Thursday, February 13, 2014

Who were the parents of Helen Catherine Carrigan Natale?

Helen Catherine Carrigan Natale was my maternal grandmother's sister. I always remember my Nana talking about Aunt Helen that lived in Brooklyn and in my distant memory I remember her, but she died when I was just 2 years old. I guess I just remember Nana's stories so well. I remember her children and us going to New York to visit our New York relatives and them coming to our house a few times. And every year when watching New Year's Eve on TV my mother would always say" I wonder if the Natale's are there?"

Well a few years back my mother's best friend was out from California for a visit. I was asking her some questions about my mother's family and she says, "you do know that Aunt Helen was Nana's half sister?" I was floored and did not know anything about this. So I set out to find out more. So after a couple of tries I received Helen's death certificate from New York. Well that was confusing from the start! The informant was her husband, Louis Natale. It had her birthplace as New York? and her father listed was Emil Carrigan, mother was Catherine Gunther? Well my grandmother's father was Emil Gunther and her mother was Catherine McCarron. So I was thinking that Uncle Louie had reversed the last names and that her mother was also named Catherine. So continued to look for information. I tried to fine a marriage record for her but could not find one in New York or Philadelphia. I found them in census records and she was listed as born in Pennsylvania and that her oldest child, Anna Natale was also born in Pennsylvania. Then a couple of years ago I found another tree on Ancestry with her in it. I contacted the owner and found they were one of her great grandchildren. They had her in the tree with the maiden name of Carrigan. Told me that was the name they knew. Had only recently heard the name Gunther. I had the copy of her death certificate on my tree and I think it was the first time they saw it. This great granddaughter helped me with names in photos and it was great. then last year she said that her mother, Helen's granddaughter was to be in touch with me. So I gave her my phone number and on St. Patrick's day last year I had a call from my cousin Helen. We talked for a long time and I said I would send her what I had on Emil and sent that off snail mail. When I talked to her again she said that her Aunt Anna could not have been born in Pennsylvania because she new that her grandparents had not lived in PA. So another mystery?

So I had a breakthrough a couple of weeks ago when I found a new set of indexes for New York on Ancestry. In it I found the marriage record for Helen Carrigan and Luigi Natale. So I went to the NY City Archives and ordered the marriage certificate and record and called Helen to tell her I found it. Then yesterday it arrived! Her name was on there as Helen Carrigan and she was born in Philadelphia. Her father was listed as John and her mother was Catherine McCarron! So I had been going on the assumption that her father was Emil Gunther and the three sisters had the same father. But I was wrong, they had the same mother! and who is John Carrigan???? So when I called Helen this morning to tell her what I found I also had another idea to give her about Anna being born in Philadelphia. Anna was born 1 Oct 1914 and Catherine McCarron Gunther died 17 Sep 1914, just a couple of weeks before. So with the information that this was Helen's mother, she was most likely in Philadelphia for her mother's illness and death and did not get back to New York before having her child. I have a copy of Anna's death certificate so next I am seeing if Pennsylvania has a birth record for her.

So I guess you know that once again I have found that you should not give up because you never know how long it could take you to find the answer. I just looked at the date stamp on Helen's death certificate, February 4, 2003. So I have been working on this for 9 years.

So have fun and keep looking!!!!

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