Thursday, August 11, 2011

Mildred Marian Burrell

What can I say, except this is going to be a whopper of an ahnentafel when I post it?  My Burrell ancestors throughout Norfolk County (names mostly found in Randolph, Braintree, and Dedham) branch out, and then back in again on each otherThis occurs so many times with my great-grandma Mildred's ancestors, that I must always refer to pedigree charts for a visual, even if I am working on Legacy!  It is one of those befuddling lines when you come across a name and say, "Wait a moment...  Didn't I just work on descendants of... Yes, yes, I did.  But now I'm descended from his fourth daughter, as well as his firstborn son."

In particular, the Pray family of Braintree gives me several lines down to Mildred Burrell, as does pilgrim John Alden.  This will probably be the most extensive ahnentafel on my family, besides my Shaw ancestors (through my paternal grandmother) and my Bartlett ancestors (through my maternal grandmother).

And so we begin with Mildred Marian Burrell, who has quite the most interesting history!  Hers is the key to the "mysterious" family group I referenced in my last post.  Why?  Because great-grandma Mildred was married to a man named Joseph St. Onge, with whom she had 4 or 5 children (the paternity of at least one child is in doubt).  Joseph is rumored to have been quite the black sheep, and he received his own post back in January of 2010. 

Nobody knows what happened to Joseph after he left Mildred.  I have been in touch with Joseph's and Mildred's descendants (my cousins through our shared grandmother and great-grandmother), and where and how his life ended is a complete mystery.  There is only speculation based upon the fact that he wasn't the most law-abiding citizen.  I did suggest to one second cousin that contacting the FBI to see if they have a file on Joseph St. Onge (potentially also known as "Joe Brown") might yield some results, if she is that interested in what happened to her great-grandfather.  I know that I'm curious, even though he is not my ancestor, but rather the first husband of my ancestor!  Some family members have even been told "you don't want to know" with regard to Joseph! 

Wouldn't that make *you* more curious about what he had done that was so awful, even if he wasn't your great-grandfather?

I descend from Mildred through her second marriage, this time to Herbert Benjamin Haley, whose ahnentafel was the subject of my last post. 

Mildred is one of the ancestors that I wish I could have met.  She died in 1972, two years before I was born.  She had 6 children, one of whom was rumored to be the child of somebody else completely.  The family consensus from my grandfather (her son), my Nana (her former daughter-in-law), and my cousins through Mildred and Joseph, are that Mildred was not a good mother.  She did not raise all of her children; many were fostered out to other families, perhaps even officially adopted, as may have been the case with the son whose paternity was in question. 

My female cousins and I agree that Mildred probably did not have the best adult life, and that perhaps this is what caused her to appear to be such a cold, unfeeling person when it came to her children.  Her first husband was clearly a good-for-nothing who abandoned her with 5 children.  This was not long after the Great Depression, and goodness knows how that must have affected Mildred, especially followed by that abandonment!

Out of all of the people in my family, I think Mildred must have had it the hardest.  Surely her situation in life must have affected her as a person.  Maybe she gave her children away, not because she did not love them, but because she knew that others could provide better for them.  Mildred's family looked like this:

Mildred Marian Burrell (b. 1897, Randolph, MA, d. 1972, Abington, MA) married between 1918-1922 to Joseph William St. Onge (b. 1893, Marlborough, MA, death date and place unknown, but sometime after 1940). 

I do not know if they were even married, but I do want to check the courthouses back home in Massachusetts to see if there is a divorce docket for Mildred St. Onge.

They had:

1.  Joseph St. Onge (1919-1978) - I am in touch with his daughter, my 1/2 first cousin, once removed

2.  Mary Ellen St. Onge (1920-1985) - I have been in touch with one of her sons, my 1/2 first cousin, once removed

3.  Gertrude Mildred St. Onge (1921-2000) - A cousin once called her to ask about the family, and Gertrude refused to discuss it.  I hope someday to be in touch with her son, my 1/2 first cousin, once removed

4.  William L. St. Onge (1924-after 1972) - The son whose paternity is in question; he changed his name to "William Perry", raised as the adopted son of George Perry of Bridgewater (1930 census)

5.  Frank W. St. Onge (1925-1996) - I am in touch with his granddaughter, my 1/2 second cousin

Mildred then married Herbert Benjamin Haley before 26 April 1942.  They had:

6.  Herbert Benjamin Haley, Jr., my grandfather (living)

7.  Lorraine Janice Haley, my great-aunt (living)

My grandfather had actually lost touch with his sister many, many years ago.  *Just* before I left the United States in 2009 to live in Korea, they were reunited (I have a letter from Aunt Lorraine - one of the first contacts any of our family had with her in so long, about 2008, I believe - it's in the place where I keep all the most precious family documents; it is something I will always consider a keepsake).  It was one of the happiest moments of my life, even though I could not be there, because we had been trying to find her for so long!

Maybe someday we will be in contact with Gertrude's son and any descendants of William (St. Onge) Perry, and learn more about the family, as well as reunite some cousins.  I have a feeling that everybody ultimately lost touch with one another over the years.

Copyright (c) 2011 Wendy L. Callahan

Our Ancestors, Part 13: Haley

We now come to my maternal ancestors.  Where my paternal side is pretty much British through and through, with a bit of Irish and Scots courtesy of my brick-wall great-great grandma Emma, my maternal ancestors are quite an eclectic mix of old New England and Mayflower ancestors, recent Irish and Italian immigrants, and one very mysterious family group.

My Haley ancestors are probably some of the ones that interest me the most (besides my Italian ancestors).  For whatever reason, they have intrigued me since I was a little girl.  In the early years of my research, they were the most interesting, because I knew nothing about my mother's family.  My parents were divorced when I was about 3 1/2 or 4 years-old.  I did not see my mother after 1978, and so there was nobody around to tell me about the Haley family history.

Later, as an adult, I discovered that the most interesting stories in my family all seemed to come from the maternal side!

The ancestors on my Haley side mostly lived in Middleborough and Brockton, Massachusetts in the 1880's and 1900's.  Before that, they were in Ireland, except the ancestors on the Bonney side, which branches out into Old New England families dating back to the Mayflower.

Because there are several recent (1800's) immigrants on this side, this will be a short ahnentafel.

Generation 1:

1.  Herbert Benjamin Haley (1896-1963) 

 Generation 2:

2.  Hiram Frederick Haley (1870-1952)

3.  Rosanna Cassidy (1870-1940)

Generation 3:

4.  Benjamin F. Haley (abt. 1851-1939)

5.  Emma Jane Bonney (1848-1882)

6.  James Cassidy (abt. 1839-1901 - hit by train in Brockton)

7.  Mary Ann Livingston (abt. 1844-1886) 

Generation 4:

8.  Edward Marshall Haley (1810 in Ireland-1893 in Middleborough, MA)

9.  Clarissa Barrett (1814-1898)

10.  Hiram B. Bonney (1818-1863)

11.  Elizabeth Barker Estes (1819-1881)

12.  John Cassidy

13.  Rose Brady

14.  George Livingston

15.  Bell Cassidy or Mary or Nancy Bell

Generation 5:

16. Thomas Haley

17.  Mary

18.  William Barrett (abt. 1788-bef. 1826 in Plymouth; son of brick walls, John Barrett and Hannah Holmes)

19.  Ruth Westgate (1786-1861, daughter of Benjamin Westgate and Rhoda Hall)

20.  Roland Bonney (1795-1847, son of Ezekiel Bonney and Zerviah Perry)

21.  Thirza Hatch Beals (1800-aft. 1840, daughter of Seth Beals and Thirza Hatch)

22.  John William Estes (1792-1878, son of Zacches Estes and Elizabeth Dillingham)

23.  Elizabeth Barker Ellis (1791-1875, daughter of Nathaniel Ellis and Mary Ramsdell)

Remaining Haley, Cassidy and Livingston ancestors unknown.  Lines 19 through 23 carry on through early New England settlers, mostly throughout Plymouth County.

Well, since I am living in England over the next 2 1/2 years, I'm sure you can guess my intentions: to visit Ireland and learn what I can about my Haley, Cassidy and Livingston families.  However, unless I can ascertain where they came from, it will be a wild goose chase.

The only clue I have is that Haley is from Northern Ireland, and that Edward went to school in Dublin until one day taking the allowance sent to him by his family, and coming to Plymouth, Massachusetts.  It isn't much to go on, but it's a start.

Copyright (c) 2011 Wendy L. Callahan

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Our Ancestors, Part 12: Murphy

This will be a short post, since I know very little about this side of my family.  I also erroneously posted that the ahnentafel postings I will be sharing are on my ex - they will be on my family. 


Part 11 gave the pedigree of my great-great grandfather, Erastus Bartlett Shaw.  He married Emma Anna Murphy, who remains a mystery to us.  I shared that mystery in 2009 and followed up with a timeline for Emma. 

Since then, I have only learned 2 more things of interest.

The first is that I initially overlooked a column in the 1930 census that asked how old people were at the time of their first marriage.  It was reported that Emma was 16 at the time of her first marriage, giving it an approximate year of 1877.

My search has focused a bit wider, between 1875 and 1885.  I believe her first marriage occurred in Nova Scotia, however the marriage records for those years are severely lacking.  Either a record does not exist at the province level, or the marriage occurred in Maine, as I do not find a marriage for Emma in Massachusetts.

The second item found was an 1871 census entry.  Since Emma does not appear in any U.S. censuses until 1900, I think it likely that the entry - found and graciously shared with me by Barbara Poole - is the correct one for "my" Emma.

Emma is shown in Manchester, Guysborough, Nova Scotia, in the household of Nicholes (Nicholas) and Johannah Flavin.

I do not know if her parents, John and Mary (Frasher/Fraser) Murphy were living at the time or not, as those are such common names.  I can only speculate as to why 10-year-old Emma was living with another family.

However vague these references are, they have allowed me to focus my research a bit more.  Sadly, Emma remains my toughest brick wall to date.  The answers are probably going to require a trip to Nova Scotia at some point in my life; hopefully once we are back in the U.S. and settled a few years from now.

Copyright (c) 2011 Wendy L. Callahan