Friday, May 13, 2016
Sunday, May 8, 2016
The Rev. Dr. Denis Kane was born in 1822 in County Carlow to Edward Kane and Catherine Hoy. He was ordained in 1848 and joined the staff of Carlow College that same year, where he remained for nine years. He was PP [Parish Priest] at Baltinglass Parish in County Wicklow from 1871 until his death in 1883. The letters VG after his name are an abbreviation of Vicar General, an important position meaning he was "deputized" by the Bishop of Kildare & Leighlin to act on his behalf.
Being the PP at Baltinglass during those years means he was my great-great-great-grandfather Daniel McGarr's priest. At least until 1875 when Grandfather died. He might even have said Grandfather's funeral Mass, but it could just as likely have been one of his curates. What really captures my imagination here is the fact that Grandfather McGarr knew this man, this very man I am sitting at my desk looking at was gazed upon by my third great-grandfather. It's a sort of connection to Grandfather, I'm not exactly sure how to put into words -- the emotions that excites. You either get it or you don't, and I'm quite sure if you're reading a genealogy blog, you do.
Saturday, May 7, 2016
A few years ago I wrote a blog about my great-great-grandmother Maria McGarr's family from County Kildare who were purported to be folk doctors or healers back in Ireland. This story has been handed down through the generations-- that the family possessed a skin cancer cure and Bridget, sister of Maria and the youngest daughter to immigrate, had the formula in America.
As is so often the case these days, new information has come online since that first blog was posted, this time in the form of newspapers added to the site Old Fulton Postcards. I've found two news items from different newspapers, published years apart, which tend to confirm that there is some truth to the folk doctor story.
The first is an advertisement from 1889, apparently placed by Bridget McGarr Kinsella herself in her local newspaper, The Shortsville NY Enterprise, stating she was able to cure cancers and tumors, the treatment being free if the patient was unable to pay. That's quite a bold statement! My eyes widened a bit when I read that. The second piece was Bridget's obituary in the Clifton Springs NY Press, written fourteen years after the ad appeared in the Enterprise. This brief obituary ends with the phrase, "she was quite well known as a cancer doctor."
The story has also come down that area doctors were not thrilled with Bridget's medical activities and threatened her with legal action if she didn't desist, which she did. It just goes to show that some of these old stories do have at least a grain of truth in them, and that it pays to -- every once in awhile -- recheck older websites. Content may have been added since your last visit that could be useful to your research.