Monday, August 31, 2009

William Toner's Death Certificate, January 31, 1899

When I ordered William Toner's death certificate, I hoped that there would be some indication on it of what his life had looked like since we'd last seen him on the 1870 census. Did he ever marry and have children, or was the Toner name not continued when he and Samuel both died childless? I've encountered a handful of relatives who don't bear the Toner name - will we ever meet one who does?

It looks like we will not. William is listed as "Single." But there are any number of interesting facts - or potential facts - on here, beyond his lack of progeny.

A lot of the certificate is very faded and difficult to read, but we'll do our best.

William Toner was sick for about a month, attended by his doctor from January 5-30, 1899, and he died at about 6am on January 31. He was buried on February 3 at Holy Cross. His doctor's name is nearly illegible (could it be "Archibald Murray"?), but his undertaker's name is (almost) not.

Undertaker: [illegible] Thos. Murphy

It almost looks like it read "Mrs. Thomas Murphy, but I find that highly unlikely. Maybe "Chas. Thos. Murphy"?

Regardless - Thomas Murphy? Doesn't William Toner have a probable brother-in-law - his sister Mary Ann's probable husband - named Thomas Murphy? Could John and Thomas Murphy's father have been an undertaker? Maybe?

Besides that - William is listed as 34 years old, which can't be correct - I believe he was about a year old in 1860, which makes him closer to 40 than 34, but that's not too far off. He's white, he's single, he was born in the US, his parents are, of course, Richard Toner and Mary Cullen Toner.

William's occupation is given as "stableman." That gives me an idea - just a suggestion - that this article from the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, listing William Toner as the driver of a coach involved in an accident really did refer to our William Toner. Of course, that article, too, referenced a Mr. Murphy. Maybe William just really liked guys named Murphy. I have my doubts about whether the undertaker was also the guy who owned the cab company was also the brother-in-law, but you never know.

William died at St. Peter's Hospital, of Phthisis Pulmonalis, aka Tuberculosis, with "Exhaustion" listed as an indirect cause of death.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Claremorris, County Mayo Records

Some time ago, Uncle Jack gave me this information about Grandpa JJ (John O'Hara)'s mother, Mary King O'Hara:

Birthdate - June 21, 1874
Place - Carraconnor, Ballindine,Claremorris, County Mayo
Father - Michael King
Mother - Bridget Hopkins

This evening, I was playing around on the Ireland GenWeb site, looking at the Mayo records, which include transcriptions of parish registers from Claremorris, and I found the following citations:

26 Mar 1865 Michael King to Bridget Hopkins-pt-Thomas Conry, Catherine Roache

11 Sept 1842 - Michael of Nicholas King and Margaret Conoly-sp-Michael King, Mary Conoly
25 Sept 1837 - Henry of Nicholas King and Margaret Creary-sp-Henry King, Margaret Creary
25 Dec 1837 - Henry of Nicholas King and Margaret Conry-sp-Henry King, Margaret Conry(?)
15 Sept 1844 - Pat of Nicholas King and Pegy Creaby-sp-Pat King, Mary Creaby
26 Nov 1846 -Thady of Thady Charles and Mary Judge-sp-Nicholas and Mary King--Cuilmore(?)--
26 Nov 1846 - Ann of Nicholas King and Mary C.(?)-sp-William McGah, Mary King--Cuilmore--
9 May 1853 - Honor of Nicholas King and Margaret Curraby-sp-John King, Catherine Curraby--Cloonmore--

If these are accurate - and the microfilms are now on my list for whenever I make it a Family History Center, so I can check - it looks like my great-great-great-great-grandfather was Nicholas King, and my great-great-great-great-grandmother was Margaret C-----y. There appeared to be a couple related King families in the area, but only one Michael King that I came across. I found a couple Hopkins families, but not a Bridget Hopkins other than in the marriage record.

It looks like Michael King had siblings Henry, Pat(rick?), Ann, and Honor - he being the second oldest - and possibly aunts and uncles named Michael, Henry, Pat, Mary, and John. It also looks like one of the witnesses at his wedding may have been a relative on his mother's side, but I'd really like to see the handwriting myself to see if I can gain any insight on Margaret's disputed maiden name - and to check whether these are, in fact, all the same Margaret.

I included one citation up there that's not of a King child - but on the same day as Ann King was baptized, "Nicholas and Mary King" were godparents to another child, Thady Charles. This could be either Nicholas King and his wife Mary C. King/Margaret Conoly-Creary-Conry-Creaby-Curraby King OR Nicholas King and the Mary King who was Ann's godmother, potentially a sister or cousin.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

A Modern Genealogy Joke on Thursday!

Genealogists dilemma

A modern mother is explaining to her little girl
about pictures in the family photo album.

"This is the geneticist with your surrogate mother
and here's your father's clone.

This is me holding you when you were just a frozen embryo.

The lady with the very troubled look on her face
is your aunt, a genealogist."

Found here.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Apologies for the slow posting this week. We brought Anna to college (want to make my mom cry? Remind her that when I head back to grad school this weekend, she'll have the proverbial empty nest! Or remind her about the bat that flew down our chimney this two days ago. That will probably lead to tears, too), and I spent a couple days in DC moving the majority of my things into my new apartment (which is gorgeous, by the way, though I take no credit for it - my roommate picked it out and I'd never seen it until after the leases were signed) and haven't had much time for genealogy. But I have lots of information for when I get time to post it all!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Lessons from a trip to a real live records repository

(other than the one I work at, that is)

On Monday, I visited the Records Room at the Kings County Surrogates Court. Besides the genealogical information, this is what I learned:

1. Leave early if you want to have a substantial period of time for research. There WILL be traffic on the FDR, because there WILL be 2 lanes closed at 11 in the morning, despite the signs assuring you that lane closures only occur between 1 and 5 am.

2. It is not as easy to find parking in downtown, business district Brooklyn as it is to find parking in Williamsburg, which is the only place in Brooklyn I've ever looked for parking. Factor the expense of a parking garage into your budget.

3. Although you may think that sitting at a desk reading old wills is a sedentary activity, wear comfortable shoes. The 4 block walk from the parking garage to the courthouse is less sedentary.

3a. That parking garage right across the street from the courthouse must have been very well-hidden 15 minutes ago.

5. You're not allowed to even bring digital cameras into the building. Security didn't make me give up my cell phone, though. Don't they know what cell phones can do these days?

6. All repositories are not created equal, and not everything looks like NARA. I did not have to put my bag in a locker, I did not have to sign in, I did not have to use pencil rather than pen (I did, of course), food appeared to be allowed. However, it was pleasant and comfortable, the staff were relatively helpful, records arrived quickly (sometimes in seconds)

7. $10.00-$12.00 in coins is not enough for all the copies you'll want to make.

8. You won't get everything done in one day. I left with a completed request slip for what I believe is the document granting Johanna Roche Madigan custody of her youngest step-daughter, Margaret, who at 20 years old was considered an "infant." It was too late in the day to have that record pulled for me that afternoon.

9. You may not have any major break-throughs, but you will add to your body of knowledge.

10. You WILL be mocked by your family when you get home.

Monday, August 17, 2009

A reluctant "accumulator" tries baby-steps towards being a full-fledged researcher

Over at the Olive Tree Genealogy blog, there was an interesting post about the impossibility of doing thorough genealogical research using only online sources. In the comments, someone drew the distinction between "accumulators" and "researchers"; the former are those who are interested in genealogy, but only enough to gather what's easily available online, while the latter are those who will put in the effort required to visit actual repositories and find the information only available there.

I have, unfortunately, generally been one of the former. Not because I, like those the post's author disapproves of, think that everything is on the internet or, more likely, think that I'm entitled to have everything I want be on the internet, but because I'm too. darn. busy.

I know, all of you are, too. Seriously, do you regularly take time off work to go find records, or are the repositories by you open on the weekends?

Since I finished my job, and my internship, and am not going back to work until after we've moved my sister into college, I had the time today to go visit the Brooklyn County Courthouse and look up some probate records I'd been wanting to find.

Stay tuned to see how it went!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Family Tree by Venice

I've been catching up on back episodes of the Genealogy Gems podcast recently, and I can't help sharing this beautiful song that was featured a year or two ago. It's sung by the band Venice.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Obtaining genealogical Information about ancestors who served in the NYPD

Months and months ago, I contacted the New York City Police Department to see whether they could offer any information about my great-great-grandfather, Joseph Mulcahy, who was a New York cop. I was living in a DC apartment at the time, and though I knew I'd be spending the summer in New York, I was using my temporary address on all of my correspondence at the time, since I never dreamed the response to a February request would arrive in June.

I went back to the old apartment this past weekend to pick up some furniture I'd stored there (and moved it into my GORGEOUS brand new apartment, by the way), and the upstairs neighbors gave me the mail they'd collected for me over the summer. There, among the alumni mailers and charity brochures, was a thick manilla envelope from the police department. It was so thick, in fact, that I assumed it couldn't be information about Papa. They must have sent a booklet or magazine about the history of the NYPD, or some such.

Oh no. It was an inch of material, and it was all about Papa. Just the list of what was included was 3 and a half pages long! I couldn't believe it!

If you're looking for information about the NYPD service of your ancestors, here's what I did:

I wrote to

Chief of Personnel
Staff Services Section
1 Police Plaza Room 1208
New York, NY 10038

I wrote a brief paragraph requesting any information they might be able to provide about my great-grandfather, Joseph E. Mulcahy, making sure to include the following information:

his name
my relationship to him
his shield number
his precinct
date of birth
years served

I was able to make out his shield number from an old picture of Papa in uniform, and I knew at least one of the precincts he'd served in based on old newspaper articles. I didn't know the years he'd served, but I ball-parked it based on what I knew about his life - when he was born, when he'd served in the Army, when he'd married, and when he'd died. Any other information you may have about your ancestor will probably be helpful, too.

It took about 4 months, so please don't give them a temporary address if you're not sure how long you'll be living there. I was very lucky that the boys upstairs were holding my mail, and that I'd even had cause to go back to the apartment at all. If I'd moved out cleanly, without leaving my things, I'd never have gone back and never have gotten all this information.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Genealogy Joke Thursday!

You brake for libraries. pretty much
You hyperventilate at the sight of an old cemetery. again
You would rather browse in a cemetery than a shopping mall. definitely
You would rather read census schedules than a good book.
You are more interested in what happened in 1697 than 1997. oh, everyone knows nothing interesting happened in '97
Moses, Dorcas, and Caleb are household names, but you cannot remember what to call the dog.
You can pinpoint Sewickely, McKeesport, Evans City, (PA) but can't locate your state capitol on the map.
You think every home should have a copier and a microfilm reader. duh
You know every register of deeds in the state by name, but they lock the doors when they see you coming.
You store your clothes under the bed, because your closet is full of books and papers.
All your correspondence begins "Dear Cousin." guilty
You have traced every one of your ancestral lines back to Adam and Eve, have it documented and still don't want to quit.

Found here.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Everyone doing her part

From the October 27, 1909 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, via Fulton History:

WANTED—Situation as general houseworker,
by a respectable young girl; willing and obliging.
Please call on Mrs. QUINN, 1468 Fulton
st, top flat. 27-2

And from the September 27, 1908 edition:

CHAMBERMAID and waitress, by a respectable
young girl. Please call at 1468 Fulton st.

The Quinns were living at 1468 Fulton St. in 1910, as well as in 1908-9, when Mary Gillen Quinn advertised that a "respectable young girl" was looking for a situation as a chambermaid and waitress and doing housework. This was likely either Agnes/Nora, who would have been about 13-14, or Molly, who was probably 11-12.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

More Mary Gillen Quinn - Death Notice

From the Brooklyn Eagle, via Fulton History, Mary Gillen Quinn's obituary:

QUINN—On February 8, 1941,
MARY, at her residence, 524 5th
Street, beloved mother of Martin
and Terrence Quinn, Mrs. William
Maines, Mrs. John O'Hara, Mrs.
Harry Kunze. Reposing at Chapel,
40 Lafayette Avenue. Funeral
Tuesday, 9:30 a.m.; requiem mass
St. Saviour's R. C. Church. Interment
Holy Cross Cemetery.
Harold J. Reid, Director.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Top 10 Signs You're a Geneaholic

10. You introduce your daughter as your descendent.

9. You've never met any of the people you send e-mail to, even though you're related.

8. You can recite your lineage back 8 generations, but can't remember your nephew's name.

7. You have more photographs of dead people than living ones.

6. You've ever taken a tape recorder and/or notebook to a family reunion.

5. You've not only read the latest GEDCOM standard, you understand it!

4. The local genealogy society borrows books from you!

3. The only film you've seen in the last year was the 1880 census index.

2. More than half of your CD collection is made up of marriage records or pedigrees.

1. Your elusive ancestor has been spotted in more different places than Elvis!

Found here.

I'm having a blast looking up genealogy jokes, and I think I might make them a regular feature - stay tuned for future installments of Genealogy Joke Thursday!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Texting geneanerdiness

The gist of a text message conversation between Ben and I today:

Ben: "[His roommate] wanted to look up family history for some reason, so I let him on the ancestry account."

Katie: "What do you mean 'for some reason'? Clearly the reason is that family history is awesome!"

Monday, August 3, 2009

Mary Gillen Qinn's Death Certificate, 2/8/1941

Earlier this week, I finally had the opportunity to scan some documents I'd had laying around. I tend to transcribe rather than scan, although it would be better, of course, to eventually scan everything I have. The morning I chose to scan, however, was a beautiful sunny Saturday, and so I allotted myself 45 minutes, and decided that after that, I'd put away my genealogy and technology and go outside. I started with the documents I hadn't yet transcribed, or for which my transcriptions seemed particularly inadequate. Below are the scanned images of Mary Gillen Quinn's death certificate:

She died at Kings County Hospital on February 8, 1941, at 11:56 PM, at the age, according to this, of 75 years, 11 months, and 11 days. If that's entirely accurate, her birthday was either February 25, 1865 or February 28, 1865. I used this handy date subtraction tool to figure that out, before realizing that her birthday was recorded on the death certificate, too, according to which she was, in fact, born February 28, 1865. She lived at 524 Fifth St., which is also listed as the address of her son Terrence, who filled out the death certificate. Her profession was keeping her own house. She's said to have been in this country for 50 years, which, if accurate, would mean she immigrated in 1891 at the age of about 26. Her parents' names are given as Martin Gillen (also the name of her first son) Mary Nora Grimes. Certainly that gives to meaning to the fact that her first two daughters were Nora and Mary - perhaps Nora/Agnes was Nora Agnes or Agnes Nora? She'd been in the hospital 10 days, and the doctor was with her when she died (note that he says he last saw her alive the minute before her time of death). She died of Diabetes Mellitus and Gangrene of the left foot, contributed to be Arteriosclerotic Heart Disease. She was buried February 11, 1941 at Holy Cross. The second page simply certifies that her death was not found to be suspicious.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

1905 NYS Census - Mulvaneys at 270 Van Brunt St.

Here I've found the 1905 NYS Census record of the Mulvaney family at 270 Van Brunt St. The family is listed as Patrick, 45; Julia, 37; James, 11; Grace, 9; Mary, 8; William, 5; Thomas, 3; Raymond, 1; and Harold, 6 months old. There are also 2 "boarders," who are their nephews, 17-year-old John Murphy and 11-year-old Thomas Murphy.

What's new here is Raymond. Betty and John had mentioned that they thought there might have been a brother named Raymond who died as a toddler. Never having seen any evidence thereof, I was skeptical. However, it appears that little Raymond did exist, and that he lived at least 15 months. (Harold is 6 months old. Do the math.) As per usual, Patrick is a Machinist and Julia does the housework. Nephew John, at 17, is an office boy, while Thomas, at 11, is in the 4th grade. Patrick and Julia's older children, too, were in school. James, also 11, was also in the 4th grade. They might have been best friends, classmates, or both! Though the number next to Grace looks like a 5, I assume it was just a sloppy 3, and that she was in the 3rd grade, where she should have been. Mary - Auntie Mae - is in first grade.

I was honestly not expecting a lot of new information from these census records. The Mulcahys were nice but not particularly important. The Mulvaneys, on the other hand, are chock full of new things and clarifications. Raymond existed. Good to know. The Murphy brothers lived with the Mulvaneys for at least 5 years. Their parents probably died between the 1900 Federal Census and the 1905 NYS Census. That's important information.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

1905 NYS Census - Mulcahy Family at 85 Luqueer St.

Ah, the first sweet fruits of the newly-available 1905 NYS Census via the pilot site! I didn't find it by myself, though - much credit goes to the Steve Morse "One-Step" Site, where this handy tool quickly and easily helps you figure out the Assembly District and Election District for a given address.

I first searched for 85 Luqueer St., and found it in AD/ED 9/13. This record shows the Mulcahy family as the first of the 5 families living at Number 85. It consist of Michael, 43; Mary, 36; eldest daughter Margaret, 15; James, 14; Matthew, 12; Joseph, 9; Michael, 6; Mary, 4; and John, 1. Gerard and Vincent were not yet born.

Michael says he's been in the US for 24 years; this would imply that he immigrated in 1881, which sounds reasonable, as I've never come across him on the 1880 Census. I also haven't ever found his immigration records. Michael is still listed as an alien, so according to this record, he hadn't naturalized yet. His occupation is listed as "Saloon," and Mary's is "Housework." The kids, from Margaret down through Papa (Joseph) are at school (Michael, Mary, and John are still "at home"). What I find particularly exciting about this is that their grades in school appear to be listed: Margaret is in 9th grade, James in 8th grade, Matthew in 6th grade, and Joseph in 2nd grade. Just imagine them heading off to school each morning!