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Location: Arizona, United States

My name is Colleen and I find dead people.

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27 January, 2008

Two Vaudeville Men?

Today I spent some time with Miriam, Apple, Elizabeth, Thomas, Renee, and Jasia at Miriam's monthly Scanfest. We had a great time, and though I had to leave for a while in the middle, I think we all got quite a bit done.

I decreased the size of the pile of unscanned pictures from my dad's sister's scrapbooks to about 50 to 75 pictures left. (Don't worry, Scanfesters, I still have more than 3 albums full of pictures from more modern times i.e., my generation).

In the midst of the pictures I scanned today, I found this great picture, which made me think "Vaudeville".
This is one of those pictures that, even if it turns out not to be from my family, I'm glad I have.

My dad thinks the men are his father's brothers Patrick (sitting) and Ed. But he does not know this for sure. I'm hoping my McHugh cousin will come across this post and either be able to identify it or pass it on to his father and maybe he can.

A very scary thing happened as I went to search for this picture, which I just scanned today: I went to the "Unknown" folder I created for today's scanned pictures and the folder was EMPTY! I scanned well over 50 pictures today and I was so not happy. Alas, I found it and everything else I scanned today in the recycle bin! I think what happened is this: After I scanned and cropped a group of pictures, I'd save them to the Unknown file folder on my hard drive. Then I'd delete them from my scanning program. Apparently, this also deleted them from my folder, though how I don't know. Probably the same phantom that makes a copy of photos and documents I AM trying to delete. My computer is haunted.

At any rate, I found the photos! {whew}.

22 January, 2008

Orations of OMcHodoy

My new blog, Orations of OMcHodoy, ( is up and running with stories! Thanks for all who provided input. The division between this blog and that one, as I envision it at this time, is that this one's focus will be on my research and stories of my ancestors, while Orations will focus on my own experiences and how my history may have been influenced by my ancestors.

Several people have asked me why I don't include all of the topics on this one blog. I know that for many it would be easier to combine them, but for me it's a matter of organizing my research. I need structure to function at my best. I feel my ancestral research has gotten lost in the process of including my own stories and history, and what research I was doing was rather haphazard and splintered. Yet I enjoy the trips down memory lane, and I like making connections, when possible, to my life story and my ancestors' life stories. And along with my dog's blog (yes, I know, it sounds and is obssessive; {}), it is a great creative outlet for me.

So I decided the best way to keep on track with my research and still partake in the many genea-blogging activities this community offers was to create a new blog. Go check it out. If you like it, link it :) If you don't like it, don't link it! If I missed your site on this or that one, tell me and I'll link it.

19 January, 2008

Land of 10,000 Hits

Wow! I made it to 10,000+ hits! My very first post in 2005 was entitled "Why Bother Blogging?". I wasn't sure about the point of online journaling. A friend of mine, Donna, started a blog to chronicle her and her husband's journey through the international adoption process (unfortunately, going on 3 years later she's still waiting, but I think that means they're going to get the best of the best!). I could see the point of that. She's turned it into one heckuvan online community of others in her same situation. She's met several other families adopting from China in real life, and the community they've all formed is quite impressive.

But when it came to a blog for myself, I thought "Who is going to care about my genealogy research processes?". Going on 3 years later, I've had 10,000 hits.

I guess someone does care about my genealogy research process! And I think the genea-bloggers have created just as impressive a community as Donna and her adoption bloggers did! So today I say a big Thank You to the genea-blogger community, all who read my blog, and to the ancestors that started it all:
O'Rourke McHugh

Hodick DOYle

16 January, 2008

New Blog

I am creating a new blog on which to record stories, lore, prompts, etc. Please wander over thre to I'm seeking HELP from my fellow geneabloggers.! :). Note that after all the designing is done, the post that's there will be deleted :).

12 January, 2008

Blogging Bloodlines

This month's edition of The Carnival of Genealogy ponders the following:

Living-relative connections made during your research processes and/or blog. Who found you or how did you find them? Were they helpful or did they send you on a wild goose chase for further information? How much and what kind of information did they share with you? What did you share with them? What kinds of contacts have you had... in person, via phone, online chat, email, snail mail, web casts? (If you're not comfortable using their real names you might want to consider using pseudonyms.)

I myself have had several cousins of various degrees contact me as a result of my research. Not too long after I began my research, I had someone by the name of Pat email me stating that it looked like we were distant cousins. Another distant cousin of hers saw a post I'd made on an email list and sent it to her. Turns out the cousin that saw the email is my second cousin once removed on my maternal KEARNS line. Pat, who then emailed me, is my third cousin once removed, being connected to the KEARNS via that line's maternal DONAHUE line. Below is a picture of the Lawrence and Bridget (DONAHUE) KEARNS family that Pat sent me:

REAR, L-R: My great-grandmother, Mary KEARNS, my 2nd great-grandparents John and Bridget (DONAHUE) KEARNS. FRONT, L-R: John, Winifred, Lawrence, Genevieve, Jeremiah, and Margaret aka Frances KEARNS (standing in front-middle). Pat also sent me a bunch of information on the KEARNS/DONAHUE lines.

I also had two second cousins find me via my research, though to be honest I've forgotten if it was via an email list or my blog! My maternal grandmother, Regina (Jean)(DOYLE) O'ROURKE's sister Blanche married a William TIGHE. Two of their granddaughters contacted me and have been a great help. In fact, I've named one of them my official editor since some of my relationships among the Doyle-Tighe lines are a bit mixed up! Below is a picture of a mixture of the DOYLE and TIGHE lines in front of the Leo DOYLE home, I believe, on Union Street in Pittston, Luzerne Cty, PA.

Hopefully, the blogger feature will work and you can click on the picture to enlarge it. In the third row from the bottom, (the first standing row), the young boy standing at the far left as you look at the picture is John J. DOYLE, my great-grandfather's grandson (from his son William and daughter-in-law Nellie). This young John J. DOYLE is the one responsible for my getting into genealogy; I'd found a picture of a white cross grave marker engraved with his military and death info in China during WWII. I plugged in his name, rank, place of death (listed as Chen Kung China) and military i.d. in various search engines and the whole thing exploded from there! It took quite a while to figure out where this John Doyle fit, but eventually I found him! The picture above? It was sent to me by my mother's uncle (her mother's brother), who found me via the above mentioned TIGHE cousins!

Through those connections, I'd also been able to email a few DOYLE cousins, two second cousins once removed; one a descendant of my great-grandfather John DOYLE's brother William and the other a descendant of John's sister Johanna (DOYLE) HORAN.

Also through my research, I found my mother's brother (with whom we'd lost contact about 17 years earlier) shortly before he died, and thus found my aunt and cousins. He was able to verify my suspicions that my great-grandfather James O'ROURKE married Mary KEARNS, daughter of John Kearns and Bridget DONAHUE, who was the daughter of Lawrence Donahue and Mary KEHOE. I then was put in contact with another first cousin we'd lost contact with. Below is my mother's brother, James (Jimmie) O'ROURKE (1929-2005). I'm glad I was able to track him down before he died. Lastly (I think), I recently was contacted via my blog's guestbook (feel free to sign it at the link in my profile box!) by my second cousin on my paternal McHUGH line. Below left is who we believe is Mary (GRIFFIN) McHUGH, my great-grandmother on my father's paternal line. The picture on the right includes a variety of McHUGH ancestors. My grandmother Mary (HODICK)McHUGH is in the back row, second from left. Grandpa Joseph McHUGH is in the same row, second from right.

That's 12 connections made via my research. One of these was with an uncle I've known; another was with the wife of a first cousin. The rest were people I never knew existed. I've said before that connecting with relatives I either lost track of or never knew about is the best part of genealogy research for me. The first one to contact me over 2 years ago, Pat, and I "talk" via IM at least weekly, and we've never met. Honest to God, though, I think we were meant to be sisters!

I haven't always been successful, though: I recently learned that my great-grandfather James O'ROURKE's (with whom you're all becoming so well-acquainted) grandchildren from his daughter Mary have taken up their father's ophthalmology practice(s) in Northeast PA. I emailed the office at the website (the only email I could find) with a generic request for any of the founding father's children to respond if they're interested in making a connection. I never heard back. Perhaps I'll send a snail mail letter addressed to them directly....

At any rate, I have yet to run into the problem of someone hoarding information, pictures, or documents. Rather, the cousins with whom I've connected have been very forthcoming with what they have. I try to keep everyone abreast of my finds, too. I see no point whatsover in possessiveness in this field.

10 January, 2008

Only In Genealogy

I have a long-ignored genealogy blog that was intended to serve as "the lighter side" of Genealogy. The hope was to inspire others to write in with their ditties on the funny and/or extraordinarily touching things that only happen in genealogy.

The blog never took off; that's why it's been ignored. I was about to delete it when it dawned on me that it was actually quite funny. It also dawned on me that since my last post in 2006, I'd expanded my "contacts" in the online genealogy community. So I thought I'd keep it around for a bit and try to stir up a little interest.

What I was thinking tonight is opening up the blog to be a "team" blog. Since blogger allows one to use multiple team members to make posts to a single blog, I thought I'd throw the idea out to the genea-bloggers. Take a look at what little is on the blog. I think you'll get a good chuckle. If you think there is likely to be enough material over time to add to it, and/or if you want to be a team member able to make a post as genealogy's little ditties pop up, let me know.

I'd hate to let it go without giving it a chance. After all, who doesn't need a good laugh? (or sometimes, a good cry). Check it out: Only In Genealogy.

08 January, 2008

My Ancestors in 1908

Lisa at 100 Years in America challenges genea-bloggers to identify where our ancestors were in 1908. I suspect I will be able to successfully figure this out in most of my lines. But I also suspect there will be some difficulty with at least one of my lines.
The John and Jane DOYLE family

Let’s start with the easy ones. In 1900, On Thistle Street in Pittston, Luzerne County, PA I find Mary Doyle, age 53. Mary is my maternal great-grandmother on my mother’s maternal line (isn’t it funny how creative we get to avoid saying “my mother’s mother’s mother”?). My great grandfather William DOYLE died on 1 Apr 1887 (Thanks, Eileen). Living with Mary were: Son James (29), son William (27), daughter Johanna (17), son Frank (Francis, 13), brother Michael Dever (54), and a boarder Mary Murphy, (60).

In 1910, on Thistle Street in Pittston, Luzerne County, PA, I find Mary DOYLE living with her son Frank, son-in-law Thomas HORAN, and daughter, Johanna. Incidentally, living next to this ancestral family is the family of William and Mary JORDAN, whose son James married my mother’s Paternal aunt, Mary (Mae) O’ROURKE.

Also in 1910, on North Main Street in Pittston, Luzerne County, PA I find Mary and William’s sons Frank and John (my great-grandfather) along with John’s family, Jane, Leo, Joe, Blanche Vincent, Margaret James, Regina (my grandmother) and Anna.

I think it’s safe to say then, that in 1908, my DOYLE family was in Pittston, Luzerne County, PA.
Next up: The now-infamous James and Mary (KEARNS) O’ROURKE family. In 1900 they were listed on the U.S. Census out of Pittston, PA as ORourk. They were living at 74 Cliff Street. In 1910 they were still living on Cliff Street, and had given birth to all 4 of their children: Margaret (Nellie), James (my grandfather), May (Mary), and Lucille.

I also find living next door to this family the Martin and Mary MURPHY family. Mary (DONAHUE) MURPHY was my great grandmother Mary (KEARNS) O’ROURKE’s maternal aunt (Mary KEARNS’ mother was Bridget DONAHUE, daughter of Lawrence (Sandy) DONAHUE and Mary KEHOE).
The McHUGH family of Nanticoke, Luzerne Cty, PA
Now, onto the McHUGH/HODICK lines. In 1900, my great-grandfather Dennis Joseph McHUGH and his wife, Mary (GRIFFIN) McHUGH were living on Market Street in Nanticoke, Luzerne County, PA. With them were their children Patrick, John, Anthony, Annie, and Michael. My grandfather, Joseph and their other sons Francis and Edward were not born yet.

In 1910 this exact family, minus Patrick, was living on Grand Street in Nanticoke PA. I did find a Patrick McHUGH living with a Frank GRIFFIN (cousin) in Philadelphia in a 1910 Miracode Index for PA. I am reasonably sure this is Patrick, as I also found a WWII draft registration card showing a Patrick McHUGH in Philadelphia, with next of kin listed as Mary McHUGH on Prospect St. in Nanticoke, PA. This was the McHUGH home for quite some time. So it’s safe to say that the McHUGH family was living in Nanticoke, Luzerne Cty, PA in 1908., with the possible exception of Patrick, who may have been in Philly.
The Edward and Justina HODICK family
After quite a bit of searching and a lot of help from a volunteer with the Kansas Historical Society, I found my dad’s maternal grandparents, Edward and Justina HODICK in Washington Township, Crawford County, KS for the 1900 U.S. Census. It was difficult to find them because I was searching under Frontenac, KS, where several HODICK children were born, and because I searched every conceivable spelling except HODIZ, which is the spelling the KHS volunteer found them under. Living with Edward and Justina in 1900 were children William, Joseph, Anthony, and Thomas. They were living with a Judiz family. (Maybe that should have been Judick?!). My grandmother, Mary and the two youngest, Edward and Sylvestina, were not yet born.

In 1910, the eldest son, William HODICK, was living in Frontenac, Crawford Cty, PA. He was married, but his wife’s name is illegible.
I’ve yet to find the rest of the HODICK family in 1910. However, Mary,Edward, and Sylvestina, the three youngest children, were born in 1906, 1908, and 1910 respectively, and the 1920 and 1930 Census records show them all born in Kansas.

I think it’s safe to say, then, that the whole of the HODICK family was living in Kansas in 1908.

There you have it; the likely whereabouts of my 8 great-grandparents in the year 1908, one hundred years ago this year. Where was YOUR family?

05 January, 2008

Research Goal #1: James O'ROURKE (1876-1944)

Pictured above is the family of my great-grandfather James O'ROURKE, including his wife Mary (KEARNS), and daughters Margaret (Nellie), Elizabeth (Betty), and Mary (Mae). There was a fourth daughter Lucille who was said to have some type of mental-health or cognitive disorder. There was also a son, James (1906-1963) who was my maternal grandfather.

Here is what is known about James. He was born 24 Oct 1876 in Pittston, Luzerne County, PA. He died 2 Oct 1944, also in Pittston. He is buried in the cemetary at St. Mary's Help of Christians Church. His wife Mary KEARNS was born 22 May 1879 in Pittston and she died 24 Jun 1957 in Pittston. She is buried alongside James. According to a Marriage Record Database at, the marriage occurred on 25 Apr 1900 in Pittston.

James registered for the WWI Draft on 17 Sep 1918 in Pittston. At this time he and his family lived on Chapel Street in Pittston. He worked for the Lehigh Valley Railroad. His first finger on his right hand was amputated at the middle joint and he was of medium height, medium build and had blue eyes and gray hair. The registration card was signed in by James F. LANGAN. Which is a surname associated with my other maternal great-grandfather John J. DOYLE (a LANGAN married John's brother Peter's daughter Gertrude).

This is about all that is known about this James O'ROURKE. I do have a few things in my "Speculations" file.

I have an 1880 U.S. Census from Pittston, PA listing a Michael O'ROURKE, age 27, his wife Margaret, age 24 and their children John (6) and Margaret (4). They were living at 260 Main Street. (623 N. Main Street is an important address for my O'ROURKE/DOYLE lines). Living next to them is the Thomas and Cicily FLYNN family (with children Mary Ann, Belinda, Catherine, Ellen and John as well as a Mary BOURKE as a mother-in-law). This could possibly be important because FLYNN is a name that is associated with Blanche (DOYLE) TIGHE on my mom's maternal line (O'ROURKE is my mom's paternal line). There's also a James FLYNN listed above the O'ROURKE family. As is a Michael LANGAN family (the name associated with the Peter DOYLE line, though I don't know that it's the same line).

A potentially stronger speculation also comes from the 1880 U.S. Census out of Pittston. There is a Christopher and Bridget ROURKE living on Union Street, which has housed some of my known O'ROURKE/DOYLE ancestors. Here is the information listsed for this family:

Christopher ROURKE 34, Mine Laborer, born Ireland as were his parents.
Bridget ROURKE, Keeping House, born PA, parents in Ireland
Children/ages: Mary (9), Catherine (7), William (5), James (3), John (2), Christopher (2 months). Important: My great-grandfather James O'ROURKE would have turned 4 in October of this same year. The census took place on 5 Jun 1880. So the age for James ROURKE listed here matches the age for my James OROURKE.

I then looked at neighbors of this family to see if any names jumped out at me. There's a Thomas WILLIAMS family next door to the ROURKE family; WILLIAMS is important to my DOYLE line as well as my TIGHE line. Living up the street a bit is a Thomas LYNCH, a surname that is connected to my great-grandfather James O'ROURKE's wife's KEARNS line.

Turning the Census page to the next page (Cliff Street) I find another FLYNN (John and Bridget) and a JORDAN family (James' daughter Mary(Mae) married a James JORDAN (not listed with this family, so may not be related). Turning the Census back to the page before the Christopher ROURKE family in question who do I find but my mother's maternal grandfather John J. DOYLE as a 15 year old living with his family, the William and Mary DOYLE family.

All of the above is circumstantial (except the known William and Mary DOYLE line), but it sure makes it worthwhile to maintain my speculation that it is *possible* that Christopher and Bridget ROURKE were my great-grandfather James O'ROURKE's parents. My next step here? Find and order a death record for my great-grandfather O'ROURKE.

Something I noticed in writing this post: I actually had the sources for all this information! The Maven should be proud (though she wouldn't be when I say that, judging by a review of my database, I do need to add "Cite Sources" to my list of resolutions).

Blogging Dilemma

Today I'm going to make two posts, this one being one to solicit advice from my fellow geneabloggers and from my faithful readers. I started this blog in October of 2005 to chronicle my research, successes and failures both. It was hoped that others might learn as I learned and that someone, somewhere would recognize the names within and contact me. I do believe I've been successful in those two goals.

The question before me today is this: Should I splinter this blog into two? I was wondering if it might be easier and more "flowing" to have one blog for my maternal lines and one for my paternal lines. It certainly might help me streamline my research a little bit.

The only reason, really, that I hesitate to split the families up is that, well, I love the name of this blog and how it originated (click on the blog title for a post and pictures that explain it). I know it's a trivial reason to keep it together, but it's true!

But perhaps there are compelling reasons to split it up. Fellow bloggers, what do you think? Would or might two separate blogs help me focus my research a little better? It certainly would make the chronicling of my research more focused. Will or might it lead to the neglect of one blog while I focus only on the other? Faithful readers, what do you think? Would it maintain your interest more if you could choose to only read about the family lines that relate to you? Or do you enjoy reading both ends of the spectrum?

Another thing I was pondering was keeping this blog as it is and creating a second one (well, really a third one, since my blog "
Only in Genealogy" is technically still available, though post-less for going on two years now). This new blog, if created, would focus on stories, memories, memes/tags, etc.

Readers: Let the feedback begin!

01 January, 2008

The Greatest Genealogical Find Ever!

I'm taking Craig Manson's challenge by answering his question: What's Your Version of the Greatest Genealogical Find Ever?

Quite some time ago, I'd written several posts about the DOYLE Women, Margaret, Mame, Anastasia, Johanna, and Mary Ann. My quandary involved varying names of these women between Census Records and a family outline passed on to me by my cousin. The first expose on this mystery can be found HERE. The follow up essay can be found HERE. The determination that Mame = Mary Ann and Anastasia was actually Alice is probably my biggest solve to date.

It's also not entirely solved yet, so the joy in the find is incomplete. You see, I still haven't figured out where Margaret DOYLE was in 1880! She is not listed on that year's U.S. Census. She would have been 16 during that year. Exhausting all possible search options to solve this mystery will be one of my Target Goals for 2008.

Other information that I seek to find that will qualify as the Greatest Genealogical Find Ever include:
1. Finding out who the parents of my great grandfather James O'ROURKE (1876-1944) were.
2. Finding out where in Ireland My DOYLE, O'ROURKE, KEARNS, DONAHUE, & GRIFFIN
lines were from.
3. Confirming the parents of Edward HODICK as Franz HODICK from Austria and determining
who Anna HODICK was in relation to Franz (If this is the family I'm seeking, Anna is listed on
a ship's manifest as being 59 years old -- 13 years older than Franz).
4. Determining the correct spelling of Edward HODICK's wife Justina's maiden name.
Possibilities include NAUCHADILE, NAHODIL, NAHADIL.

Of course if/when I find these great answers, I will then develop new mysteries that, when solved, would become the Greatest Genealogical Finds Ever.

Who links to me?