Sunday, July 31, 2016


Yesterday I was horrified to see an ad soliciting funds for a political candidate on my blog.  I did not post the ad and in no way do I endorse it.  I regret it appeared here, and hopefully the problem has been fixed.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Myles Keogh And Grandather

Myles Walter Keogh

     I love history, I think alot of genealogists do.  I will read just about anything that deals with the story of humankind; most especially if that story concerns Irish humankind.  Awhile ago my wonderful cousin on the opposite coast, the one who sends me books, sent me one about Custer's last stand on the banks of the Little Bighorn in eastern Montana Territory.  It's such an interesting topic, made more so to me by the presence at the battle of Myles W. Keogh.  What does Myles have to do with my family history?  More than I would have thought.  Myles was born in 1840  at Orchard, Leighlinbridge in County Carlow about 20 miles from where my great-great-grandfather James O'Hora was born at Ricketstown, it's probably not in Ireland however that their paths may have crossed.  

     Myles would have been thirteen years younger than my grandfather, and from a much more prominent family.  Myles attended college while Grandfather was recorded in early US censuses as illiterate and signed his naturalization papers with an X, though he did at some point learn to read and write.  While Myles became a soldier of fortune, serving with the Irish Battalion of St. Patrick and with the Papal forces of Pope Pius IX, James came to America, settling in Aurelius, New York near Auburn.  As James was leading a quiet agricultural life and raising a family, Myles was fighting the forces of Garabaldi in Italy where he was awarded several Papal medals.

     Myles so loved military life that he also traveled to America,  fighting for the Union during the Civil War in a cavalry unit.  While in the army, he made the acquaintance of  General Emory Upton and the two became close friends.  In 1867 Myles traveled to Owasco, New York to serve as best man when the General married Emily Martin of the wealthy Martin family  at their estate, Willowbrook.  It's here, many miles from County Carlow, where paths might possibly have crossed.  James O'Hora was then leasing a farm from the Martin family there in Owasco very near the estate.  While I'm sure James was not invited to the wedding, or any other events at Willowbrook for that matter, Myles was a popular guest of the Martin family and visited many times over the years.  There is even speculation that the incredibly handsome Myles and one of the Martin daughters were in love, a romance made impossible by his Catholicism.

                      Andrew R. Pulsipher
     The story of Myles Keogh of course does not end well, but on the grassy plains of Montana Territory.  He and General Custer were the only two soldiers whose bodies were not mutilated that day, supposedly because of the Papal medals he still wore.  It's said that when Sitting Bull was killed years later, he was wearing one of those medals. After Myles' death he was buried on the battlefield with the others-- the only survivor of the fight was his horse Comanche.  His body did not remain in that lonely, windswept grave for long.  His friends, the Martin family, had his remains shipped to Auburn where he rests in their own family plot at Fort Hill Cemetery.  It's somehow fitting Myles is buried in a cemetery with a military sounding name though it is not a military cemetery.  His sister Ellen in Ireland was reportedly horrified that her brother's final resting place was not a Catholic burial ground.  To appease her, the Martins had a cross placed on his grave.

     So, did Grandfather ever meet Myles Keogh?  It's sort of doubtful, but certainly not outside the realm of possibility.  Perhaps on the road or if Grandfather had cause to visit the grounds of Willowbrook as an employee at some point.  One of those questions that will probably never be answered, but intriguing to think about.

     There is a short You Tube video about Myles here.


Saturday, July 16, 2016

Quigley Family Revisited

     A year ago I wrote a blog about my great-great-grandmother, Maria McGarr's sister Anna and her family who immigrated to the USA from Ireland many years after Grandma did.  You can read it here.  It concerned the "disappearance" of Daniel Quigley, the youngest son of the widow Anna McGarr Quigley; who up until 1908 resided with his mother.  I found an obituary for him that cleared up where he had gone, but not why unfortunately.

     I couldn't find Anna or Daniel in the 1910 census--and I still can't-- but today I found Anna's obituary so at least I have an idea what happened and where she was.  I ran many searches for this obit before giving up last year.  Today I revisited the cemetery website which holds what I believed to be details about Anna's burial.  I noted the burial date was 24 September 1913.  That suggests she died the 21st or 22nd day of September.  I then went to the Old Fulton site and began combing those editions of the local newspaper page by page, hoping to find the article, which I did!

Rochester, NY Democrat & Chronicle September 23, 1913

     I'm betting you can see why this didn't turn up in my searches, it's barely legible, the software couldn't read it, but I could--

QUIGLEY-- At St. Ann's Home For the Aged Sunday evening, September 21, 1913, Mrs. Anna Quigley, aged 81 years.  She leaves two sons and two daughters.  The body was taken to the home of her son John Quigley at No. 203 Atkinson St. [I know the street number only from the city directory]
    Funeral Wednesday morning ... at Immaculate Conception Church.  Interment at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery.

     It was definitely her in the cemetery index, My Anna's son John indeed lived on Atkinson St., and one of her five children had predeceased her, leaving Anna with four children.  Something clearly happened in or around 1908, the last year I find Anna and Daniel together in the Rochester directory.  Or find them at all for that matter, I can't locate Daniel in the 1915 NY census either.  Maybe Anna became too ill for Daniel to care for, though it makes me curious why her daughter or older married son didn't take her in?  Putting one's parent into a nursing home wasn't all that common in the early part of the 20th century.  I wonder if it was something like Alzheimer's or dementia and perhaps they were just unable to deal with it?  Although, it just occurred to me, Rochester Library has microfilm of Holy Sepulchre burial registers up til about 1915 and like the registers in San Francisco, they contain a cause of death!  There may be yet another sequel to this story.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Wednesday's Website/San Franscisco Area Catholic Burials


     I recently came across this week's websites whilst researching my San Francisco O'Hore family.  There are two links in this blog, the first is to an index of the burial records of Mt. Calvary and Holy Cross Cemeteries here, the second, here is to the actual registers for Calvary and Holy Cross!  Why am I so excited about that?  For one thing the records run from 1851--well before death certificates--to 2006 and these are images of the registers, not transcriptions. Also, like many older burial registers, the entries up to and including March of 1888 contain a cause of death!   Something often difficult to find in cases without certificates.

     A little background on the cemetery situation in San Francisco is probably in order; in the early days, several large cemeteries were built west of the city, huge actually, and they took up vast amounts of land.  As the population  of SF rapidly multiplied, the land on which the cemeteries were situated became quite valuable; by the 1880's a campaign to remove the cemeteries had begun. At that time Catholic Archbishop Patrick W. Riordan, along with two Jewish cemetery associations purchased land in Colma to establish new cemeteries to ease the over crowding in their existing burial grounds.  

     In 1901 a law was passed banning any new interments within San Francisco's city limits and finding a burial spot became much harder.  More cemetery associations began purchasing land in Colma and over time the large cemeteries in SF began disinterring their "residents" and moving them there.  Those buried in Catholic Mt. Calvary were sent to the new Holy Cross Cemetery in Colma. For the most part, the bodies wound up in mass graves with a single marker to identify their new resting place.  Survivors were given the option to have tombstones relocated with the bodies of their loved ones for a fee, but most stones never made it to Colma.  Unfortunately, not all the bodies made it to Colma either.  Hundreds were left behind at what is today the campus of the University Of San Francisco.  Every time construction on new buildings has begun, human remains have turned up.

    But back to the websites.  The index is easy to search and the registers only slightly harder.  The index links to cards with information like who purchased the grave, age of the deceased and the date of burial, (which in many cases I've seen is actually the death date, not burial date), and it's location.  It does not link to the register images but with the date from the index card it's a simple process to look up the burial in the register which is where you find the good stuff--like the cause, along with an address.

     There remains a nagging question about the O'Hore's of San Francisco.  Edward O'Hore and his wife Sarah Frazier had a daughter named Sarah in late 1859 in Auburn, NY, shortly before heading west to California.  In 1864 another daughter, this one born in California, was also named Sarah.  I naturally assumed the first Sarah had passed away, but a cousin in California who was a direct descendant insisted the first Sarah had lived until January 6th of 1874.  I had my doubts, but noticed that the Jan. 6 date was exactly the same as the death date of another daughter, Agnes R. O'Hore who was born in 1872.  I found Agnes through her obituary several years ago, but since she died in 1874 from scarlet fever, she appeared in no censuses and my cousin, (now deceased herself), didn't know of her existence.  She had however apparently seen the burial record in person and somehow turned Agnes R. into Sarah.  With the register now being online I was able to find the record, which clearly says, "Agnes R. O'Hore" daughter of Edward & Sarah, died at age 1 and a half of scarlatina.

Index card for Agnes R. O'Hore
     I don't know why my late cousin wanted this to be the burial of the first Sarah badly enough that she twisted the record to suit her purposes, instead of considering there could have been an additional child named Agnes.  I do know that in the future I won't be so quick to think a direct descendant living in the original location necessarily has better research than my own.  The question remains however, with the 1870 census showing two girls named Sarah in the household--could one be adopted?  I've seen the older Sarah's baptism record, my great-great-grandfather was her sponsor so it's not her.  And yet, the younger Sarah bears the middle name Rachel--the name of Sarah Frazier's mother.  Also odd, the R in Agnes R?  It's for Rachel and an older sister, Winifred, had the middle name of Agnes.  These folks were maybe not too imaginative when it came to naming their children?

Friday, July 1, 2016

Friday's Photo/Thomas Ryan Of Manchester, NY

Thomas J. Ryan 1861-1940
     This is my first cousin three times removed if I'm reading the chart correctly.  Thomas was born in Walworth, NY, coincidentally the town I now reside in and he passed away in Manchester, NY -- coincidentally, the town I grew up in.  I'm not sure why, but I really love this photo of him; it was sent to me by my cousin John in Vegas, and I use it here with his kind permission.

    Thomas was the fourth of twelve children born to Irish immigrants Andrew Ryan, (brother of my great-great-grandmother Anna), and Bridget Hogan.  His father Andrew was born in Goldengarden Tipperary, and his mother Bridget probably in or near Knockavilla  Tipperary.  For much of their lives in America  Thomas' parents lived in Perinton, NY on Ryan Road.

      Thomas married Mary Josephine Lyons in about 1884 and the couple had seven children, all born in Perinton.  Around 1902 they moved to Manchester where several of his direct descendants still live  today. Thomas worked as a farmer and later in the large railroad yards in Manchester.  His death certificate says he died of myocarditis, a fairly uncommon ailment marked by inflammation of the heart muscle, and caused by a virus or auto-immune response as in rheumatoid arthritis or lupus.