The Genealogy Series: Greetings From Niagara Falls

It has been slim pickings lately on the upcycle front.  It seems everyone (myself included) is battling the impact felt from mother nature. Thrift store stock is limited and picked through, and the curb sides are piled with (you guessed it…snow)  Thank goodness I have yard sale season to look forward too as it is only about a month or two away.  To remain occupied, I now look around the house and get ideas on how to improve on things we already have.  One such item is my husband’s side table,  which adorned his childhood home. I have wanted to work on this piece for a very long time. This table has seen better days, and I am in the process of hand sanding it, a messy and sometimes slow process.  Working on it made me think of treasuring and preserving those family heirlooms, even if they are worth no more than sentimental value. For me, the more sentimental, the better.

Recently, I have been scanning and uploading old family photographs, and trying to unlock their mysteries. It has been a while since I have blogged about family history and genealogy but don’t let my inactivity on the subject fool you.  Sure, I take a rest from it from time to time, sleep on it, put it away, but it is always pulled back out, and revisited. I came across this wonderful photograph of my Great Grandfather Harry Long with my Great Grandmother Daisy (Plummer) Long at Niagara Falls NY.

Harry and Daisey at Niagra

Photo taken some time between 1935-1945

Many things do change with time, but natural beauty can last for generations.  Millions of people have passed through New York or Canada to see the wonders of Niagara Falls.  They pose with their loved ones in front of its massive beauty.  It reminds me that although the years become an obstacle keeping us from knowing our beloved ancestors,  the experiences and places that remain allow us to walk in their footsteps.  What is left behind allows those who have passed away to have a “voice”  This I believe brings us closer together.  Different time, but we are not so different.  I think this photograph proves that.  Just an ordinary married couple leaning into the mist as so many others have done before and after them.

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My First Conference: 2013 Mid Atlantic Genealogy Conference Wrap Up.

Yesterday, I attended my first Genealogy conference and it was packed with information! It was hosted by the LDS Church and admission was free!  It was an all day event 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.   I took advantage of some of the classes offered such as Irish genealogy, Immigration, Forensic Genealogy as well as local record resources, (Just to name a few!)  Many classes offered handouts with great informational website links. Vintage photo expert Maureen Taylor gave the key-note address on photo preservation and disaster preparedness planning for your priceless photos.  An especially important point due to recent local catastrophe’s such as Super Storm Sandy.

Lecture on Photo Preservation by Maureen Taylor

My favorite part of the show hands down was the New Jersey Chapter of The “Genealogy Roadshow” PBS airs a new show by the same name and it based on a similar premise.  On this day It allows the opportunity to sit with a professional Genealogist for 15 minutes to discuss a piece of research that is stumping you.

New Jersey Genealogy Roadshow

I eagerly waited in line and enjoyed a conversation with a fellow genealogist as eager to get an appointment as I was!  Due to child care issues my husband stayed back and watched the little one so I could attend, but I had to go alone.  The great thing about those interested in Genealogy is they are friendly and eager to share information with you.   I talked to a lot of great people who are passionate about family research!  I booked my appointment and returned at 12:15 to sit with Rich Venezia a Professional genealogist in the New Jersey area.  I brought to him just one of my biggest road blocks: The elusive Uncle Ted.  It was rumored on my maternal grandfather’s side that an uncle worked for the BBC when it was first founded in 1922 as the Station Director in Nottingham England. Inside my Great Aunt’s autograph book is a BBC document on letter head signed by “Uncle Ted” right before she sailed to the United States in 1925.

Early BBC Document

I haven’t been able to confirm uncle Ted is an actual uncle as I have never been able to link him to either side of the family.  He suggested an interesting concept I hadn’t thought of before: Research the neighbors and try to find clues.  He also suggested I contact someone in the BBC (I had tried before and had no such luck) because he believes someone such as a BBC historian would be interested in such a document and historical information. I also have an unknown photograph of the BBC Riding the “Magic Carpet”  I am assuming this is referring to a radio show at the time.   As luck would have it, this morning I came across a BBC Historical site seeking artifacts from BBC history,  I jumped at the chance and sent an e-mail with information.  Fingers Crossed!

Here are some great Informational websites for genealogy research I learned of at the conference.

One of my favorite speakers was Deborah Large Fox.  If you are as stumped as I am when it comes to Irish Genealogical research this is the blog for you!http://irishfamilyresearch.blogspot.com

Others of interest:

http://www.italiangen.org/  If you are interested in researching family members who lived in any of the five New York boroughs this is the site for you!

National Archives and Records administration: http://www.archives.gov/

Search old photos and find lost family members at http://deadfred.com/

Wish me luck as I am going thrifting today!  I have been “striking out” lately on finding good Upcycle candidates, but am hoping my luck will turn around today!  Enjoy the rest of your weekend my lovely readers!

The Genealogy Series: The Curry’s Of Richmond County: Part One

Recently, I took a trip to Staten Island, NY to visit some relatives and stopped by St. Peter’s cemetery where my ancestors and family members are buried.  It is a large Catholic cemetery not far from Silver Lake Park and located directly across the street from The Staten island Zoo.  My Grandparents, Great Grandparents and Great Uncles are buried there.  My Maternal Grandmother’s parents and brothers rest together in this cemetery.  I visited each ancestor, and left a small, handmade floral to pay my respects to each of them.

I would like to focus now on my Grandmother’s brothers.  My grandmother was the only girl in a family of five very larger than life brothers (seven if only two brothers had survived to adulthood.)  Today, I honor three of my great uncles: William, Joseph, and Edward.

William C Curry

William Charles Curry born October 13, 1896 “Uncle Willie”was the oldest child of Charles Curry and Julia O’Reilly.  As a young man he worked for a company called Gillespie Brothers 11 Broadway, NY, NY According to his WWI Draft Card Record.  His Eyes were brown and his hair was black.  According to family lore he was a talented amateur boxer.  He worked for years for the Staten Island Advance a local newspaper in Richmond County New York. He married Rose Zinicola born in 1909 and together they had three children, Mary, Joseph and Margaret.  William passed away in 1985 at the age of 89.

William C. Curry WWII Draft Card

WW2 Draft Card

Joseph Andrew Curry

Uncle Joe Curry

born November 29, 1905 was a decorated World War II veteran.  He was a radio operator for 20 years for the Exxon Corporation.  He worked on tankers and traveled the world.  He was a technical sergeant for the Air Corps from 1942-1945.  He received two distinguished flying crosses and two Air Medals for his service during World War II.  He never married, and in 1982 passed away after a six-day illness.  He was 77 years-old.  Joseph is buried with his brother Edward.

Joseph and Edward Curry

Edward Joseph Curry “Uncle Pie” was born June 18, 1899.  Family lore says he gained his nickname for winning a pie eating contest.  My great-uncle was a larger than life character known for his sense of humor and personality.  He worked as a dock hand for Viking Company in 1920, and Lived at 103 Monroe Avenue Tompkinsville, (Staten Island, NY) He was described on his draft card as medium height and build with blue eyes and brown hair. He is rumored to have had a child, but he and the women never married.  Edward passed away in 1978 at the age of 79.

Prayer card

Edward “Pie” Curry’s Prayer card 1978

Thanks for reading about my maternal New York born Irish ancestors with the surname Curry,  More on the Curry’s to come!

Also looking forward to the Mid Atlantic Genealogy Conference coming up this weekend!  Hope to learn a lot at my first ever genealogy conference!

The Genealogy Series: Murder in a small town, and the man who cracked the case.

Margaret “Maggie” Sullivan, was born in 1890, in Moorestown, NJ (Formally Chester Township, NJ) to Irish Immigrant parents Patrick F. Sullivan and Ellen L.  Larkin.  (She is the sister of William Sullivan who is my husband’s grandfather, and daughter’s Great-Grandfather.)  On November 26th 1912, Margaret married John H. Bradshaw  in Moorestown, NJ.   They began raising a family and had two children.

In 1917, John Bradshaw Sr. registered for the World War I draft.  He worked for the Pennsylvania Railroad as a Railroad Policeman.  Draft registration cards are a great resource for family researchers as they offer a treasure trove of information, such as birthdate, full name, marital status and much more. It also offers a physical description of the individual.  John is described as “tall, and stout with grey eyes and brown hair.”

Draft Card

Sometime after 1917,  John Bradshaw became a Moorestown Police Officer, and later would become chief of police of the town.  Moorestown, NJ is a quiet New Jersey suburb of Philadelphia. The town was founded in 1686 when John Rodman bought a few hundred acres of land.  The town having originally been named “Village of Rodmantown.” and for many years after that was known as Chester Township.  The town consisted of mostly farm land, and later many residents found  work on the railroad that cut-through the town.

I never expected when researching the Bradshaw Family, that I would come across such very high-profile murder cases John Bradshaw was involved in solving.  I discovered articles posted online in the archives of the NY Tribune, and Philadelphia Evening Public Ledger, mentioning the details of these cases.  Genealogy has opened my eyes to the facts.  Many horrible acts we think occur more now, happened back then as well, and with more frequency than even I previously realized.  All you have to do is look at any of these old newspaper articles and the stories within the pages. These horrors occurred everywhere and in every time. No town in America was safe from crime as it remains today, and Moorestown was no exception.  It became apparent after reading the details of these two high-profile cases Chief Bradshaw was involved in.   These cases were the Matilda Russo Murder,  and The Quigley Murder He also worked along side the famous detective Ellis Parker.

In 1921, Matilda Russo was the seven year-old daughter of town Tailor Frank Russo.  Matilda went missing one day.  Her body was discovered in the basement of a neighbor’s house, and the accused murderer was on the run with a huge manhunt ensuing.   A terrible child murder, the horrible details of which were outlined in the newspapers.  Turns out, John Bradshaw helped break the case and discovered the body of this little girl.  Because his name was mentioned in the above articles, I was able to discover these stories via search engines.  One of the best and probably most under used resources in genealogy are search engines and the best part is they are free!  I was able to discover more about John Bradshaw then I had ever expected this way, including online images of some of the actual newspaper articles.  According to the 1930 Federal Census, John remained chief of police into the 30’s and remained in Moorestown on Second Street with his wife Maggie and their two adult sons John (Pipefitter)  and Edward (mechanic).

John Bradshaw passed away in 1953, and Margaret Bradshaw passed away 12- years later, in 1963.  They are buried in Mt. Carmel Cemetary in Moorestown, NJ.

Bradsaw

No let up in hunt for child’s slayer                                                                                                     Evening Public Ledger June 14th 1921

Matilda Russo News Article Have you discovered any surprises using search engines?  Do you Google your ancestor’s names and info regularly?