Sunday, September 30, 2012


"...Each age is a dream that is dying or one that is coming to birth..." Arthur O'Shaughnessy

           My husband's side is almost 100 percent Irish. His little mother passed away at the grand age of almost 94 and thought genealogy was a bit silly. However, she did like the fact that she could be a member of the DAR for all practical purposes.

         I decided to conquer the impossible in the known dearth of access to the church records of Ireland. Doing my own Grandmother's Kerry folks took almost centuries - or felt like centuries - and still hitting fort walls in my O'Mahonys and Jones. So I was pleasantly surprised when church records showed up for Sligo at FamilySearch and Ancestry website. Unfortunately, they are only indexes but confirmation will be solid when I can order the microfilms to connect the families.

        The Cleveland, Ohio family of Downs was found in a courthouse search of US records in the Cleveland courthouse before I investigated the church records online. They hailed from Ballinfada. I was lucky she had (at least) three sisters that immigrated to Cleveland. The records had their parents' full names and full townland names on their death records.

        Then I came upon the passenger record for " Ma Butler " who was the Grandmother that immigrated to Cleveland. She is even traveling with the cousin named Riley who lived with the family in Cleveland so that cinched it. For Irish genealogy , I feel very lucky indeed .

Some things I learned about Mary Jane Down's Sligo : (Sligeach in Gaelic) sligeach means "full of shells".
  • According to the Census returns, a staggering 75,660 emigrated from Sligo in the half-century from 1851-1901.
  • Her village named Ballinafad in Irish: Béal an Átha Fada, means "Mouth of the long ford"
  • Aghanagh is the Downs' actual town land situated in the civil parish of Tirerrill
  • Family Search wiki has a great page about working genealogy in tiny, tough Sligo
  • And lastly, that William Butler Yeats wrote ‘The Lake Isle of Innisfree’ there in 1888.
Image below of Mary Jane Downs immigration to Ohio , August 25 1862 on the Ship Cultwater . 3rd line down from the top .
 NewYorkPassengerLists1862 August 25 Cultwater of New York MJ Downs
Source: NY Passenger's List  at Family Search

Monday, September 17, 2012


A Post from my Original Site 

Hungary Exchange & Nick Gombash

One day while on the Hungary-L mailing list, a serious, young man popped in named Nick Gombash . It was this link to his website HUNGARY EXCHANGE that opened my eyes to realize that we have a great organizer amongst us :
I was so grateful that someone actually took the time to gather all the digital books about Hungary in one spot and share them with us. Generosity in it's finest moment. That's just the beginning of how much Nick has shared with us along the way .
In the early days of internet genealogy, we have had so many knowledgeable contributors helping the newbies out at Hungary-L as we scrolled through the microfilms at the LDS centers for our Hungarian genealogy . There were even a few Hungarian genealogical societies in the USA or helpful assistants at the Hungarian Churches in Detroit, Chicago , Toledo and many other old enclaves of Hungarian - American roots. There is a need for helping people with their Hungarian records. I delved into it and never looked back. I think this is what seized Nick Gombash when he started out. He never looked back and to see all that he has accomplished on his websites is amazing. He is, no doubt, a knowledgeable and major contributor for anyone discovering their Hungarian ancestry.
Nick began his genealogy research journey in 2001 on all his family lines, from Yankee to the European. He started up a database for a collections of records called the "Hungarian Marriage Project". It now holds over 45,500 marriages. Marriage records are a favorite of mine as you can get up to 3, 4 new surnames to work on if the clerk or priest wrote in the maiden names of the grooms' and brides' mothers .
HUNGARY EXCHANGE also has a surname database and databases particular for certain regions of Hungary. I just discovered that he is indexing the civil records in Hidvég-Ardó in Abauj .
I hope Nick never quits !
I recently landed on his facebook community page named Hungary Exchange for those of us who likes a little dose of social networking with genealogists of the same interests. It is a forum where one can ask for help with records, maps, history and all matters of Hungarian research. 
Like Nick, I did not want to " blog ". Rather stay holed up in a library and research than blog but to keep the flame going, we have to fan it, spread it out so others may catch it and keep it going for the next generation .
That last link I bulleted is the one Nick web page I consult regularly. It is one of the great pages of links. Thank you , Nick !

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Hungarian Records and Twins

         When researching old records from Hungary, one will come upon the mention of twins in the Latin words of Gemelli (could mean male, or male and female), Gemellae (girl twins) or Gemini. In Hungarian, ikrek (twin), két (as in two infants), kett, kettos or ketts gyermek.

   In this record, on July 9th 1756, we see fraternal twins - GEMINI - as it is written in Latin. Although not in this particular example, I always wondered about the popularity of naming fraternal twins, "Adam and Eve" for a boy and girl births or "Peter and Paul" for male twins. I see this naming occurrence in Hungarian and German records, even in baptismal records of twins born to immigrants in America. 

   There must have been something in the water in this town, Morvaszentjános, in upper Poszony. In this one particular record, in the span of one week, there are THREE more sets of twins born between the 22 Oct and 31 Oct, 1756 week ~ “Catherina & Elisabeth“ on 29 Oct; “Barbara & Dorothy“ on 31 Oct  and  “Andreas & ??”.  

     Here is an example of an "Adam and Eve" naming for twins. I frequently wonder about the survival rates for twins so always check ahead in the death records in the same time frame.



Saturday, September 8, 2012

Cholera took three dear ones

 (dedicated to Joan Sambrotto, Genealogist Extraordinaire)  

    I will never forget how my hand stopped turning the pages when I read the death records of Francesca Müller Neiderlander’s husband and their two children. I could not go on. Thinking the priest made a mistake in recording these deaths, I wrote the information down dryly and put my books away. I paid the babysitter and took a vacation from genealogy when I got home by spending the summer with my kids.             

That is, until my colleague, Joan, asked me to finish the job. What happened is that Franceska Müller lost her husband and two children as victims to an outbreak of cholera in Buffalo on the 7th of August in 1852.
               The large obelisk monument to her dearly beloveds still sits in the old part of the United German & French Cemetery, all written in German, and the etchings fading fast.
              During a horrific summer of cholera which decimated Buffalo families, eight years old Isabella Neiderlander was stricken and died at home on the 7th of August 1852. Hours later, she was followed by the death of her two years old little brother, Frederich Neiderlander. Later, that evening, their father, Frederich Neiderlander Sr., a thirty-one years old cabinetmaker from Alsace, passed away as well.
     Francesca Müller Neiderlander lost three family members in one day. The two other daughters, Emma & Caroline Neiderlander, may have been stricken and recovered. Emma remained an invalid all her life with a live-in nurse. Francesca remarried four years later, to Carl Gruner,of Saxony, who was a portrait painter and proprietor of a hotel in Buffalo . They had one daughter that was named after her departed daughter, Isabella Gruner. However, on a visit to his home country, Her second husband, Carl Gruner took ill and died in Germany suddenly, leaving Francesca to manage his hotel business. Yet, Francesca somehow lived to a healthy old age, with a happy second marriage, financial success & raised another family.
      In Franceska’s obituary, she was described as a woman who knew loss and hardship but had faith. She read and wrote in German and she helped her second  husband with the business of his hotel, The OLD GRUNER HOTEL, on Washington Street in Buffalo. She did well for herself  after she sold the old family property which became desirable downtown real estate (where the Niagara Mohawk Tower stands now). She died in her home at 156 Norwood Avenue, Buffalo at the old age of ninety .
Old German & French 2011 027
 Muller & Neiderlander Family Plot