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Saturday, September 29, 2012

A Documentary: Out of Ireland

Well, I finally sat down and watched the documentary, Out of Ireland:  Emigration into America.  I thank my relatives for sending a copy and have spotted it on Netflix streaming now. 

The documentary is very well done and includes some very familiar celebrities narrating the program.  I finally realized about a quarter of the way into the program, that the American gentleman doing most of the in person commentary was Prof. Kerby Miller, himself.

Prof. Miller was rather integral as the first to fully review the Flaanagan Letters belonging to my family.  The program was quite interesting for sure giving me a better perspective on the plight of the Irish immigrant.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Rerun Friday - My Box of Treasures

"My Box of Treasures" was originally posted on Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sterilite......Storage Box.....Ideal For Sweaters, Shirts, Lingerie.......16in.x11in.x6in.......1654...White...Made in U.S.A

With a lingering hint if cigarettes covered up by the scent of an envelop of lavender, my "box of treasures" is not remarkable in appearance by any means. My Grandma was a heavy smoker so everything in my grandparents house smelled of cigarettes. The box containing family tree information is no exception. The smell is slowly subsiding though since it has been years since a cigarette was near the box.
I have not exactly exhausted all of the information in the box but am getting close after all of these months. What remains for me to do is to go through the box once more, scan everything into the computer and photocopy everything for myself. I should also create a CD to store away too. Technically, the box belongs to my Mom and I should return it to her soon so that I may borrow the box that she has about my grandparents. 
It would be so wonderful to go through the box about my grandparents, Richard Joseph Flanagan and Dorothy Marie Borchers. The issue that I know I will have in looking through that information is the emotional response. That information will probably only generate a few posts. I have discovered that it is hard for me to write about people that I knew well. 
I do have some photos and am trying to figure out the best way to place them in my blog or on I have posted the majority of the the loose photos on Ancestry. I also have photo albums. Another project is to figure out the best method of duplicating these photos without removing them from the albums. These projects will most definitely take me away from my daily blog posts. For now, I think I have more to write about.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

O'Brien's - Descendants - Part 2

Before I lose my train of thought on my O'Brien's, I must write all of this information down!  I have more details to review but for now, I need to summarize, summarize, and summarize!

Without putting too much boring information in this post, I must present how I got to the passenger list information for the O'Brien's going into Australia on their first arrival.  I know based on family notes that Kate (Catherine Mary O'Brien) Flanagan indicated her arrival at age 11 to Melbourne, Australia, in 1854.  She also specifically indicated that she was from Castleconnell, County Clare (Limerick these days), Ireland.  Her information is as good as gold if you ask me.

My first attempts to find Kate on her first arrival into Australia proved futile.  There are several records of C, Kate, Katie, Catherine, and Miss O'Brien's all over those passenger lists.  Who knows who they all are?  I couldn't tell you.  Also, you end up with probably a 20 year window of results when you do a search.  In all likelihood, whether you use Edmund, Ann, Kate, or one of her likely siblings, you find all sorts of results on passenger lists for O'Brien's traveling into and around Australia/New Zealand.  I would guess that some of the results are these very same O'Brien family members after 1854 on trips around the area including migrations to a new location to live.

The key is 1854.  That year opened up my eyes to a more focused search.  I used Edmund O'Brien and specified 1854 into Melbourne Australia in my search and checked "exact" on the year.  There he was with a birth year of 1812 along with a Michael O'Brien born 1811, and Bridget O'Brien born 1816.  I was not really sure what I was looking at just yet.  I decided that it was likely that Edmund had traveled with his brother.  I also saw a Run O'Brien, born 1812.  At first, I thought who would name their child "Run"?  Then logic set in and I realized that was probably a transcription error.  The original handwritten passenger manifest was not online for me to view.  As you can imagine though, a handwritten "Ann" could be typo'd as "Run" in transcription.

With the results above that produced under the Edmund O'Brien search, I had to ask where the children were.  I decided to write down the details of this find.   The ship was the Parsee with an arrival date of 9 Jun 1854 into Melbourne, Australia.  Armed with this information, I went directly to's card catalog page instead of searching this within my family tree.  Outside my family tree search produced specific, controlled results.

At the card catalog, I narrowed my search item to Victoria, Australia Assisted and Unassisted Passenger Lists, 1839-1923.  I clicked on this title.  The blank form to enter the search components came up for me.  I only entered O'Brien in the name section.  In the date and arrival section, I indicated 9 Jun 1854 and checked the exact box.  Additionally, I entered Melbourne in the arrival location and the Parsee in the ship.  I left everything else blank.

The date itself pulled all O'Brien's on the Parsee.  It took me a while to figure out that there might be more with a misspelling of the name as O'Brian.   As a result, I found 20 O'Brien's total on this passenger list arrival into Melbourne.  I am more than certain that I found who I've been looking for.  The only catch is which children belong with which adult married couple.   That's something that I am slowly faring out.

So are there other passenger lists to be found?   I've searched a number of them that produce results of the O'Brien name but those are usually "one off''s".  In other words, you find one or two people only on that particular voyage with the O'Brien name or you find completely different first names that just don't fit the names that I've got.  I found a Christopher O'Brien with his parents John and Mary.  I don't think I found my ancestors in the search at all.

So, I am now in somewhat contact with Kate's sibling's descendants.   They are the descendants of Mary, Bridget, and Cornelius.  Let's see what happens next.  I think I am on an "O'Brien Roll".

Saturday, September 22, 2012

O'Brien's - Descendants - Part 1

Ever get at that feeling that you forgot something?  That you left a key point out on accident?  That something might have slipped your mind?

With so many portals of communication for genealogy, it should not surprise me that I overlooked a key piece of communication.   Between message boards on and a few other genealogy sites, member messages within, email, blog comments, and other paper documents, I missed it! 

I read the following message when it appeared mid-June and got distracted.  It was an internal message over 

hello my name is [J.A.R]. Mary O'Brien is my 2x great grand mother. She Married John Courtney In 1855 later they moved to NZ were the Daughter married my great grandfather Edmond Fraser . Mary had two sisters Catherine And Bridget there is also another named Ann She was baptism sponsor to Catherine Courtney. I also have baptism records of other O'briens from Hokitika West Coast New Zealand. I have a statement here that Catherine O'brien married a Patrick Flanagan They settled in the Napa Valley California. I came across you whilst searching ship passage for the O'brien family to Australia

How in the world could I forget about this message?   The specifics in the short paragraph are almost enough to make me cry with elation.  That is "them" and it tells me where they were in New Zealand.

I guess I need to explain this so that I remember this for my future research and in trying to connect to my O'Brien distant relatives in the "land down under".   Mary O'Brien was Kate Flanagan's sister.  Bridget was their other sister.  I have also received contact from Bridget's descendants along with a brother, Cornelius.  The following is my June post about Cornelius, Bridget, and a J. P. O'Brien. 

Cornelius, Bridget, and J. P. O'Brien

Now, I have Mary O'Brien.  Are all of these people truly Kate's siblings?  Are they the children of Edmund O'Brien and Ann Gleeson of County Clare, Ireland near the border of County Limerick near Castlconnell in origin?   It sure is looking like it.

The O'Brien's left Ireland for Australia in 1854.  We know based on letters that they ended up in New Zealand at some point there after.  It also appears that Edmund and Ann went back to Australia.  We think.
How do I tie all of this together and fill in some of the blanks for the O'Brien's?

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

Friday, September 21, 2012

Rerun Friday - Language Lesson - Heraldry

"Language Lesson - Heraldry" was originally posted on September 28, 2010

Heraldry - What is it? I mentioned doing language lessons a while back about terminology related to genealogy. I suppose I should live up to that previous post.

I came across the term 'heraldry' years ago when I was seeking "write-ups" about the individual surnames within my family tree. Various heraldry websites would come up in the search engine results online. So what is heraldry?

The word herald comes from a Germanic word referring to an "army commander". When it comes to family surnames it mainly revolves around the coat of arms and family crest. It appears to expand into the "write ups" about the meaning of specific surnames too.

Irish heraldry seems to have heavy influence from the Gaels, Anglo-Normans, and the English. From what I've read online, the Irish still did their own thing when it came to heraldry in and around the 1600s when the English were still trying to refine their rules and things were in constant flux. Let's just say that maybe the Irish kept it simple. That can be a good thing for sure. There is a regulatory division in Ireland who grant coats of arms and monitor the official use of them from what it sounds like.

Heraldry is also considered a way of tracing one's genealogies. I agree with this statement but it is a rather generic genealogy. I suppose if all you can find or know is your surname and cannot trace the family line, then the high level, general information about the surname is all you can hold onto. I know that's what is going on for several of my family lines at this time. It does give us a sense of where our ancestors came from. That can be a comfort and give us a goal of where we might want to travel.

I'm not sold on heraldry merchandise but I do own some. I suppose it gives one hope of finding more about your family line someday.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

O'Brien's - Passenger List - Victoria

A few months back I was peeking at a potential distant relative's O'Brien Family Tree.   I found that they'd grabbed a 1856 passenger with O'Brien's on it and saved it to the tree.  It occurred to me that I should go look this over.

While I trust the written information that my family has handed down indicating that the O'Brien's arrived in Australia in 1854, I still had to go and look it over.  My great great grandmother, Kate, was such a direct, specific person that I can't imagine that her information was incorrect.  She also tended to write things down or at least have someone, like her granddaughter, Ellen, write it down.   I do trust the 1854 date.

I still peered at the 1856 passenger list for grins.  Now, I am not a fan of reviewing passenger lists but am learning how to weed through them.  The best results come when you find a whole family unit or a few generations of the family who traveled together.

While I do not think these are my O'Brien's, they could still be related.  On 18 Sep, 1856, the following O'Brien's arrived in Melbourne:  Thos., Christ., Pat, Michael, C., Margt, Ann, Orlanda, Wm D., Charlott, Locker (probable typo), and Charlotte.  Now most of these O'Brien's were on the Saldanha including the two Charlotte's who have two different years of birth.  Those could still be one in the same person.  Transcriptions of these passenger lists from the originals do leave me scratching my head especially because I cannot review the original document online.

Now, two of the above O'Brien's arrived on different ships but on the same date.  I really can't assume that they were related to the O'Brien's on the Saldanha.   C. and Christ O'Brien may or may not be with this same group.

I have eliminated the above passenger list because, frankly none of the names match my family line except Ann.  But this Ann O'Brien was born in 1845 so is not old enough to be Ann Gleeson O'Brien by any stretch.

Like I said, it is tough to search passenger lists and know for sure that you found your family.  I have not abandoned the use of passenger lists but know that more research is really needed when using them.  I find that if I am looking for a single person, the use of the passenger list is pretty futile.

The 1854 passenger list with the 20 or so O'Brien's on it is the winning find for right now.  I am about 99% certain that I found the correct list.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Ann (Gleeson) O'Brien

Which record is my Ann (Gleeson) O'Brien?

I did get a message from one of Bridget O'Brien's descendants indicating where Ann Gleeson O'Brien is buried with her husband, Edmund O'Brien.  Bridget was Kate O'Brien's sister.  Kate was my great great grandmother.

Bridget's parents, Edmund O'Brien and Anne Gleeson died in their adopted country Australia and are buried at the Kyneton cemetery, Melbourne, Victoria. 

So, which death record is for my Ann?  It's too bad that Ann's husband, Edmund, is not indicated.  That would make it easier to figure out. 

Ann Obrien
Death Place:
Father's Name:
Gleeson Cornel
Mother's name:
Margaret Odriscoll
Registration Year:
Registration Place:
Registration number:
Estimated Birth Year:
abt 1813

Anne Obrien
Death Place:
Father's Name:
Murphy Michael
Mother's name:
Anne Carton
Registration Year:
Registration Place:
Registration number:
Estimated Birth Year: 
abt 1818

Friday, September 14, 2012

Rerun Friday - A Living Document In Cyberspace

"A Living Document In Cyberspace" was originally posted on Thursday, August 19, 2010

I worked for years for a company who documented everything. We even placed notes in a system that an attorney once referred to as a "living document". The living document could be added to but not edited once filed.

In the case of my blog, I'd like to refer to this as a "living document". It can live in cyberspace for as long as Google wants to support it. Since there are no legal restrictions, I do have the ability to edit previously posted documents. This is handy since sometimes I do make mistakes and typos.

For the sake of history, even if it is just my own family history, my blog will live on for quite some time. I do not have plans to take it down at any point. Also, I wouldn't be opposed to it changing with the times. Change is a good thing and ideas are always welcome here.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A Story - Mary Elizabeth Rohman McGuire - Part 2

By the 1920 U.S. Census, I cannot find Mary and her children.  I am assuming that they still lived in Manhattan and lord only knows where her estranged husband was at that point in time.  I am assuming he was not in the picture at all.  His father, Charles McGuire, does not appear to be living by this time but I can find some other family members on the McGuire side living in The Village.

I kind of have to wonder where Mary's parents and siblings are at this point in time.  I could not locate them in any census except 1880.  I can find Mary in 1930 with all four of her children living in Manhattan.  They were living at 172 8th Avenue just north of Greenwich Village.

When I was growing up, my father would always say that he was full Irish from New York.  That is all fine and dandy to say.  My mom would say that Rohman doesn't sound very Irish and would kind of laugh.  She was right.  It's not Irish.

Now, Mary Rohman certainly grew up around a lot of Irish Catholics.  I will say that 240 Delancy Street where she was born is not exactly that close to Greenwich Village but there were lots of Irish living right around her Rohman Family at the time along with some Germans.  Somehow she met Frank J. McGuire and they got married.  Her family must have been Catholic.

My granddad used to repeat a story that he had been told.  He said that he was Irish but somewhere back there in his line was a Dutchman from Louisiana, thus the Rohman name.  I am not sure if that was a tall tale passed onto him by his mother.  It's an interesting story and got me to look in Louisiana records a bit for the Rohman name.  That name is in the New Orleans area for sure.  It is possible that someone came from Louisiana but were they Dutch?

Now, my grandparents did not like Germans per se.  Ironically, they lived on a suburban street where almost every last name was German and they were the only Irish family.  Irony again, when I discovered that Mary Rohman's parents indicated themselves as being Prussian on the 1880 U.S. Census.  The greater part of Germany was Prussia until after WWI.  After the WWI, Germany went back to being as such and my own immigrant family members on my mom's side started to refer to themselves as German instead of Prussian.  So, Mary was German!  I suppose that they were German Catholics as opposed to German Lutherans but I think there is more to discover there.

So was the Dutchman story a way of covering up that Prussian/German origins to make the marriage of a German to an Irish Catholic more palatable?  I am starting to think so.  There could still be some stock in the Louisiana reference but I just can't seem to get back beyond the 1870s for my Rohman's right now.  It would be great to even find Joseph Rohman in the 1870 U.S. Census.

Let's hope more information presents itself soon.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

A Story - Mary Elizabeth Rohman McGuire - Part 1

My father actually spent quite a bit of time with his grandmother, Mary Elizabeth Rohman McGuire.  She apparently did not really like him though.  That may sound like a rather unkind remark but it is rather telling about the family dynamic in the household in which he grew up in.  While I do think that he grew up in a very loving, Irish Catholic New Yorker, middle class family who lived in the suburbs of New York City out on Long Island, the members liked to laugh, crack jokes, and even pull some practical jokes, sometimes at the expense of others.  I suppose it was a way to express themselves and their personalities.   My father might have also had a bit more energy than the rest of the kids in the family.

Imagine sitting around a dining room table with two witty parents, two comedic older brothers, a somewhat reserved sister, and the grandmother who visited frequently and stayed for a while.  My dad was rather stuck in the middle.  The reason why I bring my father up is because of his interaction with Mary, his grandmother.  Mary shook like a leaf apparently.  My dad would pick up his glass at the table and mimic her by shaking his too.  Now, that did not go over very well.   He would say that his older brothers put him up to it.  Do I believe that?  Probably, but which brother put him up to it is something that we may never know.  I wish that I could have been a fly on the wall at that dinner table!

It seems extremely likely to me that Mary suffered from Parkinson's Disease or something like it in her older years.   By the time my father was born, she was 67 years old.  By the time my father was mimicking her shaking, she was probably into her 70s.  Mary ultimately passed away of colon cancer which so dominantly runs through that part of my family line from Mary to her son/my grandfather, Frank, and to her grandson/my father who passed away in 2004.

Mary Elizabeth Rohman was born at 240 Delancy Street, Manhattan, New York on 20 Nov. 1878 to Joseph and Frances Rohman.  It is not really clear what Frances' given maiden name was as I've seen it transcribed all sort of ways.  To me it looks like a German name that starts with an "L".  Mary lived a pretty long life.  She passed away on 25 Dec. 1956 in New York.  Based on what I know, Mary spent her older years living with her adult children - Marion, Cecilia, John, and Frank.

On September 4, 1903, Mary married Francis Joseph McGuire in Manhattan.  He did not turn out to be the best husband.  Frank seems to have stuck around until after 1910 and even until all of his children had been born.  By his 1917-18 WWI Draft Registration, he lists his father, Charles McGuire, as the nearest relative at 528 Hudson Street, Manhattan.  That's where he indicates he is living too.  What is odd about this is that he did not list his wife.  Every other registration that I've looked at indicates the person's wife if the man was married.  Frank did not list Mary.

So what happened between Frank and Mary?  Well, the rumor and comment that was always made was that Frank had a drinking problem and took off to the "high seas". Talk about a rift in the family.  This was a big one.  I wonder if this was why my grandfather was never very connected to his McGuire side of the family except to his own siblings.

In 1910, Mary and Frank were living with their two living young sons, Frank and John, at 105 Christopher Street, Manhattan, New York.  Their first son, Charles, had passed away at age 3 in 1908.  I can see where other McGuire Family is living nearby on Hudson Street.  This is no surprise as they lived in Greenwich Village, a mecca for Irish Catholics.  Oh....but....Mary was not Irish.

To be continued........

Friday, September 7, 2012

Rerun Friday - O'McFitz - What does that all mean? Irish Surnames

"O'McFitz - What does that all mean? Irish Surnames" was originally posted on Saturday, August 14, 2010

Have you ever wondered what the "O'" in O'Brien means? How about the "Mc" in McGuire? Those Fitzpatrick's make me wonder what "Fitz" is all about. Irish surnames derive from Gaelic and Norman roots primarily. The further north in Ireland you go, the more the names derive from Gaelic. During the 1600s and 1700s, the English definitely discouraged the continued use of Irish surnames in favor of English surnames. Maybe that's why there are Smith's in Ireland.

When the surname begins with "Mc" (or even "Mac" which is typically Scottish), the surname suffix means "son of". When the surname begins with "O'", the surname suffix means grandson of. When the surname suffix begins with "Fitz", it means that these Irish are French. Just kidding! Well, maybe. It does have something to do with the French.
"Fitz" has a Norman origin, from the Latin flius, meaning son. The Normans were from Normandy, France. They conquered the Irish in 1169. So...The Normans were French and brought that Fitz name with them when they conquered Ireland. Then the Normans were converted to being Irish. That is really making a long story and hundreds of years seem like a short story.

Are the Irish, French? The Irish were conquered by many including the Vikings, Normans, and English. Take your pick on the ancient national origin of Ireland. Was Ireland the original melting pot? One could certainly find an argument for that. I suppose I get my love of meat and potatoes from the English. The Irish improved upon it though.

When I toured Ireland in 2004, our tour guide was full of fascinating trivia. As we entered the City of Galway, he indicated that at one point in its history, the residents tried to keep out anyone whose surname began with an "O'" or a "Mc". I can't recall the whole story but I would imagine that applied to many Irish. Of course, that did not last long for Galway. This McGuire's thought of Galway was, "What a beautiful city it is!" No hard feelings from a "Mc" here.

"O'", "Mc" and "Fitz" live on for Irish surnames although some have dropped the leading suffix for a more English or even Americanized style of surname.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Rohman - New York City

Here are the records that I have found for my Rohmann/Rohman/Roman/Romaine Faimly line.  Take your pick on the spelling of the name "Roman".  I did find my correct family members but this is far from a complete set or family unit.  Also, this is really all that I've been able to nail down definitively in over a year.  I do think that the name is spelled Rohman.  Mary Rohman McGuire was my great grandmother.

"New York, Births and Christenings, 1640-1962," Joseph Rohman, 1872

Name: Joseph Rohman
Gender: Male
Baptism/Christening Date:
Baptism/Christening Place:
Birth Date: 26 Oct 1872
Birthplace: Manhattan, New York, New York, USA
Death Date:
Name Note:
Father's Name: Joseph
Father's Birthplace:
Father's Age:
Mother's Name: Frances Lendevorson
Mother's Birthplace:
Mother's Age:
Indexing Project (Batch) Number: C00772-1
System Origin: New_York-ODM
Source Film Number: 1315320
Reference Number:

"New York, Births and Christenings, 1640-1962," Mary Roman, 1878

Name: Mary Roman
Gender: Female
Baptism/Christening Date:
Baptism/Christening Place:
Birth Date: 20 Nov 1878
Birthplace: 240 Delancey St , New York City, New York
Death Date:
Name Note:
Father's Name: Joseph Roman
Father's Birthplace:
Father's Age:
Mother's Name: Francis Lindeaurm Roman
Mother's Birthplace:
Mother's Age:
Indexing Project (Batch) Number: C71508-7
System Origin: New_York-ODM
Source Film Number: 1322134
Reference Number:

"New York, Births and Christenings, 1640-1962," John Rohman, 1887

Name: John Rohman
Gender: Male
Baptism/Christening Date:
Baptism/Christening Place:
Birth Date: 23 Aug 1887
Birthplace: Manhattan, New York, New York, USA
Death Date:
Name Note:
Father's Name: Joseph Rohman
Father's Birthplace:
Father's Age:
Mother's Name: Franeisca Luchwnrm
Mother's Birthplace:
Mother's Age:
Indexing Project (Batch) Number: C00539-1
System Origin: New_York-ODM
Source Film Number: 1322224
Reference Number:

"New York, Marriages, 1686-1980," Mary Romaine, 1903

« Back to search results

Groom's Name: Francis Mcguire
Groom's Birth Date:
Groom's Birthplace:
Groom's Age:
Bride's Name: Mary Romaine
Bride's Birth Date:
Bride's Birthplace:
Bride's Age:
Marriage Date: 04 Sep 1903
Marriage Place: Manhattan, New York, New York
Groom's Father's Name: Charles Mcguire
Groom's Mother's Name: Sarah Mcgrath
Bride's Father's Name: Joseph Romaine
Bride's Mother's Name: Frances Lakervine
Groom's Race:
Groom's Marital Status:
Groom's Previous Wife's Name:
Bride's Race:
Bride's Marital Status:
Bride's Previous Husband's Name:
Indexing Project (Batch) Number: M00391-5
System Origin: New_York-ODM
Source Film Number: 1570985
Reference Number:

1880 U.S. Census

Household Gender Age Birthplace
SELF Joe Rohmann M 40 Germany
WIFE Frances Rohmann F 35 Germany
SON Joseph Rohmann M 7 New York, United States
Rosa Rohmann F 4 New York, United States
Mary Rohmann F 1 New York, United States  

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Germany Research - Rohman

While it is premature for me to jump to Germany in search of my Prussian (modern day German) ancestors on my Rohman (or it is Romaine, Roman..?),  I have had some passing contact with those who've indicated the Rohman's might originate in Offenthal, Germany near Frankfurt.  So before I get too excited, I just wanted to make the note here for future reference.

Germany is not a very big place and most of it was Prussia until after WWI.  Knowing that my Vienop's and Borchers referred to themselves at Prussians after their immigrations to the U.S. in the late 1880s makes me understand U.S. Census information much better.  After WWI, the Vienop's referred to themselves as German rather than Prussian.  In fact, my great great grandfather originally immigrated from Prussia in 1878.  He visited there in 1925 when it had become, once again, Germany.

I take this knowledge with me in search of my Rohman's who were Prussian from modern day Germany.  Now, were they from Offenthal?  That remains to be seen.  My search continues in the New York City area and along the Jersey Shore.  Germany must wait.

2G Grandfather - Joseph Rohman - Prussian Immigrant to NYC
Great Grandmother - Mary Elizabeth Rohman - Born in NYC 1878

I do think that my Rohman's were Roman Catholic's from Prussia as opposed to Lutheran.  Brooklyn, New York does seem to be a place for me to continue my search.