Wednesday, April 19, 2017



I found out rather late in my research that my great grandfather, Patrick O’Rourke, had two brothers in Pennsylvania.   I think it came to light after I received the Baptisms Records  for his children,  from the Diocese of Pittsburgh. On 24 September 1880, Johannes O’Rourke, was the sponsor for my great Uncle James Patrick.    John was also the sponsor for Aunt  Gertrude on 1 June 1890.  Jacobus and Brigitte O’Rourke were sponsors for my great Uncle Thomas on  21 June 1885.  I correctly decided they were relatives, but how?

Who were John and James?   After a bit of searching over a few years I had a few answers.  Pennsylvania released the Death Certificates a few years ago and using Denis O'Rourke's name for the father John appeared.  John died 25 May 1908, but no death certificate for James.  

One day I found PITTSBURGH CITY DEATHS  1870-1905.   While searching there, I found the death of three children,  Patrick, Anna and James, with the parents listed as James and Bridget O’Rourke.   They deaths were in 1879 and two the summer of 1886.  At that time James and Bridget were living in Ward 14 of the City of Pittsburgh.

In the 1900 census that the couple were married in 1875 and had both emigrated two different dates  a few years earlier.    So my guess was they married in the USA.  In the 1900 census they were living still in the 14th ward and had two daughters Mary and Catherine.  I searched both James and Bridget in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts to no avail.

Pittsburgh_Daily_Post_Tue__May_26__1908_ O' 

My dilemma is that in 1908 it lists James living in Boston, while it is certainly possible for James to move to Boston after the 1900 census, but did he?  Everything else in the obit has proven to be accurate.   Is James, the sponsor, a cousin and not the brother?

I will post this and look more closely into this matter.

Saturday, February 25, 2017


Here is a photo of me and my family.   The photo is new to me.  It was sent to me by my cousin Rick.

It was probably given to his parents by my mother or my grandmother; both of whom are long gone.  I wonder who took the picture,  I can see the reflection of a camera flash in the window.   I do remember that my dad had a timer on his camera, perhaps he set it and ran to his seat. I was thirteen at the time.

Thursday, February 23, 2017


This year at GRIP, they have two week long sessions and one week is in June and July.   You have to be quick with your fingers and on the website and ready to go immediately at 10:00

The first session I chose was RESEARCH IN WASHINGTON DC FROM AFAR.  There is so much to see in DC and I thought this would help me in setting up a time to go and research my husbands lines.  

LaRoche College is about a forty five minute drive from my home, so it will be driving do-able.   I am really looking forward to this class.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017


I have found a wonderful site related to genealogy research.  PITTSBURGH POST GAZETTE ARCHIVES,  I have been a subscriber for one year and renewed again.   The reason is 99% of my ancestors move here and stayed.  

I put in a person's name and then search,  what I have been searching for mostly are the OBITS.   Most are great and some are not there.   With this resource you have the capability to down load a snip or add the OBIT to Ancestry.   I have been working overtime on this site.

On the last post I had listed the Catholic Cemeteries of the Diocese of Pittsburgh link and just now had an eureka moment that why not Google every name listed in th that site in the family plots.  It gives the death year and this might be easier.


My grandmother (Bridget Naughton Dowd) had a sister Mary Naughton Downs.  Sometime between 1910 and 1920 they moved to Newark NJ.   This has been a mystery to me for many years.  She was also a problem because, try as I might, I have not found them in the 1900 census.  I am sure they were living in the same place, but not in the census.

A few days ago I was looking at my tree on Family Search and found a few matches.  It appears that they were added more recently and the person did not have enough information for them to come up as a match.  That is what it appears to be to me.  I do not know how to go about merging the information for this double family.

Anyway,  what the woman did have was a little note that indicated that Mary Naughton Downs died in NJ and was buried in Pittsburgh, a s well as her date of death.  One of my favorite resources is CATHOLIC CEMETERIES OF THE DIOCESE OF PITTSBURGH.   This is a relatively new resource, just within the past year or two.  

I remembered I had a old document from the WESTERN PENNSYLVANIA GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY.   It was the death of one of Mary's daughters Rebecca who was born and died within four days in 1895 and the place of internment was St. Mary Cemetery in Pittsburgh.  So with that information I went to the Catholic Cemeteries and there I found the family.  This included Mary, her husband Michael, infant who died in 1895, a daughter Hannah who died in 1901 (I had no knowledge of Hannah, and two adult daughters Margaret and Sadie who lived with their mother in NJ and were buried in the family plot, included with the dates of their deaths.  I know now I have the correct Mary.

A married daughter Mary Downs Molloy also had her date of death in 1929 and where she was buried.   In the 1930 census the two children of Mary and Dominic were living with their grandmother in Newark.    Also indicated was the death of Dominic in about 1975.   My theory is now he was unable to care for the children and Mary Naughton raised them.   But why, did the two families move to NJ, was Mary Molloy sick and Mary Naughton move to take care of her daughter.

I sent an email to the woman who posted the information but have not heard back as of today.


The Naughtons have been difficult to find, at least for me.   Initially, all I knew was my great grandmother was Bridget Naughton and she had a identical twin.    That information was given to me by my father when we were discussing his family

It took me a few years to sort this mess out.  Erin, a cousin had  given me information on Bridgets sisters who were here in Pennsylvania.   I had only heard about the elusive twin, but  I did find the sisters Nora and Margaret, plus the elusive Katherine who was the twin.

My biggest help in finding them was when the death certificates for Pennsylvania were released.  I found Katherine and the biggest obstacle to finding her was the fact that she married Patrick Naughton, her maiden and married name were the same.  The death certificates listed a different female as the mother.  Plus I could not find the twin in the Irish Baptisms.

The difficulty in finding this family was the fact that Bridget and her husband, Thomas Dowd,  gave the incorrect birthdates when applying for their marriage license.  Was this intentional or a mistake?   I did find two people with the exact names and birthdates on Family Search, at this point in time I don't think I will find the answer to that question.  After resolving this matter I was able to find the correct parents for Bridget.

Sunday, March 27, 2016



I have been doing nothing much, or at least I did not think so.   Running out of ideas of things to write has been what I was doing.

In December I had written about Joanne,  Ellen Mortel’s mother, her last name is Condon.  Which I had suspected and now I know for sure.   A subscription to ROOTS IRELAND was another thing I purchased, and I tried it for one month.  Needless to say I have been working over time with this site; printing, documenting and researching.

One of my biggest brick walls in my Irish research has been the O’Rourke Family,  I have been searching high and low for Denis O’Rourke and his wife Mary Griffith.  A fellow Blogger, Dara, of BLACK RAVEN GENEALOGY has been my mentor for searching Irish records.

She suggested using variants of the names, searching with the fathers name and children's name.   She came up with Dionysius, instead of Denis.   Well low and behold, that is where Denis was hiding, with his Latin Name, in the parish of Effin and Gamenderk in County Limerick.  Hiding with him was his wife Maria (Mary) Griffin, plus Daniel, Patrick, James, Miriam (Mary), and Bridget.  There was also a brother John (the eldest child), but the records started in 1843 and a number of the first pages were unreadable. 

It seems the biggest problem with the records is the transcriptions,  I found the microfilm of the National Library of Ireland to be the clearest’; they also have a mechanism to enlarge the pages, lighten or darken and  reserve an image.   With the writing larger it is easier to read.

Today I was going through the entire roll of microfilm and what did I find but my great great grandparents, Patrick Mortel and Joanne Condon, at the baptism of their daughter, Ellen Mortel, my great grandmother and Patricks’ future wife.

This leads me to believe that they had known each other, and perhaps Patrick came first to the USA and sent for Ellen.   They married in Boston MA in 1874.