Month: January 2015

WEEK 4 – 2015: Mary Ann CARNEY – The Lost Sister

Mary (Carney) O'Mara. 1881-1955.

Mary (Carney) O’Mara. 1881-1955.

This week’s theme for the 52 Ancestor challenge is “Closest to your birthday.” I actually share a birthday with my great grand aunt, Mary Ann Carney. And, she has an interesting story, so this blog is dedicated to her.

Mary Ann was born on February 20, 1863 in Dunmore, Pennsylvania to Patrick and Bridget (McDonald) Carney. She was baptized on February 22, 1863 at St. Mary of Mount Carmel Catholic Church in Dunmore. Her sponsors were Michael and Marie Donovan.

Sadly, Mary never got to know her parents and her siblings, Margaret and James. Their mother became too ill to take care of them, and the children were placed in a home near Scranton sometime around 1864. Shortly afterwards, Margaret was taken from the home by her father’s uncle, Michael Murray, and was raised in his home in Scranton. James was taken 2 years later by the Peter Murray family, who were cousins of their mother.

A Caveney family had promised to take Mary when she was a little older. However, when they went to the home years later, they had discovered that she was already gone.

Mary had been taken from the home by a Joly family from Tunkhannock, PA. She remembered living with them and remembered the canal boats going up and down the nearby Susquehanna River. The Joly family had been told that Mary was baptized Catholic, and they were not Catholic. So, they gave her to William and Julia Collins of Lovelton, PA. The Collins family, who had 8 children of their own, were the only parents that Mary had known. She lived with them until adulthood.

On January 26, 1881, Mary married John O’Mara at Saint Basil’s Church in Dushore, PA. John and Mary settled down on a large farm in Stowell, PA and raised a large family of 16 children.

Although Mary was very busy with her large family and the farm, she still wondered if she had any other family and siblings. She vaguely remembered having a little brother. She tried to contact the Joly family once to see if they could give her more information. However, she discovered that they had moved out west and she did not know how to find them after that.

On October 31, 1924, her husband was reading the local newspaper, The Wyoming Democrat and saw this ad:

The ad that helped Margaret Carney Cone find her sister, Mary, after 60 years of being apart.

The ad that helped Margaret Carney Cone find her sister, Mary, after 60 years of being apart.

John O’Mara knew right away that it was Mary that they were looking for. Mary was surprised, because she never remembered having a sister. They immediately wrote to Margaret.

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After a few letters back and forth, Mary was finally reunited with her sister, Margaret. It was noted that they looked and even acted, very much alike. Afterwards, Margaret and her family would come up to visit with Mary every summer for the next 20 years. Mary and John traveled to Philadelphia once, to visit with Margaret.

Mary reunited with her brother James, in June 1925. He came to Stowell from his home in Lowell, Massachusetts, and stayed for 3 weeks.  However, his health was very poor and he died on February 18, 1927. Their 3 week reunion was the only time Mary got to see her brother.

Mary died on January 4, 1955 at the age of 91. She is buried in St. Anthony’s Church Cemetery in Stowell, PA.

WEEK 3 – 2015: Kate Healy – the toughest woman in my tree

This week’s theme for the 52 Ancestors challenge is “Tough Woman.”  I feel like I have many woman in my family who are considered, “tough”and “strong.” Some I have already written about, including my great, grand aunt, Catherine Logue, who was a World War I nurse.

However, I finally chose my 2nd great grand aunt, Catherine McDonald Healy. Not only did she seem like she was a tough and strong woman, she has also from a tough family to research. And I have hit some brick walls with her life as well.

“Kate” is the sister of my 2nd great grandmother, Bridget McDonald Carney. I knew very, very little about my 2nd great grandmother. She and my 2nd great grandfather, Patrick Carney, seemingly disappeared off the face of the earth after their 3 children were “placed in a home” in Scranton sometime around 1864. The children all became separated after different relatives took the children. According to a family history, that a distant cousin had typewritten back in 1960s, my great grandmother, Margaret Carney, lived first, with an uncle of her father. She later moved to Yonkers, NY to live with her aunt, Kate Haley, who was a sister of Bridget McDonald.

I have been unable to find out what became of Patrick and Bridget Carney after that time. The same family history had lots of names in there, that I used as clues. “The McCaul family from Yonkers also visited us several times. They are our nearest relatives next to the Cones. Mrs. McCaul’s mother, Kate Haley, and Mom’s mother were sisters.” So, I began looking at “Kate Haley” to see if I could find out anything about her that help with learning more about the McDonald family.

I found the “Haley” family living in Yonkers in the 1880 Federal census only a few doors down from where my great grandmother was living with her husband and newborn baby. However, the last name was listed as “Healy.” This made research a little tough, since the last name was either spelled as “Healy,”  “Healey,” or “Haley.” Kate Healy, age 50, was living on Vineyard Avenue with her 8 children. The eldest 5 children were employed by the nearby carpet mill, Alexander Smith & Sons. No husband for Kate was present. Her birthplace was listed as Ireland, however, all of her children were born in England.

I found some of children’s birth and baptism records within England, Select Births and Christenings, 1538-1975 on and Liverpool, England, Catholic Baptisms, 1802-1906 (also available on The father was listed as Andrew Healy.

I found a marriage record for Andrew Healey and Catherine McDonald. They were married on January 26, 1857 at St. Nicholas Catholic Chapel in Liverpool. Catherine’s father was listed as “Michael McDonald.”

Andrew and Kate had 8 children: Margaret, James, Ellen, Andrew, Martin, William and Francis. In the 1871 England census, they were living in Northowram, Halifax, England. But, I have been unable to discover what became of Kate’s husband, Andrew. For on September 25, 1872, Catherine Healey arrived in New York on the boat The Holland, which sailed from Liverpool. She came with her 5 youngest children: Ellen, Andrew, Martin, William and Francis. Her 2 eldest children and her husband were not listed on the passenger record.

I can only assume that perhaps Andrew Healy had passed away, leaving Kate with 8 children. So, she decided to start over again with her children in America. Regardless, she had to be one tough lady to make that long trip with all those children in tow. Can you imagine hearing “Are we there yet?  Are we there yet? Are we there yet?” for days and days?

I’m assuming the family settled in Yonkers, so they could get jobs at the carpet mill. Some of the children were employed by the carpet mill in Halifax, England. I found Kate last alive in the 1910 Federal Census. She was living on Ashburton Avenue with her son Francis, and her daughter, Margaret. Her age was listed as 74. I can only assume she died after 1910. However, I have been unable to find out when she died. St. Joseph’s Catholic Church is located nearby and I knew from other marriages, baptisms and burials, that the family was affliated with that church. However, they had no funeral record for kate. And the cemetery had no burial information for her either. Although, all of her children are buried there. I have been unable to find any obituary for her either.

I have been hoping to find a death certificate and/or an obituary that might be able to shed more light on her McDonald family. But, as the theme states, she has been “tough” as far as research on her goes.

Week 2 – 2015: Adam Brouwer – Ancestor of a future “king”

So this week’s theme for the 52 Ancestor’s challenge is “King.” Of course, my husband likes to think he’s the king around here, but I don’t think I’ll write about him. Instead, I looked into his family tree, to see if he had any “real” kings to write about.

This led me to go way back to someone I believe to be his 10th great grandfather, Adam Brouwer. He was born around 1620 and I found that he is the subject of many articles and books by other genealogists. However, no one seems to agree on his exact place of birth or heritage. Some believe he was born in Cologne, Germany or Berckoven, Netherlands.

Adam was employed as a soldier for the Dutch West India Company, a chartered company formed by Dutch merchants with the purpose of setting up trading posts in the West Indies. Their ships would hire 40-50 soldiers in order to defend themselves against enemy ships or hijack them. Adam was first sent to Brazil in 1641, then came to America to settle in the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam (now New York) possibly in 1642.

On March 21, 1645, Adam married Magdalena Verdon. The marriage was recorded in the records of the Reformed Dutch Church of New Amsterdam. Adam and his wife relocated to the Dutch settlement of Gowanus (now Brooklyn). He and a partner, Issac de Foreest, built the first grist mill on Long Island. Adam bought out his partner in February of 1661. On May 26, 1664, Adam, along with other residents, petitioned Director-General, Peter Stuyvesant, to dredge a canal so they could get water to supply their mill. The mill remained in the Brouwer family for 3 generations. The mill was destroyed during the very bloody, Battle of Long Island during the Revolutionary War.

But where does the “king” fit in? Adam and Magdalena had at least 14 children. My husband is a descendent through their daughter Fytie Brouwer (born in 1656). Another one of Adam’s daughters, Sarah, had a descendent who was born on July 14, 1913 in Omaha, Nebraska as Leslie Lynch King, Jr. He eventually changed his name to Gerald R. Ford and became the 38th President of the United States.

I know, it was a stretch to find a connection to a king. However, it motivated me to take a closer look at someone who was just sitting way back in my husband’s family tree.