Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I am looking for the parents of Michael and Catherine (Lyons) Rafferty. Where should I look next?

Here's what I know:
I found my grandfather Michael Rafferty in the 1910 Census in Boston - living with his wife Catherine and family. It indicates that he was born in about 1872, was a Motor-man on a street car, was married around 1900 and immigrated in 1895.

Since Michael was not in the 1920 census and Catherine is listed as a widow, it is reasonable to conclude that he died somewhere between 1910 and 1920. My brother believes he died in 1914-1915.

The 1900 Census shows a Michael Rafferty born in 1873, emigrated in 1893, was a motorman and was living in a boarding home with a Thomas Rafferty.

The 1910, 1920 and 1930 census lists the brother of Michael Rafferty, Thomas Rafferty, as living with the family.

Catherine Rafferty (my grandmother, maiden name Lyons):

The 1920 and 1930 census shows that Catherine immigrated from Ireland in 1892. She was naturalized in 1897. She lived at 272 Corey Rd in Boston. She was living at 78 Hichborn St in Brighton at the time of Thomas Sr's wedding (according to newspaper clipping). She died approx 1950.

A: OK. I would suggest several approaches. First that you look for their death certificates.

FamilySearchLabs has been putting all of the Massachusetts death certificates from 1841 through 1915 online but at this point that project is only 58% complete. That is a terrific free resource - you will want to check back as more certificates are added.

You also want to contact the Massachusetts State Archives. They hold the original Massachusetts vital records from 1841 to 1915. They have put up a searchable index to these records from 1841 to 1910.

You also have several clues in the research that you have already done.

Look again at the 1900 Census. You have them identified in Boston Ward 25, Precinct 7.

Click Here to see the full census page

TIP: You may search the 1900 census for free at: FamilySearchLabs.org

Notice that there is a Timothy Rafferty living on the same street, just a few houses down from them.

Look closely at the lines for Timothy and his wife Bridget.
It says that Timothy has been married for "42" years - getting married in approx. 1858.
The record shows that Bridget has been married for 27 or 28 years (notice the two numbers written in that column) in approx. 1872 when she was 44 years old. Notice further that the record indicates that she had no children.

The census taker should have indicated how many times they have each been married. Since the record indicates that Timothy was first married in 1858 and Bridget first married in 1872 - there was certainly another marriage for one or both of them.

But, look again at line 84 for Timothy. What is the 8/12 written after the marriage? It is possible that this represents the number of children that Timothy had with his first wife - 12 children and that 8 of them are still living. Spacing 12 children from a marriage date of 1858 - could indicate children born from 1859 to the early 1870s.

Just an idea, but could Timothy be Michael Rafferty's father or uncle?

I would suggest that you keep searching the Massachusetts and Irish vital record indexes.

In searching the Civil Registration Indexes for Ireland for 1845 to 1958 I do find a Timothy Rafferty married in Castlebar, County Mayo in 1870. The Civil Registration Indexes are also free on the FamilySearchLabs.org site.

Here is the citation:
Name: Timothy Rafferty
Registration district: Castlebar
Record type: MARRIAGES
Registration date - quarter and year: 1870
Film number: 101251
Volume: 4 Page: 144
Digital GS number: 4179384 Image number: 00313
Collection: Ireland, Civil Registration Indexes 1845-1958

Looking further at the Irish Civil Registration Index there is an entry for a Michael Rafferty born in Castlebar, County Mayo in 1873. You should get a copy of this birth certificate to see if this person was also born in November 1873 - giving you a strong indication that you have a match.

Name: Michael Rafferty
Registration district: Castlebar
Record type: DEATHS
Registration date - quarter and year: 1873
Estimated birth year: 1873
Film number: 101586
Volume: 19
Page: 69
Digital GS number: 4200218
Image number: 00501
Collection: Ireland, Civil Registration Indexes 1845-1958

I did not find an entry for Thomas Rafferty born January 1870 in Ireland.

Be sure to also search for the naturalization records of Michael, Thomas and Timothy Rafferty - to see what clues these give you. Contact the National Archives Regional centers in Massachusetts for these records. Click here to see their online guide.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A, E, I, O, U and sometimes Y

I am often asked: Do you have Canadian newspapers in GenealogyBank?

Well, no we don't - but that's not the question you want to ask.

Tip: I have been researching my family tree for 45 years and I can tell you that you'll find the information on your family where you least expect to find it.

Here's a wedding announcement for Alexander James Ross of Winnipeg, Manitoba and Mary Moore McArthur of Picton, Nova Scotia - they were married in Chicago 6 March 1882. (Inter Ocean 14 March 1882).
GenealogyBank has over 3,800 newspapers - all of them published in the United States - but it has several million articles, records and documents on Canadians.

Newspapers were published - every day.

And everyday editors had to fill the next day's paper & they wanted to sell papers.

So they pulled "news" from a wide circle of influence. Birth announcements, marriage announcements, and obituaries from small towns and big cities were included.

Just like CNN or Fox News - the daily newspapers had to fill their pages with hard news. News that people wanted to read and that would sell subscriptions.

If you are researching Canadian genealogy then GenealogyBank is an essential online tool.

Eastport, Maine is a small town on the Maine coast right on the border with New Brunswick, Canada.

As you would expect this newspaper regularly carried birth, death and marriage announcements from the Canadian side of the border.

Look at this example of marriage notices published in the 29 March 1828 Eastport ME) Sentinnel. Look at the places mentioned "Lubec" - "Dennysville" - "St. Andrews" - "Antigua" - "St. Stephens" and "Charlotte". Towns on both sides of the border and "Antigua" refers to the island nation of Antigua.

Nothing unusual here - just a typical day with a newspaper editor packing his paper with the information his readers wanted to read.

Just like GenealogyBank - everyday we pack in more resources that genealogists need and rely on. You're not finished with your research until you've searched the newspapers in GenealogyBank.

Q: Is there any chance that the Philadelphia Inquirer will extend from 1922 into the 1940s? Is there an index to obituaries from that era?

A: GenealogyBank actively partners with the publishers of thousands of newspapers from across the country - including the Philadelphia Inquirer. Many of our newspaper runs stop at 1922. Because of copyright laws publishers often weigh their options about digitizing and putting online their newspapers after that because of the New York Times Co. vs. Tasini case in 2001. That ruling requires newspaper publishers to pay writers, photographers for the republication of the articles that they wrote or the pictures that they took since 1922. This can be very difficult for newspapers to find these writers decades later. As newspaper publishers work out those arrangements we work with them and put their newspapers online.

The Historical Society of Pennsylvania has the clipping file from the Philadelphia Public Ledger - by finding the obituary there you could then check for an obituary appearing in the Philadelphia Inquirer at that same time. They also have indexes to other local Philadelphia newspaper obituary and marriage notices. I would suggest that you contact them about any indexes for that later period.