Saturday, February 28, 2009

Brooklyn Daily Eagle Almanac, 1909

John Mulvaney, alderman, shows up twice in 1909's Brooklyn Daily Eagle Almanac. (I forgot to hide the links in the last post, which is why it looked so messy.) Make sure to check out both pages. He's on page 392, where he's listed as alderman for the 44th Local Improvement District, his address being 119 Pioneer St. (which, according to Google Maps, is right around the corner from where Patrick Mulvaney was living with Julia at 270 Van Brunt St). He's also on page 609, where they list how many votes he got (3,654 to the runner-up's 3,206). I'm assuming that he must have served at least two terms (each of which would have been for two years), and that maybe the 1907 and 1910 almanacs aren't digitized yet? I'll have to look into it, but since vote totals are listed in the latter of the two almanacs I've seen, I'd assume that that one was a re-election after he'd served one term.

Update: There must have been some redistricting between 1907 and 1908, because in 1907 the 44th district was in the Bronx. In 1910, some guy named Cunningham was alderman of the 44th district. It really seems that John Mulvaney's term was 1908-1909, and I simply don't understand why they listed how many votes he was elected by in the second year of his term. Why don't you check it out and see if I'm reading this right?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Brooklyn Daily Eagle Almanac, 1908

Here's a link to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle Almanac for 1908. I don't know if it will link to the correct page or not, but on page 429, the very last line on the page, a John Mulvaney is listed as an alderman for the 44th Local Improvement District. If the stories about Patrick's brother John being a Brooklyn alderman are correct, this is undoubtedly him.,M1

Okay, that's a scary looking link. If it doesn't work, try this one:, then click "read this book," and go to page 429. I haven't read any of the other pages in it, so if you browse and find anything interesting, let me know! There should also be a search box to the right where you can enter search terms.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Other news

In other genealogical news, I'm very excited to have just received the naturalization papers of my maternal great-grandfather, Charles Lanzilotto. The Mulcahy-Mulvaney family mostly arrived so early that it's difficult to find their naturalization records (I've got a lead on Matthew Madigan, though, just have to figure out where the records are and how to get them), and older records tend to have less information - although I did already know most of what was on Grandpa Lanz's declaration and petition. The Toner and Mulvaney records may be too old for us to have much of a hope of finding them, if they even bothered to naturalize, but I've got my fingers crossed for the Mulcahy and Madigan records. (O'Hara and Quinn records should be easier to come by, too, because they arrived later, but have much more common names that make them hard to pick out of an index.)

I also searched the Brooklyn Eagle pretty thoroughly - though I have yet to page through the Death and Marriage Announcements for every day that's online - and didn't find anything particularly enlightening, beyond those few things I've posted over the past couple days. I specifically paged through the week after Julia and Patrick got married, hoping to find a marriage announcement, but had no luck. I'm still looking for Richard Toner's family in the 1880 census. They're not at 267 Van Brunt St., which is where they're also listed in the 1880 Brooklyn City Directory. The 1881 Brooklyn City Directory lists them at 84 Tremont St., so I have to look there, too. It's possible that the reason that they don't show up in the index is that they moved while the census was being taken, and so were missed in both spots.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Mary Ennis?

This Mary Ennis, from Maynooth, County Kildare, died May 5, 1866. The funeral was held at Richard Toner's house at Van Brunt and Tremont. Who is Mary Ennis? I'm imagining. . . a sister of Richard's? A cousin? There's no mention of a husband or late husband, though, so was she not married? Was it only because they were from the same town - presumably then friends - that she was waked at the Toners' house? Has anyone heard of the name Ennis?

Brooklyn NY Daily Eagle. "Died." May 5, 1866. via 

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Who are these people?

As you know, the Mulcahy family disappeared from 85 Luqueer St. in 1910. In the late 1890s, it's given as Michael's home address in the Brooklyn City Directory, and in 1905, Michael and two of his sons, returning from Ireland, give it as their home address. In 1900, however, they don't appear on the census. Who does appear on the census are the Thommassen, Casserly, and Trithy families. I'm particularly interested in the Trithy family. They're listed as Thomas and Mary E. Trithy, both born in Ireland, and his occupation is N.F.D. Repairs. The reason this interests me is this 1931 obituary I found on the Brooklyn Genealogy page:

THOMAS TRIHY died Wednesday at his home, 485 Pacific street. He was born in Clashmore, County Waterford, Ireland. He was employed in the Telegraph Bureau of the New York Fire Department. He was a member of the Civil Employees Association of the New York Fire Department. He is survived by his widow, Mary E. McCARTHY TRIHY; a brother, James W., and two sisters, Mrs. Delia MULCAHY and Mrs. Victor O'NEILL. The funeral will be held at 10:30 A.M. Saturday with requiem mass at the Church of St. Agnes. Interment will be at Calvary Cemetery, under direction of W.A. MARTIN, 764 Washington avenue.

It appears that this Thomas Trihy had a sister named Delia (oftentimes a nickname for Bridget) who married a man named Mulcahy. Could this be the same Thomas Trithy (who also worked for the Fire Department) who had lived in the 85 Luqueer St. that was owned by our Mulcahy family? We have no records of any of Michael Mulcahy's brothers marrying women named Delia and/or Bridget. His two known brothers in the US, James and Patrick, are supposed to have married women named Molly and Catherine, respectively. There was also, we hear, a brother named John who stayed in Ireland, and we don't know anything about his personal life.

It's all so very coincidental. Who are these people?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

267 Van Brunt St.

I was just searching the Brooklyn Genealogy pages, and came across this listing for Richard Toner, painter, in the Lain's City Directory for 1879/1880. This is less informative, in terms of details, than the news item about Richard's suicide attempt, but it does include a much more recent home address - 267 Van Brunt St., just across the street, probably, from where Julia and Patrick Mulvaney lived in 1900. This, I think, will be the street address I look for when I go paging through 1880 census records, not 91 Verona St.

TONER Richard  painter h 267 Van Brunt


Charles Thomas Loughlin, 8 mos 8 day

Doing some more searching on the Brooklyn Eagle online, I came across this obituary for Charles Thomas Loughlin, age 8 months, 8 days, child of Thomas Loughlin and Elizabeth Toner. He died August 14, 1876. I believe this Elizabeth Toner is Julia's sister, the one who later - presumably after Thomas died - married another Thomas, Thomas Renehan, and had Willie Mulvaney living with them in 1910. We already knew Elizabeth had two children, John and Katherine, born around 1885 and 1894, respectively, and this shows that she apparently had at least one other. The 1910 census does say that Elizabeth Renehan hadn't given birth to any children, but I assume that that's simply not accurate. Since Elizabeth would have been, according to 1860 and 1870 census records, only about 20 when Charles Thomas was born (approximately January 6, 1876), I assume he was their first child, although I don't know that that's accurate.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Mary Mulvaney and Peter Callahan

A little more Googling, and I came upon this interesting tidbit, dated October 26, 1918, courtesy of RootsWeb:

Peter J. CALLAHAN died on Wednesday at his home, 503 Fairview avenue,Ridgewood,
of pneumonia. He is survived by his widow, Mary E. MULVANEY, and four children,
Charles, Peter, Jane and Ellen; two brothers, Lawrence and John, and three
sisters, Mrs. M. LYNCH, Mrs. H. POSEN and Lillian. He was employed by the
Brooklyn Union Gas Company at the main office. He was a member of the Holy Name
Society of St. Brigid's R. C. Church, Linden street and St. Nicholas avenue, but
was formerly a member of St. Mary Star of the Sea Church, Court and Luqueer
street. Funeral on Monday at 2:30 p.m. under direction of J. J. CRONIN, of 115
Atlantic avenue.

Who on Earth are they? It doesn't quite seem like they're necessarily relatives; it was our Mulcahys who lived at 85 Luqueer St. and worshipped at St. Mary Star of the Sea, not our Mulvaneys, but it's still intriguing, though it possibly means nothing at all. Mary Mulvaney is definitely not Auntie Mae, but it does cross my mind to wonder who Patrick's sister Mary married, who their kids were, where they lived, and when they died. Just a little interesting obit with lots of "almost but not quite" ties to our family. See if you can draw any connections.

Friday, February 13, 2009

In the name of genealogy

Dear Family,

This is to alert you, in case I'm arrested for stalking in the next couple of days, that it was all in the name of genealogy. Here's the story:

John Griffin has told me that the family story is that Patrick Mulvaney (Julia's husband, Nana's father) had a brother named John who was a Brooklyn alderman. I've come across several online postings by a man doing research on his grandfather, John Mulvaney, a Brooklyn alderman. The time frames fit. These posts were several years old. I responded to one on, but his account was no longer active and e-mails to his e-mail address came back as undeliverable.

Then I came across another posting, by another man looking for his grandfather, John Mulvaney, Brooklyn alderman. I e-mailed him. He responded! He didn't know much, though, he said, and referred me to the family genealogist, his cousin - the same man who had posted on Ancestry. He gave me a different e-mail address, but that one didn't work either, and he didn't have an updated one. He said that if he heard from his cousin, he'd give me updated contact information, but I never heard back from him.

Then, on a whim, last week I tried googling around about John Mulvaney. I figure if any of our relatives are going to show up in a Google search a hundred years later, it'll be the one who was in public life. One of my results was a website, made by the man I'd tried several times to contact. It listed an e-mail address (one of the defunct ones), but also a mailing address. I typed up a quick letter saying I thought we were related, printed out some census records that I believe show our Patrick and his John growing up together, and mailed them.

The next morning, I had a sudden thought, along the lines of "What have I done?! That was completely inappropriate! You don't just mail letters to strangers whose addresses you've found on the internet! I'm a stalker! Can I get that letter out of the mailbox?"

Of course, I could not.

My potential second cousin twice removed (I think) should be receiving that letter any day now. His response could be to file a complaint with the police for inappropriate something-or-other, or to send me a cordial letter brimming with relevant family history information and suggesting we share stories. Let's cross our fingers for the latter.

I also fired off quick snail-mail letters addressed to "Owner" at 85 Luqueer St., as well as to the "Owners" at 89 and 91 Luqueer, all buildings we believe Matthew Madigan to have built, asking if they had any information about the origins of the houses, when they were built, by whom, etc. I'm fairly confident, based on plenty of oral history, that my great-great-great-grandfather was the builder and original owner, but that pesky lack of records is getting in the way of certainty again. Wouldn't a copy of the original deed to the land be nice? Hmm. . . I wonder where you'd find 1870s Brooklyn land records. I'll have to check into it. Those letters I fully expect to be ignored, but I'm hoping it can't hurt to try.

That's what I've been up to, in the completely out-of-character personal letters to strangers category. Chalk it up to losing my mind for the sake of genealogy.

Much love,

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Breaking News!

In breaking news from 140 years ago, this article appeared on September 6, 1877, and it looks like our Richard Toner, Julia's father, who's listed in the 1870 census as a painter. It appears that he had been having some trouble with his son - should be William, Julia's brother, if he was 17 in 1877 - who was refusing to go to school, and after yelling at him, Richard went upstairs and tried to kill himself. Is your kid playing hooky really a good reason to kill yourself? It also says, though, that Richard was "formerly worth considerable money," so potentially, financial ruin was more a motivation than fighting with a teenager. We do now know, though, the latest address we've come across for the family, which will help when I eventually have to resort to paging through 1880 census records to find out whether Julia was ever actually born to this family.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Roches

Posting about Johanna Roche Madigan and Loretta Madigan Rickett recently reminded me of something that has always struck me as odd, but that I've never looked into - not that I would even have the slightest idea of how to go about "looking into" it. We're told that Matthew Madigan's second wife was named Johanna Roche. We're also told that his youngest daughter from his first marriage, Margaret, married a man named [?] Roche.


1) Pure coincidence. How uncommon a name could Roche be?

2) Someone got their information mixed up, and only one of them was actually a Roche. A name may have been mistranscribed or misremembered because it was familiar.

3) Margaret Madigan met and married a relative of her step-mother's.

I don't know how, if at all, we could go about verifying any of these hypotheses, but all of them are possible, and some more intriguing than others.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Richard Toner and Mary Cullen Toner Baptisms?

A few weeks I joined a group called Irish Relatives on the website. It's a group where people help you find information on your ancestors in Ireland, based on information they have as well as by doing voluntary research in person that you can't get to from your respective continent. I posted that I was looking for the Richard Toner and his mother Judith in Maynooth, County Kildare, based on the information I'd gotten out of Judith's obituary in the Brooklyn Eagle.

This is the branch of the family that I've been able to trace back the farthest. However - and this is a big however - it's also the branch that appears to break around 1880. In other words, we're pretty sure that this Richard Toner is our Julia's father and Judith her grandmother, but we're not positive, because we haven't been able to find any evidence of the family in the later 1870s and 1880s - in other words, no proof that our Julia was ever actually born. Everything else just fits so well, though, so I'm going to keep going, and if it turns out it's not our Toner family, well, I'd hope to be able to find the actual descendants of this Toner family and let them know all this information about their ancestors. For the moment, though, I'm reasonably sure that our Julia would have been born to this family in the 1870s.

Anyway, I got a response back from a man who does research at the National Library in Ireland. He had looked up the parish registers for St. Mary's Catholic Church in Maynooth, and found these, and translated them from the Latin:

24 Sept 1818 Mary, (of) Patrick Cullen and Mary Carr godparents John Carney and Judith Scully.

3 Nov 1821 Richard (of) William Toner and Margareth Walsh godparents Charles Kearns and Mary Cushion.

15 Jan 1850 Richard Toner to Mary Cullen witnesses Edward Hackett and Mary Boland

Those are pretty damn exciting! My only two little problems: 1) I'm a records kind of gal - comes with the work at the Archives, I'd imagine - so I tend not to trust anything unless I'm seeing it with my own eyes and filing copies with my own collection of family records. But this is good to go on until I can get myself to Dublin ;-) and 2) Richard's mother's name was supposed to be Judith, not Margareth. It was Judith Toner who brought us back to Maynooth, so why isn't Judith Toner in Maynooth? I looked around, and there's no connection, etymological or otherwise, between the names Judith and Margaret(h). It's not like one was Latin for the other (like Jacobus and James) or that one was a nickname for the other (like Peggy and Margaret). The very helpful gentleman who found these records for me said he would double check the records the next time he was at the Library to make sure he hadn't transposed the names Judith Scully (Mary Cullen Toner's godmother) and Margareth Walsh (Richard Toner's supposed mother).

Either way, it's definitely some exciting information giving us some new things to look at!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Tile Roof: The Experts Weigh In

An example of a Mansard Roof
Photo © 2005 Jupiterimages Corporation

Joe Griffin had this to say in response to the last post, about the Madigans living in the only house in Manhattan with a tile roof:

"I saw your tile roof post and had to quickly write. About that, I would imagine that the house had a Mansard roof, which would be pretty rare in Manhattan, whether or not is was literally the only one (the Irish do exaggerate, as I hear it). Being a fan of NYC architecture, I have some idea of the way things are and were and Mansard roofed houses would have been pretty common in Brooklyn, they're still common in Staten Island, but Manhattan has not had the space for the types of houses that get those roofs in a long time. Which is to say it probably was rare, and if it had a Mansard roof it was definitely expensive, but short of historical society visits or time travel I can't see how you would ever find out for sure."

To learn the basics about the Mansard roof, check out the Wikipedia page.

"the only house that had a tile roof"

Our "wife of a cousin" information source tells us that Mary Ann Madigan Mulcahy's parents, Margaret Sullivan Madigan and Matthew Madigan, "lived in Manhattan in the only house that had a tile roof." Even assuming accuracy, I have no idea how to go about finding the only house in 1870s Manhattan that had a tile roof. I wish I did, because that would be great to know.

Question: Does having a house with a tile roof imply wealth? Or just having enough tile to roof a house?

Thursday, February 5, 2009

John Mulcahy and Loretta Kelly, 1929

Some more of the joys of Google, thanks to other people who have transcribed old records. This, from Brooklyn Genealogy, is a transcription of June and July 1929 marriage notices from the Brooklyn Standard Union. It includes this notice, clearly of Papa's brother John and his wife Loretta Kelly:

John MULCAHY, 25 ...85 Luqueer st
Loretta KELLY, 21 ...519 83rd st

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


After Googling 227 Hamilton Ave for the previous post, I decided to search the NY Times archives for "85 Luquer." One comes up as an obituary for someone who lived in the house in the nineteen teens, but who wasn't a relative, best I can tell. (There were multiple apartments in the house.) The other is irrelevant to our genealogical purposes, but interesting nonetheless. Apparently, a couple years ago, some group decided to put on plays in different apartments each week. If you go to the second page and scroll to the bottom, you can see that in February of 2006, this unusual performance was put on at our very own 85 Luqueer St!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Michael Mulcahy's Bar

We know Michael Mulcahy owned at least one bar. We believe it was at 227 Hamilton Ave, as that's where he was listed in the Brooklyn City Directory before he was listed at 85 Luqueer St. He's at least once listed at them concurrently, so presumably one was home (85 Luqueer) and one was business (227 Hamilton). Also, 227 Hamilton Ave, when you look at the street view on Google Maps, appears to be a commercial rather than a residential building. (Things do change over the course of 120 years, though, don't forget! Further, a quick Google for "'227 Hamilton' Ave Brooklyn" gives rise to this article from the NY Times in 1879, which should have been when or just before Michael Mulcahy was there. It appears to definitely be at least partly residential. There's no saying that Mr. and Mrs. Dempsey didn't live above the bar, though!)

Michael Mulcahy was not working as a bar owner when he died in 1917. (He was a security guard, I think.) What we learned from the rather ambiguous "wife of a cousin" was that "Michael Mulcahy owned two bars in Brooklyn which he lost after they changed the beer." Betty and John, though, told me that they'd heard that the bar was lost when Michael's children took over the bar, as they didn't have the personalities of bartenders.

Third possibility that just occurred to me, since we don't know when the family stopped owning the bar: Could Prohibition have played a role in its demise?

Monday, February 2, 2009

Where to go from here. . .

I'm not sure to what degree, if at all, there are people actually reading this blog ever, and I realize that that may be in large part because I've done so little posting lately. I've reached the point in my research, I think, where it doesn't make sense anymore for me to limit posting to only what I already know and have found out and the associated records, although that still remains the ideal. I think I'll have to talk more about the process now if I want to talk about anything at all. For example, I've often held off on posting about something if I wasn't 100% sure about it, and especially if there was conflict in the records. No more. I'm going to start talking about the conflicts I run into, and it would be great to have a conversation about the inconsistencies and what we think they mean. Either leave a comment, or e-mail me at In that vein, I've added to the sidebar a list of links to websites that I've either found helpful or imagine will be helpful, once I get to them. If you get to browsing around on them, you may find information that's escaped me so far!

I do still have a couple more concrete records to show - I don't think I ever posted Michael Mulcahy's death certificate, for example - but they're few until I get past a few roadblocks. I'll be posting about the roadblocks themselves shortly.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Johanna and Loretta Madigan, 1900 and 1910

The other day, when I realized I had to correct this post to make sure it reflected an accurate understanding of who died first - Margaret Sullivan Madigan or Matthew Madigan - I also realized that I had never searched for evidence of Matthew Madigan's second wife or the children of that marriage. And they have such beautifully unique names! Johannas and Lorettas are much rarer - and thus much easier to identify - than Margarets and Marys. So I went looking, and sure enough, they popped up easily on the first pages of my search. I'm having trouble uploading the census records of them in 1900 and 1910, so I'll add those to this post at a later date. Johanna is listed as a widow by 1900, so we do know that Matthew Madigan had died by then, and since Loretta was born around 1888, we know that Margaret Sullivan Madigan had died by then. Their birthdates are listed, in 1900, as November 1860 and February 1888, and Johanna is listed as having given birth to 4 children, only one of whom was still living. I wonder whether they were Matthew Madigan's children, or whether she, too, had been married previously. In neither of these censuses are these Madigans living at 85 Luqueer St. They live around the corner, at 75 Fourth Place, which they owned without a mortgage. (So we still have no idea why there were no Madigans or Mulcahys at 85 Luqueer in 1900.) You have to wonder what the relationship of the Mary Ann Madigan Mulcahy to her father's "new family," who lived around the corner. At some point they'd also lived in the same house, I believe, since there are Brooklyn City Directory records of Matthew Madigan at 85 Luqueer in between 1888 and 1900, but Loretta and Johanna apparently moved out when Matthew died, unless he and they had moved out earlier when he decided to give the house to Mary Ann and Michael, which seems more likely to me. When a man dies, his wife doesn't get displaced at the expense of his kids. In 1910, at age 22, Loretta was working as a clerk at an "office." In 1900, when she's 12, neither of them is working.