Category Archives: Genealogy

Notation from Baptismal Register

Notation from Baptismal Register, Parish of Castlemore and Kilcolman, 1909

If you just do a keyword search of the indexed entries at sites like Ancestry or Findmypast, you miss really interesting stuff. I especially like notations at the fronts of some of the Irish Catholic Parish Registers. I’ve seen recipes for barm, to do lists, payment annotations for services (adding hobnails on boots or baking bread for the parish priest). This one addresses some of the gaps in Irish records and why the parish registers are so important. I wish I could make out the priest’s name at the end.

Baptismal Register, Diocese of Achonry, Parish of Castlemore and Kilcolman, Baptisms Nov 1851-17 Nov 1861 and 25 Jan 1864-2 Jun 1872, image 3.
https://registers.nli.ie/registers/vtls000632290#page/3/mode/1up

This is an important book and it should be carefully preserved for the following reasons —
The Census returns of 1861 and 1871 have long since been destroyed. Twelve years hence in the year 1921, the people coming up for Old Age Pensions will begin to be these born in or subsequent to 1851, for those the Census returns will no longer be available unless indeed, they fall back on those of 1881 taken when they were grown men and women of thirty years or there abouts. This would be a course open to much objection, for adults generally return figures far short of the correct age. The people therefore born between the ages of 1851 and 1864 (the year when public registration begins) will unless their Church records have been preserved be hard set to prove their ages in a satisfactory way. Now this book contains fairly accurate –the baptismal records from 1851 to 1864 –hence the importance of taking care of it.

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20th October 1909

P. S. See large Register too for baptisms from 1860 on.

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Grandma Jeanne

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I love everything about this photo of my grandma Jeanne.

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I have no idea who these folks are, but it looks like they’re having a good time. Happy Friday!

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Hello, Blog!

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I’m not dead yet! I just got distracted. I’ve been scanning some more of my grandpa’s negatives, and this one made me ridiculously happy. It’s of the Centennial Bridge across the Mississippi River, between Davenport, Iowa and Rock Island, Illinois. It was probably taken in the mid-1950s during one of the family trips from Minnesota to Atlanta.

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Margaret Basquill and Jeanne Thompson, Atlanta, mid 1950s

This was in the same strata as the previous photo. I know it was taken in Atlanta, because of the house number on the front door. My great grandma Nell and her sister, Margaret, lived at that address in the 1950s. So that dates both photos (if the clothing and cars weren’t a clue), and it gives context to why my grandparents were driving across the Mississippi River.

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I can’t even tell who the people in this photo are, so I think it’s safe to share it publicly. Grandpa was a pretty good photographer, but with film there are always duds. I really like this dud, though. Now, with digital photography, we have the luxury of permanently deleting our mistakes before anyone else sees them.

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Gone to beg through the country

Gone to beg through the country.

Catherine Basquil 17 Nov 1845 Resided. A poor Small Landholder, does not reside. Gone to beg through the Country.

I can’t find the entry for the original loan to Catherine, in the Irish Poverty Relief Loan registers. It had to have predated this entry, though, so sometime in the early 1840s.

To put this in context, 1845 was the start of the great famine. But that came after several years of economic distress and poverty in the west of the country, and Mayo was hit quite hard. Catherine would have likely been in dire straights before the famine even began. When the potato crop failed in the autumn of 1845, Catherine, like millions of other Irish folks, would have lost their last hope of a reprieve. Things had to have been terrible if taking to the countryside to beg was your Plan B.

There were numerous reports in contemporary newspapers of people dropping dead of starvation in or alongside the roads. Many of them, like Catherine, were subsisting through begging, their benefactors generally not much better off than beggars themselves.

The Famine
The United Irishman (Dublin, Ireland), 19 Feb 1848, page 7

The Famine.

CLIFDEN, Co. GALWAY.–The Rev. Peter Fitzmaurice, P.P., writes to the Freeman, under date 11th February, giving some horrible details of the misery and destitution in his parish. He says–“I am sure my readers, though shocked, will not deem it exaggerated, when I certify to the fact of some persons in these parishes living on horse flesh for days, nay, on that of dogs, until death put an end to their sufferings.”

SLIGO.–The misery which the people are now enduring “beggars all description.” From all quarters we hear the most lamentable accounts. Persons who were last year enjoying comparative health–who had, at least, the means of keeping the wolf from the door, are now reduced to the lowest ebb of want and destitution. The shopkeepers and men in business are doing literally nothing, while pauperism is fearfully on the increase.

In Kilturra the great majority of the inhabitants are at this instant living solely upon turnips, and the supply of this watery, unsubstantial food, will soon be exhausted. What will then become of the poor? Already–within the last week–three human creatures have died, or rather perished, for want of food, in Kilturra.–Sligo Champion.

SUICIDE FROM DESTITUTION.–A man, whose name we could not ascertain, committed suicide by hanging himself in the neighborhood of Ardnaglass, on Friday. A recommendation for out-door relief to the relieving office was found on his person.–Ibid.

GALWAY.–We have been informed of a heartless case of extermination of six families off the property of Mrs. Lynch, of Windfield, at Lisgeavy. While these poor people were induced to go to the relieving officer of the district for relief, their miserable cabins were pulled down, and the work of destruction would have been greater, but for a member of this lady’s family who happened to come up, and warned them to desist. We trust so cruel a proceeding was carried on without the knowledge of Mrs. Lynch, and that some reparation will be made to these unfortunate people.–Tuam Herald.

DEATHS BY STARVATION.–A correspondent of the Limerick Chronicle, writing from Tulla, in the county of Clare, states that an inqust had just been held on the bodies of one man and two women, named Boland, who had died of starvation. Five or six weeks before their death, everything they possessed had been seized for rates, since which time they had never lain on a bed. The Bolands held over twenty acres of ground corn from Colonel Windham.

MORE DEATHS FROM STARVATION.–Thomas Denehy, Esq., coroner, has been busily employed during the past week holding inquests on the sad remains of victims to the now indeed prevailing famine. On Wednesday he held an inquest at Ballysaggartmore, on Patk. Murphy, an unfortunate man who had to be turned out of the union workhouse for insubordination, $c., and was found dead on the mountain. Verdict–Patrick Murphy died on the 1st February at Ballysaggartmore, from the effects of hunger and want. On Monday, Mr. Dennehy held another inquest at Templemichael, near Youghal, on a poor woman, when a similar verdict was returned; and on the 3d instant, another at Lismore, on a woman who had obtained lodging from a farmer near that town, and who was found dead the next morning. Verdict–Died of want and hunger on the 2d February, 1848. This is the fifth death from starvation in that lonely and picturesque locality within the last few days.–Waterford Mail.

APPALLING STATEMENT.–Bryan Sloan, Mary Sloan, and Ellen Stanton, died of starvation in Ballintubber this week. Their bodies are still unburied for want of coffins! There are three others in the same village whose deaths are hourly expected from hunger. The creatures were on the relief list, but being unable to attend the calling of the roll, as they lived som miles from the work, they were struck off, and were thus left a whole week without a morsel of food. Whole villages are already depopulated in Ballintubber. In one large townland every head of a family has been cut away by famine and fever but two men; and unless some step be taken to relieve the poor there, the entire parish will become an awful grave-yard. The overseers are Thomas Sheridan and Pat Dea, of Ballintubber and Ballyheane.

While writing, three dead bodies, in one company, have passed our house for interment.

STATE OF THE POOR–STARVATION.–We have been informed that within the last week upwards of twenty deaths have taken place from starvation.

Mr. Bourke, coroner, held an inquest on Saturday last on the body of Patrick Stanton, of Drimulra (between this town and Newoport), who was found on the roadside, in an exhausted state from hunger. On the examination of several witnesses, who deposed that the deceased had been receiving the rations, but so inadequate was it for the support of himself and his family, that he had to beg from door to door; and on this particular day his family having consumed the last morsel, he made another effort to seek from his neighbours a bit of bread, but unfortunately his sufferings overcame him, and he sank, the victim of horrible hunger, by the roadside. A verdict of death from starvation was accordingly returned.–Mayo Constitution.

THE SHROUDLESS AND COFFINLESS DEAD.–Withing the last week the remains of no less than five persons have been carried through this town, by their surviving friends, to the burying-ground, without shroud or coffin.–Ibid.

PROGRESS OF DESTITUTION.–It is our painful duty to announce the wholesale murder of one hundred deaths this week in our poorhouse, gaols, and hospitals. In Connemara, in the neighborhood of Roundstone, FOUR, FIVE and SIX dead bodies have been for days over-ground, no persons being found to perform the sad rights of burial for them, and not until the dogs had destroyed the body of an old man, the flesh off the back was entirely taken away. Four persons have been committed to our county prison from that locality charged with stealing a filly which the poor creatures were found eating. We give this as food for the English press.–Galway Vindicator.

INCREASE OF DESTITUTION.–It is now perfectly manifest that the poor-rates of this union will fall lamentably short, and be totally incapable of supporting its pauperism, which is daily augmenting. In our town destitution is wide-spread. It is overrun with strolling beggars. On Saturday evening a man named Corcoran came to the gate of the grave-yard of this town. He carried in his arms the body of a child, which was coffinless and shroudless, which had been dead for five days, and which, having gained admittance, he interred in the grave-yard without a coffin. He endeavoured to collect the price of a coffin–but all he was able to produce was eightpence, some of those from whom he begged being beggars, and others not believing his sad story to be true, in consequence of the many impostors who practice on the credulity and benevolence of the people; therefore, the unhappy man had to bury the remains of the child, who died from want, without a coffin.–Nenagh Guardian.

An inquest was held near Dungarvan, on Thomas Terry, of Castle Quarter, and a verdict, died of starvation, returned. The unfortunate man took a turnip from a field, but got so weak that it fell from his hands, and rolled from his reach. A witness named Gleeson, a publican of Abbeyside, described his moans as awful, yet did not assist him.–Waterford Mail.

A HORSE EATEN BY HUMAN BEINGS.–A very revolting case of distress occurred last week at the village of Sneem. Mrs. Moran, a pedlar from Killarney, had a horse of hers in same way while on her way from Iveragh, and on arriving at Sneem had it shot by one of the police, to put it out of pain. In a few hours after, the horse was skinned, the carcass cut into pieces by several of the poor people, taken away as food, and actually eaten. Of this fact there is no doubt, as I made it my duty to make inquiries about it. The persons who took the horse for food were persons holding small lots of ground, which they are unwilling to part with, being under the impression that, if they retain them, and make an exertion to set potatoes, the government will support them while doing so. The out-door relief is carried out a=in that district to a very great extent, and every exertion used by the landlord, James F. Bland, so far as his own property extends, assisted, I cannot deny, by the relieving officer, to afford relief to the most necessitous in that distressed district.–Tralee Chronicle.

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1939 Register at Ancestry

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I noticed today that Ancestry has added the 1939 Register to it’s collections. It was previously available only through Findmypast, and then only if you had a yearly subscription. Month-to-month subscriptions couldn’t access it.

This is kind of a big deal, if you are doing any sort of research in England and Wales during the WWII period. The most recent census available is 1911, so this may fill in some gaps for you. It’s also unique as a census, because it was later updated to include surname changes when women married.

Caveat: People who are still living have been redacted, for privacy reasons, so if you can’t find someone it may be that they’re still living or only died recently.

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Chain Migration

Chain Migration
from the introduction to Covered Wagon Women, volume 5

If you think chain migration is a new thing, or that it’s a bad thing, you’re mistaken. It’s how people have moved the world over, forever and ever.

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Adventures in Genealogy

A few years ago, I photographed a cemetery in rural Owen County, Indiana (a bunch of them, actually).  I uploaded the photos to Flickr and to Findagrave, and for the headstones that didn’t already have Findagrave memorials, I created them.

Easy peasy, if a bit time consuming.

So I occasionally get messages from people to correct information (mistakes happen!), add information, or to link spouses or children and parents, or even to transfer memorial ownership to them if they’re descendants. It can be a little time consuming, but it’s time well spent. And most people are really nice, which helps.

Every once in a while, you’re contacted by someone who is rude as hell, which can be disheartening. Or you get a request that seems reasonable on the face of it, but when you think for two seconds, you realize it’s totally bonkers.

Today was a totally bonkers day. I checked my mail to find the following request:

The picture connected to this is NOT Catherine McNaught. That is a picture of Martha (Wooden) McNaught (1765-1835), wife of George McNaught (1761-1789). I have the original picture with both of them in the picture. George and Martha came to America from Ireland.

Seems legit, right? Only no, not so much. My response:

You messaged me about an incorrect photo on the Catharine McNaught memorial I created (memorial number 50363862). I did not add that photo, and I cannot delete it. You will need to contact the person who added the photo, to ask them to remove it.

That said, if the person you say the photo is actually of died in 1835, there is no way this is a photograph of her, as the first photograph depicting a human wasn’t made until 1838. The first known portrait photo was in 1839.

I don’t know who the photo is of, and I don’t care. I didn’t add it, so it’s not my circus and not my monkeys. As it stands, it seems to me that it’s more likely that the person who added it knows what they’re doing than the person who contacted me to remove it.

The memorial in question is here.

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A Little Credit, Please?

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I took this photo of my great great aunt Margaret’s grave marker in 2010. I uploaded it to Flickr, like ya’ do, with a CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 license. I also have given blanket permission for people to use my cemetery photos for their own family trees, family histories, and to even upload them to their family trees on commercial sites like Ancestry. But that CC license requires crediting the creator.

So then this happened.

Margaret DeSales Basquille

I don’t know the person who added the photo. I know they are not a descendant of Margaret, though, because Margaret did not have any children. So why this person is editing Margaret’s info is a mystery to me. It’s possible she’s related to Margaret’s husband, since she also added a photo of his grave marker to his FamilySearch tree entry (again, taken by someone else and uncredited).

Don’t do that. Even if you have permission to use someone else’s photo, you still need to credit them.

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Disappearing Collections

Genealogy tip: ALWAYS download document images you find online. ALWAYS. You never know when a collection will disappear. It can happen for a variety of reasons, and you will be given no notice.

Example: The Catholic Parish Registers for Ireland. They were (and still are) available via the National Library of Ireland’s website, but those images are unindexed. Likewise FamilySearch filmed the registers years ago, and unindexed images are available via their website (access unindexed films through the FamilySearch card catalog).

A few years ago, Ancestry and Findmypast entered a joint agreement to index the images and make them available for free via their websites. The searchable index and images are still live at Findmypast (and presumably free, though that part of the agreement may have an expiration date). They have disappeared from Ancestry’s website. I noticed that searches that should return hits for that collection didn’t, so I looked at their card catalog, and the title is entirely missing.

In this case, no real harm is done, because those images are available elsewhere. But what if they weren’t?

A similar issue occurred a few years back, with the Drouin Collection (Catholic Parish records from Canada). They had been available, largely unindexed, on Ancestry’s website. Then one day they disappeared. Turns out, the licensing agreement required Ancestry to index the images, which they hadn’t done, so the collection’s owners told Ancestry to pull the images until they were indexed. It took a couple of years to finish the project, but one day the Drouin Collection magically appeared again on Ancestry. Thankfully I’d downloaded the images I’d managed to find, so I wasn’t affected. And since Drouin Collection 2.0 is mostly indexed, I have found even more images.

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Also, you can see from this screen shot that FamilySearch (top) imaged the registers independently of NLI (bottom). It pays to check both sets of images, because in some cases NLI’s images are better, and in others, FamilySearch has better images. The images available at Findmypast (and formerly at Ancestry) are NLI’s images. And in fact, Findmypast includes the direct link to the image at NLI’s website, in the index page. And note at the bottom of the index page below, from Findmypast? The copyright statement for the transcript credits Ancestry.

Index Page from Findmypast

I mention all of this because it pays to find out this information–how collections get digitized and who owns what. It can help you track down information when it goes AWOL, and it can help you cut through multiple layers of crud that gets attached with every iteration. And ultimately, you may find that a lot of the collections at pay sites are licensed and repackaged from sites that provide the info for free.

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A Gruesome Death

This is yet another Bridget Agnes. This one was the sister in law of Bridget Agnes Groark. She was the daughter of John Basquil and Mary Haran, born 25 May 1871 in Kilbride, County Mayo, Ireland. She emigrated to the US in 1893 and settled in Troy, New York, where she married twice. First to Thomas Hanrahan in 1910, then to Richard Allen in 1914 (no idea what happened to poor Thomas. Presumably he died young).

I had the year of Bridget’s death, because a photo of her headstone has been uploaded to Findagrave. I didn’t have the exact date, though, or the cause of her death. I tried searching at Newspapers.com, but struck out. The Fulton History website had what I was looking for, though. And now that I have more information, I was able to find a similar article in a different paper, at Newspapers.com. However, the scan there is terrible and the article almost illegible, so I’m using the Fulton History image.

Woman Burned to Death in Fire at 808 Fifth Avenue

WOMAN BURNED TO DEATH IN FIRE AT 808 FIFTH AVENUE
Mrs. Richard Allen’s Clothing Ignited From Gas Stove Flame

Mrs. Richard Allen, 70, of 808 Fifth Avenue, died at 10:20 p.m. yesterday in the Leonard Hospital of burns suffered yesterday afternoon when her clothing apparently caught fire while she was cooking on the gas stove in the kitchen of her home.

Mrs. Allen was alone in the house when the accident occurred. Mrs. Kenneth Wheeler, who resides across the street, went to visit Mrs. Allen and found her lying on the floor, police said. She was conscious and practically all her clothing had been burned from her body.

A call to police quickly brought the police ambulance with Driver John McGraw, Central Station, to the Allen residence. Mrs. Allen was wrapped in blankets and taken to the hospital by Officer McGraw and Hoseman Patrick J. Byrne, Central Fire Station.

She was attended at the hospital by Drs. John J. Curley and Albert Diamante. Hospital attendants reported she suffered third degree burns to the chest, arms, hands, abdomen and back, second degree burns to the face and first degree burns to both legs below the knees.

The woman’s husband was at work at the Watervliet Arsenal when the accident occurred. Upon his arrival home he was told of the accident by Patrolman Arthur Quinlan and John Kelly, of the Fourth Precinct radio patrol, and taken by them to the hospital.

Coroner Charles J. Cote was notified of Mrs. Allen’s death by hospital authorities.

Mrs. Allen, formerly Agnes B. Basquall, was born in Ireland and came to this country at an early age. She first settled in Waterford and while a resident there attended St. Mary’s Church. About forty years ago she moved from Lansingburg where she attended St. Augustine’s Church and was a member of the Sacred Heart Sodality. She also was a member of Court St. Rita, C.D. of A.

Besides her husband, survivors include a sister, Mrs. Mary Horan of Troy and a brother, Michael Basquall of Chicago, Ill.
The funeral will be from the residence Monday at 9 a.m. and from St. Augustine’s Church at 9:30 a.m. where a requiem high mass will be celebrated. Interment will be in St. John’s Cemetery.

(Source: “Woman Burned to Death in Fire at 808 Fifth Avenue,” The Times Record (Troy, New York), 2 Dec 1944, [n.p.], col. 4; digital images, Old Fulton New York Post Cards (http://www.fultonhistory.com : accessed 14 Nov 2017). Rec. Date: 14 Nov 2017.)

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