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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Researching Germany - OMG and LOL!

Every once in a while, you have to poke a little fun at yourself and laugh.  When it comes to researching Germany, I do feel like I am going in circles but also a little dense.  While ignorance is bliss at times, when you're researching your family tree and really want to get it correct, you've got to settle in and learn about the geography for the country in which your ancestors came from.

The more I learn about Germany, the less I know.  I had located my Vienop's in Borninghausen, Westphalia, Germany months ago.  In fact, my aunt has always known where they were from. When I look at the locations near Borninghausen, the biggest city appears to be Hannover to the east.  I also can see that the Vienop's lived about 60 miles from the current border of the Netherlands.  In all seriousness, though, it is all German to me.  When I map Germany on Google Maps, everything is titled in the German language. 

So is Borninghausen the anglicized version of the town or village?  Or, is that the name in German?  I must admit though that at least I found the location on a map.  I think that I even have a more specific address location for where some Vienop's/Vinup's still lived about 80 years ago.

Now I am working on my Borchers Family line from Germany.  As I enter Jurgen Borchers' descendants into my Family Tree, I consistently run into the location of Gr. Nenndorf, Schaumburg, Niedersachsen, Germany, for the Borchers of the late 1600s and 1700s.  When I finally mapped the location, it is about 10 miles west of Hannover.  That gives me some perspective now.

My Vienop's and Borchers' ancestors may have lived about 60 miles from each other.  The other discovery that I made in my research is that Niedersachen translated in to English is Lower Saxony.  That does pull some other information that I have together.

Distances aside, even if the Vienop's and Borchers' lived only 30 miles apart, that would have felt like a lifetime back in the 1700s, right?  While Germany is a small country, it is riddled with names and locations that are very foreign to me.  At times, you can find that many locations have been somewhat translated into English.  That really is confusing if you ask me.  Too bad I took Spanish in high school and college.  Sometimes, I wish that I had taken German.

I am making my way in researching my family tree in Germany with a huge amount of help from my aunt and uncle.  It is slow going and I do feel like a total "newbie" on these lines of my tree.  All I can say in internet jargon is "OMG!" and "LOL!".  I certainly have my work cut out for me and a lot to learn.


Since my original draft of this post, I have had someone recommend "Lands of the German Empire and before" by Wendy K Uncapher.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Ilion, New York and a McLaughlin - Part 2

Paul T. McLaughlin has gathered an immense amount of research over the years about his hometown, Ilion, New York but also about the McLaughlin's, Maxwell's, and his Lynch's of Herkimer County.  His contributions also stand out on the following pages:

Click on the title:

1 Town of Newport, Herkimer County, New York on Gen Web
2 History of St. Patrick's and St. John's Parish

Additionally, I found another link:

3 Herkimer/Montgomery Counties Surnames L-M

While the third link is not exclusive to Paul, his contributions are linked to this site. 

For anyone researching the Irish Settlement in Newport, Herkimer County, New York, the above sites are a good start.

Thanks to Paul for all of his information!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Ilion, New York and a McLaughlin - Part 1

A year or so ago I went looking for a cousin who I could tell knew a lot about our McLaughlin's and had articles online about the Irish Settlement.  What I did not fully understand at the time was how he knew about my ancestor, James Maxwell.  As it turned out, he is also both a McLaughlin and a Maxwell.

My own great great grandfather was Thomas Michael McLaughlin of Newport, Herkimer County, New York.  His parents were James McLaughlin and Mary Ellen Gartlan.  Both James and Mary Ellen had immigrated at young ages from Ireland to the Irish Settlement in Newport around the late 1820s.  Their oldest child, Thomas Michael McLaughlin, married Ellen Maxwell in 1869.  After they were married, they moved west to Austin, Nevada and then onto Napa, California.

Ellen Maxwell was the daughter of Joseph Patrick Maxwell and Judith (Julia) Shaffrey of County Meath, Ireland who immigrated to the Irish Settlement in Newport, New York around 1853.  Ellen's oldest brother was Dennis Maxwell.  He had a daughter, Mary Ellen Maxwell, who married Maurice McLaughlin.  Maurice was the youngest brother of Thomas Michael McLaughlin (their parents were James McLaughlin and Mary Ellen Gartlan).   

There are many people who descend from these McLaughlin's and Maxwell's.  There are number of us who descend from both lines.  With two marriages between these families, you would expect to find some people researching the family.  I must admit to having found quite the group of people researching these lines including a person who has authorized me to divulge his name in this blog.

Paul T. McLaughlin makes it no secret that he is well versed on the history of the Village of Ilion, New York.  I would say that he is the expert.  I am breaking with my privacy rule and revealing this living relative because he does have so much information available online, has provided me directly with so much information, and has agreed that he would like to be indicated on my blog.

The following is the clickable link to his website:

The Village of Ilion

As I review his website (and have looked at it previously), I begin to realize how much information I do have my finger tips about the McLaughlin's of Herkimer County.   It is amazing the quantity and quality of the information available on this website.  If you or a relative was ever from Ilion, this site is your bible to the history of the village.  It also contains specific family tree research information including obituaries for a few of Paul's family lines.

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

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Genealogy Juggling Act - My German Family Trees

Being about a quarter or so German means that I really need to visit Germany someday.  It also means so much more to me than that.  On my mom's German side of the family, everyone was always very close to one another.  I often wonder where that desire to remain close came from. 

When so many of my other family lines have gone their own way for various reasons, my Vienop's (Borchers) have remained close to one another.  I can only imagine that it is because of the family's desire to remain close.  Also, there are many females in this line.  Generally, females remain close to their mothers even as adults.  I give a huge amount of credit to one person in my line - Mary (Vienop) Borchers.  I have written about her in a few past posts.  I have so much more information about her and was close to her myself.

It is interesting to me that I have so much information available to me about my Vienop and Borchers Family Trees but have only begun to start actually "treeing" it.  I have photos, stories, a diary, and maybe even other information I have not gone through as of yet.   I want to have this information organized and well presented.  Also, I have to be careful not to reveal information about living people.  In my Borchers/Vienop Line, people live long lives.  Mary Borchers lived to be 96 years old.

I have research interests for my German side of the family but must admit that most of my research for the Borchers' and Vienop's is more inwardly directed toward my family members, photos, and records that we already have.  Networking outside the family might produce some helpful hints but as evidenced by my Borchers research, my aunt and uncle seem to be the primary experts in Northern California. 

At any rate, below are my research interests for my German Heritage:

1.  Vienop and Vinup - Napa, California; Audrain, Missouri; and Borninghausen, Germany - I haven't really started working on my family tree for this line but have personal firsthand knowledge of who everyone is back to my great great grandparents, Henry Vienop, Sr. and Anna Marie Koch.  I will get working on this line in the near future.

2.  Borchers - Napa, California; Aurora, Minnesota and North Dakota; and Germany - Jurgen Borchers you say?  I have some information about him from 1720.  I also have several other lines that I have yet to explore.  I worked a little bit on my Jackel ancestors.  I am crafting a Borchers Family Tree on as I write this which I hope to be free of errors.  It is currently a private tree as I add people and their information.  Let's just say a whole lot of exact research has been done on my Borchers line.  Several people with Borchers family trees on have errors in them including my original tree.  I hope to have a good accurate version to publicize on by the end of this year or sooner.

3.  Romaine's - Delancy Street, Manhattan, New York -  Where do I begin with this research?  I do feel like I have pinpointed my Romaine's location in New York City.  Mary Elizabeth Romaine was born in NYC in 1878.  Her parents were Joseph and Frances Romaine.  Frances' maiden name is a bit of a mystery at this point.  I have seen it butchered four different ways on legal documents.  Let's just say it was a German name that starts with an "L".  I have no idea if my Romaine's are related to several of the same surname living in New Jersey at the time.  More than likely, they are related to Romaine's living it Brooklyn, possibly.  It is interesting to note that my great grandmother, Mary Romaine did have a family bungalow on the Jersey Shore in Keansburg.  Where did she get that from?  Considering that her husband, Frank Joseph McGuire, took off on the family, I am thinking Mary had some tough things to handle in her life including four living young children at the time.

The Vienop's and Borchers' are on my grandma's (Dorothy Marie Borchers Flanagan) side of the family.  The Romaine's are my father's side of the family.  Mary Elizabeth Romaine was my great grandmother who was married to Francis Joseph McGuire.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Genealogy Juggling Act - My Irish Heritage - Part 2

I continue with the list of my own Irish Genealogy projects.  My father's side of the family has always been a little secretive about things as one of my uncles would say.  It's not much of a secret when everyone seems to know the worst things.  I'd like to know more about the people overall.

So, how Irish am I on my father side?  Aside from the Romaine's, who appear to be German, the families are Irish.  My research has ebbed and flowed at time on the following lines and research...............

1.  McGuire - They are from County Fermanagh!  Yes, I think anyone could figure out that Hugh Maguire was the main leader from the 1300s and that people with the surname of Maguire or McGuire descend from him.  My granddad, Francis Robert McGuire, was pretty specific though that his own grandfather, Charles McGuire, was from Fermanagh.  By the way, his wife's name was Sarah McGrath.  I am still trying to pin down this family tree and have it all on hold for now.   New York City can be a hard place to do research.  And, yes, I've got Maguire's on my mom's side of the family in Ireland.

2.  Hickey's of NYC and Derrycon, County Clare, Ireland -  Researching this line can be confusing because the part of Ireland in County Clare where the Hickey's lived was likely part of County Galway prior to 1869.  I've also got Minogue's in this area.  The Clare Heritage Centre found the Hickey's and Minogue's to an extent.  I am wondering if there is more to find.

3.  Coughlin's with their McMahon's in Ballyvannan, Ireland - This is new research for me.  I even have information that I have yet to review.  My Coughlin and McMahon ancestors have been located living in the northeast corner of County Clare.  Bodyke RC Church records pinpoint their location.

Above is where my research has landed on my father's Irish side of the family.  I can't wait to discover more.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Genealogy Juggling Act - My Irish Heritage - Part 1

In my past life, multi-tasking was a must.  I lived it everyday from juggling email, reports, videoconferences, teleconferences, net-meetings, voicemail, the telephone, classroom training sessions and in-person visitors to my desk.  Oh, and there were those deadlines and regular work.  My ability to multi-task was streatched to the maximum and my former employer definitely got their money's worth out of me.

While I do have plenty of things to juggle in my life now, I find that all of that multi-tasking built a skill within me that allows me to juggle several aspects of my genealogy.  Even though regular life requirements, family and other commitments take we away from this research/project/hobby, I always find that I can jump back in on a whim.  I may not have every line and branch of my family tree memorized but I can get to the information quickly to "refresh" my memory.

Currently, I do consider my family tree lines a bit of a juggling act.  I have started research on so many lines that sometimes, I receive responses about several of them in the same week, or even, the same day.  I currently have some unanswered email about the Gartlan's/Gartland's.  I really need to look them over soon.  I will get there.

At this point in time, I do feel that I should list my genealogy juggling act right here because I do want to continue the "juggle" and love responses to my blog posts, message board posts, and others just finding me randomly in search of someone or a research source.

The following list is what I consider my primary research topics:

1.  Austin, Lander County, Nevada - McLaughlin and Maxwell:  I am very interested in the migration that apparently occurred from the 1860s until maybe the 1880s from the Irish Settlement in Newport, New York to this location.  Maybe not everyone was from the Irish Settlement but it would be interesting to know just how many from that community moved to Austin, Nevada.  Was it only Thomas, Francis, James, and Hugh McLaughlin; Ellen and Catherine Maxwell; or were there others who made the trek?  I am interested in their story.  Know that I have come across Duffy's and Malloy's from the Austin Area.   I have actually found living Malloy's.  Later, many of this group moved onto Napa, California.

2.  Thomas and Ellen (Maxwell) McLaughlin - Napa, California - I seek to find out more information about my great great grandparents once they were in Napa.  I have one photo of Ellen and her sister, Katie Duffy (Catherine Maxwell) at Walter Springs, CA.  Any photos or other historical information about Thomas, Ellen, Katie, and Katie's husband, Philip Duffy, would be wonderful.  Any stories are absolutely welcome too.  I lack information about what life was like for the McLaughlin's in Napa.

3.  Flanagan's of Napa, California and Termonfechin, Louth, Ireland:  I hold and have very specific information about my Flanagan Family Tree in these locations.  In fact, I have such specifics that I can probably tell someone if they are related to this line or not.  If can't tell, I know a couple of people who can.  My further detailed research does await me in Ireland at this point.  I cannot forget to mention the other surnames in Ireland that are really inseparable from this Flanagan line including the Maguire's, Sheridan's, Bellew's, and Kirwan's of the Termonfechin area, past and present.  And, yes, the correct spelling of Termonfechin is with an "h" but you'll find it today as Termonfeckin with the "k".  I would love photos of the Flanagan's of Napa, California if anyone has them.  I am specifically looking for Patrick and Kate along with their own eight children.  I know where they all buried by the way.

4.  O'Brien's of Castleconnell, Clare/Limerick Area, Ireland and in Austrailia:  Catherine Mary O'Brien (Kate Flanagan was her married name.) was born/baptized on 19 May 1843 in Castleconnell, Ireland.  When she was 11 years old, her family left Ireland for Melbourne, Australia.  I certainly think that the move was intended to be beneficial to the family.  For Edmund O'Brien and his wife, Anne Gleeson, I have some very basic information that life was tough when they left Ireland and then again in Australia.  I don't have very much information about Kate's early life except that I believe the family struggled.  That was the case for many, I suppose.  Kate, herself, was apparently quite the character and her own reputation precedes her even today in the Flanagan Family.  I believe her to have been quite a strong woman and one "tough cookie".  I do think that she loved her children and grandchildren absolutely unconditionally.  I also think that she had high expections of people in general.  I have more to discover about her.  Mostly, I'd like a good photo of her.

5.  McLaughlin, Maxwell, Gartlan, Fox - The Irish Settlement, Newport, Herkimer County, New York-  I am starting to deem this line of my research some of the oldest, successful, and most detailed of my family tree.   The search for my great great grandfather, Thomas McLaughlin, turned up several people who have already completed research on these lines.  The research lives on and continues.  There are so many people on my McLaughlin/Maxwell Family Tree.  It is rather amazing.  I continue to desire more information about the McLaughlin's in County Longford Ireland but we seem to have hit a deadend.   The Gartlan and Fox research may start to take off very soon.

6.  Shaffrey - Parish of Moynalty, County Meath, Ireland - This is not a very common Irish surname and I seek more information about my Shaffrey's.  If you have Shaffrey information, please contact me,

7.  James Maxwell - Scotland - So, I guess there is a little bit of Scottish in me after all.  I have been trying to find my James Maxwell, b. 1786 in Scotland, who's son was in Shancarnan, County Meath, Ireland, married a Shaffrey and immigrated to Herkimer County, New York.  Who was James Maxwell?

The above represents my grandfather's (Richard Joseph Flanagan) ancestry.  I would love to know more.  Isn't that every genealogist's wish?  I guess I will "wait awhile" and see what happens. :-)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Write It Down For Heaven's Sake!

I know it sounds like common sense but writing down a story or two about your ancestors is key to passing on your family history.  Whether the story is anecdotal or much longer, knowing more about the people who came before you can explain so much about family traditions, family traits, and even just provide for a wonderful connection to the past.  We can also learn from our family's past experiences.

Recently, my husband and I were at child's birthday party.  That child is so fortunate to have his great grandparents still in his life.  As a three year old, he has no clue about how lucky he really is.  Most children and many young adults don't understand that the older generations in our families have so much to share.  They have stories that could be lost forever.  At this particular party, the great grandfather was talking to my husband and shared many stories very quickly.  My husband said that he really enjoyed talking to him but he didn't write anything down nor did any of his family in the room at the time.

To be honest, we just don't think about writing these things down.  I wish that I had more time to spend with everyone who is still living and connected to my Flanagan's, McLaughlin's, Borchers', and Vienop's.   I would be writing things down like a mad woman.  Time is not on my side though.  I have children of my own and other commitments.  While the clock is ticking, I encourage everyone to write down some of their family stories before they are lost.

Write it down for heaven's sake!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

California, Here I Come - Part 4

Napa is know these days for its wine.  In my book, it is known for my McLaughlin's, Borchers', Vienop's, and Flanagan's.  How about those Flanagan's?  They grew grapes and made wine.  They even did it in the famed Carneros Region of Napa.  Times change though as a property is passed down the line and I suppose Prohibition from 1919 to 1933 didn't help the Flanagan's.

It seems all but true and clear to me why my great great grandparents, Patrick and Kate Flanagan, left Australia for San Francisco followed by Patrick's brother, Michael.  They were sick and tired of the dry heat and mining for gold "Down Under".  After leaving their home in Termonfechin, Ireland, in 1857, Patrick and Michael headed to Australia for the gold rush.  It seems evident that while they were truly farmers at heart, they needed to move onto a place where they could do just that on their own land.

By 1870, Patrick Flanagan and Catherine Mary O'Brien (Kate) had immigrated to the U.S.  They were married in San Francisco and moved to Napa, CA.  I have so much information about Pat, Kate, and Michael, that most historians (including a few university professors) have sought out the information.  I only wish that I had a photo of Pat.

The following is the plethora of posts about my Flanagan's:

Flanagan Post Index

I am very glad that Pat and Kate moved to Napa.  I wouldn't be here today if they hadn't.


So.....I have lots of family history in Napa, California.  When I make my next trip to Tulocay Cemetery in Napa, I will have to go and visit each of the gravesites for all four sets of my great great grandparents on this side of my family as they are all buried there - McLaughlin's, Borchers', Vienop's, and Flanagan's.

California here I remain!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

California, Here I Come - Part 3

Sometimes, I come across people from Napa whether they are online, outside of Napa, or even in city limit itself.  If they have lived in Napa for any decent length of time, like back to the 1970s, they usually can recall my grandfather, Richard J. Flanagan.  After all, he was the Treasurer of Napa County for 20 years retiring around 1980.  When I mention McLaughlin's, Borchers', and Vienop's, it always amazes me how often people say that they knew a Vienop from Napa and/or went to Napa High School with a Vienop.

To be honest with you, the Vienop name is not a very common German surname in the United States and possibly in Germany too.  In Germany, the name is generally written as Vinup.  My Napa Vienop's appear to have had their last name altered at their immigration into the United States.  I have to really make time to sit down and review the stories and family tree for Johann Heinrich Vinup (John Henry Vienop, Sr., or actually, Henry Sr.) and Anna Marie Koch, my great great grandparents.  I know that Henry Sr. visited the U.S., then returned to Germany, only to return again and take up permanently living in the U.S.   I really need to get more about that story.  I do have a living source or two.

Henry Sr. and Anna Marie Koch originally lived in Audrain, Missouri.  A few children were born while they lived there.  They moved on to Daykin, Nebraska by the mid to late 1890s.  I know that there are Vienop's buried in Daykin.  It is very clear and specific why the Vienop's left their harsh weather environment.  Anna Marie's doctor told her that she needed to move to a better climate for health reasons.  The Vienop's researched California and made their way to Napa by the beginning of the 1900s.  Below are two posts from my 5 part series about my Great Grandma who was one of Henry and Anna Vienop's daughters: 

Maria Luise Katharine Vienop - Part 2
Maria Luise Katharine Vienop - Part 3

Of the ten original Vienop's to move to Napa, four of them were named Ernest (Ernst) Vienop.  My Mom and I have to laugh a bit because it does get confusing to talk about them.  I know that all of them are buried at Tulocay Cemetery in Napa, CA.  I wonder what the Vienop Family Plot headstones look like.  I am assuming that there are Ernest's and Henry's when it comes to the men.  I just have to note here that their full given German names probably differentiated them more.  I just don't know what their full names were.  That will be part of my future research.

So the weather most definitely prompted my Vienop's to move West.  It's a good thing that they did!

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

Friday, July 15, 2011

California, Here I Come - Part 2

I think that most people would agree that the weather in the populated areas of California is quite desireable.  Here in Northern California, we do actually have seasons.  In the Sacramento Area, we have hot dry summers (100+ degrees in July/August) and mild fall weather when the leaves start turning on the trees.  By the end of December, we might see some winter rain and most trees are now bear of all their leaves.  "Jack Frost" generally visits us in January a number of nights in between winter rain storms.  It can rain anywhere from October to the beginning of June.  It is cold rain generally. 

Sometimes, we only have rain from February to April.  You just never can tell.  Springtime in Northern California is definitely a mixed batch of weather effects.  Generally, the weather is mild compared to the rest of the country and we don't really have humidty with the heat.  There is legendary fog in the Sacramento Valley during the wintertime.  It is known as Tule Fog.  There are times where the fog is so thick at ground level that I can't see the houses down the street.  The San Francisco Bay Area (and the Napa Valley) contends with fog but mostly in the summer months.  The wind in certain areas can kind of drive you crazy, especially the "North Wind".  It blows summer in and out during the change in the seasons.

What struck me as very interesting recently is the remark that my aunt made about the "North Wind".  I asked her what made our Borchers ancestors leave Minnesota and North Dakota.  They, in fact, had spent many, many years living in Aurora, Minnesota.  My great great grandparents, Hans Henrich "Henry" Conrad Borchers and Anna Marie Jackel (J pronounced as a Y), met and married in Minnesota in 1878.  By the early 1900s, I have them living in Morton, North Dakota.  For both of these locations, all I can think of is "burrrrr". 

Aurora and Morton appear to be about 60 miles from each other.  I can only imagine the reason for the move was to follow other family members.  They went from cold to cold.   Were they escaping the "North Wind"?   My aunt is a living grandchild of Henry and Anna.  She believes that they were escaping the "North Wind".  Apparently, there could and can be quite a gale blowing in this part of the country.  The wind can make you crazy.  Trust me, I lived in it for years right near Travis AFB in Fairfield, CA. 

Even today when I search for "weather north wind minnesota", if find an explanation of the winds that come out of the north and northwest in that state.  As no surprise to me, I also find that power companies harness the wind for power in parts of Minnesota.
While several of Henry and Anna Borchers' children made their way to Napa and Sonoma Counties of California, it would appear that they thought it was a good idea too after having visited.  Henry and Anna ended up living in Santa Rosa, CA and ultimately with their youngest son in Napa, CA when they were quite elderly.  I have a photo of Anna with my own grandma (her granddaughter), Dorothy.

I do have more relatives who moved to Napa.

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

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

California, Here I Come - Part 1

When I was about 4 1/2 years old, we made the trek back to California from Ohio where we'd been living for about 4 years while my father completed his MBA at the University of Dayton.  We had moved out to Ohio when I was six months old.  I recall my mother singing the song repeatedly, "California, here I come, right back where I started from, open up your Golden Gates, California, here I come!", during our trip back to the golden state.  She was so ready to be back home away from the snow and cold winters, and also away from the hot, humid summers in tornado alley.  For a California girl from Napa, Ohio weather just was not so appealing, inviting or anything that she was accustomed to.

Witnessing my mother's experience with the weather in the Midwest, has made me wonder if that is what drew many of my ancestors West, specifically ending up in Napa, California.  Was the weather just a fringe benefit?  How much do I know about why my ancestors came to the West?

When it comes to Thomas McLaughlin and Ellen Maxwell (two of my great great grandparents), I can only assume that they moved west in search of land.  There could have been another draw and that was gold. The California Gold Rush spanned 1848 to 1855.  That, of course, did not mean people stopped looking for gold by 1855.  Let's just say that people were still hopeful and looking in other places like nearby Nevada. 

Based on what I can discern, the McLaughlin's left Newport, New York, in 1869-70, to make their own way in the world.  They likely ended up in Austin, Nevada because they wanted land to farm.  Based on my research, it would appear that was not the only reason why they stopped there.  Others from the Irish Settlement in Newport, New York, appear to have made their way to Austin.  Were my great great grandparents some of the first of their community back in Newport, New York, to take up stakes in this area of Lander County, Nevada?  Other McLaughlin's and those from the Irish Settlement in Newport definitely followed.  It is high desert there with some hilly and mountainous terrain so mining was definitely an endeavor of some in that location too.

I do have the exact coordinates on a map of the land that Thomas and Ellen McLaughlin owned near Austin, Lander County, Nevada.  My grandfather, Richard Flanagan, held onto these coordinates and a photocopied map for years.  I still have the documents today.  By at least the end of 1885, Thomas had sold his land in Lander County and his house in Austin, Nevada.  It was time to move on.

As you can imagine, the weather in Newport, New York, located upstate in Herkimer County, is very cold and snowy in the winter.  I can imagine that may be why people left the Irish Settlement and moved West.....well, maybe.  There was probably no land left to claim ownership of by 1870 which is a more likely reason.  Now, why did Thomas and Ellen (Maxwell) McLaughlin leave Austin, Nevada?  It would appear that by 1886, they had enough of the high desert.  The wind alone in this part of the state can really get old.  The high desert presents very dry conditions all year long whether it is hot or cold.  It can make farming extremely difficult, if almost impossible.  I can only assume that the weather and farming conditions played a huge role in my great great grandparents deciding to move on....And move on they did.

How the McLaughlin's moved on into California is no real secret.  They certainly traversed the Sierra Nevada mountain pass possibly over Donner Summit traveling through Sacramento and onto Napa, California.  I am still left wondering how Napa landed on their radar.  Thank goodness it did because that is why I am here today.

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

Monday, July 11, 2011

Pinpoint, or Rather, Put a Nail in it! - Northeast County Clare

Put a nail on this location (not just a thumb tack) and save it for future generations.  Johanna Coughlin used to do her homework under at tree at Taumgraney/Tomgraney Rock.  This is according to my father's cousin who knew Johanna.  The cousin, who is a living relative, also has a photo of herself in this location.

I must admit to having found this rock online in doing my research of the Bodyke RC Church graveyard.  I wish that I could get back to that search result.  Maybe someday I'll find that rock along with Revail, Caherhurly, Ballyvannan, Clare, Ireland.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

James Maxwell 1786 Scotland

James and Maxwell are not the most uncommon names.  If I look for my James Maxwell in Scotland, do I find him on a census circa 1780?  I'm not sure because I found about six James Maxwells indicated a number of months back.  I abandoned the search because of my lack of knowledge about the geography of Scotland plus if and when he might have left for Ireland.  I can find his son, Joseph Patrick Maxwell, in Ireland circa 1850 in the Shancarnan area of County Meath, in the Parish of Moynalty.  I certainly have more to find out about him but what about James Maxwell?

How do you find someone with such a common name and a likely common reason for leaving Scotland for Ireland?  Was he a transplant by the British?  Did he remain in Scotland but his son moved to Ireland?  How much do I really know?  Not much.

The following are some posts from my blog that mention James Maxwell:

Family Tree Worksheet Circa 1970-80 - Maxwell
Descendants of James Maxwell Part 1
Descendants of James Maxwell Part 2

Will I find the man and his ancestors?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Researching Ireland - Part 2

I did a quick Google search with the keywords of  "Locating ancestors in Ireland" and up popped a link to the following:  Finding Your Ancestors in Ireland.  It is rather funny since the first line of the article states,  "To use church, civil, and other types of Irish records, you need to know where in Ireland your ancestors lived. Knowing the county is a start, but knowing the name of the townland or parish will make your searches much more productive."  Bingo, I hit the nail on the head and this just backs me up even further.

The book that is referenced in the above article is The Pocket Guide to Irish Genealogy.  The key to locating your relatives is to find them stateside (or in whatever country they immigrated to) first before you start looking in Ireland.  The main elements that you must extract from source documents and other references are name, date, and location.  Personally, I have found that church records give the most specific location information.  Names and dates can be found on birth, marriage and death certificates but the location may only indicate that the person was born in Ireland.  Church records, on the other hand, may actually tell you the town or county, and possibly even the parish that the person was from.  Keep in mind, this all needs to start stateside.

I found out where my great grandparents, Patrick Hickey and Johanna Coughlin, were from in the Roman Catholic Church records in Rye, New York.  Patrick's death certificate tells me his date of birth, given name, and that he was born in Ireland but does not provide the specific location.  The church record does and indicates Whitegate, County Clare.  The church record also indicates that Johanna was from County Clare but does not give a specific location.  The county is a good start for sure and to have a town/village/parish is even better.  As it turns out, Whitegate is a bit complicated to research since prior to 1869, it was in County Galway. 

So once you can nail down where your ancestors are from in Ireland, which may come easy or not so easy, you can pursue the information in Ireland.  The following are resources, several of which do cost money but are well worth the expense if you really want to get at the truth of your family tree. 

The following is a link to the Ireland Heritage Centres: Ireland Heritage Centres

Cobh Heritage Centre - Cobh

The National Archives of Ireland - Irish Archives

LDS - LDS Family Search 

Don't get me wrong, can be a great resource stateside but once you've exhausted those records, you will need to move away from the research materials found on Ancestry and "jump out of the box".   Doing a Google Search won't hurt either.  Typing in "Gartlan Carrickmacross Monaghan Ireland" has gotten me to a plethora of records online.  I just need to find the Gartlan's that I'm related too.  Maybe the Monaghan Ancestry Centre can help me.

Let's not forget that the LDS Church has traveled the world placing church records on microfiche.  That could be a great place to look also.  Remember though that you need to know the parochial parish to search those records.

I can continue to wish that will pay for the source material above at some point from Ireland or the LDS Church, but it may just not happen.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Managing My Family Tree on

WARNING - Later Posts may have more updated information and discoveries but it is best to read them in order.

With over 600 people on my McLaughlin/Maxwell Family Line, I am starting to find the size of this tree almost unmanageable. I have thought of splitting it up into two separate tree lines but there are a few marriages within the two families and I think the clarity of this tie between the two families would be lost if I split the tree up. I am presently going through each individual to check for accuracy as best as I can.

Reviewing each person on my family tree is no easy task. I am doing a couple of things that are time consuming but should help me increase the accuracy of my tree. Here's my checklist if you will:

1. Set each person out on the Family Tree Option. I find that this populates more "hints" along the way. This option is on the green bar above the tree itself in the Family Tree View next to the Pedigree button. I work my way up the tree and across the tree starting with the home person. If I review the tree bit by bit, person by person, I can find more hints and make corrections along the way.

2. The second thing that I do is go to the Family Tree Overview Page, under Tree Summary; I click on the first word "People". This lists everyone who is on my tree. I scan the list for things that don't make sense or for duplicates. Trust me, I've found duplicates.

3. Also, using the list of People, I go into each person and make sure that there are no new unreviewed member connects.

4. I go to the Home page to review all of the recent member connect activity. I've found lots of pictures and stories here in the recent past that I've then been able to link to my own tree.

5. During the above steps, I try to have my own paper reference material handy to check too.

So at present, I'm still on step one. Of course as I go through my new hints I find more people. My tree keeps having babies, quite literally!

This will take a while plus I need to finish reviewing and updating "the 34 page document". I'm currently on page 24. I'll be pacing myself!

Researching Ireland - Part 1

In my quest to trace my family tree in Ireland, I have found to be of little help.  That is a shame as there is so much information to be found, had, and discovered.  Ancestry does not even have the 1901 and 1911 Irish Census in their card catalog.  You can easily search and find it online for free, however.

In my past life, we used to call easy research and projects "low lying fruit on the tree".  In many respects, it was expected that the low lying fruit be addressed and taken care of resulting in a "quick win" and kudos for those involved.  On the other hand, if you were the one always going after the low lying fruit and never attempting the fruit higher on the tree, you'd be considered someone who was not necessarily up for the challenge and just looking for the easy way out.  Is this the approach that takes?

When it comes to researching in Ireland, it can be challenging and considered fruit that is high on the tree.  Are the source documents that hard to get at?  In some cases, they may be hard to find or completely unavailable.  On the other hand, the Irish Archives seem to have a lot of information as do the individual heritage centres across Ireland.  Also, the LDS Church went after the parish records a number of years back, filming the records that they could get their hands on.  The parish records are all on microfilm available for viewing at a minimal cost via LDS Family Research Libraries found in cities across the U.S.   In fact, I live about a mile from one.  In my opinion, the LDS Church went after the fruit high on the tree.  Has even made that attempt?

I must admit to not really knowing if the LDS Church records are easy or hard to search.  The key to unlocking these records is knowing where your Irish ancestors were from.  I know with certainty where several of my ancestors are from in Ireland, yet a few of my lines are still questionable.  I would not know what parochial parish film to request for my McGuire's who were apparently from Fermanagh.  That's pretty generic.  It's almost like saying my McGuire's are from Ireland.  I'm also referring to the McGuire's on my Dad's side of the family.  My Maguire's on the other side are very likely to be found on the parochial parish film for Termonfeckin/Termonfechin, County Louth, Ireland.  It is nice when the name of the town and the parish match, as in this case.

So how do you go about finding your ancestors in Ireland when all you have is a last name, that they were from Ireland, and left from Cork or another seaport along the Irish coast.  Well, let's just say that I am working that myself.  I might have hit on some sources online.

To be continued......

Monday, July 4, 2011

Coughlin McMahon Research - Bodyke RC Church Records Ballyvannan - Page 5

Below is page 5 of the research completed based off Bodyke RC Church Records, Ballyvannan, Clare, Ireland.  This does appear to be Daniel Coughlin's family.  More research and source documents is needed to truly make this more solid research.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Coughlin McMahon Research - Bodyke RC Church Records Ballyvannan - Page 4

As I review the information from the Bodyke RC Church records, I do find Coughlin's indicated.  The following may be Coughlin relatives but is not clear.  Below is page 4 of the research.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Coughlin McMahon Research - Bodyke RC Church Records Ballyvannan - Page 1

Below is page one of the Coughlin/McMahon Research that I believe was completed by the Clare Heritage Centre Circa 1992.  It reflects the Bodyke R.C. (Roman Catholic) Church Records for McMahon's and Coughlin's for Revail, Ballyvannan, Clare, Ireland.  Click on the document to make it larger.

Patrick McMahon and Mary Mack (McNamara) were Johanna Coughlin's grandparents and Anna McMahon is her mother.