Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Photo Album Page One

     Awhile back I blogged about my idea to store photos of my ancestors in an antique photo album.  As I mentioned in that first blog  I ordered only a few reproductions to be sure I was happy with how they came out, and I promised to show you the results.  So here is the first page, the top pic is one of my O'Hora great-grandparents, both children of Irish immigrants, and the bottom one is of Bridget McGarr Kinsella, maternal aunt to the gentleman in the first photo and an Irish immigrant herself.

     I'm pretty pleased with how they look, though I think I'd add some sepia tones to Bridget's photo next time.  I think it will be an interesting addition to my coffee table!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Mappy Monday/ Uncle John Crotty and the Disappearing Road

     John Crotty, the brother of my 3rd great-grandmother Honora Crotty Power was born in Tramore Parish, County Waterford in 1817.  He would have been in his late thirty's when the famine struck Ireland, but he didn't come to America until almost a decade later.  While I have no proof, I have the feeling he and Ellen Mullet were married here in America.  The only child I've found for them was Mary born in Farmington, Ontario County New York where John's farm was located.  

     I doubt I'm the only family historian who needs to know exactly where my ancestors lived, but I do.  I located the deed for Uncle John's land at the Family Search collection of NY Land Records, and while the deeds themselves are not searchable, they are organized by county, each having both grantor (the seller) and grantee (the buyer) indexes arranged by year and first letter of the surname.

     I also found his name on an old land ownership map of Farmington, NY,  but the location didn't look right to me, which is odd considering I grew up right next door in Manchester and still live nearby.  I pulled up a current map of the place and indeed the layout of the roads had changed.  

     In the 1950's New York State built the New York Thruway, a toll highway between the Pennsylvania border below Buffalo and New York City, passing through Manchester and Farmington.  Being born in the late 50's the current maps were the topography I'd always known.  I compared the two maps, old and new, and was able to line them up pretty closely except Sheldon Road where Uncle John lived.  It was pretty clear what had happened, when the new highway came through Sheldon Road was cut in half -- bringing up a satellite map proved this.  You can see the Crotty home site next to the red X in the photo above, this is where Sheldon Road ends today.  Looking further, you can still clearly see where the old section of road used to lie, now ending abruptly at the Thruway instead of continuing to Collett Road as it once did.  The same thing happened with Stafford Road, a few miles away and is also visible on overhead maps.

     It's surprising sometimes to think how much the landscape can change in a relatively short span of time.  My hometown can't be unique in that aspect.  Entire bridges and roads have come and gone in just my lifetime, some lowered and some raised.  A section of Main Street is now about ten feet higher; at that spot where what we called the "railroad underpass" used to be, is now level ground the bridge over it gone-- which interestingly is exactly how it looked in my grandparent's day seen below.  The more things change...
The crossing on Main Street before that section was lowered and a bridge built over it, raising the railroad bed above the street. Almost all the buildings pictured are now gone.


Friday, January 15, 2016

Friday's Funny-- Arrest Reports

     The police court reporter for the Auburn NY Daily Bulletin during the 1870's considered himself quite a wit, especially when it came to public intoxication charges.  Below are a few of his irreverent attempts at humor:

Bridget Malony, as full of gin as the skin of a bologna is full of--nobody knows what--was placed in the cooler last evening by Officer Sullivan.

Hans Krout soured on his benzine and effervesced into a state of comotosity in the calaboose under the auspices of Chief Daniels.  Not having any collateral nor being worth confinement, he was discharged.

Callahan Connor, full of fuel oil, was taken before his honor by Officer Boyle, after lying around loose in the calaboose, in consequence of the juice extracted from corn, which Callahan put to use in the shape of many a horn.

James DeWare, with an overdose of cholera preventative which went to his head, was sent to the foot by Officer Moore, for missing on a hard word--sobriety.

James McElroy, a limb of the legal persuasion, and knowing that possession is nine "pints" in law, had a lien put on himself and about nine pints of benzine yesterday by Officer Casper, who seized him according to the statute, and habeased his corpus into the calaboose.

Mary Muldoon was drunk as a loon, and didn't seem like to get sober quite soon;  she seemed to be up in a benzine balloon--so high was Miss Mary--most up to the moon.

Friday, January 8, 2016

This Could Be The Break In The Wall


      Today's blog deals with my final resolution for the new year.  Find the county, and hopefully townland of Great-Great-Grandpa James White. Of  my sixteen great-great-grands, he is the only one who has eluded all attempts to find his origins.  I know he came from Ireland around 1854 and settled near Palmyra, New York.  I know from his children's answers in the 1930 census that he was from what was known as the Irish Free State, meaning he did not come from one of the six northern counties of Ireland; but that still left twenty-six counties and innumerable parishes and townlands.

    I dug out my records from St. Anne's Parish in Palmyra, NY and extracted all the Whites and Keyes (Jame's mother was Margaret Keyes) I could find.  One of them must have been related to him, and if I couldn't find Grandpa's birthplace maybe I could find a relative's.  Long ago I searched through the records of St. Anne's and found several persons with the White surname who were possible relatives.  One, Catherine White Ryan, did indeed turn out to be Grandpa's sister, but none of her records have revealed a townland or county either.

     Another possibility was Mary White.   St. Anne's baptismal records name her as the mother of Owen and Margaret Flynn--their father was Michael Flynn.  I can follow them in the census records over the years, and found Mary's grave marker in St. Anne's cemetery  BUT  the marker reads--Mary Fitzpatrick Flynn? I have no explanation for this.  She is buried with her husband and children, the same ones in the census, the same ones in the baptismal records where her surname is "White".  

      It occurred to me, that when I first looked at St. Anne's records many years ago I could easily have missed a few entries or made mistakes, there were older Flynn children I hadn't made note of, so Monday I went to the church office.  My search produced the marriage record of Michael Flynn to Mary Fitzpatrick, daughter of Andrew Fitzpatrick and Julia White.  Come on!  Why was she using her mother's surname in her children's baptismal records?  

    It gets even more maddening, her older children's records say their mother was Mary Fitzpatrick, but in 1881 Owen Flynn's baptism says his mother was Mary White and in 1883 Margaret Flynn's record also originally said Mary White was her mother, just as I had recorded it long ago.  However, the first time I looked at these records it was on a rented film from the Mormon Church.  Now, as I looked at Margaret's baptism in the parish office I saw this--Margaret Flynn of Michael Flynn and Mary White Fitzpatrick.  Someone, at some point after the filming was done, had crossed out White and written in Fitzpatrick!?!

      As I was puzzling over that, I recalled that in the 1865 New York census, Grandpa's sister, my 3rd great-Aunt Catherine White Ryan, had a young woman named Mary Fitzpatrick from Ireland living with her in Palmyra.  I think from the ages of the two Marys, they were one and the same person.  Mary Fitzpatrick was godmother to Aunt Catherine White Ryan's son John in 1863, and in turn Aunt Catherine was godmother to Mary Flynn's first child. So how is this a great lead?  Because Mary Fitzpatrick Flynn's grave stone reads, "Born In Queens County Ireland"!

     But there's more, looking at my great-grandmother Ellen White's marriage record I saw that her witness was Mary Flynn, probably Mary Fitzpatrick Flynn's daughter.  They must be related, right?  But the icing on the cake?  DNA.  Along with the church records, I've been scouring my Ancestry DNA matches for Keyes relatives and I found one, then another.  All my matches are with people whose Keyes ancestors were from Queens County, or County Laois as it's been known since they booted the Brits out.

     I think I've got some great leads here, nothing in black and white, but a good start.  I'm sure Michael Flynn didn't have a second wife, Mary outlived him, and the children born before and after Owen and Margaret were recorded as the children of Mary Fitzpatrick.  The likely parish in Laois, Rathdowney, is missing a large chunk of records about the time Grandpa James' parents would have married, and he would have been born.  But even though that is quite disappointing, it would explain why all my attempts to find him have met with failure.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Urban Or Rural? In Which I Learn Not To Jump To Conclusions

Ballygologue as it looks today

      This morning I sent off my first order for pictures I want to put in the photo album I wrote about a few days ago.  I ordered only four prints, just to be sure I like how they turn out before I purchase the whole lot.  In keeping with my other resolution, yesterday I wrote a bio for David Crotty of Waterford, brother of my third great-grandmother Honora Crotty Power.  Now, I'm beginning one for Johanna Gunn, sister of my third great-grandmother Mary Gunn and it would appear those Gunn women liked to walk a little on the wild side; of course they were from Kerry.   I'm starting the biographies with ancestors I know remained in Ireland in the hopes that I, or a descendant of mine (for whom the bios are really written) may someday find living relatives there.

     I've blogged earlier about how Grandma Mary Gunn/Power managed to obtain a large farm in America at no cost to herself, and about how I first learned of her sister Aunt Johanna.  I've since found that Johanna had a child out of wedlock in late1867, four years before she married Thomas Connor.  The child was named Edward Gunn, and unlike many baptismal records I've seen that were marked illegitimate, no father's name was recorded in this case.  I've not been able to learn what became of Edward, he isn't with his mother in 1901, nor is he found anywhere else in that census.  There are only five Edward Gunn's enumerated in the country, all in Fermanagh, and none remotely close to the right age.  Perhaps Edward emigrated to England or the USA.

     I've also tried and failed to locate him in the Civil Registrations of deaths, although his birth was recorded in 1868.  At the time Edward was born it was up to the local registrar to discover and record births and deaths, parents were not required to inform him.   Johanna was likely embarrassed and in no great hurry to announce her single motherhood to the world, so some time passed before Edward was properly recorded.

     The Gunn family lived in the townland of Ballygologue near Listowel, variously spelled Ballygowloge in online Parliamentary Papers, or if you're looking at the Tithe Applotment books, Ballygalouge.  (So really, what is with this refusal to spell a townland's name the same way twice?)  I've seen the old tithe map of Ballygologue and it was a smallish place, eighteen people are listed there in the tithe books, none of whom are my Gunns.  I know they lived there from church records that gave their address but they don't appear in Griffiths Valuation either.  At any rate, Ballygologue was definitely a small, rural townland.  So when I found the survivors of this family in the 1901 census, I was surprised to learn they were living in Urban Listowel.   My first thought was the widow Margaret Gunn and her daughter Johanna Connor, also a widow, had moved to the city, perhaps for employment opportunities.  Indeed, the two older boys in the family, Johanna's son William Connor and her nephew John Gunn were shoemakers.
     It turns out I was half right.  The family  did move, since some persons in this census still had Ballygowloge as their address, but even if they hadn't they would still be part of the "Listowel Urban District".  The clip at left, from the Parliamentary Papers, shows Bally-G included in the district.  I try to keep in mind when researching in Irish records, that there are sometimes subtle differences in meanings and ways of recording events and locations than those used in America.  District Electoral Divisions or DED's for instance, which is what Listowel Urban District is.  These are small groups of townlands which may or may not be named for one of the townlands included.  Even in today's parlance, here in America Bally-G would never be referred to as urban though it might be called a suburb--looking at the aerial map at the top of this page reveals what appears to be a housing development.  Row after row of houses, Grandma Mary would never recognize the place...