Monday, November 23, 2009

Gillen family, 1911 Census

This is the 1911 Irish Census return of the Gillen family in Tawnykinaffe, Pontoon, Castlebar, Co. Mayo. The head of household is Martin Gillen, 83 (b. c. 1828) and his wife, Honor Gillen, 75 (b. c. 1836). I think that Honor Gillen is Mary Nora Grimes, but no evidence on that one, yet. I'll have to look into whether Honor and Nora were related names, but it seems highly likely, don't you think? Both were born in Co. Mayo, and both are bilingual, speaking Irish and English. Martin is a retired farmer. Honor has given birth to 9 children, all still living. They've been married 54 years, meaning they were married around 1857.

Also on the returns are their son, Michael Gillen, 41, a farmer - he's probably tending the family farm from which Martin had retired; his wife, Elisa., 40, who's given birth to 8 children, all still living. They've been married 16 years. They were born, then, in 1870 and 1871, respectively, and were married around 1895. (Elisa is listed as Martin Gillen's granddaughter, but she's almost certainly actually his daughter-in-law.)

Listed as Martin's grandchildren, and so probably Michael and Elisa's children, are Mary Anne, 13 (b. 1898); Martin, 12 (b. 1899); Celia, 9 (b. 1902); Mark, 8 (b. 1903); Honor, 7 (b. 1904); Bridget, 6 (b. 1905); Ellen, 3 (b. 1908); Michael, 1 (b. 1910). Everyone from Honor up to Mary Anne are "scholars," while Bridget, Ellen, and Michael are too young to be at school.

The Mary Anne, Celia, Bridget, and Honor are certainly the Gillen girls - Mary, Celia, Bridgie, and Nora - who were being discussed on the Gillen family message board thread I've mentioned, some of whom lived with the Quinns in 1920, and Michael and Bridgie are among the "chief mourners" from Martin Gillen's death notice. That Ellen has never come up as being listed among the sisters of Mary, Celia, Bridgie, and Nora leads me to suspect she may not have lived to adulthood.

At least, that was my original reading of the return. After typing of this post, though, I looked once more at the image, and saw something I hadn't seen before. Take a close look at Line 10, Bridget's line. Is it me, or does her last name, difficult to read though it may be, seem to resemble "Grimes" more closely than "Gillen"? Grimes would have been her grandmother's maiden name, and I'm hard-pressed to figure out how it could also be her last name, if I'm reading the word correctly. Take a look and tell me what you think!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A very grateful post. . .

I'm honored to be the recipient of a Kreativ Blogger award, and grateful to Travis LeMaster of TJLGenes: Preserving Our Family History for nominating me! To earn my prize, I have to reveal 7 things you may not know about me:

1. I'm getting my Master's in Museum Studies, with a concentration in Collections Management. I should be finished this summer.

2. Both of my roommates have the same name. That name is Maggie.

3. As a general rule, I schedule all my posts to post at 6 am. I used to post them as I wrote them, and only scheduled posts when I had a lot to write at one time, and suspected I would have not so much to write at another time. Then I started to worry that people would judge me and/or worry about me when timestamps showed I was blogging at 3 am on a work night, so I figured I needed a system to disguise my irresponsibility.

4. I'm a judoka. That is, I do Judo. I'm not very good, I'm out of shape, and I haven't practiced much this semester, but I go to class when I can.

5. For a long time, I opposed iPods on moral and philosophical grounds (well, more or less). I still do, but now I'm a hypocrite, because I have one.

6. I'm a sucker for a good pun.

7. I can wiggle my ears.

And now for the 7 bloggers upon whom I bestow the Kreativ Blogger award, all either genealogy bloggers or somehow connected to MY genealogy:







Tuesday, November 17, 2009

"Death of Mr. Martin Gillen, Tawnykinaffe, Castlebar"

"With regret we record the death of above esteemed gentleman, which took place at his residence, Tawnykinaffe, on 30th January, at the ripe old age of 104 years. Deceased, notwithstanding his great age, was hale and hearty up to the time of his death, and was the possessor of a wonderful memory. It was a treat to listen to him recite legends which he heard from his father of the Irish rebellion of 1798, at which his father and two or three of his uncles joined the French forces to strike a blow for Irish freedom. He would also thrill you with tales of black ’47 (the year of the famine), when he was then a young man of 22. Hundreds of the people around his native place, and whom he knew well, died from starvation by the roadside, and in several cases were buried where they fell, there not being even a shroud or coffin to cover them. This was a time when disease and starvation were rampant in our country. But, as a lover of his native land, and its ancient language, he would tell of Castlebar a hundred years ago, which it was then a stronghold of the British and their sympathizers, and the change that has been wrought to-day, when there is not a vestige of the foreigner left. He was an ardent Catholic and died fortified by the consolations of our holy religion. His funeral took place to Turlough burial ground on Friday last, and his remains were laid to rest beside that of his late brother Thomas Gillen, Thomas Street, Castlebar, who also attained the great age of 99 years, and beneath the shadows of the ancient round tower. The chief mourners were: Michael Gillen (son); Mrs. O’Donnell (daughter); Mrs. Gillen (daughter-in-law); Michael Gillen, Bridgie Gillen, Terrence O’Donnell (grand-children); Mrs. F. Chambers, Castlebar; Mrs. J. Hopkins, Crimlin; and Mrs. T. Staunton, Tawnykinaffe (nieces). The funeral was large and very representative, Rev. Fr. Neary, P.P., Parke, officiating at the graveside."


The above is the text of a death notice that Uncle Jack sent me last week, which announces the death of Martin Gillen, Mary Gillen Quinn's father. It's not dated, but the date can be determined from the fact that Martin is said to have been 22 during the famine of '47. That means he would have been born in or around 1825, and been 104 around 1929. We can probably assume that even if the birth date is not accurate, the death date is, as the people writing the notice could surely add as well as you and I can. (Probably better, their brains not being atrophied by calculators.)

Now, how much amazing information does this include? Lots! According to the article, at least, my great-great-great-great-grandfather, Martin's father, whatever his name might have been, fought against the British during the Irish Rebellion of 1798! (That's Wolfe Tone's rebellion! Encountering these names again, years after my most recent Irish history class, is thrilling!) In all likelihood, he and his brothers fought at the Battle of Castlebar - one of the battles in which the Franco-Irish side was successful!

And a - albeit brief - personal, familial account of the Famine!

And then there are the names! Oh, the names! The usefulness of the names is diminished by the fact that only the "chief mourners" are listed, rather than all of his children and grandchildren, and thus connections to those who had immigrated to America are harder to draw. However, a very quick google brought up immensely helpful message board posts from several other people researching the Gillans (note different spelling) of Tawnykinaffe, Pontoon, Castlebar, and with the addition of this obituary, we were able to determine that we're talking about the same Gillen/Gillan family. I was familiar with Mary and Mark, who had immigrated to the US, and one of these posters was descended from Michael, listed a chief mourner, and could list others among the siblings, as well. "Mrs. O'Donnell," though we have yet to determine her first name, is very likely the mother of the Hugh O'Donnell who lived with the Quinns in 1910 and the Nora O'Donnell Loftus who was living at their address in 1916. Terrence was probably their brother. "Chief Mourner" Bridgie Gillen, according to these message board posters, had sisters Mary, Celia, and Nora - yes, that's right, the Celia and Mary who lived with the Quinns in 1920! Apparently, transatlantic distances did little to diminish the strong family ties of the Gillens!

The list of names I was given for the children of Martin Gillen include:
Mary
Mark
Martin
(all moved to America)

Michael
(stayed in Ireland)

Ellen
Terrence
(unknown)

My friendly new second cousin twice removed, though, doesn't think Ellen is "Mrs. O'Donnell," so we're still trying to figure out another sister. (I have a suspicion she might be a Bridget, but neither evidence nor hearsay has born that out yet.)

Like I said, I've been up to my eyeballs in Gillens lately! More to come!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

1920 Census - Quinn Family and the Gillens

I believe the technical, genealogical term is "on a freakin' roll." I've had Quinns - and Gillens - coming out the ears. Just you wait, honey, just you wait. The obit I'm going to post tomorrow is the one of the coolest things I've ever seen. But for now, let's go with the prosaic - but oh-so-exciting, since I've finally found it - 1920 US census of the Quinn family.


They're living at 482 Tompkins Ave. More on that soon. The name is spelled "Quin," and - compounding my difficulty searching for it - was transcribed as something along the lines of "Ovia," which doesn't even begin to resemble "Quinn" in sound. Terrence, who I usually search for, as his name is less common than the rest, was transcribed as "Terrena." But to leave that aside - Mary is the head of household. (Hugh died about 6 years ago.) Her age could say either 50 or 60, but she should be about 52, so I'm going to assume the former was intended. She says she immigrated in 1888 and and was naturalized in 1894. All of her children are still living at home:
Agnes (not Nora!) is listed as 34 years old, when she should only be 24. She's a clerk in an office.
Mary (Grandma Molly) is 22, and appears to be a "Telephone Operator" for an industry that, best I can, is "Teleflodo." That's probably incorrect. Just a guess.
Helen is 20 years old, and her occupation is really hard to make out, but my best guess is "Stenographer Typist" at an office.
Martin is 18, and his occupation appears to read not much more than "Jewelry" in a "Jewel Store."
Terrence, at 15, has no job.

And then . . .

the last member of the household is Mary Gillen, listed as Mary (Gillen) Quinn's niece. She's 22, so she's about Grandma Molly's age, and was probably born around 1898. Her immigration date is listed as "Un," presumably for "Unknown," though, as her parents didn't immigrate with her, she must have come over as a (relative) adult, and should really remember the date, give or take. She's an "Alien," not a naturalized citizen. She and her parents are Irish-born and English-speaking, and she's a clerk in an office.

Want to see something else cool?

Here's the immigration record of 1 Celia Gillen, dated 17 July 1920.


Celia is 18, so she was born around 1902. She's a "Domestic" - that is, a servant. She's Irish, and her last permanent residence was in Castlebar. Her nearest relative in Ireland is her father, Michael Gillen, of Tawnykinaffe, Castlebar. (That's in County Mayo.) She's headed for Brooklyn, NY. Now check out the next page. What relative is she going to join? Her sister, Miss Mary A. Gillen, of. . .482 Tompkins Av., Brooklyn! In other words, she's going to join her sister Mary Gillen, and her aunt, Mary Gillen Quinn, and all her cousins, the Quinns!

She plans on staying 8 years. She has a fair complexion and hair, and blue eyes, and was born in Castlebar.

Friday, November 13, 2009

This isn't about genealogy

New template. What do you think? I always get bugged by how much space the sidebars waste on so many blog templates. But it'd be nice if there was a historically-themed template, and I'm sure they exist; I just don't know how to use anything that isn't one of Blogger's default options.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Well, it's about time! Quinns in the 1930 Census

I have long struggled with finding census records for the Quinn family for any years after 1910. I know they're still in Brooklyn - I have photographs, death records, and Uncle Jack and Uncle Ted to tell me that. But I could simply never find their census records on Ancestry.com. Yesterday, after reading a post at Genea-Musings, I decided to try a "new" way of searching (i.e. to use Ancestry's old, rather than their new, search function). I'm frustrated with myself that I never bothered to do this before, because up popped the Quinn family's 1930 census return after almost no work at all on my part.


Their names are misspelled and mistranscribed, but they're there! (All except Molly, who, we know, is already married to Grandpa JJ and has 2 kids.)

The family is almost all the way at the bottom of the page, living at 64 Herkimer St. Mary (Gillen) Quinn is the head of household, and she gives her age as 62, which would give her a birth date of around 1868, fairly consistent with what she's always said. She's widowed, was first married at 25, is Irish-born, and is a naturalized citizen who immigrated in 1887. Agnes, shockingly, is called Agnes, not Nora, the way she usually was in the past. (See here and here.) She's 35, and a clerk, in "leather." Helen is listed under her married name (which was Kunze, though you'd be hard-pressed to get that from the handwriting here), as she and her husband Harry are both living with the family. She's 29 and was first married at 23. Harry Kunze is the same age - and, consequently, was married at the same age. Harry is American-born, as were his parents, and he's a shoe salesman. Martin Quinn (listed here as "Morton") is 28 and single. He's a jeweler. Terrence is 25 and single. His job involves something with telephones, but I can't quite make it out. It looks like it could say "wirerer." (Click to enlarge the census image and tell me what you think yourself.)

None of the men are veterans. They rent their house for $60.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Grandpa Lanzillotto Immigrates (for the first time) in 1909


These images show Grandpa Lanzillotto - Charles Lanzillotto - when he first immigrated to NY. (We've already seen his later trip from Italy to America, when he, in 1920, returned to his hometown to get married, and then brought his wife Anna to the US.) This manifest is from 23 February 1909. (The trip had begun 9 February 1909.)

On his 1919 passport application, Grandpa Lanz had given his immigration date as 20 February 1908. I might not have even really noticed the difference of a year, had the earlier immigration shown up when I searched the Ancestry.com indexes for them. However, for whatever reason, it did not show up in the indexes, and, of course, neither did it show up when I tried to search the ships that came in on the 20th of February, 1908.

On the first page, you see Grandpa Lanzillotto listed between the two crossed out lines. (This makes it easy to follow which line refers to him!) His name looks like it's given as Carmine Lanzillotta. His age I can't decipher at all, but he should be in the neighborhood of 15. (His birthday is 16 July 1894.) He's single, a laborer, literate, and is of the race "Southern Italian." His last permanent residence was Bitetto, Bari. His closest relative in Italy is his father, Giuseppe, from Bitetto. He's heading to NY, NY [the town so nice they named it twice.]

As you follow the record across to the next page, you see that our guidelines have disappeared, but Carmine Lanzillotta is still on line 4. He has a ticket to his final destination which he paid for himself. He has only $5 to his name, and has never been to America before. I had no idea who he was listing as his closest relative in the US until Grandma helped me figure it out. He appears to have listed his mother, "Bellone Sarano," as his US contact. As far as we know, his mother (Apollonia Serrano) was never in America, and the address here is pretty illegible. Whether he misunderstood the question or whether he lied about who was meeting him, I don't know. He's not a polygamist, nor an anarchist, nor a cripple, and he's in good mental and physical health. His height is difficult to read, but it seems like he's only 4' tall. I don't think Grandpa Lanz was tall, but I was not under the impression that he was that short. His hair is black, and his eyes are some color that begins with a "b."He has no unique identifying marks, and was born in Bitetto, Bari.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Treasure Chest Thursday - Nan's Engagement Ring



My grandparents, Marilyn Mulcahy and Bill O'Hara, were married 7 July 1956 at the church of St. Vincent Ferrer. Their witnesses were my grandfather's brother Ted and my grandmother's childhood best friend, Nancy Budd.



Several months before the wedding, Mrs. J. O'Hara - that's my great-grandmother, Mary Quinn O'Hara - had a diamond ring appraised for insurance purposes. It's described as follows:

ladies diamond solitaire ring, platinum
1 diamond weighing approx. .65 carat
modern cut, white, imperfect
2 tapered baguette diamonds weighing approx. .20 carat

It was worth $400.00.

I don't know anything about this ring, nor do I know where it is now, though I'd imagine one of my aunts does. I wonder why it appears to have been not my grandfather but his mother who had the ring appraised. Is that something mothers did for their soon-to-be-engaged sons? Maybe she was just the person in the family who already had an account at the jeweler? Or - since it's not a receipt for the purchase of ring - could it have been a ring that was already in the family, and she was having it appraised before giving it to Pop to give to Nan?

Looks like I'll have to start asking around about this family treasure!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

(Not even close to) Wordless Wednesdays: Molly and Agnes

I love love love this picture of my great-grandmother, Mary (Molly) Quinn O'Hara, and her sister, Agnes Quinn Maines. My copies are 3rd or 4th generation - my grandfather's cousin made copies of her pictures and gave them to him; I photocopied his copies several years ago; I scanned my copies last week. The quality of the images here might reflect that, but I love them anyway. Molly's on the left (from the viewer's perspective), and Agnes is on the right. Agnes was the oldest sister, born c. 1895, and Molly was next oldest, born 22 March 1897.

I love this picture for so many reasons. Molly and Agnes remind me of Laura and I. I can't date this picture exactly, but they're not very old at all; possibly younger than we are now. I love that they're on the roof, where all their important pictures were taken. I love their hats. I love their shoes. I love that they appear to be dressed for two completely different climates. Are they even in the same time zone? And most of all, I love how happy they look, and how they clasp arms like (to use an anachronism) BFFs.