When I started researching the family history, I managed to figure out the basics of all of Dad’s siblings except for his brother William. He was Grandfather and Grandmother Sheehan’s second child, born in Worcester in 1904. The only other fact I knew in the beginning was that our cousin Rusty was his daughter. Rusty’s real name was Eleanor, (probably named after Grandfather’s sister) and we used to see her and her husband George Brunt when we’d visit Florida. I remember being confused when Mom told me Rusty was my cousin, because she seemed to be close to Mom’s age (she was born in 1928). To me that made her an aunt, not a cousin!
William married Helen Gaffney sometime in the early 1920′s. In addition to Rusty (real name Eleanor), they had another daughter, Mary, born in 1926, who once lived in Grafton, and who I remember visiting with Mom and Dad when I was younger; and a son, Thomas, born in 1929, who became a very successful lawyer and insurance executive. The family appear in the 1930 census, living in Worcester. William was 25, and worked as an office clerk at a “loom works”, probably Crompton & Knowles. That was the last record I could find prior to the 1940 census being released in 2012. Read More
A year or so ago I had my DNA analyzed by Ancestry.com in the hopes of learning more about our family’s history. The results were slightly underwhelming- but the other day I received an updated analysis that’s pretty interesting. Read More
Ballaghavorraga (Ballymarket), County Waterford. Photo from Google Street View
One hundred and thirty six years ago today, on May 26 1877, Mary Casey was born in a little village called Ballaghavorraga (or Ballymarket) in County Waterford. Mary was the sixth child born to Michael and Anastasia (Morrissey) Casey. In 1891, at the age of just 14 years, Mary emigrated to the US, settling in the railroad village of Mechanicville NY, where she worked as a domestic servant in the home of a prominent factory owner.
Several members of the Casey, Powers and Sheehan families moved to Mechanicville in the following years, including, in 1901, Nicholas Sheehan. Mary and Nicholas were married in Mechanicville on May 21 1902. Their first child, Francis Patrick Sheehan, aka “Uncle Frank” was born in Mechanicville the following year. Shortly after that, the family moved to Worcester, where Nicholas’s brother Edward (“Uncle Ned”), and sister Bridget had settled.
Nicholas and Mary lived in Worcester until 1951 when they retired to Florida, along with their daughters May, Helen, and Kathleen. Mary died in Coral Gables Florida in 1962.
Mary Casey – I15 – Individual Information – PhpGedView.
Earl Lernard Dunn was born on this day in 1926, in Winchendon, Massachusetts.
Catherine Jane (Creegan) Farrar
Mom’s maternal grandmother, Catherine Creegan, was born on this day in 1853 in Rhode Island, most likely in Providence. Catherine is the woman in the photograph that Mom kept in the living room. To say that Catherine had a tough life would be an understatement. Read More
When I wrote about our ancestors who fought in the Revolution, I said I suspected we had some French and Indian War veterans in our family tree, but didn’t know for sure. I still don’t, but I did come across a record of a family member who served (and died) in an even earlier conflict, King Philip’s war:
Nathaniel [Seaver], son of Robert and Elizabeth (Ballard) Seaver, was baptized in Roxbury, January 8, 1645, and was slain by Indians in the battle of Sudbury, Massachusetts, April 21, 1676, during King Philip’s War. He was one of ten Sudbury men who were killed on that day and served in Captain Wadsworth’s company. The site of the battlefield where Captain Wadsworth so long held the Indians at bay is on what is now called “Green Hill.” While an attack was being made on a small body of eighteen minute-men under Edward Cowell, Captain Wadsworth and his company came upon the scene and seeing a small party of Indians rushed forward with impetuous haste and were caught in the usual ambuscade, for when within about a mile of Sudbury they were induced to pursue a body of not more than one hundred Indians and soon found themselves drawn about a mile into the woods, where on a sudden they were encompassed by more than five hundred, and were forced to a retreating fight toward a hill where they made a brave stand for a time (one authority says four hours) and did heavy execution of the enemy until (Hubbard says) the night coming on and some of the company beginning to scatter from the rest of their companions were forced to follow them, and thus being surrounded in the chase the officers and most of the company were slain. It is said that the savages set fire to the woods and thus forced the disastrous retreat, and only thirteen out of the entire company escaped to Noyes’ mill.
There were a few comments about the “Dunn genes” last week, referring to Mom and Uncle Bud’s longevity. If you take a look at the Dunn family tree, though, you might wonder if genes had anything to do with it.
Grandfather Dunn was just 62 when he died in 1958. Nana had died the previous year at 68. All but one of Mom’s grandparents had even shorter lives. Her maternal grandfather, Daniel Farrar, died just two days shy of his 70th birthday- but the rest of Mom’s grandparents all died at the age of 52! Nana Dunn’s mother, Catherine (Creegan) Farrar died in 1905 of “nephritis”, a disease of the kidneys that I’d never heard of before, but which, according to Wikipedia, is the eighth leading cause of death in the world. (Catherine, incidentally, was Daniel’s third wife- the first two, Jane McKee and Florence McQuire, having died at the ages of 28 and 40, respectively.) Read More
In the previous entry I wrote about members of our family who had served in the two world wars. We also have veterans who served in wars going at least as far back as the Revolution. I wouldn’t be surprised to find that some of our ancestors also served in the French and Indian War as well, since the Cogswells and Seavers were already well established in Massachusetts by that time, but I haven’t come across any records of that yet.
Before I started my research, of course, it wouldn’t have occurred to me that we’d even have had Civil War veterans in our past, since I assumed I was only a generation or two removed from Ireland in relation to all my ancestors. The person who changed that was Mom’s paternal grandmother, Mary Alice (Smith) Dunn. She’s the woman sitting in front of the home she and husband Daniel shared in Rindge, New Hampshire, where Daniel was the local blacksmith. Mary Alice’s father was Leonard O. Smith, born in Foster, Rhode Island, descended from the Smith and Shippee families that had been prominent in that state from its beginning. Her mother was Lydia (Cogswell) Smith. The Cogswells had come to New England in 1637. Lydia’s mother was Lucy (Seaver) Cogswell, whose ancestors arrived in Boston in 1635. Read More