Sunday, December 1, 2013

Finding Where in Connecticut Patrick McCarry was born

                                                                                                   Tracking down these two documents I have learned a valuable lesson. The Best Thing is to Begin with What you KNOW!

I thought I had done that when I tried before to find out where Patrick McCarry, my great grand uncle, was born. I knew that Patrick, along with his two older siblings, had been born in Connecticut. But in what town? That was not clear. On his marriage license it said he was born in Thomason, Conn. and his WWII registration card said he was born in Thompsonville, Connecticut.

According to the Connecticut Towns and Counties Map, "compliments of Chuck and Molly", that I found online, there is the town of Thompson over in the very northeast corner of the state in Windham County. And then there is Thomaston in Litchfield County. This seemed like the logical one to me because Mary had been born in Naugatuck and James in Waterbury. Both of these just in the county next to Litchfield, New Haven County. I had tried before to check with both of the towns but kinda got the run around and put it aside. But a few weeks ago after being inspired by a Legacy webinar I thought about trying a different approach to the problem.

I knew that even though Mary and James were born in a different town that they were baptized in the same Church, St Francis in Naugatuck. So I called the church and this time asked if they had a record for Patrick. I figured it was worth a shot since the town of Thomaston was not that far away. But they did not have a record for him. I explained that I thought it could be Thomaston and could they tell me what Catholic Churches would have been there in 1879. She found that there was only one Catholic Church and that was St Thomas and she gave me their number. I called when I got off with her. the secretary told me that I needed to send her the information and she would look it up. I sent her an email right away and the next day I had a reply that they did have a baptism record for Patrick. She also included the phone number for the Town Clerk. I called her right away and she did find a birth record for Patrick.

Unfortunately of the 6 children of Patrick and Margaret (O'Connell) McCarry this is the only one that I have this much information for. I do have baptism records for Mary and James but there are no birth records. Their oldest son, Hugh, was born in Philadelphia before they traveled to Connecticut and Margaret was born in New York as they were making their way back to Philadelphia. I have found no birth records for her and have not been able to find what church they may have gone to when she was born. Their youngest, John, was born in Philadelphia and the birth records were spotty. I do know where they lived there and the church they went to. I just have to get info from the Archdiocese's archives. Hopefully they will have his baptism record. They also might have one for Hugh. Keeping my fingers crossed while I keep looking.

Right now I am excited for my new finds!!!!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday-David William O'Donnell

original photo owned by author
This is the veterans stone that was on my paternal grandfather's grave. I took this photo in 2002. I have been working on my family history for a few years but this was the first time I went to a cemetery and took photos. I had been to my grandfather's grave over the years with my dad, but when I took this photo and went home and uploaded the photo to my computer I really read it for the first time. The first thing that hit me was his birth date, "March 8, 1889" I had just gotten his death certificate and that date did not match anything I had known before. I had his birth year as 1898. I called my father and told him and he said that he had never noticed the date being wrong before. I had heard stories that he had lied about his age to get into the army for WWI so I called the VA. They told me that they would go by what was on the death certificate for the stone engraving.

image from

Well in January of this year I found this document on Ancestry. It is the application for the headstone. With all the red on this it is hard to believe that anything was correct on the stone. But you can see they have his birth year as 1889 like on the stone. But if you notice along that side in red,"age at end 23 years 1 mo" I am guessing that means at end of service. On here it is 1919. But one of the first records I sent for when I started happened to be the service record for David William O'Donnell. It is very light on the information but they do differ on his service end date. It is shone as April 19,1921. this date would make him 23 years and a little over a month old using his real birth year. So talk about conflicting information all on one document!

This stone is no longer on his grave. A couple of years after I took the photo one of my cousins put a new one on with my grandmother's information on there and the correct information for my grandfather.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Photo from Otter's Cedar Hill Farm Boarding House

original photo in possession of author

This is one of those photos that I keep coming back to trying to figure it out. It comes from  my paternal grandmother's things. So it could be people from the O'Donnell's or her family, the VanBilliard's.

I enlarged the sign area to read it. I am sure it says: 
Otter's Cedar Hill Farm Boarding House
Auto Rest
Home Cooking
Cannot make out the last line of it. I have no idea who this woman and and little girl are. It is just annoying!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday-Gallagher/Hanf

This is the third plot at Westminster Cemetery that I found when I last visited there. this plot was owned by Timothy Gallagher. He was the father-in-law of my great grand uncle Patrick McCarry. This plot has 4 graves and this stone is across the top of the two middle ones. Rose Gallagher Hanf was another Gallagher daughter and John was her husband.

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Ever Elusive George VanBilliard

This past weekend was going to be a busy one. On Saturday I was going to the Family History Event in Luzerne County Pennsylvania. It was a joint event by the Genealogical Society of PA and Northeast PA Genealogical Society. So I thought I would go up on Friday and get some research done. I mostly wanted to get a marriage record for my Great Grandparents, George VanBilliard and Susan Haas. I have a transcription of their newspaper announcement in the Bethlehem newspaper.

  "Bethlehem Daily Times: Name[Van Billiard, George Name[Haas, Susan Beckel_Index[George Van Billiard of South Bethlehem MARRIED Miss Susan Haas of Bethlehem, September 19, 1885 in Bethlehem by Reverend Isaac K. Loos"

 I called the Northampton County Orphan's Court in Easton last week to see if I needed to order the record ahead of time but was told that I could just look for the record when I got there. Problem was that when I got there on Friday, I was told that they were having computer problems and they were going to be shut down in 15 minutes for 2 hours so we had to hurry. So the person helping me went over to the index book to see if they had the record but they did not. When I told her about the newspaper announcement saying they were married in Bethlehem she said that maybe they went to Lehigh County since a part of Bethlehem is in Lehigh County. She gave me their number to call them. I told her that I wanted to see if they had my grandmother's birth record. She pulled out the book it should be in but did not find her in 1900. She did find her sister that was born in 1902. So she took the information to put that in the computer quickly so I could get a copy of that. While she was putting it in the computer I did a transcription of the record. She was able to get it in and get me a copy before the computers went down. The transcription is:

  "book 2 page 276, Register of Births of Northampton County. Date of Record: December 11, 1902, Name of Child: Margurette VanBilliard, Date of Birth: June 14, 1902, Female, White. Place of Birth: South Bethlehem, Father of Child: George VanBilliard, Mother of Child: Mrs. George VanBilliard"

Well it is good that I did the transcription because when I got the record home and looked at it real well, in her hurry she put the year of the recorded date as 1903 instead of 1902.

 So after the court house I stopped at the Signal Museum in Easton. The Northampton Genealogical Society is in the Museum. I wanted to see what information they might have on the VanBilliards. As it turned out I had lots more information then they have and it was decided that I should write up what I have and get it to them for their family files.

 I still have so much more I need to find out about all my VanBilliards and like George, they do not make finding things easy! So I will keep on hunting down the facts.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday-Another Westminster Cemetery Grave

This is another of the graves I visited on my last trip to Westminster Cemetery a few weeks ago. I was unable to find it the first time I was there. This is a plot consisting of 8 graves. This is the only stone which is over the first two graves. It would seem that the John Carroll purchased this plot and then 6 of the graves were bought from different people and his family kept the first 2. Grave 8 was purchased by Bridget Niland and my 2nd great grandparents, John and Catherine Carr Welsh are buried there. John Welsh's mother was Catherine Niland but I do not know how Bridget and the other Nilands I have found are related to Catherine and John.  Gee what a surprise, another mystery!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Wedding Wednesday-The Honeymoon Album

In last week's post I had a photo of the family seeing the bride and groom off on their Pocono Honeymoon from my parents wedding album. This is their Honeymoon album, October 1950

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Playing Around With Genealogy Software

Just a year ago I broke down and bought an IMAC. I have always had a PC but I had seen this beautiful 27" screen on the MAC at Best Buy and just kept thinking about it. All I had before I bought it was an HP mini, my larger lap top had bit the dust. So I bought the IMAC. Among other things to get used to was the fact that I had just a few months before started using Legacy for my data base. I had always used Family Tree Maker before that and I was really liking Legacy, but I could not use that on the MAC without loading Windows on it. the Apple guy at Best Buy told me I could try Crossover. So I did that, but was not happy with the way it ran Legacy. He had also told me that I could load windows through Boot Camp instead of putting Parallels on, because he said that would slow down my computer. So I decided to try this.

Well I am not the most computer savvy person, that was my husband Frank, but I had loaded software before. Well it was a disaster! I ended up having to take it the Apple store and I thought I had lost my operating system! But I didn't do as much damage as I thought, thank goodness!!!! But that has made me rethink this whole windows on my MAC thing... So I am thinking I will give in to having the MAC I wanted and not try turning it into a PC. I still have my HP mini to run windows stuff on after all. So last night I downloaded the demo version of Reunion to try it out. I am kinda liking it so far. But this is just the demo so I am not sure yet.

I guess I am wondering if anyone else has anything to say about Reunion software.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Wedding Wednesday-Seeing the Bride and Groom Off

I know you do not see a bride nor groom! But this is from my parent's wedding album. The lady holding the handbag is my grandmother and next to her is my grandfather, James and Tess Gunther McCarry. With them are some family and friends all at the front door of their South Philly home to see my parents off to the Pocono Mountains for their Honeymoon

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday-The Gallagher's and the McCarry's

A couple of weeks ago I received the death certificate for my great grand uncle, Patrick J. McCarry. I found that he was buried in Westminster Cemetery, Bala Cynwyd, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. So I went there last Wednesday to find his grave and I was hoping that I would find his wife, Fannie (Frances) Gallagher, also. I had been there last year and found the plot that Fannie's father had purchased. But Patrick and Fannie are in a different plot. The other plot contained 4 graves, this one has 10 and it's owner is Sarah Kelly. The family doctor that had signed Fannie's family death certificates was J. V. Kelly living at 138 Rector Street, Manyunk, Philadelphia and the informant on the father's certificate was Mrs. J.V. Kelly of 138 Rector Street. I had suspected that one of Fannie's sisters had married the doctor and this told me more so.
This plot's graves contain of course Fannie and her husband, but also one of her brothers and also some of her sisters,  brothers in law, a sister in law and nieces and nephews. There are only stones on two of the 10 graves, this is one of them for her niece, Mary J. Gallagher. Patrick and Fannie are in the grave next to this one.
I have gotten caught up in the last week with sorting out the Gallagher's in these two plots and they are not even my direct family, just the in-laws! But I get so involved with the stories and have figure it all out before I can stop. These two families came together in Manyunk. The other McCarry siblings left that area, his older sister joined the convent, his younger sister moved to California, his brother James, my great grandfather moved to South Philadelphia. Patrick and Fannie stayed in Manyunk, most likely because of her family, but they stayed and they are all buried just across the river from where they lived.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Finding the Fitzpatricks

This is my Great Grandmother Cecilia Fitzpatrick O'Donnell. She is holding two of her grandchildren. The baby is my dad George. The little girl is his cousin Cecilia.

Cecilia was the daughter of James Fitzpatrick and Ellen Tracy. They were both born in Nova Scotia, Canada. I found the birth records of two of their children that were born in Canada before they crossed the border and settled in Ebervale, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. This is were Cecilia was born. She was the first of their children born in the US. The Nova Scotia birth record told me that James and Ellen were married in 1856 in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia. I recently found them in the Nova Scotia Marriage index on Family Search. I started looking some more and found the baptism records for the same two children. Margaret Ellen was born 23 Jun 1868 and baptized 19 Jul 1868. John James was born 3 Jun 1870 and baptized 19 Jun 1870. Both were baptized in Stella Maris Roman Catholic Church in Pictou, Nova Scotia. I have not been able to find records for any of the other children born there. According to the 1900 census, Ellen had 12 children with 5 living at that time. The earliest census I have for them is 1880 and they had 7 children with the first 4 being born in Canada. So where are these other kids?????

Then I was reading the baptism records I saw that the godfather for John was a Stephen Fitzpatrick. I decided to look him up thinking maybe he was James' brother or something. Well the first thing that came up in Family Search was a West Virginia death certificate for Stephen Fitzpatrick and guess what???? His parents were James Fitzpatrick and Ellen Tracy! He was born in Nova Scotia, 31 May 1858. Two years after James and Ellen were married. So could this be one of the missing kids? How could I connect his further to them? I found that his wife was Isabelle Dougherty and then I looked into where she was from. She was born in Hazleton, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania! Bingo! I called my friend Kate at St. Gabriel's in Hazleton to see if she could find a marriage record for Stephen and Isabelle around 1882 because their first child was born in 1883 also in Hazleton. She called me back and said she found the marriage record for 2 Jan 1882 but the bride's name was Nappy Dougherty. I guess a nickname? My Great Grandfather Cornelius has his name as Condy on his and Cecilia's marriage certificate. Well the rest of Stephen and "Nappy's" children were born in Ohio and when I found their birth records her name was Nappy it was also on a census that way. But then she was using Isabelle but I would love to know where the name Nappy came from!!!!! So sometime after 1910 Stephen and his family left Ohio and moved to West Virginia. Stephen worked in the coal mines like his father and the O'Donnell men. I am so glad I have found another Fitzpatrick hopefully I can find some more!

One other thing is I am having problems finding when James and Ellen died. I narrowed down that Ellen died after 1910 but before 1920 because of the census. I looked in the PA death index and found a Ellen O'Donnell that died in 1910 in Hazleton. So I have ordered that death certificate. Hopefully I will have an answer soon!!!!!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

New Military Record for David W. O'Donnell

I had a surprise today when I was looking at my grandfather's page on my tree in Ancestry. A hint popped up. It was from a recent added collection, US Headstone Applications for Military Veterans- 1925-1963.

This has so much information. A lot more than the record I received from the VA way back. I love all the check marks and notes in red. This was a real working document. I love that it says (in red) that he also served as a cook, did not know that. And that is my Aunt Betty's husband that did the application for my grandmother. With more information, gives me an address for them in June of 1952.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Treasure Chest Thursday-Lead on Emil Gunther

 I have had this photo for a while. But last week I got a new bookcase and have been going through things and came across this again.

This photo was in with my Nana's things. So I am guessing that it is someone in her father's family that stayed in Germany and sent this to him.

I tried putting the information through Google Translator trying to find the name of the town but was not having much luck. My son Rob has a friend on a forum that is in Germany so he sent him the photo and he said that the word in the middle of the card, Halberstadt, is ironically, a town in the middle of Germany!  So I have a town in Germany to begin looking anyway. Keep looking for those Gunthers!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Wedding Wednesday- Margaret McCarry and Arthur Kirk

Awhile ago I found out that Grandpop McCarry's younger sister, Margaret, had moved to California after their Father died. I found this out with a hint on Ancestry for Arthur Winfield Kirk's family. They had this photo with the label, "Arthur Kirk and 2nd wife Margaret McCarry." I was excited to find what had happened to her. So I ordered her death certificate from California. There was all the matches. She was the daughter of Patrick McCarry and Margaret O'Connell. She was born 1 Jul 1881 in New York.  She was Grandpop's sister!

I wondered what had led her to California from Philadelphia, PA. The last census I had for her was 1900. She was the informant on her father's death certificate in 1914 so that was the last contact I had for her. The information I had from the Kirk Family tree was that they were married 18 July 1923. Her death certificate showed that she had been a housewife for 41 years when she died in 1964. It also showed that she had lived in California for 44 years at the time of her death. So she had been there for 3 years before she married Arthur. I had no occupation for her. I wondered what she was doing out there and how she and Arthur met. I contacted the owner of the Kirk tree on Ancestry to see if I could get some answers. They never replied. Finally last month I ordered their Marriage Certificate from California. It came on New Years Eve. Excitement again! Well it didn't tell me much more than I knew already. It did tell me that she was a 42 year old single woman marrying for the first time and she was a dressmaker. There was no street address given for her, but they were married by a Catholic Priest. It did not list the church they were married in. Yesterday I sent an email to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles hoping that their archives might be able to help me there.

Chipping away at the mysteries!!!! Happy New Year!!!!!