Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Luck ‘O the Irish….Perhaps…

Finding Susan McKenna Hughes
I decided, like many other people, to take advantage of Ancestry’s free Irish records this weekend in honor of St. Patrick’s day.  I thought I’d see what I could find on my Irish 3x Great-Grandparents Patrick and Susan McKenna Hughes since I know they came from Ireland.

Frequently when we do genealogy we make a ‘guess’ as we start on our research journey because that is all we have at the time…a guess.  That is how I started this research, with a guess.  Hopefully, a good guess.

I use my guesses but always look for information to confirm or refute my guesses.  The more information I can find the more likely my guess is true.  Here are my guesses for this research:

I know from Sarah’s marriage license that her parents were listed as Patrick and Susan Hughes from Ireland.  (see post- Finding my Irish Roots-First Steps). 

I knew from a post I did several weeks ago about a family legend that my great-great-grandmother Sarah Hughes Rowan was believed to be a ‘cousin’ of Arch Bishop John Hughes (see post entitled-Hughes-Researching a Family Story, Part 1) that the Arch Bishop’s family was from Annalogham, Tyrone, Ireland so I took a guess that my Hughes side of the family probably came from County Tyrone also. 

I was able to find a marriage record for a Patrick and Susan Hughes in Clonfeacle Parish, County Tyrone, Ireland in 1846.  In that marriage record I noticed that one of their witnesses was an Ellen McKenna.  I decided to take a guess that she was probably Susan’s sister or relative at least.  (I also noticed that the male witness is not a Hughes.  Perhaps he was a friend of Patrick’s?  Is this where Patrick grew up or was this just Susan’s home town?  Research for another time.)
County Tyronne Ireland-highlighted

I knew the family was reported to be staunchly Roman Catholic.  (There is a family story that when Susan’s daughter Sarah married an Episcopalian/Protestant she was disowned by her mother.  Something I struggle to try and understand based on the religious beliefs of the times.  The family story is that when Sarah took her first child to see her mother Susan said through the door that she no longer had a daughter and wouldn’t even see her grandchild.)

I was able to look in Ancestry under Select Catholic Birth and Baptism Registers, 1763-1912.  I guessed that Susan was about 20 years old when she was married in 1846 making her birth about 1826 roughly.  I was able to find a Susan Helen McKenna (YEA) that was baptized on 2 January 1820 in the Parish of Moy/Clonfeacle, County Tyrone in Ireland.  This listed Susan’s father as Felix and her mother as Sarah (interesting the name of my great-great grandmother, Susan’s daughter.  That would make sense although Sarah is also a popular Irish name.)
Hughes Susan McKenna 1820 birth highlighted
(you can click on images to enlarge)

Then I looked for an Ellen McKenna of a similar age.  I was able to find an Ellen McKenna baptized in Moy/Clonfeacle, Tyrone Ireland on 3 April 1822, 2 years younger than Sarah.  Ellen’s parents were also Felice (Felice appears to be the Latin form of Felix) and Sarah.  Well, that helps my case that I have found the right Sarah since Sarah and Ellen were sisters.)

I continued to look and also found a Fel McKenna, parents Fel and Sar McKenna baptized 9 January 1817 (3 years older than Sarah).  In the register it looks like the names were all written as partial names.

In Summary:
I am still not certain I have found the ‘right’ Susan McKenna.  I think I have connected the dots in a reasonable way.  If my thinking is correct then I have found Susan’s siblings (at least 2 of them) and an entire new generation by locating the names of her parents-Felice and Sarah McKenna.  I still don’t know Sarah’s maiden name and was unable to find a marriage record for Felice and Sarah…yet.  I have a lot more then I did before this weekend.  I will continue to search Susan and her family to find additional information which will increase my certainty that I have found the right Susan McKenna or refute and send me on a different path.  I am happy I found this information and feel like I am on the right path. 

Enjoying looking for your pot of gold!

If you have any corrections or additions or stories to share I look forward to hearing them.
Enjoy the journey,
Rainbow and pot of gold

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Wedding Anniversary of James Hammond and Edna Cornell Hammond

wedding Anniversary Edna James Hammond

My maternal Grandparents-Edna Chloe Cornell and James Jacob Hammond were married 83 years ago today.

Hammond James & Edna Wedding book
Hammond James & Edna Wedding book 2
Hammond James & Edna Wedding book 3

Most of the guests were relatives and friends of my Grandmother who grew up and lived in the area of Spencer, New York.  (See blog post- Celebrating the Life of Edna Chloe Cornell).  My Grandfather was born and raised in Iowa.  (see blog post- Celebrating the Life of James Jacob Hammond).  I find it interesting that in 1928 my grandfather’s sister –Mrs. Frank Shove (Margaret Hammond Shove) came all the way from Cherokee, Iowa to attend her brother’s wedding. (see blog post- Tombstone Tuesday-Margaret (Hamman) Hammond Shove)
I wish I had a picture of my grandparents together.  Maybe one day I will find a picture.

If you have any corrections or additions or stories to share I look forward to hearing them.
Enjoy the journey,

Sunday, March 12, 2017

What can I learn about Charlotte R. Bailey Cornell?

What can I possibly learn about my maternal 2x great-grandmother Charlotte R. Bailey Cornell who lived in Upstate New York?
Cornell William and family photo highlight
Charlotte is circled in red and this is the only picture I have of her.  Her son William, my great-grandfather is standing behind Charlotte and my grandmother, Edna Cornell Hammond, is the youngest child and to the left of Charlotte in the picture.
What I already knew about Charlotte:
  • she was born in upstate New York in October 1841 to Silas and Sarah Bailey
  • she married Joseph Cornell on 1 Jan 1858 in the ‘Johnson Settlement’
  • Joseph and Charlotte had 9 children-5 sons and 4 daughters.
  • she died 15 Jul 1928 in Spencer, Tioga, New York, USA

What I learned about Charlotte:     (from US Federal Census records, newspaper articles, city directories, land deeds, etc.)
  • August 1860 Charlotte lived with her husband Joseph and son Edmund in Catherine, Shuyler County, New York.  (US Federal Census)
  • July 1865 Charlotte lived with her husband Joseph and children Edmund and Sarah J in Catherine, Shuyler County, New York.  (NY State census)
  • July 1870 Charlotte lived with her husband Joseph and children Edmund, Sarah J and Josephine in Catherine, Shuyler County, New York.  (US Federal Census)
  • June 1875 Charlotte lived with her husband Joseph and children Edmund, Sarah J, Iva, Isaac, and Mary in Catherine, Shuyler County, New York.  (NY State census)
  • June 1880 Charlotte lived with her husband Joseph and children Edmund, Sarah J, Iva, Isaac, Mary, Nathan, Guy and William in Catherine, Shuyler County, New York.  (US Federal Census)
  • 20 October 1904 “ Mrs. C. R. Cornell observed her 64th birthday, Oct. 11th, by the homecoming of a number of her children and grandchildren.  Those present from a distance were Mr. & Mrs. W[illiam] Cornell and three children, Mrs. E[d] Bagley and son, of Ithaca; Mrs. E. Cornell and two children, of Alpine.”  (newspaper clipping)
  • 13 January 1905 there was the listing of a deed filled A. J. Card to Charlotte Cornell, Spencer, NY for $400. (from
  • 9 October 1915 land deed for the transfer of a piece of land from Charlotte to her daughter Sarah Jane Cornell Bagley for $1.00.  (land deed)
  • 26 December 1917 at 77 years old Charlotte tripped over a rug in her home and fractured her right hip. (from Newspapers .com)
  • 1917 According to the Farm Journal Illustrated  Rural Directory of Tioga County New York Charlotte was listed as “ Cornell, Mrs. C. 0 Academy Street, Spencer (NY).” and “Cornell, Wm. (Netta) laborer 0 Academy St., Spencer. (NY)”  (city directory)
  • 17 January 1918 “Mrs. Charlotte Cornell, who was taken to the Packer Hospital at Sayre two weeks ago for treatment to a fractured hip as the result of a fall, has sufficiently recovered to be brought home.”  (form another newspaper clipping)
  • January 1920 Charlotte lived alone in Spencer, Tioga County, New York.  (US Federal Census)
  • 1923 Ithaca City Directory  “Cornell Charlotte,  wid Joseph, b 701 W Green  (city directory)
  • June 1925 Charlotte was living with her daughter Sarah Jane Cornell Bagley, her son-in-law Edwin Bagley and Edwin’s brother Frank Bagley in Enfield, Tompkins County, New York.  (NY State census)
  • 19 July 1928 “Mrs. Charlotte Cornell died at her home in this village, Sunday, July 15, aged 88 years.  Her funeral was held Tuesday afternoon at 2 o’clock.  Burial in Evergreen cemetery.  H.L. Palmer funeral director in charge.  Mrs. Cornell has been in feeble health for several years.”  (newspaper clipping)
Cornell Charlotte 1928 obit 2
from The Ithaca Journal published 16 July 1928 and available on
I think it’s interesting that my great-grandfather, and Charlotte’s son,  William Cornell was not listed in the obituary as he was also still alive at the time of her death.  Charlotte outlived 5 of her children and her husband Joseph.  (see post Civil War-Certificate of Disability for Discharge)

Thank goodness for small local newspapers who kept records of the minor comings and goings of their inhabitants. 

Now I would like to get a copy of Charlotte death certificate.  I wonder what happened to Josephine who must have died before the 1875 census?  I wish I could find more pictures or Bible entries.

If you have any corrections or additions or stories to share I look forward to hearing them.
Enjoy the journey,

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Hughes-Researching a Family Story, Part 1

I remember my paternal grandmother Agnes telling me a story about our family being related to Arch Bishop John Hughes who founded St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City.  She said that her mother Sarah Rowan King (See blog post Finding My Irish Roots-First Steps) had taken her and her sisters Anna and Sadie once to see the grave of the Arch Bishop in the crypt under St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City.
Hughes Archbishop John
Arch Bishop John Hughes
(photo found on Dead Fred website)
I have often thought of this family story and wondered if it is true and if so….how exactly are we related?  I thought perhaps it was time to research this and see what I could find out. 

What I know:
  • My paternal great-great grandmother Sarah Hughes Rowan lists her parents on her marriage certificate as Patrick Hughes and Susan McKenna.  Sarah lists her place of birth as New York City.  Sarah’s address at the time of her marriage in 1869 was 306 10th Avenue, New York City.
  • On Sarah’s death certificate her parents are again listed as Patrick Hughes and Susan McKenna.
  • I also have the following letter from my grandmother’s sister Anna:
Transcription:  “My grandma Sarah (Hughes) Rowan well her second cousin was Arch Bishop Hughes and he was buried at the cathedral-I went with my Mom and family a few times to see.  My sister Agnes, Gloria’s mom and your grandma traced a lot, years before.”

This confirms what I remember my grandmother Agnes telling me but also gives me the idea that John and Sarah were second cousins.  Oh, how I wish I could have found the research she says my grandmother did.

I have tried repeatedly to go back from Sarah Hughes Rowan to find her parents Patrick and Susan McKenna Hughes.  This has become difficult since the name Patrick Hughes is a VERY common name.  I have found the following information:
  • I believe I found the marriage record on of Patrick Hughes and Susan McKenna in 8 November 1840 in Moy, Clonfeacle, Tyrone, Ireland
  • I was able to find in the 1850 US Federal census on a Patrick & Susan Hughes (both born in Ireland) living in NYC with a daughter named Susan.  I believe that my great-great grandmother Sarah was born in late 1850 or 1851 in New York City. 

So, this time I thought I would try to start with Arch Bishop John Hughes family and see if I can connect it to mine.  Since the Arch Bishop was such a famous person there is a lot of information available about his life.  While most of the information deals with him becoming a Roman Catholic Priest and his journey to become the Arch Bishop of New York City there is some family history that I can use.

I know that Patrick and Margaret Hughes came from Annalogham, County Tyronne, Ireland before coming to the United States.  I started to develop a family tree of the Arch Bishop’s family with information that I was able to find so far:
  • John was Arch Bishop and had no children.
  • Peter died at age 11 in Ireland.
  • Mary died at age 10 in Ireland.
  • Margaret’s married name was Rodrigue.  (Interesting-when Michael died in 1869 he was at his sister’s home on 11th Street in NYC.  This was not far from where my Sarah lived when she got married 2 months before.)
  • Ellen became a Nun.
Michael and Patrick were married and had children.
  • Michael married Bridget, who died in 1836 about 7 days after her newborn son Patrick. 
    • Ellen born 1831 and died in 1833
    • Patrick died in 1836 at birth
  • Patrick married Ellen McCone and was residing in Pennsylvania in 1850 according to the US Federal Census.
    • James b. 1823
    • Michael b. 1825
    • Mary b. 1828
    • Sarah b. 1830 – this doesn’t match my Sarah who was born in NYC about 1850/1
    • Patrick b. 1847 – this doesn’t match my Sarah’s father who was married in 1846 in Ireland
    • Charles b. 1848
Some final thoughts:
  • I am thinking that the term ‘cousin’ was loosely used to mean they were ‘family’. 
  • John’s father was a Hughes and his mother was a McKenna.
  • Sarah’s father was a Hughes and her mother was a McKenna.
  • Since Sarah’s parents and John’s parents were from County Tyronne in Ireland that is a connection.
  • I believe that perhaps Sarah and John had the same grandparents or that their grandfathers may have been brothers?

Definitely need to do some more researching to see what else I can find out and I probably need ……to do a trip to Ireland to do some research Smile.

If you have any corrections or additions or stories to share I look forward to hearing them.
Enjoy the journey,

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Tombstone Tuesday-Abigail Betsey Grantier Coolbaugh

Yesterday I completed a post about my 3X Great-Grandmother Abigail Betsey Grantier Coolbaugh. ( see post by same name)  In the late 1990s I was fortunate enough to find the cemetery where she is buried beside her husband Marvin Milton Coolbaugh.  They are buried in the Cemetery in Monroeton Cemetery, Monroeton, Bradford County, Pennsylvania.

Abigail Betsey
wife of
M. M. Coolbaugh
Died April 4, 1912
Aged 89 YRS.
“When shall we all meet again?
When shall we all meet again?
Oft shall glowing hope expire,
Oft shall wearied love retire,
Oft shall death and sorrow reign,
Ere we all shall meet again.”
The verse is from the poem -

‘When shall we three meet again?’ 

Sometimes referred to as ‘Parting Song’ in Hymnals of the time.

If you have any corrections or additions or stories to share I look forward to hearing them.
Enjoy the journey,

Monday, February 20, 2017

Abigail Betsey Grantier Coolbaugh

One of my goals for the year is to research more of my women ancestors.  I realized when I reviewed my list of blog posts at the beginning of the year that I hadn’t investigated a lot of my female ancestors.  There tends to be little documentation of women as we get back in history so the researching can be frustrating. 

What I know about Abigail:
  • Abagail Betsey Grantier Coolbaugh is my maternal 3x great-grandmother. 
  • She was the mother of my 2X great-grandfather Portis M. Coolbaugh.  (See the blog post Portis/Porter M. Coolbaugh). 
  • Her parents were David and Rhoda (Kilborn) Grantier. 
So what can I learn about Abigail?  Many hours of research later….

What I have learned about Abigail:
Abigail was born in Canton, Bradford, PA on 10 May 1823

Abigail had sisters:
  • Jane L. Grantier Whitehead who was born in 1826 in Canton, PA
  • Lucy A. Grantier Hooper who was born in 1831 in PA
  • Sarah Elizabeth Grantier Mauley who was born in 1833 in Canton, Pennsylvania according to Sarah’s death certificate.
Abigail was married in 1841:
imageThis is extracted from Clement F. Heverly, Pioneer and Patriot Families of Bradford County, 1770-1800, Vol. 1, Bradford Star Print, 1913. Volume 1 - Page 53

Abigail and Marvin Milton Coolbaugh had 4 children:
  • Portis Coolbaugh- my 2X great-grandfather
  • Bertha Coolbaugh Crammer Dutton
  • Francis/Frank Coolbaugh
  • Arthur Coolbaugh
From the US Census Records I learned:
  • In the  1850 and 1880 US Federal Census I see that Abigail is referred to by her middle name as Betsey.
  • In the 1860 and 1870 US Federal Census Abigail is listed as A.B. Coolbaugh.
  • In the 1880 US Federal Census Betsey is a widow and her son Arthur is living with her.
  • In the 1900 and 1910 US Federal Census Abigail is reported as giving birth to 4 children with 3 still living (Francis/Frank had passed away).  Her father’s birthplace is listed as Pennsylvania and her mother’s as Connecticut.  She can read, write and speak English.  She is renting a house.  Her son Arthur is still living with her.
Abigail died on 14 April 1912 in Monroeton, Bradford County, Pennsylvania and is buried there:
Coolbaugh Abigail Grantier  highlighted
From her death certificate I was able to determine her dates of birth and death, determine her place of birth, verify her parents’ names, and learn her cause of death.  The informant for the information turned out to be her daughter.  In the census records the children are usually listed by their initials.
Acute Catarrh Pneumonia- Catarrh Pneumonia is an inflammation of the lung tissue associated with catarrh and with marked evidences of inflammation of the bronchial membranes - often chronic.  from Causes of Death in the Late 19th Century mentioned in the Register of Deaths, 1893-1907 by Karin L. Flippin, HIS 480, April 23, 1997

I learned a lot about Abigail “Betsey” but still always long for a photo and more about her life beyond the facts.  Maybe one day I can locate other descendants of hers and maybe get some more information.

If you have any corrections or additions or stories to share I look forward to hearing them.
Enjoy the journey,

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Polio Epidemic of 1916 in Brooklyn, NY.

I can remember when I was growing up talking to my paternal grandmother Agnes King Warner about her family.  One of the many stories I remember her telling me is about one of her sisters-Louisa.  Louisa died at a young age and my grandmother remembered that there had been a sign put on their house door when Louisa got sick.  She said the younger children were sent to stay elsewhere and the older children were not allowed to leave the house.  My grandmother thought Louisa may have had polio but no one would ever tell her what happened.  So, I decided to see what I could find out about Louisa.
polio quarantine sign
Polio quarantine cards, courtesy of the National Library of Medicine.
My grandmother was the third of eight children (George Jr., Lillian, Agnes, Louisa, Anna, Sadie, John and Robert) born to George Washington King and Sarah Rowan King.   The children were born and grew up in Brooklyn, New York.  Agnes and Louisa (perhaps named after her grandfather Louis) were about 18 months apart in age.

I was able to locate Louisa’s death certificate:
King Louisa death highlighted
Well, it doesn’t say Polio as a cause of death but could Chronic Endocarditis and Cardiac Decompensation over 7 days be related to Polio?  I decided to do some researching about Polio and Brooklyn, NY in 1916.  This is some of the information I found from a variety of sources:
  • There was a major Polio Epidemic in 1916 that began in Brooklyn, NY in June.  Louisa died barely a month later in Brooklyn, NY.
  • “On Saturday, June 17, 1916, an official announcement of the existence of an epidemic polio infection was made in Brooklyn, New York. That year, there were over 27,000 cases and more than 6,000 deaths due to polio in the United States, with over 2,000 deaths in New York City alone.  The names and addresses of individuals with confirmed polio cases were published daily in the press, their houses were identified with placards, and their families were quarantined.” according to the History of Poliomyelitis on Wikipedia.  My grandmother remembered there being a sign on the house.
  • This Polio Epidemic is considered one of the top 10 epidemics in the US to date.
  • The epidemic began with 2 children in the Italian community in Brooklyn in May with 2 more in the next street following the first known cases.  By the end of the month there had been 24 cases in Brooklyn,   On 1 June there were 17 new cases in Brooklyn and by the end of June there had been 646 cases in that borough.  After 2 weeks 150 children had been affected in five city boroughs. In spite of efforts at quarantine, by August the epidemic had spread to New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and upstate New York.   In New York there had been 8,900 cases of paralysis with 2,448 deaths.
  • Polio mainly affected children under 5 (about 80%) and was referred to as Infantile Paralysis, the crippler of children.
  • Polio was spread through food or water due to poor sanitation or by infected person to person contact.
  • New York officials scrubbed the streets with four million gallons of water per day to halt the spread of Polio but nothing seemed to help.
  • Events were cancelled, children were confined to their homes.   During the hottest days of summer, pools, movie theaters, schools and camps were closed.  My grandmother remembered being kept inside.
  • As suddenly as the disease flared, it died down.  With the first frost, the incidence plunged.  But that summer had been a killer. 
  • First vaccine for Polio was developed by Jonas Salk in the 1950s.

I reviewed the pages from the Brooklyn Daily Eagle newspaper around the time of my Great Aunt’s death.  Every day they posted names of those who died from Polio.  Each day they listed the street address of newly confirmed cases of polio.  A white flag was placed at the end of streets where there were cases of polio.

The following information from the Health Department was posted in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle newspaper 14 July 1916:
I have been unable to find Louisa’s name or address in the newspaper listings of new cases or deaths from Polio.  I’m sure not all deaths were able to be identified in the newspaper.  While I can’t confirm for certainty that Louisa was one of the Polio victims I strongly believe she died of complications due to Polio.

Remember to look at outbreaks of diseases in areas where your ancestors died.  It was very interesting to read the newspapers from that time period to see what people believed about the illnesses of their day.  You never know where your research will lead you.

If you have any corrections or additions or stories to share I look forward to hearing them.
Enjoy the journey,