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Location: Arizona, United States

My name is Colleen and I find dead people.

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31 December, 2005

Only in Genealogy ... Revisited

As I was posting yesterday (nay, just a few hours ago), it dawned on me that I've developed a rather "cutesy" catch-phrase. So I decided to add an extension to my blog entitled "Only in Genealogy". This is the place to post all those funny little dynamics that tend to be near, dear, and nerve-wracking to genealogists' hearts.

What's more, I want this extension to be interactive. With that in mind, I invite you to 1), respond to the "bits" posted by clicking on the "Comment" link below each post, and 2) to email me here with your own little ditty. I will add them to the site as I get them. In your email, please tell me if you do NOT want to be identified as the author of the submitted material. Otherwise, you will be identified. Note: I reserve the right to make minor editing changes to maintain the format of the blog ;).

Let's have fun with this piece of my blog-world, but remember: I like my site to be family-friendly!

30 December, 2005

An Advantage

By most accounts, it is fair to say that the lack of transportation is a major road block to modern living. By genealogical accounts, however, that same lack of transportation is often a godsend, as will be explained below.

While I generally prefer to search the Census Records via so that I can benefit from their extensive indices and the ability to narrow down my search terms, today I learned that sometimes, it's better to simply browse.
I was searching for early census records for my 2nd great grandparents John and Bridget Kearns (my mother's paternal grandparents). I happened upon an index for a John Kearns in 1880 and went to that page. It showed a family consisting of the following:

Kearns, John White Male age 48. Occupation: R.R. Laborer. Born: Ireland.
Kearns, Catherine White Female age 46 wife; Born: Ireland
Kearns, Ellen White Female age 15 Born: England
Kearns, John, White Male age 11 Born: Penn
Kearns, Cecily, White, Female age 7 Born: Penn

This family lived on Chapel Street in Pittston, PA. This is not who I was looking for, and not anyone that I had heard of. However, given their proximity to where my 2nd gr-grandparents Kearns lived, I have to put it down as a speculation for some type of connection.

Now, looking to this Kearns family's next door neighbors, I see this listing:

Divers, Michael, White, Male, age 35. Occupation: Mine Laborer. Born: Ireland.
Divers, Mary, White, Female, age 50, wife. Born: Ireland

This really doesn't mean anything in terms of the Kearns family, but I know that my 2nd gr-grandmother Mary Dever Doyle had a brother named Michael, born around the same time as this Michael Divers. In spite of the spelling difference (a common issue on census records), this listing caught my eye. Again, this is because of the propensity of my various maternal lines to live next to each other. I'm no where near the point where I can say that this person is actually Michael Dever and not Divers, but for now I'm keeping it in my "speculations" folder.

Below the Divers family is another listing for a Patrick and Mary Murphy family, with many children, including a Martin. Now, my 2nd great-grandmother Bridget Kearns had the maiden name of Donahue, and one of the Donahue children married into this Martin family.

I had found so many coincidences on this one census page that I decided to do some browsing. I went to the page right before this census page in 1880. What did I find but Hugh and Mary Donahue with their son John (Hugh is another of Bridget's siblings). This page also showed a Michael Kearns, whose information on this census record is consistent with that known of a brother to my 2nd great grandfather John Kearns.

So I did some more browsing by going to the next page before this one. Danged if I didn't find William and Mary Doyle, my 2nd Great Grandparents on my mother's maternal line. The same Mary Dever Doyle that I speculated on above in re: Michael Divers.

It's important to check out your ancestors' neighbors when searching the Census Records. The lack of transportation in the 1800's very often meant that people married their neighbors, which, for us, means that you will incidentally find ancestors when searching for another.

With transportation advances and subsequent migrations over the past 200 years, future generations will not have this advantage. Let's make it easier on them and write down what we know about our ancestors (and living relatives!) and pass it on down!

28 December, 2005

There's Something About Mary

That I just don't know. Actually, there's a LOT about Mary that I just don't know!

The stories about my great grandmother Mary Griffin that have been passed down to my dad are as follows:

1. She moved with ther family to Canada. My great-grandfather Dennis Joseph McHugh followed her, then took her to Pennsylvania with him.

2. Her family owned the Griffin Shoe Polish Company at some point. I have found nothing on internet searches to back this up; nor have I found anything to disprove it. I did find an item on e-bay that I bought for a few bucks:

Here is the information that I've found on Mary Griffin, mostly from US Census records and a marriage index.

She was born abt 1867 in Ireland (possibly County Cork). According to the 1900 US Census, she immigrated in 1875. Per the 1910 US Census, Mary immigrated to the U.S. in 1886. According to the 1920 US Census, she immigrated in 1880 and became a naturalized citizen in 1884.

A marriage record index shows a Mary Griffin marrying a Dennis McHugh on 26 Apr 1886 in Eckley, PA. This would be consistent with the birthdate of her first born in 1887.

The 1910 Census indicates that she gave birth to 11 children and currently had 8 who were living.

These children are those that survived to the 1900 Census:

Patrick (Mar. 1887)

John (May, 1889)

Anthony (1 Mar 1893)

Annie (June 1896)

Michael: (21 Sep 1898)

Francis (1900)

Joseph (20 Nov 1902 - 1976) (my grandfather)

Edward (aft. 1902).

Birthdates for Anthony and Michael are from WWI Draft Registration Cards. According to these documents, they lived with their parents at 1232 Prospect Street in Nanticoke, Luzerne County, PA.

Joseph's information is from living relatives, including my dad. It is believed that either or both Dennis Joseph McHugh and/or Mary Griffin were from County Cork, Ireland.

New Year, New System

Monday I started the task of re-organizing my genealogy filing cabinet. I had it organized so that each set of grandparents had a hanging file, and inside each each hanging folder were 9 file folders for the major categories of genealogical record. Some were getting rather full, so I decided to give each grandparent surname a hanging file; so instead of having 4 hanging file folders, I'd have 8. In the middle of this restructuring, I decided to switch to 3-ring binders instead of a filing cabinet. So off to Target I went to buy two 2-inch binders, slotted folders, and dividers. I proceeded to put my maternal lines (O'Rourke, Doyle, Kearns, Donahue) into one binder and my paternal lines (McHugh, Griffin, Hodick, Nahadil) into the other. All my information went from one filing cabinet drawer with 9 hanging folders and 36 file folders to this:

Now, instead of having to keep turning around to get to the filing cabinet, it's all in front of me! AND it's ready to take to the FHC (Family History Center through the LDS Church) for easier researching. AND the filing cabinet was moved to a closet (which also got a major overhaul). AND now there's room in my "office" for a trash can! AND I have no more excuses for finding crumpled up papers strewn about!

Alas, my excitement over my new filing system was dimmed. As I was browsing through my new McHugh-Line binder
and got to the Griffin surname, all I saw was this:

Which means I hve nothing on them! My Nahadil line netted me only a few speculations:

So I think it's time I did some searching on these lines. The next post will outline what I know about this branch of my family tree.

18 December, 2005

What's the Point?

One of the tools I've been using in my genealogical endeavors is Rootsweb. The biggest resource I use from that expansive website is their mailing lists. I belong to the main surname lists from my family tree branches, and mailing lists from the locations in which they grew up. Through posting on these mailing lists, I have had several cousins of various levels email me with information, pictures, and just plain conversation. Through reading others' posts to the lists I have learned historical information, search tips, and family dynamics.

Yes, family dynamics. I'm amazed how many people have written in saying their relatives won't share pictures or information about their ancestry. I've not had this experience at all. I realize that not everyone gives a hoot about genealogy, but what's the point in withholding information from a family member who does? Okay, I understand that there might be information (aka skeletons in the closet) that people may not want to share. But why not share generic information? Or pictures? I don't get it.

I'm very lucky to have had relatives find me and open up their databanks, photo albums, and memories to me -- especially since I don't have all that much to offer in return. So I dedicate this post to those cousins who have taken their time, effort and interests and shared them with me. Below are pictures I've acquired from these new-found cousins. Thanks, guys!

The Hodick family of 1918. The girl standing at left with the bow in her hair is my father's mother, Mary Hodick-McHugh. Also pictured are her siblings William, Joseph, Thomas, Anthony, John, Sue, Edward and Sylvestina(Vesta), and her parents Edward and Justina (Nahadil) Hodick. Thanks Tom.

Blanche (Doyle) and William B. Tighe. Blanche is the sister to Regina (Doyle) O'Rourke, my mom's mother. Thanks Pat and Joyce.

The Doyle family in the early 1900's. Included are: Top Row L-R: my gr-gm Jane (McCue) Doyle, Blanche, Leo, and my gr-gf John. Bottom Row L-R: (Thomas)Frank, Regina(Jean)(probably), Margaret, James. The youngest daughter Anna was not likely born yet, which would mean this picture was taken between 1906 and 1909. I just received this picture from James' son yesterday. We've been unable to date to clean it up. But I love old pictures anyway, flaws and all. So even when I do clean it up, I'll save this one, too! Thanks,Mike.

REAR, L-R: my gr-grandmother Mary KEARNS and my 2nd great-grandparents John and Bridget (DONAHUE) KEARNS. FRONT, L-R: John, Winifred, Lawrence, Genevieve, Jeremiah/Jerome, Margaret(Francis). Mary married my gr-gf James O'ROURKE. Thanks Pat and Jack!

L-R: William B. Tighe, my gf James O'Rourke, Kathryn (Holleran) Tighe, my gm Regina (Doyle) O'Rourke, Janet (Tighe) Williams. It's believed that Kathryn/Catty is holding her son, Gene. Thanks, Joyce!

The Doyle-Tighe clan from 1934. Taken at Leo Doyle's home, which was next to the Tighe home on Union Street in Pittston, PA. Thanks Mike!

I also have a collection of pictures of gravestones (another one of those "Only in Genealogy does one get excited to have..." things!) for several of the Doyle ancestors, O'rourke ancestors, Kearns, Jordan and Lynch ancestors. They are from St. Mary's Help of Christians Cemetery in Pittston, PA. Thanks, Pat for taking those pictures for me!

13 December, 2005

Only in Genealogy

Does one get excited over receiving a death certificate!

But excited I was when I received an email from my first cousin's wife! Today she emailed me several documents, including the above death certificate for my Aunt Marianne. She's the one pictured here. This cousin-by-marriage also sent me a copy of Marianne's birth certificate, my grandparents' marriage certificate, and a few other documents that have thickened the plot considerably. I need to do some asking around before I post anything, though. There may be a reason the documents do not match the information I've always known ;).

At any rate, as exciting as it is to receive the information, it's even more exciting to make a connection with cousins I've lost contact with.
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07 December, 2005

HowEVer ...

These two pictures were in my grandmother's scrapbook (my father's mother). It was simply labeled "In Detroit". HOWEVER, my dad didn't think his Hodick line had any connections to Detroit, and he didn't recall ever hearing of any stories of uncles or aunts visiting Detroit. I figured that either they had been in Detroit at some point or these people are friends who'd been to Detroit. HOWEVER, tonight, I googled "Sans Souci + Detroit" (minus the quotes) and learned that there was a horse named Sans Souci that probably burned in a stable fire in 1895, that the name Sans Souci is French for "Without Cares", and that there is a resort in the Detroit area by the name Sans Souci. I do not know if there is a connection to this resort and perhaps a hotel that may have been around in the 1920's/1930's. I now think the people in the photo are my Hodick cousins. After comparing these pictures with others of these cousins that are labeled, I believe that Edward and Isabel (Simkonis) HODICK are the second and third people from the left in the first photo. The gentleman in the second photo standing at the left looks like one of the HODICK cousins that I have in a 1918 Hodick family portrait.

Alas the plot thickens with this picture shown here on the right. This was obviously labeled "Helen" on the picture. The back of the original picture had the handwriting "Grandma Nahadil's Sister's Daughter". I'd always figured this was a Helen Nahadil. HOWEVER, today, after searching a genealogy website for a HODICK line in Detroit area for all census years, I'd found two: A Mike Hodick and a Charles Hodick. I also found an obituary from 2000 for a Nancy Moore Nanney, age 60. She was identified as the daughter of Jack and Helen (HODICK) Moore. So now I wonder: Could this picture be of a Helen HODICK that was a cousin to my grandmother Mary Hodick and that is why some of my dad's first cousins were in Detroit at some point, even if just visiting? I'm guessing the Detroit pictures above were taken before 1935. HOWEVER, this is assuming the couple on the left picture is Edward and Isabel, since their first child was born in 1935 in Pennsylvania. Nancy Moore Nanney was born in 1940, which could reasonably put her mother Helen Hodick Moore's age around the same as Edward and Isabel's.

HOWEVER, we all know what happens when we assume, so it's entirely possible that all of this guesswork is wrong and I've just made an... well, you know...

04 December, 2005

The Ghost of Christmas Past

My brother's first Christmas tree; Our dog Skipper; Dad building my doll house.

Christmas time always brings back some very fond memories. My holidays as a child were filled with everything that Christmas should be: family, friends, food, and fun! Even the dog got spoiled! Through these things, the meaning of Christmas was alive in our home. I hope your holiday season brings much of the same.

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