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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

O'Brien Update

When it rains, it pours......And it did literally pour around here a number of weeks back giving me a chance to follow-up on some much needed leads from probably last winter during a rain storm.  Now, my mother's side of the family has struck again.   I had an O'Brien descendant post to my blog back in January and offer up some very much needed information.

Katherine O'Brien is my great aunt and her sister Bridget is my great grandmother. We have recently found Bridget's grave and erected a remembrance tombstone. Would you be interested in contacting me? We may be able to help one another with sharing of information with regard to the O'Brien geneaology. We have compiled and printed a small remembrance brochure about the O'Briens and their descendants who settled in New Zealand. I would willingly send you a copy by post if you are interested. Bridget's parents, Edmund O'Brien and Anne Gleeson died in their adopted country Australia and are buried at the Kyneton cemetery, Melbourne, Victoria. Kind regards...........

This is exactly what I've been waiting for.  I almost can't believe it after all of these months of researching and then just putting my O'Brien line on permanent hold, I found someone who probably knows Kate's family line.  Now, I must go through and read every single one of Kate's letters.  Maybe, just maybe, I can glean a little more information about her from them.

Oh....But it does not end there..............I completely forgot about some other information that I wanted to follow-up on. 

The following was posted to 30 Jan 2011:

Like you I am chasing O'Brien family & found your message on this Ancestry board.
We are not connected but to wait out the incoming cyclone I decided to go fish for your evasive family. I live in Australia so am used to and have a few resources to hand here at home as well as local society I volunteer with.
On using Australian Death Index I found Catherine’s little sister Elizabeth. I searched with surname, no Christian name and father’s name and then double checked by using just mother’s name and only Elizabeth came up as child.
• Elizabeth O’Brien was born and died aged 10mths in 1856 in Victoria.
• Parents Edmond O’Brien & Ann Glesson.
• Death Reg No. 3416. Confirmed using Digger Index for Victoria Pioneers CD.
•Ann O’Brien died aged 73 in 1870 in Melbourne, Victoria. Reg.9600. Her parents noted as Cornel Gleeson & Margaret O’Driscoll.
•Birthplace listed as Clare.
•Possible hospitalisation of Edmond found in Database: “Patients in Melbourne Hospital 1856-1905” (Gen. Soc. Of Victoria)
Edmund O'BRIEN, 74yrs, married, admitted following being pushed out of public house and falling. Admitted 14 Apr 1872 - 15 Apr 1872 then he discharged himself. Birth place noted as Clare and having been 18yrs in Victoria.
*Original source: Melbourne Hospital Book Number: 283 Page number: 130
*Location of book at the Public Record Office Victoria: VPRS 12477/P1/34
1. By agreement between the GSV and the Royal Melbourne Hospital we do not publish the disease for which the patient was admitted. For this information and any other details of the patient the original ward book must be viewed at the Public Record Office Victoria.
2. The information in the Ward Books for each patient varies. Sometimes it consists of little more than name, disease and dates - sometimes more details and comments of the patient's history.
3. See the Background Notes for a description of the Ward Books' contents. Copyright: The Genealogical Society of Victoria Inc. 2009.
This may not be your Edmond I know but it fits with age of wife Ann if they were about same age as each other as well as birthplace.
Notes section is cut and pasted from software in order that I didn’t transcribe ambiguously.
The Victorian certificates are available for purchase and download immediately: or if you prefer to search first then order it will cost you only a dollar or two more starting here:

Sorry forgot in last reply to let you know - if the folk I found are yours then you are going to have to sit back and wait or apply to Clare society for the online BDM site for Ireland has not yet done Clare.
The map shows red for not done, orange for in progress and green for completed. Sorry but your Clare is totally red.
The only chance you might have is that borders changed putting your folk in Limerick or Tipperary not Clare. Both these counties are done but I suspect you might need to wait.

So, I'm not exactly looking for Kate Flanagan (Catherine Mary O'Brien), I found her, but I am looking for her family roots.  My quest continues as I "wait awhile".

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Börninghausen (Boerninghausen), Germany to Missouri, USA - Part 1

Where in the world is Börninghausen, Germany?  Well, let me tell you, it is not easy to find this place on a map because it is a rural village in the northwestern region of Westphalia, Germany.  Literally 60 miles due east of the border of the Netherlands (Holland), it was part of Prussia until after WWI and was in West Germany after WWII.  Hannover is 30 miles to the east of this village.   It is about 30 miles south by south west of Bremen, a German port where many left Germany for the "New World".

Much of Germany has a bit of an anglicized translation that has been applied to their geographic location titles.  When you look on a Google Map, most likely, you're finding one in "English" rather than in the traditional German names.  As a result, Börninghausen with the umlat (those double dots over the ö), is spelled Boerninghausen.  Now that I know how to type the umlat (ALT 0246 gives you the lower case ö), I am all over updating my family tree to indicate the traditional spelling of the name as Börninghausen with more details in the description, or in parthentheses, indicating the modern spelling of Boerninghausen.

As I've mentioned before, my direct line ancestors (Vinup - Vienop, Koch) had all left this part of Germany by 1889.  What I find interesting is what appears to be droves of people who specifically left Börninghausen via Bremen to Baltimore, MD, and went directly onto Missouri to settle in and around the St. Louis area.  There's a story and history there for sure and it most definitely includes the Lutheran Church.  Will I ever find the entire history and explanation?  Maybe.   I have found bits and pieces online.  It makes for an interesting bit of history but does not exactly get me to my specific ancestors.  However, the fascinating part is the number of times I find Börninghausen origins for the various immigrants to Missouri between the 1840s and 1880s.  Let me explain further why this seems so interesting. 

Today Boerninghausen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, is a rural community with about "914 people per square mile".  When I read that statistic, I thought to myself, "That sounds like a lot of people!"  Well, I think that number deserves some qualification.  The closest city of more than 50,000 people is over an hour away from this village.  In comparison to where I live, the City and Metro Sacramento Area in Northern California has 4,660 people per square mile.   Mind you, this is all based on averages.  I can totally believe that there are 2,000 people living right around me in my square mile of the world.

Given the population density, or lack there of, for the "Village" of Boerninghausen these days, it does surprise me that Missouri was a bit of a mecca of the this German Village's transplants to the USA in the mid 1850s.  So, what was the population of Boerninghausen (or rather Börninghausen, Westphalia, Prussia) in the mid 1850s?

So far, all I have about the population of Germany from 1850 to 1880 is that it grew.  I also find a whole lot of websites online in the German language.  At some point, I will need to translate them into English using that Google translation toolbar.  For now, I end Part 1 of my research and notes about Börninghausen.  I'm sure that a Part II will come around at some point.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Those 4 Vinup (Vienop) Brothers - Real Quick!

My  plan with this post is to say it fast and throw out what I know about the Vinup Brothers coming to America.  I'll work on sourcing it later, or rather as my uncle would say, proving it!

Ernest (Ernst Heinrich Friedrich Vinup b. 1848) and Fred (Friedrich Wilhelm Vinup b. 1844) Vienop were brother's who immigrated to the USA in 1865.  Why they left Germany is a question that I have.  There were basic reasons people immigrated back then.  They wanted religious and political freedoms, land that they could call their own, and/or thought the new world was the way to go. 

Anyway, they showed up in the U.S. and settled in St. Louis.  They seem to be the ones who changed the last name to the spelling of Vienop.  It is very possible that happened during their immigration and arrival.  Both of them got married.  For the life of me, I can't seem to tell what happened to Ernest's wife.  Fred and his wife, Charlotte Spricks, had 4 children that we know of.  Fred died in 1877.  His son Ernest Julius made his way to Napa, California by 1901 and I'm assuming he made his stop in Daykin, Nebraska like several other Vienop's.

Back to 1878.  Ernest went back to Germany after his brother Fred had passed away.  He returned to the U.S. with him his baby brother, John Henry Vienop b. 1862.  They were in Baltimore, MD for a while and then moved to St. Louis.

During this time, an older brother, John Henry Vienop, b. 1850, immigrated from Germany in 1881 with his family to Ohio.  He had a lot of children.  They moved onto Daykin, Nebraska.

Confused yet?  Yes, there were two brothers in the same family both known at John Henry Vienop.  They had the same parents - Ernst Vinup (b. 1799) and Anne Marie Gurges (b. 1820).  In my experience with German naming patterns both John Henrys' probably had a third given name in there and were not both called Henry or John Henry in Germany (Prussia at the time).  I think that we are missing the third name for both of them.   I do know that the 1862 John Henry went by Henry in the U.S.  I think that the 1850 John Henry went by Henry in Daykin, NE.  I guess we might refer to this naming and surnaming issue as "lost in translation via immigration".   

In 1889, the 1862 John Henry went back to Boerninghausen, Germany and returned to Missouri with his wife, Anna Marie Koch, and his mother, Anne Marie Gurges Vienop.  John Henry and Anna Marie had a few children while living in Missouri.  They moved onto Daykin, Nebraska, where they had at least one more child.  Anna Marie Gurges Vienop passed away in Daykin.

From Daykin, Nebraska, 10 Vienop's (John Henry 1862, Anna Marie, Ernest, Mary, John Henry Jr., Minnie, Cousin Ernest J., Ricky, George, and Uncle Ernst) moved to Napa, CA in 1901 while the oldest John Henry (1850) remained on his farm with his family for the rest of his life in NE.  I'm not sure what came of the Vienop's in Missouri.  The Vienop's moved to Napa, CA for a more temperate climate for Anna Marie Koch Vienop's health issues.

Wow, that's the quick version.  By the way, my uncle has proven most of this already.  Thank you!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Hickey's of Derrycon, Clare, Ireland

I received a comment about William Hickey and Bridget Minogue.  Can the person who commented, please email me at  I am very interested in discussing our family connection.

The following was your comment to me....And yes, I see Patrick had a sister named Elisabeth.

Must ask my Aunt about Walter Hickey - My Mum RIP used to speak of him - Elisabeth Hickey was my Grandmother - My Aunt is still alive and we are keeping her updated with your site - Many thanks on The Children of William Hickey and Bridget Minogue

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Ernest J. Vienop

You've got to love the State of California.  It can be so random what information you might find online that exists within the walls of the California State Library located in downtown Sacramento.  900 N Street is the current and temporary location of the California History Room.  The State is refurbishing the old library.  That project has taken on a history of its own.  We'll see how long the renovation and restoration takes while much of the catalog of books and documents lives in warehouses in West Sacramento.  Thank goodness the California History Room is not boxed up in a warehouse.  Have I had time to visit the "temporary" (which looks rather permanent to me) library.  Well, I have not.

I do love it when I find information online.  The book can be found under the following call number:

Calif. State Library History Room (RR)
CALL NUMBER: [Alcove] 979.452 G8 -- Book NC
CALL NUMBER: [q] -- 979.452 G8 -- Book

 CA Gen Web

After 100 years, I suppose Copyright is not really in effect so I am posting the following biography about Ernest J. Vienop.  He was and still is referred to as Cousin Ernest and not be confused with the other 2 Ernest Vienop's in Napa at the same time.  All three were related.  I've got to sit down to figure out the exact family tree connection and then write about it.


The immediate progenitors of Ernest J. Vienop, Fred H. and Charlotte (Shrick) Vienop, were born in Germany, and upon immigrating to this country they settled in St. Louis, Mo., where the father followed his trade of cigar manufacturer until his death. The mother is still living and a resident of St. Louis. Five children were originally comprised in the parental family, but of these only three are living, and Ernest J. is the eldest of the number. He was born in St. Louis, Mo., November 26, 1871, and his boyhood and youth were passed in the locality of his birth, the public schools of that city also furnishing him with a fair education. When he was about sixteen years old he apprenticed himself to learn the brick-layer’s trade under H. Hartman. a well-known brick contractor of that city. Four years of conscientious and constant work under this instructor found the young man full-fledged and ready to undertake work as a journeyman, and for about eighteen years, or until 1898, he found plenty of work in St. Louis and vicinity.

Mr. Vienop’s first venture from native haunts occurred in 1898 and took him to Fairbury, Jefferson county, Neb., in which vicinity he established himself on a farm and continued farming there for two years, or until coming to California. He reached the Golden State February 22, 1900, coming directly to Napa county, which has ever since been his home and the scene of his activities. Near Napa he purchased a small ranch of five acres on the Monticello road, where he engages in horticulture and the poultry business. His ranch activities may be regarded more properly as a recreation than as a business, however, for he is actively engaged in following his trade of brick contractor. Among the buildings that have been erected un­der his supervision are the Register building, California bakery and Migli­vacca warehouse in Napa, besides which he has erected structures through­out Napa and Solano counties, in fact his services have also been employed on numerous structures in different parts of northern California.

While still a resident of St. Louis. Mo., Mr. Vienop was united in mar­riage in that city with Miss Ricka Schiffmann. who was born there. Four sons have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Vienop : George, William, Walter and Albert. The family attends the Lutheran Church and politically Mr. Vienop is a Republican.  - Written in 1911-12