Sunday, April 20, 2014

EUREKA MOMENT

 

I have been waiting, and not too patiently, for the release of the Death Certificates from the State of Pennsylvania.   That time has come and I have been busy perusing them and adding them to my tree.

I have found a few surprises too.  In the Baptism records of St. Thomas Church I found a Baptism record for John Clarence O’Rourke, with my great grandparents listed as parents, Patrick O’Rourke and  Ellen Mortel.  Since they were in their late 50’s at that time I was very suspicious about the parentage.

Joseph Clarence O'Rourke 1908

Source Information:

[Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1924 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.

Original data: Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1963. Series 11.90 (1,905 cartons). Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. http://www.phmc.state.pa.us/]

 

Is JR O’Rourke my great grandfathers brother?   I know that according to my fathers notes that Patrick had a brother John and James living close by.   The two brothers were sponsors at many of Patrick and Ellen’s children Baptisms.

Were JR and Margaret unwed, I have not found a marriage for them in the church records.   Were they married but to distraught to take little Joseph to be Baptized because it states that the birth was premature. Did Patrick and Ellen take him to be Baptized because of his frail condition?  Baby Joseph lived only four days

The next item I found was really serendipitous.  While searching all the O'Rourke's in Allegheny County PA, I came across a death for John O’Rourke; upon closer inspection I found he was born in 1843, in Ireland and his parents were Denis O’Rourke and Mary Griffith.  The person giving the information was my great grandfather Patrick O’Rourke.  Patrick and Ellen were the only O’Rourke Family in East Pittsburgh at that time.

I knew that Denis and Mary were the names of Patrick’s parents and now I am 99.9% sure that they are my 2x great grandparents.    I have been looking for that name since 2008.

John O'Rourke DC 25 May 1908

[Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1924 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.

Original data: Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1963. Series 11.90 (1,905 cartons). Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. http://www.phmc.state.pa.us/]

 

What I need to find out is John  O’Rourke and JR O’Rourke the same person? 

Every find precipitates more questions.

Friday, March 21, 2014

WHERE ARE THEY HIDING

Yesterday I went to the Archives for my volunteer job.  I was at a point where I could do a little research on my own family.   I was looking for Richard Fitzmorris, I assume that he was a cousin of my great grandfather because my great grandfather, Thomas Dowd, mother was Catherine Fitzmorris.

Richard Fitzmorris was the sponsor for the Baptism of my grandfather, also named Thomas Dowd.   I found a few Baptisms for of Richards children between 1900 and 1913, but I can not find the family on the 1910 census.    Where do these people go?    I also can not find a 1900 census for Mary Naughton Downs, who was my great grandmother, Bridget Naughton Dowd, sister.   I find her in the 1910 census and up.  I have church records and a probate record listing she was in town, before and after 1900,  but not on the census.

Did these people hide from the census takers?   If so, they are doing a great job in hiding. This is one of the most frustrating things for me. I know they were there but why can't I find them?

Thursday, February 27, 2014

BOHEMIAN CENSUS RECORDS 1869

 

By luck I found a link to the Bohemian Census records from 1869.

BOHEMIAN RECORDS it takes a bit of time to figure out where you want to go and then the next problem is trying to read the writing.  The form seems to be set up with each little house in each village and in Rosshaupt/Rozavadov there are about twenty.  

In 1869 my husband’s second great grandfather left Bohemia headed for the land where streets were paved with gold.  They first settled in Baltimore and then on to Millvale, Allegheny County, PA, USA  Millvale is a borough bordering on the city of Pittsburgh.

I found a Johannes Sperl, who was born in the 1820’s.  Is this Christof Sperl’s brother?   I have to check the years of birth of both but if Johannes was older and inherited the land that could possibly why Christof left the old country.

Christof’s wife, Catherine Rauscher, also said she was from the same town but I initially did not find her family’s name.   It is quite possible she came from a village close to that town.   I will need a tiny town map and how  to read Kurrent script.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

ASSORTED COUNTY HISTORIES AND BIOGRAPHIES

COUNTY HISTORIES AND BIOGRAPHIES

This is a link for the blog AnceStories: The Stories of My Ancestors by Miriam J Robbins.  There are many links in the various counties of Pennsylvania and most of them were written in the late 1800's.


Sunday, February 23, 2014

Norah Naughton Connolly

I haven't been finding much lately, but the other day I was following the Shaky Leaves on Ancestry and came upon a Find A Grave for my great grandmother's (Bridget Naughton Dowd) sister, Margaret Naughton Stanton.

A descendant of hers had transcribed her obituary to the site; and behold, it mentioned a surviving sister Mrs. John Connolly (Nora).  There were a few Connolly men married with a wife named Nora in Allegheny County and I was quite excited to find her husband was John.   That bit of information had been a mystery for about two years.

I found a few census and the name of some of their children, the interesting thing was when I searched for their addresses I found they live close to each on adjacent streets.   I was very excited, as with many of my other ancestors, Margaret's house is now a vacant lot.  Now I will have to search the church records and see what else I can find ab out the sisters that I do not know.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

SEVENTY FIRST WEDDING ANNIVERSARY


Today, would have been my parents seventy first Wedding Anniversary. They married in Goldsboro, North Carolina, on 4 February 1943.  My father was in the Army and due to be shipped to Europe. 

He called her and told her if she wanted to get married to catch the train and and they would do it before he left.   They were together five days and would not see each other until January, 1946

Tom and Gerda Wedding 1943 001
I have often wondered when this picture was taken.  My mother said it was their wedding picture.

Monday, February 3, 2014

MICHAEL RICHARD O'DONNELL

Nancy of MY ANCESTORS AND ME made a suggestion that I should Google the Pittsburgh newspapers to find the death day of Nora O'Donnell Avington nee Dowd to see if I could find her Obit.

I find searching newspapers a daunting and difficult task.   So I tried the collection one by one; what I found something I did not know.   I found her name connected to the death of her son Michael Richard.   I had him listed on my tree as Richard and he was a person that I was unable to find any information about him.

Here is why:


Michael Richard was killed at Normandy on 8 June 1944.   The date of this Obituary was 3 September 1948.    I thought that the troops were buried in Normandy, and how did Nora get him back to the states for burial?   Four years seems a long time to wait  to bury your child.  Michael O'Donnell was my father,Thomas Dowd, first cousin.   His father, also Thomas Dowd, was Nora's brother.


Further research told me he was a medic.  Honor Role 507 Division   You have to scroll down to the bottom of the list.