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

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.