Thursday, December 8, 2011



With a few hours and lack of clients I also tried to sort out the names of the four deceased O’Rourke children of my great grandparents Patrick and Ellen Mortel O’Rourke.  

I knew of the daughter (Loretta “Gertrude”  O’Rourke b. May 1890) and the tale of Dennis O’Rourke (“drowned in river”)    I did find the death index of Loretta in the Allegheny County records.   My cousin send a picture of Dennis and I never found a death record for him, and the cemetery records are incomplete.

  Allegheny County did not keep records until about 1892 or 1893 and I estimated the time of death as August 1891 because that was when the cemetery lot was purchased.    Dennis would have been named after Patricks’ father, Denis O’Rourke who lived in Limerick, Ireland.

I decided to start at the beginning.  Looking for Baptism records at St. Thomas RC Church in Braddock PA.    Since Patrick and Ellen were married in 1874 I started looking in 1875.

I found Dennis (Dionysium O’Rourke)   I had to ask and was told this was Latin for Dennis.   Born 28 October 1875 and Baptized 1 November 1875.    Father, Patrick O’Rourke and mother Ellen Murtal, sponsors James O’Rourke and Maria Farrell.    James was Patricks’ brother.

On the same page and two entries later was another record.   Born 10 November 1875 was Joanne O’Rourke and Baptized 18 November 1875.   Father Patrick O’Rourke and Ellen Mortel with sponsors Martin and Winifred Otter.

These pages were the original entries, what just happened here, or rather in 1875?   It is highly unlikely that Ellen would give birth to two children twelve days apart. Who are the parents of one of the children?

Did they adopt a child as their own of some other family member to avoid a scandal?   The two could actually be raised as twins, that would have been no problem at all.     I have been thinking about all the possibilities and can not come up with a answer at all.

The Baptism record is probably the only record that I will ever find on these births.    Being the first born children I can honestly say that this will remain a mystery forever.

Any thoughts on this mystery please leave a comment, I have to consider every possibility.  

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