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Monday, August 29, 2011

Blog Pages and Indexes

I think that I have finally landed on a format for my blog that I can live with.  Simplicity can sometimes get lost on the internet when you've got unlimited storage space available for information.  The unlimited storage can come with a price tag, however.  My blog is limited to ten pages unless I want to buy more space which I suppose is available.  Lately, I've realized that I don't really need all of that space.

My blog now contains the following pages:

Linked Pages and Indexes

Eight pages seems to be a good length for this blog, at this point in time.  I am reserving those other two pages for any future projects or large chunks of information that should be moved off onto their own.

I also have incorporated a photo album via Picasa online.  It has some photos right now with room to expand and add other albums.  In addition, I have a separate Shutterfly Share Site for MYOG for family members.  This is a place where we can all share photos and upload and download as we wish.  I am hoping that this catches on more in the future.  I definitely accept photos via email at

As for updating the indexes, I continue to carve out time to do this.  Even if everything is not found in the indexes, this blog site has a search capability.  Feel free to use keywords to search and find what you seek.

One final note is that this research is a work in progress.  It may not be perfect but let's not let perfection be the enemy of all that is good in the world of genealogy research past, present, and future.

If you find this diary blog of mine, feel free to comment and/or contact me. 

Saturday, August 27, 2011

McMahon Heraldry with a Twist

In my recent research, I found out that I'm a McMahon descendant.  My McMahon's lived in Ballyvannan, County Clare, Ireland.   They lived in a place/property location called "Revail" or "Reveal" and was considered to be near Caherhurly Road.   I think I've got most of that correct.  Also, they were part of the Bodyke Roman Catholic Church in the parish of Tomgraney.  I must admit to this is all rather new information for me. 

With all of this in mind, I decided to gather some information about the McMahon's.  It is the anglicized name for MacMathghamhna which is the name in Old Gaelic.  It means "bear".  So my question, is that the animal, the bear?  The McMahon name comes from Clare and Monaghan.   There were two different septs with this name.   I am assuming that somewhere along the way, they are related to each other.   

The first record of the McMahon's of Ireland is in 1170.  There is a bit of scandalous story to go along with the McMahon's.  A Norman by the name of Reginald Fitzurse fled to Ireland after the murder of Thomas a'Beckett.  It is legend that Fitzurse fled to Ireland and is the father of the McMahon sept.  Now that must make an interesting story. 

When I look up additional information for the McMahon's, I find the name in Scotland too.  So it looks like Clare, Monaghan, Scotland and, of course, all of those McMahon's in America, is where you would find this family line.

Here are some resources online:

The McMahon name is plentiful in Ireland and the U.S.  I am seeking mine in County Clare.

Thursday, August 25, 2011


I don't have much about my Kirwan line but I do know that Judith Kirwan (b. 1780) married Patrick Flanagan (b. 1780, Termonfechin) on January 18, 1801.  Her father was Nicholas Kirwan.  Judith lived much of her life on the Flanagan Family Farm in Termofechin but she also spent time in Dublin in the House of Industry for some mental health issue, presumably depression.

In my recent searches for information about the Termonfechin area and Clogher, I ran across some information about the Kirwan family name and history.  While the name is prominent in Galway as a "Tribe of Galway", you have to wonder what my Kirwan line was doing all the way across the isle in County Louth.  The surname, Kirwan, is the anglicised version of the Gaelic name "O'Ciardhubhain".  That is quite the mouthful.  It is no wonder that name was changed to Kirwan.  In the Irish language, the name is derived from the "ciar dubh" which means black.

What I found most interesting is that the Kirwan's originate in County Louth.  They were not in Galway until the 15th century.  There have been many prominent Kirwan's over the ages including Rev. Francis Kirwan (1589-1661), John Kirwan (Mayor of Galway),  and Owen Kirwan (1803).

When I look up Kirwan's and Louth today, I find a few in Clogher.  They must be big in the fishing industry as that's what comes up in my searches these days.  I wonder what my Kirwan line looks like.

Friday, August 19, 2011

16 Great Great Grandparents

I recently saw a post on another's genealogy blog that suggested that everyone make some sort of pie chart showing all 16 of their great great grandparents.  It might have said to do something even fancier than what I have done below.   I figured that I'd somewhat jumped on that bandwagon and list off my 16 great great grandparents quickly below and place any photo that I have of them.  I love photos and would love to have one of each of these people.

Also, I thank my Flanagan/McLaughlin side for finding some great photos recently.  I also thank my uncle for sending me the photo of Henry and Anna Borchers and of Henry and Anna Vienop.  A special thank you to my dear cousin for sending Ellen Maxwell and Thomas McLaughlin's photos.  That was quite the coup and a wonderful surprise!  :-)

P.S. I would like everyone to know that I can receive large photo via email.  I also have a Shutterfly share site where we can all share old photos.  Email me if you would like to share more photos.   Thanks,

My Mother's Side:

Patrick Flanagan
Kate Flanagan (Catherine Mary O'Brien)
I think this is Patrick Flanagan unless it is his brother Nicholas.

(Update!!! -  The man in this photo is referred to on the back at Uncle Peter and could be Kate's brother)
That is definitely Kate!

Thomas Michael McLaughlin
Ellen McLaughlin (Ellen Maxwell)

Henry Borchers (Hans Heinrich Conrad Borchers)
Anna Borchers (Anna Marie Jackel)

John Henry Vienop, Sr. (Johann Heinrich Vinup)
Anna Vienop (Anna Marie Koch)

My Father's Side:

Charles McGuire
Sarah McGuire (Sarah McGrath)

Joseph Romaine
Frances Romaine (Frances Lakervine or a German name that starts with "L")

William Hickey
Bridget Hickey (Bridget Minogue)

Daniel Coughlin
Anne Coughlin (Anna McMahon)

In honor of my Irish heritage, I did color code my Irish relatives' names in green.  The bronze color are my German/Prussian ancestors. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Irish Settlement and Beyond

I recently updated my index page for blog posts associated with my McLaughlin, Maxwell, Gartlan, and Fox family lines which includes information about the Irish Settlement in Newport, New York.  I added a preface to the index to explain what my diary of research is all about.  I also split up my Maxwell and McLaughlin research to make reviewing the index easier.  There are many duplicate posts that are shared by my ever so closely connected Maxwell and McLaughlin line.  The following is the preface to the index followed by a link to it.  You can also reach the index off the main page of my blog.


The Irish Settlement and Beyond

Index to Zelsersk's Genealogy Blog Posts
Relating to the Irish Settlement
 Newport, Herkimer County, New York and Beyond.

If you found this blog and this index page, then you might be looking for those Irish families who left Ireland and ended up at the Irish Settlement in Newport, Herkimer County, New York and the surrounding areas. 

I am a McLaughlin, Maxwell, Gartlan, and Fox descendant.  It was not until April 2010 that I discovered the Irish Settlement.  I thought to myself, "Where is that and what is that place?"  I wanted to know more.  I found and sought any McLaughlin's and Maxwell's who could tell me more.  I succeeded and found more information than I ever could have hoped for.  These blog posts below reflect gathered information and research from various people and sources.  I also have some Shaffrey research at the very bottom.  They were from County Meath too and related by marriage to the Maxwell's.

Each title below is a clickable hyperlink that takes you to the original post.  Feel free to comment on these posts and enjoy reading them.  The posts are listed in chronological order of my discoveries and broken up into each family line.  Know that while the information may not be perfect, it is approaching exceptional as the information about my family tree has been researched by many a Maxwell and McLaughlin relative.  From the first post to the recent posts, the information is updated and corrected as I diary my work in this blog.  The posts also include family lines that went West and to Montello, WI.

I give special thanks to a few researchers who have contributed to my collection and paved the way for the rest of us to easily find our family roots.  I respect the privacy of those living individuals but will outwardly acknowledge that there is a McLaughlin descendant who has provided several of us with a wonderful 34 page document of the "Descendents of Thomas McLaughlin".  I also thank a living Maxwell for his help in pinpointing our Maxwell's and sending me in the absolute correct direction to find my McLaughlin's.

A living relative who does not want to remain anonymous here is Paul T. McLaughlin.  He is a Maxwell and a McLaughlin descendant like myself.  His information, photos, and support have been wonderful.  I am forever grateful. 

I also must thank those who came before me, but have since passed, and heavily researched our family line.  They are Ellen Maxwell Flanagan and Thomas Malloy.  It is a real pleasure to walk in their foot steps and have some of their research at hand.

The Irish Settlement and Beyond 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Index to Blog Posts for Northeast County Clare

I am in the process of revamping my page indexes that link to previous posts about specific family lines.  I have created a new page for my Coughlin and Hickey research entitled "Northeast County Clare Ancestor Lines".  Below is the clickable link:

Northeast County Clare Ireland Ancestor Lines

Pay It Forward - Genealogy and Beyond

The 2000 film called "Pay It Forward" starring Helen Hunt, Kevin Spacey, and Haley Joel Osment had lots of drama, the impact of "Hollywood" style storytelling, and likeable characters.  At the crux of the story was a "good-movement".  That is to say if someone does a good deed for you, return the deed to someone else down the line.  Applying this to my genealogy research seems to produce wonderful results.

I may not have all of the answers and am looking for more information about my own family tree but I do try to help others with their research.  Considering that I am still in my own learning curve on genealogy research (but may be approaching the top where learning levels off a bit), I take opporunities to share, collaborate, and compare notes.  I do try to "pay it forward" when I can.  Helping others who do want to be helped is a good way to go about working on your family tree.

In giving help and sharing information, it is always a benefit to practice good manners online.  That can be tricky at times.  The other end of the help may not be looking to communicate further.  Those that you may have helped may not always remember to say "thank you".  However, you never can tell when one good deed will return another so "pay it forward".

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Someone's Ancestor Sunday - Dennis Maxwell Duffy

Recently, I received an inquiry email from a living individual (who will remain anonymous out of respect for privacy) about Dennis M. Duffy.  His name apparently cropped up during this person's research into the Kennedy District mining area of Nevada.

The email prompted me to see if this was the same Dennis Maxwell Duffy who was the son of Philip Duffy and Katie Duffy (Catherine Maxwell).  He is one in the same.  I suppose it should not come as much of a surprise since Nevada was not very populated in the late 1800s. This part of Northern Nevada isn't very populated even today.  Dennis Maxwell Duffy was an attorney, was married to Clara Grace Blossom for a time, and was my great grandmother's first cousin.  I have found Dennis living out at the family home on Big Ranch Road, Napa, California in at least one census.

From what I have read about Clara Grace Blossom's family land ownership in the Kennedy District area of Nevada, it is quite the story with a bit of scandal.  It would appear that Dennis Maxwell Duffy, who was an attorney out of San Francisco, represented his wife's interests in her family land.  I also found that eventually Dennis and Grace (as she was addressed) were divorced.  I found Dennis living in Napa and then San Francisco with his second wife by 1920 and 1930.

What seems to be a quieter note is that Dennis and Grace had a daughter named Grace Dorothy Duffy.  She was born in 1903 in Napa and died there in 1928.  I wonder what her story is.  While she had a brief life, it would appear that she lived with or on the property with her grandparents, Philip and Katie Duffy.

While the Duffy's aren't my direct line, they are cousins who lived within just a couple of miles of their relatives including my Flanagan's and McLaughlin's (including Ellen Maxwell).  I have yet to find a Duffy from this direct line currently researching their family but hope to find someone someday.  Who knows what treasures they have saved.

Here's to Someone's Ancestor Sunday.  While the Duffy's are somewhat distant relatives to me, they are specific people's ancestors and are connected to my family line.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Ireland - Part 7 - Castles, or rather, Tower Houses

Castles in Ireland appear to be small in some locations and larger in others.  They riddle the countryside from rather isolated locations to villages and towns all over the "Emerald Isle".  Are they really considered castles?  Most of them are referred to as tower houses rather than castles.

Tower houses were Middle Ages era construction.  They were used both for defensive reasons and as dwellings.  Many "castles" in Ireland are from the Middle Ages (5th-15th centuries).  Below are some "castles" and tower houses that I visited in Ireland.  All of these photos are copyrighted to me 2004.

Kilkenney Castle - Yes, I think this is a real castle rather than a tower house.

Blarney Castle (Tower House) - Kissed the Blarney Stone!

Ross Castle (Tower House) near Kilarney

Bunratty Castle (Tower House) near Limerick
If you are interested in Ireland castles and tower houses, I might just have a few more photos.  Feel free to comment.  I have never been to Maguire Castle in Enniskillen.  Is it worth the trip?  Let's just say, it is worth the trip to Ireland to see where your ancestors came from.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Ireland - Part 6 - Around the Isle

As I start to wrap up my short tour of Ireland, I am left with some photos that remind me of some places of strong interest.  I definitely want to return to Waterford.  While I was able to visit the factory and see the work in progress, it was a Sunday and things were not all up and running.  Also, Waterford itself was pretty well shut down on a Sunday.  Our tour guide gave us a very interesting walking tour of the city.

Driving the Ring of Kerry was worth the twists and turns to get to Waterville.  I'm not sure that I'll venture out there again but it was beautiful.  I only got to experience a quick visit to Adare and Galway.  I do think Galway has more to offer and will need to go there again. 

Waterford - It was a place before there was crystal.

Waterville, Ring of Kerry - Charlie Chaplin's Statue

Thatched roof house in Adare

And the finale will be next..................

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Ireland - Part 5 - Dublin

Dublin, Ireland, is a pretty interesting place.  In fact, during my visit in 2004, I found it to be wonderful, interesting, and left me wanting more.  With all of the history in this city, there were many modern touches here and there including a wine bar, a fabulous Italian restaurant with a delicious cheese platter, and some outstanding fish and chips to be found at local restaurants and pubs.

Aside from the food, there was more to see including some great shopping on Grafton Street and at the St. Stephen's Green Shopping Centre.  The Guiness Brewery even had the modern facelift going on.  It is quite a visitors center with exhibits and the gravity bar on the seventh floor.

History abounds everywhere in the Dublin.  I thoroughly enjoyed visiting Dublin Castle and the Book of Kells at Trinity College.  I feel like I only got to experience the tip of the iceberg in Dublin.  I must say that some cities think of tourists as strangers in a strange land interfering with the normal progression of city life.  I did not get that feeling at all in Dublin, Ireland, or anywhere in Ireland for that matter.  People were just nice.

Below are some of my favorite photos of Dublin, Ireland - Copyrighted to me 2004.

St. Stephen's Green

Grafton Street
St. Stephen's Green Shopping Centre

The visitors center that was in an old church.

Guinness Brewery

View of the Wellington Monument from Guinness

Dublin Castle

Papel Cross at Phoenix Park

Trinity College

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Ireland - Part 4 - Newgrange

What is Newgrange and how old is it?  In layman's terms, it is a burial mound from a couple of thousand years ago.  The actual use of the mound is debatable.  It was constructed between 3100 and 2900 B.C.  It is considered a prehistoric monument.  While Newgrange has been restored, other mounds nearby called Knowth and Dowth are still being researched and possibly restored today.

The area is known as Brú na Bóinne UNESCO World Heritage Site.  It is adjacent to the River Boyne in County Meath just southwest of Drogheda, Louth, Ireland.  This location is definitely worth visiting.  There is so much history in the location.  If you are of Irish decent, you never know if your ancient ancestors might have originated in this location. 

Copyright 2004 - Newgrange

Copyright 2004 - The bridge across the River Boyne at the Newgrange visitor center (Brú na Bóinne).

Copyright 2004 - Newgrange

Copyright 2004 - Entry into the mound

Friday, August 5, 2011

Ireland - Part 3 - St. Fechin's

When I tell people where my Flanagan's originate in Ireland sometimes people find the name of the location rather odd.  Even some Irish nationals haven't heard of it.  That is strange because I thought everyone knew where Termonfechin was located.  I have to laugh because prior to 2004, I could barely place it on a map.

My previous post about Termonfechin is as follows (Click the link): Termonfechin

At this juncture, I am not sure that I have much to add to my original post except to say that all of the Flanagan's buried at St. Fechin's Cemetery in Termonfechin are from the same family line.  So, are there other Flanagan's buried there or nearby?  That is possible but other Flanagan's from the early 1700s in and around the Termonfechin Area appear to have migrated to slightly differing locations within County Louth.  
It would be interesting to trace and track down Patrick Flanagan circa 1700 of Termonfechin's brothers - James and Peter Flanagan.  I wonder about their lines sometimes.  The family line from past to present belonging to Patrick of Termonfechin is fairly well mapped out.  There are some mysteries as to what happened to certain Flanagan's though.

Copyright 2004 - High Cross St. Fechin's

Copyright 2004 - St. Fechin's Church Steeple

St. Fechin's Church is now closed and it is apparently not safe to enter the church.  That is such a shame.  This church has so much history attached to it from being once a Roman Catholic Church to the change over to the Church of Ireland by the British.  The cemetery holds so much history too and it's upkeep is handled by the local community who is mainly Catholic.

In California where I live, we consider buildings that are over 50 years old to be very old.  When you come across something that is over 100 years old, we deem it a historical building or location.  Not every historical site can be saved and restored.  Can you imagine the challenges, costs, and undertakings of saving and restoring a site in Ireland that is over 200 years old?  I hope that St. Fechin's can be saved and restored.  There is history that lives in that place.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Ireland - Part 2 - Clogherhead

Longing to return to this beautiful country does not make it easy at times for me to work on my genealogy.  I know that some answers about my family tree rest in Ireland.  When I visited there in 2004, I had no idea that my future desire to find my family tree would become such a consistent project and sometimes an addiction for me.

Below are photos that are slightly more local to my Flanagan and Maguire ancestors of Termonfechin, Louth, Ireland.  Clogherhead is just slightly north of Termonfechin. 

Copyright 2004 - Clogherhead Lifeboat Station
Copyright 2004 - The Lifeboat

The lifeboat in Clogherhead is beach-launched which is rather unique in 
the world of lifeboat rescue, especially in Ireland. 

I had to look up some information about Clogher because you see so many different spellings.  The headland in this location is known as Clogher Head while the village is known as Clogherhead and the townland is known as Clogher, Louth, Ireland.

This area is lovely.  While this part of Ireland runs along the Irish Sea, it is still mainly an agricultural community.  It often strikes me as funny when I recall seeing cows in pastures with beachfront views.  In California, the people hoard the beach views while the cows are in pastures mainly inland.

I've been trying to locate the parochial parish name for Clogher.  That is to say, or ask, is the parish for Clogher called Clogherhead?  It makes a difference when you want to research Roman Catholic Church records at the LDS library.  I have not attempted to do this research but may someday.  I know that there are Maguire's buried in Clogher.  They seem to be my ancestors.

My final comment is about my Kirwan family line.  I just ran across some information online that indicates Kirwan's originating in Louth.  While the family surname of Kirwan is known well in Galway, they were first in Louth.  I find this fascinating and need to research the Kirwan's further.  Maybe my Judith Kirwan and her father, Nicholas Kirwan, from this area of Louth are of these Kirwan's.  I kind of think they are and tracing this line could get interesting.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Ireland - Part 1 - Monasterboice

In the spirit of walking in the footsteps of my ancestors, I thought that I'd share photos right here of my 2004 trip to Ireland.  It is "summer vacation" after all.  My own children have about 3 weeks of vacation left before school begins again.  At that point,  I intend to really dig into my genealogy yet again.  For the next few weeks, I will be cleaning up my family tree and blog indexes.  Let's hope the laptop can keep up with my typing outside on the patio while I watch my children play.

My intent in sharing my Ireland photos here in my blog is to also review what I have.  It has been a while since I looked them over and I never quite know what memories I might find.  And, yes, all of these photos belong to me.

Copyright 2004

The above photo is a high cross at Monasterboice.  It is Mulredach's Cross, one of the most perfect high crosses in Ireland and is believed to be circa 900 A.D.   The condition remains quite excellent even given its age.

Copyright 2004

Above is the round tower at Monasterboice built around the 10th-11th Century

Copyright 2004

Crucifix next to a 14th Century church ruin at Monasterboice
 Monasterboice was a pretty amazing place.  It is located in County Louth, Ireland.  Lots of church and religious history rests here.  It is a beautiful spot.