Friday, March 25, 2011

Owen James McDonnell Leaves for War

Do you remember the old game with two drawings, usually comic book style, and you had to find the changes that had been made from one to the other.  Well, recently I played that game again, but this time with a family photo.  On my first family research trip recounted here the family photo below was shared by my double cousin Mary Margaret.  The event was a family get together to say goodbye to her father, Owen James McDonnell. He had enlisted and was leaving for the War.  Of course, the family wanted wish him Godspeed  so everyone could give him a hug and tell him to be careful.  This photograph records that day.

At first the only person I recognized was the older lady in the dark dress and the flower hat - that was DaDa Mae, my gr. grandmother.  No one else looked familiar, so I asked  Mary Margaret who she could identify?  Instantly she pointed from one to the other and rattled off names, pausing to think at some she didn't know.  I tried to write down the names and identify their location in the photo, but it was a dismal failure.  I needed to find another method. . .

Then I had an inspiration. . . I would print out the photo as large as possible (the original was only 2x4) and ask Mary to write the names on it drawing arrows to each person.  And so she did.  As you can tell, there are still quite a few to still identify by the question mark on their chest or forehead. 

Then I asked, "If your father was going to war, where was your mother when this was taken?"  Why of course. . . she took the photo! 
When I returned home, I put the photo away with others and scanned the new one with all the names to send to my brother.
Months passed.  Then one day, I stopped as I walked through my dining room and for the first time noticed the little 2x4 black and white photo in a back section (barely seen here in a previous post) of "The Pan". Funny, I had never noticed it before.  I paused, thinking of Mary Margaret and pulled it out.  Too bad his wife, wasn't in the photo, I thought.  Then it hit me. . . .  something is wrong with this photo!  Owen James's wife is in this photo.  I ran to my computer to pull up the original and the scan with names.  Sure enough, this was a different photo, and this one had Mary Margaret's mother in it.  As I began to look at the photo more carefully and compare it to the first one I had, I noticed other differences.  A young girl was standing in one and seated in another, some faces are hidden in one and visible in another, some have smiles when before they were somber.  Neither picture is perfect for everyone, but together they are perfect.

Isn't there a commercial like this?  I believe the photo below is the second "take" based on the squirming child who is much calmer in the photo above. Could there be other slightly different photographs from this same family get together?

How many differences can you spot? 

Do you know who took the second photo?

Please note:  If you are a family member who is pictured here and you object to this posting, let me know. and I will remove it immediately.  On the other hand, if you can help identify anyone in this photo, that has a ? on them, I would be very grateful. Corrections are welcome and encouraged.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday - Euphemia S. & Annie J. Grasley

Annie J
Died July 15, 1876
Aged 12 yrs 1 Mo 28 dys
Euphemia S.
Died March 31, 1883
Aged 7 Yrs 4 Mo 7D

Children of
Peter & Elizabeth Grasley

In vain dear friends around their bed
Nursed tenderly Their forms of clay
In vain were tears of sorrow shed
The angels called our girls away

This week I heard from a new Allen cousin.  To honor that new connection I thought I would post a tombstone from my visit to Canada in the summer of 2009.  This is located at the same Old Stone Church in Eramosa Twp. Wellington County, Ontario, Canada as my 3x gr. grandparents, James Bush Allen (Sr.) and his wife Anna Lyman

I want to us to remember the young children who had their lives cut so short.  This is the tombstone of two daughters of my 3x great aunt, Elizabeth Allen Grasley and her husband Peter Grasley. Elizabeth, known as Betsy, was the sister of James B. Allen from the ladder photo.

From left:  Unknown dog, Peter Grasley, & wife Elizabeth (Betsy) Allen.  Photo courtesy of cousin Eileen Q.
Edited to include the word friends in the epitaph after it was deciphered by The Family Tree Sleuth - many thanks!  I had zoomed way in and still couldn't make it out. 

Another edit thanks to cousin Kathy who was with me at the cemetery when I took the above tombstone photo. - The last two lines were adjusted, and I think it is now correct!  Thank you to everyone for their help.  Together, we got it right!

Friday, March 18, 2011

An Unusual Two Blog Intersection

It has been a busy week.  It was the end of the grading period, and I have been drowning in tests and projects to grade as well as staying until 5:30 to help students finish said projects.  It is interesting that when students get a good grade, they show everyone, saying " Yea, I got a. . . .", but when the grade is lower than they want, they pout and say "She gave me a. . . "  Ahhh, teflon kids.

Tonight I tried relaxing by trolling genealogy blogs but quickly became frustrated because I always want to comment. Unfortunately, the stars don't seem to be in alignment tonight or else the full moon is interfering , but whatever, the cause I can't comment on any blogs.

Two blogs seemed to speak to me.  First, the Genea-Quilters blog announced that tomorrow is National Quilting Day.  Since I was a quilter long before I was a family historian,  I am very aware that there is a National Quilting Day, but I didn't realize that it was tomorrow.  My mind was preoccupied with attending the South Bend Area genealogy fair tomorrow at the Mishawaka, IN public library and printing off the $1 discount coupon.  The second blog to catch my attention was the Allen County Public Library blog which had a post about "Researching and Documenting Work Animals and Pets".

Now this was inspirational!  I could pay homage to both suggestions with a single family photo - well, maybe two.  So in honor of National Quilting Day and documenting family pets . . .

This is an applique quilt I made of my daughter's beloved childhood cat, Calamity Jane.  Calamity would sleep on the foot of her bed every night and curl up next to her when she read.  Calamity was ill named as she was exceedingly shy and would jump at every loud noise.  She would hide from the family in closets, under beds and would only tolerate an occasional pet, but she loved my daughter beyond measure.  Calamity was a celebrity cat as she had been on a cover of People magazine as a kitten. Then one day after many years Calamity became ill, and we had taken her to the vet several times.  She wasn't doing well, and we discussed whether we would have to put her to sleep.  None of us wanted to make that decision, and my daughter would not give up hope. As we were driving down to visit my son at college, my daughter called.  Calamity was having trouble breathing. She asked me what she should do, and I felt so helpless as I heard the pain in my daughter's voice as Calamity died in her arms.  I still cry when I think of this.  I was too far away to even put my arm around my daughter when she needed it.

This is the original photo I used as a basis for the quilt. It really captures Calamity's shy personality.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Ponderings on Blog Posts

Recently I have been thinking about what makes an individual want to follow or read the blog of an unrelated person.  I read several and love reading about these other families.  Why? What makes a good blog post?  What is the goal of the blogger?  These thoughts may be the fault a result of the many blog posts about the recent Roots Tech conference and how bloggers were treated to special areas and some were asked to try some of the new products.  The idea of "growing" your blog and increasing readership or making money by writing a blog seems to be the prevailing attitude..  My response to the last concept was, "Really?. . . . You can make money at this!"  Does everyone aspire to increase readership or become a professional blogger?

While I don't regularly read more than a dozen blogs due to time constraints and an aversion to having more than  60 or so  posts "sitting" in my Google Reader, I do read a variety of blogs and I troll a lot.  I read blogs about cemeteries, informational blogs, opinion blogs, but the largest group is the personal history blogs. Why do I (and many other family historians) find reading about the families of complete strangers so compelling that I want to be notified when they post, comment when the stars align and my computer will let me, and occasionally refer others to their post or blog.  My family can be bored to tears when I try to tell them about their gr. grandmother, and a family heirloom sitting in our house,  but when I post about it complete with multiple close-up photos, I get comments!

I love the information, connections, and links I get from some posts, and I always love interesting family photos.  I analyze how others have their blogs laid out and lament that I don't have the knowledge to add some of the snazzy elements they have. Is there a webinar for advanced beginner bloggers?  The blogging community is incredibly generous with their time and advice - like the time I thought I lost the blog post I spent 3 hrs. writing as well as ALL of my previous posts.  Within moments of posting a scream for help, I had multiple suggestions.  In the end it was operator error (Translation: sheer stupidity on my part).

What blows me away, blog after blog is the compelling, fascinating, insightful, emotional, funny, and all round outstanding writing.  I feel so much of a connection that while reading, I often occasionally talk to my computer screen as if the bloggers are in my home with me, sharing their discoveries, and opinions. My favorite blogs are comfortable. . . but I don't have to worry about whether my house is picked up or my hair is combed when I ask them in.

Through blogging, I have discovered that I love to write whether anyone reads it or not (but, of course. it is fun when they do).  I don't ever want to make a dime off of it. The only pressure to post is within me, and  I like it that way.  My father used to say I was vaccinated with a phonograph needle to describe my chatty nature.  That statement should really date me since we no longer get smallpox vaccinations, and my children barely remember phonographs.  I just know that writing this blog is fun.

What do you like best about the blogs you read? What brings you back to your favorites?  Why are some so memorable?  Why do you blog?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Thank You Lisa. . . .

  I am honored that Lisa of The Faces of My Family has bestowed on me the One Lovely Blog Award. Thank you Lisa for this day brightener.  I will do my best to pass it on, and this may be difficult since I try to limit my blog reading so I have some time to sleep.  I may just need to adapt this to blogs I think are lovely - new to me or not!  I think that is the spirit of the award. . . .

The rules of acceptance are :

1. Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who granted the award and their blog link.
2. Pass the award on to 15 other blogs that you've newly discovered.
3. Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

Lovely blogs that hope you will visit and enjoy as I do

8.  Finding Eliza  and her wonderful companion site  My Cleages and Reeds

Sunday, March 13, 2011

What Ever Happened to Emma Paulson?

It was May 13, 1891 and my gr-gr. grandmother, Margaret Logan ran a boarding house at 248 Fulton Street with her second husband, James Logan.  Ten years earlier she had lost her five year old son, Jeremiah, to the diphtheria epidemic.  In 1891 she had two sons, twenty year old John J. and Edward P, named after his father, age sixteen.  Whether she had lost any other children at this point, I don't know, but by 1900 only two of her seven children survived.  Were any of those children with James Logan?  That is also unknown.  What I do know is that she was an exceedingly kind woman thanks to an article published in the Chicago Daily Tribune, May 14, 1891 titled "Pursued By Grinding Poverty".

According to the paper, Mrs. Emma Paulson, a Swedish immigrant, had been deserted by her husband six months earlier and was found unconscious in the street in front of the boarding house around 2:00 a.m.  A patrol wagon was summoned, and she was lifted into it with the intent of taking her to the DesPlaines Street Police Station.  In the wagon, Mrs. Paulson complained of great pain, and so they started toward the County Hospital instead, but before they arrived she gave birth to a child.

Mrs. Margaret Logan then told the heartbreaking story of Mrs. Paulson's troubles.  It seems that her husband was a dissipated man who emigrated from Sweden five years earlier with the help of friends who hoped it would help him reform. Mrs. Paulson then followed her husband to Chicago, but their three children, aged 11, 12, and 13, remained in Sweden on the advice of family and friends.  For a time Mr. and Mrs. Paulson lived comfortably, but  soon her husband began drinking again, and from that time forward  Mrs. Paulson's life had been one of almost continual hardship and privation.  Two and a half years earlier a little boy was born to them,  and the father took good care of them for a short time.

Six months earlier he disappeared, leaving his wife penniless and ill.  She was sent to the County Poorhouse.  Mrs Logan, hearing of her condition, brought her to her home and nursed her back to tolerable health then aided her to begin housekeeping in two small rooms in the rear of a saloon on Fulton Street near Peoria. Here Mrs. Paulson did washing and housework for neighbors when her health would permit and when the work was available.  The rent was only $6 per month for the two rooms, but she was unable to pay even that small amount, and the last month's rent was paid by Mrs. Logan.  She was in arrears for one week's rent and the owner of the building put her out and piled her meager belongings on the pavement.

Mrs. Logan came to her relief once more, taking Mrs. Paulson and her little boy into her home.  Last night, while delirious, she wandered out into the streets where she was found by the police.

Here the newspaper article ends, but with so many questions unanswered. . . . 

   How did Margaret Logan hear about Mrs. Paulson in the first place? What happened to her little boy?  I assume he stayed with Mrs. Logan that night.  Did her baby, born in the patrol wagon, survive?  Did her husband ever return - did she really want him to?  Did she have to return to the County Poorhouse? Does she have any descendants who might be interested in family history?
This is a story that makes me feel proud to be related to Mrs. Margaret Logan, but I still want to know . . .  

What ever happened to Emma Paulson?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Jeremiah is Found . . . Thanks to a 130 year old Mistake!

In my quest to identify the other five siblings of my gr. grandfather, Edward P. Kennelly, Sr., I have found two brothers.
I found Michael first because he was the easiest. He is listed on the 1870 census with his parents as shown in the image below.  But,(Insert deep sigh! ).....beyond that I have no information.  I don't know when he died, or where he is buried.  I have a lot to still discover, but he has a name.

Using this as a starting point, I started sifting through my existing research trying to see if there were any clues.  I found the cemetery records that were given to me by the kind man at the Calvary Cemetery office.  One is for the block of graves where I found my g-g-grandmother and the mother of the children I seek, Margaret Kennelly Logan.  The other is a block of graves located on the opposite side of the cemetery which includes, based upon the name and death date of 1878, the grave of Edward Kennelly, my g-g-grandfather and father of the children. There are two Michaels  listed on this record but neither of them are identified as a child or a "small". Using these dates, I searched the online databases of the Illinois Archives but so far no luck. I will persist but since there are enough spelling variations of Kennelly to fill a book, it may take awhile. I am hopeful, one will be my gr. grandfather's brother. Of course, there are other options on this record also. . .Catharine. . . Eugene. . . James. . . John. . . William. . . Ellen and Dorah.  None are listed as children.

Don't ask about the left leg thing - I have no idea -yet.

For the next discovery I have to thank a clerk who made a mistake over 130 years ago.  
I turned my attention to the other record, but there is only one Kennelly that I cannot identify - Jeremiah.  Hmmm. . . . he is the earliest person in this block, and he was originally buried in another location then moved here. This needs investigation.
Again I go to the Illinois Archives but, as before, no luck.  Dang!  I needed a break.
Since I was looking at their names again, I figured I might as well order the death certificates for John and Mary Kennelly and find out what caused their deaths.  I had the record number from the Illinois Archives and Cynthia at Genlighten was cheaper than a tank of gas to Chicago and definitely quicker. At the last minute, I decided to throw Jeremiah in to see if she could locate him.  I had no record number, but I told her the parent's names and the date of death.  She wrote back explaining that death certificates this early rarely included the parent's names.  There was little identifying information other than occasionally the address.  Okay, I knew it was a long shot, then she found this. . .

No doubt about it.  This is MY Jeremiah Kennelly.  The last name that was first listed was Logan and then scratched out with Kennelly added.  By this time the widow Margaret Kennelly had remarried James Logan.  I'm sure the clerk assumed the last name of five year old Jeremiah was the same as his mother's but when she corrected him it was like a "message in a bottle" just waiting  for me to find it.  

There was a diphtheria epidemic in Chicago during the 1880's.  Poor little Jeremiah was one of the victims.  How quickly it happened, only one week.  I wonder, did any of his brothers or sisters die of the same disease?  How does a mother cope with such tragedy and still go on? 

Two down and three to go. . . . I will find them all.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Fitting the Pieces Together

Edward P. Kennelly Sr. and daughter

The first time I heard the name Logan used as a last name for my Great Grandfather Kennelly's mother was during our visit with my mother's first cousin. When I asked if she knew anything about her, the response was, "Oh, you mean Grandma Logan."  Since family names and relationships were swirling in my head at that moment, my reaction was to just stand there staring blankly for a while a moment until the little grey cells starting working, and I replied, "Logan?  . . .   Why was her last name Logan?" Then quickly and at the same time we both said, "She remarried!"  I couldn't stop smiling for hours.

As I pursued this new lead, my first stop was back to Ancestry and a re-search of the census records.  There I found this entry in the 1900 census for Chicago.  I am sure that I must have seen this earlier, but dismissed it as not my family for several reasons. First the name Logan which was unknown to me at that time, secondly, it lists the Logans as being married for 32 years which would also eliminate them.  However, a John Kennellary is listed as their son.  Then why was his name Kennellary.  It also states that Margaret has two living children, but only John is listed here.  Could my gr.grandfather be the other?  My new lead made me realize the errors in the census information.  But, everyone told me that Grandpa Kennelly had no brother's or sisters.  This census would mean that he did indeed have an older brother as well as five other siblings who died before 1900.

Click to enlarge and see detail

While I was at Ancestry browsing around for Margaret Logan, I stumbled across this entry in the Ancestry database of Chicago Irish Families, 1875-1925

White, Lizzie, nee O'Connor, aged 25 yrs., native of Listowel, Co. Kerry, wife of Hugh, sister of Mary, Bridget O'Connor, and Mrs. P.C. Ryan, niece of Mrs. Margaret Logan, Jerry, William and Morris O'Connor. Funeral from her aunt's resid., 439 Carroll ave. to St. Stephen's Church to Calvary -July 20, 1899 (The Chicago Daily News , 1878-1902, funeral notices)

 Wait a minute! That name sounds familiar. I need to check that census record again.  Sure enough, listed among the boarders on Carroll Ave. and below the section above was the following:

I was right.  There was a Lizzie . . .  but the obituary is for the mother of the Lizzie in this census. It shows the father Hugh White as a widower. Putting this information together expands the family relationships.  STOP. . . .I am getting sidetracked again.  

I need to stay focused on researching John J. Kennelly.  My next step was the Historical Chicago Tribune available on the internet through my local library.  With a cup of caffeine at my side and my computer glasses perched on the end of my nose I found:

Chicago Tribune (IL)

John J. Kennelly, beloved husband of Mamie Kenneily, nee Dilion, father of James, son of Margaret
Logan, brother of Edward Kanneliy. Funeral Sunday, a.m., from the Hursen funeral chapel, 2346 W. Madison-st. Burial at Calvary cemetery.

Now we're cooking - this hooked everyone together - assuming that "Edward Kanneliy" was again a misspelling.  Couldn't they have just copied the spelling of the name of the deceased?? This also gives me the maiden name of John J.'s wife.  Do you suppose that might be a misspelling also.

The Illinois Archives has a super online search, and I quickly found the correct death record for John J. Kennelly - listed as JJ Kennelly.  I needed to see his death certificate to be sure.  Instead of using the Cook County I contacted Cynthia at Genlighten or Chicago Genealogy.  I have been delighted with her personal service, outstanding quality and reasonable price.  For $5.00 I quickly received his death certificate.

 Now there is no doubt.  My gr. grandfather, Edward P. Kennelly, living at 2338 W. Washington Blvd. gave the information for the death certificate of his older brother, so this now becomes a primary resource for his parents.  According to the death certificate John J. died of tuberculosis at Cook County Hospital in 1913 and is buried at Calvary cemetery.

Why didn't his wife give the information?  Possibly too grief stricken?  It's a possibility, but she died 18 months later also of tuberculosis, but luckily she was able to die at home.

Imagine my surprise when I went looking for the grave of my aunt Margel and found all of them together on the same headstone. 

So our family history research is rarely a straight path, like on the television show, but more like a jigsaw puzzle. To see where we are in a puzzle we sometimes have to fit several pieces together first.  The leads from the memory of family members, online research, official documents, newpapers, and cemetery visits come together to give a snapshot of our ancestors.

 Now I need to find out the names of the other five children and how they died. I don't want them to be forgotten. Oh yes, there is also the O'Connors to sort out.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday. . . . James Bush Allen Sr.

  In Memory of .
James B Allen 
who died
May 11,1887
Age 73 years
1 mo 13 dys
Notation at bottom: Hamilton & Clark           Guelph

This is the tombstone of my g-g-g-grandfather James Bush Allen in the cemetery of the Old Stone Church, Eramosa Twp. Ontario, Canada.  He was born 23 Mar 1814 in Chipping Warden, Northamptonshire, England.   He married Anna Lyman 27 Nov 1836 in Penfield, New York.  They had thirteen children.  Several of them are buried in this same cemetery. 

Postscript:  James Bush Allen is the father of the old man with the white beard from several past posts including here, here, and here