Sunday, May 31, 2009

John Mulvaney Family in 1865

Remember when we found Patrick Mulvany's family in 1860, with the family that appeared to be that of his uncle John at the same address? Well, I've yet to find the James and Bridget Mulvan(e)ys in the 1865 NYS census, but this appears to again be James's brother John. (It looks like they're no longer living in the same building, though it's difficult to say who moved.) John lists his age as 40, and Ann is 32. Their children are Michael, 13; Ann, 11; Patrick, 8; Mary, 7; Rosanna, 5; Catharine, 2 1/2; and Adelaide, 1 month. The last 3 have been born since last we saw them. All 7 of Ann's children are still living.

Consistent with the 1860 census, Michael is listed as having been born in Ireland, so it would seem that they immigrated between 1852 and 1854. He's a student, and his father is still a carpenter. John is a naturalized citizen.

(image 34 of 242 on FamilySearch, Brooklyn Ward 12)

Saturday, May 30, 2009

1930 Census - O'Haras at 505 6th St.

This census record is a 2-for-1 deal. It was the first O'Hara census record I ever found, and despite the interminable number of John and Mary O'Haras who were running around Brooklyn at the time, I thought it was safe to assume that these were our John and our Mary, since, after all, their children were Uncle Jack and Uncle Ted. Grandpa JJ is 34 and Grandma Molly 35, and Uncle Jack is 6, while Uncle Ted is 4. Molly and JJ say that they first married at 28 and 27, respectively, meaning their wedding should have been around 1923. They rent their home for $60. Uncle Ted can't read. (He presumably later gained that skill.) All were born in New York. Grandpa JJ is a clerk at a brokerage firm. At some point, I know he worked at 120 Broadway, the building where my dad would later spend most of his career, at a brokerage firm. Perhaps this was when he worked there? He's listed as a veteran of World War I. (I believe he was in the Navy.)

Where does the 2-for-1 deal come in? Glance upward several lines to find John and Mary O'Hara Sr., JJ's parents. They live in the same building, but they own their home - presumably they owned the entire building and that $60 in rent that the younger O'Haras were paying was being paid to them. Their youngest son Joseph is still living at home. John is 60, Mary 55, and Joseph 15. They say they were first married when John was 28 and Mary 23. Joseph is still in school. On this census, they give their immigration dates as 1890 and 1889, which matches what they said in 1900, but not what they said in any of the censuses in between. None of them are working. (Though I'd argue that "landlord" is an occupation, wouldn't you?)

When I first sent Uncle Ted this record, he told me he and Jack had grown up with Roy Larossa who lived in the building, as well as with the son of the Gibbens family:

"There was listed a Larossa and Wife and son Roy who lived in the same apartment house we lived in. Jack and I grew up with Roy. Also listed was a Gibbens who we also knew from the old neighborhood."

Friday, May 29, 2009

1920 Census - O'Haras at 303 Vanderbilt Ave

This is the 1920 census of the O'Hara family at 303 Vanderbilt Ave. They are listed as John, 47, Mary, 48 (didn't she used to be younger than he?!), John J., 23, Eugene W., 21, Patrick, 18, and Joseph, 5. John Sr., Mary, and Patrick were all born in Ireland. John and Mary say they immigrated in 1895 and naturalized in 1900, while Patrick is said to have immigrated in 1902, which is presumably the year they returned from their years back in Ireland. John is a hostler at a department store, while the boys are all clerks; Grandpa JJ at a "Prov. Co." (anyone want to guess what that means?), Eugene at a Bank, and Patrick at an "Engr. Co." Joseph, being 5, doesn't have a job. All of them are salaried employees.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

John King marries Annie Gavin

On Rootsweb, I came across a list of Marriage Licenses issued that was published by the Brooklyn Daily Standard Union on August 29, 1912. This was one of the entries:

KING, John..29..527 Baltic st
GAVIN, Annie..23..221 Fifth av
It appears that John King was still living with his sister's family at 527 Baltic in 1912 when he married a girl named Annie Gavin.

(Hope that was a nice change from the heartbreak of young girls dying tragically that I've shown you recently.)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

September 20, 1911 - Mary O'Hara's Death Certificate

The City of New York
Health Department
Mary O’Hara
No. of Certificate: 18214
Sex: Female
Color: White
Age: 3 yrs
Single, Widowed, Married, or Divorced: [blank]
Occupation: [blank]
Birthplace: Brooklyn, NY
How long in US (if of foreign birth): [blank]
How long resident in City of New York: Life
Place of Death: 527 Baltic St.
Character of Premises: Tenement
Father’s Name: John J. O’Hara
Father’s Birthplace: Ireland
Mother’s Maiden Name: Mary King
Mother’s Birthplace: Ireland
I hereby certify that I attended the deceased from Sept. 13th 1911 to Sept 19th 1911, that I last saw her alive on the 19th day of Sept 1911, that she died on the 20th day of Sept. 1911, about 5 o’clock AM, and that, to the best of my knowledge and belief, the cause of her death was as follows:
Acute Fobar Pneumonitis
Cardiac Asthemia
Witness my hand this 20th day of Sept. 1911
(Signature) W.V. Dee MD
(Residence) 290 Bridge St.
Place of Burial Holy Cross
Date of Burial Sept 221 1911
Undertaker F Harper Co. Ed F Higgins
Place of Business 163 Court St.

The above is the death certificate of Grandpa JJ's other sister, Mary O'Hara. She died in 1911, not a year after the death of her older sister Malinda. Like Malinda, she died at their home, 527 Baltic St. Pneumonitis appears to be lung inflammation, and asthemia is something about "weakness." This death certificate is the only record I've been able to find that Mary ever lived. Poor girl. Her death must have been particularly difficult on her parents, given that it was so soon after the death of their other daughter.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Oct. 29, 1910 - Malinda O'Hara's Death Certificate

The City of New York
Health Department
Malinda O’Hara
No. of Certificate: 21332
Sex: Female
Color: White
Age: 5 yrs, 6 mos
Single, Widowed, Married, or Divorced: Single
Occupation: no
Birthplace: US
How long in US (if of foreign birth): Life
How long resident in City of New York: Life
Place of Death: 527 Baltic St.
Character of Premises: Ten
Father’s Name: John O’Hara
Father’s Birthplace: Ire.
Mother’s Maiden Name: Mary King
Mother’s Birthplace: Ire
I hereby certify that I attended the deceased from Oct. 27th 1910 to Oct. 29th 1910, that I last saw her alive on the 29th day of Oct 1910, that she died on the 29th day of Oct. 1910, about 10 o’clock PM, and that, to the best of my knowledge and belief, the cause of her death was as follows:
Scarlet Fever
Acute Nephritis
Witness my hand this 30th day of Oct. 1910
(Signature) Eugene J. Kenny MD
(Residence) 291 Prospect Pl
Place of Burial Holy Cross
Date of Burial Oct 30 1910
Undertaker Peter Farrell & Sons
Place of Business 201 Third Av
The above is a transcription of Malinda O'Hara's death certificate. (The bolded terms are what was filled in on the form, while the unformatted font is the standard text on the form.) She died October 29, 1910, of Scarlet Fever, Nephritis (kidney failure), and Asthemia, an archaic term whose definition I'm unsure of. I was a little shaken to see that she died of Scarlet Fever; I had Scarlet Fever when I was not much older than she. I guess it's not usually fatal anymore, but it's unsettling to know that my. . .let's see, my great-great-aunt. . .died of something that I once survived. They were still living on Baltic St. at the time, as they had been mere months before when she was recorded on the 1910 census.

Monday, May 25, 2009

We interrupt this broadcast. . .

I've been concentrating on the O'Haras for a few days, because I have lots of records stored up that I haven't ever uploaded. However, I noticed today that the 1865 New York State Census was up on FamilySearch's Pilot Site. I've been traveling and moving and unpacking all day, but I've tried to page through (since the records are unindexed) in every free moment. Finally, at 9 at night, success! I've found the Toners! They're on the right-hand page of that image, the only family listed on the top part.

A few interesting things, bulleted because I'm short on time this evening:

  • They live in a brick house worth $2,000. (If I knew more general history of the time, I'd perhaps be able to shed some light on what that said about their general material well-being.)
  • Both Julia and Mary Ann, at ages 15 and 13, are employed, "sewing."
  • Mary has given birth to 8 children. Only 7 are listed, and James Thomas is one of them. That means someone else died young, someone we haven't yet discovered.
  • James Thomas is listed as James T., which I assume means he was actually called James Thomas. That's kind of cute.
  • James Thomas was 1 and a half years old when the census was taken, which means he was about 2 1/2 when he died in August of 1866.
  • Infuriatingly, this census lists an older woman, named Julia Toner, age listed as 60 (um, she was 63 five years ago!), who is listed as the mother of the head of household. I THOUGHT RICHARD'S MOTHER WAS JUDITH! Why, when Richard died, was she listed in her death notice as the mother of Richard Toner? I am increasingly convinced that, for some reason, the Toners used the names Judith and Julia interchangeably. Argh argh argh argh argh. Who was Richard's mother?
  • Anyway, this Julia, supposedly Richard's mother, is listed as widowed, the mother of 4 children. So it seems possible that Richard had 3 siblings.
  • Richard has been naturalized. Early naturalization records rarely had much information (later ones can be treasure troves), but there's another record I'd like to see one day.
That's what I've got. I'm excited, but quite frustrated by this constant Judith-Julia conflation.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

1910 Census - O'Haras at 527 Baltic St.

This is the 1910 Census of the O'Hara living at 527 Baltic St. They're the last family on the page. Since we've last seen them, we know they've returned to Ireland and then come back again. We know this through family stories - Grandpa JJ telling us that he got teased for his Irish accent when he got back, and that his last memory of Ireland was being sent up the hill to the post office to mail a letter. We also know that Patrick was born there, though that is (incorrectly) not evident on this census.

The family is listed as John, 41; Mary, 35 (she's only aged about 8 years in the last 10); John Jr., 13; Eugene, whose age is hard to read, but who should be about 11; Patrick, 8; and Malinda, 6. There are also "boarders," John and Martin King, though I'm nearly certain that these are Mary's brothers.

The younger sister Mary is not on this census. I plan to post her death certificate next; I know this girl existed. Why isn't she on the census now? She should be about 2, and won't die (of Pneumonia) for another year. Her baptismal record also wasn't on file at St. Augustine's which it should have been, since she was born while they were living in the area (unless they moved out and back within 5 years, which, of course, is not impossible). I know she lived a short life, a mere three years, but there should still be more evidence of her existence than her death certificate and a memory passed on through Uncle Jack and Uncle Ted. Mary the mother is also listed as having only given birth to 4 children, which simply isn't true, unless her age was misrecorded on her death certificate (the difference between being 1 year old and being 3 years old is huge).

All the adults are listed as having been born in Ireland, while all the children are listed as having been born in NY, although this is not true; we know Patrick was born in Ireland. Now John and Mary both say they immigrated in 1891, which is different from the answer they gave ten years ago. John has been naturalized (Mary probably is, too, by marriage, though I'm not sure of the laws relating to this at the time). John and Martin King say they immigrated (possibly together?) in 1907, and are not naturalized. John O'Hara is listed as a stableman at a livery stable (which is similar to his earlier occupation of coachman), while John King is an Engineer for a Gas Co. and Martin is a fireman at a Gas Co. All the kids had attended school in the past year, except for Malinda. They rent their home.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

1900 Census - O'Haras at 253 Clinton Ave

Here's the earliest O'Hara family census I've found. In 1900, the O'Haras lived at 253 Clinton Ave. John, age 31, says he was born in February 1869, and Mary E., 28, says she was born May 1872. Their two eldest boys, John J and Eugene, are 3 and 1 and their birthdates are given as June 1896 and December 1898. John and Mary say they've been married 5 years, which means they married some time around 1895. Mary's only given birth to the 2 children now living. They say they immigrated in 1890 and 1889, which means they were probably married in the United States. I'll be looking for further records of that. John has naturalized; the problem with relatives named John O'Hara is that 345209 other men named John O'Hara also lived in Brooklyn, and were also naturalized between 1890 and 1900. (That is why I focused my early efforts on relatives with names like Veronica Mulvaney - people I didn't have to pick out of a haystack.) I'd love to find those records, though. Neither boy has attended school in the past year. (They're 1 and 3. Duh.) They rent, rather than own, their home. John is a coachman, and both parents can read, write, and speak English.

They also, though, spoke Irish, according to Uncle Jack:

My grandparents did speak Irish but not when they came to the US. I never heard them speak in Irish. However, a story told by my grandmother: My Grandfather used to play Eueka (an Irish card game). His partner also spoke Irish. Their two opponents did not speak Irish. My Grandfather and his partner would converse in Irish about their game strategy. Alas, an Irish trick.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Malinda O'Hara Baptismal Certificate

So I've focused on the Mulcahy-Mulvaney-Madigan-Toner-Sullivan-Cullen-Rothwell side of the family, but I've been doing research on the O'Hara-Quinn-Gillen-King and the Gatto-Lanzilotto-D'Ingeo-Occhiogrosso side of the family, too, and I'd like to start including some of those records, as well.

Grandpa JJ, you may or may not know, had two younger sisters who died around 1910. Their names were Mary and Malinda. Just this morning, I received an e-mail from the church the O'Haras were attending in 1905, when Malinda was born, which is St. Augustine's in Brooklyn.

Malinda O'Hare
Born: April 6, 1905
Date of Baptism: April 16, 1905
Parents: John O'Hare and Mary King
Godparents: John King and Malinda McGlone

It appears that Malinda was named after her god-mother, who was, I assume, either a very close friend or a relative; maybe John or Mary had a sister named Malinda who married a McGlone? Her god-father is almost certainly her maternal uncle, Mary's brother. He was living with them in 1910, along with another brother (we assume), Martin King.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Irish Names: Julia

So it's not strictly an Irish name. But Julia has been the most genealogically relevant name in my Irish family history search, and the stories about it run through the ages.

I could have asked anyone what Nana's mother's name was and gotten an answer, but I was at the very beginning of genealogy - before I'd even begun asking questions - when I came across a copy of Nana's death certificate, which listed her parents as Julia Toner and Patrick Mulvaney, both born in New York.

"Oh, cool," I thought.

I had an easy time finding Julia and Patrick on in 1900, and 1910, and Julia and kids in 1920 and 1930, after Patrick had died. My searches yielded an 1880 result for a Julia Toner, of the proper age, in Manhattan, parents John and Mary.

"That's probably her," I thought.

Some time later, I ordered Julia's death certificate, which told me that her parents' names were Richard Toner and Mary Cullen, and so I started a new search, and quickly found the Toners in 1860 - Richard, Mary, Julia (9), Mary Ann (8), Samuel (6), Elizabeth (5), Louisa (3), William (9 m), and another Julia (63).

"Awww. . . Julia was named after her paternal grandmother!" I thought.

"But. . . this Julia is a full 19 years older than our Julia."

Now, occasionally a woman in Julia's family would lie about her age. This I know well. But 19 years. . . 19 years is a lot! She would have had to be bearing children well into her 60s. There were no fertility treatments in 1910, after all.

And then in the 1870 census, both of these Julias had disappeared. The Julia who had been 9 was gone entirely, and the Julia who had been 63 appeared to have been replaced by an 85-year-old named Judith. There was a new toddler, also named Judith, two years old.

Where was Julia? Had she grown up, married, and moved out by 19? Had she died?

And what of the elder Julia? Was she the same person as this even-older Judith?

And if so, does that mean Julias and Judiths are interchangeable or easily confused in the Toner family?

Could Judith the toddler be Julia my great-great-grandmother?

Death records proved that Richard's mother was Judith Toner. I have no idea whether the older Julia was the same person as Judith, mis-recorded, or whether Julia was someone else entirely.

I searched the Brooklyn Daily Eagle Online for "Julia + Toner," hoping to find evidence of my great-great-grandmother doing anything. Being born, getting married, attending a picnic. I was dying to know whether she was the same Julia who had been 9 in 1860, but shouldn't even have been born until 1870. These searches led me to the Julia who had been 9 in 1860, and who certainly was not my great-great-grandmother. She had died at age 16, in a cholera epidemic, along with her younger brother James Thomas, who had lived and died between census years.

My great-great-grandmother Julia Toner was certainly born. Her 9 kids didn't arrive out of thin air. I've seen her marriage certificate. She was real. Further research shows she almost certainly belonged to this Toner family. Her son was living with Elizabeth's family in 1910. She signed Louisa's death certificate in 1925, releasing the body to the undertaker. I've still never found census or birth records that show her definitively being recorded as part of this family, though she clearly lived her life amongst her sisters, especially. There remains the possibility that the Judith who was 2 in 1870 was really Julia.

Though the practice of naming children after their deceased siblings is unsettling to modern sensibilities, I think I like it. I went into this genealogy thing looking for my ancestors. Their siblings were footnotes, at best. I only discovered the story of big sister Julia's life because she had the same name as little sister Julia my great-great-grandmother. Little sister Julia's life would have been remembered; at least her DNA lives on in my family members and I. Big sister Julia's life and memory would have died with her. By proxy, I found James Thomas, whose life would have gone not only unremembered but also virtually unrecorded, as he missed the census years.

When Richard and Mary decided to name their youngest (to my knowledge) after their eldest (to my knowledge), they ensured that her name would live on in infamy.

And infamy it would be.

In the 1960s, my grandparents, pregnant with one of my aunts, put names in a hat, and had my dad pick one out. Julia - my grandmother's grandmother's name - was one of the choices. (My dad picked Gail.)

Fast forward 30-odd years. We're in Eileen's kitchen, at a family party of some sort, and the above story, - the picking names out of a hat story - is told. My mother proceeds to mightily offend Gail by exclaiming, upon hearing the choices that had gone into the hat, "You couldn't have at least picked Julia?!"

(And here's where we pray my parents continue their practice of ignoring the fact that I have a blog. Don't want to give them heart attacks, after all. . .)

Fast forward to the present day. I begin doing genealogy, and am one day talking about the relatives I've discovered. My boyfriend - whose taste in names and mine don't necessarily agree - hears me mention my great-great-grandmother Julia and remarks that he likes that name. Hmm. . . I like it, too. Might Julia be a name that continues to live on in the family?

Fast forward to the future. . . ?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Thomas Murphy and Mary Toner

Again, from the "Old Fulton Postcards" newspaper website, here's some information that I think sheds light on one more of Julia Toner Mulvaney's sisters. We know one married a man named Murphy, because their sons were living with the Mulvaneys in 1910. We didn't know which sister that was, though, Mary or Judith (though I do sometimes think that Judith is actually Julia - but that's neither here nor there). I've just come across, though, this news item about young people attending the Verona Coterie, in 1877, when Mary Toner would have been about 25 years old. She appears to have attended this dance accompanied by Thomas Murphy. Aw, courtship.

Last evening the Verona Coterie held another
of their select reunions at the residence of
their President, Mr. William Gregg, corner of Van
Brunt and Verona streets. It was in every respect
an enjoyable affair, and, reflected 'great
credit upon the management. Among those present,
were Mr. John Curran, Mr. Thomas Sheridan
Mr. Michael Coffey, Mr. Thomas Converry and Miss
Mary Hayes, Mr. James Bond and .Miss Mary Idston,
Mr. James Ennls and Miss Bella Sweeney, Mr.
John McAuliffe and Miss Elizabeth Curran, Mr.
Thomas Murphy and Miss Mary Toner, Mr. Frank
Woods and Miss Jenny Briordy, Mr. James Downey
and wife. Captain Harris and Wife and Mr. James
Roche and lady. The officers of the Association
are; President, Mr. William Gregg; Vice President,
Mr. John Devoy; Recording Secretary, Mr.. James
Bona.; Treasurer, Mr. Thomas Converry.
[emphasis mine]
It now looks like the fortunes of the Toner children were as follows:
Julia (1) - died of cholera at 16
Mary Ann - married Thomas Murphy, had 4 children, died before they were all grown
Samuel - died suddenly at age 18
Elizabeth - married Thomas Loughlin, had several children, was widowed, married Thomas Renehan, took in Willie Mulvaney for an unspecified period of time, died in 1925
Louisa - married Mr. Deegan, died in 1918
William - was a troublesome teen, cut school at least once, may have died around the turn of the century (that's the next death certificate on my list)
Judith - unknown
James Thomas - died of cholera in 1866, at age 6 or younger
Julia (2) - married Patrick Mulvaney, had numerous children, raised 5 to adulthood, died in 1938

Monday, May 18, 2009

Harold Mulvaney's Obituary

I found a site that searches PDF versions of later editions of the Eagle than are available at the Brooklyn Public Library's digitized site. Because they're PDFs, I can't post the actual images, but here's the text of Harold Mulvaney's obituary from 1933:

MULVANEY—On Aug. 25, 1933,
HAROLD, beloved son of Julia
Toner Mulvaney; brother of Mrs.
Stephen Kessell, Mrs. John Daniels,
Mrs. Joseph Mulcahy, James, captain
New York Fire Department,
Hook and'Ladder Company, No. 20;
Thomas, fireman attached to Hook
and Ladder, No. 109. Funeral Tuesday
at 9:30 a.m. from his residence,
270 Van Brunt St.; thence to the
R. C. Church of the Visitation,
where a requiem mass will be
offered. Interment Holy Cross

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Brooklyn Cabmen Need Not Shave

From the April 10, 1893 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle:

Right around when Matthew Madigan died (we think) the family business had to deal with yet another unsettling potential change. It appears that New York cabmen were under pressure to shave their facial hair. Brooklyn cabmen (which the Madigans were) seem to have ignored the order completely.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Luck, Deduction, and Using All the Sources I Can Get My Hands On (via the internet)

Last week, I had to pull an all-nighter in order to finish a History paper by the deadline. If you know me at all, you'll know that that means that at 3 am, I was taking breaks after every paragraph to do super-quick (in theory) genealogy searches. I'd go to the Brooklyn Genealogy Information Page, choose a category, and then a page, and then do quick searches through the page for names in our family. Imagine my delight when, on the page relating 1893 Court News, I found a reference to a letter of administration "granted upon the estate of" Mathew Madigan.

I quickly copied it into an e-mail to myself and went on with my work. (Suuuuure I did.)

It was really an extraordinary bit of luck to come across it. The Brooklyn Genealogy Page is composed of transcriptions done by individuals, so it is not by any means complete. They don't have court news for every year; they don't have court news for every day of 1893. Luckily for us, they happen to have court news for April 10, 1893, which happens to be the day that the Brooklyn Daily Standard Union reported on the letter of administration for a Mathew Madigan.

Is he our Matthew Madigan? I think so.

I went back into's Brooklyn City Directory database, and looked at the Madigans for the early '90s. (I love that genealogy means I can refer to the 1890s as the '90s in a context where other people will understand to what I am actually referring.)

1892 - Matahew Madigan, driver, h 85 Luquer St.
1893 - Matthew Madigan, carman, h 85 Luquer St.
1894 (drumroll, please!) - Jas. Madigan, truckman, h 85 Luquer St.

Could it be a coincidence? Yes. But while I do some more research, I'm banking on the fact that Matthew Madigan died in early April (late March?) 1893, and that his son James. took over the family business afterwards. Here's the relevant page of 1894's Brooklyn City Directory:

No Matthew, but James is a truckman at 85 Luqueer. What does this mean? Apparently, that Matthew was living at 85 Luqueer right up until he died. We're left to wonder how on Earth his kids from his first marriage got the house and his second wife and five-year-old daughter ended up around the corner.

The next stop, of course, is to look at the actual records! I believe they're available either at the NY Municipal Archives in Manhattan or at the Brooklyn Supreme Court Building; I'll have to call to double check. I don't know quite what a letter of administration would include, or what other records would be associated with it, but I sure can't wait to find out!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Strawberries and Cream with Papa

After one of Laura's several NYU graduation ceremonies this week (she's officially an alum as of this afternoon!) we went out to dinner at a place called Un Deux Trois (which used to be called Les Madeleine, we learned, after spending an hour searching for Les Madeleine). After an enjoyable dinner, we ordered dessert; Mom got fresh strawberries with whipped cream. A taste brought Dad back to being 8 years old, maybe younger, in Lake George, probably the last time Papa was able to vacation with them. Dad had never had strawberries and cream before, and certainly never when they ate them - right after breakfast!

Monday, May 11, 2009

I'm such a good influence!

Ben just started his own genealogy blog! Check it out: The Naylor Genes.

(Apparently, genealogy nerds attract each other. What can I say? He's a cute nerd.)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

What's in a Name?

In the interest of reaching more people with this blog, and of hopefully encountering some more distant relatives on the internet (because of how glad I am to have "met" my cousins Maureen and Barbara online), I've decided to start interacting a little more with other genealogy bloggers. Apparently, there are lots of them! And imagine my surprise when, looking into some genealogy blog carnivals, I discovered that the upcoming Carnival of Irish Heritage & Culture is the What's in a Name edition! For those who don't know, names are a big hobby of mine, and so this looks like the perfect place to start.

The call for submissions reads like so:

Share with us the surnames in your Irish family tree, but don't just stop
there. Do a little research and tell us the origin of one or more of those
surnames, the stories of how they might have changed over the years, or tales of
how they've been mixed up and mispelled, etc.

Want to focus on your family's given names instead? Share with us the story
of your ancestors' Irish first names (given at birth or nicknamed later), the
"grandparent" nicknames in your Irish family tree, or any other Irish name
stories that you'd like to share.

Oh, the possibilities! All the name stories we could tell! I mean, heck, my name is Katie Scarlett O'Hara. That's an Irish name story in and of itself! There's also the interesting fact of Nana being called "Sister" by her family. And who remembers when Laura, in one day, went from being Rory to Laura? Or when Jojo began insisting that his name was, well, Jojo? We know - or think we know - that Mary Ann Madigan called her father-in-law "the Raine Druid" because of his red hair. On top of that is the fact that Uncle Jack just told me he's pretty sure our family name was O'Hora, not O'Hara, not to mention the story of why the name O'Hara got Pop laughed at in Japan - and how that came back to help me get my brown belt in Judo. I know that Dad wasn't named after Pop because Pop had a horror of the designations "Big Bill" and "Little Bill," and that Gerard was in consideration for his name, too.

But there's one name that seems to have a lot of onomastic stories attached, one name whose name itself is interesting, genealogically related, and provides, I think, lots of fodder for posts. Anyone care to hazard a guess?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Yeah, what ARE they for?

Why I like Ben more than Laura*:

[I'm reading comments on the last post]

Ben, looking over my shoulder: Wow, do people really read your blog?
Me: Apparently a couple actually do.
Ben: I mean, I know I read it--
Me: You do?
Ben: Of course. What are boyfriends for, if not to read your genealogy blog?

*And of course, it's safe to say so, because Ben actually does (apparently) read my blog, and Laura actually does not.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Bet that got the gossips talking!

This is the 1900 Census of Elizabeth Toner Loughlin Renehan's family. Let's review a little history, shall we? Elizabeth was born in Brooklyn, circa 1855; married Thomas Loughlin by 1876; had an as of yet undetermined number of children, among them Charles Thomas, who died at 8 months, Thomas, Katherine, and John; was widowed; married Thomas Renahan; had little Willie Mulvaney live with her for an undetermined period of time.

Click on the above census image, so you can see it full-size. Peruse it. The Loughlins are about 3/4 of the way down the page. Let's see if your reaction was anything like mine.

Mine went something like this:

"Oh, there's Elizabeth. Oh, there are her kids, Thomas, John, William, and Catherine. William's new to me. Oh, and there's the boarder. . . Thomas Renehan?! What's he doing there? They're not married yet!"

Now, I think we have to consider the time, and the fact that Elizabeth had 4 young children, and assume that she was not, in fact, living in sin with her boyfriend before they made it legal. I think we can safely - though not definitely - consider that the situation was one in which Elizabeth, was a respectable widow taking in boarders to make ends meet, one of whom was the equally respectable Thomas Renehan, a good provider who could take care of the family. Still, would it have been scandalous to get engaged to your boarder?

According to this census, Elizabeth was born in February 1860. That can't be true, if she was 5 in 1860. She has given birth to 11 children, 4 of whom are still living. Her son Thomas is 18, born in August, 1881. He's a coachman. John E., 15, was born in 1884. He's a day laborer. William, 13, was born in July, 1886. He's attending school. Catherine, 6, was born in March 1894. Thomas Renehan, the boarder, who would be the husband within 4 years (according to the 1910 census), is 40 years old and was born in 1860. (The month looks like it says "Afer," and I have no idea what it is supposed to be.) He, too, is a day laborer. He was born in Ireland, and immigrated to the US 29 years ago (I'm having trouble reading the year of immigration). He's a naturalized citizen.

Elizabeth rents the house.