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.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014



I am convinced or at least I theorize, that James Coleman is the father of Thomas “father”  Coleman, they would be the ancestors of my husbands 2x great grandfather Michael Coleman.

He is now listed on FIND A GRAVE.   In the Civil War Pension, of his son William Thomas, the  deposition lists him as “father 1780-1847.”    He meets all the criteria, no other Thomas Coleman was found with the age in those years.   Another thing about him in the census is he was about eleven years older than his wife “mother 1789-1831.”  The second Thomas Coleman I found had a wife closer in age to him.

Georgie Kratzer Allen had written a book: The  Coleman Brothers Revolutionary War Militiamen of Pennsylvania and (West) Virginia.  He lists in great detail the lines of the brothers Thomas Coleman and Michael Coleman, and also James who is just an after thought with his name and blank spots where his descendants are listed.

I wondered about that for a long time since none of my Coleman Family fit into either lines.  James is looking good as the grandfather, the reason there was no information, as I found out, is there is virtually no documentation  about him.

James has a Revolutionary War Pension file, but it is empty.  My theory is he died young, but why did his wife not file for one?  I have not found land records, he rented, nor have I found a will.

In the same deposition mentioned above it states that the older children of Michael were Baptized by a circuit rider preacher, Reverend Lee.   So on to see if those Methodist records could be found, what I gleaned was that  records of the early church could be stored at Lycoming College, Williamsport PA.  

I heard from the Archivist and found that the circuit riders did not have a home nor kept records of the marriages and baptisms.  He said that they just rode around the territory and stayed where they could including sleeping in the cold outdoors and weathering the seasons and predators. So, I am still back at the beginning on finding James Coleman.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


Has this happened to you?  At our local Gene meeting this morning, one of the people asked this question; have you ever had someone found out what you were researching and then say  "Give me everything you have?"

That really takes a lot of nerve to expect someone to send them all of your research.   How would you handle this demand?

We all know that some of our research is incomplete and not proven and we do not want anything erroneous to go out because in a short period of time it will appear on the WWW, errors and all, and at some point in time it will come back to bite you.

My husband suggested to research is not done yet.  Another person said to ask what exactly they were looking for.

 I have shared some of my information with distant cousins or people searching the same lines.  So far they have all wanted to know where I got the information (I love those people) and sometimes what are my thoughts on the same family lines and I will willing share because they are also descendants of the same lines.
But I have no intention on sending you a GEDCOM to give you all I have.

Friday, July 25, 2014


The week I attended the  GRIP meeting, it was held at LAROCHE COLLEGE which is located in the Northern Suburbs of Pittsburgh.    I was enrolled in Josh Taylor's class:


This was a great and intense class; we received so much instruction and hand outs with so many categories and links.  The very first was how to use Keywords in your searches, this was so valuable because he talked about the Boolean system on finding things.  What I was not familiar with was using the work NOT in your search,  this was like an epiphany moment and I think it will be very useful.

The example was if you were searching Washington then you would put:  NOT George NOT D.C. NOT state.   That should eliminate all those sites in your search.  I have to play with my newly acquired knowledge and see what I may find.  Josh was a great teacher and now my brain is full.

Saturday, June 28, 2014


With the release of the PA Death Certificates on, I found some things I had never considered.  I was looking for information on my husbands  2x Great grandparents.  They just seem to have disappeared off the face of the earth.   With the possibility they may have lived to an advanced as I entered their names, Charles Stephens and Hannah Lonsdale Stephens.

The last time I found the couple is in the 1880 census living in Allegheny City, Allegheny County in Pennsylvania.   In 1882 was the last time Charles was in the City Directory in the same city.  Where did they go?  But I feel that in the eighteen years between 1882 and 1900 they have probably have died.

I did  not found Charles and Hannah but I did find the death certificates of four out of five siblings of Robert Stephens.   The surprising thing was that three were his sisters.   They woman had married and all stayed in the Pittsburgh area, and two of them in the same neighborhood when they had been born.  I am working on their lines and so far have the names of the husbands.   I think I will go as far as the sisters children in working down the lines.  

How far do you research a line that is not a direct ancestor?   I am thinking that it will be far enough in case someone finds it and discovers that I have researched in England or perhaps someone who knew the married names and had no clue about their maiden names.

There are also a few people that I know died,  but can not find the death record,  the only thing I can imagine is that they went on a trip and died while away.  I need to find a good web site that has newspapers, but very few have the Pittsburgh newspapers in great number, or perhaps I really do not know how to search the papers very, probably the latter.