Saturday, May 23, 2015


Since I had received the Civil War Pension records of Robert Stephens I have been wondering about his first family.   That came as a total surprise, or rather I had not considered that he may have been married before.

What was the surprise is that he had filed for divorce and never went through with it and then took up with a second woman,  who happens to be my husbands ancestor.  I was perusing the name of wife #1, Sarah Wright and found a great narrative about her and her children posted by one of her descendants on Find a Grave.   I wrote him a short email and asked him if he wanted to share information because I had it to share.

On her death certificate Sarah had indicated that she was a widow.   As far I  can see, it seems that Robert was dead to her because by that time he had four children to wife #2 Olive Bowser,  He was really excited to share information because Robert was a brick wall, that came tumbling down in short order.

He could not find the burial place or any other information about Robert,  I guess that was a major surprise and it would have been to me, I think none of the descendants of wife #1 knew about wife #2 at all.   He and I shared much information and at least we had a good time with information, gossip is interesting and sometimes unbelievable even one hundred and twenty years after the fact.

This will make great conversation among his side at the next family reunion.  I may be invited.

Friday, April 10, 2015



I have to get going on my research and writing.   I have been in the doldrums since winter.

I have to continue on my Naughton research, I have typed up a form to send to the Diocese of Pittsburgh to request records on the Naughton siblings, I just have to get it printed and out in the mail.

With the publication and release of the PA Death Certificates on Ancestry I have been spending a lot of time looking for and researching siblings of potential and real siblings and children of my family.   That record set becomes mesmerizing after a while.

A golden nugget of information that I found was the birth place of my great grandparents.  Johann Bartels was born in Celle and his wife Maria Korbach was born in a small town, Burgel which is located about 12 Km east of Jena, in Thuringen.   After searching Family Search I found a set of records for Burgel and I plan to send for a microfilmed version of this set.   I need to search to see if the Celle records are microfilmed.

Another find on my were at a German site,  I found a transcription of a Ortsfamillenbuch of Wedel, Schleswig-Holstein, it is located north of Hamburg.

What was listed was information on Johann Hinrich Frederich Schridde and his wife Anna Catherina Sophia Goetjens.  These are the names of my great great grandparents, my mothers paternal side.   But, my grandfather is not listed but there is a “blank” where he should be.   I am certain the transcription is my line, but I need the proof to add the additional information to my tree.

I have a lot of things to do and it should keep me busy for a while this spring and summer.

Monday, January 12, 2015



I knew my great grandparents came from County Galway, Bridget’s information from the LDS records and Thomas Dowd from his death certificate where it was indicated County Galway.   But his birthday was different from the one HE GAVE on his Marriage License application too.

Dowd Thomas DC 1930

One day I was perusing CONNERS GENEALOGY site and came across a transcription from Glinsk Parish in County Galway.  I found Thomas Dowd, with his sisters Mary, Norah and Catherine as well as his parents John Dowd/Doud and Catherine Fitzmorris, and a brother James.  The dates on his Death Certificate and the Baptism Registry match.   But, why did they give different date and why did both dates match existing people of the same name living in County Galway living at the same time?

My biggest problem was the lack of Bridget’s siblings, I had a few theories; perhaps their mother had died in childbirth with the twins and Thomas remarried.  This was my best because the death certificates yielded the parents of Thomas Naughton and Norah Malloy, sounded reasonable to me without any other information.

On Bridget’s Death Certificate her son Richard had entered Thomas Naughton and Norah Nee, where did he get that name?  I just did not know nor could I figure it out. Allegheny County or the Marriage Records from St. Thomas did not record the names of the parents.

The last of this puzzle is why I could not find Catherine Naughton or her death certificate and where was she because my dad remembered her and he was born in 1918 and he remembered her so he would have been school aged at this time. 

As the whole story ends it is because Catherine Naughton married a man named Patrick Naughton (no relation that I can find) and she was in the same town as all the others hiding in plain sight, as they say.

More on this saga as I find more information and on to change the people in my family tree…



It has been quite a while since I have written.   I have been reading how people are putting their research aside and “doing over”   The thought seems to be overwhelming but I only have been  researching since 2008 and I have about 1000 people in my tree, all of which should be there, or so I thought.

I had written a  post about my paternal great grandmother and why I could not find her twin in the records.   A fellow blogger, Dara of BLACK RAVEN GENEALOGY  found Bridget Naughton and her twin Catherine.  It appears that Dara (Thank You Dara) was correct.

How did I make this major mix up?   To start with I used the date of birth that Bridget had given on her marriage license application; I entered it on Family Search and amazingly I found her with the corresponding date of birth.  The parents were Thomas Naughton and Catherine Ward; so I was off to a good start; but the census records from 1900  to 1930 gave all various years of age.  This was puzzling but what I read this was not uncommon.  I also did not know she was a twin at this time because none of my cousins I had met did not know of this either.   A niggling problem was my father said his grandmother was a twin, and he could not tell them apart.   

When I received the records from the Archives of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, I gleaned the names of many women and a few of them were also Naughton’s.  Then I did another search of the records, this took a few months into a few years because of the new names I found.

With the Archives records  and Family I found many of the names and they were her sisters and sisters in law.  One of my cousins, we found each other online, gave me the names of a few of Bridget's’ sisters; Mary, Norah, Margaret and two brothers John and Dudley.

None of the birthdays matched Bridget’s and where was the twin?   I was on to other people in my tree, mainly her husband Thomas Dowd.   I used the date or birth from his marriage license application  and found him on Family Search, but none of his siblings.  I was not worrying because Irish Research is suppose to be difficult. 

Then just by chance I found the transcribed records of Glinsk Parish in Ireland….

Sunday, November 30, 2014



My great grandmother Bridget Naughton Dowd was an identical twin.  My father said he could not tell them apart.   My cousin, Erin O’Donnell send me this picture of them.


I do not know for certain, which is my great grandmother, Bridget Dowd.   The first mystery; I have a records of her birth on 25 March 1868 in Ireland with father of Thomas Naughton and mother Catherine Ward.  I have found no record for her twin, whom I have deduced with the name of Catherine.   I found a record of their older sister Mary Naughton, born 19 February 1865, with the same parents.    My question, one of many, where is Catherine’s birth listing and why is she not with Bridget.

After the Naughton girls I no longer find any other children with Catherine Ward as mother.   Did Catherine Ward die in childbirth?

On Bridget’s death certificate her father is Thomas Naughton and mother Nora Nee, is Nora Nee a stepmother?   There were a few other Naughton women who were sisters, Margaret and Norah with Thomas as their father.  

I have yet to find the twin Catherine, or have I?    While perusing the Death Certificates I came across a record for a married Katherine Naughton, which I had discarded before because she was married.   This Katherine had married a man named Patrick Naughton, Patrick had parents that were different than Katherine.

Naughton, Katherine DC

Her birth year is 1870, just off two years from Bridget, her father is Thomas Naughton but mother is Nora Mallay.  There seems to be a discrepancy of the mother all over records.  

What I need to do is send for the possible marriage record and records from the Baptism of their children.  That will be a start.

Saturday, November 29, 2014



I have been mulling over Denis O’Rourke for a long time.   My grandmother was the youngest and talked about her brother whom, she said, drowned in the river.

I found no record of him for the longest time and I found a Baptism Record in the Archives of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, St. Thomas RC Church Baptism book and I picture of him courtesy of my cousin Joanne Dougherty.


Denis O'Rourke picture


The interesting thing I found in the Baptism record was that his Baptism was records with date of birth 28 October 1875 and the names of his parents were my great grandparents Patrick O’Rourke and Ellen Mortel and sponsors were John O’Rourke and Marie ????

Denis O'Rourke Baptism

Now the mystery here is the following Baptism of Joanne O’Rourke, parents Patrick and Ellen O’Rourke with the sponsors Martin and Winifred Otter, and the date was on the same page as Denis and recorded birth as 8 November 1875.  

I did not find Denis living with Patrick and Ellen in the 1880 census.  My theory at this time is that Denis was the son of his brother John and perhaps John and the mother of Denis were not married at the time and Patrick and Ellen claimed him as their own in order to have the child Baptized. 

My only other clue to the drowning incident is the fact that in August 1892 Patrick purchased a cemetery lot in Braddock Catholic Cemetery.   Denis would have been about the age where he would be swimming in the river and it would have been summer at the time.    I do not think that Patrick, being poor, would not buy a cemetery plot if it was not needed.   

I checked with the cemetery and they are missing records for a ten year period occurring at the same time.   He is also not recorded in the Allegheny Death records for that period of time.

I never found a marriage for John O’Rourke and any woman but I did find his death certificate and he was listed as single.

John O'Rourke DC 25 May 1908

Another mystery I have found was a Baptism of Joseph Clarence O’Rourke in St. Colman RC Church, in Turtle Creek PA, which is the community next to East Pittsburgh, PA.   Patrick and Ellen (now in their late 50’s) were listed as parents to Joseph Clarence.

With the release of the Pennsylvania Death Certificates I found a Death Certificate for baby Joseph Clarence

Joseph Clarance O'Rourke DOD 14 Feb. 1908

Listed as his father was JR O’Rourke and Margaret Duffy of East Pittsburgh.  Is JR O’Rourke the same as John O'Rourke and the father of both Denis and Joseph?  I may never know the answer.

Sunday, November 2, 2014



Two weeks ago my daughter was on vacation and we took a two day trip to Central Pennsylvania; it was a genealogical fact finding mission.  The trip was only about 2 1/2 hours so it is an easy do again trip.  From the geological center of PA to any where else in the state is about that amount in driving time.

Not much was gleaned but we did have fun.   TYRONE HISTORICAL SOCIETY was the reason for the trip.   I have been searching for the Coleman and Saylor Families and the dates for them are the Colonial Era in Central PA. 

I did not find very much but we had about forty five minutes before the Historical Society opened so we went to see the land in which my daughters ancestors lived.   We took an exit east at Tyrone Pennsylvania and a few miles past the gap in the mountains we can up a vast valley that was essentially flat.   I regret not taking pictures but it was off and on rainy that day. 

After seeing the area I was amazed and thought no wonder they settled here because it was absolutely beautiful.   We then had a little side trip to SPRUCE CREEK PA which was on a  poorly maintained, windy, and very narrow road.  Somehow I think we did not go far enough to see where the actual settlement and there was no GPS access in this valley.  Emily thought it looked like a good place to have a horror movie.

It seems that the Coleman line settled here initially in their western migration.   I have read a few articles here and the trout fishing is suppose to be the best in the state.

After that failed mission the town of Warriors Mark was on our radar. We now had to climb Tussey or Bald Eagle Mountain (I am never sure about the names because it seems to be which old map you reading as to which mountain you are on)  Anyway, it is in the Allegheny Mountains which is part of the Appalachian chain.

Warriors Mark is a small town on the escarpment of the mountain.  The sign stated that the town was founded in 1768, that is a long time ago, while it was still the wilderness and part of William Pens' colony.  We did not really find anything here since I did not research the particulars and just took a spontaneous drive to get there.