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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Michael Flanagan Part 4

When I try to find Michael and Patrick Flanagan, or even Catherine “Kate” (O’Brien) Flanagan, Kate’s parents Edmond and Anne (Gleeson) O’Brien in official documents in Australia, I fail miserably. I have yet to truly find any of them arriving or departing Australia. Ancestry.com does have passenger ship records for “Downunder” but I have not had luck finding what I am looking for.

There are also directories for various cities and towns from the 1800s listing their residents. As you can imagine, there are hundreds of O’Brien’s in the varying directories. I am sure that part of my issue is I do not have the O’Brien’s full family unit with dates and names. They were in Australia, however, as were the Flanagan brothers. I understand why I can’t find the Flanagan brothers. They were rather transient, moving from mining location to mining location in both Australia and New Zealand. So the Flanagan’s letters are my only proof. They are wonderful letters too.

Once the Flanagan’s were stateside in Napa, California, I have no problem finding Patrick and Kate in various U.S. Census. The other advantage is that there weren’t a lot of Flanagan’s in Napa, particularly in the Carneros Region of Napa at the time. Even around 1900, grape growing, winemaking, and other farming like dairies and sheep ranches were very much a part of Napa including in the Carneros Region. However, there really weren’t a lot of Irish immigrants growing grapes and making wine. During this time period most of the winemaking was done by German and Italian immigrants to the Napa Valley.

Napa also had a large Mexican population. After all, they were there first preceded by Native Americans. General Vallejo was the military commander for the Mexican government in this area in the early 1800s before California became an official part of the United States. Napa also had a significant Chinese immigrant population. So where do the Irish immigrants fit in? They were there too along with other national origins. In fact, I have more than one of my Irish family lines that ended up in Napa, California, along with my German family. I may need to write a post about Napa history and demographics at some point.

Let me get back to Michael Flanagan. I can’t seem to find him on U.S. Census or passenger lists. He was in California though. Again, the letters demonstrate this. Also, when he went back to Ireland, Patrick and Kate Flanagan would write to him and so would his former employer, Judge Stanly.

I am presently trying to read handwritten letters that are from Judge Stanly to Michael Flanagan in Ireland.

To be continued……

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