Tuesday, February 16, 2016
More Brick Wall Busting Going On Here
Several weeks ago I wrote a blog about my recent attempts to find the birthplace of my 2nd great-grandfather James White who immigrated to the Palmyra, NY area shortly after the famine. Today I stumbled upon some new information while running a few Google searches. What might appear to the casual observer as aimless procrastination, when I ought to be doing something like cleaning my refrigerator, has in fact produced results fairly often if I stick to it long enough...and boy can I stick to it.
Today I typed these four words --Laois "James White" Margaret-- into a Google search, in that order, the name Margaret being that of Grandpa James' mother. Of the first five results, three were my own posts, but the sixth was the jackpot. Look at the red underlined sentence in the description below, James White!! Palmyra!!
After clicking on the link, I discovered a list of Treacy/Tracey family members coming through Ellis Island. Palmyra was the address to which Michael Tracey of Rathdowney Parish was traveling in 1914, to the home of his Uncle James White!! Reading further I found that two of his siblings had already come over and like Michael, both had headed to Palmyra, NY; James in 1906 to his aunt, Mrs. Mary White, and his sister Margaret in 1909 to her Aunt Mary White. Palmyra is a small town, there was only one couple named James and Mary White living there in that time period, namely Mary Ford and her husband James White Jr., the son of my 2nd great-grandfather.
Checking the Ellis Island site to ensure the transcriptions were correct I also discovered that two of the Treacy's gave their father's name as William, and address as Errill. I then moved over to church records at the NLI website to seek the baptisms of the Tracy children. I struck out there, the records end a few years prior to their births, so my next stop was the National Archives site and the 1901 census of Ireland. There I did a search for William Tracey in Rathdowney Parish and he came right up, how did that happen? The whole family was there, father William, mother Margaret, the future immigrants James, Michael and Margaret, a younger sister Katie and a mother-in-law too.
Now that I had William's wife's name I checked the marriage records back at the NLI site, which naturally ended right about the time I figured the marriage would have occurred. But I gave it a shot anyway, starting with the latest date. Right at the top of the first page I looked at, February 1880, I found William Treacy marrying Margaret Ford, witnesses were Michael Keyes and Mary Keogh, address? Errill. Grandpa James' mother was a Keyes! Margaret Keyes! I'm getting warmer.
I now knew the Treacys were related to the Fords, not the Whites exactly, (on the other hand, who knows what William's mother's surname might have been?), but it was still an exciting discovery, they did tend to stick together in the new country after all. James White Jr. and Mary Ford's marriage record dated 1887 at St. Anne's in Palmyra gives her parent's names as Bernard Ford and Margaret Keogh, it seems reasonable to suppose Mary and Margaret Ford were sisters since Margaret's children called Mary their aunt, and that the Mary Keogh who witnessed Margaret's marriage in Rathdowney Parish was probably a cousin. County Laois keeps turning up in my White/Keyes research, it can't all be a coincidence.