Sunday, December 3, 2017

Sometimes All You Need Is To Write Another Blog

     


     This happens all the time here at Ellie's Ancestors; I write a blog after weeks of  thorough research, and that same night or the next day I find more information.  Sometimes it clarifies the search, sometimes it muddies the waters.  In this case it points in an interesting direction.

     Yesterday I wrote about Anna Quigley Hennessey who came from Ireland to New York, (presumably), and then westward to Missouri.  Last night I spent some time looking through city directories of Rochester, NY where Anna's brothers and sisters and her elderly mother resided after leaving Ireland.  They were all easy to find, though I didn't find anyone with the surname Quigley who belonged to me living in Rochester before 1890.  Then I looked for Anna with the surname Quigley or Hennessey.  In 1890 and 1891 an Anna Hennessey was employed as a waiter at the New York Central Railroad Station in the city.  She also lived there, which was a thing I'd never considered before, who knew one could board at a station?  Anna doesn't appear in any Rochester directories after 1891, although the rest of her family does.  It appears Anna spent only two years in Rochester.

     I followed Anna's mother, Anna Sr., through the directories beginning in 1890.  In them her son Daniel was always listed with her, while her oldest son John appeared in her household in a couple of cases.  Then I came to 1898 and got a surprise. That entry read, Ann Quigley, removed to Oak Mills Kansas.  After letting that sink in for a minute or two, I started searching for Oak Mills, which I found no longer exists.  There are however a few mentions of the place online, it's major claim to fame was that the Missouri Pacific Railroad went through town and had a station there. The first census I can locate Anna in is 1920 which places her in Jasper, Missouri working as a railroad telegraph operator at the Kansas City Southern Railroad station there.  In 1930 she is in Joplin, Missouri, also right on the Missouri Pacific mainline but also home to the Kansas City Southern Railroad--I was beginning to see a pattern here.

Railroad map 1888 Oak Mills at middle top, Jasper & Joplin bottom right
     
     The railroad map above was found at the Kansas Memory site, the relevant places are underlined in blue.  You can see all of them are right on the railroad line, beginning with Oak Mills, Kansas, where the 1898 Rochester directory said Anna Sr. had moved to, and through the Missouri cities of Jasper and Joplin where censuses later place Anna Jr.  Her last residence, Asbury Missouri, is about 20 miles west of Joplin, and guess who Asbury's largest employer was?  The Kansas City Southern Railroad for whom Anna worked in 1920!

     I tend to believe Anna Quigley Hennessey landed a job with the railroad and made it her career, first in Rochester then Kansas where she was visited by her mother, who had returned to Rochester by 1899, and lastly in Missouri.  She was fortunate to have that option, in that there were limited job opportunities for women outside of teaching, service or factories at that time.  Her religion forbade remarriage after a divorce, but Anna seems to have done well, she was even a homeowner in Asbury.

     A few questions remain unanswered.  After searching records in Ireland and in Rochester I still can't find Anna's marriage to Mr. Hennessey, nor can I find her in the 1900 or 1910 census though I know right where she was -- but having said that, maybe tonight is the night...

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Sometimes A Little Peek Is All You Need

     


     Anna Quigley Hennessey was everything one would expect a woman born in 1895 not to be-- independent, divorced, and living over one thousand miles from her family.  Anna's life is a bit of a mystery with only it's beginning well defined, it's ending less so, and the middle mostly unknown.

     Anna was born on 7 April 1859 in County Kildare, Ireland to James Quigley and Anna McGarr, the sister of my second great-grandmother Maria McGarr.  She was baptized  several days later in Baltinglass and grew up in that town with two sisters and two brothers; that is all that is known of her younger days.  Sometime around 1880 Anna emigrated, probably to New York which is where the rest of her family eventually settled, in Rochester.  I can't say whether she was married in Ireland or in America.

     The lives of her brothers and sisters were much easier to trace once they arrived in the United States as young adults.  They all lived in Rochester, New York and it is in their obituaries we find our first glimpses of Anna in her new country.  Her younger sister Sarah died in 1907; listed among her survivors is her sister Anna Hennessey of Kansas.  When Anna's brother Daniel died in 1916 she was referred to as Mrs. A. Hennessey of Kansas City in his obituary.  So was she really in Kansas in 1907 or was it Kansas City?  Newspapers often get such fine distinctions wrong and further complicating things, there is a place called Kansas City in both Kansas and Missouri, right next to each other.  After hours of searching I can't locate Anna in either place in 1900 or 1910, but in the 1920 census she is enumerated in Jasper, Missouri living alone, a divorcee working as a telegraph operator for a railroad.  Or is she?  There is another Anna Hennessey in Kansas City, Missouri of about the right age with a husband and family, I was unsure which Anna was mine.

     In 1930 the divorced Anna had moved a few miles to Joplin, Missouri while the other Anna was still in Kansas City.  Her brother John Quigley's obituary the following year mentions his sister Anna Hennessey of Asbury, Missouri, which is quite near Joplin, seeming to indicate she was indeed the right Anna.  Still, I wasn't totally convinced.  The 1940 census however, placed Anna the divorcee smack in Asbury and indicated she resided there in 1935 also.  After looking around the web I came across an article about a woman celebrating her ninetieth birthday in Asbury, but it was the name that made me sit up straighter, "Annie Quigley Hennessey"!  It was her there in Asbury.  I couldn't read the entire article, only a small bit since I don't subscribe to that archive.  I could however see the name of the newspaper, the Joplin Globe, and luckily Ancestry has that very newspaper on it's site. Below is the full article:

Asbury MO, April 11 1949--Mrs. Annie Quigley Hennessey of Asbury celebrated her ninetieth birthday April 7 at her home in Asbury, where she has lived for 35 years. Mrs. Hennessey is a native of county Kildare Ireland and came to the USA when a young woman.  She served as telegraph operator for the Kansas City Southern RR for many years and retired from active service after she was past 70.  She lives alone and is still quite active.

    Anna died in March of the following year.  Her tombstone is on Find A Grave, but there is no further information on that site and Ancestry doesn't have the March editions of The Globe in it's database.  I was excited to find a Missouri State site with actual images of death certificates, but when Anna's came up all it said was she died in another state and her certificate could be found there.  Found where?  There was no indication of where she died and she was not listed in the Social Security Death index.  I sent off an inquiry to the state site not really expecting an answer, but to my surprise, bright and early the very next morning the answer was waiting in my email--Anna died in Kansas.  Which unfortunately does not post it's death certificates.  I had suspected Kansas was a possibility since she lived so near the border and with all her brothers and sisters in New York deceased by 1950 she'd have no reason to travel there at age ninety one, but why Kansas?

     One possible answer is Anna became ill and a better hospital could be found in Kansas just across the border from her home in Missouri, or a nursing home.  Unless an obituary turns up I probably won't know since I don't plan on paying for the death certificate of a first cousin three times removed, but I would love to know Anna's story and about the shadowy Mr. Hennessey.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

My Cousins Get Together

     

     There have been some new developments in my Vincent line, and by extension in my Worden line.  The Vincent's are Mom's family and the Worden's are Dad's.  Deciding I'd probably be senile by the time the War of 1812 Pension Application I needed appeared on Fold3, I sent to the National Archives for the application of  the widow of John Vincent.  Namely Mary Clements, who he married in Halfmoon, Saratoga County, NY in 1800, and begot my third great-grandfather Thomas Vincent.  Thomas married Matilda Taylor around 1822 in Saratoga County, moving westwards with her and their young children to Ontario and Cayuga counties in New York about ten years later.  

     There is some debate in online trees as to the father of John Vincent, husband of Mary Clements and father of Thomas, with most coming down on the side of Capt. Jeremiah Vincent of Revolutionary War fame. This is the primary reason I ordered the records, hoping something contained in them would settle the question-- which it has. 

     The records from NARA prove clearly that my fourth-great-grandfather John died during the war, long before 1821 when Capt. Jeremiah made his will and named his son John as executor, thus ruling my John out as the Captain's progeny.  Since this revelation, I've been working to discover who my John's parents might have been without any luck.  His son Thomas died in 1842 in Victory, New York at the early age of 39 leaving not much more than his widow and children, a tombstone, and a few census records and deeds. Since nothing at all has come down in my family about him it's been slow going.

     Part of my research into the lives of Thomas and his father John has involved the family of John's wife Mary Clements because when you run out of sources referencing your subject, it's time to check out the fans, (family and neighbors).  John Vincent's wife Mary  had a brother named Frederick Clements and the probate of his will at least cleared up one mystery.  The 1850 census of Bristol, NY shows Louisa and Emmett Vincent, two children of Thomas Vincent and Matilda Taylor, living with a Jeremiah and Elizabeth Dubois who were both born in Saratoga County.  I'd long wondered how Thomas' children wound up in the Dubois household after their father's death and if this couple, also from Saratoga County, was in some way related.  As luck would have it the Dubois' are mentioned in Frederick Clements' probate records, "Elizabeth, wife of Jeremiah Dubois", being an heir of Frederick Clements-- his daughter!  Louisa and Emmett were living with the daughter of their grandmother's brother, their cousin once removed.  That makes Elizabeth a distant cousin of mine also.

     Elizabeth and Jeremiah Dubois had two children, Mary and Andrew, and looking at various records I found that Andrew had married Mariette Worden.  I knew I had seen the name Mariette Worden before and looking back through my family tree I discovered Mariette was the daughter of Davenport Worden, a brother of my third-great-grandfather Paul Worden, making Mariette also my distant cousin.  I even had the name of her husband Andrew Dubois in my tree, but back when I entered it the name Dubois meant nothing to me.

    As I looked further, I found Mariette Worden aged 14 living with Jeremiah and Elizabeth in the 1865 New York census.  She was enumerated as a servant which made perfect sense as her father Davenport had died of consumption in 1860.  No doubt her mother, who never remarried, found it difficult to support her four children by herself.  Also in the Dubois household in 1865 was their son Andrew, aged 34!  The 1870 census shows Andrew and Mariette Dubois living with his parents with a daughter born in 1868.  They must have married when Mariette was around 17 unless the marriage was rushed...ahem.

     None of this prurient speculation puts me any closer to finding who John Vincent's parents were, but it's interesting how the branches of my tree do twist around.  At least they were my cousins, not each others.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Matilda Taylor's Death Certificate Or-- What Do I Do Now?

     


     My third-great-grandmother Matilda Taylor's parents are a mystery.  Matilda was born in Saratoga County, New York in November of 1802, quite possibly at Half Moon.  If she'd been born a few hundred miles east of that spot I probably wouldn't be wondering about this.  The New England states kept wonderful vital records. New York?  Not so much.  At the moment I'm leaning toward John B. Taylor and his wife Rebecca as Matilda's parents, but I have no definite proof.  I know John B. lived in Half Moon where Matilda's husband Thomas Vincent was born, and I know a gentleman named John B. Taylor was a witness for Jeremiah Vincent, probably a relative of Thomas', when he applied for his Revolutionary War pension; he's also in the right age group.  That's about it, except for Matilda naming her firstborn son John Taylor Vincent.  That's a pretty good clue though diminished a bit by the fact that Matilda's husband Thomas also had a father named John.

     After searching high and low for the names of the Taylors in cemetery listings, wills, obituaries, etc.... I finally had to admit I was down to my last option, the New York Department of Health with whom I have a love/hate relationship...(mostly hate).  Matilda died in 1890 so there was a good chance she had a death certificate.  Compliance with the law requiring the reporting of deaths was sporadic at best in the late 1880's and 90's, but upon checking the newly online indexes, I discovered Matilda did indeed have a certificate.  Rather than send to Albany for the certificate and wait a year or so for their diligent (ha) employees to mail it to me, I wrote directly to Monroe County, where Matilda died.  In a little over a week an envelope from Westfall Road arrived in my mailbox.  I excitedly ripped it open and beheld...NOT the names of my 4th great-grands, just a long line of "Not Known", over and over.  Marital Status-- Not Known, Residence-- Not Known, Undertaker-- Not Known, Father's Name and Birthplace-- Not Known, Mother's Name and Birthplace-- ditto.  

     I don't know if the very early death forms didn't ask for that sort of information or if it just wasn't filled in.  Now I wondered if the state certificate might hold more information?  After poking around the net, I found this at a FamilySearch wiki, "Starting in June 1880, New York required that village, town, and city registrars record deaths. Copies of these deaths were then filed with the State Department of Health."  That seems to indicate New York has only a copy of Monroe County's record.

     It wasn't a complete loss however, the certificate did say that Matilda passed away from apoplexy, (a stroke), and that she is buried in Beaver Dams, New York with her second husband Rockwell Rood.  Which I sort of expected, she couldn't have been buried in the cemetery in Brockport where her oldest son, with whom she lived in her later years, was buried since it didn't exist when Matilda died and it was doubtful this son from her second marriage would have buried her next to Thomas Vincent in Victory, New York.  No, she rests next to Rockwell and their youngest son Alonzo who died in 1880, in the community where they spent their married years.  Which I suppose is fitting.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

The Daughter Who Wasn't There

     


     Looking at the 1920 Federal Census, for my 3rd great-uncle Benjamin Franklin Rood of my Vincent line, I noticed something quite odd.  A granddaughter had suddenly appeared in his household?  How peculiar; I knew his son and only child George Armstrong Rood never married, so from whence a grandchild?  Her name was Mae E. Johnson and she was 15 years old in 1920.  George too was living with his widowed father that year, in Sweden, NY and in pretty much every other census until both parent's deaths.  Bachelor George being Mae's father didn't make sense, though several online trees claimed that he was.  But why was her surname different than his?  An out of wedlock birth?

     I decided I needed to look at every census available for the Benjamin Rood family though I had already seen most of them.  Benjamin is not a direct line ancestor and I hadn't spent a great deal of time on him, after all, his only child George left no descendants... or did he?  The Rood's were residents of New York State which conducted a census of it's own every ten years on the 5's.  For example, Federal Census 1870, NYS Census 1875.  For some reason, New York did not do a census in 1885 and we all know what happened to the 1890 census.  That leaves a big gap in the records.  However, New York did take a census in the odd ball year of 1892--it's almost like they knew.  Without that 1892, it would have meant twenty years between censuses.  I'd viewed all the censuses for Benjamin except the 1892, so I took a look.  

     Holy Cow!  George was not an only child, Benjamin Rood and his wife Helen Burpee had a daughter!  Maryan ( Maryann, Marian?) C. Rood!  Age 12 in 1892!  She was born right after the census was taken in 1880 and appears in no other census with her parents.  I had no idea she even existed.  She had to be the parent of Mae E. Johnson.  Those of you with no state censuses to fall back on have probably run into this sort of thing before, but it was a surprise to me.

     Mae was born around 1905, so I checked the 1905 census and found her at age 1 with her parents John Johnson from Canada and Clarice Johnson from the USA.  Looking at the 1910 census there Mae was again,  bless her heart, six years old and living with John Johnson and his wife Clara.  Clara or Clarice could well be what the middle initial C in 1892 stood for.  Looking at the New York, County Marriages database at Ancestry, I found eighteen year old Mae Johnson's marriage to Louis J. Court, a man twice her age.  Her parents?  John Johnson and Clara Rood. I very nearly missed her, and Mae too.  I found a marriage record for Mae's mother in 1923 in the same Ancestry database, here she is going by the name Clarice M. Rood and gives her father's name as B F Rood and her mother as Helen Burpee, which fits exactly.  Don't you love the abandon with which our ancestors altered their names?  This marriage record also told me that Clarice and John Johnson divorced a mere week before Clarice turned around and married a man named Richard Grannon!  

     And those trees on Ancestry were blaming poor George.  Who's the scandalous one now?












Monday, September 4, 2017

A Witch In The Family

     


     Upstate New York is cold, last night the mercury fell to 43 degrees!  For weeks store aisles have been festooned with skeletons, pumpkins, and giant spiders.  Now, with this Halloween like chill in the air, my thoughts turn to my 8th great-grandmother Winifred King -- aka Mrs. Joseph Benham -- aka, "The Witch of Wallingford".  I've been doing a bit of reading lately about the witch trials in Connecticut, where Winifred was tried, and those in neighboring Salem, Massachusetts whose witchcraft hysteria is far more famous than Connecticut's.  Still trying to fathom how such a tragedy could have occurred.

     Winifred was born in Boston, Massachusetts around 1635 to a woman named Mary Williams King who after the death of her husband John King, married a man named Hale.  The year 1680 found Mary Hale again widowed, supporting herself by running a boarding house as well as an early version of an infirmary from her home in that city, taking in ailing individuals and attempting to cure them.  For their care, she charged 20 shillings per week for three weeks, and 10 shillings per week after that.  Mary ran afoul of the local Puritans when in 1681, a young boarder named Michael Smith accused her of poisoning him in a witchy way after his romance with her granddaughter Johanna Benham, a daughter of Winifred, ended.  After his death, Mary was arrested and tried, but acquitted.  Mary Hale was actually accused on two separate occasions of witchcraft, but not to be outdone, her daughter Winifred, by then a resident of Connecticut, would be accused thrice.  Yes, thrice, the last time along with her thirteen year old daughter Winfred Jr.  After their last acquittal in 1697 the two Winifreds wisely fled the puritanical Puritans in Connecticut and moved to a better address on New York's Staten Island.

      My line from Winifred comes through her thirteenth child James Benham who married Esther Preston, and thence through James and Esther's son Samuel Benham.  James remained in Wallingford after his mother departed for New York and Samuel was born there in 1711.  After Samuel's marriage to Phebe Andrews in 1736, he and Phebe moved to New Hartford, Connecticut where their son Jehial Simon Benham was born in 1751.  It was also there that Jehial would marry Lydia Cadwell and their daughter Phebe Benham would be born.  Winifred would have been little Phebe's great-great-grandmother, I wonder if  Phebe ever knew she was descended from an accused witch?  I wonder if Phebe's husband Abijah Moore Jr. whom she married in 1803 knew, or would have cared?  The last witch trial in America took place in 1715 in Annapolis, but superstitions have a way of lingering.  Later, Phebe and Abijah were among the first settlers of Wolcott, New York, making their home on New Hartford Street, named for their town in Connecticut.  It was in Wolcott their last child and only daughter Harriet Moore was born in 1812.  Hattie, as she was known, grew up in Wolcott, marrying Russell Galloway there in 1829.

     Hattie and Russell's son George, was born in 1838 in Butler, New York, just south of Wolcott.  Interestingly enough, George's wife Clarissa Foster was the child of Asahel Foster whose hometown was New Salem, Massachusetts, founded by former residents of Salem.  George and Clarissa's son, Russell Carlton Galloway, married Hattie Vincent in 1884; their daughter Grace was my grandmother.  You can believe me when I tell you it's confusing having two men named Russell Galloway, two generations apart, both married to women called Hattie.  It gets even more interesting when you throw George Galloway's third wife Hattie Foster, the sister of his first wife Clarissa, into the mix and end up with three Hattie Galloways.

     I'd love to know when Winifred's story was lost in the family.  I certainly never heard it.  I'd wanted a witch for a long time before I finally found Winifred, and now I want another. (OK, I know they weren't really witches.) The New Salem connection of Asahel Foster is fascinating to me because that place was settled by families from the literal "Witch City".  They really call it that.  Today.  Still.  Look at the official Police badge below:


      My curiosity about the trials and wish for another "witch" in the family has inspired me to learn more about my early colonial ancestors and add their details to my online tree.  Today there must be hundreds of thousands of descendants of those unfortunate individuals who were caught up in the New England witchcraft scare of the 1600's.  Surely I have at least one more in my family. I'm also hopeful that adding to my Ancestry tree will drum up some letters from cousins, it's been ages since anyone contacted me there and I seldom receive a reply from those I write to.  Perhaps the coming of this foul weather will motivate researchers to retreat to the warmth of their computer screens and send me some email already.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Announcement From FGS On 1812 Pensions!

     Today the Federation of Genealogical Societies announced the resumption of work on the War of 1812 pension applications so many have been eagerly awaiting.  The following is from their blog:  

A security incident at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) facility in St. Louis led to a work stoppage of digitization projects for security review. This incident was unrelated to the Preserve the Pensions project in Washington D.C., however, our project was impacted.  The Federal bureaucracy is a slow-moving beast, as many of us have experienced outside of genealogy.   The completed review led to new security and project protocols. These protocols imposed new cost, space, and completion date constraints on the project. Neither conservation nor digitization could resume without a renegotiated project plan. These negotiations were difficult and time-consuming...

     So why on earth could that not have been shared with the public?  Regardless, things are looking up and hopefully I will be able to read my 4th great-grandfather's file before too much longer.  Below is a link to the announcement on the FGS blog--

http://voice.fgs.org/

Monday, July 31, 2017

Tombstone Tuesday/ I Wonder About Annie

     


     For a long time, I was unsure what to make of the child called Annie.  I saw her tombstone in St. Anne's Cemetery in Palmyra, New York right next to my 2nd great-uncle James White and his wife Mary Ford so I assumed she must have been their daughter.  On her small stone was engraved simply, "Annie 1890-1893".  I found no record of her baptism in St. Anne's records, only her burial in 1893 which matched the date on her stone.  The burial record gave her father's name as James White, so that's that.  Except... in the census of 1900, which asked women if they had children, how many, and how many of them were still living, Mary told the census taker she never had any children.  So was Annie adopted?  A niece or other relative?

     Mary, a native of County Laois, Ireland would have been 37 at the time of Annie's birth and James 41.  That's rather late to begin a family and there were no other children born to this marriage, but then again James and Mary didn't wed until 1887.  Today it occurred to me I had never located this family in the New York State census taken in 1892 when Annie would have been two years old.  Palmyra was a small town, it took only eight pages to enumerate it's residents that year, so I went page by page after an Ancestry search failed to turn them up.  Still nothing.  Ancestry wouldn't allow me to search by county, so I switched to Family Search which would.  They weren't listed anywhere in Wayne County, where Palmyra is located, so I tried Ontario, the next county over.  There they were!  James White, Mary White, and Anna M. White aged two living in the town of Phelps. 

     So little Annie was with James and Mary at the age of two-- she must be theirs I thought, and named for her grandmother, Anna Ryan White.  I recalled the census of 1910 also asked women about their children so I checked that one next.  This time Mary, now living in Palmyra, told the enumerator she had one child who was still living.  What?  All I can imagine is that Mary was so undone by her only child's death she couldn't bear to talk about it, certainly not to a stranger who came to her door asking intrusive questions.  I looked at the New York State Death Index, now coming online at Internet Archive, and found "Anna M. White" died 24 September 1893 in Palmyra.

     All the evidence points to James and Mary being Annie's parents.  The next time I'm able to look at church registers in Phelps I will look for her baptism there; since she isn't in St. Anne's baptismal records I think it's probable she was born in Phelps.  And I won't be at all surprised when I read that her parents were James White and Mary Ford.

    

Friday, July 14, 2017

Willie T. Revisited

     Two years ago I wrote a blog about my search for my 1st cousin 3X removed, John Sheehan, who left home one day in 1875 and was never seen nor heard from again.  I promised an update if I ever tracked John down or alternatively, if I discovered what had caused the unrelated death of his nephew William Thomas Sheehan seventy six years later at the age of only 52.  Well, neither of those things have come to pass.  John is still among the missing and it's clear now that I'm not going to get a cause of death for William unless I order his certificate from the state of California.  I've located a death notice for William, but he passed away in Los Angeles and those big city newspapers didn't devote much print to lengthy obituaries unless the deceased was famous in some way.

     So why am I writing an update?  Because I found something even better than a cause of death for William, I found a photograph!  OK, Ancestry found it I guess and sent me one of those little leaves, but I'm still excited.  It's so rare that I come across photographs.

William Thomas Sheehan (1899-1951
     
     William was 20 years old when this photo was taken.  The document it was attached to was his application for a Citizen Seaman's Protection Certificate which he filed in September of 1919.  The certificates functioned like  passports for seamen and were issued at all Great Lake and ocean ports by the collector of customs.

     This may have been William's first trip, the spaces provided for listing departures and arrivals is blank on his form, but there is a ship called the Pearl Shell noted on the application. Also included in the file is a notarized, handwritten affidavit from William's mother Lillian Putnam Sheehan giving his date and place of birth.  I found a reference to William's ship in a book online called International Marine Engineering, Vol. 23 that indicated the ship was an oil tanker that was part of the Merchant Marine fleet and had been taken over by the US government.  That would explain the 1920 census which says William was a machinist who worked for the government.


   Below is what is written on the back of the photo and I admit I'm stumped.  I get the "Citz" in pencil that must be an abbreviation of citizen, but the rest?  Any suggestions what it may mean would be appreciated.




    

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Pursuing John Vincent's Pension: Act 2

     


     Well, some good did come out of my disappointing correspondence with the FGS yesterday concerning the War of 1812 Pension files.  I was so vexed that I scoured the internet for other War of 1812 pension sources.  And I found one that had some relevant information about John Vincent!  This time I'm sure it's the right guy, there are several John Vincent's in the 1812 pension indexes that are online in various places.  The indexes contain very little information and it's not always easy to tell if you have your man or not.  In fact I wasn't one hundred percent certain that John or his widow ever drew a pension, which is why I never ordered a copy from NARA, which if any of the John Vincent files was the right one?


     This time I'm positive it's him.  The database is at the Family Search site and is titled United States Revolutionary War Pension Payment Ledgers 1818-1872.  I know what you're thinking, different wars, but the description notes that a few 1812 pensions did sneak in.  Somehow, the file I sought was one of these.  I typed in John's name and waited.  Only two hits came up, the first for John Vincent from Indiana and the second for John Vincent no location.  The second hit did include a wife's name, Mary H*.  I wasn't sure what that could be, my John did have a wife named Mary but I'd never seen the initial H used for her -- I clicked it anyway.

     The page that came up was dark and hard to read, all I could see was the name John Vincent, Private, a dollar amount and--hold on a minute!  Someone had written Canandaigua on the same line.
Hard to read, but the last word is Canandaigua
 Mary lived near Canandaigua for a time after John's death, but where was her name? Looking to the left I saw a name that had been crossed out.  It did look like the forename Mary, the indexers at Family Search thought it said Mary, for they had written "Mary H" in the description.  There was also a surname and it began with an H.  So the H wasn't a middle initial at all, it was all they could decipher of her last name.  I enlarged the crossed through surname and-- Oh. My. Goodness! It read "Howland".  Which was the name of Mary's second husband, and there-- the payments to Mary H stopped in 1864.  That is the year she died, it's her.




      Admittedly, I don't know much more now than I did before I found the ledger, but I did learn that John was a Private in the service and most importantly that a pension file does indeed exist for my direct ancestor John Vincent.  Now if they will only put it online...

Monday, July 10, 2017

Today's Tirade -- 1812 Pension Applications

Doublespeak- evasive, ambiguous language primarily meant to make the truth sound more palatable

     I can't imagine I'm the only totally frustrated researcher who has waited in vain for more images of the War of 1812 Pension Applications to appear on Fold3.  It has literally been years since the last batch was released.  You may recall the very successful campaign which raised $500,000 to pay for the digitizing and posting of the files, which was to be done in conjunction with the National Archives which holds the records and the Federation of Genealogical Societies.  Things were moving along, but then everything ground to a halt with letter M.  That's it, up to letter M then nothing.  And as luck would have it, my ancestor's name begins with the letter V.  

     The FGS Facebook page about the project hasn't been updated in nearly a year and the Fold3 site is equally mum.  When I inquired about the delay a year ago, this was the response--"there are persistent security issues and process control challenges with NARA’s internal operations"-- huh?  Today I tried again to get an answer to what was happening and got this reply-- "NARA has recently experienced some challenges managing their numerous work flows and processes...".  Did they realize how inadequate the first explanation was and revise it with a different but equally annoying excuse?  All I'd like to know is what is the problem?  And why the reticence to share that information with the individuals paying for the project?  It's much easier to be patient if one understands what is happening, (or not happening in this case), and why.

     The person who responded to my query did volunteer that an announcement concerning the project is expected from the FGS on August first.  After all the secrecy, I'm hoping this means something has changed and the project will resume, M is an awfully long way from V.

     

    

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Maria Vincent No Longer Among The Missing

   

     Looking through some posts about my Vincent family today I noticed a blog written before I had located all the children of John and Mary Clement Vincent, they being Matilda, Thomas, Maria, and Janet.  That blog noted one child,  Maria, had yet to be traced.  Happily, that is no longer the case.

     Maria Vincent was born in Saratoga County in 1806, probably at Halfmoon like her brother and sisters.  She married  Morgan Dunham, (Donham in some records), the son of William Dunham and Eleanor DuBois, in Saratoga County around 1830.  A deed from Saratoga County shows Morgan selling land there in 1831 which may be when the family migrated westward to Ontario County, New York.  They were certainly there by 1834 when their daughter Juliaette was born in Bristol, New York on June 22nd.  The 1840 NY census also places the Dunhams in the county, living in Richmond, New York, as was Maria's mother Mary Clement Vincent, now twice widowed and listed under her second late husband's surname of Howland.  Maria's sister Janet was there in her mother Mary's household though in 1840 she is only a tick mark in a column.  Maria's brother Thomas Vincent with his family also resided in Richmond in 1840.  All the Vincent siblings and their mother were together in Richmond except Matilda Vincent Irish who lived in Victory, New York in Cayuga County.

     Maria and Morgan would have four daughters and three sons in that order, all of whom would survive to adulthood.  Sometime in the early 1840's the Dunhams packed up their children and moved to Pittsford, New York where Morgan had a brother, about twenty miles from Richmond.  By that time the other family members had also sold their property in Richmond and joined Matilda Vincent Irish in Victory.  Pittsford would have been quite a change for Maria.  While Richmond was a rural farming community, her new home was booming.  The Erie Canal had come through town in 1825, while 1842 saw the arrival of the Rochester & Auburn Railroad.  Pittsford was a prosperous, expanding community at the time Maria and her family arrived though she wouldn't get to enjoy it for long.

     Maria died a  month before her 43rd birthday from dysentery on 18 July 1849 in Pittsford.  In the days before refrigeration intestinal diseases were common, especially in the warmer months giving them the name, "summer complaint".  With the exception of Janet Vincent Wetherel, who would attain the age of 78, none of the Vincent siblings had long lives; their mother had to endure the deaths of three of her four children.  Matilda Vincent Irish passed at 46, Thomas at 39, and of course Maria at age 42.  Her husband Morgan would marry twice more, first to a woman named Sarah whose surname is given on the Find A Grave site as Etts, then in 1870 to Hannah Sutherland who would outlive him.

     With all the Vincent children now accounted for, I'd really love to know what caused the death of my 3rd great-grandfather Thomas Vincent, only son of John and Mary, at the young age of 39.  The historian of Cayuga County where Victory lies, wrote me that several epidemics swept through the town in the 1840's, carried by travelers and pioneers.  We see this in the cases of Matilda Vincent Irish and her two year old granddaughter Mary Jane Wetherel who both perished during the 1847 epidemic.  So far a lack of records has confounded my search for Thomas' cause of death but it may turn up one of these days.

     
.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The Most Wondrful News I Never Heard!

     


     For years I've had a love/hate relationship with the New York State Department of Health.  From taking forever, and I'm talking a YEAR here, to fulfill requests for vital record certificates, to finally putting a few death indexes online, but making it as difficult as possible to ascertain where the death occurred, they have earned my ire.  Apparently I'm not alone in this regard.  

     You may have heard of the non-profit group, Reclaim The Records -- made up of genealogists, historians and researchers-- in other words, my kind of people.  Near the top of their website is this sentiment, "Tired of restrictions and paywalls around public data?  So are we."  And they are doing something about it by filing Freedom of Information requests for public data and posting that data online---for free!  They filed a FOIL request to New York State and won access to the entire set of NYS death record indexes from 1880-1956.  Ridiculous as it seems, it took seventeen months to accomplish this even though the indexes are available on microfiche at several libraries around the state. The group is now in the process of uploading these indexes to the internet via Internet Archive, which I have to admit is one of my least favorite sites (I can never get the search function to function) but it beats driving to the city of Rochester Library, paying to park, and then spending another half hour driving home in order to check the index.  Which is fabulous!  Their page invites other genealogy sites to also put the indexes online, and with a little luck Family Search may just do that and make them searchable.  Wouldn't that be wonderful?

     The earlier images are online now and the others are coming soon, completion by August is the goal.  Those later images can be viewed if you download the zip file, but these files are huge, and August isn't so very long to wait.  It should be noted the index does not include deaths in New York City, those in mental institutions may be omitted, and compliance with the law requiring that deaths be reported was spotty in the early years.

     I don't know how I missed this great news, although since the loss of my husband I haven't been paying much attention to genealogy.  Now that I'm getting back into my research, this was a very pleasant surprise.  I'll still have to wait an interminably long time if I choose to order the actual certificate, but this is a definite step in the right direction.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

What Do You Mean DNA Is Worthless?

     
                                                                 Wikimedia Commons


     A few days ago my copy of Family Tree magazine arrived in the mailbox.  Among the reader's letters was a diatribe about DNA testing.  The author of the letter asserted DNA testing was a waste of money and of no use to anyone other than adoptees and "obsessive" genealogists looking for far distant cousins.  I beg to differ.

     I've made quite a few discoveries using DNA.  For example-- my Dad's match with a descendant of our McGarr line from County Kildare put me in touch with a distant cousin who had information I lacked and that rarest of finds, a photograph!  Also in the McGarr line, another match strengthened my theory that John McGarr of Garrettstown in County Carlow is my 4th great-grandfather.  A Gunn match brought family details as well, and so did a match in my Vincent line. 

     Then there's James White, my perennially troublesome 2nd great-grandfather whose birthplace eluded me for decades only to be solved when several DNA matches pointed to Queens County, Ireland as the spot.  Recently I came upon another DNA match for the White's of Queens.  This one looks like a possible older brother for my James.  His name is John White, born in Queens though there wasn't much information about townlands.  What's particularly intriguing about this John White, is that the DNA match is rated "very high" and the ever useful Irish naming pattern.  While the tree doesn't have parents for John, it does list his children.  My James' parents were James and Margaret,  John named his first son James, and his second daughter Margaret, while my James named his third son John.

     In each of these cases, DNA helped me find people I was related to, garnered more information from the individuals who took the tests, and in several cases is the most compelling proof of a relationship to date.  Especially with Irish research where there are no early birth records for Catholics other that baptisms that may or may not have survived.  The same holds true for early settlers in America as they pushed westward from the New England states, there were no churches or record keepers in the wilderness.  To wit; a match in my Clements line for a mid-1700's relative in colonial New York (New England puts New York to shame on early record keeping) appears to confirm that I was right about Mary Clements being my 4th great-grandmother.

     To me it seems absurd to dismiss DNA testing out of hand.  I've found DNA to be an invaluable tool that I would recommend to other researchers in a heartbeat.  While the ethnicity part can be somewhat off, although mine was spot on, the science behind matching is solid.
     

Sunday, May 14, 2017

They Turn Up In The Most Unexpected Places

     
                                              Nebraska Plains                           Wikimedia Commons


     I've been doing a little research on my homesteading Vincent/Matteson family recently, and this morning while playing with homestead records at Ancestry.com I noticed the site has two separate databases related to homesteading; the US General Land Office Records 1776-2015, which can be searched online at the government site for free, and also US Homestead Records, 1861-1908.  I know quite a bit about when the Matteson family arrived in Nebraska and where, but I was curious about the details of their life, like what sort of house did they live in?  Was it a dugout, a "soddy" or a more substantial dwelling?  One way to find out was to ask NARA to send the family's packet of homestead records including the "proving up papers", which as the name suggests were to prove to the government that improvements had been made to the claim and a house had been built thereon.  These papers include a description of the house and other buildings on the property along with other details.  Perusing the NARA form I noticed a fee of $50 would be charged, which inspired me to seek the desired information elsewhere.

     That's when I found the Homestead Records at Ancestry.  I'd already looked at George W. Matteson's paltry one page record at the Land Office site, describing his 80 acre claim filed in the Norfolk Land Office, for land in Lincoln Township, Washington County, Nebraska.  Ancestry's Homestead Records database contained an additional 14 pages of George's file, no doubt the same pages I would have received from NARA for my $50.  From these documents I learned George settled on his land on August 1st of 1869 and built a frame house with a shingled roof, five doors, (five doors???), and seven windows.  He dug a well and plowed and cultivated most of his 80 acres excepting the one acre he planted to forest and another half acre in fruit trees.  

     However, there was more.  Two entries down on Ancestry's search results page was, "George W. Mattison", with an I instead of E.  His claim was filed with the North Platt Land Office.  That couldn't be him, my George's land was on the Missouri River, no where near the Platt on the other side of the state.  It was clearly another George Matteson, why on earth would he want land nowhere near him?  

     But just to be on the safe side...  I clicked on the link, skimmed through the file, and there on page 3 was this--

     "I, George Mattison of Washington County ...solemnly swear that on the 16th day of June 1869 I made a homestead entry at the US Land Office at Norfolk Nebraska... this additional entry is for my own exclusive benefit..." 

It was him!  And he signed his name to the form with the correct spelling. There were 15 pages in this file also, the fourth being a real bonanza, it confirmed his Army service record along with the discharge date and place, while giving me some new information-- the town of his birth.  I knew was he was born in Herkimer County, NY, but now I had a town...Russia.  The form mentioned an amendment to US homestead law adopted on March 3, 1873.  Upon looking that up, I found it was titled, "The Soldiers and Sailors Act of June 8, 1872", it read in part--"An act to enable honorably discharged soldiers and sailors, their widows and orphan children, to acquire Homesteads on the public Lands of the United States..."  So that's why his military information was in the file.  It went on to state that soldiers like George who had only 80 acres could use this amendment to acquire an additional 80 acres to bring them up to the limit of 160 acres per homestead.

     Using the description of the land, I found it was near a town called Cozad in Dawson County, Nebraska almost 250 miles from George's original claim.  I was puzzled why he would want to claim land so far away, but on the other hand, if the government was giving away land it would be foolish not to accept.  It occurred to me, perhaps all the public land nearby had already been claimed and this was the closest George could get.  I'm confident the family never left Washington County, they can be found in every census there until George died in 1908 at the home of his sister in Fort Calhoun, Nebraska, still in Washington County.  It appears this new land was considered part of his original homestead so the requirements for living on the land five years and building a home there were waived.  Now I'm curious what he did with his additional 80 acres?  Every genealogy answer begets another question...

    

Monday, May 8, 2017

Mappy Monday; Where I Learn More About Google Maps and Knockardagannon

Kyleahaw to Knockardagannon North                                    Courtesy of Google Maps

     I'm still gathering data on my great-great-grandfather James White, looking for that holy grail, definite proof that he was from County Laois and the name of his townland.  One of my DNA matches on Ancestry generously sent me his research on the White/Keyes families from Rathdowney Parish, which strongly points to a place called Knockardagannon North as being the townland of James' birth.  Parish records of the Catholic Church there are missing for precisely the period I need, which at least explains why after years of searching I've never found any for James, his sister Catherine or his parents James Sr. and Margaret Keyes, whose names I have from James' marriage record here in the USA.

     I've found various scraps of information here and there and the place-names Rathdowney, Kyleahaw and Errill in County Laois keep turning up in my research.  I turned to maps to get an idea how close these places were to each other, using the "directions" option at Google Maps.  Being a definite right-brained person, even then it was not easy for me to visualize the distances between these areas.  The map above shows the shortest route between Knockardagannon North and Kyleahaw.  The latter place being the birthplace of James Treacy who came to America in 1906 to live with Grandpa James' son James White Jr.  The two places look very close, but exactly how close were they?

     I decided to "walk it" using the little person in the bottom right corner of the map on the Google site.  I set him down at the intersection of R433 and the "road" to Knockardagannon.  This is what that looks like when you switch to street view--

                                                                                                                     Google Maps

and this is as far as one can get.  The little guy just wouldn't go down that country lane no matter how hard I tried to persuade him.  I attempted a different route with no better luck, he wouldn't go down the road Knock. North sits on either.  Then I tried satellite view!  I'd love to say I thought of that on my own, but it was an accident; in trying to pan out further on this image it automatically switched to satellite.  At that point, I did come up with the bright idea of trying to look at Knock. North that way and voila!

                                                                                                                                          Google Maps

     There it is, Knockardagannon North--there is absolutely nothing there.  Unless you count the bogs to the north.  Actually there's not much in Kyleahaw either.  But this map does show, in a visual way that even I can comprehend, how very close the two places really are.  I like that the little blue dots showing the route carried over from the first map too. That icon in the white square is a person walking the distance between the two places in six minutes.  That 500m below the figure translates to about one third of a mile.  Knock. North was literally right in Kyleahaw's backyard and Errill is about a mile and a half east on R433.  They are practically the same place.  In fact the 1901 census shows the Treacy family living in "Knockardagannon North (Errill, Queen's County)".  Perhaps their home was the wee house just above the intersection?

Monday, May 1, 2017

One Place You Don't Want To Find A Relative

Newark, NY State School
     
     I recently received a message via Ancestry.com inquiring about a distant family branch from Newark, New York.  My paternal great-grandfather's family, or families, have not been thoroughly researched I should add; I've mostly concerned myself with his first marriage, the one which produced my grandfather.  Grandpa's father had bad luck with wives, he buried two before the third one outlived him.   My grandfather never spoke about his half siblings, and I never met any of them so they were a bit of a mystery to me.

     I had done enough research on the various families of Great-grandfather to know that when Newark was mentioned it was probably in relation to a daughter of his second marriage who I will call Rita. Though she's been gone thirty years now, I know she has descendants who are involved in genealogical research, so I hesitate to use her real name and cause anyone embarrassment.

     After reading the message, I looked at my family tree software to see what I had found on Rita -- outside of her marriage and place of death it wasn't much.  I ran a few searches and was shocked to find that in 1940,  24 year old Rita was a patient at the Newark State School For Mental Defectives.  According to that census she was a resident there in 1935 as well.  I then did some searches looking for the identity of the person who had sent me the message and I discovered the most likely candidate was a son of Rita's born in 1938.  That made no sense!  His mother would have been a patient at that time if the census was correct.  But wait, his last name and his mother's maiden name were the same, was he born out of wedlock?  I went back to the 1940 census and sure enough, he too resided at the State School, enumerated as a boarder.  Rita must have become pregnant while she was a patient and her child remained institutionalized with her after his birth.

     Now I looked for information about New York State Schools in the mid 1930's.  Many of the patients in that era were what was then termed, "high functioning", and teachable.  Some even lived and worked in the communities surrounding their institution, though they remained on the books as patients.  Another search turned up a PDF of the 1935 town board minutes from the place where Rita had lived prior.  In the brief excerpt under the title was this, "Trip to Newark State School -- Examination: Mental Defective, Rita..."  No last name in the description, could it be her? 

      I clicked on the title to open the PDF and there among the quarantines and inspections in the report of Health Officer Reeves, I found Rita, "mental defective".  To today's sensibilities that label sounds so harsh, so dismissive and lacking in compassion.  And to have a toddler in that place!  It disturbed me to think none of Rita's family took the child in.  Her father, my great-grandfather, had remarried by that time and had more children with his third wife, and Rita had three older sisters, one of whom was married with a young son of her own and still living in the same town.

     At some point, Rita left the State School, married, and had several more children.  Which made me curious about her husband.  You won't believe where I found him in 1940... an insane asylum in the Panama Canal Zone!  He had joined the US Army and was stationed there.  More emails from the author of the original query confirmed he was indeed the son who was born in the State School and was seeking his father's name.  He told me he was born at the school to a mother with a low IQ and was taken from her at an early age, and placed in foster care.  They did reconnect at some point later on, and he knew his half-siblings.

     I've never heard a word about this sad, disturbing chapter in my family's past, mental disabilities just weren't talked about in the 1930's and even today it's hushed up.  I hope in the end Rita found some happiness, but I'm not banking on it.  In the early 1980's her youngest son hung himself with a bed sheet in the local calaboose...

    

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

This One Is Personal

Jack & me, costume party

     You may have noticed a resounding silence from me of late.  Other than the blog about my rebel ancestor which was written quite some time before I published it, I haven't posted in awhile.  I've debated whether or not to do so now, but in the end I wanted to do something to mark the passing of a wonderful man, so here it is.

     My loving husband passed away last month and concentrating has been difficult, so writing has been impossible.  I have no words to express how much I miss him, but I hope to return to blogging soon.  Until then, sincere thanks to all of you who have written to me.
Ellie

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Announcing a New Holiday

    

 
     I've come to the conclusion my County Carlow ancestor Patrick Hore, who was hung by the British for defending Ireland's freedom during the rising of' '98, deserves some recognition.  To that end, April 5, the day on which he was murdered, will hereafter be observed, (in my family at least) as Patrick Hore Day.  I designed the t-shirt above and everyone in the clan is getting one which they had better wear.

     Patrick's offense was to administer an "unlawful oath" to Matthew Brennan.  Something along the lines of "damnation to the king and all the royal family".  Supposedly he also conspired to kill Luke Lyons, but I'm not sure if the conspiracy ever came to fruition.  Probably not since he was not charged with Luke's death.  Regardless,  I feel great pride at having a rebel in the family and now that I've finally found him, I couldn't bear to have his memory lost again.  Here's to you Patrick, may the Saints bless and protect you.

    

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Tuesday's Tip/Getting Techie...Just A Little Bit


    
     When I first began using the internet decades ago, there was a feature called "cache" that was visible every time a search was performed and hits resulted.  It was right there in smaller letters below the title and description of the web page -- and then it wasn't.  Cache by the way is basically a snapshot in time of a website.

     Cache was useful if previously viewed content had been removed from the site or if it was down for some reason or just taking FOREVER to load.  Even if the page had been removed, it was still possible to view the cached version.

     I never even noticed it was gone until the day I went to use it.  Well, it turns out cache is not gone!  It's simply hiding.  It can now be found residing right after the site's URL as circled in red above, just click the green arrow and there it is.  An alternative is to use Internet Archive's Wayback Machine which involves a bit more work than just clicking an arrow, but may have an even older version of the page of interest.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Grandpa Jeremiah And That Hussy Betsey

 
Death  of Betsey Grandy Garner,  born Sterling, NY -- died in Hastings County, Ontario, Canada
  
     Yesterday, instead of cleaning up my desk like I promised myself I would do, I spent the day figuring out the seeming inconsistencies in the life of Betsey Chase, the wife of John M. Grandy and then of Jeremiah Garner.  Betsey is not even related to me, but she did marry my third great-grandfather Jeremiah, so I needed to clear up a few things.  By the way, the back story of the Garner/Grandy nuptials is a somewhat sordid one that involves international borders, abandonment and bigamy, you can read it here if you'd like. 

     Although I was convinced Betsey died only a year and a half after her 1868 marriage to Grandpa Jeremiah in a foreign country, (OK, it was Canada), annoying contradictory evidence kept popping up.  One was the record in a database on the Wayne County, NY Historian's website saying Betsey Grandy married  Eugene Morris in 1874.  Did she tire of Jeremiah, return home and marry again?  Another was a pension record dated 1892, with the names John M. Grandee and his widow Betsey A. Grandee of New York.  But... Betsey died in 1869...didn't she?  Of course she did, the record of her demise is at the top of this page; I was convinced at one time and I'm not that easy to convince.  I read somewhere that while researching you should just go ahead and assume there was another person of the same name living in the same area as your ancestor.  That way you'll be extra careful before accepting the evidence you find at face value. I think it's good advice and try to keep it in mind while chasing my ancestors.
  
     I couldn't just assume Elizabeth Garner was Betsey Grandy even though I had their marriage record, and the likelihood of another Elizabeth marrying a Garner who was coincidentally an innkeeper like my Jeremiah, and lived in Hastings County, like my Jeremiah, and was from Sterling, NY like Jeremiah... oh heck, it's her!  I wouldn't even be questioning it if not for those nagging contrary records that turned up; in census after census my Jeremiah Garner is the only person of that name in Hastings County, or the entire Provence of Ontario for that matter.

     Still, those records did exist and they needed to be reconciled.
What if the pension referred to a different couple with the names John M. and Betsey Grandy, living somewhere in New York?  The record at Family Search didn't give a home address, just "New York State".  It did however give the next best thing, John's unit, the 10th Regiment of NY Heavy Artillery.  Unlike modern day soldiers, those of the Civil War era usually enlisted locally and served alongside their family, friends and neighbors.  Checking to see where this regiment was formed, I found the 10th was made up of soldiers from Jefferson County, far north of  Cayuga County where the Garners and Grandys lived.  Now I checked the 1850 census of Jefferson County for a John Grandy and found him in Clayton.  At age 17 he was just the right age to be a Civil War soldier.  Strangely, Ancestry had nothing at all about John Grandy, Civil War soldier; I sometimes wonder if they are transferring their military information to Fold3 which they now own?

     Family Search though, had lots on John.  Along with the above mentioned pension record they had the 1890 veteran's schedule showing John still in Jefferson County and the marriage of Daniel, a son of John M. Grandee of Clayton and (I crossed my fingers here) BETSEY Robbins!  YES!  There WAS an explanation for the pension, it was a different couple bearing the names John M. and Betsey Grandy/Grandee.  But there was still that pesky local marriage in 1874.  Now I searched the 1850 and 1860 censuses of Wayne and Cayuga Counties, because they lived in an area right on the border of the two counties, and there in Butler, Wayne, New York I found Betsey Grandy, daughter of Lewis Grandy, seven years old in 1860; she could easily have been married fourteen years later.  This must be the future wife of Eugene Morris.

     I do this all the time and I'll bet I'm not alone.  I research a subject and find what I deem to be conclusive evidence, but as years go by I move on to other lines and the memories of my fantastic finds fade. When I return to the other family I find myself doubting my own conclusions.  And that is where this blog comes in so handy, and why it has a search function.  All I have to do is check past posts and oftentimes there is an analysis of the research I've already done.  For me this is so much easier than keeping a research journal, even if no one ever read what I wrote it would be worth the effort.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Mappy Monday/Finding Uncle John Crotty's Farm

  

     My third-great-grandmother Honora Crotty Power was born in the Catholic Parish of Tramore, County Waterford in 1814.  I know this because on March 12 of that year, her parents Ellen Kelly and Patrick Crotty had her baptized in that place.  I also know Honora grew up and married Edmond Power there sometime around 1834.  They made their home in Cullencastle, still in Tramore Parish, where they had at least three children.  I believe there were others born to them, but unfortunately Tramore church records are missing for the early years of  the Power marriage.  Their youngest child Philip, born in 1857, is the lone baptism found in Tramore.  I know of the existence of the other two children only because they appear in obituaries in the USA. 

     Honora came to America between 1875 and 1880, probably alone as a widow.  The 1875 New York census shows all three of her known children in Farmington, New York but she is not with any one of them.  In 1880 Honora was living with her daughter Ellen Mahoney in Farmington, where she died in 1888, her death certificate being maddeningly devoid of any genealogical information.  That was about all I could find for a long time, but although the church records are missing for the period when Honora married and began her family, earlier church records survive.  I was able to find the marriage of her parents in 1809, and along with her baptism, that of her older brother David, and her younger brother Patrick Jr.

     Farmington had several different Power families living there at the time Honora arrived, some were from Waterford and were probably related, but I'm not sure how at this point.  There was only one Crotty family however-- that of John Crotty, his wife Ellen and their daughter Mary.  Could this be Honora's brother?  There was no baptismal record for him in Tramore, but what were the odds the only two Crottys from Ireland living in a small town like Farmington were not related?  Not good as I discovered, they were related!  The story of how I proved it is here.

     But back to maps; since I grew up one town over from Farmington, I was naturally curious about where the Crotty's had lived there.  So I went to Ancestry and searched their collection of ownership maps. It took a little persistence, John was mistakenly indexed as J. B. Cratty, but I found him.  I'm sure it's my Uncle John-- right across the street is the Wallace farm.  James Wallace was John's brother-in-law, husband of his wife Ellen's sister Mary Mullett.  Even today  these two families from across the Atlantic remain together, buried side by side in St. Patrick's Cemetery in nearby Macedon, NY.

     I took a drive out to the spot pictured on Ancestry's map but things had changed a bit.  The old map showed the two families on a road that goes straight through to an east-west road.  No such road exists.  Being familiar with the area I was pretty sure I was in the right place, but things were not lining up. I then looked at a satellite map which brought everything into focus.

      Look there, right below the T formed by the two roads.  The outline of an old, long unused road can clearly be seen in darker green running though the wooded area.  It's overgrown, but still visible.  The house on the left was the spot John and Ellen Crotty lived a century ago.  While their home is gone now, and another has taken it's place, the fascination remains for me. This spot is a tangible link to my Irish past.  I've surrendered any notion of being able to fully explain the emotions kindled by standing in my ancestor's footprints, but if you're reading this, I probably don't have to.