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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Joseph Patrick Maxwell and Family - Part 2

Ellen Maxwell Flanagan was my Great Aunt.  She was the sister of my grandfather, Richard Joseph Flanagan.  She never married or had children.  I do want to write a bio about her someday but I don't know a whole lot of information about her.  She was born and raised in Napa, CA and lived in Monterey County near her sister, Kay, for a large part of her life. 

The reason why I bring her up here is because one of her hobbies was our family tree.  I'm not sure if she spent time working on our Flanagan Family Tree but she certainly researched our McLaughlin's and Maxwell's.  I have letters and correspondence starting as early as 1978.  The letter that I am about to finish transcribing was written by her to a Duffy cousin.  So how did that letter circle back around to my grandfather in the 1990s after Ellen had already passed away?

The Duffy's still have family living in Napa, CA.  At least they did.  I do know that a descendant still lives out on Big Ranch Road.  The Duffy's are Maxwell cousins because Catherine Maxwell, who was married to Philip Duffy, was Ellen Maxwell's sister.  The Malloy family of Napa are Duffy grandchildren.  They provided information to my grandfather.  I wonder if it surprised him to see copies of letters that his sister had written to them.  Anyway, some of Ellen's letters live on in my box of treasures.

Ellen's letter of February 15, 1978 continued.....

While I remember your Grandfather Duffy from my childhood days, I knew nothing of his early pioneering nor did I know that your Grandparents were married in Austin.  Thank you for sharing.

Due to the dates and places contained in your letter, I believe that there is a possiblity that Philip Duffy and Thomas McLaughlin knew each other in their early youth.

Enclosed is proof that your Grandfather could write - copy of an 1886 letter from Reese or Rien River Ranch.  Pages 1 and 2 are written to my Mother, nicknamed Minnie.  Pages 3 and 4 to Friend Tom, my Grandfather McLaughlin.  Reference to "this devilish law suit" may be of interest.

I will have to see if I have the letter that refers to the "devilish law suit".  I'm not entirely sure that I have that.

To be continued..............

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Joseph Patrick Maxwell and Family - Part 1

My past posts about any Maxwell's have mostly included McLaughlin's too.  The two families do have a strong connection originally based in the Irish Settlement of Newport, New York.  The families had two marriages between them.  This post, however, is intended to be the family unit of Joseph Patrick Maxwell and Judith Shaffrey Maxwell, along with Joseph's second wife, Rebecca O'Harriet.

Joseph Patrick Maxwell:
  • b. 9 May 1812, Shancarnan, County Meath, Ireland
  • His father was James Maxwell, b. 1786, Scotland.
  • d. 31 Jan 1899, Newport, Herikmer County, New York
  • m. 24 Sep 1834, Moynalty, County Meath, Ireland to Judith Shaffrey
  • Arrived in New York on 2 Jun 1853
  • When Judith died, he later married Rebecca O'Harriet.
  • He lived in and around Newport and Schuyler, New York from about 1853 to 1899

I have family tree worksheets that include information about Joseph, my great-great-great grandfather.  There really isn't anything spectacular on the sheet except that his date of birth is indicated as circa 1815 rather than 1812.  I don't think that it is that unsual to find a small discrepancy like that. 

One of the wonderful finds in my box of treasures is a letter that my grandfather's sister, Aunt Ellen Maxwell Flanagan, wrote to a cousin, Philip Duffy.  I find this letter to be highly informative.  It does contain Duffy information but also Maxwell information.  I have a strong need to retype the entire letter right here in my blog.  Ellen typed all of her letters so I don't have to decipher her handwriting.  I kind of wish I had to though.  I may still have a card that she sent me as a child stowed away with her handwriting.

February 15, 1978

Dear Philip,

According to my records, you are the great grandson of Joseph Maxwell, not Dennis Maxwell.

Joseph Maxwell, a teacher, I believe, married Judith Shaffrey, September 24, 1834 in Moynalty, Meath County, Ireland.  The marriage information is from the Moynalty Catholic Church Marriage Record Book.

Seven children - two sons and five daughters - were born of this marriage.  Six of them were born in Ireland, one in America.  Five of them, including our grandmothers, are on record in Moynalty.

The eldest son, Dennis Maxwell, was born June 16, 1836.

Your grandmother, Catherine Maxwell, fifth child, was born July 7, 1849.  Her baptismal sponsors were Byron Fanell and Catherine Carpenter.

Our grandmother, Ellen Maxwell, fourth child, was born March 22, 1846.

The family arrived in America somewhere in the 1852-1854 period and had a rough time financially.  The parents and children, with the exception of your grandmother and our grandmother, remained in the Upper New York State area.

After the death of Judith Shaffrey, Joseph Maxwell remarried and had an additional son, John Maxwell.

I have family extensions of this group from the Anne Gray you mentioned in your letter but doubt that you would want them.  Its involved!

To be continued.................

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Language Lesson - Heraldry

Heraldry - What is it?  I mentioned doing language lessons a while back about terminology related to genealogy.  I suppose I should live up to that previous post.

I came across the term 'heraldry' years ago when I was seeking "write-ups" about the individual surnames within my family tree.  Various heraldry websites would come up in the search engine results online.  So what is heraldry?

The word herald comes from a Germanic word referring to an "army commander".  When it comes to family surnames it mainly revolves around the coat of arms and family crest.  It appears to expand into the "write ups" about the meaning of specific surnames too.

Irish heraldry seems to have heavy influence from the Gaels, Anglo-Normans, and the English.  From what I've read online, the Irish still did their own thing when it came to heraldry in and around the 1600s when the English were still trying to refine their rules and things were in constant flux.  Let's just say that maybe the Irish kept it simple.  That can be a good thing for sure.  There is a regulatory division in Ireland who grant coats of arms and monitor the official use of them from what it sounds like.

Heraldry is also considered a way of tracing one's genealogies.  I agree with this statement but it is a rather generic genealogy.  I suppose if all you can find or know is your surname and cannot trace the family line, then the high level, general information about the surname is all you can hold onto.  I know that's what is going on for several of my family lines at this time.  It does give us a sense of where our ancestors came from.  That can be a comfort and give us a goal of where we might want to travel.

I'm not sold on heraldry merchandise but I do own some.  I suppose it gives one hope of finding more about your family line someday.

Shaffrey - Heraldry Information

When I look up Shaffrey online for the surname meaning and/or Hearldry information, I find some basics.  The spelling variations of this name and related surnames are Shaffrey, MacShaffrey, MacJeffery, MacGeoffery, Shaffery, MacGofrey, MacGoffery, Magofrey, Mageffery, etc.  I think you get the picture.

The name is first found in Donegal where the sept was seated.  The MacGeoffrey surname was listed as one of the major names in County Longford in the 1600s.  Information online indicates that the name is found mainly in County Donegal and Derry.  The origins of the name come from Mac Seafraidth.  Of course, I find Shaffrey's in County Meath.

I found a site online that indicates MacShaffrey is a Erainn Celtic Surname of Eire.  I also found that the MacShaffrey surname is a Sept name associated with the Clan name of Muinitir Anghaile in County Longford.  

The information that I've found about the Shaffrey name is rather esoteric and hard to digest.  I suppose that my best option for heraldry information about this surname is to buy it online.  A more professional write up about the name would have information of interest for the everyday individual like myself.  Maybe I'll make that purchase someday.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Shaffrey's - Meath - Judith Shaffrey Maxwell - Part 3

My inventory of Shaffrey's has grown since I started looking at my paperwork.  Ok....These individuals are more than just an inventory.  They are my ancestors and are connected to several other individuals on my McLaughlin/Maxwell family tree. 

I do have a Judith Shaffrey who was my great-great-great grandmother.  There is also a John Shaffrey who was a sponsor at Judith Shaffrey's and Joseph Maxwell's wedding in 1834, Moynalty.  Maybe he was her uncle or an older brother.  Also, I find a Philip Shaffrey at the christening (in Moynalty) of my great-great grandmother, Ellen Maxwell, who is one of the daughter's of Judith Shaffrey.

In all of my research and networking online, is this as far as I've gotten?  I may have hit on some additional information but I question how these Shaffrey's are related.  They may be directly related but maybe cousin's in the way back machine in the Parish of Moynalty.

Back in May of this year, I contacted someone about their message board post on Ancestry.com.  She emailed me back with information about the Shaffrey's.  She was thinking that we were searching for the same family line.  That may be correct but we don't seem to have much in the way of source information available to prove this.

Simon Shaffrey and Catherine had John (1796), William (1799), and Daniel (1803).  Simon later married Mary.  They had Elizabeth (1816) and probably Judith (1817).  As you can see this information is sketchy at best but there's a Judith and a John.  Apparently, William went on to get married and have children.  I am assuming that most of the children did too.  Simon's first wife, Catherine, must have died and then he remarried to Mary.

On Ancestry.com, I found the tree associated with my correspondant.  Simon Shaffrey was born circa 1779 and married Catherine Gallagher (but it might be Callahan as her surname).  They had John Shaffrey (16 Dec 1796), William Shaffrey (18 July 1799), and Daniel Shaffrey (11 July 1803).  They were born/lived in Dunshaughlin, County Meath, Ireland.  Simon's second wife was Mary Byrne, born 1795.  They had Elizabeth Shaffrey (16 Dec 1816) and maybe Judith Shaffrey (1817).

Ok, so I think I might be on to something.  Dunshaughlin is near Moynalty and probably in the Parish of Moynalty.  I've placed my Maxwell's near Moynalty in Shancarnan.  I have now hit my proverbial brick wall and still have to question what I have found.

I may need to go to Moynalty to see the actual church records.  Although, there is the LDS microfilm that I may be able to retrieve.....hmmmm.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Shaffrey's - Meath - Judith Shaffrey Maxwell - Part 2

As I work to trace my Shaffrey's in Ireland, I find it difficult.  Ancestry.com indicates difficulty searching an Irish family line in Ireland plus other challenges when you try and research your female ancestors.  This combination for my Shaffrey line has proven itself rather challenging.  But there may be something to share here...........

As I dig through my box of treasures, I find a number of family tree worksheets.  It is amazing what "the box" still holds for me to find.  I see the complier's name on the first version of the worksheet.  He is one of my McLaughlin researchers from New York.  He is, in fact, a McLaughlin cousin but is not actually a Maxwell.  To his credit and his quite extensive research, which is pretty darn awesome, he has information about the Maxwell's (and Shaffrey's).  I suppose this is not a surprise since the Maxwell's can point you in the direction of the McLaughlin's information too.  I love this wonderful connection between the two families.

Let me get back to my great-great-great grandmother, Judith Shaffrey.  I have Judith Shaffrey born circa 1817 in Moynalty Parish, County Meath, Ireland.  She died on June 6, 1865, in Newport, New York at the age of 42.  She is buried at the Old St. Patrick's Cemetery, Newport, New York.  The information indicates that there is a tombstone.  Judith married Joseph Maxwell on September 24, 1834, in Moynalty, County Meath, Ireland.  Joseph Maxwell was probably born in Moynalty around 1815.  He died in Newport, New York on January 31, 1899 at the age of 84.  Gripp is indicated as his cause of death.  The sponsors for their marriage are indicated but I can't read it on this copy.  Joseph Maxwell's places of residence are indicated as "Arrived in Newport about 1853" and "Shancar, Co. Meath".

Judith's and Joseph's children are all listed on this same page.  They are Dennis, James, Ellen, Catherine, Judith, Ann, Bedelia, and Mary Maxwell.  All of the children are indicated as being born in Moynalty except Mary.  I will write about this family unit in another post.  For now, I want to pursue the Shaffrey's knowing that the Maxwell's may have been very closeby.

A second family tree worksheet has some additional information.  It indicates that the sponsors for Judith Shaffrey's and Joseph Maxwell's wedding were Roger McMahon and John Shaffrey.  It further indicates that Joseph Maxwell died in 1899 at the age of 88.  He may have been born before 1815.  He is indicated as being buried at St. John's Cemetery in Newport, New York while his wife, Judith, is buried at Old St. Patrick's Cemetery, Newport, New York.  This form also notes that Judith went by Julia or Judy.

The source documents for the above information are noted on the worksheets as the following:

1. Herkimer County Historical Society Files
2. 1875 Census (probably for the state of NY or NV)
3. St. John's Church Records (Newport, New York)
4. 1865 Census (probably for the state of NY)
5. 1870 Census (probably U.S. Census)
6. Maxwell/Flanagan Family Records
7. Moynalty Parish Records - LDS Film #0926176
8. Owen M. Duffy Family Records
9. Austin, Nevada Church Records

I have gone through other worksheets that are included in my box looking for Shaffrey information.  For my great-great grandmother, Ellen Maxwell McLaughlin, I find that one of her baptismal sponsors was a Philip Shaffrey and the other was Margaret Carpenter.  Ellen was christened on March 22, 1846, in Moynalty Parish, County Meath, Ireland.  I have that indicated as her birthdate too.

On May 30, 2010, I paid a few dollars to retrieve information from the Irish Family History Foundation.  The church marriage record for Joseph Maxwell and Judith Shaffrey seemed like a promising item to obtain.  I was hoping that is would indicate who each of their parents were.  It doesn't have them listed.  All it tells me is that on 24 Sep 1834, in Moynalty, Co. Meath, Joseph Maxwell married Judith Shaffrey.  They were both Roman Catholic.  The husband's father was "Maxwell" and the wife's father was "Shaffrey".  I couldn't have told them this myself!  Ok, so I was a little frustrated at the time with the limited information.  I have more than what has been placed online.  Maybe, I should be more grateful.  I actually am.

To be continued............

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Shaffrey's - Meath - Judith Shaffrey Maxwell - Part 1

When I look online for the surname "Shaffrey", I find that it is a rather uncommon Irish surname.  In pinpointing it's origins in Ireland, County Meath surfaces over and over again.  It even surfaces as the present day common location of the surname, Shaffrey.  In fact, the Kells area appears to be indicated as a prime location to find some Shaffrey's.

A few months back, I went looking for my Shaffrey family line.  I plugged away on Ancestry, reviewed information online relating to Newport, New York, and did several Google searches.  Time and time again on my Google search results, County Meath kept popping up.  Even before I started my full on, all out search for Shaffrey's, I knew that they were from the Parish of Moynalty, County Meath area.  Now, when I do research for my family tree, I really try to pursue any and all opportunities that present themselves online, even if they seem rather unconventional.

During my Google searches, this architectural landscaping company kept popping up online associated with the surname of Shaffrey in Meath.  So what do you think I did next?  I emailed them.  I let them know that while I was not seeking a landscape architect, I was looking for my Shaffrey family line in Meath.  I added that their presence on Google puts them at the top of the first search page.  From a marketing standpoint, for their business, this is definitely something to be proud of.

The owner and general manager actually got back to me.  He was very pleasant and had asked his father about any Shaffrey's who had lived in the area.  Well.....He didn't really know much but they did know that some Shaffrey's had left for the U.S. in the 1800s-1900s.  They also indicated that this area of Meath is the place to find some Shaffrey's.  I did thank him for getting back to me.  That's the Irish for you.  They are friendly, approachable, and definitely try to help when they can.  Mr. Shaffrey didn't have to reply to my inquiry but he did and I so thank him for that.

To be continued...............

Friday, September 24, 2010

Am - Been - Going - My Family Tree

So recently I had sprained my ankle and ended up with a lot of time to sit around.  While I'd rather balance my time between family, household, gardening, volunteering, and my genealogy hobby, my blog certainly received a lot of attention one weekend.  I have many posts in the works coming up.  Most of the posts revolve around the Newport, New York Area and my Maxwell's.

I am still holding out on the State of New York to send me information about my other family lines.  I have ordered marriage certificates.  It is amazing to me that they have at least a 5 month backlog or more.  I am hoping to see some information around the beginning of November 2010.  The McGuire's, Hickey's, Coughlin's, and Romaine's are awaiting a great find.  I know that information must be out there.  Personally, I have hit the proverbial brick wall for those family lines.  

Currently, I have the Flanagan Family Tree information on hold from my posts.  I am trying to balance research on my other family lines and also stick closely with protecting the living family within that line.  There are several researchers who I'd really like to mention here but will keep their identities and locations private.  There is a plethora of information available for this family line and I may only have about half of it in my hands at this point.

Ireland is certainly calling my name, especially since I have researched some of my lines back to specific locations in Counties Louth, Meath, and Longford.  I have some speculation about where two of my other lines may originate in County Monaghan.  I have not really dug in too much but will review my full information soon.  I could probably make a trip to Ireland and just cut a path through its midpoint to find my family origins from Louth to Meath to Longford to Monaghan to Fermanagh to Limerick and Clare. 

Where else might my relatives be from in Ireland?  Well, there is that draft registration card where Patrick Hickey noted that he was from Tipperary.  My question would be, is that the correct Patrick Hickey?  He was baptized in Whitegate, Co. Clare near the Tipperary border in the late 1800s.  I do have that information.

I will also admit that Romaine is not an Irish name yet it is so closely attached to my McGuire line.  In fact, my great grandmother Mary Romaine was probably half Dutch and half Irish.  I wonder what her mother's maiden name was since Romaine is a Dutch name (as rumor has it in the family).

Being one quarter German does not mean I don't pay any attention to those family members.  In fact, that line is the family that I grew up with.  I have other family members working on Vienop and Borchers to the extent that I have worked on Flanagan, McLaughlin, and Maxwell.  They may even be a little further along in Germany than I am in Ireland.  I can't wait to carve out some time to review that information.  I do want to go to Germany someday and visit the Vienop's hometown.

I guess this email has proven to be a quick update as to where I am, where I've been, and where I'm going with my genealogy research.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Bit of Irish History - Part 4

It's been quite a few posts since I attempted to write brief information about Irish History.  I'm not trying to write a history book but am trying to give myself a guide through the History of Ireland.  It does give one some perspective even when you are researching your family tree.  You never know when a bit of high level history can lead to your own family line. 

So back to when the English took over Ireland after the English Reformation.........I find it pretty amazing that by the end of the seventeenth century that Catholics were banned from Irish parliament when they made up 85% of the population of Ireland.  The Protestants dominated the government of Ireland.  So who were these Protestants?  They were Anglo colonial settlers, and the minority.  Because they belonged to the Church of Ireland (basically, the Church of England), they won out in their rule.  By 1801, the Irish parliament was abolished and the rule of Ireland fell to Great Britain.  Until Catholic Emancipation in 1829, Irish Catholics were banned from participating in their own government.

That's really making a long story short.  It does give some insight into the Irish though.  Mind you, there was fighting along they way.  When I look back at why the Irish left their country, it mainly revolves around drought, famine, and a lack of a physical place to live.  It does not seem to be based so much in religious or political persecution but those maybe underlying reasons.  In my mind, the Irish stayed and held onto their country, culture, and religion despite the other parties trying to conquer them.  They then assimilated their conquerors into their culture.

At some point, I'll write a Part 5 about modern Irish History.  Maybe one of my other researchers would like to give it a try. :-)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

In Search of The Irish - Ancestry.com

When I originally joined Ancestry.com, I took advantage of viewing their webinars online.  I even watched the one entitled "Irish Ancestry".  The webinar was definitely discouraging.  In fact, I wondered if I would ever find my ancestors in Ireland.  Mind you, I had already found my Flanagan's in Louth all the way back to circa 1700.

My hope in watching the webinar was that I could build some skills in searching for my ancestors in Ireland.  About half way through the webinar, I was greatly discouraged because "officials" could not even trace John F. Kennedy's family line in Ireland.  He was one of the most famous presidents in the United States and pretty much the only Irish Catholic one.  I only made it about half way through the webinar in May 2010.

Since then, I have circled back around to view the information again.  In this post, I do plan to post some notes that I or other researchers may be able to follow in future research of our family lines.  It is important to note when the various mass immigrations took place from Ireland to America.

They are roughly as follows:
-1717-1718 - Drought in Ireland
-1725-1729 - Landlords in Ireland charged outrageous rent for the land.
-1740-1741 - Famine in Ireland
-1754-1755 - Drought in Ireland
-1771-1775 - Mass evictions by landlords
-1783-1844 - Over 1 Millions Irish came to U.S. - Irish Catholics
-1845-1849 - The Great Famine

Another key element to researching in Ireland is that records were accidentially and intentionally destroyed.  The "other" records that aren't talked about much are those "hidden", "secret", or "private" records.  These would be records that individuals have held onto.  My Flanagan's have held their records and have shared them with various historical societies, universities, and others who have expressed interest.  There are also church records.  I find that these are rather inconsistent in availability but are still around.  They not online to extent that church records are in England.  A lot of church records were destroyed over the years either on purpose or as a casualty of the fighting in Ireland.

So, the National Archives of Ireland still has a lot of records.  Apparently, the records are indexed on http://www.irishroots.net/.  I tried to check this site out but it does require a paid subscription.  Maybe I need to switch to that site once my Ancestry subscription is finished. 

Census information in Ireland is lacking greatly.  The only Census that are readily available online are 1901 and 1911.  So were the Irish just not big on counting their citizens?  No, the previous census have been destroyed.  How sad is this?

I suppose Irish land records could be explored.  The webinar mentions these as a good resource.  The Tithe Applotment Books (circa 1823-1838) and the Griffith's Evaluation (1848-1864) sound like good resources.   My question to Ancestry though is, "What do you look for if your ancestors left Ireland before 1823 (or even that very year in my case!)?" 

Strategies......What are my strategies in finding my relatives who immigrated from Counties Longford, Meath, Limerick, Fermanagh, Monaghan, Clare, etc.?  I go bold and all out!  That can work for a while.  Networking is a great way to connect to potenial family lines.  I am blogging all of my information in a longterm attempt to network with those seeking the same family lines.  I have had so much good luck going this route!

The Ancestry.com webinar also mentions a few more sites to search.  Many of the sites require a paid subscription including but not limited to the Irish Family History Foundation.  I find it challenging that the webinars on Ancestry.com may mention "a handout" that contain links to accompany the presentation but the handout is no where to be found in their site.  In some cases, there is no handout or quick reference of the online links that the speaker mentions.  I am quick about writing things down but not as quick as the speaker goes through some of slides in the presentation.

So I come to about three quarters of the way through the "Irish Ancestry" webinar and am still at a loss.  My recommendation to Ancestry.com is to actually acquire Irish records from the Irish Archives and load them into their software for use online.  It would certainly add value to the World Deluxe Edition of the Ancestry.com subscription, especially if they can get the "old stuff".

I did finish watching the full webinar for prosterity.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Join and Follow My Blog

Mine, Yours', and the Other Guy's Genealogy is looking for those who read this blog regularly and those who are related/connected to this family tree information to sign up and be an actual follower of the blog.

Here's how to do that:

1.  On the main page of the blog - "Home" - click on the "Follow" button under "Follow This Blog!"
2.  I would suggest signing in using a Google account.  Click the "Google" button.
3.  If you already have a Google Account, then enter your Email and password and you will be on your way to signing up.
4.  If you don't have a Google Account yet, then click on "Create an account now".
5.  Under this option, enter your email address and your password.  I'd recommend unchecking the boxes "Stay signed in" and "Enable Web History" unless you know you want those things.
6.  You do need to enter your date of birth and the security characters plus agree to the terms and conditions.  It can be difficult to read the security characters so you may have to enter it more than once.
7.  Once you press enter, it can take just a few seconds to get you to the next step.  You will be taken to the page that asks you if you want to follow the blog publicly or privately.  I would choose publicly so that you can receive updated information from the blogger - that's me!
8.  Once you enter through that page, you should be done!

My hope is that many of you will join!

Also, you can comment directly on each blog whether you are signed up to follow it or not.  The access to this blog is currently public and does not require you to officially join and follow it.  That may change at some point in the future, however.

You can also find information about this blog and family tree at http://www.zelsersk.net/ and on Facebook at Mine, Yours', and the Other Guy's Genealogy page  Link to Facebook Page.  Feel free to sign the guestbook on the website.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Jack Flanagan and Family Revisited

I recently was talking to my mom about her grandfather, Jack Flanagan.  She indicated that Jack was definitely a big hunter which included deer.  She said that her father, Richard "Dick", had the priviledge of going deer hunting with his father for sure.  She further indicated that all of the boys knew how to hunt including John Maxwell and Robert Francis Flanagan. 

She is uncertain how many duck decoys that John Maxwell Flanagan made.  He is certain to have had his own set.  She said that her Uncle John was a very funny person.  He had great stories and jokes to tell.  She said that her Uncle Robert was quite the gentleman.  I never met Robert as he passed away in the 1970s but I did meet John.  I remember meeting John and his wife, a living Flanagan, in Danville, California at one of their wedding anniversaries.

My Mom has expressed some inclination about the family dynamic of Jack and Minnie Flanagan's children.  While Kay, Ellen, Robert, Dick (my grandfather), and John were all close siblings and very fond of each other, they just never really saw each other very much as adults.  There was no ill will that my mom knows of but distance, family, and busy lives took them in different directions.

I can be very upfront here that my Grandma (Dorothy Flanagan, Dick's wife) did not like to travel and frankly did not want to leave Napa very often.  When I was younger, we lived about 25 miles away and my grandparents rarely ever came to our house which was just on the other side of the hills through Jamieson Canyon.  I know that she was not comfortable travelling for long periods.  As a child and young adult, we always went to Napa to see my grandparents.  Let's just say that I spent a whole lot of time in Napa during my childhood at Grandma's and Grandpa's house on Spencer Street.     

As for the rest of the children of Jack and Minnie, their lives just went in different directions.  All five of the children remained in Northern California from the Monterey Peninsula, San Francisco Peninsula, Marin County, to Napa, California, during their lifetimes.  They raised their children in these locations.  Many of Jack's and Minnie's grandchildren lived in and continue to live in Northern California.  Some of the grandchildren and great-grandchildren have spread out to different parts of the United States including New York, Maryland, and Washington. 

It would be wonderful to meet those related to Jack and Minnie Flanagan's family line.  I do know that there are a few relatives living up my way in the Sacramento Region.  If any of the family is reading this, maybe we should work on a reunion of sorts.  For some of us, it would be the first time that we meet.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

How much do you know about your family tree?

As I surpass the century mark on my blog posts about my family tree, I had no idea that I would be able to write so much about my research.  Sometimes, I think that I am just going on and on about information that even my own family may not find very interesting.  Then, I remember that there are those connected to my family tree who do read my blog, at least the parts that pertain to their line.

So where do I go from here.  Well, there is no "I" in team.  I do like the fact that there is a team of researchers out there who support my efforts.  I also know that even if I were to give up my research for a while (which probably won't happen anytime soon!) that this blog can live on in cyberspace.  It can act as a sort of repository for those who are connected to my family tree.

As always, my decision has been to leave off any information about living individuals.  If they author a post, then I am willing to include their name as the author unless they want to remain anonymous.  I am all about protecting the privacy of those who want it protected, including my own.  I certainly don't want my personal information floating around out there.  (It probably already is but at least it's not listed in this forum.)

I probably have more stories to tell and "articles" to write.  An additional approach that I plan to take which may seem rather tedious, is to place my actual tree in my blog.  I have not quite figured out the format for this endeavor.  Know that it will not look like Ancestry.com or much like a tree.  The work will probably be more in the format of lists with family groups.  I will do my best to index the pages as I've done with my articles.  Because of my time constraints, the flow of the tree lists may not be sequential and continuous but I will try to keep things in some sort of order. 

My goal with this blog has always been to network, communicate clearly, protect the privacy of living individuals, research my family, and have fun.  I think using this forum as a repository for our family tree information will help it live on for at least the next generation or so.  Let's not lose this momentum, otherwise, we will leave the next generation wondering who their ancestors were.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Maxwell's - My Maxwell's - Our Maxwell's

How much do I really know about my Maxwell family line?  I know some because they married into the McLaughlin Family in more than one marriage event.  My great-great grandmother, Ellen M. Maxwell, was born in the Parish of Moynalty, County Meath, Ireland, probably close to Shancarnan where I place her father, Joseph Patrick Maxwell.  I place her mother, Judith Shaffrey, also nearby in Dunshaughlin.  This is the early 1800s with Ellen being born on March 22, 1846.  She ultimately married Thomas Michael McLaughlin in Newport, New York, and made her way west to Napa, Califorina where she passed away in September 1928. 

The recent information which has been provided to me revolves around the Maxwell line that remained in Newport, New York.  Ellen had seven full siblings and two half siblings.  I have mentioned Catherine Maxwell Duffy who also made the journey west settling in Napa after Nevada like her sister, Ellen.  The information that I am reviewing talks about their older brother, Dennis Maxwell, who was born in Moynalty, Meath, Ireland, on June 16, 1836.  One of his granddaughter's, Alice V. Maxwell Knutty, took some time to write down some information about her family line.  It is always fun to sit down and read someone's first hand information in their own words.  Once I adjust to the handwriting (Alice's is pretty clear by the way), figure out who the people are that are being referred to, and establish a timeline, I'm off and running.

Alice's information was written down in 1998 when she was still alive.  She was born on April 11, 1910 in Newport, New York to James Maxwell and Margaret Reardon.  She is a great-grandchild of Joseph Patrick Maxwell and Judith Shaffrey and a grandchild of Dennis Maxwell and Mary Ward.

Page 2 of her 1998 note states the following:

"Our first home was the old farm homestead located in the Irish Settlement.  All of us attended school in District #6 in the Irish Settlement except Donald.  By the time he was ready for school we had moved to where Donald last lived."

Hopefully, I will figure out who Donald Maxwell was and how he fits in on my tree.  I think he is currently MIA (missing in action) on my tree.  Alice continues:

".....My grandfather, Dennis Maxwell (1836) - came from Ireland - worked on that farm and hoped some day he would own it.  He did and my parents bought that farm from him.  He was a very successful farmer.  He died before I was born so we didn't learn much about him.  His wife died and is buried in the "Irish Settlement Cemetery."  That was the 1st Catholic Church in Newport.  District #6 School was on the same property.  It was not a religious school."

As you can imagine, Alice talks about her family including the Maxwell's.  She also talks about the one room schoolhouse.  She was eventually a teacher at that location too with one of her sister's it sounds like.  Then she mentions some McLaughlin's.

"Our Uncle Bert Maxwell taught there and a Louise McLaughlin (my father's niece).  The only nieces and nephews my father had were Louise McLaughlin, Dennis McLaughlin, and Rose McLaughlin.  Their mother was Mary Maxwell McLaughlin."

Reading Alice's notes/letter is certainly a gift and treasure.  She wrote so well and you can tell that the school in the Irish Settlement and all of her family was very meaningful in her life.

It is interesting to read about the families of the "other" McLaughlin and Maxwell marriage between these lines.  I refer to it as the "other" marriage because I am associated with the Thomas Michael McLaughlin and Ellen Maxwell marriage which is the family line that ended up in Napa, California.  The "other" family line remained in the Newport, New York area.  It is wonderful to read something about these families and note their similarities.  They were all Roman Catholic, family was the priority as was education, and they were farmers.  I'm sure to find other similarities.

I do need to write about the Maxwell/McLaughlin marriages so that I can have the information straight in my mind.  It is so fun to see these family connections.  I have the same situation with the McLaughlin's and Gartland's.  I will write about both of these soon.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Wingroves - Part 3

Kathleen Anne Flanagan Wingrove was born in Poplar, London, England on September 7, 1873, to Richard Flanagan originally of Termonfeckin, Ireland and Maria Cutler originally of Islington, England.  By 1901, Kathleen is married to Henry Wingrove with her mother, Maria Flanagan, living with them in Lewisham, London, England.

Based on the records that I've located on Ancestry.com plus the 1911 Census from a contributor with a subscription to that specific census,  I have traced this specific Wingrove family including Kathleen.  Kathleen and Henry Wingrove went on to have at least 3 children - Norman Richard (b. 1902), Norah Kathleen (b. 1906), and Eric Edwin (b. 1911).  While Wingrove seems to be a somewhat common name in England, I do think that I have found the line for which I seek.  Where do I go from here?  I do have a little more information to share.

Kathleen Anne (Flanagan) Wingrove does show up in the 1911 England Census with her husband - Henry Wingrove, her mother - Maria Flanagan, and her three children - Norman, Norah, and Eric.  They are all living at 99 Tyrwhitt Road, St. John's SE  in Lewisham, London, England.  The 1911 England Census is another find that receives a top score!  This was provided by another researcher.  Thank you!

After 1911, it is difficult to trace the family.  I can't tell where Eric ended up.  I think that I found Norah but am not sure because there are at least three Norah Wingroves and they married three different gentlemen in the greater London area.   I have Norman getting married at the age of 72.  I'm pretty sure that is him but was he married before then?

In one of my recent searches on Ancestry.com, I finally located the death index information for Kathleen Anne Flanagan Wingrove.  If this is her, the index information reads as follows:

Kathleen A. Wingrove
Death:  1962
Age:  88
District:  Bromley
County:  Kent

There has got to be some information out there about this family.  The Wingrove line is likely to have kept going.  I have searched for any marriages for Norah Kathleen Wingrove.  I found a Norah C. Wingrove marrying a Sydney Cheeseman in 1943 in Maidstone, Kent.  Is this my Norah? 

I am beginning to realize that my lack of understanding of the geography of London and the surrounding areas is hindering my research.  I don't know if Maidstone is near Lewisham or actually part of it.  What about Kent?  Where is that?  I can map these locations online but find that I get lost.  To me, a key to finding people is knowing where they were living and if the locations make some sense.  Maybe my luck will continue on this line in the future.  I will revisit it again.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Wingroves - Part 2

In my investigation to trace Richard Flanagan, Maria Cutler Flanagan, and Kathleen Anne Flanagan,  I find other family members touching their lives.  Sarah Cutler Holness was Kathleen's aunt with whom it would appear she lived her entire childhood with and without her mother present.  Also, her grandmother Maria Cutler is present in her life but appears to have passed on by the 1891 England Census.  So where was Kathleen's mother, Maria Flanagan, in 1881 and 1891?

In 1881, Maria Flanagan is living at 19 Benthal Road, Hackney St. John, London, England, as a widow.  Her occupation is indicated as annuitant.  When I look this up, it means someone who receives money from an annuity or pension.  She has a cousin by the name of Annie Cutler living with her with the same occupation.  I did not find Kathleen living here because she's living with her aunt.  I wish the "why" was written down on these census but it is not. 

In 1891, Maria Flanagan is living at what appears to be Ashcombe Park Road, Greenwich St. John, London, England.  She's living with her brother, George Cutler, and his family indicated as a widow.  Her brother is a civil and gas engineer.  Kathleen is not listed because she's living with her aunt.

By the 1901 England Census, I have Maria Flanagan living with Henry and Kathleen Wingrove at 6 Loampit Hill (Lyncroft), Lewisham, London, England.  Maria is the head of the household. Living with her are her son-in-law and her daughter, Kathleen.

Kathleen Anne Flanagan married Henry Wingrove on June 6, 1900.  The information available on Ancestry.com has the actual entry log in original handwriting for this marriage as follows:

London, England, Marriages and Banns, 1754-1921 – This document indicates a marriage at St. John’s Church, Parish of St. John Deptford, London; On June 6th 1900 between Henry Wingrove, age 27, and Kathleen Anne Flanagan, age 26. He’s listed as a bachelor and she as a spinster. He’s working as a clerk and she’s working as civil service clerk. He’s living at 76 Duke Street, Chelmsford and she’s living at Lewisham High Road. His father is Charles Wingrove, a deceased farmer. Her father is Richard Flanagan, a deceased controller in His Majesty’s customs. He signed his name H. Wingrove and she signed her name Kathleen Anne Flanagan (fancy feminine handwriting by the way). The witnesses were Maria Flanagan and Sarah Cutler.  She wrote Sarah Cutler and then next to it wrote "S.A.Holmers". It’s hard to read the other signatures on the page but I am assuming one is the vicar and the others are more witnesses which appear to include W. E. Holmers.

I give this information find top scores!  We've got everyone that I'm looking for up to this point all listed in one place.  This really demonstrates their connection to each other too.  It would appear that Kathleen's aunt married surname was Holmers.  I know that this could really trail off into a totally unrelated line but I wonder if Sarah's family knows more about their relatives, Henry and Kathleen Wingrove.  They might......I know that I had a Maxwell who is not a McLaughlin, telling me about McLaughlin's, and vice versa.   You never know what you might find if you ask.

To be continued....................

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wingroves - Part 1

In my quest to trace my family tree, I also have other branches that I'm investigating.  I accepted a mission a few months back to try and locate the family of Richard Flanagan who went to London.  This Richard is the brother of my great-great grandfather, Patrick Flanagan who went to Napa, CA, and of Michael Flanagan who also was in Napa, CA and returned to Ireland when the family farm was in dire need.  His brother Nicholas Flanagan also came to California.  In fact, the Flanagan's know what happened to all of the children of John Flanagan and Anne Maguire, except for Richard's family.

Richard Flanagan of London was one of the main correspondents within the Flanagan letters until his death in 1878.  I have written about him before.  The living Flanagan's would like to locate his family line if descendants exist.  Chances are that there are some descendants.  They may not fully know of the Flanagan line to which they are related.  The key elements that make the Flanagan's story so interesting for the descendants and outsiders looking in are the letters, the family connections even today, and the location (or locations depending on how you look at it) that you can still visit.  The information that has been maintained and the stories that go along with this information get you that much closer to what these individuals were like.  Richard, who went to London is no exception, his letters are preserved too.

In my quest to find this Richard Flanagan's family line, I have had no problem placing him in the various England Census (1851, 1861, 1871), finding his marriage index record to Maria Cutler for 1871, and locating his death in the index for 1878.  Cutler is a fairly common name in England but once Maria was married, I find her as Maria Flanagan from thence forward.

At this point, I need to jump to their daughter, Kathleen Anne Flanagan, who was born September 7, 1873.  When her father died in 1878, it does not appear that she continued to live with her mother all of the time.  It has taken me a while to find Kathleen in various England Census as a child because she was not living with her mother at the time.

Sarah Cutler was Kathleen's aunt.  Sarah seems to be very much attached (for lack of a better word) to Richard and Maria (Cutler) Flanagan.  In 1871,  Richard and Maria have Maria's widowed mother, also named Maria Cutler, and her sister Sarah Cutler living with them.  This information stands out very clear in the image viewer on Ancestry.com for the census.  The original document is there plus the transcription is great too.  They are all living in St. John at Hackney.  At the time, Sarah was eleven years old and Kathleen was not born yet.

Next we jump to the 1881 England Census where I find Kathleen living with her Aunt Sarah at 5 Woodville Road,  London, Middlesex, England.  I get confused by all of the districts and parishes for London.  They are living in the district of Woolwich and sub-district of Charlton in St. James. Sarah Cutler is now married and is Sarah A. Holness (maybe Holmers).  She's married to Edwin Holness.  Grandma Maria Cutler is living with them at the age of 61.  I know that this is Kathleen, despite the flub on the spelling of Flanagan, because I find the Holness' later in Kathleen's life.

By the 1891 England Census, I find Kathleen (17) still living with her Aunt.  Edwin and Sarah Holness now have two children - Edwin (10) and Harold (8).  Kathleen is indicated as the niece, born in Poplar, and her last name is a misspelled version of Flanagan.  Also, Sarah and her family's last name has been transcribed as Holmers.  They are still living in the same location as in 1891 at 5 Woodville Road, London, Middlesex, England.  The districts and parish are all the same.

As a summary,  I have found Kathleen Anne Flanagan in the birth index and in the 1881 and 1891 England Census.  Is there more?  You better believe it.

To be continued...............................

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Many Richard Flanagans

The name Richard comes from Old German origins.  It means "powerful leader".  It is a Norman name commonly used for the last 900 years except in the 19th century it took on a new meaning. England's King Richard the Lionheart gave the name lasting impressions of kingliness and the exploits of a crusading knight.  The name Richard is found in my Flanagan lineage before Richard the Lionheart was around.

Richard Flanagan, b. 1733, d. 20 Jan 1808, Termonfechin, Louth, Ireland:
- He was the first generation at the Flanagan Farm in Termonfechin. His father was Patrick Flanagan of Termonfechin who died around 1779. He was a flax grower and produced linen. He also maintained records of the farm in a ledger. His wife was Alice Bellew.

Rev. Richard Flanagan, b. 15 Oct 1802, d. 11 May 1880, Termonfechin, Louth, Ireland:
- As part of the third generation of Flanagan’s, he was the son of Patrick Flanagan and Judith Kirwan, and grandson of Richard Flanagan b. 1733 who originally started the Flanagan Farm in its location in Termonfechin. Much of his correspondence to his nephews is preserved. He is interned at the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Termonfechin. His life and story is more extensive than this information presented here.

Richard Flanagan, b. 1830, Termonfechin, Louth, Ireland, d. 7 Jul 1878, London, England:
- As part of the fourth generation of Flanagan’s at the farm, he immigrated to England from Ireland at a young age, maybe around 1850, to work as a customs clerk. He spent the rest of his life living in London with some trips to Ireland to visit his family. He married Maria Cutler and had one child, Kathleen Anne Flanagan. He is the nephew of Rev. Richard Flanagan and a great-grandson of the first Richard Flanagan at the Flanagan Farm in Termonfechin. His parents were John and Anne Flanagan. His brothers include Patrick, Michael, Nicholas and John Flanagan for which correspondence was written between them plus their uncle, Fr. Richard. He is, in fact, a main correspondent until his death in 1878.

Richard Austin Flanagan, Sr., b. 13 Jul 1881, d. 8 Mar 1971, Napa, California, USA:
- He is the son of Patrick and Kate Flanagan.  They immigrated from Ireland to Australia to California. He is the great-great grandson of the original Richard Flanagan, b. 1733, of the Flanagan Farm in Termonfechin. He married Mary Towey.

Richard Joseph Flanagan, b. 29 Oct 1912, d. 29 Oct 2000, Napa, California, USA:
- He is a grandchild of Patrick and Kate Flanagan. They immigrated from Ireland to Australia to California. His parents were John Francis and Mary (McLaughlin) Flanagan. His uncle was Richard Austin Flanagan, Sr. He is a direct descendant of the Flanagan’s of Termonfechin. His line and his siblings' lines continue today.

Richard Austin Flanagan, Jr., b. 2 Mar 1917, Napa, California, USA, d. 12 Oct 2004, Montana, USA:
- He is the only child of Richard Austin Flanagan, Sr., and one of six grandchildren of Patrick and Kate Flanagan. They immigrated from Ireland to Australia to California. He is a direct descendant of the Flanagan’s of Termonfechin. His line continues today.

The latter three Richards all lived in Napa, California at the same time, were all related to one another, and were easily mistaken for each other.  I'm not sure if they looked alike but they were all Richard Flanagan's from Napa, California.  I would imagine that there was some mistaken identity between Richard Joseph Flanagan and his cousin, Richard Austin Flanagan, Jr.  They were only four 1/2 years apart in age.

Richard Flanagan......What a great name for some great people!

Monday, September 13, 2010

CONTRIBUTING AUTHOR: Memories of Dennis Maxwell, Middleville 1920's - by Dennis Maxwell

Provided by Joe Maxwell and authored by Dennis Maxwell.

"Back in the 1920's when I was a youngster, Middleville was a self-supporting little town. It had five gas stations, three blacksmith shops, two milk stations, one ice house, and an ice cutting business. There was the hydraulic canal, a dam, a feed mill, a saw mill, the tannery, the felt mill, two hotels, and a coal business. The railroad was operating with a station, station master, and telegraph operator. Also in Middleville were four grocery stores, a drug store, three garages, two woodworking shops, wagon and sleigh makers, three restaurants, four active churches, two shoe repair shops, a post office, a bank, and two bars. There was a farm machinery dealer, a building material dealer, a hardware store, two barber shops, a meat market, a bake shop, an insurance business, a beauty operator, and one junk dealer who later had a successful trucking business. There were also numerous home brew and moonshine makers.

Nine farms were located in or near the village: Jay Goodman, Holly Petrie, Bert Randall, Joe Pocus, Bert and Stewart Atabor, Byron Pickert, George Smith, Aronald Huyck, and John Dorsey. Itinerant farm help used to go from place to place. The ones I recall are J. Crossett, Tom Gorman, Doc Smith, Peter Thompson, Jack Leahy, Ed Enright and Jack McPhillps. The only abandoned farm that I knew of was the Peter's place, up back of Harter's Mountain.

When I was in early grammar school in the middle to late 1920's, I went to the third grade at the old high school ( since razed ), Miss Edith Sidell, teacher. The fourth grade met in Corey Hall, Miss Wineta Wood was the teacher. The fourth grade next was on the stage of the Polish Hall with Miss Marian Dickens, teacher. Fifth grade was on the main floor of the Polish Hall with Miss Florence Budlong as teacher.

In the 1920's and 1930's many of the younger boys used to enjoy sliding down the four big hills when the roads were covered with snow. The favorite run was Strobel's Hill (Summit St). Next was Fairfield hill where Jack Casler used to run his eight - man bobsled, a most impressive ride. I had the privilege of experiencing it on one occasion. There was rarely a car on any roads. We could use our sleds without the fear of being run over. The other two hills were the Limekiln and the Reservoir hills, but the coasters never took to them like the others. I preferred Strobel's , it was steep, well lighted and it didn't take long to walk back up.

One time, at about age twelve, I put on a fur coat and crawled across the top of the high bridge that spanned the creek. I was trying to make people think I was a bear. I guess I was lucky someone didn't take a shot at me.

One day in the spring of the year , Joe Schfranek, Benny Zaborek and I were up by the dam. We pried away a huge chunk of ice from the shore and got it water-borne. I was on it, pushing it out to deeper water with a pole. Before I knew it, I couldn't get off and I was heading down stream at a pretty good clip. What a wild ride it was. The ice flow was awash and it seemed like I was going 100 miles per hour. My pants and legs were soaking wet and I could hardly stay on the darn thing. It finally came close enough to shore by Stoney Brook so I could Jump off. TO ALL KIDS, DON'T EVER TRY THIS!!

Dave Strobel and I had to stay after school one day when we were in the fourth grade. When we left , we crawled under the stage of the Polish Hall and found a bunch of Utica Presses dating back to World War #1. We also found enough pencils, erasers and money that had fallen through a long crack in the floor to last us for a year. We heard voices and noticed that a polish class was being held on the main floor of the hall. We then made a hasty exit, fearing capture by the adult students in the class.

Once I was fishing with Bob Boynton, he caught a nice 14 inch trout and was so excited that he didn't even reel it in. He ran backwards away from the creek as fast as he could go until the fish was dragged to the shore. Bob was so anxious to show his mother his prize fish that he immediately packed up hisw fishing gear and headed home.

One day in June our class had a picnic. It was suggested that I bring ice cream. I was allowed to go two hours early to make it. I took Bob Staring along to help. First we had to stop at the milk station to get a hundred pound block of ice. We had to drag it all the way up to the farm in a burlap bag. I had to go up in the pasture to get the cows and milk them for the milk we needs. Then I had to start a fire in the stove to cook the mixture. It was then put in the ice and salt freezer. We lugged it all the way to the picnic up behind Huyck Ave. On our arrival the picnic was all over. Nothing left to eat except a couple of rolls and some chips. The class ate all the ice cream, so we got none of that either. That was one picnic Strib and I will never forget.

One time there was a carload of coal that was not deposited in the proper location by he train crew. It had to be moved 150 feet to be unloaded. The owner of the coal yard tried to get it moved by asking various farmers if they would hook up their teams of horses. They all failed. They finally put two seperate teams togeather, to no avail. My father, Joe Maxwell, happened to come along at that time with his big team of dapple grays, Tom and Jerry. He was asked if he could help. He asked that the other horses be removed and he hooked his team to the coal car. His horses bucked down, their bellies almost touching the ground, and moved the car like it was a wagonload of hay. My Dad knew without question that his team could do the job. He was the talk of the town after that.

Mr. Dennis Maxwell of Boston grew up on a farm on Voelke Hill in the 1920's and 1930's. He served in the navy in World War 2. He and his wife, Margie, built a successful refrigeration business in the Boston area. Later they branched out into a thriving restaurant business at which he still works 12 hours a day. He has maintained a friendship with Dave Strobel for over sixty years." - By Joe Maxwell

This information can also be found in the book:   Middleville "The story of a Village", 1990

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Privacy for Living Individuals

Just as Ancestry.com dictates, I try to follow their lead when it comes to privacy of living individuals.  Revisiting this subject every so often within my blog can give the readers and other relatives confidence that the intent here is not to reveal a living individual's personal information.  I can even honor the fact that some may not want any unflattering information written out about those who have passed away.  I will admit that some of what others may consider unflattering can really demonstrate who the person was and their character.  It can also explain why their lives went in the direction they did.

I have not received any feedback on this subject from anyone that I've connected with but I wanted to address any concerns that anyone may have about privacy.  I leave this blog in a public status because it gives all of us the ability to network and find other relatives.  It acts as a repository of our family genealogy including some family tree information but also some history that links the families together. 

My invitation still stands for any authors who would like to include an article on my blog.  I have one taker whose article will post tomorrow!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

A Bit of Irish History - Part 3

If you are Irish, have you ever been told that you are probably of Viking descent?  One of my very Irish middle school teachers told me once that even though I may have an Irish name, that with all of that blond hair and those blue eyes, that I probably also descended from Vikings who conquered Ireland.  I was probably eleven years old and was not sure what she was talking about.  She was a teacher of history for sure in addition to many other subjects and she did explain some of this to the class.  The Vikings had conquered Ireland along with other areas of the world.

Around 800 A.D. the Vikings invaded Ireland for more than a century.  These invaders were assimilated into the life and culture of Ireland but not without lots of blood shed and violence.  Evidence of the Vikings still exists today.  A good place to see this is at Dublin Castle.  There are various foundations under the current buildings on the premises that have been unearthed.  They were constructed by both the Vikings and Normans alike.

When you think of an invader, enemy or conqueror who dominated Ireland for centuries, many people probably think of the English.  We are getting to them but the Normans were the precursor to the English.  The Normans invaded Ireland around the 12th century.  Strongbow (Richard de Clare, 2nd Earl of Pembroke) led the Norman knights (mercenaries) on May 1, 1169, in an invasion of Ireland in Bannow, County Wexford.  There's those French Irish Normans again (see my post called O'McFitz).  In 1171, Henry II landed a much larger force in Waterford.  Strongbow had made his way to Waterford by about 1170.

When my husband and I toured Ireland in 2004, we visited Waterford and participated in a walking tour of the town.  It was very informative.  We even had the opportunity to play roles in a brief history presentation of Strongbow.  My husband had the priviledge of filling the role of Strongbow, himself.  I was Aoife, an Irish princess.

From what the history books say, it sounds like Strongbow made a deal with Aoife's father.  Her father had been warring against rival kingships and had been expelled from Waterford.  Once Strongbow married Aoife, her father was reinstated as the King of Leinster.  I don't want to go into all of the details here but this did mark a day of neither victory nor defeat for either side.  It was a political and military alliance.  King Henry II put the kabosh on this, however, asserting his control over the Norman forces by 1172.

Because the Normans controlled England during the 12th century, technically, 1169 marked the beginning of direct Norman and later English involvement in Ireland.  Druing the 16th century, after the English Reformation, the English crown asserted control over Ireland.  By the 17th century, Gaelic Ireland was all but defeated.  The role of religion surfaced as the main point of contention in the land.  Irish history is plagued with sectarian conflict from this point on.    

Friday, September 10, 2010

A Bit of Irish History - Part 2

Around 8,000 B.C. the first people arrived in what is Ireland.  They probably crossed a land bridge from Europe to the Emerald Isle.  Archaeologists continue to study these people today.  Let's just say that life was all about survival back then.  There are those Neolithic sites such as Newgrange that have mounds at the location.  The mounds have been studied.  Some of them appear to be tombs but could have stored food and supplies at a later point in time.  In addition, they may have been used to hide from invaders. Newgrange aligns with the rising sun on winter solstice which may have some religious significance for the time.

By the year 600, St. Patrick and other Christian missionaries had successfully spread Christianity to the area which replaced the Celtic religion.  The Celtic religion is considered to be a pagen religion.  Little information is known about it because there are no written records.  St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland.  He is supposedly buried in County Down at the Down Cathedral in Downpatrick.

I am sure that there is more to the ancient history of Ireland.  There's folklore, legends, and stories that have been handed down over the thousands of years.  Where else would the legend of the Leprechaun come from.  They have been linked to Tuatha De Danann of Irish mythology.  Leprechauns make shoes, store their gold coins in a hidden pot of gold, and, of course, that pot is at the end of the rainbow.  If a human captures a Leprechaun, they get three wishes.  Also, Leprechauns look like old men but are childsize.  These are such fun stories that expand the imigination.  It is fun to read about them.

Apparently, Celtic music is a misnomer.  It is a commerical name to describe the folk music found in the Celtic areas of Western Europe.  The fact is that no one really knows what the Celts' music was like.  It remains a mystery even today.  I suppose record companies will continue to sell the music under the Celtic name.

To be continued................

Thursday, September 9, 2010

A Bit of Irish History - Part 1

The more research that I do on my Irish ancestors, the more that I'd like to know about Irish history. I barely touched the tip of the iceberg when we visited Ireland in 2004. We did go to Newgrange in County Meath which is a megalithic passage tomb mound built around 3,000 B.C. That is old. In fact, Newgrange is older than the pyramids in Egypt.

We also visited Monasterboice in Co. Louth where there are 10th Century high crosses. In Dublin, we visited Trinity College and saw the book of Kells (produced as early as the 6th Century), Dublin Castle (which has a few older foundations under it), and the Guinness Brewery. We also drove around the countryside visiting Waterford Crystal in the town of Waterford. It was a place before there was crystal! Blarney and Bunratty Castles were also on the list. To be honest, I had a tough time paying attention at the Craggaunowen. I actually got a little bored.

The history of Ireland is so interwoven in their day-to-day lives that the couple of hundred year old (or older) pub still serves patrons everyday with entertainment at night. And there's not just one pub like that. The living past is everywhere in Ireland and you don't just have to go see it at the Craggaunowen.

The more I research my family tree, the more that I want to go back to Ireland and tour the locations where my ancestors lived. Counties Louth, Meath, and Longford have so much to offer the tourist. This tourist would also be looking to get a glimpse of where her lineage originated.  As least as far back as I know.  I'd also like to visit other counties including Clare, Limerick, Monaghan and Fermanagh but want to complete more research as to where my ancestors truly originated. I don't want to fly completely blind but know that visiting the probable locations of where my ancestors originated may have to be an educated best guess. At least there's no guessing in Louth.


To be continued...............

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Children of Thomas McLaughlin and Ellen Maxwell

Where did they all go?  My Grandpa, Richard J. Flanagan, used to say that his McLaughlin relatives had all left Napa, California years ago.  I do think that is a true statement.  Even my great-grandmother, Mary Elizabeth "Minnie" McLaughlin left Napa.  She moved to Monterey County to live with her daughter, Kay, after Jack passed away.  I can briefly trace the movements that I know off for this children and indicate questions where I don't know what happened.  I suspect that many of their children stuck around Northern California.  They had just all left Napa.

1.  Mary Elizabeth McLaughlin - Minnie Flanagan:
                                b.  Austin, Nevada, 17 May 1870
                                m. Napa, CA, to Jack Flanagan 1 Sep 1904
                                d.  Carmel,California, 12 Jun 1949
                               -Lived in Austin/Grass Valley, NV until 1886
                               -Lived in Napa, CA from 1886 to around 1936
                               -Lived in Monterey County, CA from 1936 to 1949
                               -Buried at Tulocay Cemetery, Napa, CA
                                              - Flanagan Plot  
                                                                     
2.  Ellen M. McLaughlin - Ellen Heflin:
                               b. Austin, Nevada, 5 Oct 1872
                               m. Napa, CA, to Albert Bluford Heflin, 10 Nov 1892
                               d. San Francisco, CA around 1938
                               -Lived in Austin/Grass Valley, NV until 1886
                               -Lived in Napa, CA from 1886 and at least until 1892
                               -Based on what I can find, she may have moved back to
                                 Napa from San Francisco but ended up in San Fran.

3.  Catherine W. McLaughlin - Katie McLaughlin:
                                b.  Austin, Nevada, 10 Dec 1874
                                m. Never married or had children
                                d.  Napa, CA, Dec 1925
                                -Lived in Austin/Grass Valley, NV until 1886
                                -Lived in Napa, CA from 1886 until 1925
                                -Buried at Tulocay Cemetery, Napa, CA
                                    - unmarked grave next to her parents
                                        near marked grave of Julia Lorenz

4.  Joseph Maxwell McLaughlin:
                                 b. Austin, Nevada, 19 May 1877
                                 m. Henrietta Trailer
                                 d. Vacaville, CA
                                 -Lived in Austin/Grass Valley, NV until 1886
                                 -Lived part of his childhood and teens in Napa

5. Anna Agnes McLaughlin - Anna Lewis:
                                 b. Austin, Nevada, 25 Aug 1879
                                 m. Napa, CA to John James Lewis, 1909
                                 d.  Dunmuir, CA, Feb 1930
                                 -Lived in Austin/Grass Valley, NV until 1886
                                 -Lived in Siskiyou County, CA by 1910
                                 -Lived in Sacramento, CA by 1920
                             
6. Thomas Shaffrey McLaughlin:
                                 b. Austin, Nevada, 20 Jan 1882
                                 m. Alice M. Loney
                                 d. Mendocino, CA 21 Mar 1955 
                                 -Lived in Austin/Grass Vallley, NV until 1886
                                 -Lived in Napa during 1910 and 1920 Census


7. Hugh Robert McLaughlin:
                                b. Napa, CA 17 Apr 1886
                                m. Emma Louise Kerns in Yountville, CA in 1906
                                d. Fresno, CA 8 Oct 1952
                                -Lived in Napa for a while but by 1910 and 1920 have
                                  him living in Sacramento County
                                -By 1930, living in Fresno County

Except for Catherine, all of these McLaughlin siblings were married and had children.  I believe many of the children also lived in Northern California.  If any of the descendants of this line would like to share information about their ancestors, feel free to email me at kristin@zelsersk.net.  I do have some additional information for this family unit.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Mapping Thomas Michael McLaughlin's Life Locations

Sometimes I feel like a detective searching for clues to find my ancestors.  At other times, I feel like Dora the Explorer (yes, I have young children) with her map and buddies along for the adventure in search of various locations, people and things.  The map even sings to them.

I have yet to find a map that sings to me but I think I am slowly converging on where the McLaughlin's property was in Napa, California.  My research has taken me from Newport, New York, to Austin/Grass Valley, Nevada, and to at least two locations in Napa.  My Mom did not know where her great-grandparents lived in Napa.  They had departed this world by the time she was born.

My research to find Thomas Michael McLaughlin's Napa Farm is as follows:

1.  1840 - born in Newport, New York

2.  1850 - living in Newport, New York - U.S. Census

3.  1860 - living in New York but can't find him on a census specifically

4.  1870 - can't locate him but he may have been on his way to Nevada

5.  1875 - Nevada State Census, 1875, Rancher

6.  1870's-1885 - I have the specific map coordinates in the Lander County, Nevada of the land that Thomas owned.

7.  1880 - Grass Valley, Lander County, Nevada - U.S. Census

8.  1900 – Salvador, Napa, California - U.S. Census - Seeking this exact location!!!

9.  1904 - Kate Flanagan, Minnie’s mother-in-law, writes to Ireland about her new daughter-in-law and her father having had an “accident”. The letter talks about the diary location near Union Station.

10. 1910 – U.S. Census – Thomas (who is now 70 years old), Ellen, and Katie, are all living at 118 Jackson Street.

11. 1920 – U.S. Census – Thomas, Ellen and Catherine, are all living at 118 Jackson Street still.

12. 1926 -  Thomas’ death Certificate indicates 934 Jackson Street. I’m not sure if that is their home or the doctor’s location.

My clues for where Thomas and Ellen were living in 1900 are - Salvador, Napa; Union Station; Diary farm

I've asked a few McLaughlin researchers if they knew where Thomas' property in Napa was but no one seems to know.  My next steps have been to jump out of my box a little bit.  I panned around a map online searching for any old train station and to see where the train tracks run.  I am assuming Union Station was, in fact, a train station.  My familiarity with Napa is improving with every review of a map. 

A Google search found a map of 1895 for Napa landowners.  Of course, it is for sale at a cost of $34.99.  I am not sure that it would be very easy to read.  I popped on over to Ancestry.com.  They have Maps and Atlases.   They have the 1895 map on their site.  I can read the areas and school districts very well.  I can even find all of the land owned by J. A. Stanly down in the Carneros area.  Because he owned some fairly large chunks of land in Rancho Rincon Carneros, you can actually read his name on the map.  The other names are so tiny.  I can't make out the Flanagan's name on the map but I can pinpoint their location adjacent to the Stanly Ranch. 

Back up to the north area of Napa in the Salvador Area or rather Rancho Napa according to the map.  Everyone's name is so small and illegible.  I head back to my drawing board.  I must be close to finding their farm.

I emailed my Aunt who still lives in Napa.  She was born and raised there.  I asked her if she knew where Union Station was.  Well, of course she knew where it was.  Union Station was at the intersection of Trancas and HWY 29.  The Bel Aire Shopping Center is the specific location nowadays.  The shopping center currently has Target, Whole Foods and TJ's.  I've heard that parking lot is a mad house any day of the week!  Years ago it was all farmland with lots of orchards.

The map on Ancestry.com is so hard to view.  I can't even magnify it to see the names at this location.  I am confident that I'm getting closer to discovering the location.  A road trip will be order soon.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Seeking Napa Flanagan Information

It is now my turn to ask for information.  I find that sometimes when you seek you will find.  The information that I am looking for may come later and that is fine.  I want to put my request out here.  I suppose I should call this the first of my Napa Flanagan wishlists.  I'm sure that I can come up with more wishlists and more to add to this Flanagan wishlist.

I have sent requests to the Napa Historical Society and the Napa Valley Biographical and Genealogical Society along with Tulocay Cemetery.  The manager of Tulocay invited me to visit there.  He indicated that he actually knew many of the people on the list that I sent him.  I wish I had time right now but school is starting. My birthday present request this year might just be for a day off to go to Tulocay....my mom and I... to see what we can find out.  The Napa Historical Society said that they did not have much about the Flanagan's after checking for me.  I guess I should go there too and dig a bit.  My fear, or rather reality, there is that they have what I have.  My grandfather gave them information years ago.  They may have something different though. 

The Napa Valley Biographical and Genealogical Society had a very nice gentleman contact me.  He checked to see if there was Flanagan information on hand but did not find any.  I believe that they are looking for people to contribute information to their library.  I have submitted some written biographies but have not heard back yet.  It is summertime and people go on vacation.

Back to my wishlist.......

Wishlist - Napa Flanagan's

1.  A mini or extensive bio on Catherine "Kay" Veronica Flanagan Fratessa and her husband, Joe Fratessa
2.  A mini or extensive bio on Ellen Maxwell Flanagan
3.  A mini or extensive bio on Robert Francis Flanagan
4.  A mini or extensive bio on John Maxwell Flanagan
5.  A mini or extensive bio on Mary "Minnie" Elizabeth McLaughlin Flanagan

These are four of Jack and Minnie Flanagan's children plus Minnie, herself.  The fifth child, not listed, is my grandfather, Richard Joseph Flanagan.  I knew him well and will write about him soon.

I know that Kay went to Cal Berkeley (found that online), was married to Joe Fratessa.  He was very successful at what he did and I believe they lived at Pebble Beach and/or the 17 mile drive.  They also knew some very important people in Monterey County.  I just love it down there and I know why they lived there!

Ellen lived in Monterey County also.  Ellen had a passion for her family tree.  I so wish I had known her even when she hit some challenges in life.  I believe that I met Kay and Ellen when I was a baby in Napa at my grandparents place.  Of course, I don't recall that meeting.  My grandfather was so fond of his older sisters.

I know someone via email who knew Ellen and Kay.  Maybe she can carve out sometime to jot down a mini bio for each of them.  She can even make it about all of the fun stuff.  I am hoping that there is someone who can tell me all about Minnie, my great grandmother.  She was a teacher and married to Jack.

So what about Robert and John?  Their children are still living.  I'd love to have some information if they can spare it.  I know little about Robert.  I met John in the past.  He had success and had challenges too.  He also made these wonderful duck decoys.

Please find me, my Napa Flanagan relatives, and let me know what you know.  I hope that this inspires you.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Revisited - Flanagan's of Napa Valley and Carneros District

Like Mary Poppin's carpetbag, there does not appear to be an end or "bottom" to my box of treasures.  It appears to be small with dimensions of 16 x 11 x 6.  Those are, in fact, inches.  I will soon get to the end but the information could go on for a while.........

My latest find is a letter that is my Grandma's handwriting but signed by my Grandpa.  Who am I referring to?  My Grandma was Dorothy Borchers Flanagan.  She was born and raised in Napa.  While the letter that I have is in her handwriting, probably partially dictated by my Grandpa, it is signed by my Grandpa.  She definitely had an affinity and interest in the Flanagan's story and their letters.  Those letters can really pull you in.  She wrote a few pages of notes to herself too about Michael, Patrick, and Kate Flanagan. 

Back to the letter....The letter is correspondence to a professor with a university in Missouri.  The professor was, and still is, a historian.  His particular interest is in Irish immigration.  The Flanagan Letter Collection appears to be an awesome find for his historical commentary and publications.  My Grandpa, Richard J. Flanagan, did his best to answer the professor's specific questions.  I bet the professor did not realize that the handwriting he was reading was my Grandma's handwriting.  By 1990, my Grandpa had a hard time writing with a pen or pencil.  He was a little unsteady at that point for writing but was certainly still an avid gardener.  It is funny that when you are used to someone's handwriting how easy it is to read.  I have no problem reading my Grandma's handwriting.

Excerpt from the letter dated Aug. 2, 1990:

"Dear Professor (Private),

    In response to your letter I hope the following will be helpful.  I cannot answer all of your questions, but was able to answer a few.   Patrick and Catherine (Kate) Flanagan were my grandparents. 

    Patrick was born in Termonfeckin, County Louth, Ireland.  The family home name was (Private).   He went to New Zealand, Australia and then to California.  Died January 26, 1896.

    Catherine O'Brien was born in Couty Clare (actually Limerick but close to Clare), Ireland, May 19, 1843.  She went to Melborne, Australia with her family in 1854.  Died on March 11, 1928.

    Patrick purchased a farm in Napa in the Carneros District.  He purchased 50 acres May 1870 for $1,500 (from Edward Stanly).  In 1873, he sold the 50 acres to Judge John Stanly and purchased 105 acres from Judge Stanly for $4,000 in the Carneros District, which is several miles from the town of Napa (about 4).  This is where the family home was built, and still stands surrounded by vineyard.  Originally grain and hay was raised and then converted to grapes.  Built a winery and made wine until prohibition.  Michael was not part owner of the farm.

    After Ignatius' (known as Nash with a long 'a') death my father John quit his job in town as an auto mechanic, and took over the operation of the ranch until his death in 1936.  After Catherine's death, March 11, 1928, the ranch was divided between the five surviving children................We do have copies of the letters from the Napa Historical Society that Judge Stanly wrote to Michael after he went back to Ireland............Sincerely Yours, Richard J. Flanagan......Napa, CA 94559"

My Mom was reading this letter the other day.   She wanted to remind herself of the facts of the Flanagan Ranch in Napa.  I had never actually read this letter until she pointed it out.  How amazing the information is that I was just passing by and putting off for a future read. 

While it is stated that Michael Flanagan did not own the Flanagan Ranch, Kate eludes to it being his too in one of her letters.  I wonder if Pat and Kate borrowed money from him for the purchase of the larger acreage and that's what she is referring to.  I like to refer to him as "The Bank of Michael Flanagan" with the motto, "I'm a nice guy and may not expect the money to be repaid, especially, if you are family or in need."  His greatest deed did not involve lending his money.

I had no idea that Nash ran the ranch.  I thought Edward had since he was the oldest son.  Nash must have been Kate's choice to run the place and Ed worked there too.  When Nash died, even though Edward and Louie were still alive and working on the ranch, Jack was chosen by his mother to run things.  I have Nash passing away in 1918.  Now, I wonder what Nash was like.

Contrary to my previous post, Jack actually took over the Flanagan Ranch operation in 1918 and handled it until his death in 1936.  Jack and Minnie (Mary E. McLaughlin) Flanagan and their family did not actually move out to the Ranch until Kate passed away in 1928.  Jack and his family were still living on Stockton Street (now Palmer) until then.

Again, my box of treasures amazes me.  "Never judge things by their appearance...even carpetbags." -Mary Poppins

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Oh My O'Brien's - Did I find you?

Australia, for me, can be a difficult place to search for ancestors.  That is my opinion and really revolves around the fact that I do not know enough details about the geography to know where to look.  Ancestry.com is a good start but what's the difference between Victoria, New South Wales, Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sydney.  I can do my best to look at a map but an Australian Geography class for "dummies" might be in order here. 

My biggest challenge has been to figure out where those Flanagan Brothers were in Australia and New Zealand.  They were always moving around.  I've found letters where Patrick Flanagan does write to Kate O'Brien (his future wife).  The locations confuse me and maybe that's because Pat and his brother Michael  were so transient.   However, I don't think Kate and her family budged much between the years of 1854 and 1870.   Who knows, I could be wrong.

The other day I may have actually struck gold.  It is amazing how any scrap of information can send you in the right direction (but sometimes in the left direction too).  A wonderful professor from a college in Ireland responded to me.  He provided me with Kate's exact date of birth.  I knew the month and year but not the day.  He also provided me with her middle name.  I should have guessed that "M." stood for Mary.  I do know that she went by Kate, spelled with a "K".  Her given name was Catherine Mary O'Brien.  In Napa, all anyone would have know her as was Kate Flanagan.  This professor also mentioned Port Phillip District (NSW) and Victoria for assisted immigrants to Australia.  He was thinking that I'd have to go to the archives.  Guess what?  Those passenger lists are on Ancestry.com.

So what did I find?  Well, I'm sure of what I found but are they the correct people and who is who?  I bet that question comes up a lot in the quest for one's family tree.  For starters, I do have information that Kate immigrated from Ireland to Melbourne, Australia in 1854.  That is written down in my box of treasures.  I believe the source of that information are her granddaughter's, Kay and Ellen.  I am thinking that they may have actually gotten some of their information directly from the source - Kate.

The information that I found is from the Victoria, Australia, Assisted and Unassisted Passenger Lists, 1839-1923 Immigration and Travel.  The following applies to everyone listed below:  Arrival Date: 9 Jun 1854; Arrival Port:  Melbourne, Australia; Departure Port:  Plymouth;  Ship: Parsee; Nationality:  Irish and Scottish.

1.  Michael Obrien, b. abt 1811
2.  Edmund Obrien, b. abt 1812
3.  Bridget Obrien, b. abt 1816
4.  Run (incorrectly transcribed and should be Ann) Obrien, b. abt 1816
5.  Margaret Obrien, b. 1841
6.  Ella Obrien, b. 1842
7.  Catherine Obrien, b. 1843
8.  Eliza Obrien, b. 1844
9.  John Obrien, b. 1845
10. Michael Obrien, b. 1845
11. Susannah Obrien, b. 1847
12. Michael Obrien, b. 1849

I am assuming that Edmund and the adult, Michael, were brothers.  Michael and Bridget would be married to each other with Edmund and Ann as husband and wife.  Which children belong to which couple?  Catherine would belong to Edmund and Ann.  That's all I can figure and that's if these are the O'Brien's that I seek.  There's a good bet they are the right family.  Then again, the O'Brien name is quite common. 

Maybe more information will come my way..........It has thus far.....When I run with a shred of information, I've been so lucky.  Will my luck continue?