn, New York. Mary's son Patrick/Peter would make the trip after her. In fact, only Mary's oldest daughter Winifred remained in Ireland with her husband Thomas Lawlor. How heartbreaking it must have been to leave Winifred and the three grandchildren who had been born before Mary's departure.
The first page of the manifest had some interesting details, like the fact the ship sailed direct from Liverpool, (some stopped first in the Cork seaport of Queenstown), the name of the ship's Master or Captain, (Joseph J. Lawrence), and the date of arrival in New York.
|First Page of America's Manifest|
After finding this record, I did an internet search for the packet ship she arrived on, but couldn't find much. The ship America was part of the Black Star Line. A more general search revealed that American packets like this one were much preferred over British ships, especially if one was Irish. Conditions and food were better, as they were regulated by law, as was the number of passengers allowed. There was also less bigotry aimed at Irish Catholics on the American ships. I like to think Grandma had a fairly easy crossing. There was only a single death recorded on this voyage, that of one month old Mary Robinson on July 30th. Try as I might, I couldn't find the date the ship left Liverpool though the average crossing was four to five weeks at that time. I'm sure it's recorded in the Liverpool Mercury, which in 1852 was still a weekly newspaper. In fact after an advanced search of the "British Newspaper Archive" site I believe it's recorded in the July 16th edition on page 7 which would put it right on schedule, but here at Ellie's Ancestors headquarters we are averse to paying $15 to read a news article so that will have to wait. The New York Times Archives site is a good place to look for ships arriving in and leaving New York. Here you can subscribe for unlimited views, but non-subscribers can view ten free articles per month.
During my search, I did find Captain Lawrence's obituary. As a young man his parents were bent on sending him to Yale when he upped and went to sea. After years of sailing the packet ships for the Kingsland brothers, he graduated to steam ships. He retired in 1868 at the age of 48, "with a fortune" and married Sarah Gillette Pond. Their marriage was tragically short, Sarah died eight years later leaving the Captain with three young daughters. He suffered a heart attack three weeks before Christmas of 1893, dying immediately.
This reminds me once again to re-check sites periodically to see what may have been added since my last visit.