Sunday, July 29, 2018


As luck would have it I have found the details of the marriage record.   It lists my Aunt and her husband.  The parents fit the information I have already researched and am sure it is correct.  The only things I did not know was that Nora was a dressmaker and Thomas indicated that he was born in Pennsylvania.   I wonder why he gave that place as a place of birth when it was Ireland?  They were indeed married in Lackawanna NY, but why?

On to the next mystery..


Monday, May 28, 2018


For a number of years I have searched for the marriage of my Great Aunt Nora Dowd and her husband Thomas J O'Donnell.  Norah Dowd lived in North Braddock as well has her husband Thomas .    Their first son Thomas J O'Donnell was born in November of 1916 and that gave me a place to start my search.

I initially searched the marriage license application for Allegheny County Pennsylvania for the years 1915-1916,    Nothing was there, so the next place was the Archives of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, still nothing but in the year 1916 but the records were incomplete for St. Thomas RC Church in Braddock PA

My search led me to West Virginia and Ohio for possibly an elopement, none found.   Where in the world had they gotten married?  Nora was born in North Braddock Pennsylvania and Thomas was born in Ireland so I had surmised that they got married in the United States.

Much to my recent surprise a shaking leaf appears on Nora's name on my Ancestry Family Tree.  On 13 January 1916, in Lackawanna NY and the spouse was Thomas J O'Donnell

The next her husband,

There was no other information about this marriage that I had found so far.  I need to find more records.   At the time I was wondering if this was my couple and what were the chances they got married in New York.  Initially I didn't think this would be my Aunt and Uncle.   I have yet to find where the application is kept and what information it contains.

I remembered that I had found Nora Dowd's  Aunt Margaret in the 1915 New York Census and they were living Lackawanna NY.   Now my theory is that Nora and Thomas went to visit her Aunt Margaret and got married there.   I have to search NY records and see if the marriage records are available from the nearest Catholic Church.

Hopefully the mystery will be solved.  It looks like the marriage date was 13 January 1915 and the birth of their first child was ten months later.

Saturday, January 20, 2018


From the Irish Catholic Baptism records I knew my great grandmother, Bridget Naughton Dowd, had quite a few siblings.  Their names and information has been a long time coming after a lot of research and serendipitous  findings. 

I found a sister, Ann Naughton, who was Baptized 4 July 1862.  Her parents were Thomas Naughton and Norah Molloy. None of the cousins, of which  I have come in contact, ever mentioned Ann.

Until a new cousin contacted me, via DNA match on Ancestry.   We live in the same county and share about 45 cm.   She had just begun researching and since her mother was adopted I focused on her dad's line.   None of the names were familiar to me so I went to her female ancestors.

I came across a woman Mary O'Donnell with father named Coleman, O'Donnell and mother unknown.   I was then back to my usual search sites and on Family Search I came across a marriage for Coleman O'Donnell and Anne Norton.

They both lived in the same town as the rest of the Naughton siblings and Norton is an AKA for Naughton.      In a  search of the PITTSBURGH POST GAZETTE ARCHIVES  I found an news story that Coleman O'Donnell had died in a railway accident in July 1895.

Next, I searched for Anne O'Donnell in the 1900 and 1910 census, but could not find her anywhere.  But after searching I came across what I believe to be her Death Certificate.

Although the father listed was Patrick Naughton, I believe this to be the sister of my great grandmother Bridget.   Patrick Naughton was a brother of Anne and by this time he had moved back to Ireland to claim the family farm.  He was the oldest son,

She died at the Allegheny County Home, which also was a mental hospital and TB sanitarium known as Woodville.   Cause of death appears to be a stroke.

 I found an obit from the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, which I believe is hers.   Mrs Frances McCague was her cousin Margaret Naughton, daughter of her Uncle Coleman Naughton, her fathers brother.    Why are not the names of her children or siblings listed?  Was she estranged because of her time in the "Home."

She had four children Sarah, Mary, Joseph Leo and Thomas, all who would have been adults at the time.   Mental illness has a huge stigma now as well as then.   I am 99% sure of this relationship because of a DNA match of a MS, who had a 45 cm. match with me.