Note: For privacy reasons, living people are not identified in this blog without permission.


If you would like to be contacted about a comment, you must leave me a way to reach you. Please include your email address. Thank you!

Follow This Blog!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Movie Short - The Book and the Rose

I recently watched a movie short called "The Book and the Rose".  It too was about some historical letters.  Quite a nice 30 minute movie that includes a big of romance and WWII.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Movie - Possession

I recently watched the movie called "Possession" on Netflix streaming.  It was made in 2002.  The reason why I post about it here is that it has a bit of a genealogy/ancestry slant to it.  It involves letters from the late 1800s Victorian Era making it seemingly historical fiction.  Gwyneth Paltrow is in the movie.  I will warn that some people may object the content as it does involve some adult themes.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Christmas Break for MYOG

It's time for a Christmas Break for MYOG.   Posts will be begin again after January 7th, 2013!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Flanagan O'Brien Down Under - Part 6 - More Family History

There is more history in the booklet about Bridget O'Brien's family as follows in the next two page spread:

Next page follows:

The final pages follow.  All of this should be clickable so you can view them larger on your screen.

It still amazes me how much information that my relatives near and far have collected to prove our family line.  It seems as if I just "wait awhile" more information presents itself.  Thank you to all who have shared their information about our family and continue to do so. 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Flanagan O'Brien Down Under - Part 5 - O'Brien Origins

Continued from December 12th post......

Catherine was 11 years old when the O'Brien family arrived in Australia from Ireland, the youngest of the three O'Brien girls.  Mary O'Brien, the eldest sister, was three years older than Bridget.  She was born in 1833.  Mary was 21 years old when she arrived in her new homeland in 1854.

Mary O'Brien, aged 22, married John Courtney, aged 24, 28 December 1855, at St. James' Catholic Church, Richmond, Melbourne.  The church was later demolished to make way for grander and larger building as the congregation outgrew the original wooden one.  the new church was built in 1900 on the site where many of our ancestors stood, taking wedding vows, baptising their children and saying goodbye to loved ones.   John Courtney was from the South of Ireland.  Mary and John did have at least one child in Australia, a daughter, before coming to New Zealand to settlem  This is where I must leave Mary O'Brien and John Courtney and hopefully her descendants will continue to tell of their life in New Zealand.  

Now.....the many sons Anne and Edmund had, who also came to New Zealand.  So far, the only authentic history I have of Anne and Edmund's sons is very sketchy indeed.  One was led to believe there were at least five siblings.  I can name three only - Jack, Timothy, and Tom.  Timothy is buried in Greymouth cemetery.  No doubt the descendants from these O'Brien men will have their history and lives well documented which would be interesting to know. 

Our Bridget married James Power on 31 July 1858 at St. Francis Historical Catholic Church in Melbourne.  The building of the church was started in 1841 and completed in 1845.  Mary (Saint) Mackill made her First Holy Communion in St. Francis in 1850, the same year Ned Kelly's parents were married in St. Francis' church. 

Bridget was 22 years of age when she married James Power, he was 30 years old.  Catherine, Bridget's sister, was the bridesmaid/witness.  James Power came from County Wexford, Ireland.  His father was also named James, mother's maident name Chandler. 

Bridget and James lived eight more years in Australia after the marriage before setting sail for the West Coast of New Zealand in 1866, with three children being born in Australia, two sons and one daughter.  Bridget had five daughters, Mary-Jane (born Williamstown, Victoria), Julia, Alice, Catherine, Frances, and five sons, Tom, Ned, Jim, Bob, Mick.

There is so much detail on these two pages of the booklet.  The next few pages are fuzzy copies for sure.  I will have to try and download them more clearly here.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Rerun Friday - My Most Viewed Post

A handy tool that Google provides with a blog is the ability to see what post is most popular.  I find this fascinating.  To complete my final rerun Friday for 2012, I thought I'd share what appears to be my popular post.  For whatever reason the following post is my most viewed of all time at just over 1400 views.

That seems pretty amazing.  Those are not all my personal views by the way.  Also, I wonder if someone is searching for an O'Brien (as it is a common name) and my post comes up on their search.  Whether they found who they are looking for may not really be a mystery.  Let's just say that I always say that Kate Flanagan (Catherine Mary O'Brien) is one of the most interesting people in my family tree.  This supports that for sure.

By the way, since I wrote this post, I have found Kate's family members in Australia and the area in which they lived in New Zealand!  Or rather, they found me.  My networking online and using this blog to share and communicate does work.

Originally post on Tuesday, October 26, 2010

O'Brien's And The Curious Message Board Post

So have I reached a dead end with my O'Brien Family line?  Will I be able to find Kate Flanagan's (Catherine Mary O'Brien) family in Ireland?  Or in Australia?  I wonder.  I've posted on various message boards online and haven't really gotten anywhere.  I think I found my O'Brien's on an Australian passenger list, recently.  That information still begs for more information. 

O'Brien is a fairly common Irish surname.  It is extremely common in the Castleconnell area of County Limerick, Ireland.  I think that there is even a bridge named after an O'Brien in Castleconnell.  I've tried to research my O'Brien family line on the internet but have found much difficulty in doing so.  Not only is O'Brien a common Irish name but apparently there are a lot of Edmund (or Edmond) O'Brien's too from this area.  I am not sure visiting the location will turn up any new information.  I would love to at least drive through Castleconnell and see what it looks like.  It is, at least, the location where Kate was baptized.

Maybe I should be looking for the Gleeson's, or is it Gleason?  They must have been from this area too.  Anne Gleeson married Edmund O'Brien.  They had some children including Kate.  I only wish I knew more about this family unit.  It would certainly help in my research.

I know some information about Kate.  There is her reputation and her letters.  I still need to finish reading her letters.  They are full information.  Kate was pretty direct and even to the extent of being blunt.  She must have been quite the character and smart.  I am fascinated by her.  I believe one of my next projects will be to read all of her letters.

The other day I did receive a response to my message board post.  I find it rather curious. 

Re: Catherine Mary "Kate" O'Brien - Castleconnell, County Limerick, Ireland

Posted by: R.... C...... (ID *****9163) Date: September 26, 2010 at 13:40:43
In Reply to: Catherine Mary "Kate" O'Brien - Castleconnell, County Limerick, Ireland by K...E... of 4591
Hello K......:

For Cat(herine) O'Brien B 1843 (exact), Castleconnell RC parish, Co. Limerick, with the father's forename unknown, I found 10 rcds. None had a father forenamed E(dmond).
For Edmond/Edmund O'Brien M 1840 +/- 3 yrs, Co. Limerick, I found 5 rcds: 1837 Patrickswell RC, 1841 Murroe & Boher RC, 1841 Bruff RC, 1842 St John's CI, and 1843 Hosptial & Herbertstown RC parishes.
For Ann(e) Gleason M ditto, I found 4 rcds: 1839, 1841, 1841, and 1842. None are a match at the parish level with those for Edmond/Edmund.

The transcription of Co. Limerick B/M/D rcds is essentially complete. It is doubtful more will be discovered. It looks like the rcds for your ancestors didn't survive.

Sorry. Good luck.

I have some more questions for this person.  I so appreciate him looking up info.  I emailed him but have not heard back yet.  I find this information very curious.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Flanagan O'Brien Down Under - Part 4 - CEAD MILE FAILTE

And a hundred thousand welcomes to everyone interested in this post.  I know many relatives who will probably find it very interesting.  This continues the Rest In Peace booklet for Bridget O'Brien Power and Frances Power Bradford.

Now, I'm not sure how great this inserted into this post.  It brought tears to my eyes as I read it.  I can hardly believe that I was given this information about my O'Brien Family tree.  This was written by relatives in Australia/New Zealand.  It is so definitely my family!

I will transcribe it here.....

Bridget O'Brien was born in 1836, County Clare, Ireland.  Her parents, Edmund and Anne (nee Gleeson) were married in 1827 and left the shores of Ireland in 1854, sailing with their large family to the far ends of the world - Australia, settling in Kyneton, Melbourne, Victoria.  Edmund and Anne died in their adopted land and are buired in the cemetery at Kyneton.  

Bridget O'Brien was 18 years of age when the family arrived in Australia.  It has been well documented, as a child of 10 or 11, Bridget could vividly remember people dying in the streets of Limerick during the potato famine, 1845-1846.  She also, recalled, as a young woman living in Melbourne, seeing the explorers Burke and Wills setting forth on their attempt to cross Australia exploring.  Sadly they never returned.  Streets in Melbourne are named after the brave young men.

All of Anne and Edmund O'Brien's children left Australia and sailed further to the ends of the earth - New Zealand, settling on the West Coast of the South Island, working on the gold fields and timber milling.  From the West Coast they dispersed far and wide over New Zealand, one son going to Canada and daughter, Catherine, going to San Francisco to marry Patrick Flanagan, who had sailed to America six months earlier.  They were married in St. Mary's Cathedral, California, 15 August 1870.  They purchased 100 acres of land in the Napa Valley in 1873, growing grapes and oranges, building a home and raising a family of two daughters and six sons.  Mary became a school teacher and never married.  Agnes died young in her 20s.  Ignatius, the eldest son, never married, died young of pneumonia during World War I.  Edward, never married.  Louis, never married.   Richard, married, one son.  John Francis married, five children.  Leo, married, no children, became a doctor, graduating from Georgetown Medical School and tragically died during the great flu epidemic of 1911-1917.

Letters from Catherine's grandson, Richard Flanagan, to New Zealand say that Patrick and Catherine's ranch/estate became one of the earliest wineries in the country.  Sadly, no Flanagan's own the property today.  Richard Flanagan also said, in 1981, that the original homestead still stands and is lived in.  Catherine died 11 March 1928 and is buried at Toulocoy cemetery in Napa.  All Catherine's children are buried in the Napa Valley.

I have to stop here to make a few comments.  I must say that this written history about my family in Napa is accurate.  A couple of asides that I must make are that Edward was actually the oldest son and Ignatius was second oldest son.  Tulocay Cemetery is the correct spelling and all of the Flanagan's mentioned above are buried there including my grandfather, Richard Flanagan.

My transcription continues with my December 15th post with Kate's origins and more information about her siblings.  This document is truly amazing.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Flanagan O'Brien Down Under - Part 3 - Bridget O'Brien

Page 2 of the memorial booklet includes a photo of Bridget Power (O'Brien) who was Kate Flanagan's (Catherine Mary O'Brien) older sister.   Her daughter, Frances Power Bradford's photo also shares the page.

The next post finds my 3G grandparents, my 2G grandparents, and mentions my own grandfather.  It it pretty amazing.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Rerun Friday - Past-Present-Future

Originally posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011


There are many people in the world who find the past something to forget.  Many people may think that exploring their genealogy is just that, something in the past.  Others find it fascinating and a way to find out more about themselves.  For example, why am I tall and my sister is pretty short?  Who did the phrase "wait a while" originate with in my family?  How and why did my family line end up in the United States and in California, specifically Northern California?

While I do know the answers to some of those questions above, the connection to our past is important to understanding our present and our future.  I look forward in my quest to find more about my connection to the past through my ancestors.  I wish to use and understand this information in the present.  My hope for the future is to share this with my children when they are older as a gift from the past.

Past - Present - Future

Linked Together By Time

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Flanagan O'Brien Down Under - Part 2 - Requiescat in Pace

I must admit that the copy that I have of this Requiescant in Pace (Rest in Peace) booklet for Bridget O'Brien Power and her daughter, Frances Power Bradford, is not the best.  The information was shared with me via  I can hope that some day, I can have an original emailed to me.  That's not big deal at this point, however, as I can still read the information.

By the way, Bridget was Kate Flanagan's (my great great grandmother) older sister. The following is the front and back cover of this booklet.  Bridget's and Frances' descendants put this together in 2011.  I am very grateful that they chose to share this.  Thank you!

There is more coming that will demonstrate how we know that these are the correct O'Brien's from my family tree.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Flanagan O'Brien Down Under - Part 1 - Hokitika

My upcoming posts about my findings while in search of my O'Brien's Down Under will probably span a few weeks.  I plan to take it somewhat slow and do some homework as I share.  I may even repeat some information that I've already posted.

The big news is that I have now found some O'Brien relatives in Australia and New Zealand who have definitive information about Kate Flanagan (Catherine Mary O'Brien).  It's funny because now I'm not exactly sure where my new found relatives live Down Under.  The correspondence has been brief emails here and there and includes more than one O'Brien descendant.

First and foremost, I want to get my bearing on the location that was presented to me.   Second, I will post a very interesting written piece of history that, while it is not truly a source document, it has incredible merit and is quite the find.  Again, I love the discovery process.  Sometimes, I have to sit on information to allow it to sink in.   I have to digest my findings.

So, my first stop is to discuss Hokitika, New Zealand.  O'Brien's found?  Well yes...for a time.  I will come back to my O'Brien's.  They were in this location (at least some of them) and I am pretty certain now that so was Patrick Flanagan and possibly Michael, too.

In the Maori language, Hokitika means "place of return".  The Arahura River is in the surrounding area which is a source of pounamu (greenstone, New Zeland Jade, or nephrite).  There is a museum in Hokitika that is a history museum where stories of the greenstone, gold, and the "dangerous river port and the lively town" are preserved for visitors to see.  There are many historical sites and buildings in this location.

I think what caught my eye the most was "gold".  Did I just stumble across one of the Flanagan Brother's mining locations?   I suppose I might have just narrowed my search for the location of where Patrick Flanagan went in search of gold.

The West Coast Gold Rush in New Zealand occurred from 1864 to 1867.  Gold was found near the Taramakau River in 1864 by two Maori (indigenous Polynesian people).  Other locations where gold was found around this time were at Okarito, Bruce Bay around Charleston and along the Grey River.

Miners came from Australia from the Central Otago Gold Rush and the Victorian Gold Rush.  The prospectors tended to come to the Hokitika area.   25,000 people lived in this area by 1866.  There were more than 100 pubs too.  By 1867, the gold rush began to decline in this location.

Online, there are some amazing maps showing the mining locations along the west coast of New Zealand.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Rerun Friday - A Window In Time

Originally posted on Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A Window In Time

Photographs are like small windows in time.  You can look at the photo and get a quick glimpse of the people.  I love photos and wish for more old photos.  It does help if we know who's in each photo.  I realize that is not always possible though.

A photo can share some information about people including what they looked like.  Most photos were taken on happy occasions when people were enjoying themselves.  I find it interesting that in many photos, no one is smiling.  I suppose that was not the practice in the 1800s.  It does help when those in the photos don't look like they're frowning though.

Below are a couple of my favorite photos.  I only wish that I had a true copy of the original for the second photo.

Photos still leave much to the imagination.  I still have to wonder what my ancestors were like.  A photo can't tell you about their personality.   You might be able to pick out some emotion.  Joy, for example, can show through in a photo.  I think that I spotted some joy in these.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Feature Article - Meals and More Personal History

I don't usually post too much about my own personal life.  As time passes, I do think that I should write some of my own personal experiences down, however.   I started a blog about cooking and wine but have not had much time to add to it in recent months.  Below is a little personal history and experience with my own challenge in learning to cook.   This is for my children who I hope someday get the chance to read this blog about our family history.

Feature Article

Learning To Provide the Meals - September 26, 2011

Just over two years ago, I stopped working in "Corporate America" to be a stay-at-home mommy. With that came the need to learn how to cook.  In my entire life, I really had never learned how to cook. From having a mother who is an awesome cook and made sure that dinner was on the table every night by 6pm to my husband who cooked dinner for the first eight years that we were together, there was not much need for me to spend a whole lot of time in the kitchen.

While there were those years that I was a student and a working adult single woman, I always figured something out for mealtime. College campuses are great places to find some food.   I was not a starving student in those days. When I began my career, I easily acclimated to the yummy cafeteria food at work where they served breakfast, lunch, and, for a while, dinner. When you work for a large company with many employees, the cafeteria services are generally available. In fact, for many years the company that I work for had two cafeterias on site plus a coffee bar. They also subsidized the food for a number of years but that was discontinued into the new millennium.

While I was still working, I had a couple of babies along the way which perpetuated the need for my husband to continue as chef, kitchen help, and grocery shopper. Heck, I was busy feeding my children as infants and toddlers. A mother's work truly is never finished. That's why dad needs to jump in to handle things, especially, when both parents work all day.

During my work hours, I did not have to worry an ounce about what my children would be eating. They attended "school" (daycare) at a child development center that provided breakfast, lunch, and snack. How lovely was this? Well, you never truly appreciate things until you don't have them any longer. Let's just say the cook at the center was marvelous plus all of the meals were approved by a dietitian. You have to love that. There was even more to love. The children were served hot meals every day. From the youngest children in the infant room able to eat table food up through the preschoolers, they all sat at tables and ate family style. It was truly a unique situation in a day where few families have a chance to eat dinner together in the evening. I won't mention the cost of the child development center here. We did pay for it! I am only now really beginning to understand the full value of what we paid for. It was so worth it and I'm not just talking about the food plan.

Trying to figure where your next meal is coming from can be challenging. Two years ago the full responsibility did fall to me for our household. The pressure was on and I am still in my learning curve two years later. I thought I'd start this blog to document what I have learned - mistakes and all. I figure that we'll see where this blog takes me along the way. I do love to eat, drink, and be merry. Cooking is starting to become my forte for a few meal items.

Well, that blog has been put on hold for now.....I continue with my genealogy blog though while I've got dinner cooking in the crock pot or oven most evenings.  

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving Week!

MYOG is taking a break for Thanksgiving Week.  Have a great time with friends and family!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Rerun Friday - Borrowing From Trees on

Originally posted on Saturday, May 21, 2011

Borrowing From Trees on

Beg, borrow, and steal.....Ok, steal is a bit too forward.  Beg....I'm not opposed to asking for family tree information from those who have the research done and I know are of my family line.  I suppose that it is not really begging as I am more than willing to share in return.  As for borrowing from a tree off, that leaves something to be desired.  My uncle warned me just about a year ago...."Buyer Beware!".  Not everyone on checks their facts and sources their tree.

If you post your family tree as a public tree on, you'd have to expect that eventually someone will try and borrow information from it.  How else would a college professor or other relatives have found me (or I found them)?  Well, they are the real deal in looking for my specific Flanagan Family line.   They do, in fact, "get it" and have the line with the associated history and stories of this family.

I had someone select Michael Flanagan (1839-1904) from my tree as a direct line ancestor for their tree last summer.  Given that Michael never married or had children, made it rather impossible for that person to be one of Uncle Mike's great grandchildren.  I sent them a quick message to let them know.  Once they had linked into Michael, they had "sucked in" all of my information in the past up to my original Patrick Flanagan ancestor.  Oops!  That's a lot of people to "back off" of one's tree.  Mistakes happen but this is why it is so important to check what you've pulled over to your own tree online.

What I noticed the other day, is someone else borrowing from the distant past of my Flanagan Tree.  They were borrowing Patrick Flanagan (The Grandfather) and Judith Kirwan along with Richard Flanagan and Alice Bellew.  I think that the person found a decent match and picked Patrick and Judith.  This person's John Flanagan of Cavan was married to a Barbara Maguire.  Apparently, his line continues with an Elizabeth Flanagan.  The "John" matches, right?   Not really.

Are there other Flanagan's from County Louth, specifically, in the Termonfechin Area?  You bet there are a few.  I am just not all the familiar with those lines and much of the information does run cold into the more current generations.  Going back 300 years, they were probably all related to one another.  
So John is a common name.  John Flanagan is probably pretty common too.  What do you think I did next to my Flanagan comrade?  I emailed him, of course.  I peeked at his tree and let him know where he got off track.  Frankly, I just don't want people thinking that their line is one way when it is not.  Let's face it, I like accuracy, insasmuch as that is possible on a family tree.

How sourced is my Flanagan Family Tree on  Not very.  It's hard to attach 240 years of written history to include letters, farm account books, and a PowerPoint Presentation on a DVD.  At this point, I have to consider making my Flanagan Family Tree on a private tree.  I am not setting a very good example by not sourcing it online while making it public.  As is probably obvious, it will be hard to fix the online tree given the way I maintain the sourcing.

I guess for now, the tree will be private.  Those who have been invited to it will still be able to see it via their invited guest status.  Everyone else would need to contact me and discuss their connection to this line.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Chickie, Bunny, Jack, Minnie, Dolly, Mo, Max, Dick, Fannie, Popeye, Mama, Papa, and many more nicknames of this sort appear on my family tree.  In fact, for my Flanagan's, I have written a special "key" for deciphering the nicknames of the family members to match them to their legal, given names.

Now, I know why my grandmother used to say that she could not stand nicknames because then you never really know the real name of the person that is being referred to.  As cranky as that might have sounded at the time, I think she was onto something.  She insisted on calling her own children by their given first names.  She refused to shorten them when addressing or referring to them.  Robert for her was always Robert and not Bob, Rob, or another variation of the name Robert.

In my quest to find my family, I completely understand why nicknames on census and other source documents are completely confusing.  My granddad's legal, given name was Francis but I see it as Frank everywhere.  That may not be a big deal but it can still throw you off when you're using a picky search engine to locate your ancestors.

I looked up a definition of the word "nickname" and found the following on Wikipedia: "a usually familiar or humorous but sometimes pointed or cruel name given to a person or place, as a supposedly appropriate replacement for or addition to the proper name, or a name similar in origin and pronunciation from the original name."  I further found where nicknames are usually awarded to and not generally chosen by the recipient.  I must admit that a few people have tried to call me Kris and it just doesn't really work for me.

Now, I do have quick cute nicknames for my own children but generally call them by their full first given names.  I am not opposed to nicknames in their entirety.  I refer to Sacramento as "Sactown".  My only wish of past documents is that people would have spelled out legal, given names rather than nicknames.  That's a rather rhetorical request that just can't be filled at this point.  I live with my "keys" and "legends" to help guide my research when it comes to my ancestors' "nick" names.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

My Ancestors At Tulocay Cemetery

The internet can be such a handy tool at times.  In my quest to find my family tree, I found many of my ancestors final resting places at one cemetery in particular.  As was really no surprise, I found them at Tulocay Cemetery in Napa.  The interesting part is the number of people.

While this may not be the most interesting post, it does contain notes that will live online for my future reference.  I can quickly pull these up if and when I make it over the cemetery.  I can also easily share this information with others.

The following are my family members and the basic and/or detailed locations of their final resting places at Tulocay Cemetery.  By the way,  I have four pairs of great great grandparents in this cemetery.

Henry and Anna (Jackel) Borchers - Block 82
Albert Borchers - Block 82 next to Anna and Henry
Herbert and Mary (Vienop) Borchers - Block 1, Upper Section, 282D
Henry and Clara (Borchers) Gruenhagen - Block 104, Row 16, A67 & A66

John H. Vienop - Block 81
Anne Marie Louise (Koch) Vienop - Block 81
Alma P F Vienop - Block 81 (between John and Anne)
J. Henry Vienop - Block 81
Adella (Bruns) Vienop - Block 81
Ernst Vienop - Block 81

The above six Vienop's are buried almost exactly across the cemetery road from Henry and Anna Brochers (Block 82).  Mary (Vienop) Borchers is buried with her husband, Herbert Borchers above.

More Vienop's........

Ernest W. Vienop - Block 1, Upper Section, 114D
Ida M. (Frank) Vienop - Block 1, Upper Section, 114D
Edwin J. and Mageline (Inman) Vienop, Block 1, Upper Section, 283D
Martin L. and Anna Minnie (Vienop) Reidenbach - Block 1, Upper Section, 79D
Esther Reidenbach - Block 1, Upper Section, 79D

Patrick and Kate (O'Brien) Flanagan - Block 82
Agnes Flanagan - Block 82
Edward Flanagan - Block 82
Dr. Leo Flanagan - Block 82
Ignatius Flanagan - Block 82

The above Flanagan's are buried together in block 82 in unmarked graves above Malcom Brown and his wife.

More Flanagan's...............

Louis Flanagan - Block 80
Mary "May" Flanagan - Block 80
Richard Austin Flanagan - Block 80

The above Flanagan's are buried at the base of an oak tree on the premises.

Additional Flanagan's.......................

John Francis Flanagan - Block 153
Mary Elizabeth (McLaughlin) Flanagan - Block 153
Richard J. Flanagan - Block 153
Dorothy (Borchers) Flanagan - Block 153
Gary Richard Flanagan - Block 153
Ellen Maxwell Flanagan - Block 153
Catherine Veronica (Flanagan) Fratessa - Near Block 153
Joseph Fratessa - Near Block 153
Anne (Fratessa) Scoville - Near Block 153

Thomas Michael McLaughlin - Block 131, Lot 18, grave #2
Ellen (Maxwell) McLaughlin - Block 131, Lot 18, grave #1
Catherine "Katie" McLaughlin - Block 131, Lot 18, grave #3
Albert and Ellen (McLaughlin) Heflin

See Mary Elizabeth McLaughlin under the "Additional Flanagan's" .

That's about 43 people that are on my family tree who are buried a Tulocay.  I have either placed or found online memorials on Find A Grave's website.  There are probably more relatives at this cemetery including but not limited to more people on my Vienop side.  I just have not yet pursued the information.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Rerun Friday - Compelling Storytelling

Originally Posted Thursday, May 19, 2011

Compelling Storytelling

What makes a story unique and compelling?  I am almost certain that my high school English teacher would say something like "a story, no matter the length, that pulls people in....draws their attention....peeks their interest......has a draw, a catch, and cleverness about it....something unique or novel......"  The originality of a story or the ability to tell a story in quite a "first time", "can't stop reading or put it down manner" is the goal.   Did I succeed at this in my freshman year of private high school?  Well, not exactly.  I was the star Math student if you can believe that.
When it comes to writing, I am again practicing.  I am praciticing on anyone who reads this blog.  I can only imagine the thoughts of my seventh grade teacher reading this and continually critiquing the grammar.  If only I had her to proofread my writing, I'd be in a grand place.   Back in the 1980s, I'd hear my teachers say that most people write at a "seventh grade level".  I believe that they now write at a "TEXT" level.  That's the result of phones and technology.
Back to compelling storytelling.....When it comes to your own family history, anyone or any story can make you feel proud.  I find that any shred of information that tells me what someone was like interests me when the person is my relative.   I even find other people's family trees interesting.  Does everyone find this information interesting when the people are not apart of their own family tree?  The answer is no. 

What I have grown to realize though is that many, many people do find the story of the discovery process of one's family tree interesting.  To watch someone find their family roots and see the excitement and gratification that it gives them, is entertaining.  This is why the show, "Who Do You Think You Are?", is so popular.  The discovery process and the elation (or sometimes disappointment) that follow is interesting.

Are there any compelling stories in my family history that await me or have I already found some?   I hope to someday find out more about the people on my tree including something about their character, personality, and motivations.  Have I already found at least one compelling story?  Why, yes, I think that I have.  Putting the story together in written form to share with anyone who wants to read it is another thing.

Below is an excerpt from an essay about storytelling.........

Perceiving The Foundation of Storytelling
by Bill Johnson
Revised 12/27/98

A storyteller should to be able to perceive what a story is about at its deepest level, and how to move that to a resolution that offers fulfillment to a story's audience. Understand what about the movement of a story engages the interest, the needs of an audience. Such a writer can better perceive how characters, plot devices and POV work to create a dramatic movement of a story toward its fulfillment. How every element of a story works together in its characters, plot, environment and ideas to make vivid and potent a story's world.

That's why I say that at its heart, a story must have an issue at stake that is of consequence to the story's audience. Something the members of the audience will desire to experience in a state of resolution and fulfillment. Love. Courage. Redemption. Renewal. Some issue that revolves around the aching need of humans to feel they matter, that they have a place in the world.

Now, I think that I have a story.  Can I make it compelling?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Napa - Threatened Treasures

The list of "Threatened Treasures" in Napa is always interesting to me.  I also like to note that the Flanagan Ranch House is no longer on this list.   It has new life with its remodel.

Enjoy this article from the Napa Valley Register. "Ctrl Click" to get to this link:

Napa "Threatened Treasures"

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Glos Family

A few months back I found an article about a pioneer family of the Napa Valley.  I'd say specifically in the mountains above Calistoga.  The following is a link to the article.  What struck me as interesting is that they were everyday people making the best of what they had.

Napa Valley Register Article - The Glos Family

Friday, November 2, 2012

Rerun Friday - The Game of "Telephone"

Thursday, March 3, 2011 -  The Game of "Telephone"

When I was a kid, we'd gather a group of people together at a kids party and play the game called "telephone".  The players sat in a circle and whispered a short, detailed story to their immediate neighbor and passed it on.  The short, detailed story would be passed along person by person in the circle until it got back around to the first person that started the story.  The success of this game was that the final message bear little to no resemblance to the original message.   There really was no particular "winner" of the game but the entertainment value was worth it.

The cumulative effect of mistakes and misunderstandings along the communication lines of person to person could completely change the story.  In some cases, the deliberate change of the story was part of the game although this would be considered cheating by most.

So why do I bring this up now?  Well many family stories, plus facts and information, are handed down by families through the years.  Imagine how they can be misconstrued along the way.  I will say that most of the time, families don't intentionally misconstrue information unless they are trying to paint a rosier picture than what really occurred.  

Then there's those "tall tales" as we know.  Not to get overly religious here but the Old Testament of the Bible is a good example of a great story book but, honestly (and I learned this at Catholic school), there are some definite "tall tales" in there.   The lesson learned is what is important in that great book.  For our own family history, we want the lesson to be a historical truth.

At this point, I will cut to the chase.  I have come across lots of historical truths in my quest for my family tree.   I have found a few "tall tales" but many appear to be historical truths once investigated.  That leads me to my latest find.  My Granddad, Francis "Frank" Robert McGuire (1908-1993), had always indicated that there was a Dutchman from New Orleans, Louisiana, somewhere back on the "Roman" side of our family.  He did not have specifics but this is what he remembered being told.  I will admit that his information has been "right on" in my recent discoveries.  Most of his information was just a shred of information but led me down the path of successful discovery.  My regret was that I did not ask him more when he was alive.

Now, I have spent time looking for my "Roman's" (could be Romaine, Rohmann, Rohman, Romain, etc.).  I've looked in New Orleans and New York City.  I think that I found them at 240 Delancy Street, NYC circa 1870-1880.  I also think that later they may have been in Brooklyn or just went to St. Louis Catholic Church there.   I'm not exactly sure.  My great grandmother was Mary Elizabeth Romaine McGuire.  Her married name was McGuire, of course.  Her parents were Joseph Romaine ("Roman") and Frances Lakervine (or was it Luchwurm, Lendevorson, or Lindeaurm).   Frances my have been Francesca too.  Your guess is as good as mine on her last name.  Was she Dutch?

I don't know if Joseph Romaine or Francis Lakervine were Dutch or related to a Dutchman from New Orleans.  What I am starting to discover though in my searches on is Deutschland.  That is Germany in the German language.  I have found it time and time again on U.S. Census.  Does this location really refer to those from Germany or were they Dutch from Holland.  I don't know but it certainly begs the questions that I have especially when it pops up on my potential ancestors' information.

So am I as lost as ever?  Were my relatives Dutch or from Deutschland?  Was it written down wrong on U.S. Census?  I seek the truth here and add one more thought.  

My thought is about prejudice and segregation in New York City when my grandparents were young and, I'm sure, before then.  My father grew up in Franklin Square, New York.  If you have ever been there, it's a small town/location just off the Hempstead Turnpike in Nassau County, on Long Island.  Like the neighboring Levittown, NY, it is "wall-to-wall" houses.  Levittown was the "original" suburbia type community.  Franklin Square is not much different.

While you can say this is suburbia and a mixture of people who originated in "The City", there was still prejudice to an extent.  My grandparents would admittedly say that they were the only Irish family living on a street with a bunch of Germans.  They felt rather separate from their German neighbors and maybe that was because of their own prejudice.  That does sound bad as I write it down but was a sign of the times (1930-40s) and their upbringing.

Knowing that my Irish family differentiated themselves so strongly from the German families, makes me wonder if someone in the family was trying to cover up some true family roots.  I am just throwing this out here as a possibility and one of the "secrets" that my family took to their graves.  I really don't know the truth but so want to find out.

As you can imagine, this leads me to a comparison to the game "telephone".  How much was the information changed from person-to-person and was it deliberately "tweaked" to paint a rosier picture?  Today, I must admit that acceptance of diversity is important, commonplace in my life, and should be everywhere in the U.S. and the world.

Will I find the historical truths about my Romaine's?  I hope so but for now I've written down the "telephone" person by person version of my family history.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween in the United States

Happy Halloween!

Last year a wrote a post about the origins of Halloween from pagans to Christians with a mention of Ireland.  This year I did a little research about the history of Halloween in the United States.  Initially, I found remarks online that in the U.S. we adopted what they've been doing in Europe and the British Isles for hundreds of years.  Well, that's not the whole story.

In the early years of the United States, Halloween was not celebrated.  With mostly Protestants making up the Christian population of our country, Halloween was considered mainly a Catholic holiday and celebration at the time.  While early colonial America in places like Virginia and Maryland celebrated harvest, they did not take in the full aspects of Halloween.

Based on my quick research, it looks like you can point the finger at those Irish Catholic immigrants fleeing the potato famine for how we celebrate Halloween in the United States.   They brought Jack O'Lanterns with them and other "harvest" and "all hallows eve"  traditions with them.

By the 20th Century, the religious influence in Halloween was gone in the U.S.   It had become and still is a more of a secular holiday for all to celebrate.  We have parades, costumes, trick-or-treating, parties, and more.  The holiday is really aimed at children here in the U.S. at this point in time, but adults still have a lot of fun of their own.

I still recall as a child my own impression of Halloween.  I always thought of Sleepy Hallow and stories of the headless horseman.  Back East, Fall is so distinct, especially in New England.  It really lends itself to the Halloween theme.

So, "BOO!" to you all and Happy Halloween.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Bruns Girls of Napa

Quite a number of months ago, my aunt mentioned her aunt, and I suppose, my aunt too.  I never knew Aunt Della Vienop.  She was J.H. Vienop's first wife who passed away in 1956.

At the mention of Della and her death came out a quick anecdotal story about J.H.'s (Uncle Henry) second wife, Eva Cook Hunter.  She was apparently not the nicest person according to the family and was perceived as a bit of a gold digger at the time.  Uncle Henry was a successful contractor and businessman in Napa when he lost his first wife.

In came Eva and some unpleasant feelings from the family for sure.  My aunt wondered if Eva and Uncle Henry divorced or separated.  Eva ended up living further north in California the last part of her life.  I believe she actually lived in Scotia.  There was a time when my great grandmother, Mary Borchers, who was Uncle Henry's sister, and her friend were in the vicinity of Scotia.  Mary said that they should stop by to see her sister-in-law, Eva.  I guess her friend thought that was ridiculous yet it sounds like Mary got her way.  For whatever reason, Mary thought it appropriate to stop and see Eva.

Mary had a big heart and forgiveness was one her traits for sure.  She also was probably liked by Eva as Mary was liked by everyone.  I find this an interesting side story for my Vienop side of the family as information like this is not actually written down anywhere.  I am writing it down now.

My true goal with this post is to write about the Bruns sisters.  Adelheid Helena Bruns (Aunt Della) was married to John Henry Vienop, Jr. of Napa, California.  Her story along with her sister's starts earlier than this, however.

Adelheid Helena and Louise Marie Bruns were both born in Bethany, San Joaquin County, California in 1901 and 1902, respectively, about 21 months apart in age.  Based on census, there were older children too.  All of the older siblings were boys.

Home in 1900: Murray, Alameda, California

Household Members:
Name Age
John Brauns 43
Atilhiet Brauns 33
August H Brauns 8
John Brauns 7
Claus H Brauns 5
Detrick Brauns 3
Otto Brauns 6/1

As seen above, I actually found the family in the 1900 U.S. Census near this Bethany location.  This was before Della and Louise were born.  Knowing that the girls were born in a place called Bethany, California, I narrowed my search to anything that specifically indicated this place.  Two of the older brothers indicated on their military registrations later in life that they had been born in Bethany, San Joaquin County, California.  Bethany Reservoir near Tracy, California is what you can find on a map these days.  The census location in 1900 looks to be in Murray, Alameda County, California between Tracy and Livermore.

By 1910, they are all living in Napa, California with two more children (including Della and Louise) but their mother is no longer living and I don't find John, Jr.  By 1920, it looks like Louise is living with the Wentworth's as their maid and Della is living with the Deffners indicated as their daughter.  Their father, John Bruns, still lived in Napa with his son Harry (Claus).

You might ask how I know that I found the correct location of these young ladies.  Well, there's a story that goes along with this.

It seems definite that by 1910, John's wife had passed away leaving him with several children to care for.  He also needed to work by farming.  The men in the family seemed to have gone with him to work while the two youngest children who were girls remained at home.   By 1910, the girls were about seven and eight years old.  Left to their own devices, they were seen playing unsupervised and may have been getting themselves into a bit of trouble.

In a day were Napa was really starting to fill up with homesteads, families, and farmers, something like two girls running around unsupervised did not go unnoticed.  They also belonged to the local Lutheran Church.  As the story goes, each girl went to live with two different families in Napa.  By 1920, Della is with the Deffners and Louise is with the Wentworths.  It is even possible that Louise lived with the Deffners for a while too.  It is known that the girls were separated for a time.

I'm sure that the girls still saw their father and siblings.  What I find interesting is that Della is indicated as the daughter in the Deffner household in 1920 while Louise is indicated as the maid in the Wentworth household in 1920.  I'm sure that there are other details to this story but these are the basics.  I find it rather interesting.  You can almost piece the story together via U.S. Census source documents.

Anyway, the connection to my family is that Della went on to marry J.H. Vienop, Jr.  Louise went on to marry August Gruenhagen.  Louise Gruenhagen, as she was known from then forward, was one of my great grandmother's (Mary Vienop Borchers) closest friends.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Rerun Friday - Scotch-Irish

Back on January 27, 2011, I posted about the "Scotch-Irish".  My post back then seems a little confusing even to me so I've rewritten it.  I want to be as clear as possible with this terminology.'s my updated "Language Lesson" on the term Scotch-Irish with some other terms thrown in.

I'm just not fond of the term Scotch-Irish.  I see it used as a catch all phrase for any surname that could be considered Irish or Scottish.  It is especially common in the United States where so many people have no idea of their surname origins.  On many an occasion, people have asked me if my McGuire surname is Scottish.  My response to them is that I really don't think so.  It's a pretty definite Irish name.  The name is found around the world, however, and even in Scotland.  So is it Scotch-Irish?

The term Scotch-Irish is an American term that is not used in England, Ireland, or Scotland. 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, had descendants who immigrated to America in the 18th and early 19th centuries.  They immigrated from Ireland and mainly to the Appallachian region of the U.S.

Much confusion stems from the use of this term even 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 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 term "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 the 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, October 24, 2012

Richard Flanagan and His Wingrove Family

In the past two years, I have posted no fewer than five posts about Richard Flanagan (b. 1830) from Termonfechin who went to London.  His life seemed short to me as he passed away in 1878.  While my Flanagan Family can say we have Richard fairly well sourced and documented on our family tree, in family records, and have letters preserved that he wrote, we really did not know what had happened to his descendants, until now.

A very helpful person who lives in London and has some Flanagan's of her own in her line which could be somewhere connected to mine, sent me some research about Richard's family.  She has done this in the past as records become available.  Now, the 1911 England Census revealed two more grandchildren for Richard that we did not know about and more records have now surfaced.

The long story short is that Richard Flanagan went to London by at least 1861.  He married Maria Cutler by 1871.  In 1873, their only known child, Kathleen Anne Flanagan, was born.  By 1878, Richard had passed away.  His health had been failing him for some time. He had been employed by the Crown in customs.

Over the next several years, it would appear that Kathleen lived with her mother at times but also with her aunt, Sarah Cutler, who's married last name was Holness.  It seems clear that Kathleen was close to Sarah and her husband, Edwin.

Kathleen went onto to work for the Crown too.  She married Henry Wingrove in 1900.  They had three children - Norman Richard, Norah Kathleen, and Eric Edwin.  My previous research is included in this blog.  Up until now, this is as far as I had gotten in the research which landed me in 1911.

Name: Eric E Wingrove
Birth Date: abt 1911
Date of Registration: Oct-Nov-Dec 1930
Age at Death: 19
Registration district: Bromley
Inferred County: Kent
Volume: 2a
Page: 670

According to the death index above, Eric Edwin Wingrove died in 1930 at the age of 19 years.

Name: Henry Wingrove
Probate Date: 2 Jul 1948
Death Date: 5 May 1948
Death Place: Kent, England
Registry: London, England

Above is the probate record for Henry Wingrove, Kathleen's husband.  Further information in the record indicates that he died in the Farnborough Hospital in Kent.  Kathleen Annie Wingrove was his widow.  He left her 2,723 pounds.  Their address was 11 Rochester Avenue. 

Name: Kathleen Annie Wingrove
Probate Date: 9 Aug 1962
Death Date: 6 May 1962
Death Place: Kent, England
Registry: London, England

The next record above is for Kathleen Anne Flanagan Wingrove.  She passed away at age 88 at Farnborough Hospital in Kent.  She was still living at 11 Rochester Avenue at the time.  She left her 4,515 pounds to her two living children - Norman Richard Wingrove, an insurance broker and Norah Kathleen Wingrove, a spinster.

England & Wales, Death Index: 1916-2006 about Norah Kathleen Wingrove

Name: Norah Kathleen Wingrove
Birth Date: 29 Oct 1905
Date of Registration: Nov 1984
Age at Death: 79
Registration district: Worthing
Inferred County: West Sussex
Volume: 18
Page: 2280

Norah Kathleen Wingrove passed away in 1984.  It would appear that she never married.  She's indicated as a spinster in the will of her mother in 1962 but I wonder what she did for a living.  That categorization as "spinster" drives me crazy.  I'm sure that she was so much more than that.  I did find a possible record indicating the marriage of a Norah C Wingrove marrying a Sydney Cheeseman.  Was this a different Norah?  Why did the marriage, if this is her, not last?  At any rate, it seems 99.9% clear that Norah had no children.

England & Wales, Death Index: 1916-2006 about Norman Richard Wingrove

Name: Norman Richard Wingrove
Birth Date: 10 Mar 1902
Date of Registration: Apr-May-Jun 1979
Age at Death: 77
Registration district: Tavistock
Inferred County: Devon
Volume: 21
Page: 2094

In the next death record, we find Norman Richard Wingrove.  He too seems to have never had children.  He appears to have been married later in life as seen in the next record.

Name: Norman R Wingrove
Spouse Surname: Dawe
Date of Registration: Jan-Feb-Mar 1974
Registration district: Tavistock
Inferred County: Devonshire
Volume Number: 7a
Page Number: 1444
Find Spouse: Find Spouse

Now, was Norman married before and did he have children?  It is seemingly unlikely at this point but only time can truly tell.   I have found other Norman Wingrove's married to different women earlier than this Norman's marriage to Evelyn Dawe.  The middle initial does not match in the other records.  It seems a bit surprising that Norman would have only been married for the last 5 years of his life having never been married before.  Maybe he was married previously.   Did he have any children?  We may never know for sure but it is beginning to look like he was childless.

I have not found any other indication of Wingroves looking for this line.  Wingrove appears to be somewhat of a common surname found in London around the turn of the century.  I now end my research on this line as it appears that there are no currently living descendants of this Richard Flanagan.


Note:  Richard Flanagan, b. 1830 (d. 1878, London) at the Flanagan Family Farm in Termonfechin, Louth, Ireland, was the oldest son of John Flanagan and Anne Maguire of Termonfechin, and the older brother to my great great grandfather, Patrick Flanagan (1834-1896) of Termonfechin, Louth, Ireland and Napa, California. 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Why Deviate Off Your Direct Line? - Revisited

Following Your Blood Line, or The Whole Family

Believe it or not, "choice" comes up time and time again with regards to my family tree.  I am continually presented with a new branch of my tree.  Do I follow the new branch or continue to head up the main branch to the top of my tree?  That tree, by the way, continues to grow and get "taller", if you will, as I creep back in time.

I have come across people who are growing their tree taller and fuller, wider, or overgrown as maybe my tree appears to be.  Yes, there are massive family trees out there on and on other sites online that represent hours and hours of research and "trailing off" as I call it.  Trailing off on a branch of your family tree can be quite rewarding, complicated, and distracting at times.

There are those that just grow their tree "taller" and have few branches.  It is a different choice than my own.  Many people out there choose to follow only their direct blood line.  They refrain from "trailing off" on other branches of the tree.  Sticking with this method can keep one's family tree research simple and easy to source.  It can also be rather limiting.

If you limit yourself to just your direct blood line, you might miss out on learning about communities and finding stories of how your ancestors lived with the others around them.  When the concept of community and collaboration are added to one's family tree research, the discoveries become endless.  The complexity of this approach can turn some people off, however.  The more complex a family tree, the harder it becomes to share it with others and keep their attention.
So will you lose people if you do choose a more complex approach to your tree?  Probably.  But, can you give up all of the possibilities that come with the "complex" tree?  The possibilities include, and are not limited to, finding relatives with shared research interests, finding research has already been completed, and discovering stories about a family line.

I seek stories about people.  Whether the stories are lengthy or anecdotal, I love the stories.  You never know when you might find 193 letters that were written as correspondence between family members from the U.S. to those who remained in the old country.  You never know if you might find photos of your great great grandfather that were saved by the second cousin that you've never met.  You never know what you might find, so why limit yourself.

In the 1990s, I sought my direct blood line.  That was interesting and all that I had time for, or made time for, back then.  Now, I seek the clusters of people.  It's the way that I have found my female family members but also the stories of the people and the communities in which they lived.  From the Irish Settlement in Newport, New York to my Flanagan's of Termonfechin, discoveries abound from my complex family tree.

From my perspective, seeking the whole family is the way to go.  I have found relatives who have what I refer to as living memories of those who came before us, those whom they knew.  Limiting myself is not in the game plan when it comes to my family tree.  I'll continue to allow my family tree to lead me up or down different branches as they present themselves and offer an interesting story.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Rerun Friday - What's in your backyard? - The California State Library

"What's in your backyard? - 900 N Street, Sacramento, CA" was my original post about the California State Library posted on Thursday, November 18, 2010.

900 N Street, Sacramento, CA, is located about 9.2 miles from my front door. Sometimes you never fully realize what resources are located in your own "backyard" when it comes to genealogy. 900 N Street is the current location of the California State Library. It is across the street from the historical state library on Capitol Mall which is currently undergoing revonations until 2013.

For a somewhat temporary location, 900 N Street is pretty awesome and modern. Most of the library collection had existed in the "old library". 900 N Street houses, and has for quite a number of years housed, the California History Collection. The key with the California history portion of the library is that the collection is on site. The rest of the library is packed up in warehouses somewhere in West Sacramento during the main renovation.

I was amazed by a few things about this library. First and foremost, it is a good size and modern but the building is also occupied by the appellate courts. The lobby area is rather grand and looks like a modern museum. Parking downtown is rather dismal as usual but there are public parking garages nearby within walking distance. The "big deal" is that this place is free just like any other library.

The librarians are onsite to assist you but they do other research for the State of California at the same time. One catch to this place is that unless you are an employee of the State of California, you can't check out the books. The librarians indicated to me that the library is mainly for research. Apparently, people use this location for genealogy research but also writers come there to do their research.

My goal was to locate this library and find the book that contains the mini-bio from 1891 about M. Flanagan (Michael Flanagan). The copy that I have is becoming faded. I wanted a new copy plus the opportunity to see what this library has in store for my research. Within about 20 minutes of getting myself acclimated to this library, I found the book that I was looking for with much assistance from the librarians. The book was in the back marked "fragile". This book is over 100 years old. They allowed me to view it and make photocopies of a few pages.

While trying to locate this book, I looked in their card catalog. It is the real deal when it comes to card catalogs and not computerized as many card catalogs are these days. It is a piece of wood furniture with drawers, cards and all. I went to the drawer that had Flanagan in it. While looking for Michael Flanagan, I also found Joaquin Joseph Flanagan (Corning, CA) and Leo J. Flanagan (Burlingame, CA). I did not have time to fetch the books that contain information about the two of them but I know with some certainty that these two gentlemen are also my relatives.

My success in finding the book with Michael Flanagan included gave me hope in finding more information at that library. The librarian indicated that they also have a photo collection. There exists the possibility that the state may have photos of my relatives. I certainly need to check on my McLaughlin's in this library too. I definitely found Michael Flanagan.

I had limited time to spend at the library that day plus I had my two year old in tow. She was good for about the first 45 minutes and then it was time to get going out of there. My research is there for another day and when I am by myself!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012 DNA Beta - Mixed Results

Instead of submitting my own DNA to which would have likely produced the results of "British Isles", "Central Europe" (Germany included), and "Scandinavia", I decided that any new and interesting finds in our family roots and origins might actually be on my husband's side of the family.

With the legend of a Native American back in his heritage, we submitted his DNA for testing.  What we found was rather unsurprising and seemingly uninteresting at first glance.

-74% British Isles
-16% Central Europe
-10% Uncertain

We had pretty much pegged his origins as 70% Irish and Scottish.  I suppose some English is in there too bringing his DNA up to 74% from that part of the world.  We did not find any Scandinavian DNA in his results at this time.  Sometimes that can be surprising given the Viking influence in the British Isles and, in particular, in Ireland.

Given our very German last name, I was rather taken back that he is only 16% Central Europe.  So while we live with a German last name, we are both around three quarters (no DNA proof for me yet) British Isles.  He's mainly Scottish/Irish and I'm Irish.  We've both been able to trace that back in time for the most part.  In Germany, we both know where our ancestors originate too.

The 10% "Uncertain" leaves us scratching our heads.   What are the testers uncertain of?   Were they uncertain of a potential Native American match or some other origins.  My husband was hoping that that this DNA test would either eliminate or confirm his "American Indian" heritage.  Now, we are still left wondering.

I must admit that my husband does not really look Irish at all.  He looks to be German and maybe some rugged Scottish.  If his DNA proved to be Native American, we would not be surprised at all.  Appearances aside, you just never can tell.

In reviewing the "Beta" DNA for, we must remember that this is in its infancy. is gathering DNA and putting it into a database to help people find blood relatives.  In fact, the test results found a potential DNA match of a 4th or 5th cousin for my husband with 95% certainly.   That's a pretty distant cousin if you ask me.  We actually could not find any surname matches on that person's tree right now.  Will we find a closer relative once more DNA is collected?

It becomes a waiting game.  Any Beta test works that way.   As more and more people order the DNA test, more matches will form, and a more definitive origin can result.  The 10% of uncertain for my husband could shrink over time providing a more exact ethnicity.

I'm certainly game to see what happens.  Once opens up the DNA tests to everyone, I will submit mine too.  For now, the solo invite was used for my husband.  It has generated quite a bit of interest in his family. 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Francis Raymond McLaughlin

A few months ago, I logged onto and found someone pulling over some information about Francis Raymond McLaughlin.  I sent them a message but did not hear back. In fact, I could tell that they were not pursuing their McLaughlin line and just Francis' wife's line.  This particular Frank McLaughlin appears to not have really been a family man.  I suppose that his reputation as such has trickled down some to his descendants.  Maybe someday they will be interested in finding out about their McLaughlin line.  In the meantime,  I'm post what I have about this particular Frank McLaughlin, son of James McLaughlin and Julia Mahoney.   His connection to me is that he was my great grandmother's first cousin.

The following research was completed by George Capes.  It may not be in the best format but for anyone looking for this particular Frank McLaughlin, it is as good as gold for them.

FRANCIS  RAYMOND  McLAUGHLIN, b. 03 Sep 1876 in Newport, NY.; d. on 12 May 1931 and was bur. 15 May 1931 at Austin, Lander Co., NV. Frank was brought back east to Newport, NY, after his mother died in 1891, to be raised by his uncle and aunt, Michael  and Mary McLaughlin. He continued school and work-ed on Uncle Michael’s farm until after his 16th. birthday. 
            In a correspondence from his father, James, to his mother’s sister, Katherine (Mahoney) Biche, dated 10 Aug 1891, James states: “I do not think now I shall return this fall as I expected. Frank writes me that I could not make a living there and he is ‘dissadisfide’ with the country, and says that Mike don’t seem to want him to have him stay there. He wants to come back here. I wrote him, Frank, I would send him $100. the first of Sep. and to come here. The boy wants to be doing something for himself. I shall try my best to send him to school here. If he had 2 years more he would be a good ‘schollar’. He learns easy and fast.“ 
     It’s not determined when Frank returned to Austin, NV, but he became a lead and silver miner in later years, living in Austin and also in Boise, ID.  One old-timer      Austin,    who knew Frank, reported that he was quite tall and thin. His nicknames were ‘Slim’ and ‘Highpockets’.

The next news of Frank appears in the ‘Reese River Reveille”, the local newspaper in Austin, NV, dated 10 Feb 1917:  “AUSTINITES TAKE LEASE ON CAMP’S OLDEST PROPERTY.” “ Frank McLaughlin and George Gordon have taken a lease on a vein system on the Austin                Extension claim, known as the old Highland Mary property, owned by the Nevada Equity Mines Company.”
Shortly  thereafter, on 17 Mar 1917, Frank continues in the news:  “709 OUNCE ORE IN HIGHLAND MARY.” – “Gordon and McLaughlin, leasers on the Highland Mary lode property of the Nevada Equity Mines Co., have struck some high grade silver ore which closely resembles the surface high grade found on Lander Hill.  An assay taken from across the vein where first struck yielded 709 ounces in silver.”
Again, on 07 Apr 1917, the newspaper reads:  “GORDON & McLAUGHLIN TO MAKE SHIPMENT.” – “A shipment of fifteen tons of ore will go forward early this week to the smeltery from the Gordon and McLaughlin lease on the Highland Mary lode. The ore body carries a high percentage of lead and silver. The silver is being mined separately.”
No other information on Frank appears until the following date:  Saturday, 16 May 1931; “Car Over The Bank Results in Death of F. R. McLaughlin.” (He was thrown from the car and the body was discovered near the wreckage). “ It was discovered that the body was that of Frank R. McLaughlin, who was raised in Austin and for years has been a well-known miner and prospector in this vicinity. The body of McLaughlin was terribly mangled and there were a number of injuries, any of which might apparently have been the cause of death. “  An excerpt from his obituary on Saturday, 23 May 1931 reads as follows:  “ The funeral of Frank R. McLaughlin, who lost his life in the terrible plunge of an auto into the gorge of Pony Canyon on Tuesday night last, took place on the following Friday from the mortuary establishment of  H. A. Kearns. Frank McLaughlin had many friends and a large number of them were present at the interment.  The deceased was aged 54 years. He was the son of James McLaughlin, who came here with his wife and children nearly fifty years ago. Young Frank for some years lived with Father Phelan, who was in charge of the Catholic Church in Austin at that time. His mother died here and is buried in the Austin cemetery. When he was about 14 years old his father took him, with his brothers George and Fred and a sister (Mary Etta), (and an infant brother, James "Jay") all of whom are said to be surviving, back to (The Irish Settlement, Newport, Herkimer County,) New York and he did not come back to Austin until about 1918. Since that time he was engaged in mining and prospecting in this vicinity and made Austin his home. He at one time lived in Boise, Idaho, where he married and where a son and his mother (Lottie Haggerty) still live.”

Friday, October 12, 2012

Rerun Friday - O'Napa

"O'Napa" was originally posted on Tuesday, November 16, 2010

O'Napa the secrets and stories you hold. Those Irish and German families O mine were there and now almost gone. Wine is your crop but my prize is my family line. From Alta Heights to Carneros, from Spencer Street to the Salvador Area, you hold history of a simpler time.

Those Vienop's farmed fruit orchards and knew cigars. Those McLaughlin's knew dairy and sold milk. The Flanagan's were the ultimate farmers with dairy, vegetable crops, and grapes. Vino of Carneros did not have quite the same meaning as today but the reputation was growing at the time.

The Flanagan's, McLaughlin's, and Maxwell's brought with them their Irish Catholic heritage as farmers in the Napa Valley. My Vienop's and Borchers' brought with them their farming skills and Lutheran religion.

Times have changed some but family ties still carry my heart to Napa.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Rerun Friday - Networking

"Networking" was originally posted on Thursday, October 28, 2010

In my quest to trace my family tree, I have found networking with others to be a key to my success. While message boards are sometimes a futile source of information, the sheer contacts that can be made reviewing them can make the tour of these seemingly timeconsuming posts worth it.

The Member Connect option on is a networking tool designed to bring people together who are seeking the same family tree information. I find it to be quite effective. How else would I have found my McLaughlin's, Maxwell's, and other descendants of Jack and Minnie Flanagan.

Another rather interesting consequence that can arise out of reviewing Member Connect is that you might find relatives or college professors borrowing your information. I like to refer to it as "snooping around". I mean that with the utmost respect, with a little humor thrown in, and as the bold researcher that I have become can appreciate that method. The boldness is what gets you connected,  can even connect a college professor to the owner of some source documents or letters, plus more stories of those who lived before us.

So I continue with my ultimate attempt at networking which includes this blog, my website, my Facebook site for this blog, and my internal network of family and relatives who have gathered and shared their research about our family lines. I look upon my information online as a respository for anyone who is connected to my family tree or just interested in reading about my quest for more information about my ancestors.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Catholic Church Not Sharing

I don't usually use my blog to talk about religion and politics and I'm not planning to continue to do so in the future.  Even this post does not have much to do with politics from a governmental standpoint.  It does have to do with politics of religion and the consequence it has on genealogy.  I hesitated briefly on posting something so controversial but then I decided to post this anyway.

As to no surprise, the Catholic Church does not like the Mormons (Latter-Day-Saints).  That's probably not a real shocker for anyone who pays attention to these two religions and how they interact (or rather don't interact).

In 2008, the Catholic Church told the LDS Church that they couldn't have their records.  HA!  Now, you LDS can't try to baptize those faithfully departed.  As I read through the online article called "Vatican Orders Catholic Parish Registers Off-Limits to the LDS Church", I had to question what the heck the Catholic Church is thinking.

As a practicing Catholic and with twelve years of Catholic School under my belt, I find that I have a broader perspective on the church and its teachings than your everyday church goer.  Sometimes I don't agree with everything they teach by the way.  Choice and thinking for myself is probably why I am still Catholic.  If there is one thing that those Dominican Nuns taught me, it was to think for myself and seek the truth. 

The truth of the matter in Catholic Genealogy is that church records are spread out all over parishes and you have visit each one to find what you are looking for.   How antiquated and frustrating for the non-LDS genealogist.  That's me!  I have a whole family tree full of Roman Catholics along with a few Lutherans.  I guess the Catholic Church does not think share and share alike is appropriate with church records.

The Vatican's point with ordering Catholic parishes to hold back their records baffles me a bit.  The basis of their denial is so that the faithfully departed Catholics cannot be posthumously baptized in the LDS Church by proxy.

My goal here is not to poke too much fun at or disgrace either church.  Instead, I am noting what I think is unreasonable.  The Catholic Church does not want to share their records for fear that dead people will be converted to LDS.  This insinuates that the Church puts stock in what the LDS believe in that you can baptize dead people.   

I find the refusal of the Catholic Church to share church records with the LDS repository to be quite stifling.  It makes my job in completing my family tree so much tougher.  I completely respect and appreciate that the LDS Church has preserved so much family history and records.

I never did hear back from that Catholic Church in Brooklyn, New York which holds the key to my past ancestors in their church records.  I pray everyday that church does not burn down.  It's the only place where those records exist.  I hope to get there someday and hope that the Catholic Church comes up with a better plan for genealogy for all Roman Catholics.  We need a solution that gets to the main point of all of this --- proving one's family tree and finding your roots.  Mine are mostly Roman Catholic!