Saturday, July 25, 2009

It's gorgeous out!

And that explains why posting's been so slow lately. When all it did was rain for weeks on end, I spent most of my free time inside, on the computer, doing internet genealogy. Now that it's sunny again, I'm working on getting my Vitamin D levels back up where they should be. I have, however, had some genealogical luck, and hope to see more on the horizon. At work yesterday, I was able to make copies of the naturalization papers of both great-grandpa Gatto and of Matthew Madigan. I'll try to scan those (I'm terrible at using a scanner) and post the actual images soon. I've also been alerted, via Dick's Genealogy and History Corner, that the 1905 NYS Census is online at the pilot! It's not indexed, only available for browsing, so it may be a good long time before anything comes of it, for me, but I'm very excited!

Anyway, back to the sun for me!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday - Roches and Rickerts

When I talked to Betty and John a few weeks ago about my plans to go to Holy Cross and go grave-hunting, John said he thought the Roches and the Rickerts were buried there. He said he wasn't sure, but there was a tombstone for Roches and Rickerts in Holy Cross and he assumed it had to be related to our Roches and Rickerts.

I thought that was weird. He just knew that there happened to be a Roche/Rickert gravestone in Holy Cross? It's not a small cemetery - it's impressive to find a gravestone you weren't looking for, even if, as John told me, he did work there during college.

But then, a week and a half ago, as I pulled into Holy Cross and made a left turn, this stone - placed conveniently on the corner and with the last names in big, bold, block letters - screamed at me! "Roche! Rickert!" it yelled. "We're right here!" I pulled over in a hurry and jumped out of the car. They are, without a doubt, our Roches and Rickerts. The Roches are parents Michael and Bridget, and their children, John Roche, Michael Roche, and Johanna Roche Madigan. (That it's spelled "Joanna" here leads me to believe that potentially, she really did use that spelling.) Not listed is Mary, the younger daughter, who died sometime after age 10, which was her age on the 1880 census. The Rickerts are Johanna's only surviving child, Loretta Madigan Rickert (I never had a date of death for her - this gives it as February 8, 1978) and her husband, Joseph J. Rickert, who, according to this, died August 22, 1961.

The inscription confused me for a few minutes - it seemed to be saying that it marked the burial of the Roches and their "dear parents," the Rickerts. That's actually quite the opposite of what's the case, and in reality - as far as I can tell - the monument was erected by the Rickert children (Elizabeth, Fr. Joseph, and Fr. Gene), thus the reference to their "dear parents."

One other interesting absence is that of Johanna's husband, and Loretta's father, Matthew Madigan. Matthew was buried at Calvary, not Holy Cross. No mention, too, of whether their other (at least) 2 children, Josephine and Matthew, are buried here, or whether they were buried with their father, their deaths being much closer in time to his.

I was surprised, initially, to find that Johanna wasn't buried with Matthew. The more I think about it, though, the more it makes sense. She was married to him for less than 10 years. Probably closer to 5. She never remarried. She lost 3 of her 4 children very young. She lived another 30 years raising her one surviving daughter alone - likely very much with the help of her family, with whom she seems to have been close. I imagine Johanna and Loretta being a little like Lorelei and Rory in the Gilmore Girls. Matthew was dead by the time Loretta was 5. Father and husband though he was, what kind of influence might he have had on their lives in those 30 years after his death?

That was my rambling, discursive Tombstone Tuesday post, that I'll try to squeeze in under the deadline so it still qualifies for Tuesday.

Friday, July 17, 2009


Via Fulton History, from the Brooklyn Eagle on Friday, November 8, 1901:

housework In a small family, by a girl. Call on
Mrs. QUINN. 332 Bergen st; top flat; no cards.

Hmm. . . in 1901, there's a girl in the Quinn household (they were living at 332 Bergen in the 1900 census) who's in need of a situation. Nora/Agnes would have been about 6, and Molly and Helen both much younger; certainly, even at the turn of the last century, you didn't hire out 6 year olds, did you? Or did you?

It occurs to me that this is much more likely to be an ad for the mysterious Anna, who would have been about 14 at the time, to go to work doing housework for a family.

We're beginning to know a good deal about this girl, although we don't yet know who she is.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Harold Mulvaney Death Notice

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

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

WANTED - Washing or Day's Work

From the Tuesday, August 25, 1914 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, again via Fulton History:

WANTED — Washing or Day's Work.
WISH to do washing; to take home by
day. Mrs. QUINN, 1450 Fulton st, top

Mary Gillen Quinn's husband Hugh had died 8 months earlier, and it seems she was taking in washing to make ends meet. Her daughters would have been aged 19, 17, and 14; surely at least Agnes and Molly were working, too, if they haven't already moved out and married (Molly hadn't; I'm not sure about when Agnes married). Agnes had already been working as a saleslady in a department store when she was 15 in 1910.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday - Hugh J. Quinn

This weekend was my first genealogical trip to a cemetery. I went to Holy Cross Cemetery in Brooklyn, where a significant number of my relatives are buried. It was a very pleasant day, sunny, breezy, quiet - but not particularly genealogically fruitful. Since it costs a nice little fortune to request anymore than a gravesite location in Catholic cemetery in the Brooklyn diocese, and I'm a poor graduate student working part-time, I figured I'd skip that part and hope that the stones themselves would provide me some information. I ended up with pictures, but no information. Still worth going, I think. So I'll post the gravestones I found at intervals, starting with that of Hugh J. Quinn, Grandma Molly's father and my great-great-grandfather, who died in 1914.

The location inscription indicates that this stone represents 2 graves, so I imagine that he is interred with his wife, Mary Gillen Quinn, as well as, potentially, others. Maybe his hypothetical first wife? (Remember, he appears to have a daughter named Anna who considerably predates his marriage to Mary Gillen.) Children? Siblings? Who knows.

What's very clear, of course, is that his name, undeniably, was QUINN. No questions there.

Visiting a cemetery was a little different than I expected. I was there for genealogy. You know, research stuff. And the next thing I knew, I was feeling profoundly connected to these people, my relatives, being physically in the same place as they are. I said more prayers than I took notes.

It was totally worth it.

Monday, July 13, 2009

James Mulvaney, Hero

I'm embedding another page from the Brooklyn Daily Eagle here, again via Fulton History. On this one, if you'll scroll to the right and down towards the bottom, you'll see an article about firemen receiving medals for heroism on the job. Among these is our own James Mulvaney, Nana's older brother and Maureen's grandfather. Apparently he and several others saved two of their fellow firefighters who had gotten trapped inside a burning building!

James Mulvaney Article

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Michael Mulcahy Obituary

Michael Mulcahy
Michael Mulcahy of 85 Luqueer
street, a retired liquor dealer of the
old Twelfth Ward, where he was in
business for many years, died Saturday,
after a brief illness, and the
funeral will be held tomorrow morning
at 9:30 o'clock, with a requiem
mass in the R. C Church of St. Mary
Star of the Sea, of which deceased was
an old member. The interment will be
in Holy Cross Cemetery. Mr. Mulcahy
was born in Limerick, Ireland, and
settled in South Brooklyn in his early
youth. He was a member of the
Catholic Benevolent Legion. He is
survived by seven sons and two

Sometimes you get caught up seeing how far you can take your genealogical pursuits laterally that you forget to look for your direct antecedents. I just came across an obituary for Michael Mulcahy, my great-great-grandfather, that gives quite a personal picture of his life. Little phrases - "where he was in business for many years," "of which the deceased was an old member," "in his early youth" lend some personality and the adjectives really point out that these were things considered worth mentioning about him. The obituary appeared in the January 22, 1917 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, and it was found via Fulton History.

Who's Nora O'Donnell Loftus?

In the Saturday, June 3, 1916 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, via Fulton History, it's listed that a marriage license was granted to a (this is difficult to read) James Loftus, 25, of 151 Baltic St., and a Nora O'Donnell, 24, of 1450 Fulton St. This is the address that the Quinn family were living at two years earlier when Hugh Quinn died. The reason I think it might be relevant is that, some 6 years earlier, in 1910, the Quinns had a nephew living with them - one Hugh O'Donnell.

Interesting, perhaps.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Death of Fr. Alphonse Rickert, May 29, 1940

RICKERT—On Wednesday, May
29, 1940, at St. Bernard's Rectory,
651 Hicks St., REV. ALPHONSE M.
RICKERT, chaplain of the Catholic
Seamen's Institute of Brooklyn;
beloved brother of Joseph J., Frank
J. Rickert, Mrs. Lawrence J. Maier,
Sister Therese Marie of Maryknoll
and Sister Margaret Elizabeth, S.S.J.
Remains will lie in state at St. Bernard's
Church until 9:30 am Saturday. Divine
office and solemn mass of requiem 10:30
am at St. James Pro-cathedral.
Interment Holy Cross Cemetery.

From the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, via Fulton History.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Marriage of Loretta Madgan and Joseph Rickert

OR, How I'm So Good at Deduction

First, let me post the transcription of Loretta and Joseph Rickert's marriage certificate:

State of New York
Certificate and Record of Marriage
No. of Certificate 4084
Joseph J. Rickert and A. Loretta Madigan
Groom’s Residence: 40 4th Pl.
Age: 28
Color: W
Single, Widowed, or Divorced: S
Occupation: Salesman
Birthplace: Gutenberg, NJ
Father’s Name: Michael
Mother’s Maiden Name: Elizabeth Baker
Number of Groom’s Marriage: 1st
Bride’s Residence: 75 4th Pl.
Age: 27
Color: W
Single, Widowed, or Divorced: S
Maiden Name, if a Widow: --
Birthplace: Brooklyn
Father’s Name: Matthew
Mother’s Maiden Name: Joanna Roche
Number of Bride’s Marriage: 1st
I hereby certify that the above-named groom and bride were joined in Marriage by me, in accordance with the Laws of the State of New York, at St. Bernard’s Church, in th Borough of Brooklyn, City of New York, this 20th of April, 1915.

Signature of the person performing the Ceremony: James J. Kunz
Official Station: Clergyman
Residence: 651 Hicks St.
Witnesses to the Marriage:
William J. Rickert
Irene A. Deveney
We hereby certify that we are the Groom and Bride named in the Certificate, and that the information given therein is correct, to the best of our knowledge and belief.

Joseph J. Rickert, Groom
A. Loretta Madigan, Bride
Signed in the presence of

William J. Rickert
Irene A. Deveney
Now, what I think is so cool about this is that is totally backs up everything I've said lately. Well, two things, at least. Or, almost two things.

Remember when I hypothesized that Elizabeth Rickert's maiden name was Baker, because that was the last name of her nephew William, whose father had been born in the same state (PA) as she had? Well lookie here! Elizabeth's maiden name was Baker! Sometimes, I feel so freakin' smart!

And remember when I hypothesized that maybe Loretta's name was either Anna Loretta Madigan Rickert or Loretta Anna Madigan Rickert? This record, where she signs her name A. Loretta Madigan reinforces that a little more, I think, than all the many references to a Loretta A. Madigan.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

First comes Love, then comes Marriage, then comes a Bermuda Honeymoon!

63 years ago this week, Nan and Pop were on their honeymoon in Bermuda. After being married on July 7, 1956, at the Church of St. Vincent Ferrer in Brooklyn, with Uncle Ted and Nan's best friend Nancy Budd as witnesses, they clearly left for Bermuda, as they were on their way back to New York 9 days later. Their ship, the Queen of Bermuda, sailed July 16 and arrived in New York on the 18th. If they left immediately after the wedding, and sailed 2 days on either end of the trip, they had a week-long honeymoon vacation at their destination. I imagine that the designation "5 HB" in the column for baggage means that between them they had 5 pieces of handbaggage, but I'm just guessing on that.

Happy Anniversary

Just hours late, in honor of what would have been Nan and Pop's 63rd anniversary, here's my favorite picture of them when they were young. I had to pull this picture off an old CD, so there should be more where this came from soon, now that I've got this CD out. It's undated, so I don't know whether it's from their courtship or their early married life, but would you just look at how happy she is! And how he looks at her!

That's a beautiful bathing suit, too. I've been looking for a pretty, stylish, one-piece suit, considering more of my free time these days goes to genealogy than to exercise (though clearly no such concerns were behind Nan's decision to wear that suit). I love how it's pretty, flattering, and feminine, yet more modest than most of what's available in the pretty and feminine department for women my age these days.

Joseph Mulcahy Promoted to NYPD Sergeant

Some time ago, one of the Griffins sent me this image of a newspaper clipping from the 1936 article about the results of the Civil Service Examinations for NYPD Sergeant. There were only 37 spots available, for the 1,345 men who passed out of 5,342 who took the test. Papa, Joseph E. Mulcahy, had the 3rd highest score, behind only Joseph M. E. Mallon and John E. Godfrey. I've had this saved for some time, but am only just remembering to post old documents now that I've figured out how to use Scribd.

Joseph Mulcahy 1936 Sergeant's Exam

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Real Anna Rickert, 12/29/1937

This one is definitely Anna Rickert, Joseph's sister. She died December 28, 1937, at her brother Joseph's home. Apparently, 2 of their sisters became nuns. It's a pity we can't tell which ones, of course. The Rickert children included 1 priest, Alphonse, and 2 nuns, and the next generation produced at least two priests, as well - Loretta and Joseph's sons Joseph and Eugene were both priests. What a blessed family!

Anna Rickert
A solemn requiem mass will be
held Friday at 10 a.m. for Anna
Rickert, who died suddenly yesterday
at the home of her brother,
Joseph J. Rickert, 341 President St.,
in the St. Agnes R. C. Church, Hoyt
and Sackett Sts.
Miss Rickert, who was a practical
nurse, and a lifelong resident of
Brooklyn, is survived by three broth-
ers, Rev. Alphonse M. Rickert,
head of the Catholic Seamen's Institute,
Joseph J. and Frank . J .
Rickert; and three sisters, Sister
Therese Marie of Maryknoll, Sister
Margaret Elizabeth, S.S.J., and Mrs.
Lawrence J. Maier. Interment will
be in Holy Cross Cemetery.

This shows that of the Rickert siblings, only August A. had died by 1937. The 8 of them were 4 girls and 4 boys; of the boys, Alphonse, Joseph, and Frank survived through 1937, and other than Anna, all three of the girls were still alive, though we don't know - yet - who was Mrs. Lawrence Maier, who was Sr. Therese Marie, and who was Sr. Margaret Elizabeth.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Vacation Stories!

This week, I'm away in Rhode Island, on our annual 4th of July vacation. In my absence, I'll regale you with a family vacation story.

When I sent Uncle Joe the pictures that Maureen sent me from the James Mulvaney family, he called me up, and, among other things, the story of the time they met James on their way out to Breezy Point. A bus from the city would drop people off, and those people would catch rides out to Breezy Point with people heading that way.

There are two versions of this story:

According to Uncle Joe, he was in the car with Nana and Papa, and they saw James and pulled over to give him a ride. Because they were generally catching rides with strangers, he didn't give any thought to whose car he was getting in. He didn't notice who else was in the car until Nana said, "Hello, Jimmy." He was surprised. "Oh! Hello Sister."*

According to Aunt Betty, this event happened when she was in the car with Nana and Papa and a friend of hers. They saw Jimmy and pulled over to give him a ride. He was aware of whose car he was getting into, but when he did, he motioned towards Betty and her friend in the back seat and asked, "So which one's my niece?"

*All of her siblings always called Nana "Sister." She was the baby of the family, and it was the vestiges of having called her "Little Sister" when she was a child.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Rickert Family in 1910

Here's Joseph Rickert's family when he was growing up. They're living at 118 Third Place. His parents were Michael and Elizabeth C. Rickert, and his many siblings were Anna M., b. 1894; August A., b. 1895; Francis J., b. 1889; Clara A., 1892; Alphonse M., b. 1894; Mary E., b. 1895; and Julia E., b. 1899. They also live with two of their cousins, Michael's nephew William J. Rickert and Elizabeth's nephew William B. Baker. Both parents were born in Pennsylvania, of German descent, and, interestingly, all the children were born in NY except Joseph, who was born in NJ. Other records I've come across suggest that some of his siblings were born in Buffalo, NY not in NYC. Michael is a Boatman for "Harbor Boating," Anna seems to be listed a "Costumer" at a store, though I don't know what that means, August is a Wallpaper Salesman at a Wholesale Store, Joseph is a Clerk at a Bank, and Francis is a Canvasser for a Magazine. None of the others kids work, although William Rickert is a Porter for a Publishing Office and William Baker is Clerk at a Railroad Office. Michael is working on his "Own Account," and the rest are "Workers."

Michael and Elizabeth have been married 29 years, meaning they married around 1881. They've had 9 children, 8 of whom are still alive.

If you notice, William B. Baker's mother was born in NY and his father was born in Pennsylvania. Since he's Elizabeth's nephew, and Elizabeth was born in Pennsylvania, it's reasonable to think that he's Elizabeth's brother's son, and thus that Elizabeth's maiden name was Baker.