Friday, 15 June 2018

Brick wall: another new Dougherty/Doherty mystery

They say that DNA doesn't lie. Ever. In both crime solving and genealogy, DNA does not lie.

On my list of AncestryDNA matches is a mystery. I have a 4th cousin match with a descendant of a Bridget Doherty, born in Donegal, my new 4th cousin believes, about 1850. Her firstborn child was born about 1869.

According to the match produced by AncestryDNA, Bridget would be a sibling of my 2nd great grandfather, Marcus Dougherty.

But the problem is that Marcus was born in about 1794. And my 3rd great grandparents, James Dougherty and Isabella McLaughlin, were both deceased by the end of 1830.

There are clearly at least two generations missing here, between Bridget and my 3rd great grandparents. My newest (at least) 4th cousin definitely shares DNA with me, courtesy of James, right?


This Bridget remained in Donegal all her life, dying in 1898. Her grandson emigrated from Clonmany, Donegal in about 1930, settling in the Boston area. Today, Clonmany is about a 20 minute drive from the Inishowen Peninsula area, where my 3rd great grandparents were born.

I have no doubt whatsoever that Bridget's descendant and I are related. But we need to figure out the missing generations. I've been unable to find any records of sisters of my 2nd great grandfather, Marcus. And there are probably other brothers that he had, besides those I've found so far.

The never ending story continues....



© Margaret Dougherty 2016-2018 All rights reserved

Another Dougherty line in the mix

Doughertys are everywhere it seems. No, really. In fact, at one time the name and its many spellings was even one of the top most common surnames in Ireland. More recent surveys in Ireland have the name out of the top 20 most common surnames.

Anyway, I was researching the ancestry of another cousin's husband recently when I discovered that his great grandmother was a Dougherty. Yes, with that spelling. 

Susan Dougherty (1857-1910) was the eldest child born in Danville, Pennsylvania to William Dougherty (abt 1830-1900) and Mary Priest (abt 1828-1928) , Irish immigrants who settled in Luzerne in northern Pennsylvania, where many people worked in the coal mines in the area. They had a family of at least eight children. I haven't found where in Ireland William Dougherty was born, whether it was in the north or the south. It's also not clear whether Mary and William married in Ireland or in Pennsylvania. Old Irish records are so hard to find, especially in some parts of Ireland.

Susan married Edward Buckley (1855-1913), also the child of Irish immigrants, in about 1876.They went on to have at least ten children.

I hoping my cousin-in-law will think hard about doing the AncestryDNA test, so that we can find out if he and his wife share any DNA. Hope springs, genealogy nerd that I am. No detail is too small. After all, who knows where one detail will lead?

My research actually started for my cousin-in-law's daughter and her sons, to flesh out their family tree.

The never ending story continues....




© Margaret Dougherty 2016-2018 All rights reserved

Monday, 11 June 2018

Cincinnati - Unwrapping a Puzzle 5: Joseph M. Dougherty (1835-1886)

I'm still not near finished in unravelling and telling the stories of my ancestor uncles, aunts and cousins who chose Cincinnati as their home.

My youngest 2nd great uncle was Joseph M., who was just a boy when his older brothers James and Thomas went to Cincinnati in the late 1840s. But by 1855 he had followed them there, when he would have been just 19 years old. He was a young man during the American Civil War, but didn't enlist. I wonder why. Was there an underlying medical reason?

City directories tell us that Joseph (Joe?) lived with siblings his entire time in Cincinnati. There were changing casts of characters through the years, but always with family. He was a store clerk. He last appears in the 1884 Cincinnati city directory.

Thanks to one of those random acts of genealogical kindness, I was pointed to his 1886 burial record in St Joseph New Cemetery in Cincinnati. The name is spelled Daugherty, but his parents' names, Marcus and Mary Ann give me that confirmation, together with the fact that he's buried in the same plot as his siblings Thomas and Catharine.

Next, I went looking for more information about his death. Family Search had the actual complete record, which I didn't download and is now no longer there. He died at the Longview Asylum. The death record lists his occupation as insane, the cause of death is recorded as paralysis of the brain. I do have the death register as well, where his is one of a long list of names of deceased in March 1886.

I've read anecdotally about the broad reasons that people were confined to asylums in the 19th century, but went looking for more. Good old Snopes never disappoints. Their fact check, Reasons for Admission to Insane Asylums in the 19th century is well worth a read. But if you don't read it all, I'll post there closing paragraph here:
"In general, this document might be more accurately described as “a list of some reasons why people were believed to have eventually developed illnesses that led to their being admitted to the West Virginia Hospital for the Insane” and not a list of “symptoms” or “reasons” why people were admitted to that hospital."
I'll always wonder why Joe was committed. Was this a family decision, or was the decision taken out of their hands? He was just 49 years old when he died.

I'm still not sure why Joseph, his sisters Catharine and Louisa, and his then deceased older brother James were included in the 1861 Lower Canada census with their father Marcus. They were all clearly in Cincinnati by then.

The never ending story continues.....



© Margaret Dougherty 2016-2018 All rights reserved

Friday, 8 June 2018

On this day in 1907: John Matheson left Scotland for Canada

June 8th in 1907 Glasgow was perhaps a day like today.

It was the day that my maternal grandfather, John Matheson (1884-1964), sailed for Canada, three months shy of his 23rd birthday when he left Scotland alone  109 years ago today.

He was a third class passenger on the SS Cassandra, a ship built in Scotland and launched in 1906 as part of the Donaldson Line fleet. It originally had berths for 200 second class passengers and 1,000 third class passengers before it was retrofitted as troop ship after the outbreak of the First World War. My grandfather's name on the manifest prepared in Glasgow is the last one in that section. I know this because the passenger tally for that section of the manifest was added after his name: "376 souls".

SS Cassandra departure manifest, Glasgow, 7 Jun 1907
My grandfather began work on the Scottish Highland Railway as a boy of 14. Perhaps he listed his occupation as mechanic to widen his employment search once he reached Canada. But when he reached Quebec City on 17 Jun, the manifest prepared for arrival reports his occupation as fireman. In this case, a fireman was the man who shoveled coal into the train engine's furnace. Maybe he talked with other ship passengers and got some job tips.

SS Cassandra arrival manifest, Quebec City, 18 Jun 1907
He quickly found work with Grand Trunk Railway in Montreal, beginning his Canadian work life that apart from the interruption of his four years in the Canadian Expeditionary Force, lasted until his retirement in the early 1950s.

The never ending story continues....




© Margaret Dougherty 2016-2018 All rights reserved

Thursday, 7 June 2018

On this day 100 years ago: the Guelph Novitiate Raid

On this day, 100 years ago, the St Stanislaus Jesuit Novitiate was raided by military police in plain clothes looking for anyone who, in their opinion, was evading military conscription. The event became known as the Guelph Novitiate Raid, and was an event that involved two of my cousins, Hon. Charles J Doherty, Canada's Minister of Justice at the time, and his son, Marcus, who was a seminarian there.

There were countless stories in the Canadian media for several months after the raid. I've read several of those accounts in archived digital copies of the Toronto Star and Globe and Mail, which are available via the Toronto Public Library's website to anyone holding a TPL library card. Aside: library cards are golden, especially for genealogists and, well, anyone who loves to read.

I first wrote about the Guelph Raid here in 2016, but again researched events now, finding an excellent and well-sourced 1978 paper, The Guelph Novitiate Raid: Conscription, Censorship and Bigotry submitted to the Canadian Catholic Historical Association by a Basilian priest/academic, Brian Hogan. It's worth a read.The title says it all: the raid came down to Protestant bigotry directed at Catholics.

new article about the raid was published on May 4, 2018 in the Waterloo Region Record. Waterloo Region is very near Guelph. That article prompted me to write this post. I wonder why their editors didn't wait just a few weeks to publish today, on the the 100th anniversary.

The never ending story continues....



© Margaret Dougherty 2016-2018 All rights reserved

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Ross: pushing back another generation...also, twins!

FamilySearch.org public domain
A few years ago, I found a baptismal record showing that my great grandmother Annie Ross (1849-1922) had given birth to a baby girl that she brought with her into her 1878 marriage to my great grandfather, Frank Gillanders Matheson. That daughter, Annie Munro Ross, sadly died at the age of 8 in 1882, possibly from peritonitis.

FamilySearch.org public domain
Later, I discovered that Annie had in fact borne twins when her daughter was born on 21 Feb 1874 after another baptismal record discovery led to her son, Henry Ross, who sadly died the same day he and his sister Annie were born. These were the only set of twins I'd ever found in all of my genealogy research. Until now.

Since finding the grave marker of Annie's grandparents (my 3rd great grandparents) Duncan Ross and Marjory McDonald online, I've been looking for their parents. And now, I'm fairly certain I've found Duncan's parents, while at the same time discovering that he was also a twin. Yes, it's one of those aha moments! Take a look:

FamilySearch.org public domain
That's right. Duncan's mother's maiden name was Munro. The Munro name and the fact that he was also a twin is just far too coincidental. I've learned not to ignore genealogical coincidences.  While Annie hadn't named the father in her twins' baptismal records, I had assumed that Munro was a clue to his last name. But no. My newest set of 4th grandparents are George Ross and Margaret Munro.
FamilySearch.org public domain


I have confirmed DNA matches with others pointing to Duncan and Marjory McDonald as common ancestors. I'm looking forward to finding new DNA matches with George and Margaret as common ancestors.

Oh, and in a further coincidence, my new-found 3rd great aunt Katherine Ross married a man named John Davidson, with whom she had at least eight children. I have a Scottish 3rd great grandmother, Margaret Davidson (1778-1863). I have to wonder if Katherine's husband is a close relation to this Margaret.

Aha moments in genealogy research really are the absolute best.

The never ending story continues.....




© Margaret Dougherty 2016-2018 All rights reserved

Sunday, 3 June 2018

We Remember 4: Private Arthur George Laing (1913-1944)

When you're well and truly bitten by the genealogy bug as I am, you research your extended family's family history. Their parents, aunts, uncles grandparents and back. Arthur George Laing (1913-1944) was the older brother of an aunt by marriage. Artie was a private in the 48th Highlanders of Canada Regiment and was killed in action in the Second World War in Italy.

He had enlisted in Montreal on 22 Mar 1943. Eighteen months later, he died at the age of 31.

Canadian Virtual War Museum
Recently, I was contacted by a volunteer researcher with the 48th Highlanders of Canada Museum, who had found Arthur on my family tree posted on Ancestry. The volunteer is one of a team looking for photographs of all men who served with the Regiment during that war. I had to tell the volunteer that I didn't believe the family had any photograph of Artie.

Canadian Virtual War Museum
But the volunteer went to work, and was able to find a photograph, actually rather quickly. He sent me a link to the Arthur George Laing page on the Canadian Virtual War Museum website where we see a photo of Artie, his headstone and views of the cemetery where he is buried in Italy.

Artie was the middle of three brothers who all served in the Second World War. His two brothers served in the Royal Canadian Navy. His official death date is recorded as 6 Sep 1944, but Artie's mother, May, was only notified by telegram on 12 days later on the 18th that he was missing in action. On 4 Oct, May received formal notification that Artie had been killed in action on 6 Sep 1944. He had been buried the day after the first telegram was sent. In his 24 Oct formal condolence letter to May, Major-General Adjutant General A. E. Walford of the Ministry of National Defence said:
"From official information we have received, your son killed in action against the enemy."
Those war years lacked the immediacy of all the modern communication tools we now take so for granted. Those years must have been a very difficult time for May. In August 1943, Artie's father passed away. At the time, all three of her sons were away from home.

After he died, Artie's mother, May, received a war service gratuity of $176.55. There are no words.

In addition to being commemorated on the Canadian Virtual War Memorial, Arthur George Laing is commemorated in the Second World War Book of Remembrance. The Government of Canada has seven books of remembrance for the more than 118,000 Canadians who have died in service to their country since Canada's Confederation in 1867.

You can download and read Arthur's service file here.

I shared all of this information with my cousins, who shared it with their mother, aunt and other cousins. Arthur's two surviving sisters, now aged 96 and 101, were especially grateful to see the photograph of their brother's headstone, which they had never seen.

The never ending story continues....



© Margaret Dougherty 2016-2018 All rights reserved

Friday, 18 May 2018

What's in a name is often a story yet to be told

My paternal grandmother's youngest sister was Lophemia Richardson Nelson (1891-1930), always called Loie. I never knew about Loie until I began my serious genealogy research many years ago, but I always wondered about the middle name Richardson.

I think all genealogists wonder about family given and middle names, as they research, when connections to those names aren't immediately obvious.

By chance, I had one of those "aha" moments, when I came across the name Lophemia Archibald Richardson (1867-1961), who, it turns out, is my 2nd cousin 2x removed. I do love my "aha" moments. This Loie was a granddaughter of Lydia Moore (1800-1888), sister to my 2nd great grandmother, Sarah Anne Moore (1819-1889). Lydia's daughter, Fanny Fisher (1841-1869) married a man named William Richardson (1838-1924). Sadly, Fanny died when her daughter, her own Loie, was just two years old.

The Richardsons, Moores and Nelsons all lived in Colchester, Nova Scotia around Truro and Salmon River in the 19th century, when family ties were oh so strong. Loie grew up to become a school teacher, who never married. She was a striking woman in her youth, as seen in this photograph taken when she was 22.


Born in 1867, just over two months before Canada's Confederation, Loie was at least 14 years younger than my great grandparents, but must have been close enough to them that when their youngest daughter was born, she was named for her older cousin Loie. I wonder if this Loie was a godmother to my great aunt Loie?

I do know the origin of Loie's middle name of Archibald. This comes from her 2nd great grandmother. Eleanor Archibald (1724-1791), who I know is also a distant cousin to me, as I have many Archibald cousins in my ancestry. I just haven't worked out our exact connection. Yet. The Archibald and Moore families were among the New England Planters who came from New Hampshire to Nova Scotia in 1760-61.

The never ending story continues....



© Margaret Dougherty 2016-2018 All rights reserved