Irish census conundrum

I thought I had found my great-great-grandmother Ellen Cronin Hegarty in the 1911 census, living with her widower son-in-law Michael Phipps. Her age was mistranscribed, but I opened the image of the page and she was 67. She is listed as single with no children, and her role in the family is scrawled unclearly, but what other elderly Ellen Hegarty would be living with this man who wasn’t his mother-in-law?

However, I found that census entry by searching through the images at Ireland’s National Archives site. Since then, the 1911 Irish census has been indexed at Ancestry.com. Ancestry’s search turned up another 1911 census image for an Ellen Hegarty who is a 67-year-old widow sharing a house with someone, still working as a housekeeper, and the mother of 15 children of whom 5 survive. That sounds like it fits my actual ancestor much better. She is also living on the same street as someone who might be her son.

But if this new independent housekeeper person is my great-great-grandmother, then who is the Ellen Hegarty living with the Phipps? Could it possibly be Michael Phipps’s late wife’s maiden aunt, and that scrawl is for “Aunt”?  What did widows and maiden aunts tend to do in 1911 in Cork?

And why is Ancestry’s index finding things that I didn’t find in my fairly methodical searching?

It needs more looking into but it’s late at night so I will wait until I am fresh.

I am mostly posting this so I will remember what my thinking was when I return to this problem.

One brick wall down; new brick wall installed

You win some, you lose some. I’m in the process of writing up what I know of the Hegarty family history in Register style. I’m finding the process really helpful in establishing what I do and don’t know, what I do and don’t have sources for. Already I have made some changes. When I have my new Hegarty outline done I’ll post it up in place of the now outdated history that’s up there on the sidebar, and then start on the other lines.

I think I was wrong about the link to the Fitzgeralds. In reality, I don’t know where John Hegarty was born and I don’t feel comfortable narrowing it any further than County Cork in general, so I really can’t seek him in a particular parish marriage record. During this time period people were moving into Cork City in large numbers due to the famine, and just because someone was married or baptized a child in a Cork City parish doesn’t mean they were born in that parish as well.

This same new understanding expanded my search for Cronins. I found Ellen Cronin mis-transcribed in the 1911 census of Ireland, and the census provided her age. I calculated back to her birthdate and did a search of baptismal records for Ellen Cronins born in 1844 with a father named Cornelius, and there was only one! Married to a Foley — so I have a new ancestor. I’m not guaranteeing I have everything right yet, but I feel like I have made headway by working the census alongside the baptismal records.

In other research news, I tried out the new FamilySearch family tree wiki but I don’t like it. Too much clicking! It throws up potential matches from other people or records, but the majority of the matches are not actually matches and each requires two clicks to dismiss. When one record had 99 matches, I decided I didn’t want to work that hard for FamilySearch.

Narrow Escape!

I found this a while ago but realized I never posted it here. It is a news clipping entitled “Narrow Escape” which describes a fire at my great-grandparents’ apartment in 1905 in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Transcription:
NARROW ESCAPE
Three children of Mr. and Mrs. John Hegarty, of 80 Howard street, Leo, aged 3 1/2 years, Margaret, 2 1/2, and Joseph, 1 1/2, had a narrow escape from being burned to death Tuesday afternoon. The children were playing in the kitchen, while the mother was upstairs, when the oldest child, with a broom, knocked a lamp off a shelf on to the stove. The burning oil ignited the clothes of the other two children. Margaret was badly burned about the head, arms and chest, and after being attended by Drs. Norton and Joseph Cunningham was sent to the Cambridge hospital. Joseph was burned about the legs. Mrs. Hegarty rescued the two younger children with some difficulty, as the whole room was in flames in an instant. The fire completely destroyed the apartments of the Hegartys, which is the rear one of a four-apartment wooden house. The house is owned by S. J. Kelley. The loss will amount to $1500. An alarm was rung In from box 145 at 1.30 o’clock.
from Cambridge Chronicle, 21 Jan 1905, page 10

I found this article at the Cambridge Public Library’s free searchable database: Historic Cambridge Newspaper Collection. Worth checking out if you have Cambridge connections.

RIP James Hegarty 1932-2013

My father died in Cambridge, Massachusetts on February 28th after a long illness. He will be dearly missed. This photo is perhaps ten years old.
It’s been a long week of seeing rarely-seen relatives. (I live out of state, so I rarely see any relatives.) I did make plans to compare genealogy notes with one cousin. There is a lot to catch up with, but eventually there will be more blog posts here.

Small updates to Clare, Gaule, and Hegarty pages

I’ve been too busy at work to really delve into my genealogy hobby, but a few new things have come to my attention and I’d like to share them. I’ve made small updates to the following pages:

Clare research

I found a civil death register at Newfoundland Grand Banks that included the death of my great-great-grandfather John Clare in Harbour Grace in 1892. The register also gave his age which allowed me to figure his birth date as about 1836. Best of all, the register included his place of birth as ENGLAND. I don’t know where in England, but at least I have traced another Newfoundland ancestor back to Europe. I remember my grandmother telling me that her grandfather had come from England. Often family stories end up as just stories, so I was pleased to see that one work out.

Gaule research

Another researcher contacted me on Ancestry.com to insist that my great-grandmother Anastasia Gaule had a sister named Anne Gaule who also emigrated to Cambridge, MA. I had heard this rumor before, I think back in my days on AOL, but I had dismissed it because the names seemed too similar and I thought my father would have heard of a whole group of relatives living so close. However, this researcher had lots of matching info about Anastasia’s parents whom she claimed were also Anne’s parents. I managed to find a marriage record for Anne on AmericanAncestors.org that gave her parents’ names, which matched, so now I’m convinced. I added Anne into the Gaule family.

Hegarty research

There was a family story that my great-grandfather John James Hegarty served in the British Army before emigrating to Massachusetts in 1890. He was supposed to have served in the Boer War with the Royal Munster Fusiliers, but the dates that the RMF were in South Africa didn’t work with John’s age and emigration dates. Recently, though, Ancestry.com turned up a record for a Private J. Heggarty serving with the Royal Malta Artillery in the Sudan, with dates that actually work. I am supposing this is him, since it’s a Royal M-word regiment and it’s in Africa. If I find better or different evidence going forward, I’ll revise. Meanwhile, here is a photo from Wikipedia of the campaign medals John would have received after the Suakin Expedition, though his medals would likely not have had a date.