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Location: Arizona, United States

My name is Colleen and I find dead people.

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29 January, 2006

May It Be?

As I sit here listening to my Celtic Woman CD, I decided the title of the first track made a good post title, given the current status of my search for my great-grandfather James O'Rourke. Today I hit the census records again, this time using the Soundex utility. Soundex is a method of searching for names that sound like the one(s) that you are seeking. For an explanation of how this works, click here.

I didn't have much luck with Soundex while searching the 1880 census (I have him in every succeeding census record available). However, I did revert to the "old-fashioned" method of searching online Census Records (is that an oxymoronic statement or what??): I browsed through the 1880 Census for Pittston, Luzerne County, PA (Enumeration District 135) page by page. Thank goodness there were only 41 pages!

On page 8 I found this record for a Christopher and Bridget Rourke on Union Street in Pittston. It identifies Christopher's birthplace as Ireland and Bridget's as PA. This information is consistent with what the 1920 and 1930 Census shows for James' parents (the 1900 lists both of his parents born in Pa; the 1910 has his mother in Ireland). The children of Christopher and Bridget, according to the 1880 Census, were: Mary, age 9; Catherine, age 7; William, age 5; James, age 3; John, age 2, and Christopher age 2 months. My great-grandfather's birthdate was 2 Oct. 1876. This 1880 Census was taken on the fifth day of June 1880. Which means that age of James Rourke on this Census record is consistent with the age of my great-grandfather James O'Rourke at this time.

Another interesting thing to note about this Census page showing the Rourke family is that it is succeeding the page containing the William and Mary Doyle family, into which my great-grandfather's son married. It is also preceding pages showing other known collateral names to my O'Rourke line, such Jordan, Flynn, Tighe, Kearns, and Donahue. Therefore, I am saving this census page as a speculation while I await a copy of my great grandfather James O'Rourke's death certificate.


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