Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Sorry posting has been so light lately; after finals, Christmas kicked in, and I've been in the throes of the holiday spirit ever since. Give me 2 or 3 more days, and I'll get back to trolling ancestry.com. I may try to transcribe some of the records I have at home, too, while I'm here, and if I can find the time, I might try to make it to the NY Municipal Archives, the Brooklyn Library, or some Catholic churches in Brooklyn to do a little more first-person research. But that's a very big if.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

1870 Census - Madigans in Manhattan

This may be the 1870 census of the Madigan family. They were still living in Manhattan, and the census on the page prior says that it is enumerating Canal St., between Greenwich and Watt. This is an area of downtown Manhattan right around the entrance to the Holland Tunnel. We've been told that Mary Ann Madigan Mulcahy was born on Lake St. in Manhattan, but I've never been able to find evidence that there is or ever was a Lake St. in Manhattan, so I won't take that as the gospel truth just yet. This record shows what appears to be "Mat" and "Mary" Madigan and their daughter Mary, age 2. I know, I know, it doesn't sound like the right family - but could "Margaret" have been abbreviated "Marg" in handwriting where a "y" and a "g" are nearly indistinguishable? Yes, I'm taking a big leap there, and I know it, and I'm not relying on that information in any way, nor do I suggest that you do. However, having looked over a few of the other pages in this census, it seems that this census taker did make a habit of abbreviating "Margaret" as "Marg." Usually, yes, it was more clear than it is here, but hey, this is the penultimate page of the district. I'm sure he was tired. Also, this "Mat Madigan" is listed as a "carman," and really - how many carmen named Mat Madigan could have possibly been running around New York at one time? Remember that I say this knowing full well that our Julia and Patrick Mulvaney shared Brooklyn with another couple named Julia and Patrick Mulvaney at the very same time, and that Suffern once had a William O'Hara with a son named Kevin O'Hara in an entirely separate family than ours - coincidences do happen. Still, I present this on the possibility that it might be our Madigan family, and we'll see if we can find proof - though what that would entail, I'm not sure. I'll know it when I see it, I guess.

(interesting note, since I paged to the next and last image, that of the last page of the census for this enumeration district, where the census taker tallies the total number of inhabitants: 1246 inhabitants, of whom only a single 1 is non-white (a "colored male"). Imagine that!)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

1880 Census - Madigans at 85 Luqueer St.

This is the 1880 census of 85 Luqueer St., showing the Madigan family (though it's spelled Maddigan). Matthew and Margaret both give their ages as 40, giving each an approximate birthdate of 1840. Both say they were born in Ireland, but all of their 3 children were born in NY. Margaret, at 7, has not yet attended school, but Mary, at 11, and James, at 9, both have. According to these ages, Mary was born around 1869, James around 1871, and Margaret around 1873. Matthew's occupation is "truckman," and Margaret is listed as "keeping house." Also listed with their family is 21-year-old Matthew Kelly, who must be a boarder, and who works as a "clerk in store."

What's even more interesting though is several lines further down the page. Also living at 85 Luqueer St., and also a "truckman" by trade, is Cornelius Sullivan, age 30, and his wife Margaret. If we look back to this information that we got from someone's cousin or something or other, we see that Margaret Sullivan Madigan had her siblings listed: Bridgett, Nora, Conn, and James. I have a suspicion - no proof, just a suspicion - that "Conn" is an abbreviation for Cornelius, and that this Cornelius Sullivan is Margaret's brother, working with his brother-in-law Matthew as a truckman. I haven't come across any evidence that Conn actually ever was used as an abbreviation for Cornelius, and Sullivan is a common name. Still, someone who shares a last name with Margaret and is working in her husband's industry while living in the building they own is just too tempting to write off entirely.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Papa and Mulvaney Kids

This is another of the pictures that John Griffin, Jr. sent me. Papa's the grown man in the dark hat (as far as I know, we don't know the man with his back to the camera). I believe I recognize the two boys in the dark coats as the Kessell boys (George in the glasses and Steve without?), and John says the little girl behind George is Nan, although I can't see her well enough to tell. If I were to guess who the other boy and the girl are, I'd say they're Tom and Grace Mulvaney, but I can't really tell. Does anyone know better? It looks like they're feeding pigeons.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Nana and Papa at Nan and Pop's wedding

This is one of the pictures that John sent me recently. It's a picture of Nana and Papa, Veronica and Joseph Mulcahy, at my grandparents wedding in July of 1956. Betty said she thinks the people in the background are O'Haras, but I'm pretty sure they're friends of Nan and Pop's. Betty said, too, that Papa sang at the wedding.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

1920 Census - Hennessys at 85 Luqueer St.

I had long assumed that there was no information on Margaret Mulcahy, Papa's oldest sister, in the 1920 Census, as she isn't listed with the family. As she would have been about 30, I assumed she was married, living elsewhere in the city, and we present-day Mulcahys would never hear from her again. I wasn't paying attention. John Griffin had already told me that Margaret had married Hugh Hennessy, and that they'd lived at 85 Luqueer St. for several years before moving away. I wasn't looking for that; I was looking to see whether any of Michael Mulcahy's siblings, whom we've heard had lived with him at 85 Luqueer at various points, were ever listed on the census there. Instead, in 1920, I found Margaret and Hugh Hennessy and their sons Hugh and Joseph. Hugh Sr. is 30 and Margaret is 29. Their boys are 2 1/2 (Hugh Jr.) and 10 months old (Joseph). According to John, they later had 3 more sons, John, Eugene, and Philip. Hugh Sr. is working as a mail clerk for a railway.

When I showed this census to John, he told me, "Hugh Hennessy, Sr. goes to work as an accountant at a bronze foundry and during the Depression bought KARBO Bronze Foundry in Red Hook, Brooklyn, fairly close to the Madigan-Mulcahy Home at 85 Luqueer. The foundry actually made a part of the missals of the US Space Program & I believe a part of "Landrover," that was used on the Moon."

Let this be a lesson to you on the importance of looking at not just your own family on a census record!

Update: See this post for an update on the KARBO Bronze Foundry and NASA.

Friday, December 5, 2008

John Griffin Jr. sent me this picture last night - he's the baby, being held by Nana, and Auntie Mae is in the background. He sent a few more pictures, too, and I hope to be posting those soon.

The picture was taken at John's first birthday, in April of 1973.

John added this comment: "Auntie Mae is where we get our wunderlust from, or at least where I get it from, she always used to bring us back something from her vacations across the world!"

Thursday, December 4, 2008

1930 Census - Mulvaneys at 270 Van Brunt St.

So I went looking, and after some searching, I finally found the Mulvaneys at 270 Van Brunt St., and I was slightly surprised by the results, given what I thought I knew. Julia (age 57), Willie (age 28), and Harold (age 24) are living together at 270 Van Brunt. She's widowed, they're single, none has gone to school in the past year. No surprises there. However, Willie is now listed as being able to read and write - AND, he apparently holds down a job, as a Bookkeeper for an insurance agency! That's not exactly what I expected to find, given that last we checked, the 20-year old Willie was illiterate, he didn't speak until he was 10 years or older, and when he died just 3 years and 10 days later, he was listed as having no job. (I believe you were supposed to list "usual occupation," even if the individual was not working when he died - however, we do know that Julia just listed "Retired" for Patrick, so she may not have been in the practice of filling out death certificates to include former occupations.)

Perhaps I've been overestimating the severity of Willie's condition? This is entirely possible, as I know next to nothing about Willie's condition. Another unlikely possibility is that whoever answered the door - Julia, Harold, or Willie himself - could have lied to the census taker, to make him seem like a more productive member of society. In further speculation, it's possible he was some kind of savant, having limited communication but amazing math skills.

In other words, I'm now writing fiction, which is not the stated purpose of this blog.

Other interesting pieces of information we pick up from this census are that Julia's rent was $18 a month (what happened to rents like that?!), that neither of the boys had been in the military, and that Harold was a "Checker" in the "freight" industry - that seems relatively consistent with a job on the docks, I think, though I don't know what a "checker" is, unless it's exactly what it sounds like, and he checked things for a living.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

April 13, 1933

Here's my transcription of William Mulvaney's death certificate:

A. 58521
State of New York
Department of Health of The City of New York
Bureau of Records
Standard Certificate of Death
1. Place of Death:
Borough of: Brooklyn
No.: 270 Van Brunt St.
Character of premises, whether tenement, private, hotel, hospital, etc: Tenement*
Registered No: 8548

2. Print Full Name: William Mulvaney
3. Sex: M
4. Color or Race: W
5. [Marital Status]: Single
5A. Husband or wife of: [blank]
6. Date of Birth: 1900
7. Age: 33 yrs
8. Occupation: None
9. Birthplace: US
9A. How long in US: [blank]
9B: How long resident in City of New York: Life
10: Name of Father: Patrick Mulvaney
11: Birthplace of Father: US
12: Maiden Name of Mother: Julia Toner
13: Birthplace of Mother: US
14: Special INFORMATION required in deaths in hospitals and institutions and in deaths of non-residents and recent residents: Usual Residence: [blank]
15: Date of Death: April 13, 1933
16: I hereby certify that the foregoing particulars (Nos. 1 to 14 inclusive) are correct as near as the same can be ascertained, and I further certify that I attended the deceased from Jan 1 1930 to April 13 1933, that I last saw him alive on the 12 day of April 1933, that death occurred on the date stated above at 12:10 AM and that the cause of death was as follows: Encephalitis Lethargica, duration: Life.
Contributory: [blank]
Operation?: [blank]
State kind: [blank]
Duration: [blank]
Witness my hand this 14th day of April 1933
Signature: William A. Burke, MD
Address: 377 Sterling [illegible]

17. Place of Burial: Holy Cross Cemetary
Date of Burial: April 15th, 1933
18. Undertaker: Joseph Redmond [illegible]
John J. Redmond 2190
Address: 476-73rd St.

I hereby certify that I have been employed, without any solicitation on my part or that of any other person, as undertaker by Julia Mulvaney - 270 Van Brunt St., the mother of the deceased. This statement is made to obtain a permit for the burial or cremation of the remains of deceased William Mulvaney.
Signature: Joseph Redmond [illegible]
John J Redmond 2190

*A tenement, officially, was defined by the city as a building with 3 or more apartments, and does not necessarily imply the negative connotations that come along with the word. Trump Towers, technically, is a tenement. I can't testify to the condition or nature of 270 Van Brunt, but keep that in mind. (I learned that in class this semester - Museum school teaches you loads of real world stuff!)

So we know that William died at home, and that his death wasn't sudden; if the doctor had been there the day before, they certainly knew something was wrong. I'm very interested in Willie's cause of death. I've looked up Encephalitis Lethargica, and it's not something you were born with. If Willie had had it his entire life, he must have simply acquired it young. (No one's sure what causes it, but there are theories that it's a complication of the flu, or a reaction to a severe strep infection.) It was epidemic, worldwide, in the early '20s, and wasn't identified or named until 1917. I haven't been able to find information on how prevalent it was before the epidemic, but it's been pretty rare, though existent, since them. I'm wondering how he was diagnosed with this illness early enough for it to have been considered lifelong, if it wasn't identified until he was in his late teens. Do we have any doctors in the family? I'd love to know more about the specifics. I also wonder whether it may have been the case that, when Encephalitis Lethargica was prevalent, it may have been "the next big thing" in medicine and was overdiagnosed to encompass other, unidentified and undiagnosed illnesses? The symptoms of Encephalitis Lethargica could include anything from sore throat and double vision to a come-like state, behavioral changes (especially in young children), and progressive Parkinson-like symptoms. Symptoms sometimes resolved and sometimes left people permanently disabled, physically and/or mentally. What we know about Willie, or think we know about Willie, is that at 10 years old, he couldn't speak, and at 20 he could speak, but not read or write. It does seem that what affected him could have been Encephalitic Lethargica, if he were nearly comatose as a child, or didn't have the muscle control to speak, and if these conditions kept him out of school as a child, he may not have ever learned to read or write, even if some of his conditions eventually resolved enough that he was able to learn to speak.

Because Encephalitis Lethargica is rarely seen these days, I can't find information online that offers detailed descriptions of what it actually entails, what life looks like for the victims, or how serious it would have been, or how it could have killed people who had lived with it for years.

What do you think? Does anyone know anything about Willie that might give us insight into his life or his condition?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Happy Birthday, Pop

In memoriam:
This picture of the whole family with Pop was taken at the last O'Hara Christmas Party at "The House," though it may have already been "The Casa" by then. I think it was in 2005.

We miss you, Pop. Happy Birthday.

(Goodness, what Pop would think if he knew he were the subject of a whole blog post on the internet! - in the unlikely event, that is, that he knew what a blog post was, or understood what the internet was.)

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul, and the souls of all the faithful departed, rest in peace. Amen.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Information Overload

I'm absurdly busy, have 3 pages of a paper on the Korea Gallery at the Museum of Natural History to write tonight, a twenty-minute presentation to prepare for Wednesday (which I can't start until I'm done with the paper, work, and class tomorrow). Do you ever wonder if our ancestors were this busy?

However, I am very excited to take a break to report that when I got home from my Thanksgiving break, I found 3 death certificates waiting for me in the mail. They belonged to Mary Madigan Mulcahy who died April 11, 1927, William Mulvaney, who died April 13, 1933, and Harold Mulvaney, who died August 26, 1933.

I'm having a little bit of trouble deciphering the handwriting on Mary Ann's and William's (Harold's is typed). I suppose I'm not overly interested in how Mary Ann died, though I'd like to know and will try to figure out what it says. Willie's and Harold's being the more mysterious deaths, of young men, I'm much more interested to know the circumstances thereof. It seems that Willie died of Encephalitis Lethargica, though my first reading of the word doesn't bring quite that. (It looks more like "encefihalitis" to me, but as far as I can tell, that is not something that exists.) According to his death certificate, its duration was "life." I did some cursory googling, and have yet to find anything that clearly states the symptoms of Encephalitis Lethargica and how it would affect young children, but it was not something you were born with, so I doubt it truly lasted for his entire life, though its onset may have been when he was quite young. It also doesn't seem to have affected intellect, but mostly behavior and muscle control, so I'd venture a guess that Willie's inability to speak at age 10, and inability to read and write at 20 were not the marks of a mental deficiency but of a physical or behavioral one that may have, among other things, prevented his attending school.

Harold died at Pier 5, Robbins Drydock, in the East River. He was 28 and had been a Machinist (like his father before him, we know). His cause of death drowning due to an accidental fall overboard. I've heard that there were suspicious circumstances surrounding Harold's death, and what might reinforce that here is that his death was recorded to have occurred at 12:30 AM. That would have been just after midnight. I can't imagine upfront circumstances that would have him at work on the pier in the middle of the night, but I also can't tell from the death certificate whether he died immediately or was possibly pulled from the water only to die some hours later, in which case he could have fallen overboard at 2 in the afternoon and died some 10 hours later at 12:30 AM. It is, I'd say, almost equally likely that, like so many, the good doctor who filled out the death certificate was confused about how AM and PM apply to the times around noon and midnight.

I'll try to transcribe the actual certificates when I get around to it, as well as dialogue about the effects the deaths and illnesses may have had on their (our) families and and try to decipher all of the remaining handwriting (I'm thinking Mary Ann's cause of death may read "pyelonephrosis" which is apparently "an obsolete term for any disease of the pelvis of the kidney"). First, though I've got papers to write! Wish me luck!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Here are some Thanksgiving presents from John Griffin Jr.:
This first picture is Papa as a young man in his police uniform. John says it was taken after World War I, in the 1920s.

This second picture is of Auntie Mae's husband, John Daniels, in a picture taken around 1900. What a great outfit he has on!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

85 Luquer St.

Here are a couple particularly interesting pages from the 1897 Brooklyn City Directory:

The first shows a Maddigan, Marg't wid. Matthew h 404 Will'by av - the same address as a Maddigan, Jos P, lockfitter.
I haven't come across any other Matthew Mad(d)igans in the Brooklyn City Directory, so it's possible, but not certain, that this Margaret, widow of Matthew, is our Margaret Sullivan Madigan, Matthew Madigan's wife. And it seems that she's living with a brother-in-law, who would be one of Matthew Madigan's brothers. We don't know anything about Matthew Madigan's family, or whether he had any siblings, but it seems possible now that he had a brother named Joseph who was a lockfitter. Their only son was named James, not Joseph, so it's also possible that she's living with him and his name was taken down incorrectly. Knowing little to nothing about the family dynamics, I would think it more likely that she would move in with her son than with her husband's brother (or nephew, I suppose), but that doesn't mean she did.
The second shows a Mulcahy, Mich'l, liquors, 227 Hamilton av, h 85 Luquer
This is Michael Mulcahy. His home is 85 Luquer St, and his business - in "liquors" - is at 227 Hamilton Ave. (Which is just around the corner, according to google maps.) From 1888-1890 (as well as in several other years), 227 Hamilton is the only address listed for Michael Mulcahy and Matthew Madigan is still living at 85 Luquer. Michael and Mary Ann married right around then (October 2, 1888 is the date I have), so they either lived at/above/behind Michael's bar in the first few years of their marriage; moved in with Mary Ann's parents immediately upon marrying, but chose not to list their home address; or moved elsewhere upon marrying, but chose not to list their home address.
We now have proof, or near proof, that
a) despite not appearing at the address in 1900, the Mulcahys had, in fact, moved in there by at least 1897
b) Matthew Madigan appears to have died between 1890 and 1897
c) Matthew Madigan may have had a brother named Joseph
d) Margaret Sullivan Madigan outlived her husband and was still alive in 1897
UPDATE: When I wrote this, I forgot what we already think we know - that Matthew Madigan, in fact, outlived his wife, as evidenced by the fact that he remarried and had a child with his second wife. Second wife was supposedly Johanna Roche, and their daughter was Loretta Madigan. I've never tried looking for that part of the family. I think maybe I will.

Monday, November 24, 2008


If any of you pay particularly close attention to this blog, you may have noticed that post labels have changed a little. I decided this morning that the way I was doing things was inconsistent and poor practice. From here on out, all women referred to in the blog will be identified in the labels by their full first, maiden, and last name. I'd been referring to some by their maiden names (e.g. Mary Ann Madigan) and others by their married names (e.g. Julia Mulvaney), but I've changed all the labels so that now the full name is included (e.g. Mary Ann Madigan Mulcahy and Julia Toner Mulvaney).

You can see, however, that among the labels (listed on the sidebar to the right) are both Julia Toner and Julia Toner Mulvaney. This is because one refers to our Nana's mother, Julia Toner Mulvaney, wife of Patrick Mulvaney. The other refers to Julia Toner, who we think may have been her older sister, who died at 16 of cholera along with her little brother James Thomas.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Brooklyn City Directories

The majority of the 1890 census was destroyed in a fire and only fragments exist, none of them covering Brooklyn. Thus, ancestry.com has put together an "1890 Census Substitute," part of which consists of the 1888-1890 Brooklyn City Directory. So, since I'm going back in time (at least when I don't get caught up in death certificates and early censuses), and I've already brought the Mulcahys back to 1905, and looked for them in 1900, we're looking for 1890. When I went to find and post the City Directory links I'd found for Matthew Madigan and Michael Mulcahy, though, I discovered that ancestry.com has recently added to the U.S. City Directory records that they have published! They now cover 1879-1900. So, I'm going to be looking to see who else and what else I can find.
This, just off of a quick initial search, is Mathew Madigan, truckman, living at 85 Luquer St. As you can see from the image, there's really no other information included. We can hopefully use this to do things like figure out where the Toners lived in 1880, so we can find their census listing, figure out when the Mulcahys moved into 85 Luqueer St and when Matthew Madigan moved out (which would possibly be when he died), possibly even figure out when Michael Mulcahy immigrated, if he suddenly shows up in the city at some point.

Isn't this exciting?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

"Everything I am is because of my ancestors."
-Nicolas Cage in National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

More to come

I feel like the past few days have been a whirlwind of information about the Toners and Mulvaneys. I've recently sent away for the death certificates of Willie and Harold Mulvaney, and Michael Mulcahy and Mary Ann Madigan Mulcahy. Posting may be slow for the next few days/weeks, because finals are no more fun in grad school than they were in undergrad. I'm hoping the arrival of those DCs, and the information contained therein, will coincide with my finally handing in some of these papers and getting out from under the weight of having procrastinated on them all semester long. In the meantime, though, as always, let me know if you have any addition information to add or important questions to ask!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

1880 Census - Mulvanys at 191 King St.

Finally! For some reason, neither the Mulvanys nor the Toners show up when I search the 1880 census of Brooklyn. It's very frusturating, because I think they simply have to be there. So this morning, I started paging through the 98th district of the Kings County census pages, just scrolling down and looking at every name on every page. I was hoping to come across the Toners, as I have reason to believe they'd be in that district (some Brooklyn Eagle clippings, that I believe are our Toners, that I hope to be able to post soon. But this is more exciting, for the moment). However, there they were, on page 22 (of 59 - I'm still hoping to come across the Toners as I continue) - the Mulvanys!

This census shows the Mulvany family living at 194 King St. James gives his age as 52, and Bridget gives hers as 48, which correlate to birth years of around 1828 and 1832 - consistent with what we've seen. Their only 3 children stil living at home (or still alive, and it's a testament to health conditions of the era that we can't say which) are Thomas, age 23, Patrick, age 20, and Mary A., age 17. They have a boarder named William Anderson, a carpenter like James, who was born in Denmark though his parents were Irish, and who, at 42, is a widower. Bridget "keeps house," Thomas (b. 1857) works in a cotton mill, Patrick, (b. 1860) is a machinist (just like he's listed in all later censuses), and Mary is "at home."
Who's as excited as I am to learn that the family didn't just fall off the face of the Earth for a decade?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Julia Toner death notice

In further searching the NY Newspaper Death Notices, I came across one from 1866 that reads:

Aug 19 John Thomas Toner and his sister Julia on 20th children of Richard of So Bklyn

Then I went to the Brooklyn Eagle itself, and searched through the paper for that date, and found this:

It reads: Toner - On the 19th of August, of cholera, James Thomas Toner, and his sister Julia, on the 20th inst. The funeral will take place from the residence of their father, Richard Toner, corner of Van Brunt and Tremont streets, South Brooklyn, this afternoon at 4 o'clock.

It appears there was a transcription error in the one I first posted, and that Julia's brother was named James, not John.

So it seems that - again, assuming that this Richard Toner family we've been tracking lately is the Richard Toner family of our Julia Toner - that the Julia in that family who was 20 years too old to be our Julia was not, actually, our Julia. It was not too uncommon to name a child after an older sibling who had died, and we can only assume that our Julia, born several years after her oldest sister died, was named after the earlier Julia. This James Thomas Toner, though, wasn't on the 1860 census. If he died in 1866, and hadn't yet been born in 1860, he had to have been 6 or younger. Julia was 9 in 1860, and so she would have died at about age 15. Imagine losing two of your children - the oldest and the youngest, it seems, a 15 year old girl and a 5 year old boy - within a day of each other.

If I could only find the Toners on the 1880 census, we could possibly confirm some of these assumptions. If the Toner family - clearly the same Toner family - were to show up on in 1880 with a daughter Julia, 8-12 years old, we'd know for sure that our Julia was named after her older sister.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

New York, Death Newspaper Extracts

In searching this collection on Ancestry.com, I have so far come across two death notices that appear to be of interest to us. Both are from the Brooklyn Eagle, though I haven't come across either in searching that site itself.

The first, from September 22, 1870, reads:

Sept. 21 Samuel J. Toner 18y s Richard & Mary Fremont-Van Brunt St.

which I believe translates to Samuel J. Toner, age 18, son of Richard and Mary Toner, died September 21, 1870. I'm not sure of the reference to Fremont-Van Brunt St. Does Van Brunt St. now, or did it ever, intersect with a street called Fremont? or Tremont? (It's a fuzzy image.)

It seems that Julia's brother Samuel died at age 18.

Possibly even more exciting is the next one, published August of 1874:

Aug 14 Mrs Judith Toner native Maynorth co Kildare Son Richard of Van Brunt St Bklyn

It seems that no, Julia was not named after her paternal grandmother, and that the older woman named Judith who lived with the Toner family in 1870 was, in fact, named Judith, and that she died in 1874, several years after that census was taken. Most important, however, is the fact that she was a native of Maynorth in Co. Kildare, Ireland! However - a quick google search reveals no such place. There is, though, a Maynooth in County Kildare. I'll have to do some more research to find out whether there ever was a Maynorth, and whether our Judith and Richard Toner came from Maynooth.

Now this looks like progress!

UPDATE: The actual death notices, from the Eagle itself,

Judith's reads:
TONER - August 14, 1874, Mrs. Judith Toner, a native of the town of Maynooth, County Kildare, Ireland. Her funeral will take place from the residence of her son, Richard Toner, Verona St, near Van Brunt, and 2 1/2 o'clock PM, on Sunday, August 16, 1874.

(Yes, the town in Ireland is Maynooth, not Maynorth, which is good, because Maynorth doesn't appear to exist.)

Samuel's reads:
TONER - Suddenly, Sept. 21st, Samuel J. Toner, in the 18th year of his age, son of Richard and Mary Toner. His friends and acquaintances are respectfully invited to attend his funeral, on Friday, at 2 1/2 o'clocj, without further notice, from his father's residence, cor. of Tremont and Van Brunt sts.

This doesn't say what Samuel died of, only that it was sudden, and so not the result of a long illness. We also learn that the Toners appear to have moved around the corner between 1870 and 1874, and are now living on Verona St., near its intersection with Van Brunt, whereas before they were living at the corner of Van Brunt and Tremont - unless Verona was previously known as Tremont? I only posit that because I couldn't find Tremont on a current google maps.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

St. Paul's Parish, Brooklyn - Baptismal Records

After happening upon this record group while I was looking up the Mulvaneys, I started searching for other names in it. The Mulvaney dates, like I said, seemed a little bit off, but the Toner records are more or less spot on, as long as you allow for misspellings/mistranscriptions. Here's what I've found:

Julia Toner
b. July 19 1850
baptized July 28 1850
parents Richard Toner and Mary Curran
godparents John Burns and Mary Fannon

Mary Ann Toner
b. March 3 1852
baptized March 14 1852
parents Richard Toner and Mary Cullen
godparents Joseph McGrath and Marcella Glascow

Samuel Tonar
b. August 11 1853
baptized August 21 1853
parents Richard Tonar and Mary Cullum
godparents John Reily and Mary McCormick

I have not come across records for Elizabeth, Louisa, William, or Judith. It's possible that they moved between when the eldest three and the rest of the children were born, and so everyone else was baptized elsewhere.

(From Ancestry.com:
"St. Paul’s church was founded in 1836 in Brooklyn, New York. It was known as the “Irish Parish” because it served as the focal point for Irish immigrants in Brooklyn during the Great Irish Famine of 1845-1851.
This database contains baptismal records from St. Paul’s parish from 1837-1900. The city of Brooklyn did not require the reporting of births until 1866. Baptisms were generally performed within days of children’s births. Because of this, baptismal records can often be used in place of birth records when birth records are either unavailable or non-existent.
Information listed in this database includes:
Name of individual baptized
Baptismal date
Parents’ names
Birth date
Names of godparents
At least one godparent was required for proper baptism
NL’ or ‘Not Listed’ indicates that the name or date is not written in the original record
‘XXX’ indicates that the name or date is completely illegible
CXX’ indicates that only the initial letter of a name is legible in the original record
Middle names were not transcribed except for ‘Mary Ann/Anne’ to distinguish from ‘Mary’
Surnames and given names were transcribed as they appear and were verified in the original registers.")

Thursday, November 13, 2008

1870 Census - Mulvany Family

This is an image of the 1870 census of the Mulvan(e)y family. James gives his age as 42 - he's only aged 8 years in the past 10, but with this age, his birthdate would be around 1828. Bridget has aged 10 years in the past 10 years, from 28 to 38, so her birthdate would remain the same, around 1832. James is listed as a Carpenter, still, and his oldest son Thomas is an "Ap. Carpenter" - he's apprenticed, I'd assume, to learn his father's trade. Thomas, John, and Patrick, at ages 15, 13, and 11, have each aged a neat 10 years in the past 10 years, so their birthdates remain around 1855, 1857, and 1859, respectively. They're joined by younger siblings Mary, 9, (b. 1861?) and James, 6, (b. 1864?). Patrick and Mary are at school. Thomas, as we said, is learning to be a carpenter, John has a question mark next to "occupation" (would 13 be too old for school and too young to work in 1870? I didn't think there was such a thing!), and James Jr. seems not to have started yet. Bridget is listed as a dressmaker in this census. Interestingly, James Sr. has an affirmative mark under "Male citizen of U.S. of 21 years of age and upward." We know James was not born a citizen, but he has become one since arriving in the U.S. Either he went through the entire naturalization process, but Bridget did not, or he could have petitioned for naturalization after service in the Army. According to Wikipedia, "An 1862 law allowed honorably discharged Army veterans of any war to petition for naturalization, without having filed a declaration of intent, after only one year of residence in the United States." It doesn't strike me as particularly likely that he served much time, if any, in the Army during the Civil War, however, due to the timing of the births of his youngest children. If he were away at war from 1861-1865, it is highly unlikely that he could have fathered children born in 1861 and 1864. It's not impossibly, however, to imagine that he may have been away for 2-3 years in between their births.
Betty and John have told me that these names seem to match up with the names they know of of Patrick's siblings, and that they're pretty sure that Patrick's brother John was a Brooklyn alderman.
It seems that the family has moved since the last census was taken. They no longer live in the same apartment building as the John Mulvany family, and are now in a single-family house. There is no record of the value of their estate this year, but it wouldn't surprise me if they were doing better than they had been in 1860, simply because the move from an apartment to single-family house tends to be a move up.
Another record of the family that I MAY have found is in the Baptismal Record of St. Paul's Church in Brooklyn. Mary Ann Mulvaney (spelled with the "e" now) was born April 7, 1852, and baptized at the church April 25, 1852. Parents are listed as James Mulvaney and Bridget Rothwell, and godparents are John Mulvaney and Brid Kavanah. This Mary Ann Mulvaney would be about 10 years older than the Mary Mulvaney listed on the census, and would be about 3 years older than Thomas, who appeared to be the oldest child. The parents' names are correct, as, it would seem that the godfather, is as well, although it's cutting it close for John Mulvaney to be in the US in April of 1852, when it would seem that his son Michael was born in Ireland in 1853 - late 1852, I'd think, at the earliest. Possibly, of course, Michael's age is a year or two off. It seems likely, but not definite, that this is another, older child, a girl who possibly died young, born to James and Bridget Mulvaney before their oldest son Thomas. Is anyone familiar with St. Paul's Church and whether the family were parishioners?

1860 Census - Mulvany Families

No, that's not a typo. The Mulvaneys were listed as Mulvanys in both the 1860 and 1870 censuses.

This 1860 census lists, numbered family 224, James Mulvany, his wife Bridget, and their 3 sons, Thomas, John, and Patrick. Patrick is listed as 1 year old, which gives him a birthdate somewhere in the vicinity of 1859-1860 - still pretty much in the range we have based on his ages given over the years and the age he was said to be when he died. James gives his age as 35, which means he was born around 1825, and Bridget says she is 28, meaning she was born around 1832. Both parents were born in Ireland, but all three boys were born in NY. James is a Carpenter by trade, and the value of his personal estate is $40. None of the boys - Thomas is, at 5, the oldest - have been to school yet.

What's possibly more interesting is that the family two above them, numbered 222, is the family of John and Ann Mulvany. More Mulvanys, at the same address? I can only imagine that John and James Mulvany were brothers. Possibly they were not - they were cousins, or it was pure coincidence. But brothers is not an unlikely possibility. John Mulvany was 30, and so, being 5 years younger than his probably-brother James, was born around 1830. He's a carpenter, too - might they have worked together? - with his personal estate valued at $50. His wife Ann is 26, and so was probably born around 1834. Both of them, and their oldest son, Michael, 7, were born in Ireland. Their next child, oldest girl Ann, 5, was born in NY, which means that this Mulvany family, at least, immigrated sometime between 1853 and 1855. I can't say whether the same is true for the family of Bridget and James, but given that their 5-year-old, too, was born in NY, I wouldn't be too surprised if the brothers had immigrated together, with their families (although, of course, we don't even know whether James and Bridget were married yet, or whether they married in the US or Ireland). They have another Patrick, this one 4 years old, as well as a two-year-old named Mary. Of all of these cousins, only Michael, 7, has attended school within the past year. I don't doubt, though, that his sister Mary and cousin Thomas would be joining him soon.

It looks like James named his second son after his brother, and the fact that both Mulvany boys named a son Patrick suggests to me that it may have been an important name in the family - or possibly they both had a devotion to St. Patrick, being Irishmen leaving home. But again, we've entered the realm of pure speculation. Does anyone know anything about Patrick's brothers and sisters, or where he grew up? There are no addresses listed in censuses from this early.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

November 8, 1919

On this day in 1919, Julia Mulvaney and her children were mourning, having just buried Patrick the day before, after his death on November 8, 1919. Here's the long-ago promised transcription of his death certificate.

Department of Health of The City of New York
Bureau of Records
Register No. 21480
1. Place of Death: Borough of Brooklyn
Name of Institution: St. Peter's Hospital
2. Full Name: Patrick Mulvaney
3. Sex: Male
4. Color or Race: White
5. (Marital Status): Married
6. Date of Birth: [blank]
7. Age: 58 years
8. Occupation:
a. Trade, profession, or particular kind of work: Retired
b. General nature of industry, business or establishment in which employed: [blank]
9. Birthplace: U.S.
a. How long in U.S.: life
b. How long resident in City of New York: life
10. Name of Father: James Mulvaney
11. Birthplace of Father: Ireland
12. Maiden Name of Mother: Bridget Rothwell
13. Birthplace of Mother: Ireland
14. Special INFORMATION required in deaths in hospitals and institutions and in deaths of non-residents and recent residents:
Former or Usual Residence: 270 Van Brunt St.
Where was disease contracted, if not at place of death: [blank]
15. Date of Death: November 8, 1919
16. I hereby certify that the foregoing particulars (Nos. 1 to 15 inclusive) are correct as near as the same can be ascertained, and I further certify that deceased was admitted to this institution on October 31, 1919, that I last saw him alive on the 7 day of November, 1919, that he died on the 8 day of November 1919, about 3:45 o'clock AM, and that I am unable to state decisively the cause of death; the diagnosis during his last illness was Gangrene of foot due to obliterating End-arteritis (operated) Pulmonary Edema.
Duration: [blank]
Contributory: chronic Myocarditis
Duration: [blank]
Witness my hand this 8 day of Nov. 1919
Signature: Heictor Meudelsohn, MD
House: Surgeon
17. [No autopsy]
18. Place of Burial: Holy Cross Cemetery
Date of Burial: November 11th, 1919
19. Undertaker: Henry J. Flood
Address: 297 Van Brunt St.

(Next Page)
I hereby certify that I have been employed as undertaker by Julia Mulvaney the wife of deceased. This statement is made to obtain a permit for the burial or cremation of the remains of deceased Patrick Mulvaney.
Signature: Henry J. Flood

If Patrick was 58 when he died in 1919, he would have been born around 1861, which is approximately in line with the birthdate he's given in the past of 1863. His parents were Bridget Rothwell and James Mulvaney. (I bet you never knew we were Rothwells!) I believe I've come across their family on 1860 and 1870 census records, which I'll hopefully be able to post tomorrow. I had heard from Betty and John that Patrick had died of complications from diabetes, which could seem to be related to the gangrene of the foot that is listed as his cause of death. I had difficulty reading the doctor's handwriting, but I believe that what I transcribed above is pretty accurate, although his chronic disease seems to be heart-related more so than diabetic. If anyone has any idea what any of those medical terms mean, please do let me know.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Dances Follow Games At the Eight Annual Picnic of the Brewers' Association

I found this in the July 30, 1893 issue of the Brooklyn Eagle. Assumptions are dangerous, but I think it's a strong possibility that the article refers to our Michael Mulcahy, Papa's father. We know he owned a bar or two, and so I think it likely that he'd be attending a picnic given by the Brewers' Association. It appears, too, that Michael Mulcahy was something of an athlete - he came in second in both the 100-yard dash and the running high jump. He was beaten, both times, by Michael O'Halloran, who also won just about everything else. At least Michael Mulcahy was keeping up! The only other person who came in first in anything was Edward O'Halloran; I bet he and his brother trained together. "Mike" Mulcahy was on the games committee, as well.

While I clearly didn't inherit Michael Mulcahy's track-and-field genes, I think I've got a couple sisters who did!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

1900 Census - Mulvaneys at 270 Van Brunt St.

This census shows Julia and Patrick Mulvaney and their family living at 270 Van Brunt St. in 1900. Patrick says he was born in April of 1863, and is 36; Julia says she was born in May 1869 and is 31 (note that this is in keeping with the age she generally states throughout her life, but not with the age she would be if she were the Julia Toner from the 1860 census we've looked at). This time, they appear to have been married to each other for the same number of years, which is 7, giving them an approximate marriage date of around 1893. Julia has given birth to 4 children, all still living at this point. Both were born in New York, and all of their parents were from Ireland. Their home is rented, not owned, and both can read, write, and speak English. Patrick's occupation is "Machinist." Their four children are John, 6 (b. 01/1894), Grace, 4 (b. 08/1896), James, 3 (b. 08/1897), and William, 1 (b. 08/1899). John shows up on the census only this once; he presumably died young, before the 1910 census, in which he would have been 16. He has been attending school for 10 months, the only one of his siblings to do so so far. Grace's birthdate here is fairly consistent with what is later recorded. Interestingly, though, she continues to be listed as the second oldest on later censuses. Most ages that we see given for James make him 2-4 years older than he is said to be here, giving him a birthdate closer to John's and making him appear to be Grace's older brother, not her younger brother. Willie's birthdate is later listed as being as late as 1902, making him a solid 3 years younger than he should be here.

They have two boarders, who are not the nephews living with them in 1910. These, apparently two brothers, are James and John McGuirre (McGuine?), ages 34 and 31. Both are American-born, and James, too, is listed as a machinist. One wonders if he met Patrick at work, and was offered a place to live, or perhaps was an unemployed boarder for whom Patrick found a job? John is a chair-maker.

UPDATE: While my wonderings above about the McGuirre brothers still apply, they may have been something more than just boarders. I came home this weekend for my mom's birthday, and was looking through the family papers I have at home. Betty and John had sent me photocopies of Julia and Patrick's marriage certificate (9 April 1893 at the Church of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary) and of the certification of Auntie Mae's baptism, also at Visitation Church. Auntie Mae, it says, was born 18 January 1897, and baptized 4 February 1897. (Why she doesn't show up on this census is a mystery, but the birthdate matches what it would be if her reported age in 1910 was accurate.) Her sponsors (godparents) are listed as John V. (or D.?) Murphy and Rose McGuirre (McGuine? - different person, different handwriting, and still I can't tell whether that's a rr or an n). I'm wondering just who these godparents may be - possibly John Murphy is Julia's brother-in-law, father of the Murphy nephews who would later (1910) live with them? Or not. Murphy is an extremely common name, after all. And Rose McGuirre makes me wonder whether the McGuirre men listed as boarded in 1900 were really just boarders. Could they have been relatives or friends who ended up boarding with the family? Did the Mulvaneys just become close enough with the families of their boarders to ask one to be godmother to Auntie Mae? Does anyone know who John Murphy and Rose McGuirre were?

Saturday, November 8, 2008

1900 Census - Mulcahy Family at 85 Luqueer St.

This post will deviate from the format I've used in the past. Why? Because the 1900 census doesn't show the Mulcahy family at 85 Luqueer St. It doesn't show them anywhere, according to name searches at ancestry.com, and when I specifically looked through the 1900 census of Brooklyn (Ward 12, District 172) to find 85 Luqueer St. (Image 50 on Ancestry), I found that there were neither Mulcahys nor Madigans living there. I have no idea why. Could the census take just have missed them? It's entirely possible. Could this have something to do with the trip to Ireland we spoke about in the last post? If so, that was a much more significant trip (5 years, at least!) than I would have imagined, and I can't believe we wouldn't have known more about Papa's 5 years in Ireland. A possibility is that Matthew Madigan had just died, or moved out, and the Mulcahys had not yet moved into the house he used to live in - in that case, though, the Mulcahys should show up in whatever household they're living in at the time, unless it just so happened that 85 Luqueer St. was visited by the census taker the day before they moved in, and their old home visited the day after they left. Unlikely, but possible. Does anyone know whether Papa was born at 85 Luqueer St. or in a different house? That would help determine when they began living there, so we would know whether they'd disappeared, or just hadn't moved in yet.

Friday, November 7, 2008

1905 - Michael, Matthew, and Joseph returning from Ireland

This is the passenger list of the SS Celtic, which sailed from Queenstown, Ireland, on June 14, 1905, and arrived in New York on June 25, 1905. Near the bottom of the list are Michael, Matthew, and Joseph Mulcahy. They are listed as ages 33, 10, and 8, though Michael clearly could not have been 33 in 1905 if he was 47 in 1910. He appears to have lied about his age at least once. He also gives his occupation as "Grocer." Nonetheless, we can be sure that these are our Mulcahys as their address is listed as 85 Luqueer St., Brooklyn, NY. "Last residence," however, is given as "Pallasgreen," so it appears that they were in Ireland for a somewhat substantial length of time. They are in possession of $500, and Michael's passage was paid for by "self," while the boys' was paid for by their "father." None are crippled, have been institutionalized, are polygamists or anarchists, or have been bribed to work in the US, and all are in a good condition of health. All are listed as U.S. Citizens.

Betty and John told me that Papa said he went to Ireland as a child, and that it was just after his grandfather, Michael's father, died. I don't know when they went to Ireland, how long they were there, or why it appears that only Michael and the youngest 2 of his 4 oldest children went. It's possible, of course, that the whole family went, but returned at different times, but I haven't come across any evidence of the rest of the Mulcahys on passenger lists. Does anyone have any other information as to why or for how long or with whom Papa was in Ireland when he was 8?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

1910 Census - Mulcahy Family at 85 Luqueer St.

This census shows the Mulcahy family living at 85 Luqueer St. The Mulcahys, living at 85 Luqueer St., are the last family on the first page, and Gerard and Vincent are the first two names on the next page. Michael is listed as 47, and Mary as 40, giving approximate birthdates of 1863 and 1870, respectively. They've been married 21 years, meaning they were married around 1889. Mary has given birth to 9 children, all of them still living. (I'd guess that a 0% mortality rate for your children was remarkable at the time.) Michael was born in Ireland and is said to have immigrated in 1885, and has been naturalized. His Occupation is "Liquor Saloon" in the industry "Liquors" where he is an "Employer." Mary, on the other hand, was born in New York, with both of her parents born in Ireland. Their home is owned, not rented, and owned free, not mortgaged. Their children are Margaret, 20 (b. 1890), James, 18 (b. 1892), Matthew, 17 (b. 1893), Joseph, 13 (b. 1897), Michael, 11 (b. 1899), Mary, 9 (b. 1901), John, 6 (b. 1904), Gerard, 3 (b. 1897), and Vincent, 1 2/12, (meaning he was 14 months old and born around February, 1909, I think). Of these, only James and Matthew are employed, James as a "bartender," industry "liquors" (it'd be reasonable to assume he was tending bar at Micahel's bar), and Matthew as an "Office boy," in an industry that I think reads "Architect." Papa, the next oldest, is still in school, though even Matthew is listed as having attended school within the last year.

As with all the other images, if you click on the census image, you should be able to see it larger.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Answering some questions, and raising some more

Given that William Mulvaney is missing from the 1910 census at Van Brunt St., I went looking for him. I found a William Mulvaney, about our William's age, living with Thomas Renehan, his wife Elizabeth, and his step-children (Elizabeth's children?) John and Catherine Loughlin. This William Mulvaney is 10 years old, he was born in NY, and so were his parents, his language is listed as "none," his job as "none," he cannot read or write, has not attended school within the last year, and in the last column, "whether deaf or dumb" there's something written - I think it says "dumb," but I'm not sure. There's no proof that this is our William Mulvaney, but I went to maps.google.com and discovered that William is living with the Renehan family just around the corner, on Conover St., from the Mulvaneys at 270 Van Brunt St. Given that William's inability to read and write at 18 in the 1920 census indicates that something isn't quite right, you have to ask - how many (mentally or physically) disabled William Mulvaneys could possibly live in a given 4 block area?

I asked Betty and John about the possibility, and they said "No one ever spoke about William, or Willie, as they called him, so he may very well have been 'slow.'" Further, it seems that the Loughlin family may have been Julia's sister's family.

Apparently Julia had at least two sisters, and possibly more:
  • Louise Toner Deegan, whose husband made buttons and who had no living children
  • Another sister who possibly married a Loughlin (According to this census, if we're talking about the same family, her name was Elizabeth.)
  • Another sister, who married a man named Murphy. They had 4 children:
  1. John Murphy
  2. Thomas Murphy
  3. Annie Murphy Dowd, who was married to Jack Dowd, a NYPD detective chief
  4. Another sister, who married a man named Keene and had a daughter Margaret who became an Urusline nun.
If this is accurate information, it seems to back up the idea that the family of Richard Toner, who we found in Brooklyn on the 1960 and 1970 censuses was, in fact, the family of our Julia Toner Mulvaney. Their daughters were Julia, Mary A., Elizabeth, Louisa, and Judith. Those, it would seem, were our Julia Toner Mulvaney, Elizabeth Toner Loughlin Renehan, and Louise Toner Deegan. Does anyone know what happened to Mary or Judith? The family also had two boys, Samuel and William. Elizabeth Loughlin Renehan was 55 in 1910, meaning she was born in 1855 - her age matches exactly with that of the Elizabeth Toner on the 1860 and 1870 censuses.
What then, of Julia? If she is the same Julia Toner listed in 1860, she was a full 19 years older than the ages she fairly consistently gave on later censuses, and that Thomas Mulvaney had recorded on her death certificate. She would have been in her late 50s when Nana was born, and in her 80s in the pictures posted below. And while it's possible for women to give birth late in life, the thought that a woman who didn't start having kids until she was over 40 could give birth to at least 9 kids (John, James, Auntie Mae, Grace, Thomas, Willie, Harold, Raymond, Nana) in about 15 years stretches the imagination. There were no fertility drugs at the turn of the century! Also unlikely, though, are most of the machinations that could explain how that Toner family ended up with a second daughter named Julia, 20 years younger than the first.
In other words, right now I'm hoping Julia's mother kept a detailed diary throughout her entire life, and that someone stumbles upon it in an attic, and soon!
However, we do see that by 1910, Julia appears to have sent one of her kids to live with one of her sisters, while having two of her other sister's kids living with her. I think it's important to do genealogy horizontally as well as vertically. While it'll be amazing to someday know Julia Mulvaney's great-great-grandmother's name, imagine the significance of her sisters - and brothers, of course, but I don't know anything about brothers - to her daily life, as they lived around the corner from each other, helped raise each others children, went to church together, sent their kids to school together, probably did their shopping and chores and had dinners together.

1910 Census - Mulvaneys at 270 Van Brunt St.

This is the 1910 census, showing the Mulvaneys living at 270 Van Brunt St. Julia and Patrick give their ages as 48 and 40, which means they have approximate birthdates of 1862 and 1870. Interestingly, in the column "number of years in present marriage" they give two different answers. How could Patrick have been married to Julia for 17 years, if Julia's only been married to Patrick for 16? That's one of my favorite things I've come across in my genealogical searching, because it seems to defy explanation. Whether they married 16 or 17 years before the 1910 census, though, it gives an approximate wedding date of 1893-4. Their kids are listed as James, Grace, Mary, Thos., Harold, and Vera. (Vera is presumably Veronica, don't you think?) William is, for some reason, not on this census, though he should be about 8 or 10 years old in 1910. Patrick's occupation is "Foreman" for a "machinist." James is a "clerk" in a "Railroad Office."

John Murphy, 21, and Thos. Murphy, 16, are listed as nephews. John Griffin told me that they were Julia's sister's sons who moved in with the Mulvaneys when their parents died. "There were also two older Murphy sisters. Annie married Jack Dowd, who was a NYC Policemen - we think he was possibly Chief of Detectives; they never had children. Annie's other sister was married to a man named KEENE, and they had a daughter, Margaret Keene, who moved in with Annie & her husband, when her parent's died while she was a young girl. Later she became an Ursuline Nun, teaching for years at Marymount. Later she was moved up to the Bronx. She died after 1990 from cancer and was in a convent in the Bronx." John Murphy is listed as a machinist at a "dry dock" or "day dock"? I'm having trouble reading the field. His brother Thomas is an office boy at a "[unintelligible] office."

Julia has given birth to 8 children, of whom 7 are still living. The 1900 census (soon to be posted) shows a boy named John, b. 1894. (However, that census also lists James as having been b. 1897, whereas later ages given put him closer to an 1894 birthdate.) John appears to have been a son who died young; he lived to at least 6, but appears not to have made it to 16. Betty and John also told me, though, of a son named Raymond who died as a toddler, but I have no information on him. One of those must be the 8th child who was born but no longer living in 1910.

Friday, October 31, 2008


Happy Halloween, everybody!

I hope that everyone is having a happier Halloween than the one our relatives had exactly 89 years ago today, when Patrick Mulvaney was admitted to St. Peter's Hospital in Brooklyn due to gangrene of the foot; he died a week later, on November 8. His parents were James Mulvaney and Bridget Rothwell.

I'll transcribe the death certificate, which arrived this afternoon, in its entirety when I have time, but as rent must be paid before the banks close today, I'll have to make that my first priority at the moment.

Mulcahy family pictures

This is a picture of Papa as a policeman. He was in the 70th precinct, if I'm not mistaken, but someone please correct me if I am.

This is Papa's mother, Mary Ann Madigan Mulcahy.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Mulvaney family pictures

My mom sent me these, which I believe were scanned by either Joseph or John Griffin a few years ago. The one above has Julia in the middle, in a polka-dot dress, surrounded by her grandkids. Nan is the littlest one in front, with the doll, with her cousin Florence to her left. The other girl is Joan, and behind Joan is her brother Donald. The boy with glasses is George Kessell. In the back row on Julia's left is Grace Mulvaney Jones, and in front of Grace is Steve Kessell. On the far right, with the tie, is Tom Mulvaney.
This is Julia Mulvaney, again in the polka-dot dress, surrounded by her kids. I can identify Nana in the back row, and James is the man in the front row, which means I'd assume that Thomas is standing next Nana in the back. Auntie Mae is second from the left, to the right of Julia, and Grace is on the far right. As far as dates go for these pictures, and I assume they were taken the same day, I'm going to guess somewhere in the area of 1935 or just before? Can anyone tell for sure how old Nan is in the first one? I can't think of any other way to date them. Also, does anyone recognize the house in the background? Where were they?

This is Patrick Mulvaney. He looks like a young man, so the best I can say is late 1800s, early 1900s.

(In the top two pictures, Florence, Joan, Donald, and their father James were identified by Donald's daughter Maureen, whom I stumbled upon on ancestry.com when I noticed that her family tree had our (shared) Julia Toner Mulvaney on it! The wonders of technology and genealogy! Betty and John helped with everyone else.)

Papa's Promotion to 2nd Lieutenant

Earlier this week, John Griffin (Jr.) sent me this scanned image of the document that promoted Papa (Joseph Eugene Mulcahy) to 2nd Lieutenant. It's dated June 1, 1918. Remember from the article I posted below that he and two of his brothers, James A., and Matthew V., enlisted in April, 1917, after their father Michael Mulcahy died in January 1917. Papa was, according to that article, in the Sixty-seventh Company, Sixth Replacement Regiment, Camp Gordon, GA. (The article lists him as a 2nd Lieutenant, so presumably it was written after June 1, 1918.)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

1920 census - Mulcahy family

This faint and slightly difficult to read (as always, click on the image to enlarge, although this one will still be faint and slightly difficult to read) image is of the 1920 census. The Mulcahy family is living at 85 Luqueer St., and they're the first family on the page. Michael Mulcahy, father, isn't listed - he died in 1917. The head of the household is Mary, his wife, and all of her children are listed: James A., Matthew V., Joseph E., Michael F., Mary V., John A., Gerard E., and Vincent A. You can remember that in the 1930 census, James, Mary, Gerard, and Vincent were all still living in one apartment at 85 Luqueer St., none of them married or with children, as far as we can tell, while Matthew was living in the next apartment with his wife and kids, and Joseph (Papa) was living at 648 83rd St., recently married to Nana. Between 1920 and 1930, we've lost track of Michael and John. A Margaret appears on the 1910 census (which I'll post soon), but as she'd be 30 by 1920, I assume she'd left and gotten married, and as I have no idea to whom - though someone else might - she's untraceable, for me. John and Michael I could try to find.

In 1920, only Gerard and Vincent - who were 11 and 12 - had been in school within the previous year. John, at 16, and Mary, at 18, the two next youngest, had not. Mary Ann Madigan Mulcahy, the mother, lists no employment, but all of her kids work, apparently in only 2 industries between them. James, Matthew, and Papa all have occupations of either "mail clerk" or "clerk" (Matthew) for a "Railway" or "R.R. Off." (again, Matthew's is the one listed in different format. Perhaps he worked for a different company, or in a different capacity, or...?) Michael and John list their industry as "tool office" - John's occupation is "clerk," but I can't read the first part of the description, and I'm not sure what Michael's says: "[something]-maker."

Clearly, speculation and guesswork increases as you go back in time.

1920 Census - Mulvaneys at 270 Van Brunt St.

This is the 1920 census, showing the Mulvaney family at 270 Van Brunt St. Julia gives her age as 50 (yielding an approximate birth year of 1870), and says she's widowed. Only Veronica and Harold have attended school in the past year. James is a fireman for the city, Grace a salesgirl at a stationery store, Mary (this is Auntie Mae, right?) does clerical work at a drug store, William has no job, and Thomas is a helper at a shipyard. (This is interesting to me because Betty and John have said that Harold died because he was hit in the head on the pier while working at Todd Shipyards - it seems he eventually followed his older brother into a shipyard job.) Another thing I noticed is that William, at 18, has "no" listed for both whether able to read and whether able to write. Why would that be? Nana has no answer listed for either, but at 10, perhaps her reading and writing abilities were not quite so fluent as to warrant a "yes," but not quite so bad as to warrant a "no"? If you scroll through the page, most of the people who have no response in the reading and writing columns are school-aged children.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

1930 census - 85 Luqueer

This is a copy of the 1930 census for 85 Luqueer St. in Brooklyn. It's the house where Papa grew up, as well as the house where his mother, Mary Ann Madigan grew up. We believe it was built by her father, Matthew Madigan. On this census, both of Papa's parents, Michael Mulcahy and Mary Ann Madigan Mulcahy, have already died, and he is living at 648 83rd St., with Nana. They're newlyweds. In the house at Luqueer St., though, are several of his siblings - James, Mary, Gerard, and Vincent are all living together in the first apartment (listed as family 52), while the next family at the same address, presumably the next apartment in the building, is his brother Matthew Mulcahy with his wife Catherine and their sons Gerard, Matthew, and Eugene. As Gerard was one brother and Eugene was Papa's middle name, all three boys have family names from their father's family, it seems.

John Griffin and John Griffin visited the house at 85 Luqueer St. this fall:

John Sr.'s caption reads:
"The house on left that Betty & Your Nana's Great-Grandfather, Matthew Madigan, built for his family, the modern looking building was originally eight stables that later became garages and to the right of that structure are two more identical houses he built and rented. Their original family home is now a four family building."

(I believe that if you look closely, you'll see John in a blue shirt near the bottom left!)

Wills for Probate

Joseph Griffin sent me a copy of Julia Mulvaney's probate notice from the NYTimes. I meant to post it with the post on her death, but couldn't figure out how. I guess you can't post PDFs, so I've had to transcribe it:

"Wills for Probate
Mulvaney, Julia (Oct. 10). Estate, $4,493 personal. To sons, James J. Mulvaney, 41-45 57th St., Woodside, and Thomas P. Mulvaney, 1,074 71st St., and daughters, Grace Kessell, Freeport, L.I., and Veronica Mulvaney, 324 82d St., one-fifth interest each in a specific building and loan association; Mary Daniels, 43-23 41st St., Long Island City, executrix, one-fifth interest in a specific building and loan association, insurance and residue."
Why is Nana listed as Veronica Mulvaney? Hadn't she and Papa been married almost 10 years by the time Julia died in 1938? Was Julia living with Nana before she died? The address given as her residence on the death certificate matches the one given for Nana here.
(for the record, I'm going to try in the future not to let my imagination run wild like I did in the second half of the post about Julia, below.)

Battle of Bergen Beach Won: Horse Sense Did It, Cop Captain Says

By I. Kaufman
Victory came yesterday to the entrenched residents of Bergen Beach in their Battle Against the Galloping Horse.
It wasn't that the Bergen Beachers-tenants and homeowners alike-were against the saddle horses of the riding academies in their vicinity, or against the riders. All they wanted was to have the riding done elsewhere than over the streets of their six-block-long and two-block-wide community on the edge of Mill Basin. There, they said in a petition signed by 150 Beach citizens, the saddled steeds ofttimes went out of control and became a menace of life and limb of man, woman and child. With the Spring horseback riding season approaching they wanted something done about it.

Something, finally, was, although twice before the people had tried to get help from the nearby Vanderveer Park Police Precinct, 1844 Brooklyn Avenue.¾and twice the police captain whom they were about to meet for this purpose was transferred to points far away.
The victory came, when did, suddenly.

New Captain Acts
Not much more than 24 hours after the transfer of Capt. John Langton the new precinct commander, Capt. Joseph E. Mulcahy, took the matter in hand, swiftly and decisively.
Driven by Patrolman William Kearney, he called at the home of Mrs. Mildred Schinelli, at 2258 E. 72d St., in the heart of Bergen Beach. Word spread swiftly around the colony that he was coming and a sizable delegation of mothers and fathers, children and grownups met him. They told him some of their hardships and he already knew of others. He then and there announced that the free galloping through the Bergen Beach streets would be stopped.
He said that it had already been arranged, not by putting anybody in jail, but by friendly, mutual arrangement. He has spoken to the riding academy owners, he said, and they had agreed to co-operate.
From now on, he said, the riding would be along a laid-out bridle path along E. 69th St. and then Avenue X, the Mill Basin Shore front. The local Hopalong Cassidys¾at so much an hour¾would keep off Avenues U, V and W and E. 70th to E. 75th Sts., inclusive. Signs would be posted along the bridle path to guide the riders and, beginning this morning, a police patrol car would be there to snforce the directions. The riding academies themselves, in addition, would post their own patrols for the same purpose.

‘Horse-Sense’ Solution
“I am very pleased,” said Captain Mulcahy, coining a pun, “with the approach of everybody concerned to this problem. Horse sense solved it.”
Bergen Beach, too, was pleased.
“We are grateful to the Brooklyn Eagle,” Mrs. Schinelli said, “for the help it gave us in drawing public attention to our trouble.”
[Photo info: from: http://catalog.brooklynpubliclibrary.org/search/XSEARCH=mulcahy&m=k&

CALL # NEIG 0083
AUTHOR McNamara, C. E., photographer.
TITLE At "peace" talks [picture] / C. E. McNamara.
PUB INFO [Brooklyn Eagle], 1951.

DESCRIPT 1 photographic print : b & w, gelatin silver ; 8 x 10 in.
NOTE On verso: date stamped: Mar 3, 1951.; photographer's stamp.
Title from caption on verso.
SUMMARY Caption: "At 'peace' talks--Bergen Beach residents head report by Police Capt. Joseph E. Mulcahy of the Brooklyn Ave. station on latest developments in fight to keep horses off certain streets in area. Seated, left to right, are Mrs. Mildred Schinelli, chairman of the resident's group; Mulcahy, Mrs. Harry Crouse, and Peter Plaia. Looking on are, left to right, Mrs. P. Trautman, Mr. and Mrs. E. Birkner, Mrs. C. Romano, William Hickey and Frank Cannizzaro."
CITE AS: Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn Collection.
NOTE Brooklyn Eagle.
INDEXES Folder: Bergen Beach: General
SUBJECT Civic leaders.

Community life.
Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)
Bergen Beach (New York, N.Y.)
GENRE Gelatin silver prints.
Photographic prints.
NOTE Series title: Locations]
(Courtesy of Joseph Griffin)

Monday, October 27, 2008

October 10, 1938

So, I had these great, organized, well-planned out ideas to post things in reverse chronological order, from most recent to most ancient, so that things would eventually be laid out in an order that makes perfect chronological sense when viewed from the most recent to the oldest post.

Nevermind all that.

A few weeks ago, I sent away to the NY Municipal Archives for the death certificates of Julia and Patrick Mulvaney, Nana's parents. Julia's arrived this afternoon. I don't have a scanner, but I'm transcribing it for my own records, so I'll post it here, as well. It contains lots of information I didn't know, though it may not be new to all of you.

[Bureau of Records - Department of Health - Borough of Brooklyn]

Certificate of Death
[1938 October 12 PM 12:27]
Certificate No. 19700
1. Place of Death: Borough of Brooklyn 324 82 St., Private residence
2. Full name: Julia Mulvaney
3. Residence (usual place of abode): 324 82 St., Brooklyn

Personal and Statistical Particulars

4. Sex: Female
5. Color or Race: White
6. (Marital Status): Widowed
7. Date of birth: [blank]
8. Age of decedent: 68 yrs.
9. Occupation
a. trade: Housewife
b. industry: Own home
c. date decedent last worked at this occupation: June, 1936
d. total time spent in occupation: 45 years
10. Birthplace: USA
11. How long in US (if of foreign birth): [blank]
12. How long resident in City of New York: [blank]
Parents of Deceased
13. Name of father of decedent: Richard Toner
14. Birthplace of father: Ireland
15. Maiden name of mother of decedent: Mary Cullen
16. Birthplace of mother: Ireland

17. Informant: Thos. Mulvaney, son

Medical Certificate of Death
18. Date of death: October 10, 1938
19. I hereby certify that I attended the deceased from Aug. 1936 to October 10, 1938. I last saw her alive on Oct. 10, 1938: death is stated to have occurred on the date stated above, at 3:45 PM.
The principal cause of death and related causes of importance were as follows:
chronic hypertensive cardio-vascular disease (duration 2 1/2 years)
chronic thyrotoxicosis (duration 2 1/2 years)

Other contributory causes of importance:
cerebral embolism (duration 10 days)

Name of operation: [blank]
Date: [blank]
What test confirmed diagnosis? [blank]
Was there an autopsy? No

Signature: Charles Stern, MD
Address: 454 43 St., Bklyn

21. Place of Burial: Holy Cross Cemetary
Date of Burial: October 13th, 1938
22. Undertaker: Joseph Redmond, John Redmond
Address: 476 73 St.

Funeral Director's Certificate
I hereby certify that I have been employed, without any solicitation on my part or that of any other person, as undertaker to dispose of the remains of Julia Mulvaney by Thomas Mulvaney of 324 82 St., Bklyn, who is the son and the nearest surviving relative or next of kin of the deceased. This statement is made to obtain a permit for the burial or cremation of the remains of the deceased.
Signature: Joseph Redmond
Business address: 476 73rd St.
Permit No.: 219
If another undertaker in your employ is to take personal charge of the work in the care, preparation, or other disposal of such dead human body, give his name: John J. Redmond
State License No.: 192

Physician's Supplementary Certification
(Required in Connection with Telephone Application for Removal Permit)
If death has not been contributed to or caused by homicide, suicide, accident, acute or chronic poisoning, abortion, puerperal sepsis, or any suspicion of of those conditions, and the funeral director desires to obtain removal permission by telephone, the physician will execute the following certification:--
I hereby certify that the death of Julia Mulvaney who died on Oct. 10, 1938, at 324 82 St., Bklyn has not been contributed to or caused by any of the conditions mentioned in the above list.
Personal signature of physician: Charles Stern
Address: 454 43 St., Bklyn

I didn't try to use block quotes again, as last time I did that was the formatting nightmare two posts below, but hopefully it's easy enough to tell where the certificate begins and ends. It gets awfully clinical and distasteful towards the end, doesn't it?

Keeping in mind that death certificates tend to be the least reliable of vital records, because they are filled out by someone other than the person they are about (in other words, it's much less likely than a child or grandchild will accurately name the parents of the deceased on a death certificate, than, say, that the parents of a newborn will accurately name themselves on a birth certificate), what I learned from this (I'm deciding to trust Thomas Mulvaney) were most specifically Julia's parents' names, Richard Toner and Mary Cullen.

If Julia was 68 when she died in 1938, her birth was around 1870, which is in keeping with the age she gives on all the census records I've found her on (I never have come across the 1930 census for the family). However, when I search census records for Richard Toner in NY, with wife Mary and daughter Julia, the only records I come up with that seem even possible are these, from 1860 and 1870:

These two families are clearly the same, but their Julia is a full 19 years older than ours should be. She may even have already left home by the 1870 census, right around when our Julia should be just being born. I've heard a story or two about a Mulvaney woman lying about her age, but I would think that 19 years would be stretching it.

First, I want to ask whether anyone already knows the names of Julia's parents and siblings, and can let me know whether all this conjecture is misplaced.

Second, I'm going to let my imagination run wild for a minute. There's an older woman living in the home during both census years (she ages more than 10 years in the interim, though, so there's no guarantee that she's the same person). Her name is listed as Julia Toner in 1860, and I would assume that she's Richard Toner's mother. In this census, young Julia is listed, 9 years old. The older woman is listed as Judith Toner in 1870, and a toddler is listed, baby Judith. Assuming for a moment that she is the same woman, it seems possible that her name IS Julia, and that the census taker misheard Julia for Judith that day - in which case it's possible, I suppose, that little 2-year-old Judith could actually be Julia, too - and she'd be about the right age to be our Julia.

That of course, leaves the problem of having 2 daughters named Julia in the same family (and we'd have to hope that Occam's Razor doesn't apply to genealogy) - it could be explained any number of ways (Julia 1 died and they named the baby after her; Julia 1 got into some trouble, named the baby after herself, and left it with her parents; etc.) all of which are possible, and none of which are particularly likely.

It could also be, of course, that there were multiple Richard and Mary Toners in NY at the time, and that more than one of them had a daughter named Julia, and that our Toner family was skipped by the census that year. Or that I just haven't found them. Or that one of you will post a comment to the effect of "Thomas Mulvaney must have been mistaken. Julia's parents were named Bob and Sue," and I'll feel a little silly. Does anyone have any facts, documents, stories, opinions, or wild conjecture similar to mine to add to the story?