Thursday, June 3, 2010

Does that say what I think it says?!

There was a while when I was searching for the passenger manifest showing my great-grandfather, John O'Hara, returning to the US as a child after his family had spent a few years in Ireland. There were a couple of possible John O'Haras in the right time period, but I wasn't ever sure just which one was him. The most likely one showed up on the passenger manifest all by his lonesome, 4 years old, without any parents or younger brothers listed nearby, though it was noted that he was "going with father + mother." I thought I'd looked through all the pages of that manifest to find his father (and the rest of his family?) but either I meant to but didn't, or I missed them when I did. When it finally occurred to me that I should be searching on his brother Eugene's name instead, I got a hit, for Eugene, on the same ship, which sailed in 1902. The family of 5 is listed on 3 different pages.

Eugene and Patrick are on the first page of the manifest, almost obscured by damage:

As I said, Grandpa JJ is all on his own page:

And their parents, John and Mary, are on yet another page:

Now, it was months ago that I found these records, but it wasn't until last night - I wanted to look at their "place of last residence" to see if I could find them in the 1901 Irish Census - that I looked particularly closely at just what this manifest said. Next to John Sr.'s name, it says in big letters that he's a US Citizen. Written directly underneath that, though (and I mean underneath it, like the handwriting overlaps, not underneath it like on the next line), it says when he became a citizen!

I can't necessarily read the whole thing, but it says something like "Cit. paper of #29 something something Kings Co., NY, Oct 14/98."

Wait, for real? All this time, the exact date of John O'Hara's naturalization had been sitting right there in my files and I hadn't noticed it? I'd been looking at naturalization indexes this week, and, as per usual, the number of John O'Haras who had naturalized in NYC between the late 1880s and 1900 was staggering. (I can't even imagine how people research Smiths, when I have so much trouble with O'Haras!) There was one that seemed particularly likely, but I couldn't be sure and didn't know if I wanted to take the chance on ordering it. This morning, I searched on Ancestry for John O'Hara naturalized in 1898, and lo and behold, that John O'Hara that I'd been tempted by? That John O'Hara was naturalized 14 October 1898!

I think it's safe to say that I'll hesitate no longer!

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