Tuesday, September 12, 2017


I have been doing some housekeeping on my tree.   Things like finding new hits and filling in spaces that are blank.  When I find an empty date or other information I research again.

I was working on my father (Thomas Dowd) side and I noticed that one of my grandmothers (Gertrude O'Rourke Dowd Graham) step daughters had no information except her year of birth.   My grandmother had told me about them, who they had married and children...but, she never mentioned Rose.

Gertrude's first husband (my grandfather) had died in 1921; leaving her with two small boys.    She moved back with her family and helped at home and did some house cleaning.    I do not know when, where or how she met Peter Patrick Graham but they got married 8 May 1929, in St. Coleman RC Church in Turtle Creek, PA.

I was updating and I saw Rose C Graham born in 1911.   I checked the 1920 census and did a search but could not find anything other than that census.     I saw Rose on the census and she was 9 years old and not attending school.    Buy the 1930 census the other siblings were living with my grandmother, Catherine, Dorothy, William and Clara Louise.   I thought Rose probably married, but no records, no Family Trees no Social Security Index either.

So I searched for the Death Certificate and here is what I found

Rose had been institutionalized at Polk State School in Venango County PA.   It was a school for people with intellectual disabilities.  There was no information of relatives but the place of burial was listed as Allegheny County PA.   That is where she had been born and lived.   Her date of death was 14 January 1928 and burial was 18 January 1928.

Her mother, Catherine Burke had died in 1925 and I am thinking that the husband could not take care of her and her siblings would have been too small, so she was admitted to Polk School.    I will see if I can find some records, but in Pennsylvania I know those records are sealed.

Now I must search for where she is buried.

Sunday, June 18, 2017


 One day, while perusing Ancestry.com, I came upon a possible link for a Mary Dornnes, in the New Jersey 1930 census.   Along with the mother Mary age 67, were her daughters Margaret age 40,  Sadie age 37 and Josephine age 30.  Then came a surprise, also listed were Mary's grandchildren, Ida 22, and Emmett age 20.  The address was 14 Wakeman Avenue, Newark, New Jersey.

I then looked in the 1920 census and eventually in the 1940 census.  In 1920 there was Mary Naughton Downs and her three daughters living on 12 Wakeman Avenue Newark New Jersey.  In the 1940 census, Mary Downes, was living at 150-152 Broad Street, Newark, New Jersey  and her granddaughter Ida, who was a school teacher, was living there also.

My unanswered question was, why did they move to New Jersey?   My research had stalled to a snails pace.  This spring I was research on Family Search and I found another person researching this line.  I contacted her and from there I met a cousin who is descended from my great grandmother's sister Mary Naughton.

Soon we were in touch and exchanging information.   As the story goes Dominick Molloy moved the family to New Jersey to start a Tavern business in Newark with his brother Martin.   Mary Naughton moved to help take care of the children and said that living above a tavern was no place to raise children.   Business was good until 1920 and the Era of Prohibition, they lost everything and at some point in time moved in with Mary Naughton and her daughters.  I found that tidbit of information in the Newark City Directories.

Mary and Dominick had a son, Brendan, who was quite sickly and died at a young age. Shortly thereafter Dominick Molloy died in 1925 and his wife Mary Molloy the next year. in 1926.   I have yet to discover the cause of their deaths.  But I do know that they are buried in Holy Cross Cemetery. Bergen County New Jersey.

The place of burial for Mary Naughton, who died 9 March 1944 is in St. Mary Cemetery, Pittsburgh.   Also buried there is her husband Michael Downs, and daughters Margaret, Hannah and Sadie.  Rebecca, who died as an infant may be buried there too.

Michael Downs and Mary Naughton Downs had the following children;  Mary Downs Molloy 1884-1926, Hannah 1885-1901, Annie 1887- before 1906,  Margaret 1889-1963,  Catherine 1891- before 1906,  Sarah (Sadie) 1892-1965, Rebecca 1895-1895, and Josephine 1896-1991,

The burial place for Catherine, Annie and Josephine are unknown at this time.   I would surmise that the deaths of Catherine and Annie as children would indicate they are buried in Allegheny County PA and Josephine in New Jersey.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017


For quite a few years I have tried to figure out what happened to my great grandmother's  (Bridget Naughton Dowd) sister (Mary Naughton Downs).   Mary was a bit of an enigma.  I know she was married in 1882 and she and her husband Michael Downs had six daughters.

I learned this information from the church records from the Diocese of Pittsburgh Archives, Saint Thomas RC Church in Braddock PA.   Then the couple disappeared, and left me in a lurch.   Ancestry published the PA Death Certificates and none of them were there.  But, Pennsylvania did not start recording deaths until 1906.   Therefore, the missing must have been gone before then, or so I had surmised.  The last child of Michael and Mary Downs was born in 1896, so that gave me a window of 10  to search for a death.

By chance I found a will for Michael written in 1898, and it gave the date of death as 26 March 1898, in North Braddock PA.    In his will he mentioned his five children, not named.  It is interesting that Allegheny County had death records but not any of the Downs family was listed in them.

I have not found Mary in the 1900 census, but she was a sponsor for the Baptism of her nephew, Richard Dowd on 23 December 1900.   An interesting side note is there was a Marie McCoskey who served as sponsor for a niece, Theresa on 7 October 1906.   I have everyone of the sponsors identified,  could this Maria be a remarried Maria Naughton Downes?

In the 1910 census she is listed as Mary Downes, and living with her four daughters in North Braddock PA. Her oldest daughter Mary, her son in law Dominick Molloy and two grandchildren, and daughters Margaret, Josephine and Sadie.  There were  also ten boarders, none of which I have yet found to be relatives.  She took in boarders to make ends meet.

Then, again, the family disappears....

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.

Well, I have found the answer to this dilemma.  As it turned out I did find a death records for James O'Rourke, with wife named Bridget.   This James is not the brother of Patrick, because the parents names are not Denis O'Rourke and Mary Griffin.   

I think James was a relative of Patrick but not a brother, could have been a cousin.   I have been searching for James O'Rourke in Boston, but no luck there at this time.

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.