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!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Friday's Photo/Phil Power & Lawrence Warner Manchester, NY

     This photograph was found stuffed in the back of a drawer at my father's house.  I never expected to find as many ancestor's pictures there as I have, since the house is a 50's ranch with no attic, but they keep turning up every now and then.  Lawrence Warner on the right was my grandfather and Philip Power, holding the shovel, was his uncle, the brother of his mother who passed when he was only 18 months old.  Both were employed by the Lehigh Valley RR.  Lawrence as an engineer, and Phil in the roundhouse.

     Philip Power's father Philip Sr., was from Tramore Parish in Waterford and his mother Mary Gunn was from Listowel Parish in Kerry.  They met and married in this country.  Grandpa Lawrence's  mother Maggie was their firstborn, in 1883.  When I was small Grandma Warner used to tell me about meeting Grandpa's grandparents and their lovely Irish brogues.  I often wish I could have heard it too.