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Sunday, January 30, 2011

U.S. Census 2010

Ok my friends, I didn't minor in Sociology for nothing in college.  I have to say that the recent announcement that there are over 308 million people in the U.S. is pretty astounding to me.  After all, I did take a class at the university, that I graduated from, called "Population" in 1990 that discussed the sociological aspect of this issue.  Below is U.S. Population information for the past 200 years:

(All numbers are rounded estimates)
Source: U.S. Census and Wikipedia

I took a class in high school called "Environmental Studies" that indicated the number one environmental problem in the world was over population.  When I look up the number one environmental problems these days, I find that overpopulation is number two and apathy is number one.  These environmental problems are well ahead of endangered species, water and air quality, and deforestation.  You can certainly find other rankings but population is usually number one, apathy really being an integral part of the human factor.

Another interesting tidbit that I found is that California has the most people of any state as of 2010.  The state has 37.2 million residents.  Despite the down economy and state budget really hurting for money, the population increased by 10% since 2000.  I guess my Mom is right when she says that it is probably a good thing when people say that they are leaving the state for a job or better economy.  The state is already pretty crowded.

I mention the 2010 U.S. Census here under my genealogy because I do find the high level information interesting.  Know that the U.S. has a 72 year rule before the census information becomes public.  This is done for privacy reasons.   I can't wait until the 1940 U.S. Census becomes available in 2012!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Language Lesson - Scotch-Irish

I have done a couple of language lessons in the past.   This time I've selected a term that I am not particularly fond of and will explain why.  I've had more than one person mention the term "Scotch-Irish" to me in reference to my Maxwell's but also my McGuire's.  These "discussions" have mainly shown up on message boards online.  I've remained rather silent about my perception about this term, until now.

Whenever I've heard the term in the past, I always thought, "...but I am Irish".  I was never very understanding of why "Scotch" was included as I never deemed myself to be Scottish.  Just as an aside, it does appear that my ancestor, James Maxwell b. 1786, was probably from Scotland.

So why do I bother to bring up this term now?  I'd like to educate anyone who is interested in understanding this terminology.  I was intrigued recently as to why the term struck me as a catch all phrase and felt rather off putting.  The feeling was not unjustified as I will explain.  

The term Scotch-Irish and Scot-Irish or even Scots-Irish seem to be used interchangeably.   Scotch-Irish actually refers to Irish Presbyterians and other Protestant dissenters from Ulster Province who immigrated to North America during the colonial years.  Most of the Scotch Irish were descended from Scottish and English families who had been transplanted to Ireland during the 17th century.   This was known as the Plantation of Ulster.  Many of these "Ulster Scots", as they are referred to in Britain, immigrated to America in the early 19th century.  It was their descendants who immigrated from Ireland by the way.

The term Scotch-Irish is an American term that is not used in England, Ireland, or Scotland.   The term has led to much confusion among those who deem themselves Scotch-Irish.  I think I can clear this up by reminding anyone who thinks of themselves as Scotch-Irish that this group of people were not Roman Catholic.  If you are Catholic and/or your Irish immigrant ancestors were, then you are highly likely not Scotch-Irish.  The more I read about this term, the more I realize that my McGuire's and Maguire's were not Scotch-Irish.  My Maxwell's, while they may have been part of the "Plantation", may be "Ulster Scots".  That's a big maybe on the Maxwell side by the way.

So where did the word "Scots-Irish" come from?  Well it appears to be a misinterpretation of Scotch-Irish.  Scotch-Irish was coined in 1744 and generally refers to those living in Appalachian region of the U.S.  This term came into play in the U.S. when the mass Irish immigrations occurred in the 1840s-50s.  To differentiate the Protestant Irish in the Appalachian region, they were named Scotch-Irish since the masses of recent Irish immigrants were, in fact, Irish Catholics.  The term Scots-Irish/Scot-Irish does not show up until around 1972 and appears to be a mispronunciation of its predecessor.

Why dislike the Scotch-Irish term?  It really is a misnomer.  People seem to use, or misuse, this term when they come across a surname that could be Irish or Scottish.  I have also seen the Protestant Irish in Northern Ireland referred to as Scot-Irish. I am betting they would not like to hear that since they consider themselves Irish.

I stay away from using these terms as I don't think I identify with the use of them since my ancestors were Roman Catholic.  I actually cringe now when I see Scots-Irish written and used.  I did have a discussion online with someone about the term.   She found it very confusing.  Ultimately, she indicated that there were probably prejudices that went along with the use of these terms.  I agree.

So, whatever you think of the term Scotch-Irish, bear in mind that it is misused and misunderstood by many and those labeled as such may not be fond of it.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Ancient Maguire Family Tree

Ancient Maguire Family Tree

1  Cairpri Daim Airgit - King of Oriel - died 513 A.D.
    2  Daimin
        3  Sil Daimini
            4  O'Kelly
            4  O' Boylan
    2  Cormac
        3  Clan Cormaic
            4  Clan Lugain
            4  Maguire
    2  Nadsluag
        3  Clan Nadsluaig -- 500 - 1000 A.D.
            4  O'Carroll of Oriel
            4  McMahon

There is a blog that someone has put online for the McGuire Family in America.  McGuire Heritage Blog
This blog is fascinating to me.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Finding Leads Online through Real People!

When researching my family, I sometimes find it to be rather solitary.  I am a pretty social, outgoing person and thrive on interaction and feedback from others.  Can you say "Type A" personality?  Yes, that would be me.   At the start of my research, I did feel rather alone searching for those who had passed on in life.

I must say that while I was trying to find my roots, I found many living people who I am related to.  I have enjoyed so much talking to them via email, on the phone and in person when the chance arises (and it has at least a few times). 

In recent months, others have found my blog and some have found me on  I welcome this and find it so much fun to share information.  I recently connected with someone looking for Cambridge's and Ahearn's/Ahern's/Meade's in Newport, New York.  That was rather fun.  I had some Ahearn information but did not have the connection for him to the Cambridge's.  I hope that he has found those cousin's.

I also found a brilliant website for Austin, Nevada.  The website is called the Walsh Family of the Reese River Valley.  This site has photos of the Austin area.   I also found the name Malloy on the site.  I seek Malloy's who moved onto Napa.  They are cousin's.  I have not yet found the Malloy's who are the direct descendants of Catherine Maxwell and Philip Duffy but I am getting closer.

The connection to Austin, Nevada and the Walsh's runs a little closer to my McLaughlin's than I had originally thought.  I looked up Julia Mahoney McLaughlin's Obit. that I have which was in the Reese River Reveille and found that the Walsh family of the time attended her furneral.  These are rather fun connections to find.  I continue to find more people associated with Newport, New York, Austin, Nevada, and Napa, California that connect to my McLaughlin's and Maxwell's along with their cousin's and relatives the Duffy's, Malloy's, Mahoney's, and more.

Here's the website for the Walsh's:

Reese River Walsh Family

The website has a photo of St. Augustine's Catholic Church.  This location is where several of my relatives were baptized and some were married.  For anyone seeking information about this location, the other's that I have listed, and the associated surnames, contact me here in the comments section.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


Well, many of you have probably noticed by now that I signed up to have advertising on my blog.  If people click on the ads, I receive some sort of payment if there is enough interest or something like that.   My intent here is to use any money from this to support my genealogy habit.  Yes, my habit includes a subscription to which does cost money.  For now, the rest of my expenses have been minimal.

What I have discovered though is if I want to discover more about my family tree, especially in Ireland, that I will need to shell out some dollars to get documents of some value.  This is my first attempt to earn some money with my genealogy efforts.  Apparently, I can also purchase marriage certificates from the LDS Library for about $4 a pop.  The LDS Library also allows you to order up their films for $6 and makes them available to you for a few weeks at their library sites.  I live about 1 mile from one of their libraries in Sacramento.

So between cost and time, my genealogy habit may not continue to be an everyday venture (probably every other day, instead).  I will, however, continue to pursue my family tree and post here at Mine, Yours', and the Other Guy's Genealogy by zelsersk.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Borchers Stories - Part 2 - Ellen and Minnie Flanagan (Mary McLaughlin)

Napa, California can be a small place.  When you go back 70 or 80 years, it becomes even smaller.  The people living in this town and even on the local farms knew everyone.  I think that is now becoming clearly evidenced by my family history research.  In one instance, I find Kate Flanagan commenting about Thomas McLaughlin in letters that she wrote to Ireland.  Thomas was her son's (John Francis "Jack" Flanagan) father-in-law.  In a small town, everyone knows "everyone".

It continues to surprise me though when people quickly throw out a story that was totally unexpected.  In fact, the story can come and go faster than you can even grasp the words.  A good example is my other Aunt Borchers.  I will refer to her as Aunt MV Borchers.  She too is a living relative.

Somehow the conversation at Christmastime went to wearing the same clothes.  Aunt MV Borchers talked about how she tends to wear the same clothes all of the time.  She has a few items that she wears depending on the occasion.  From that, Ellen Flanagan's name came up.

So the story goes (and was being told by my Aunt MV Borchers) that Ellen Flanagan wore the same clothes all of the time (or at least the same jacket).   Ellen's mother, Minnie Flanagan (Mary Elizabeth McLaughlin), told Ellen one day that she really wished that she'd buy a new jacket.  Minnie told her that if she did not get a new jacket that she would take that jacket, hang it on the light pole outside for all passerbys to say, "Hi Ellen".

I had to chuckle at this story.  I'm not sure that my mom had ever heard it before now.  Mind you Ellen was my grandfather's (Richard Flanagan) sister and Minnie, my great grandmother.  The Borchers are only related by the marriage of my grandma to my grandfather.   Ellen was my great aunt.  I really did not know her except by way of cards at my birthday.  I had to ask my aunts if they knew the Flanagan's.  They did.  That was really no surprise. 

What was interesting to me is that they did know my great-grandmother, Minnie Flanagan (Mary Elizabeth McLaughlin).  The timeframe of the story would have been circa late 1930s, early 1940s, after Jack Flanagan had passed away in 1936 and my great-grandmother, Minnie, was living in the house on Polk Street.  From there my questions flowed.

My Aunt ML Borchers said that she knew Minnie Flanagan.  She said that she was a very, very nice lady.  She often found it interesting that all of her children called her "Min" rather than "mom" or "mother".  Minnie was, in fact, her nickname.  This was an "ah-ha" moment for my aunts.  They did not know that my great grandmother's nickname was Minnie and that's where "Min" came from.  To them, she was Mrs. Flanagan. 

I also asked about the house on Polk Street.   It was the house that my mom grew up in by the way.  After Jack passed away on the Flanagan Ranch in 1936, his brother Richard Flanagan and his family took over the ranch.  Minnie moved into town and lived in the house on Polk Street for a time before she moved to the Monterey Peninsula. 

After Minnie left Napa, my grandparents (Richard and Dorothy Flanagan) moved into the house on Polk Street.  I would assume that my grandparents owned it at some point.  When my mom was in college, they bought a different house on Spencer Street in Napa.   The Polk Street house is no longer.  It was torn down years ago to create a bank parking lot.

These brief stories are so fun for me to gather.  I am attempting to do them justice as I write them down here in my blog/diary.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Borchers Stories - Part 1 - The Piano

This past Christmas Day (as every Christmas, give or take a few, for the past 35 years), I had the opportunity and privilege to visit with my two aunts and uncle from Napa, CA.  Since they are living individuals, I will not indicate their names here.  My two aunts are my grandma's sisters.  My grandma was Dorothy Marie Borchers Flanagan (1921-1997). 

As you may have guessed, her sisters are in their 80s.  Let's just say they get around really well for their age.  My husband even asked if they ever age.  In the past ten Christmas' that he's been apart of the family, he's said that they still look the same as does my mother, who looks just like them (except about 20 years younger and not really elderly quite yet).  I can honestly say that I do not have their physical features except maybe those blue eyes.  My older aunt of the two did talk about a few of her friends who are in 24 hour care at this point in their lives while my aunt still keeps her schedule and actually drove everyone to my mom's house for Christmas.

I asked my aunt how many piano students she has this year.  Yes, she does still teach.  As my mom would say, "She's the fun piano teacher!".  My mom would know, she took lessons from her aunt.  Her aunt was her second piano teacher.  At the age of 85 years old, my aunt has 35 piano students in a given week.  I then asked my aunt how long she's been teaching piano lessons.   She started thinking about it and started to say 38.  I said 38 years is a long time.  She then said since 1938.  I was astonished.

My Aunt, who I'll refer to here at Aunt ML Borchers from here on out, started teaching piano lessons at the age of 13 years old.  A few of the neighbor kids, who were just a few years younger than Aunt ML Borchers, wanted to learn piano.  They all lived up in Alta Heights on Willow Avenue in Napa, California.  It was interesting to hear my Aunt ML talk about who she taught and who she took lessons from.  I wish that I had taken down some of the names of the people.  Apparently, Aunt ML is still friends with one neighbor who lives in Yountville even today.  Mind you, Aunt ML has now been teaching piano lessons in Napa for 72 years.

The original piano that was at my great-grandparents house on Willow Avenue was an upright but shortly after Aunt ML really expressed interest in continuing to play, my great-grandparents (Herbert Borchers and Mary Vienop Borchers) bought a baby grand piano.  It was in their living room against the wall of the first bedroom at the front of the house. 

What I find so interesting about the piano and its location is that I can picture in my head exactly where it lived.  I spent quite a bit of time at my great-grandparents house as a child until my great-grandma sold her home when she was well into her 80s.  During my childhood, that piano did not live at the Willow Avenue home though.  It lived and continues to live in the living room of my Aunt ML's home in Napa.  In fact, to this day each and every single one of her piano students plays that piano.  That, to me, is pretty amazing and special.  When you think about how many pianos sit in homes across America and are hardly touched, this piano has been used regularly by many, many piano students.

Aunt ML's next comment took be rather off guard.  She said that Dorothy (her older sister, my grandma) was the one who played piano first.  Because of this my Aunt ML got interested in playing too.  In fact, Dorothy and Aunt ML would play duets.  I can honestly say that I never knew that my grandma could play the piano.  My Aunt ML remembers their mother (Mary Borchers) telling Dorothy that if she was not going to practice that she would not pay for lessons any longer.  I guess that was the end of piano for Dorothy.  She lost interest but could still play some here and there with her sister.   I never actually saw my grandma play.  My mom has indicated that my grandma could read music quite well.

Music has been such a large part of my Aunt ML's life.  She was the organist at her church for many, many years.  Additionally, she has played for and accompanied musicians at many weddings and toured with bell ringers.  She no longer owns the organ that lived next to the baby grand piano in her living room.  I can still remember gathering around that organ at Christmas to sing caroles as a kid.  "All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth!"

My Aunt ML is a living example of music in the lives of young children and beyond.  I am so glad that I wrote this down.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Who Do You Think You Are? - Season 2 on NBC

I hadn't looked in a few weeks but did today.  Season 2 of the NBC show, USA version, "Who Do You Think You Are?", premieres Friday, February 4, 8pm on NBC.  I am looking forward to this and found a list of the celebrities who will be included in this season.  They are Gwyneth Paltrow, Tim McGraw, Rosie O'Donnell, Steve Buscemi, Kim Cattrall, Lionel Richie, Vanessa Williams, and Ashley Judd.

I must admit to having seen Kim Cattrall in the UK version.  I would imagine that they are using that episode here in the U.S.  Maybe they will add updated information to it.  It will probably be a shorter version as is typical here in the U.S.

It should be an interesting season.  Can't wait!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

St. Vincent Ferrer High School - Part 2

St. Vincent Ferrer was a famous Dominican missionary, born in Valencia, Spain, January 23, 1350.  His own words were "study followed prayer, and prayer succeeded study".  To become a saint, you have to demonstrate miracles.  His miracles are said to be the "gift of tongues" and his success in converting thousands of Jews and Moors to Catholicism. In his homeland, he was a bit of a politician and diplomat easing sectarian conflicts.  He is known as the "Angel of the Apocalypse".

I felt compelled to look up information about St. Vincent Ferrer.  It strikes me as funny that I had never looked this information up before.  The fact that the Dominican nuns ran St. Vincent's is no surprise since their patron saint was, in fact, a Dominican.

Back to St. Vincent Ferrer High School, Vallejo, CA........By the mid 1960s it became evident that St. Vincent's could no longer accommodate the enrollment of the high school.   In 1968,  St. Patrick's High School was opened at 1500 Benicia Road, Vallejo, CA.  This site was virtually vacant land purchased by the school and new buildings were constructed from the ground up.  This campus is set on a gentle hillside slope near the Benicia State Park and Southhampton Bay where the Carquinez Strait begins to merge into the Suisun Bay.  The high school is within a few hundred feet of the city limit of Benicia, California off HWY 780.

In 1968, St. Patrick's became the boys' campus while St. Vincent Ferrer High School on Florida St. continued as the girls' school.  St. Patrick's was run by the Christian Brothers and St. Vincent's continued to be run by the Dominican Sisters.  For the next twenty years, the two schools operated separately but with combined social and sporting events.

By the 1980s, it had become evident that the cost to run and maintain two separate Catholic high schools in Vallejo was not practical.  Maintenance on the now old St. Vincent's high school building would have been cost prohibitive.  I think back to that old building.  It was three stories with no elevator or accessibility for wheelchair plus the third floor was not deemed "earthquake safe".  With this in mind, St. Pat's expanded their campus by adding a large new classroom building.  In the Spring of 1987, St. Vincent Ferrer High School graduated their final class.   In the Fall of 1987, St. Patrick-St. Vincent High School opened the school year as a newly merged student body and faculty (with Dominican Sisters and Christian Brothers both sharing the task of education).

So whatever happened to St. Vincent Ferrer High School up on the hill in downtown Vallejo?  The building is still there.  Personally, I missed spending my senior year at the old high school.  I attended the school in the old building for three years.  It was more than a place or just a structure, it had a "soul".  It's hard to explain but let's just say that I'm not the only one who missed it.  My senior year of high school was spent at a wonderful location on Benicia Road.  There is no doubt about that.

What remains at St. Vincent's?  The old high school building is still there.  It is used as the parish community building.  I can't imagine that they use the entire building but you never know.  After the high school closed, the parish chose to teardown the old convent building on the property.  It matched in appearance to the high school building.  The elementary school is still open and exists on the parish grounds as it always has.  The church on the premises celebrated 155 years recently.   The church is gorgeous even despite the interior remodel with the weird curved pews.  We'd attend mass about once a month during the school year in this location.  It is too bad that the St. Pat's campus does not have a church.

Anyway, St. Vincent Ferrer High School and the connecting history was something that I felt compelled to post.  I know that many people of an older generation recall Catholic school as being tough and a place where you could be subject to corporal punishment.  By the time I attended Catholic school, coproral punishment had been thrown out.  I experienced a wonderful, all encompassing education in high school.  This included learning to be yourself, think for yourself, and be confident in yourself plus build community with others while demonstrating compassion and kindness.  I feel that I also learned many, many truths about being Roman Catholic which include the good, the bad, and the middle ground.  The honesty of what I learned enables me to continue as a Catholic today.  Veritas!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

St. Vincent Ferrer High School - Part 1

At the top of the hill, on the corner of Florida and Santa Clara Streets is the old St. Vincent Ferrer High School building in Vallejo, California.  I can't say that I have a whole lot of fondness for Vallejo itself but this location is a gem in my own personal history.

For anyone who knows much about California, our history tends to be rather "young".  A 50 year old building is considered old.  Many of our structures and buildings are considered rather disposable and are torn down and rebuilt on a whim (but sometimes for earthquake safety).  So, I write about St. Vincent's because it does have longevity and history, especially for California.

On September 5, 1870, St. Vincent Ferrer School (primary and secondary) opened in a former church building on the premises.  They went from having a few students to 232 in the months that followed.  The first graduating class was in 1880.  There were three graduates that year.  In 1893, construction began on a new building which was used by the female students while the boys used the older building.  By this time, enrollment was over 400.

By 1916, it was evident that a new school building was needed.  On October 22, 1916, the cornerstone for new building was laid by Archbishop Hanna of San Francisco.  The new Class A reinforced concrete building cost $70,000 to build and was completed in 1917.  On September 3, 1917, the new school building opened for classes.

In 1918, the flu pandemic known as "the grip" closed the school for a time in October 1918.  The school was temporarily used as a community hospital during the sickness with full medical teams on site.  By 1920, the school was again back to student enrollment and ready to celebrate 50 years of education.

I always found the views from the third floor windows to be rather wonderful and interesting at the same time.  Because the high school building, and the whole St. Vincent's premises, is perched up on a hill in Vallejo, you can easily make out Mare Island.  From the third floor of the high school you can see the Napa River that runs in front of the now closed Mare Island Naval Shipyard.  The Napa River dumps into San Pablo Bay and on out to the San Francisco Bay.

Mare Island played a huge role in the history of Vallejo, California.  In fact, many of my classmates had military and civilian parents who worked out on the shipyard.  Mare Island opened in 1854 and was the first permanent U.S. naval installation on the west coast.  It served key roles during WWII and Vietnam.  By the 1980s, the shipyard was maintaining and repairing nuclear submarines.  The shipyard was deactivated in 1995 as part of the cycle of U.S. base closures.  Mare Island still maintains a Navy Reserve but the island includes a housing development, golf course, and a college.  Because the U.S. Military still owns part of Mare Island, there is still an area that is extremely rundown.  Of course, the worst of the worst intersects with HWY 37 for all passerbys to see.  Adjacent to the north and west portions of Mare Island is the Napa-Sonoma Marshes State Wildlife Area.

Back to St. Vincent Ferrer High School........The Dominican Sisters had been the mainstay of the educators at the school for many years.  For a brief time in the 1930s, Dominican Fathers filled that role.  By 1933, the Dominican Sisters were back to running the school.  During WWII the school was sacrificed again to help the city.  Anti-aircraft guns were placed on the roof after the attack on Pearl Harbor.  The 211th Coast Artillery Anti-Aircraft Division was housed in school.

After WWII, plans were made to build a Memorial Auditorium across the street from the St. Vincent's property.  This was completed in 1954.  I have to say that by the 1980s this building was looking rather tired on the inside.  The main level was a full size gymnasium with stage plus a lobby and restrooms.  There is a mezzanine level above the lobby with restrooms.  A lower level includes the locker rooms, multi-purpose room and kitchen.  Because it is built into the hillside, the lower level has side entry access at ground level.

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

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Cutting A Path Across Ireland - Part 2

McLaughlin's and County Longford:

County Longford is the next location on my list.  My McLaughlin's originate in and around Ringowny, County Longford, Ireland in the Parish of Edgeworthstown.  I have an extensive McLaughlin Family tree.  At best, I have a few generations that were born in County Longford and immigrated via Quebec to Newport, New York (Herkimer County) in the 1820s.  My ancestor, Thomas McLaughlin, was probably born circa 1750 in the Edgeworthstown area and died there.  It is a shame that the historical society of Edgeworthstown has been disbanded.  In my previous travels to Ireland, the closest that I got to my County Longford origins was Moate, County West Meath.  At the time, I did not know that my McLaughlin's were from there.

Gartlan's, Fox's and County Monaghan:

Next, I find my ancestors in County Monaghan.  I have truly sketchy information that my Gartlan's (Gartland's) and Fox's were from Carrickmacross and Clontibret, respectively.  I have found so much information online about the Gartlan and Fox surnames in County Monaghan that it is tough to weed through it all.  I have not been able to determine online if my Gartlan's and Fox's are related to people indicated on various websites.  At least I know that there is hope for finding my ancestors in this location.  The sheer volume of information online lends itself for a future success in searching this line.  I am fairly confident that the Gartlan name was spelled as such in Ireland but once stateside, a "d" was added to the end.  My James Gartlan, who was married to Hannah Fox, immigrated from Ireland via Quebec to Newport, New York in the 1820s.  They were both born in the late 1700s.

Maxwell's, Shaffrey's, and County Meath:

Moving onto County Meath is a delight and holds memories from my travels.  I did visit Newgrange and a few other historical sites in this county.   At the time, I had no idea that my Maxwell's and Shaffrey's shared origins in the Parish of Moynalty.   Specifically, I've placed my Maxwell's in Shancarnan prior to the 1850s.  I have placed my Shaffrey's in Dunshaughlin where it appears you might be able to find some Shaffrey's today.  Shaffrey is a rather uncommon Irish surname.  Judith Shaffrey was my great great great grandmother who married Joseph Patrick Maxwell on September 24, 1834, in Moynalty.  They immigrated to the Irish Settlement, Newport, New York in 1853.  And just when I thought everyone was Irish, I found that Joseph Patrick Maxwell's father, James Maxwell, was from Scotland.  I need to venture there someday too.

Bellew's, Kirwan's, Maguire's, Flanagan's, and County Louth:

Bellew, Kirwan, Maguire and Flanagan, are all of my family surnames that you can find in County Louth, specifically, in and around Termonfechin.  I don't know too much about the Bellew's or the Kirwan's but there is certainly family history to be discovered there.  Most Bellew's that I come across online seeking their origins are not quite as far back as the information that I have on Alice Bellew (1738-1805).  She was married to Richard Flanagan.  As for Judith Kirwan (1780-1819), I have her father as Nicholas Kirwan.  Judith was married to Patrick Flanagan, Richard's son.  Judith's story is one of sadness from what I know.

Anne Maguire lived across the road from the Flanagan's of Termonfechin, Louth, Ireland.  She married John Flanagan in 1829.  It is rather ironic that the Maguire's live next to the Flanagan's today in virtually the same location as they did in the early 1800s. 

Now, the Flanagan's are in the same location as they have been since 1773.  For close to 240 years they have passed the family farm from generation to generation, from being tenant farmers of the property to becoming the landowners once the British allowed it.  The Flanagan's have, however, been in and around the area of Termonfechin since around 1690 or so.  I can honestly say that I felt a connection to this place upon my first visit.  I don't mean to sound cliche but during my first visit to this place, I felt the sense of belonging.

So that is my tour of Ireland as I cut a path across the Emerald Isle and long for the day that I can revisit with a genealogical and family history perspective in mind.             

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Cutting A Path Across Ireland - Part 1

When I review my genealogy and family history, I find that I can almost cut a path across Ireland (west to east) with my ancestor's origns stemming from the 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, from Clare to Louth.  This post is intended to be anecdotal rather than a full historical account of my ancestors.

O'Brien's and County Limerick:
If I ever venture to County Limerick again, I must stop by Castleconnell near the Clare border.  The O'Brien name was prevalant in the area.  Online I have found that there is bridge named after an O'Brien in town.  I have posted information on message boards online about Catherine Mary O'Brien, b.1843 (my great-great grandmother who was Kate Flanagan as a married adult).  Kate's parents were Edmond (Edmund) O'Brien and Anne (Ann) Gleeson (Gleason).  Kate left Ireland with her family for Melbourne, Australia in 1854 and by 1870, she was married and living in Napa, California.  

Coughlin's and County Clare:

In County Clare, I hope to someday find my Coughlin ancestors.  Johanna Coughlin (my great-grandmother) immigrated to the U.S. around 1905.  She was born in 1889.  I do not know her precise location in Co. Clare but I do know the names of all of her 15 brothers and sisters.  Johanna appears to have been the younger generation of children in the family.  I wish that I knew her parents' names.   Her father would have been a Coughlin, of course.  Her mother is rumored to have been a McManus.  My aunt indicated that Johanna told her once that she left Ireland for New York because all of the men were leaving.

Hickey's and County Clare:

And what about those Hickey's.  Patrick Hickey, b. 1884, Whitegate, Co. Clare, Ireland, immigrated to the U.S. around 1904 and married Johanna Coughlin in Rye, New York in November 1911.  He lived in Greenwich Village in NYC and worked for the "New York Transit Authority" at Penn Station.  Where he was really from is a bit of a mystery.  He was actually baptized in Whitegate and could have lived in the neighboring county of Tipperary.  I have had the hardest time finding my Hickey's.  I seem to have 2-3 of his siblings' names.  They too must have immigrated stateside.   The Hickey's really elude me.  I spotted the Hickey name all over Clare when we were traveling the countryside into various small towns.  It must be a common surname in Clare.  I have been told that I look like a Hickey.  I know others say that I look like other family lines but I soooo look my father who looked like his mother (Josephine Hickey McGuire) who apparently looked like her father, Patrick Hickey.

Flanagan's and County Roscommon:

When I next travel to Ireland, should I stop in County Roscommon?  Maybe in Elphin?  The 13th Century Flanagan's of the Kings of Connaught were from there.  I must admit that is a bit of a mouthful.  I might just like to see what Flanagan information I find in Roscommon.   I do know where I can find my Flanagan's in Louth.  I will get there in my next post.

McGuire's, Maguire's and County Fermanagh:

What county of Ireland looks like it comes next on my list?  That would be Fermanagh in Northern Ireland. I must admit the strong desire to visit Belleek Pottery.  I do own some.  The Maguire's and McGuire's can also be found in Fermanagh, specifically Enniskillen.  Not only am I a McGuire but I am also a Maguire.  My maiden name is McGuire.  While my great grandfather, Francis Joseph McGuire, was born in New York (1878), his own father was apparently from County Fermanagh and had immigrated to the U.S.  He was apparently married to a McGrath.  I don't have much more on my McGuire line but I do know where to find those Maguire's.  They lived in Louth.  Of course, I can assume they too orignated in Fermanagh.  I will visit Louth in my next post.

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

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Marriage Record of Kathleen Anne Flanagan Wingrove

I continue on my mission to find Kathleen Anne Flanagan Wingrove's children and potentially more of her family line.  Her father was Richard Flanagan (b. 1830, Termonfechin) who went to London.  His parents were John Flanagan and Anne Maguire.  When he died in 1878, the communication with his immediate family all but ceased.

A renewed hope in finding this line is very much alive in the Flanagan Family of Termonfechin for whom I am related.  Below is the source church record.  It finally occurred to me that I should download it off and post it for any search engine to find.  Maybe a Wingrove distant relative will be looking for this and find it someday.....soon.

The Marriage of Kathleen Flanagan and Henry Wingrove

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Invading My Privacy?

Recently, I received an email that indicated someone had posted information on GenForum in response to my request for any information about Francis Joseph McGuire (b. 1878) and Mary Elizabeth Romaine (b. 1878/79) in New York.  I was specific in my post.  I indicated knowing the current generation and was seeking to find out my great-grandparents ancestors and even more about what happened to Francis Joseph who took off on the family.

I did not get my wish, unfortunately.  To my dismay, the person posted my own father's obituary.  I was actually a little taken aback that this person did this.  My father passed away in 2004.  What I found more concerning is that the obit, while I do understand is public information at the newspaper's website, was posted on a site that can receive fairly heavy internet traffic.  What ever happened to respecting privacy?

Well, as all of you know, I try very hard to keep private the identities of those who are living individuals attached to my family tree, with few exceptions.  I do have some researchers who are absolutely ok with people knowing who they are.  I took issue with the obit posting because it lists my mother, my sister and her family, me and my family, along with my father's two living brothers and his sister.   It also lists where they live.  While addresses are not included in the obit, I felt it was completely unnecessary for this person to have posted this obit that contains personal information about the remaining living family.   Maybe everyone needs to rethink obituaries.  That is a sad sign of the times.

Presently, I have requested that GenForum remove the post for privacy reasons pointing out that there is too much information for living individuals in the obit. post and the post does not pertain directly to the information that was requested to begin with.  I also sent a polite email to the woman who posted the information.    She agreed to have the post removed.   I was able to look at her online activity on GenForum.  She appears to be a serial poster.  I found hundreds of posts by her for various family surnames.  She, in fact, is not my relation but may have thought that she was helping me.  She must spend her day looking up information on and online.   I am glad that I do not have that much time on my hands.  Enough said.

To sum this up...This goes as a lesson learned.  I have put myself out there and fully understand that means a lot of my personal information is easily searchable.  I am sure people could track me down if they want to.  I am not totally anonymous online that is for sure.  I do, however, want the rest of my family to feel that their information is kept private in my hands.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

O'Brien Hickey Connection

I recently looked up both the O'Brien and Hickey surnames looking for the meaning and origins.  I am an O'Brien on my mother's side and a Hickey on my dad's.  Again, I find both names associated with County Clare and other part of the southwest in Ireland.  I find Brian Boru indicated as being a possible relation to the O'Brien's.  This is all very old history for Ireland.  While I find it fascinating, I really would like to find my own 19th century family history in Ireland.  Not only do the O'Brien's evade me but so do the Hickey's.

When I read about the Hickey surname online this time, I found mention of the O'Brien's.  I guess I either hadn't really sat down to read the "heraldry" information about the Hickey's or maybe just found more complete information this time.  In fact, I found the information on Wikipedia, of all places!

The Hickey clan were hereditary physicians to many prominent families in the present county locations of Clare and Limerick.   They were, in fact, the physicians to the O'Brien's, the Kings of Thormond.  It is important to note that these physicians were considered to be Celtic healers.   This was prior to the Norman invasion in 1169.  The "Celtic healer" was more of a shaman or druid.

Apparently, the Hickey's were famous for translating Latin and Greek medical textbooks over the centuries.  Another tidbit is that the Hickey's were noted for was brain surgery.  This sounds rather primitive to me.  They were known for putting sliver plates in the heads of those with skull fractures and other head injuries received in battle.  I have to wonder how many O'Brien's had silver plates in their skulls, placed there by a Hickey "physician", and lived to tell the tale.

Thursday, January 6, 2011


The oldest building in Enniskillen is the Maguire's stone castle that was built by Hugh the Hospitable who died in 1428.  This castle was the stronghold of a branch if Maguires.  By 1607, the castle had been seized by the English.  Considering that I am a McGuire and a Maguire, I should probably make my way to Maguire Castle someday.

Enniskillen comes from the Irish: Inis Ceithleann.  This refers to a figure of Irish mythology who may have been a goddess.  The town sits beside the River Erne in County Fermanagh.  When I read about Enniskillen, I can't help but find that it very much involves the Maguire's.  In fact, County Fermanagh is known as "Maguire's Country".

DNA testing is becoming a very popular way to trace one's genealogy.  I found a page online listing DNA results for several McGuire's McGuire Surname DNA along with Mag Uidhir Clan DNA.  I could not help but note this information here.  Maybe it will come in handy for future reference.  In fact, I may need to research DNA and genealogy so that I can understand that subject better.

Back to Enniskillen............Noted places of interest in Enniskillen are Ardhowen Theatre, Castle Coole, Enniskillen Collegiate Grammer School, Cole's Monument, Enniskillen Castle (Maguire's), St. Macartin's Cathedral, and several other locations.  I have found that until you visit a location in Ireland, you don't get the whole story.  I suppose that's the way it is anywhere.  I definitely want to visit this place.  How could a Maguire or McGuire pass it by?!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Meath - Dunshaughlin

Dunshaughlin, County Meath is the most likely candidate for the origins of my Shaffrey family.  The village is named after Saint Seachnall, a contemporary of Saint Patrick, who established a church there in the 5th century.  Dunshaughlin (or more specifically, the townland of Lagore) is famous for an ancient crannóg or settlement from the 7th century where a number of Irish antiquities were discovered.

The oldest families still in this location are descendants of the Muintir Uí Fhloinn, who are recorded at the latest in 1550 and the Muintir Uí Mhuirí who are recorded at the same time. Outside the village, families such as the Uí Ruanaidh in Trevet continue to exist on the site where they were recorded to be in 1550.

Dunshaughlin is 29 km northwest of Dublin and is a satellite town of the nation's capital.  There is a VEC-run secondary school, Dunshaughlin Community College, which was recently selected as one of 12 schools worldwide to take part in Microsoft's Innovative Schools program.  Dunshaughlin also has a famous historical workhouse.

I didn't really glean much information online about Dushaughlin.  I guess I will need to go there someday and see it for myself.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Website, Blog and Business

I thought that I'd pause here with a post about the logistics of my genealogy information online.

My website,, is waiting for me to put photo albums online of my ancestors.  That will probably be a 2011 project.  Please send me your photos as I look forward to putting the collection online.  I have a few photos on my blog which amounts to most of what I have.

I am in the process of updating my blog index pages to be clickable hyperlinks to the archived posts.  It has taken me longer than expected to update these pages but I am still in the process of doing so.   The Maxwell/McLaughlin, Vienop/Brochers, Miscellaneous, and Source Documents pages are updated for posts up through December 25, 2010.  I will be working on my Flanagan page very soon with the Ancestry page waiting until the end.

I've been spending more time recently on updating source documents for various family units.  I think that I have successfully completed sourcing Thomas Michael McLaughlin and Ellen Maxwell McLaughlin's Family unit to include the two of them and their seven children. I've cleaned up each profile on  To the best of my knowledge, I have fixed the seven children's profiles too.  From the seven children and their spouses' forward in time to the present, I have some information.  I am looking for the death date of Joseph Maxwell McLaughlin.  He was born in Austin, Nevada in 1877 and probably died in Vacaville, CA.

I am currently working on getting good information updated for Jack (John Francis Flanagan) and Minnie (Mary Elizabeth McLaughlin) Flanagan's family tree to present day.  I have some good info to include source information for living relatives.  The living relative's information is kept private on's public view.  There is a private view of my tree for which a few relatives have been invited in to view as my guest. 

The other family line that I have been working on feverously to update the sourcing on is the Maxwell/Shaffrey family unit of Joseph Patrick Maxwell and Judith Shaffrey.  I know that there is still room for more sourcing there.  Will I ever finish?   I'm not sure.  I am struggling to locate source documents of the immigration and passenger list records for any of my ancestors who immigrated from Ireland to Newport, New York.  Apparently, most of them came from Ireland to Quebec and onto Herkimer County, New York.   Any help on this front would be great.  All seems to have are New York City passenger lists when it comes to immigration into New York.  New York City is a pretty far cry from Herkimer County. 

Canadian passenger list information on is rather dismal despite the indexes indicating they go back to the early 1820s.  I have not found a record prior to 1847.  I may have found the Maxwell's passenger list from 1853 but it still begs some additional review.  I will post that soon.

I do plan to scan.   I guess I need to bite the bullet and "Just Do It!"   I've got to clear a space in our home office though.  I don't want to misplace any important documents.  I'll have to have my scanfest soon!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

County Longford, Ireland

When I look up Ringowny, County Longford, Ireland, I don't really find very much information.  I do know that it is near Edgeworthstown and, in fact, is in the Parish of Edgeworthstown.

Edgeworthstown is considered a successful centre located on a main roadway - N4.  The town is named for the family of Edgeworths who first settled here in 1583. The most well known members of this family were father and daughter Richard Lovell Edgeworth and Maria Edgeworth. Richard was a famous inventor while Maria was a novelist.  The family vault is in the churchyard of Saint John's.

Edgeworthstown, or Mostrim meaning: Meathas Troim, "frontier of the elder tree", is a town in County Longford, Ireland.  It is located at the eastern border of  County Longford near County Westmeath.  The railway station in town was opened in 1855.

The economy revolves around animal feed processing and pet food manufacturing.  The town has a football (soccer in the U.S.) and is big into Hurling.

I wonder if there is anyone out there who could share what Edgeworthstown or Ringowny is really like.  I invite anyone to offer up an article for this blog about this area of Ireland.   Give it some real feeling too, including the good, the bad, or the very interesting.  I'd also be interested in any McLaughlin's who live there too!