Friday, February 26, 2010

Michael Mulcahy's Bar

The 1906 Brooklyn City Directory (Upington's General Directory) may be on Ancestry, but I've never seen it; I don't think Ancestry has Upington's. I found it on Internet Archive. When I found Michael Mulcahy listed, there was a bit of a surprise. His home address is 85 Luquer, and his business address ("liquors") is 227 Hamilton - but also 291 Van Brunt! Michael Mulcahy owned 2 bars? I never knew!

The building at 291 Van Brunt is now a convenience store/deli.

View Larger Map

Then I went to Google Books and the Report of the State Commissioner of Excise. In the volume for 1910, 291 Van Brunt is listed under Michael Mulcahey. (Earlier volumes don't appear to list certificate holders.)

But in the volume for 1912, 291 Van Brunt was listed with James Mulcahy as the certificate holder.
Now, Michael had both a brother and a son named James. I don't know anything about his brother, but I know that his son James A. was born around 1892, which means that by 1912, he was about 20. Had he taken over his father's bar by that age?

I've heard a couple of stories about how the family stopped running the bar. A cousin I met doing genealogy says she was told that the bar on Hamilton Ave. was torn down to make way for the Midtown Tunnel. I don't know about that, but I know that 227 Hamilton is positioned to have very easily been in the way of either the Gowanus Expressway or the BQE. I'll have to look into the history of those roads, but I wonder if maybe the family moved the bar to 291 Van Brunt when the building at 227 Hamilton was destroyed.

A brief, unsourced family history I was given included the assertion that the family lost the bar after they changed the beer. And, in news that's perhaps related to James taking over the bar, I was once told that the family lost the bar when the kids took over, because they, unlike their father, didn't have the personality necessary for tending bar.

By 1913, a Frank Mulvihill held the certificate for the bar at 291 Van Brunt.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Mail Watch

A few weeks ago, I found, in the NY Times archives, that in August of 1899, a Mary Toner died at 270 Van Brunt Street in Brooklyn. By 1900 Julia and Patrick Mulvaney were living at 270 Van Brunt Stree. Julia's mother was Mary Cullen Toner. I am so hoping that this is her. Using the NYC Death Index, I found the death certificate number, and filled out a request for the certificate from the NYC Department of Municipal Records.

I put it in the mail on Monday. Monday was Presidents' Day. The mail doesn't get picked up on Monday. The first day the mail could have gone out was Tuesday. When I got home Tuesday night, I checked the mail. No death certificate. Wednesday night, I checked the mail. Thursday night, I checked the mail. Friday night, I checked the mail. Saturday, for the first time, I thought there was a chance that my request had actually gotten to New York. I checked the mail.

Sunday, I didn't check the mail, even though it was no less likely that it had shown up on Sunday than on any day in the week prior.

This could be a long 4-6 weeks.

(To be fair, the NYC Municipal Archives often has a quicker turn-around time than they claim; I've generally gotten a reply in 3-ish weeks. That's probably why I'm so prone to expect it any second!)

25 February 2010 Update: They cashed my check! Can't be long now!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Happy Birthday, Nan!

Today would have been my grandmother, Marilyn Mulcahy O'Hara's 79th birthday. She was born on 21 February, 1931, to Joseph Eugene Mulcahy and Veronica Mulvaney, the oldest of their three children. Nan was born at the Bensonhurst Maternity Hospital in Brooklyn.

She was baptized at St. Anselm's Church on 11 March 1931. Her god-parents were Gerard Mulcahy, her father's brother, and Mary Mulvaney Daniels, aka Auntie Mae, her mother's sister.

Saturday, February 20, 2010


I've had to add a word verification to comments to stop spam, which was picking up in recent weeks. It started with vaguely spammy comments by anonymous authors saying nondescript things, almost as if they were testing me for the offers of prescription drugs and nude photographs that started showing up in the past 24 hours. Let me know if you encounter any problems!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

52 Weeks to Better Genealogy - Google Maps - Brooklyn Draft Board Locations

I'd been having some trouble locating my great-grandfather, Joseph Mulcahy, and his brothers in's WWI Draft Registration Card database, so I figured I should try browsing the records. They're alphabetical, so it should be easy, right? Not so fast. To browse the collection, you have to first choose a Draft Board. These draft boards have incredibly helpful (not!) names like "23," "24," and "25." Names that tell me nothing about them and offer no clues as to which I should be browsing. Luckily, the Italian Genealogical Group at has an archives newsletter that lists the addresses of all the the WWI Draft Boards in New York City. I used the information there to map the locations of the Brooklyn Draft Boards so that I could better approximate which one Papa and the Mulcahy brothers would have registered with. Unfortunately, I was still unable to find them. I know they served. Perhaps they enlisted before they had to register with the draft board? I imagine - though I'm not sure - that do so would have prevented their appearing in these records.

Though it didn't help me find records of the Mulcahy brothers, I'm hopeful that it will be useful for other researchers trying to find military records of Brooklyn families. Please distribute the map - found on Google maps here - to other researchers who might be helped by it!

View WWI Draft Board Locations, Brooklyn in a larger map

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

52 Weeks to Better Genealogy - Google Maps - Brooklyn Catholic Churches

In trying to find sacramental records - baptisms, marriages - for my ancestors, I ran into a roadblock that must be common for people researching families who were from big cities: too many churches. Way too many churches. From what I've been able to find, upwards of 70 Catholic Churches had been founded in Brooklyn by the end of the 19th century. It's easy to know where to look in the early days; in the 1840s and '50s, there are only a handful of churches to choose from. But then, as the Catholic population expanded hugely in the second half of the century, due in large part to immigration, so too did the number of Catholic churches. Sometimes, these churches are mere blocks from one another; it's not as if each neighborhood had only one church.

In order to facilitate my own search for sacramental records, I realized I needed to know not only where my relatives had lived, but also what churches were in their neighborhoods, and how long those churches had been there. So, using information from sites like this and this, I created a Google map of all of the churches in Brooklyn that had been founded through 1900. I aim to try to add younger parishes, too, but I haven't gotten there yet. I figured 1900 was a good-enough stopping point that the map had become something I could share, and that others researching families in Brooklyn would be able to find it useful as well. The information included is fairly basic; I haven't been able to add details such as the historic ethnicity of a parish, or its mailing or web address, though I know that these would have been helpful. (A shocking number of churches still don't have websites, actually!) I hope that in its current form, though, it's nonetheless useful. Please share the map - available here - with other researchers!

View Brooklyn Catholic Churces in a larger map

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

52 Weeks to Better Genealogy - Google Maps - Brooklyn Family Homes

I had had these addresses plotted on other Google Maps before, but as I thought about the best way to share them, I realized it would be best to have them on their very own map. Because of the way you can look at multiple Google Maps at once, this works best for comparing them to the places on other maps I've created. I'll be sharing those maps this week, too, in hopes that they'll be as helpful to other researchers as they've been to me, so stay tuned! Without further ado, though, here is the Google Map I've created of my family's homes in Brooklyn, 1880-1930!

View Where We Lived in a larger map

The primary families mapped are:

Monday, February 15, 2010

Google Books

I found Michael Mulcahy in Trow's Business Directory for 1899, listed under "Wines, Liquors, and Lager Beer."

It inspired me to keep searching Google Books, and guess what I found next! In the Report of the Tenement House Department of the City of New York, Vol. 5:

Yes, that's right. No. 275. The Mulcahys' house at 85 Luqueer St. was cited for unsanitary conditions. Uh oh! (I hope it wasn't their apartment!)

Friday, February 12, 2010

Wedding of Gerard Mulcahy and Ann Danaher

I hope that whoever got here by searching for the genealogy of Gerard Mulcahy and Ann Danaher comes back to find their wedding announcement! I just came across it in the Brooklyn Eagle this weekend. It was published 15 June 1937.

Their wedding picture, from the reception at the Hotel St. George was sent to me by Betty and John several months ago.

Nana and Papa (Veronica Mulvaney Mulcahy and Joseph Mulcahy) are seated at the "head" of the table, center and center-left as you look at the photograph. To the right of them: Margaret (Mulcahy) and Hugh Hennessy; Mary (Mulcahy) and Tony Boles; Loretta (Kelly) and John Mulcahy; the bride and groom, Ann (Danaher) and Gerard Mulcahy; one of Ann's sisters. Standing behind the bride and groom are another of Ann's sisters and her husband. Going in the other direction, starting from the Nana's left, are Vincent and Alice (Fox) Mulcahy; Catherine (Foley) and Matthew Mulcahy; Masie (Dardell) and Michael Mulcahy; and then three of Ann's cousins. The only Mulcahy sibling not present is James. I don't know which of the Danaher sisters is the Katherine listed in the announcement as "the bride's only attendant."

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Lots of people get to have funny posts about the search terms that have brought visitors to their blogs, but I don't have any of those. No one gets here by searching for anything particularly unusual. There are a few search terms that have whetted my curiosity somewhat, though, and this post is directed at the people who have made those searches.

--"Thomas M. Murphy, Breezy Point NY"

Do you think that your searched-for Thomas M. Murphy is the son of Thomas Sr and Mary Ann Toner, the brother of John Murphy, Kathryn Murphy Keane, and Annie Murphy Dowd, who lived for a time with his aunt and uncle, Julia and Patrick Mulvaney? Contact me!

--"Thomas Mulvaney 1915"

Would your searched-for Thomas Mulvaney have been 13 in 1915? Were his parents Patrick Mulvaney and Julia Toner? Did he grow up to marry an Elizabeth? Contact me!

--"Harry Kunze 56 years old"

When was your searched-for Harry Kunze 56? In the mid-1980s? Or how about the mid-1950s? Was Helen Quinn Kunze his mother, or possibly his wife? Contact me!

--"Helen Kunze Brooklyn NY"

Was your searched-for Helen's maiden name Quinn? Did she marry Harry? Were her sons Harry and Robert? Was she born c. 1900? Contact me!

--"Charles Lanzillotto"

Were you searching for the Charles Lanzillotto who was born in 1894 outside of Bari, Italy? Who married Anna Cianciotta? Who died in 1969? Or even for one of his grandsons? Contact me!

--"Casserly NYPD 1920"

I can't help you. I do know that the Casserlys who were living at 85 Luqueer St. in 1900 were not in the NYPD, but I can't tell you what their children might have been doing 20 years later. I would, however, recommend that you see this post on Obtaining Genealogical Information on Ancestors who Served in the NYPD to see where to look for extensive information on the service careers of NYC policemen. I have it on good authority that Police Commissioner Ray Kelly himself is glad when their database gets used!

--"Judith Toner"/"Judith Tonner"

Most of you were looking for BBC weather girl Judith Tonner, whether you searched for her or for Judith Toner. And if you were searching for the BBC weather girl, I can't help you. (A Facebook fan page for her is here.) But if you were looking for Judith Toner, originally of Maynooth, County Kildare, and later of Brooklyn, NY, who died 14 August 1874, contact me!

--"Gerard Mulcahy Ann Danaher genealogy Brooklyn"

I'm not even going to ask questions about who you were searching for. You were searching for Uncle Gerard and his wife Ann. Did you see that I have Ann and Gerard's wedding picture? Contact me! No, really. We're related. Contact me!

How? Well, you can leave a comment on any post - I'll see it, I promise - or you can e-mail me at kathleen.scarlett.ohara AT (Replace the AT with an @.) I'd love to hear from you!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Illustrating James Mulvaney's Life

When my cousin Maureen saw that I'd begun posting the documents she'd sent me from her grandfather's life, she sent along a few pictures of him as a young man.

This first picture, Maureen tells me, is possibly of James in the Army Fire Corps. She thinks he may be on the left, in the middle of the group of three. I agree that that's certainly the person in this photograph who looks most like James in the pictures that follow.

This is a photograph of James Mulvaney from his time in the Army. If you look closely, you can see that the buttons on his uniform bear patriotic American Eagle insignia.

This last photograph is of James Mulvaney as a young firefighter for the NYFD.
Now to see what you think, I'm going to repost a mystery picture that we've thought might be of James as a young boy.

Maureen found this among her aunt's things, so we believe, though we don't know, that the subjects are Mulvaneys, most likely James, since, after all, it was in the possession of the James Mulvaney family. James was the oldest of the Mulvaney siblings, so it makes sense that he may have had to pose with each new sibling, too. If the boy is James, it could even be possible that the baby is Nana (Veronica Mulvaney Mulcahy Hopkins), who was the youngest of his siblings. The swarming children at the margin of this photograph lend credence to that theory, as well: James is the oldest, posing with Veronica the youngest (or maybe Harold, second youngest), while the middle children - Mae, Grace, Tom, Willie, Raymond - run around and play. And I think the boy in this picture looks like the James Mulvaney in the pictures above. What do you think? Of course, even if they do look alike, most of the other candidates for the identification of the older boy in the last picture are relatives of James; they'd look like him anyway! I'm interested to know, though, whether you see the resemblence, too. What do you think?

Friday, February 5, 2010

James Mulvaney's Death Certificate, 24 December 1972

Having covered many of the milestones of James Mulvaney's life in the past few weeks, from his birth to his marriage, to his military service to his heroics as a fireman, I'm now sharing his death certificate, also sent by his granddaughter Maureen.

James Mulvaney (aka James Joseph Mulvaney), died on Christmas Eve of 1972. His age is given as 78, and he was less than a month shy of 79. His wife Florence Goggin had predeceased him. His birthday is accurately given as 15 January 1894, which matches the date given on his baptismal certificate. His parents are Patrick Mulvaney and Julia Toner Mulvaney. James was Deputy Chief for the NYFD. The informant was his daughter Joan, with whom he shared an address: 66-11 Booth St., Rego Park, NY.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Contest at Genea-Musings!

Randy at Genea-Musings is hosting a contest to win a free subscription to the websites Genealogy Today, GenWeekly, and Live Roots. The subscriptions were generously offered by Illya D'Addezio.

Head over to Genea-Musings to enter this exciting contest!