Friday, October 11, 2013

James White, Man Of Mystery

I was pretty excited a couple weeks ago, I thought I may have had a chance of uncovering the origins of James White.  James is my only Irish great-great-grandfather whose place of birth is still unknown to me.  I've blogged about this before here. Two things happened recently-- some County Monoghan church records became available at the IFHF site and the long awaited military file of John Keyes finally arrived.

     Finding that huge envelope in my mail box made me absolutely giddy.  It was nearly one hundred pages long, surely it contained the information I so desperately needed.  Earlier research in the marriage records of St. Anne's parish in Palmyra, NY had revealed the names of James' parents as James White and Margaret Keyes.  Census and land records showed that at one point, my g-pa James lived right smack next door to John Keyes the soldier--you no doubt grasp where I'm going with this.  There had to be a connection...didn't there?

     Unable to find any information on John Keyes, and knowing he had served in the Civil War, I turned to my last resort, military records.  This package proved to be a goldmine of information, I found where John was born, (Longwood, County Meath, Ireland), when he enlisted, details of his divorce, (seems he came back from the war a changed man), and his wife's maiden name.  In his ex-wife's application for a widow's pension there were details of his death, (he fell out of a hay mow), the place of their marriage, (New York City), and even a mention of their neighbor "Jim White".  But that was all, Jim was identified as just a neighbor and no mention was made of him again.  Tres disappointing.  On the other hand, if one were related to John Keyes it would have been well worth slogging through page after page of handwritten data.

     After sulking about that for a few days, I received an email from the IFHF site notifying me of the new records coming online.  Another opportunity!  So I went, I searched, I found nothing, sigh...  James remains the thorn in my side, I believe him to be from Tipperary or Limerick where the surnames White and Keyes are both plentiful, but who knows???  Not me.


  1. Best of Irish luck to you on your search for your great-great-grandfather James!

  2. Hi Lisa! Thanks for the wishes.

  3. I admire anyone who has luck with Irish research... my mysterious Irish Grandfather was John Yore...and other than an approx. birth year of 1816 and an 1849 marriage record in Missouri the man is a complete mystery. Ugh. 20 years of searching and nothing to show for it.

  4. Hi Nicholas, I feel for you, it's difficult to do Irish research. Just for the heck of it I checked the IFHF site,and there is a John Yore born 1819 in Co. Meath, don't know if he's yours, but maybe...