Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Seventieth Birthday of My Mother

 December 23 was the birthday of my mother, Judith.

This year she would have been 70 years old.

She died seven years ago.

Her genetic mysteries were a driving force in my use of DNA. I had to learn about percentages of shared DNA, predicted relationships, patterns of inheritance, as well as how to reach out to matches and research their family trees, with or without their help.

After she passed, I found three siblings she never knew about, thanks to DNA testing.

She would have loved to have known the answers to the mysteries of her origins. She passed the quest to me. I continue searching. Questions remain.


Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Johanna Ann Sheehy (1851-1929)

With the arrival of a marriage record from 1892, I can now place Ann Newman (1851-1929) among the children of Edmond Edward Sheehy (1825-1893) and Bridget Frawley (1826-1905). They were my maternal great great great grandparents.

This post follows up on a post published two years ago. This is how long it took to receive the record from the State of New York.

Joanna was baptized in 1851 in Limerick, Ireland. Her parents were listed as Edmond Sheehy and Bridget Frawley.

In the 1870s the family moved from Ireland to Amenia, Dutchess County, New York, United States. The children were older and most, including Joanna, were not recorded in the census with Edmond and Bridget.

I followed a woman named Johanna Maloney in the 1875 and 1880 census enumerations. This person remarried to William P Newman and became known as Anna or Ann Newman until her death in 1929.

To link Joanna Maloney or Ann Newman to my Sheehy/Frawley branch, I sought the marriage record for her to William Newman to see if her parents were listed.

According to the marriage record, Ann Agnes Maloney was the daughter of Edward Sheehy and Bridget Frawley.

Below are the records.

Johanna Anna had at least eight children. If there are any cousins out there descended from her, send word.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Happy Century, Jeannette

Today would have been the hundredth birthday of my maternal grandmother, Jeannette. She died in 1993 when I was seventeen years old.

Her stories about her family inspired my interest in genealogy.

Her secrets became the focus of my searches.

Jeannette Elizabeth ODonnell was born on July 30, 1920 in Bayonne, Hudson County, New Jersey. She was the fifth and final child of Frank ODonnell and Anna Preston. Anna became ill shortly after the birth and died the following year. Jeannette lived with her paternal grandparents, Patrick ODonnell and Delia Joyce. Jeannette told us about Delia's blindness. Jeannette was very fond of her Aunt Kitty. Many relatives were killed in train accidents. She didn't get along with her siblings because they were raised apart.

Her best friend was her cousin, Edna. Jeannette said that they used to pay one nickel each to get a pack of cigarettes to share.

Edna told my mother and me that she promised to take Jeannette's secrets to her grave. She did. She died four days ago at the age of 98.

My mother, Judith, was born in 1950 when Jeannette was thirty years old. As a child, I didn't notice that Jeannette's stories left out the time period of her young adulthood, from the late 1930s and through the 1940s. All I remember is that she said she was a switchboard operator for the phone company. She had a switchboard plug that she said was used to connect calls.

When I began requesting family documents and photos, my mother told me that I would find discrepancies in Jeannette's story of her life and that if I ever found the truth, she wanted to know.

Jeannette may have discarded her copies of official records of births and marriages, but the State of New Jersey preserved their copies. So did newspapers. DNA testing was unfathomable until recently. That was the key to unlocking more secrets.

As I find out more about the events in Jeannette's life, I can't help wondering how she felt. She hid tragedies. I try to remember her stories for hints or clues, but I come up with no indications of what transpired in her young adulthood.

Happy 100th Birthday in Heaven, Grammy.