Saturday, April 18, 2015


     My mother will be visiting Ireland in about six months.  I wish I were going.  I've always wanted to visit the land of my ancestors.  I want to see the green rolling hills, the castles, look for lucky four leaf clovers and maybe catch a glimpse of a mischievous leprechaun.  I won't be kissing the Blarney Stone because I've already been blessed with the gift of gab though I'd still like to take a picture of this famous stone.  I don't drink but I can't visit Ireland without stepping into a pub or two and sampling the local brew.
     My mother is taking this trip with the senior citizens she went with last year when they toured England, Scotland and Wales.  She enjoyed last year's trip and since she'd never been to Ireland she didn't think twice about going.  The itinerary includes Dublin, Limerick, Waterford and I don't remember the rest.
     I've read quite a few books that take place in Ireland.  Among these books were Angela's Ashes written by Frank McCourt and a series of books by Martha Long.  Both of these authors wrote about their poor childhood.  Martha Long's first book is Ma, He Sold Me For a Pack of Cigarettes and was a bit difficult to read because it was so sad.  Martha talks about her poor depressing childhood in 1950's Dublin.  I don't know how she survived but survive she did as she talks about her ups and downs, struggles and accomplishments in the series of books that followed her debut novel.  Another poor Irish child was Frank McCourt.  He was born in New York, U.S.A. to Irish parents who moved the family back to their homeland when he was about 4 years old.  He wrote about his poor childhood in a book called Angela's Ashes.  I would love to visit Limerick and see the places of Frank's youth mentioned in the book. I wonder if I give my mother a list of my places of interest in Dublin and Limerick would she take a picture for me?  Probably not since she's travelling with a group.  Oh well, I guess I'll just have to wait until I can make this journey myself.
     My 3rd great-grandparents on my maternal grandmother's mother's side of the family were Patrick Devine and Emily Sheldon.  They immigrated to the United States from Ireland.  I have no idea what part of Ireland Emily was born in but I hope to find out before my mother's trip.  I found a record a few months ago showing a Patrick Devine born in County Mayo.  I'm 98%, no make that 99% sure that this is my Patrick.  The next blog post will be 'Poor Patrick'.  My mother is not visiting County Mayo on her group trip to Ireland but I'll be sure to add this county to my itinerary for my dream trip to Ireland.
     I'm looking forward to my Irish adventure in the future but until then I'll have to be content with looking at pictures and brochures from my mother.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Irish History Month

     Well, the month of March has come and gone just like the months of February and January.  I had wanted this year to be the year that I update my blog regularly.  I had moved from New York to South Carolina last November and was busy getting used to my new job and trying to get my house fixed up and ready to move into.  My research and blog got put on hold while I focused on my son's schoolwork.
     March was the month I was going to devote to Irish research since it was Irish-American history month and my 3rd great-grandparents emigrated from Ireland.  I had a few blog posts written on paper but I never went on the computer and updated my blog.  I'm going to play catch up since I've made some discoveries.  The next few posts will be about my Irish ancestors.

An Irish Prayer
May God give you...
For every storm, a rainbow,
For every tear, a smile,
For every care, a promise,
And a blessing in each trial.
For every problem life sends,
A faithful friend to share,
For every sigh, a sweet song,
And an answer for each prayer.


Sunday, March 1, 2015

Irish American Heritage Month

     Goodbye February, Hello March!

     I wish I could say hello to my 3rd great-grandparents who emigrated from Ireland in the late 1840's and 1850's. I don't know much about Patrick Devine and Emily Sheldon but since it is Irish American Heritage Month I am focusing my research this month on my Irish ancestors.

An Old Irish Blessing
May love and laughter light your days,
and warm your heart and home.
May good and faithful friends be yours,
wherever you may roam.
May peace and plenty bless your world
with joy that long endures.
May all life's passing seasons
bring the best to you and yours!



Thursday, January 29, 2015

Goodbye Dorothy, Hello Billy

     A child dies...  A child is born...

     On this day, 29th of January in 1927, my maternal grandmother's youngest brother, William Davis was born.  The new baby entered the world the day after his older sister, 3 year old Dorothy left it.

     Happy Birthday in Heaven, Uncle Billy!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Rest In Peace little Dorothy

     On this day, 28th of January in 1927, three year old Dorothy Davis went to Heaven.  This little angel was my maternal grandmother, Eleanor's youngest sibling.  She died from burns caused by the kerosene heater which lit her dress on fire.   so tragic...
     I had written about Dorothy a few times in the past so I won't elaborate on the cause of her death.  For anyone actually reading this who might like to read about Dorothy and see her death certificate, you can check out my blog posts dated  3/20/11,  3/22/11,  6/7/12,  and  1/28/13.
     I don't have a photo of little Dorothy and sometimes wonder what she looked like.  Did she resemble her older sister Eleanor who had black hair and dark eyes like their father Samuel?  Maybe she looked like her older brother Daniel who had brown hair and blue eyes like their mother Josephine.  I guess I'll never know what Dorothy looked like until it's my turn to meet her in heaven.

     A child dies...   A child is born...  Dorothy's baby brother, William was born the day after she died.

                                                                 Rest in Peace Dorothy

Monday, October 6, 2014

William's Whereabouts

      William V. Devine was my maternal 2nd great-grandmother's youngest brother.  I almost didn't find him.

     I had always known about Anna Devine, William's cousin.  She was a schoolteacher at the Rock School, a one room schoolhouse in Rifton,NY.  My grandmother used to tell me stories about Rifton while we sat together looking at the old black/white photos.  Her grandmother, Teresa, rented a bungalow every summer and that is where my grandmother and her daughters spent their carefree days.  I had heard about the old covered bridge and of course Anna Devine and her one room schoolhouse.  I was fascinated with the town of Rifton.  Once I became interested in genealogy I wanted to learn more about this town and especially Anna Devine.  My grandmother had already passed away so I was all alone on this genealogical journey.  I had obtained a copy of Anna Devine's death certificate from the local town hall.  From that document I learned that she was buried in St Peter's Cemetery which is located in Rosendale,NY and not too far from Rifton.

     I had become obsessed with the Devines.  This is the Irish side of my family and I knew nothing about them.  Anna Devine's father, John, was my 3rd great-grandfather, Patrick's brother.  Patrick and his wife Emily were both born in Ireland.  I do not know the counties nor do I know the years of emigration for my 3rd great-grandparents.  Besides my 2nd great-grandmother, Teresa, Patrick and Emily had 8 other children according to the letter my grandmother's cousin wrote me a few years ago.  The youngest of those children was William.
     I called St. Peter's Cemetery out of the blue one day inquiring about the Devines who might be buried there.  I was particularly interested in Patrick and Emily.  I was told that there is a plot for Patrick and Emily but they are not buried there, only William is there.  I was given William's date of death and age.  The woman I spoke to had no other information for me.  Whatever became of Patrick and Emily?  Will I ever find them?  I visited the cemetery and found the tombstone which had William's name, age, and date of death engraved on one side and the names of his parents on the other side.  I called town hall in Rosendale and they didn't have a death certificate for William.  I was hoping this record would give me William's date of birth as well as places of birth for his parents.  I knew his parents were born in Ireland but I didn't know the counties.
     Just when I thought I'd have to order William's death record from the New York State Department of Health in Albany, I saw one of those shaking green leaves on my tree.  I usually take these leaves with a grain of salt.  I don't attach any records without verifying.  This particular hint (shaking leaf) was a death certificate. showed me a certificate ! along with William's date and place of death.  The date shown, 22 Jan 1903, is the same date that is engraved on the tombstone but place of death was Manhattan.  Did William travel to or move to Manhattan?  He had been living with his mother in Esopus according to the 1900 federal census.  I ordered a copy of William's death certificate from which allows five free records per month for New York City (5 boroughs) for specific years.
     Two weeks after I placed my order online, I received via email, the death certificate for William V Devine.  I was so excited!  Crazy to be excited about a death certificate?  Maybe, to the average person, but perfectly normal for those of us who are stalking our ancestors.  Was this my William?  We shall soon find out...
     Yes!  This William was indeed my 2nd great-grandmother, Teresa's younger brother.  The death certificate has the correct parents' names of Patrick and Emily, states that parents were born in Ireland, and has the place of burial as Rosendale,NY which is where my William is buried.
     I was a bit startled to see the cause of death.  A fractured skull and a brain hemorrhage is what brought William to his death at the age of only 21 years.  The place of death listed on the certificate is the same address as his residence.  So, what happened?  Did he get into a scuffle at the local tavern, get struck in the head, go back to his apartment where he eventually died?  I tried searching for a news article, an obituary, a death notice, and found nothing so far.  I might never find out what happened that day but at least I found William.

                                                                      Rest In Peace
                                                                    William V Devine
                                                                  1883 - 22 Jan 1903


Tuesday, September 2, 2014


     I have Irish ancestors on my maternal grandmother's mother's side.  My best friend, Lillian, who is like a sister to me, also has Irish ancestors on her mother's side.
     I found my 3rd great-grandparents, Patrick Devine and Emily (Sheldon) Devine in the 1860's federal census with their children but lost them after the 1875 state census.  I think I found Emily, divorced and living with her youngest son in the 1900 federal census and by the 1905 NY State census living with a daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren but I'm not 100% completely sure.  Patrick and Emily emigrated from Ireland in the mid-1800's (1850's I think).
     Lillian's 3rd great-grandparents, William Ferguson and Bella (Gallagher) Ferguson lived in Ireland.  I don't know what county.  Their daughter, Anna, married Edward Maguire.  Edward and Anna had two children (that I know of) while in Ireland, immigrated to America, settled in New York City and were blessed with at least 5 more children.
     Annie Maguire was Lillian's great-grandmother.  She was born about 1871 in Ireland, the oldest child of Edward and Anna.  She arrived with her parents and brother Francis about 1872 or 1873.  Annie married James Curley and they had two children that I know of and I think there was a third child who died as a baby.
     There are plenty of Maguires buried in Holy Cross Cemetery located in Brooklyn,NY.  Among the Maguires in Annie's family plot is a man named James Curly and a baby named John Curley.  I'm sure that the man was Annie's husband because how many James Curleys could there be buried with Annie's family and close in age to Annie?  I'm thinking that baby John was James and Annie's son.  James was a young man of only 28 years when he died.  There is also a young woman named Annie buried with the Maguires.  This Annie had the last name Dougherty and was 36 years old when she died.  I was wondering if this Annie was Lillian's great-grandmother who remarried after her husband James died.  Annie was a mystery to me but I think I'm solving it.

          Why was Annie a mystery?  Well, let's see...
I found her listed in the 1880 federal census as a young girl living with her parents and siblings in Manhattan,NY.  The next time Annie's name appears is on her daughter's birth certificate.  She was living in Manhattan at the time when the baby girl was born in July of 1892 and still residing there the following October when a son was born.  James Curley, Annie's husband, died in November of 1896 leaving his widow Annie to care for their 4 year old daughter and 3 year old son by herself.  I expected to find Annie and the children in the 1900 federal census but was disappointed that they were not all living together as a family.  I have no idea where Annie was in 1900 but her children Estelle and Edward were living with their maternal grandparents Edward and Anna Maguire.  Annie's father died August 1900 and his widow, Anna, continued to care for her grandchildren according to the 1910 federal census and 1915 NY State census.  Where was Annie this whole time?  Did she die?  Was the Annie Dougherty who is buried with the Maguires actually Annie Maguire Curley who remarried?  If Annie Dougherty is our Annie then I'm puzzled as to why her children were living with their grandmother instead of their mother in 1900.  Annie Dougherty died in September of 1907.
      Unraveling the mystery...
    Writing about my friend's great-grandmother, Annie, has me thinking about my great-grandmother, Josie.  Both ladies seemed to have disappeared for a while leaving their children in the care of relatives.  The 1930 federal census shows my maternal grandmother living with her maternal grandmother while her brothers lived with their father and paternal grandparents.  I don't know where my great-grandmother, Josie was.  I truly believe that Josie had some type of breakdown because three years earlier, in 1927, her youngest daughter died tragically at the tender age of 3.  Josie was pregnant at the time of little Dorothy's death and I guess it was the stress and shock which caused her to give birth the very next day.  How could she be happy with a new baby when she was mourning her other child?  This bittersweet event occurred in January of 1927.  I don't know when Josie disappeared but she definitely wasn't around in 1930.
     How is Josie's story similar to Annie's?    tragedy...  then disappearing...
I wondered about the Annie Dougherty who is buried with the Maguire family.  Did I write down the wrong last name when the nice lady at the cemetery gave me the list of interments?  I called the cemetery again and gave the section and plot number for this family.  I was told that Annie's last name was Dougherty.  I don't know what the story is with the name Dougherty but I'm sure this is our Annie.  The date of interment for Annie Dougherty was 5 September 1907.  I recently found a death notice for Annie Curley in the September 3, 1907 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle newspaper.  The notice stated that she died on Monday, September 2nd and the funeral to be held on Thursday, September 5, at 2pm from her late residence at 32 Whitehall St, NYC. This is our Annie.  It has to be.
     So, why do I think my friend's great-grandmother, Annie disappeared for a while just like my great-grandmother, Josie did?  Josie's youngest daughter died in January of 1927 and Josie was nowhere to be found in the 1930 census.  Annie's husband, James died in November of 1896 and she was nowhere to be found in the 1900 census.  I think Annie had a breakdown which is what I think happened to my Josie.  I also think that baby John was Annie's.  Here's the reason for the breakdown:  Annie's husband James died November 18, 1896 and the baby died at the age of 3 months in April of 1897 which would make his date of birth sometime in January of 1897.  Imagine how Annie must have felt losing her husband while she's 7 months pregnant then losing her newborn only 3 months after he's born...  that's two deaths within 5 months of each other... just heartbreaking!
     While writing this blog post (which seemed to take me forever) I received via email from, the death certificates for James and Annie Curley.  This couple was definitely my friend's great-grandparents.  I am no longer wondering.  The place of death on both certificates is listed as the Whitehall Street address in downtown Manhattan where James and Annie lived with their children and burial was at Holy Cross Cemetery in Brooklyn.  I thought Annie was born in Ireland according to the 1880 federal census but her death certificate states that she was born in the United States and the last name is Curley.  I also found while finishing up this writing, the 1905 NY State census showing Annie living on Whitehall Street with her mother and two children.  Annie's last name on this census is Curley.  I hadn't found this census sooner because the name was misspelled.
     Well now I know that Annie didn't stay gone after her husband and son died.  She returned to her children.  I might never find out why the cemetery has the last name Dougherty in the Maguire family plot or where she was in 1900 but at least I found her and my curiosity is satisfied a bit.

                                               Annie Maguire Curley