Tuesday, June 7, 2011


This is the elusive Great Uncle of mine,  Dennis O’Rourke.  He was the brother of my Grandmother, Gertrude O’Rourke.  She would speak of him and all I remember was that Dennis drowned in the river.    I do not think that Gertrude remembered him because she was born in 1892, I think all she knew was that he was her brother and he had died and was sorely missed by her parents.

Denis is the name of my great great grandfather, who would have been the younger Dennis grandfather.   I do not know when he was born or when he died.   I have not found any records of his existence except this picture and my grandmothers tales.

But my theory is Denis was born after his sister Ann O’Rourke (1875) and I think that is he would have been named after his grandfather and according to the Irish naming traditions.  I am thinking that he was somewhere between the ages of 11 and 16. 

My theory on his death was it was in August 1891 because that was the time that my great grandfather, Patrick O’Rourke bought the plot in Monongahela Cemetery ( Now All Saints or Braddock Catholic Cemetery) in North Braddock PA.    I can not imagine a poor person buying a cemetery lot if it was not needed. 

The Vital Records of Pennsylvania do not start until 1908 and the County of Allegheny kept records from about 1893 until about 1905, so I never found Dennis in the records.

The picture is from the collection of my cousin Joanne D.  She said that it was a copy of a large charcoal drawing that was held by her mother.   The large charcoal drawing has disintegrated, but we do have a copy of the lad.  My estimation of his age would be about 12 to 14 years of age.

Picture from the collection of my cousin Joanne D.

I decided to change the title of my post published on Tuesday and even though it is Thursday I think the title is appropriate.

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