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

Saturday, July 19, 2014

My Platter is Overflowing

     I'm putting my blog on hold for awhile. This past winter here in NY was unbearable with the amount of snow and frigid temperatures we got.  My parents relocated to South Carolina after their retirements a few years ago. I also bought a house down there near them but wasn't ready to move yet because I have a good paying job here even if it can be stressful at times. My son spends every summer in SC with his grandparents. I decided a few months ago that he will stay down there.  I enrolled him in a good catholic school and he starts in August. He's so excited.
     I  have so much on my plate that it's more like a platter. I'm trying to get my son settled in down there with everything he needs. I paid the registration and book fees, Gregory took his entrance exam and I mailed out first month's tuition yesterday. I was finally able to get the NY pediatrician to fax over the medical records to the doctor in SC and he has an appointment set up already. I think I ordered the last of the school clothes that he'll need. It wasn't easy to find navy blue crew socks for the uniform. Every store I checked had black or white and the school requires navy blue or white. I'm not sending this child to school with black dress shoes, navy blue pants and white socks. The store I found them in actually had them on sale so I bought 10 pair.
     I think I have everything Gregory needs for school. I'll be flying down next month and staying with my parents so I can take my little boy to school that first week. I have put genealogy on the back burner a little, just a few look ups here and there and I need to focus on finding a job so I can hurry up and join Gregory down south.

Monday, March 17, 2014

The Irish are Still Missing


     My 3rd great-grandparents Patrick Devine and Emily Sheldon are still missing. I have no idea where they are after the 1875 NY state census. I think they divorced and I think I found Emily in the 1900 federal census, I'm 98% sure. I think she might also be the same Emily that I found in the 1905 NY state census. After that she is a mystery like her husband.  I won't give up.

                                                          Happy St Patrick's Day

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Bless Me Father...

                     "Bless me father for I have sinned.  This is my first confession."
     My  Little Gregory made the sacrament of Penance today and he did very well.  I remember being nervous the first time I went as a child.  He asked when I was going to go so I promised that I'd go next Saturday.  "Bless me father for I have sinned.  It has been forever and a day since my last confession."
     My mother told me that the last time she went to confession was when she was about 18 or 19.  The priest had asked her if she promised to never do that again and she told him that she couldn't make that promise.  She doesn't even remember what it was but it was a venial sin and really not that big of a deal .  If you knew my mother then you'd know this was true because she was a good girl.  Anyway, because she told the priest that she couldn't make that promise, he told her that he couldn't give her absolution.  She walked out.


Sunday, January 5, 2014

Born on January 5th

     Today is a popular day for birthdays it seems...

     My great-grandfather Samuel George Davis was born in Ohio on this day, January 5 in 1885. He was the son of  Flora Braught from Ohio and Daniel Davis from Milton,NY.


     My son Gregory was born on this day in 2007. I can't believe my little boy is 7 years old already. He lost his first tooth a few weeks ago. He's such a good boy and so smart. ♥

 a photo of Gregory at 2 days old with my other baby, my little girl Daisy who was wondering what I brought into her house...

   and here's a more recent photo taken a few months ago:

     Finally, my best friend who had been told that she couldn't have any more children after her daughter was born 23 years ago was surprised to find out a few months ago that she was pregnant.  Lillian welcomed a healthy baby boy earlier today.  I'm happy that my best friend and I both have boys born on January 5th.  It's just too bad that she lives so far away and the boys are 7 years apart.

     Happy Birthday to all the January 5th babies...   ♥

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Hello 2014

     Today is the start of a brand new year.  I am happy to say goodbye to 2013 and welcome 2014 with a smile.  :)
     Last year was not a good year for me.  I had a migraine headache most of the year so I didn't get much research or blogging done.  On a happy note: I finally convinced my best friend to let me work on her genealogy.  She was hesitant at first because she didn't know anything about her family.  She gave me her parents names and the names of her maternal grandparents and I took it from there.  I traced Lillian's maternal line to her 2nd great-grandmother, Anna who was born in Ireland and buried with other family members in Brooklyn,NY.  I got the names of Anna's parents from her death certificate and added them to the tree.  I didn't get as far on Lillian's paternal line so after reaching her great-grandparents, I put Lillian's family on hold so I can get back to my own research.  Lillian and her husband have a 23 year old daughter who is their only child.  Lillian had been told that she can't have anymore children so imagine her surprise when she found out a few months ago that she's pregnant and her miracle baby will be born on my son's birthday which is January 5th.  How Lillian didn't know she was pregnant for seven months is another story and possibly a blog post.  Lillian and Anthony are expecting a boy.
     I told Lillian that since she and Anthony are now having a boy to carry on the family name then I will try to work on Anthony's line in the family tree.  I have Anthony's parents and grandparents names and that's it.  Anthony's father is dead and his mother, according to Lillian has not been helpful at all with supplying names and dates which would assist us with our research.  Lillian was finally able to get a few dates from her mother-in-law which helped with my progress on Anthony's maternal line.  I went back to Germany and England with Anthony's mother's side and his father's side is from Italy.  Anthony's father was born in New York but his paternal grandparents were from Italy.  I asked Lillian to try and get me dates of death for her father-in-law and his parents.  If those dates are not available then I'll take the name of the cemetery so I can call and bother them.  Until I get more information from Lillian, her tree as well as her husband's has been put on hold and I can go back to stalking Emily.
     I don't usually make resolutions because I don't keep them.  I plan to try and make this year, 2014, a happy, productive, positive year.  I will ignore the negativity at work, focus on happy thoughts and tune out the world around me while I write.  I will try to update this blog more often and work on my genealogy.  Is 2014 the year I find my 3rd great-grandmother, Emily who emigrated from Ireland as a young girl in the early 1850's?
     Before I wish everyone a Happy New Year, I need to wish my maternal 2nd great-grandfather a Happy Birthday in Heaven.  ♥  Daniel Davis was born on this day in 1860.

            Happy Birthday ! ! !

                                   Happy New Year ! ! !