03 October 2010


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I am so very frustrated with Ancestry.com at the moment. The 1860 census is a complete mess. The search engine shows various families, but when one goes to view the census it takes you to a completely different family in a completely different place. It is like this for the entire 1860 census. Of course, their customer service is not open on the weekends, so I have not been able to accomplish much without going through each census record page by page. It is very time consuming.

I have been recently working on the Pender and Haggerty families. I have been able to find some information, but not necessarily the information I am looking for. From what I can gather, there are two different Haggerty families in Wilmot in 1850 and 1860. The question is... are they related and, if so, how?

05 September 2010

Back in action

This has been a very busy time for me. School has started and I am now teaching at new school. So there has been little time for me to indulge in genealogy while I have been preparing myself for the new school year.

I did receive an exciting e-mail from Jack Cummiskey who has located the original ship manifest for Arthur Cummiskey and his family. This certainly gave insight to my research and has supported information that I had previously found. It verified to us that members of the Cummiskey family came over at different periods of time rather than as an entire group.

As more and more records and databases are uploaded online, there is a lot more information available for us to take a look at. I am currently taking full advantage of my membership with the New England Historic Genealogical Society and the plethora of records they offer to research the Taffe and Cummiskey families who settled in Massachusetts. Families in the 1800's were much more mobile than we give them credit for and the branches of our family trees sometimes reach further than we realize.

16 August 2010

Work In Progress

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For the new people who will be joining and reading this blog, please bear in mind that the website is currently a work in progress. Unfortunately, do my computer incident, I lost a lot of material, and I am slowly completing the webpages as I can. The only family that has any pertinent information posted is the O'Neill family although the page is not near complete.

If anyone would like to complete their own family webpage and submit it, please feel free to let me know. The Irish Settlement tree is also currently marked private, but I am more than happy to share it with those who request access.

Don't forget to join the discusssion forum as well. It can be accessed in the upper right hand corner or by click here.

15 August 2010


My computer recently crashed and, unfortunately, I lost a lot of valuable documents, pictures, research, etc. It is extremely frustrating. I also lost a lot of contact information for people who have e-mailed me regarding particular Irish Settlement families. I am especially interested in getting in touch with the woman who contacted me regarding the McKernan family who relocated to Tennessee.

03 July 2010

World Archives Project

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I have just recently started keying in documents for the World Archives Project on Ancestry. I had joined in January 2009, but life obviously had gotten in the way. Last night I began keying in my first documents. I decided to start on the Pennsylvania U.S. Naturalization Records with the hope that perhaps I would come across some information I might need.

Sadly, the only immigrants I have encountered thus far are mostly of German and Russian descent.The earlier records must have already been keyed in as I am only transcribing records from the 1920's. On a bright note, I am anxiously awaiting the release of these records as I might be able to find some much needed information that I have been looking for.

They are currently sponsoring a World Record Challenge. Apparently volunteers have keyed in and arbitrated over a million records every ten days for the last month. Impressive! They have a Facebook group for those who frequent the social network site.

To join the project, click on the link above. One will need to download software, but it is definitely worth the time and effort to do so. The more records transcribed, the more information that will be available for all of us.

Mysterious Quinn Children

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Whilst researching the Quinn family, I came across the 1860 census for Cherry township where Elizabeth Farrell Quinn is living with John Farrell and Mary Farrell. Whether or not these two were married, I do not know yet. However, I find it interesting that Elizabeth is enumerated as Farrell though she is most definitely a Quinn. All of her children are enumerated in the household as well. There are also two children, Eliza, age 7, and William, age 2, both born in Ireland, also enumerated in the home. Who are these mysterious Quinn children? Are they Elizabeth's grandchildren? I cannot find them on the 1870 census, and they are obviously too young to be on the 1850 census. Are they even Quinns? It is not uncommon for mistakes to be made by the enumerator. Obviously Elizabeth was enumerated with her maiden name. It seems more than likely that John Farrell is her brother. So that presses the question... are the children really Quinns or are they Farrells?

02 July 2010

Another exciting breakthrough!

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I have definitely been on a role lately. I just uncovered an obscure book by Samuel T. Wiley called Biographical and Portrait Cyclopedia of Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania that absolutely confirms my thought Elizabeth Cullen, the daughter of Thomas and Bridget Mary Burke Cullen, was married twice.

On my trip back east, I visited the Sullivan County Historical Society in Laporte. The information on the Irish Settlement families is fairly slim there. However, they did have some information on the Cullen family including documentation of a letter written to Bridget Mary Burke Cullen by an Elizabeth Haggerty. The letter is addressed to "Mother" and is dated 22 Feb 1866 sent from Tuscarora, Schuylkill county. In another letter by James Cullen written a few years earlier, he mentions he is pleased to hear Hugh Haggerty missed the draft. I surmised Hugh Haggerty must have been the second husband of Elizabeth Cullen.

The 1860 census confirms a Hugh and Elizabeth Haggerty in Tuscarora, Schuylkill county. Living with the family are Murphy children. It has long been established Elizabeth Cullen had married a Murphy.

Wiley's book contains a biography of Walter E. Murphy, the son of Elizabeth Cullen and Edward Murphy. In the biographical sketch, which is rather detailed, Wiley explains how Edward Murphy died at the age of twenty-four years and Elizabeth remarried Hugh Haggerty. The sketch also confirms Murphy was from County Wexford. This did not surprise me in the slightest. It seems more than likely he is connected to the Murphy family who later settled in and around Dushore. The Wexford families of the Irish Settlement are woven together in so many ways.

The Haggerty connection now opens up the possibility that Edward Haggerty, who is enumerated in Schuylkill county in 1840, is most likely related to Hugh Haggerty. It is also rather interesting to me Edward relocated to Wilmot township in Bradford county by 1850 especially since it seems to be the pattern of many of the Wexford families including the Cullens, Murphys, Kinsleys, Quinns, Burns, and O'Neills.

Another interesting point of this find is the use of the name Walter. It has been claimed Thomas Cullen had a son named Walter, but I have yet to find any documentation to support this. The fact Elizabeth named her son Walter may be a starting point.

29 June 2010

Breaking down those walls...

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I know it has seemed like forever since I have posted, but I have finally had a major breakthrough that I was just so excited about that I had to blog. I stumbled across a death record identifying the mother of Ellen McDermott Carroll and confirming a connection between the McDermott family and the Cummiskeys. It was so very exciting.

The second breakthrough came not even ten minutes later when I found an old article mentioning Francis McDermot (sic) of Albany township was crushed to death by a falling tree. It was known he died, but not where, when, or how. This tiny snippet answered all of the above questions.

Today was a good day.

11 April 2009

The Irish Settlement

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When I was twelve years old I was assigned a family history project. Little did I know that one simple assignment would ignite a lifelong passion.

The Irish Settlement, quite simply, is an area in northeastern Pennsylvania encompassing parts of three counties - Bradford, Sullivan and Wyoming. The descendants of these settlers gradually began to branch out and today they can be found all over the United States. It is not uncommon to find important information regarding Irish Settlement families in various newspapers surrounding the area.

Though John Kinsley is credited as the founder of the Irish Settlement and the small area of Stowell, Wyoming County, where he and his family lived is considered to be the original Irish Settlement, I cannot help but extend the name to the entire close-knit community of Irish settlers. These people lived together, worked together, went to church together, and frequently intermarried. They shared the same religion, values and hardships. It is interesting to note that many of these families emigrated together. Some first crossed paths whilst working the canals and coal mines, and later choosing to settle near each other.

Though I have been actively running a fairly successfully group on Yahoo for those who are interested in researching their Irish Settlement ancestors, I felt that branching out may assist even more individuals. Especially those who are not exactly aware their ancestor was part of the Irish Settlement. A relative of a descendant of John Bernard McKernan recently contacted me after finding a reference to JBM on my old Rootsweb tree. Their family had no information about JBM's origins and I had very limited information on JBM after he left Pennsylvania for Tennessee. One can only speculate why he left Pennsylvania. Perhaps the mystery will never be solved, but it will be interesting to put forth some theories nevertheless. The greatest bit of information though was learning JBM carried with him a photo album which is apparently in the current possession of his granddaughter. That is an invaluable piece of history.