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 Familysearch.org, 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