Monday, November 16, 2015

Tombstone Tuesday - Caroline Lee

A very special thank you to Richard Boyer for permission
to post his photo
I haven't posted on my Lees since August. I haven't really had time since school started up again. When I got a notification from FindAGrave that a photo request had been filled and the kind man gave me permission to post his photo I had to take time out of school to get this post up.

I don't know much about Caroline "Carrie" Lee. She never married and I've posted clippings before of her visiting my Quirk/Lee family in eastern Pennsylvania. Carrie is part of the Pittsburgh Lees that I still haven't been able to fully figure out where they belong in my tree. The best I can make out is that Carrie and her siblings were cousins to the Quirks (grandchildren of Edward Lee). Carrie's father was Thomas Lee, but I have yet to figure out how he relates to my Edward.

Caroline was born on September 11, 1856 in Pennsylvania. She died on October 12, 1922 and is buried in Calvary Cemetery in Pittsburgh. Her tombstone looks very similar to those of her parents. I'm guessing that they are buried nearby, but I don't know for certain. Carrie died of pneumonia.

Still, I know that they're related somehow. I just haven't unearthed that special bit of information that will solidify the connection. They visited. My family saved an obituary clipping of one of Carrie's siblings. Perhaps a Pittsburgh Lee will find this blog and be able to fill in the blanks. Maybe something else will turn up. Maybe. Maybe. It's best to cling to hope when you're still hitting that brick wall. If you keep hitting it eventually you'll win.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Amanuensis Monday - Working on my Brown Ancestors

The Plain Speaker,
21MAY1937, pg18
After a recent breakthrough in my Barrett line I decided to work on my Brown line. They are connected. Mary Barrett married Thomas Brown Sr. in 1901 and they had 6 children: Marian Veronica, Thomas Joseph Jr, Edward John Sr, Walter, Alice, and Hubert.

One of the reasons I'm working on my Brown line is that, well, it needs work, but also because my cousin, Nancy O'Donoghue, once told me that we were related to coach Hubie Brown. I've looked at articles on Hubie Brown and I have no doubt that she was right, but I need to start collecting the proof as to where he belongs. As I was doing that I came across more article on Rev. John A. Brown who I blogged about previously.**

So what does the priest, John Brown, have to do with Hubie Brown? John was Hubie's uncle and my first cousin twice removed. I also realized that while I had posted on Reverend Brown before I never updated my family tree. So continuing on with this post is making me rectify that situation.

"Rev. John A. Brown

Tomorrow morning at St. Peter's Cathedral in Scranton, John A. Brown, of Hazleton, will be ordained to the holy priesthood with an impressive service in which a large number of monsignor and clergymen will participate. Rev. Brown is a son of the late Mr. and Mrs. Charles Brown of this city, and is a nephew of Patrick Brown, of West Hazleton and Thomas and Neil Brown of this city, and comes from one of the oldest Hazleton families.

After graduating from St. Gabriel's high school. Mr. Brown entered St. Mary's College in Maryland and later followed his theological studies at St. Charles' College, Columbus, Ohio, and completed his preparation at Mt. St. Mary's College in Emmittsburg, Maryland.

After tomorrow's ordination, Father Brown will come here to celebrate his first mass at St. Gabriel's church on Sunday morning, May 23 at 10:30 and among the officers of the high mass will be his first cousin, Rev.. Father Charles A. McElwee, of Scranton, also a former Hazleton resident."

The Thomas mentioned in this article is my great grandfather, a child of Neil and Nancy Brown nee McCoy. John's father, Charles Sr., is my 2nd great uncle.

The Standard Speaker
21JUL1969, pg22
"Msgr. John A. Brown, a former city resident, who was elevated to his present position in the Roman Catholic Church on July 9 by Pope Paul VI during ceremonies conducted by the Bishop of Raleigh, N.C., is the brother of Mrs. Gertrude McLaughlin, of Alexandria, Va., who attended the ceremony; Mrs. Helen Cassidy and Mrs. Esther Cassidy, both of Elizabeth, N.J.; Leo Brown, of Cumberland, Md., and Charles Brown, of Elizabeth, N.J.

Msgr. Brown also has two sisters living locally, Mrs. Genevive (sic) Hooper, 585 Arthur St., and Mrs. Lawrence Gallagher, of Harwood. He is a son of the late Charles and Anna (LeGrande) Brown.

Msgr. Brown is pastor of St. Eugene's R.C. Church, Asheville, N.C. and Chaplain to the Catholic Daughters of Asheville."

This second article helps me fill in some of the details of my Brown ancestors even more than the first. My great grandfather isn't mentioned in it. This was because Thomas Sr died in 1955, but the article doesn't mention his other aunts and uncles so even if Thomas had still been alive he most likely wouldn't have been mentioned. Since John never married, being a priest and all, the sisters listed are easy to place in my tree. I placed husbands with the sisters mentioned in the article except for Mrs. Lawrence Gallagher. John had six sisters in my family tree and only five are mentioned here. The wife of Lawrence Gallagher would be either Ann (born 1900) or Mariam (born abt 1912).

A quick look in the Pennsylvania Death Certificates online shows me that Ann Brown died on February 19th 1919. She never married so unless there's another sister hiding out there, Mariann is Mrs. Lawrence Gallagher. I did find it a bit odd the she is listed by her husband's given name and not her own. Her other sisters are noted by their own given names. Could Mariam's husband be the only one still living? Possible, but not the subject of this post.

It's wonderful that the post lists all of those localities because apparently the children of Charles and Anna Brown nee LeGrande escaped Hazleton, Pennsylvania. Knowing where they might be can help me find other information. So now that I've entered all of those tidbits into my tree I can rummage around looking for marriage dates, obituaries, children, etc.

How does it pertain to Hubie? Well, Hubie was born in Hazleton, Pennsylvania and moved when he was about three years Elizabeth, New Jersey. Oh...and his father's name was Charles. Yes. These two clippings are a great start to working on my Brown side and seeing where Hubie will fit in.

** Tombstone Tuesday - Who Is Rt. Rev. John Brown
** Sunday's Obituary - A Genealogical Angel Sent This to Me

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Happy Veterans Day!

(This is a repost from previous years to thank those that have served in the military and to remember those veterans in my family as well. I feel like I'm forgetting someone in my family below. I'm sure it will pop into my mind some time after posting!)

I want to take a moment to say thank you to everyone who has served honorably in our Armed Forces.  Without our service members past and present our country would not be where it is today. We would not have gained our independence, we would not have unified a divided country, we would not have stopped the atrocities of 2 World Wars, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. There are many conflicts not mentioned which do not make light of the sacrifices that servicemen and women made in them. Sometimes the sacrifice was in time away from family and long hours. At times it was witnessing the horrors of those wars or even succumbing valiantly to them.

Not everyone serves their country as a Veteran does and not everyone can or should. You are unique, respected and given a burden that many would not be able to bear. Whether you served many months or many years in our Armed Forces makes no difference. You served. Thank you!

I'd like to now pay tribute to my family members who have served (I hope I didn't miss any!).

SGT James E Trunzo - USA


Sunday, November 8, 2015

Mystery Monday - Mystery Solved

It all started with a short clipping of a death notice in the Hazleton, Pennsylvania newspaper. It alerted me to my 2nd great grandfather's niece who I didn't know existed and to a sister I didn't know existed.

The Plain Speaker, 22AUG1903, pg 1

Now I can finally put Mrs John Dever (Nellie/Ellen Dever nee Reilly), her mother Margaret Reilly nee Barrett, and Mrs. John Mulhearn (Ellen Mulhearn nee Barrett) in my family tree.

Excerpt from Patrick Barrett's death certificate

I knew from Patrick's death certificate that his father's name was Edward Barrett and his mother was Mary Merrick. I head never heard of the surname Merrick before, but I was hesitant to add the names to my tree because the information was second-hand and given when someone was grieving. I needed more before including it.

While Nellie Dever's mom was only referred to as Mrs. Charles Reilly in her obituary I found her death certificate online, but it wasn't as clear cut as I would have liked.

Excerpt from Margaret Reilly nee Barrett's death certificate

Her daughter (also named Margaret) gave the information for her death certificate and it seems the elder Margaret's husband's name found it's way into the place of "father" on the certificate. I'd have dismissed this certificate entirely if it wasn't for seeing her mother listed as "Mary Merrick." Seeing that is what led me to believe that the father's name was most certainly wrong.

So there I was trying to see if Patrick Barrett and Margaret Reilly nee Barrett were siblings. The assumption is that they are, but you need more than assumptions. I went through all of the news clippings I could find on the Reillys and Devers and didn't find anything else I could use to solidify the connection. I went to sleep knowing that I was missing something. Something that was obvious. I couldn't sleep. I spent too much time thinking through this problem. When I woke up the next morning I knew what I needed to check.

In the initial clipping that led me to the niece of Patrick Barrett I had completely overlooked the other sister...Mrs. John Mulhearn. I didn't know her first name, but if my deductions were right she'd be another sibling to Patrick and Margaret. I found her death certificate. Her name was Ellen. Just like her niece Nellie/Ellen Devers nee Reilly.

Excerpt of Ellen Mulheron nee Barrett's death certificate

Their similar names was great and all, but I was interested in the information on her parents to finally make or dispel this theory. I found what I was looking for.

Her parents were indeed Edward and Mary Barrett nee Merrick. The information was given by what appears to be a nursing home. They were obviously given all of her information by her family. I also have a county in Ireland now. County Mayo. Who knows if it's right, but it's a new lead to take. Hopefully I'll finally be able to jump the pond!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Medical Monday - Breast Cancer in the Family

Bridget Barrett nee Farley's cause of death
I don't know of anyone in my family that has had breast cancer. At least I didn't. I found the death certificate for my 2nd great grandmother, Bridget Barrett nee Farley, and on it was her cause of death..."exhaustion from cancer of breast."

According to this she was diagnosed in January 1905 and she didn't die for a year and a half. I don't know how they attempted to treat cancer in the early 20th century. I'm not sure that I really want to research that. It's pretty horrific even today when we have chemotherapy and radiation treatment and surgery. 

During that time that she had cancer she actually went to Philadelphia for eye surgery. I wish I knew what was wrong with her eye(s). Not because it's really important, but I wonder if it was really severe...whatever it was. Was it so severe that it needed to be done? Would she have been blinded without it? Or was it minor and had it done believing that she was going to beat the cancer? Was the cancer so advanced that it caused this problem with her eyes? That's why I would like to know. 

The Plain Speaker, 28APR1905, pg5
Of course I sit here comfortably in 2015 and look back at medicine in the early 1900s and cringe, but I'm sure at the time they probably felt about their medicine the same way we feel about ours. What will my descendants think of our medicine in another century? Will they look at our cancer treatments and think they're barbaric and primitive? I hope so, because if they think that at least they'll have something better.

The Plain Speaker, 09MAY1905, pg5
Walter Barrett went to visit his mother in Philadelphia after the surgery. Those things aren't really reported in newspapers today. As a researcher I'm glad that they were reported. If they hadn't been I wouldn't have known about her having this surgery. This courage that I can at least hope some of which has passed on to me and mine.

These sorts of articles make family history more personal. More than just dates and names. They give us stories.

Walter was also the informant on Bridget's death certificate. Patrick, her husband, died two years after her. I don't know why he wasn't the informant. Perhaps he was too grieved. I imagine they all were.

Excerpt from Bridget Barrett's death certificate
I've seen far too many death certificates for my ancestors that have no parental information on them. It can be frustrating...very frustrating. On Bridget's I've got her parents listed as Hugh and Alice Farley nee Fagan. While I have to take it with a grain of salt (this is second-hand information after all), I do see a pattern in the names. 

Bridget and Patrick had six children: Edward, Mary (my ancestor), William, Hugh, Walter, and Alice. According to Patrick's death certificate his parents were Edward and Mary. Bridget's parent were Hugh and Alice. Their children were named after their parents it would seem.

These were all the revelations I got from Bridget's death certificate and those two small clippings. I have no obituary for her yet. hasn't added the Hazleton papers for 1906. I'm hoping that 1906 isn't one of the years permanently lost. I found out where in Saint Gabriel's cemetery she and Patrick are buried this summer and I was finally able to create FindAGrave memorials for them. I just seems like an obituary would help to close out the story.

I take this time to remember someone that must have been a strong and brave woman and I'm proud to be your granddaughter.

Monday, October 26, 2015

My 5th Blogiversary And The Story That Started It All

"The Royal Charter off Moelfre"
Image used with permission of E. D. Walker

(This post and the anniversary of this shipwreck is the reason I began blogging five years ago.  It's now 156 years since my 3rd great grandfather lost his life in this shipwreck. I've found more cousins since then and sometimes blogging is slow when I'm in school, but the blog and I are hanging in there!)

October 26, 2010 is the 151st anniversary of my great-great-great grandfather, Manus Maurice Boyle's, death in the shipwreck of the Royal Charter. He worked in the coal mines of northeastern Pennsylvania. He and his wife, Alice Monaghan, were both Irish immigrants and longed for a better life for their two daughters, Bridget Mary and Anna. He left Pennsylvania in September 1856 to go to Australia to mine for gold in hopes of a better future for his family. He was returning to his family from Australia in the autumn of 1859. The Royal Charter would have taken him back to Britain. No one knows what ship he was to board to return to America. No one knows what fortunes, if any, he was returning from Australia with. During the last leg of his journey to Liverpool a hurricane struck. There was no advanced warning. None existed prior to that date.

The winds that raged over 100 mph changed from East to North/Northeast and the bay (Moelfre Bay) which Captain Taylor had hoped would shelter them became the instrument of their demise. The anchors that had been weighed, snaped in the first hours of the morning of October 26th and the ship was repeatedly thrown against the rocks until it split and sank. Of more than 480 passengers and crew only 41 survived. No women or children were saved.

The valiant efforts of one of the crew, Joe Rogers, and the inhabitants of the Moelfre coast were what enabled even those 41 to be saved. The storm had caused damage to one of the Moelfre homes and as residents were repairing the roof in the early hours of the morning they saw the ship in peril. They woke the town and 28 local men made a human chain in the violent waters of the bay to attempt to rescue those aboard. Joe Rogers took a line from the ship and swam to shore, being turned back in the violent waves of the storm at least 3 times before reaching the men on shore. The rope was used in an attempt to bring those from the vessel ashore.

Sadly, many of the passengers on the ship jumped or were thrown overboard. The bulkiness of the clothes of the time coupled with the fact that many had money belts and pockets filled with gold inhibited their efforts to the deadliest of degrees. Had they abandoned their garments and treasure many more may have survived.

There was over 322,000 pounds (British monetary unit) of gold aboard the ship. This was the amount insured back in 1859 and does not include the gold the passengers kept on their persons. I do not know the equivalent in today's currency the gold would be valued at, but it would obviously be substantially higher. The large amount of money combined with the rumors of "good fortune" that surrounded the town after the wreck led to the shipwreck being called the Golden Wreck.

The village church of Saint Gallgo became the collection point for the bodies. The Reverends Stephen Roose Hughes and his brother Reverend Hugh Robert Hughes paid the local inhabitants to bring the bodies to the church, a difficult trek up the rocky shores to the church made monetary remuneration the only way to persuade the locals to take on the grim task. They saw to the burial of those killed and personally answered over 1000 letters they received begging a response regarding loved ones. The stress from this caused the Reverend Stephen Hughes' life to be cut short. He died a few years later.

The church at Saint Gallgo still exists today and each year remembers those lost in this tragedy. Monuments stand to remember those lost. A distant cousin of mine Debbie Fay Buch and her husband, Josh Buch, placed a memorial stone at Saint Gallgo Church in August 2004. It reads:

Manus Maurice Boyle
Never Recovered from the Royal Charter
Placed by the Fay Family
Hazleton, PA USA 2004

I don't sit around depressed over the fact that this is the anniversary of my ancestor's death. What would have happened had he come home with gold from Australia? My 2nd great grandmother, Anna Boyle, may never have met her husband, Martin Blanchfield, and I would never have been born. Sometimes good can come from tragedy. People's fortunes can improve or worsen causing them to make decisions that determine the outcome of their history and sometimes other people's histories. It does sadden me to know that Manus was never to hold his youngest daughter, Anna. She was born 2 months after he left for Australia. It saddens me to know that his last thoughts were most likely of a family that he would not see again in this world. Or perhaps his last thoughts were of a determination to survive and get back to them. A determination that was matched by the ferocity of the circumstances in which he found himself. It saddens me knowing that he did not die the "peaceful" death of drowning for the majority of those lost were broken on the rocks of the bay. The passengers and crew of the Royal Charter died so close to shore that even today the wreck can be seen below the surface of the waters from the bay's shoreline. Still there, resting peacefully below the water.

It is not everyone that can say their ancestor's demise was written about in books. I have read two that write of the Royal Charter. One by Alexander McKee, "The Golden Wreck: The Tragedy of the Royal Charter" is out of print, but it tells of the voyage from Australia to it's wreck, the recovery of the remains of the victims and the trial of the crew that survived. I have read the account of the shipwreck written by the great Charles Dickens (yes, I said Charles Dickens wrote about this tragedy!) in his book "The Uncommercial Traveller" (only about the first 20 or so pages of the book are dedicated to this wreck. It's a series of 34 books and this is in volume 24. The entire series tells of Dickens' travels as he IS the Uncommercial Traveller).

I take this time today to remember a man I never knew, but love nevertheless. As a genealogist it can be hard to convey to those that do not research their ancestry that while we may never have met these names that appear in our family trees, we feel a closeness that defies explanation.

Rest in Peace, Grandpa. You will be remembered by your many descendants.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Medical Monday - William Reilly's Death

The Scranton Republican, 04SEP1913, pg16
Last Monday I posted about the death of Margaret Reilly nee Barrett. In that obituary her grandson, William Reilly, was mentioned. He died about a week before she did. What a horrible time for that family.


Young Man Claimed by the Grim Reaper

Death claimed William Reilly, aged seventeen years, son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Reilly, of South Main street, early yesterday morning. He had been ill ten months.

Besides his parents, one sister, Margaret, survives. The funeral will be held Friday morning at 9 o'clock. A mass of requiem will be sung in St. Mary's church.

Burial will be made in St. Mary's cemetery."

The obituary doesn't quite match the death certificate exactly. It had that he was just a few months short of his seventeenth birthday, but it's not a big difference. He was still too young to be taken from his parents.

Excerpt of William Reilly's death certificate
William was born on November 4th 1896 in Avoca, Pennsylvania. He died on September 3rd 1913. Aside from some possible misspellings his cause of death was "valvular disease of hear (mitral)." You could stop there if you chose to. There was something wrong with his heart...but you have to look further and ask yourself why did this teenager die because of his heart?

The secondary/contributory cause of death is "chorea - rheumatism". That's not as in arthritis, but as in rheumatic fever.

I did a little research to confirm that it was rheumatic fever and because I hadn't heard of chorea before. The first thing I though of was cholera, but needless to say that wasn't right.

Chorea is derived from the Greek word meaning to dance, but they were used to describe the irregular, jerky movements that some developed who had acute rheumatic fever. Rheumatic fever can develop from complications from strep throat or scarlet fever. Rheumatic fever, aside from the chorea-type movements, can also lead to heart damage/valve problems and heart failure.

So it would seem that William had gotten sick months earlier (as mentioned in the obituary) and this would be the outcome. Strep? Scarlett fever? Doesn't matter much. There were no antibiotics to treat it with and eventually his heart gave out.

It reminds me of Little Women when Beth got scarlet fever. She survived but remained weak for the rest of her short life. How many people this must have happened to. How many it still happens to in areas of the world without easy access to penicillin.

Rest in peace, William. May you be remembered forever.