Thursday, December 4, 2014

Gavin Families of Lafayette County 1860 & 1870

In my attempt to tie families back to my Hughes & Hastings I came across a baptism for one of the children of James & Sarah (Hastings) Hughes (with my comments on possible connections):

Immaculate Conception Catholic Church (ICCC), Lexington, Missouri Baptismal: Oct 23, 1864; Sponsors: Thomas Gavin [unknown relationship, possibly a cousin to Mom, Sarah?] and Bridget Hastings [Grandmother?/Mom's side]; Edward Hamill

So, that prompts me to go look at the sponsors, and other Gavin families. Are they just neighbors? Kin? or County/Township Countrymen? So here's what I've come up with:

1860 census, Clay twp, Laf, MO (Dennis Gavin Adj)
Thos Gavin, 34, stone mason, Ireland
Mary Gavin, 25, Ireland
Michael Gavin, 2, had ditto (error?, or just in?)
1860c Clay twp, Laf, MO
Thos. Gavin, 34, Stone Mason, Ireland
Mary " , 25, f, Ireland
Michael " , 2, m, " (ditto in census)
1870 census, Lex, Laf, MO (in bef. 1858?)
Gaven, Thomas, 45, laborer, 450 - , Ireland
           Mary, 40, Ireland
   Michael 12, Margret 10, Thomas 5, Martha 6/12 all MO
>>>>also found in 1860 census, adjacent to Michael Hastings
Patrick Garvin, 30, Ireland
Catherine  "  , 26, Ireland
Mary  "  , 6, Va; Ellen  "  , 4, Iowa
fit? 1880 census
Census Place: Lexington, Lafayette, Missouri Page 202B 
Mary GAVIN Self F W W 44 IRE  Occ: Keeping House Fa: IRE Mo: IRE
Bridget GAVIN Dau F S W 22 IRE Occ: Servant Fa: IRE Mo: IRE
Micheal GAVIN Son M S W 21 IRE Occ: Works In Coal Mine Fa: IRE Mo: IRE
Maggie GAVIN Dau F S W 19 MO Occ: At Home Fa: IRE Mo: IRE
Thomas GAVIN Son M S W 15 MO Occ: Works In Coal Mines Fa: IRE Mo: IRE
Mary GAVIN Dau F S W 8 MO Occ: At Home Fa: IRE Mo: IRE

Note that Michael was born in Ireland. Based on all of the commonality of Irish names, this may be a stretch, but I found what looks like pretty close fit:

Mayo Ancestors - Official Genealogy records of County Mayo, Ireland

Type                     Baptism Record
First Name               Michael
Surname                  Gavin
Date of Christening      25 July 1858
Denomination             Roman Catholic
Address                  Curveigh Lower  (just 9 miles from my Hastings?)
Parish                   Aghagower Roman Catholic parish
Region                   South Mayo
Father's Name            Thomas Gavin
Mother's Name            Mary Keane
Sponsor 1 - Name         Mathew Keane
Sponsor 2 - Name         Bridget Keane
Reference  2-2 
Which fits pretty closely with his death certificate:
MO Death Cert:
DoB: July 31 , 1858 - Ireland
DoD: Aug 8, 1930 - KCMO
Fa: Thomas Gavin
Mo: Mary Kane
Another tie in to County Mayo may be concluded from the baptismal record of a daughter, Mary:
from Missouri, Births and Christenings
Name: Mary Gavin
Gender: Female
Event Type: Christening
Event Date: 17 Dec 1871
Birth Date: 12 Dec 1871
Father's Name: Thomas Gavin
Mother's Name: Mary Kane
Indexing Project (Batch) Number: C51183-1 , System Origin: Missouri-ODM , GS Film number: 980518
spon: Peter Guil/Gill
spon: Mary Gavin
The Lexington intelligencer., October 07, 1905, Image 1
About The Lexington intelligencer. (Lexington, Mo.) 1901-1949
Death of Peter Gill,
Died, in this city, Friday morning, at the home of his sister, Mrs. Patrick McDonald, Peter Gill aged 68 years.
Mr. Gill was born in County Mayo, Ireland, and at the age of eighteen years came to this country.
He had lived here for fifty years. For months he had been an invalid.
The funeral services will be held Saturday morning at 9 o'clock at the Catholic church, Rev. Curry officiating
Interment will take place in the Catholic cemetery.
Peter was also witness to a Margaret Hastings (daughter of Michael and Bridget (Stewart) Hastings in 1867 (Lexington ICCC):

m: Margaret to Patrick McGril
wit: Peter Gill
wit: Cate McDonald
I also believe this is Patrick McGreal's baptism in County Mayo:
 Mayo Ancestors
Official Genealogy records of County Mayo, Ireland

Type Baptism Record
First Name Patrick
Surname McGreal
Date of Christening 5 July 1842
Denomination Roman Catholic
Address Balygolman
Parish Aghagower Roman Catholic parish
Region South Mayo
Father's Name James McGreal
Mother's Name Mary McGreal
Sponsor 1 - Name John Boland
Sponsor 2 - Name Mary McGreal
Reference 3-3
I didn't find Bridget in some of the early census, but this seems to fit in as the daughter, which is also interesting in that locating the area in Ireland that a person was born is a very rare find within death certificates:

Missouri D.C.
Mrs. Bridget Gaven Gossett
23rd St., Davis Twp, Higginsville, Lafayette, MO
Widowed: William Gossett deceased
dob: Feb 22nd 1856 - pob: Westport, Ireland (which is nearby the townships noted)
86 yrs, 3 mo, 5 days
dod: May 27, 1942
fa: William [sic?] Gaven/ Ireland
mo: Mary Cain / Ireland
informant: Mr. J. T. Summers, Higginsville, MO
So this may fit to her birth:
Mayo Ancestors Official Genealogy records of County Mayo, Ireland
Heading              Data
Type                 Baptism Record
First Name           Bridget
Surname              Gavin
Date of Birth        24 February 1856
Date of Christening  4 June 1862
Denomination         Roman Catholic
Address              Thonelegee (Curveigh Lower, the next baptism I have guessed about, is 1 mile away, just south of Aghagower and 8 miles East/NE of Derryherbert)
Parish               Aghagower Roman Catholic parish
Region               South Mayo
Father's Name        Thomas Gavin
Mother's Name        Mary Keane
Sponsor 1 - Name     John Keane
Sponsor 2 - Name     Bridget O Brian

Evidence also appears to support that Dennis Gavin was a brother (adjacent to Thomas in 1860 census, and there were only a few Irish families in Clay Township in that census):
1860c Clay twp, Laf, MO
Dennis Gavin, 34, Coal Digger, Ireland
Mary " , 24, f, Ireland
Mary " , 5, f, Ind
1870 census Lex, Laf, MO
Garven, Denis, 45, m, laborere, Ireland
  "  , Mary, 32, f, Ireland
  "  , Mary 14, f, Missouri (Indiana in 1860 c!)
  "  , Thomas, 9, m, "
  "  , Patrick, 7, m, " (DoD 1924/MO)
  "  , William, 4, m, " (DoD 1919/MO)
  "  , Rosa, 2/12, f, "

So the conclusion I come to is, even if not blood kin, they appear to be within just a few miles of where I believe my Hastings were in County Mayo so they had something in common. Now if I could only find some descendants that I could compare DNA.....


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Michael Hastings Naturalization

As anyone that has done research for early 19th century naturalization records, they can be a frustrating search. They are rare finds, and when you do find them, they can be very pro-forma that don't provide much in the way of details. It was a two step process, an "intent" to be naturalized and then after the statutory time, the naturalization. Michael Hastings' naturalization is shown above. Both of the documents could be found in any number of courts, at any given point of time along an immigrants travels. So even though I found his naturalization document, his "intent" document could be anywhere (any Missouri county that he lived in at the time, or State for that matter), or not survived. I had hoped to have found the initial document as I'm told it may contain more details, but so far in the locales that I've checked I haven't come up with anything. It is gratifying, however, to have seen him go through the formal process and become a U.S. Citizen! His sons would have had to go through the same process, but so far nothing has shown up for them. The one son I did track, Thomas, was in the Civil War, and his honorable service would have shortened the time to have been eligible for naturalization, but he did go through the process before his untimely and tragic death later that year. My paraphrase:

Lafayette County, Missouri Circuit Court Records (LDS film: 959821]
Vol 15, p 479 May Term 1859, 10th Day (June 2)
Thomas Hastings admitted as citizen (native of Ireland)....resided in the U.S. at least 5 years, and in Missouri for at least 1...& to the satisfaction of the court...good moral character...taken prepatory steps required by law....declaring his oath that he will support the constitution...Thomas Hastings admitted

and the notice on his accident, just after he married on November 4th:

Missouri Valley Register, Lexington, Missouri, November 7, 1867
Fatal Accident. - Last Tuesday evening as Mr. Thos. Hastings, was riding  towards home in the west end of this city, his horse became fractious and threw him and his foot being caught in the stirrup, he was dragged a distance of about 300 yards over the rough road. He was taken home in an insensible condition, and died the following morning. Mr. H.had just been married, the day before the accident occurred, and leaves a wife and an afflicted family to mourn his death. Mr. H. was a young man of good qualities, and had served in the 10th Mo. [sic.] Vol. during the late war.
The weekly Caucasian., November 09, 1867, Image 3
HURT - We understand that Mr. Thomas Hastings was thrown from a Texas pony, a day or two since, in this city, and that after he was down the animal set upon him with its fore feet, but which he was severely injured. he is of Adamson's posse.
a column over:
DEAD - Tom Hastings, alluded to in another place as injured by a horse, died on Wednesday last.

Two other sons may also have naturalizations, but I've been unable to find them, or records of them besides some early references. James, who got off the ship in New Orleans with his Mom and two of his sisters, never shows up after that day in 1855. Peter is identified in the Liverpool Census, and one more record which I'm uncertain whether it is him, or a mis-identified Thomas:

Page 389 of Lafayette County, Missouri Probate Court Records. "In Vacation, February 27th A.D. 1856; Now at this day comes Walter M. Smallwood and J.M. Julian and files indentures of Apprenticeship entered into between Peter Hastings and his Father Michael Hastings, the said Smallwood and Julian Masters which is approved and filed by me. Edward Stratton, Judge". 

Side note: W. M. Smallwood is shown as a Probate Judge in 1860 census (p565), Lexington, Lafayette, Missouri. I also note, from exactly where I don’t recall, that Julian Masters was an editor. Maybe they were going to apprentice to be newspaper men (printers?). Also it is possible that given middle (baptismal?) and first names could be mixed up. Either Peter was very young (11-13 years old) when he went in on an indenture with his father (not impossible, though), or Thomas' middle name was Peter, which would have been a better age fit (~17). This might not be very far off since, for instance, Michael Hastings obit has his name listed as "Thomas", and Bridget Hastings, his daughter, later on in life was referred to as Anna (Hastings) Wise/Mahany, presumably her middle name.

One of the reasons I point out these details on my own family, is to provide others with ideas of other records that they might not have considered researching. In this latter case of the indenture, it places the family in the county prior to the next record I have, the 1860 census. In that census, Michael is identified as a laborer, and later as a coal miner, so it appears that the indenture didn't develop into a trade. Finding a record of the release of the indenture might be my next order of business...

Happy Tuesday...

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Putting it into Perspective - Irish, British, Famine and Immigration

To expand a little on what I posted before, for a lengthier history lesson, it's instructive to put the magnitude of the Famine into perspective. Ireland had been basically enslaved by the British, as the colonizing force, for 700 years (since ~1160). Land was divided among the British gentry and the native Irish became tenant farmers. Even with this servitude existence the population swelled from 5 million from about 1800 to 8 million by 1840. This population then underwent a drastic reduction during and just after the Famine to about 5 million within 20 years. Half died of starvation and about half emigrated overseas, to the U.S., England, Australia, and Canada[i]. With the greatest percentage, possibly 75%, ending up in America. The history of Ireland thus was of wretchedly poor people constantly emigrating from their homeland for nearly a century. In fact Ireland's population had been down as low as 4 million with the constant exodus. Given the normal population growths due to births this is even more drastic than the numbers would indicate. I believe the island of Ireland is about 5 million people now and only within the last decade has had a resurgence in vitality it has never known. For a while it was referred to as the Celtic Tiger. It would be a good time to visit as they are actively encouraging tourism and people returning to their roots. Due to this massive Diaspora it is estimated that 40 million Americans can trace their roots to Ireland (70 million internationally)!

Part of what had fueled the initial massive growth of population in the first half of the 19th century was in part due to the potato. Ironically there is a book written about it with a title "How the Humble Spud Rescued the Western World". Ireland was particularly well suited to the potato. It was a relatively easy crop to raise, it tolerated poor soil, the climate was well matched to it (wet and overcast) and the nutrition from it was unparalleled. The Irish diet became all dependent on it since they raised a crop to pay for their rent to the British[ii] (usually grain crops). Their food crop was the potato which they could easily tend to and had enough nutrition to subsist on (four times the food content of grain and it did not require any further processing, it could be just dug up and ate.) I suggest the next time you are at the supermarket you find a big bag of potatoes, a 10 pound bag, at minimum, 15 pounds if you’re a male. Lift it up and peer at it….that's your diet for the day, each and every day, spread out in three meals a day!  The potato had enough nutrients and energy content to need little else. Now try to figure out a way to cook it up so that it was palatable, day after day after day after…. When the potato crop failed, due to a blight (phytophthora infestans, a fungus disease) that was imported from America to the European Continent, and then to Ireland, it ruined the crop, literally, almost overnight. (they say the stench from the rotting plants was unbearable.) This continued for a half a dozen years in a row. The cash crops used to pay their rents weren't sufficient for their own sustenance and pay for rent, so there were wholesale evictions. Homes were burnt to the ground by the landlords and people were turned out into the lanes to move on, many dying of starvation, right there in the lanes, while others were fortunate enough to get passage elsewhere, as our kin were.

Leaving Ireland, in the face of the overwhelming disaster of the famine, the immigrants were not greeted with ready acceptance. While we historically think of America as the land of opportunity that many immigrants eagerly sought out, this was, to most of them, forced exile. Dob e'iagean dom imeacht ge Meirice, or "I had to go to America", or "Going to America was a necessity"[iii].  Families held "American Wakes" for departing kin. To them it was like a death since once a family left it was unlikely that they'd even be seen again. Even in the subsistence existence of these poor people they dearly loved their island. In the collective conscience of those that remained there is a dating of this time as "pre"-famine and "post"-famine. The music, gaiety, tradition, and liveliness that characterized the time before the famine was reduced dramatically for generations afterwards. It is wonderful to see the energy return to modern Ireland.

Our kin did not leave all their problems and hardships behind in Ireland. While they had opportunities they also had untold challenges to surmount. It had been held as common knowledge of the time, that the "Average length of life of the immigrant after landing here is six years, and many insist less". "When the Irish arrived, many Irish Immigrants quickly learned that American seaports were inhabited by what they called 'Yankee Tricksters' who infested the docklands and tried to rob the unwary Irish of the little capital or possessions that they had. Those who escaped the human sharks of New York City, New Orleans, and other ports soon discovered that their new American employers were often as harsh and unsympathetic as their old landlords in Ireland"[iv]. Yet even with all this adversity our kin surmounted their obstacles and persevered.

In researching Irish in the U.S., for the time frame after the Famine, I find very few that were farmers. Most likely it was due to their poverty, having no money to purchase land, but even after being here awhile, when you would presumably think they might have acquired enough to purchase land, there still weren't many that had land. Part of this is due to their reluctance to rely on farming as a way of subsistence. You will, however, find droves of Irish that were the backbone of America's working class. Much of the canal systems of the Northeast were due to the Irish. Our own kin were drawn to the section of Missouri by the coal mines that underlay Lafayette and Ray counties. Per Young's History of Lafayette County Missouri, 1910, "the 'Lexington' coal is known to be superior to most any other in Missouri", and "Lafayette county's large coal fields have created a demand for miners….with two thousand miners engaged in this business, most of them foreigners, and while this population is rather transient, some of them have made permanent homes here." That's what our kin did for the first 50 years. The hardships that they still had to endure are etched in the pens of the enumerators on the National census returns every decade. From that we can see how seasonal the work was. In each of the census is a question about how many months during the previous year that a man had been out of work. We see that number to be anywhere from 3-7 months in many cases. (you can just make out the 3 mos. and 5 mos. in the included 1880 and 1900 census copies, respectively). How did they survive in the interim? Personally, as someone with a roundness of belly that has never gone without a meal, I can't imagine.

[i] Keating, John. Irish Famine Facts. Dublin, Ireland: Teagasc, 1996

[ii] In David McCullough's biographical book entitled "John Adams", Simon & Schuster, he quotes John Adams letter to the Boston Gazzette (ca. 1874), "America has every right to determine its own destiny…", or "could face the subjugation of the kind inflicted on Ireland..." and.."..face the prospect of living, like the Irish, on potatoes and water..."
Powerful insight by this great man that steered the course of our country to shake off the tyrany of Britain, lest it follow the course of history that took the Irish another nearly 150 years to free most of the island (not all the 32 counties as was desired, leaving Northern Ireland still to continue to move towards making it, in my own hopes, "whole" sometime in the future).
It is also instructive of this statement to put things in perspective. The subsistence nature of the Irish existance on the potato was not a recent situation prior to the Great Famine, but something that existed for more than a century before, if not more.

[iii] Kerby Miller and Paul Wagner. Out of Ireland. Washington, D.C.: Elliott & Clarke, 1994

[iv] Kerby Miller and Paul Wagner. Out of Ireland. Washington, D.C.: Elliott & Clarke, 1994

Patrick Stewart - early Immigrant, Civil War Veteran, kin to Bridget (Stewart) Hastings

Since I knew my ancestor Bridget was a Stewart (from her children's baptismal records, among others), and that she and several of her children were god parents (sponsors) to Patrick Stewart's children, I had always assumed they were kin, most likely siblings. Their proximity in Lexington further strengthened that assumption. I'm now more convinced in that I did have a Stewart descendant tested for autosomal DNA and there is a match into the Hastings line. Might be a more distant relationship, 1st cousins for instance, but age wise seems pretty likely as brother/sister.

What is interesting about Patrick is that he was in America many years before Bridget and her family arrived. It may have been the draw for them to end up in Lafayette County, Missouri, right in the middle of the U.S.. Tracing him back took quite a few years, and a French translator to identify his route. The story out of a descendant of Patrick's oldest child is that he (Charles) was born in the New York Harbor in 1842. I've not been able to find that ship, nor broadening it to other ports, but at least the time frame is established. Patrick's first wife died in Iowa in July of 1850 and he remarried, in... Montreal! (June 1850) That's where the translation came in. He had to provide the details that his first wife did pass, and he was able to re-marry in the Catholic Church, which he did to Ann McCaffrey (a dozen different ways I've seen that spelled). By 1855 he was resettled in Lexington as the children of his 2nd wife have baptisms starting at that date. As noted in an earlier blog 1855 was also the year that Bridget and 3 of her children traveled to New Orleans. So some time between the 1851 of his marriage, the 1851 census of Bridget in Liverpool, and 1855 these families reunited in Lexington. We can't be certain that Michael Hastings didn't head out first, hearing of opportunities in America and call for Patrick Stewart to join him, or the other way around, but they were in communication. Speaking of communication, if you have not taken a look at The Boston Pilot database, you should. I found it online for searching. Here's the description:

From 1831 through 1921, the Boston Pilot newspaper printed a "Missing Friends" column with advertisements from people looking for "lost" friends and relatives who had emigrated from Ireland to the United States. This collection of 31,711 records is available here as a searchable online database.

I have found a few references back to families in Lexington looking for kin. Here's an example:
Thomas Halloran mentioned in the Boston paper in 1870's as "from Westport, County, Mayo, Ireland and living in Lexington, Missouri"

Patrick Stewart joined up with the Union Army, along with his son, Charles and nephew Thomas Hastings.

From USGENWEB Kansas Web Site 9/18/1999


*if a person is listed more than once, they were promoted*

· Charles Stewert, Lexington, MO.Dis. for disability, Lagrange, Tenn., Nov. 26, 1862 
· Charles Stewart, Lexington MO 
· Charles Stewart, Leavenworth 
· Thomas Hastings, Leavenworth 
· Patrick Stewart, Kansas City, MO 
· Thomas Hastings, Leavenworth

You'll note his son Charles (the one that was to have been born upon arrival in America in the harbor) rose through the ranks. Although Charles, born on American soil didn't need it, Patrick and Thomas, by joining the Army was eligible for citizenship.

"Special consideration was given to veterans. An 1862 law allowed honorably discharged Army veterans of any war to petition for naturalization -- without previously having filed a declaration of intent -- after only one year of residence in the United States"

This is a wonderful picture of Charles Stewart's family for the most part, a very matronly bunch:

Would be wonderful to collect more photos like this of Irish from Lafayette County.

Patrick was honorably discharged, having suffered a wound in the back during his service. Note the reference to his birth location to County Mayo ("Myo") in Ireland, another tie-in to the two families:

Patrick's youngest son from his first marriage, Mark, also joined up as a very young man of 15 as a Musician, but in a Missouri regiment. He was in for the duration. It must have been a traumatic experience for such a young man. 
Mark's military record:
Mark Stewart, Musician, Co. B, 28 Reg't Missouri Infantry
Age - 15 years
Appears on
Company Muster-in Roll
dated - St. Louis Co. Mo., Sept 8, 1862
Muster-in date Sept 8, 1862
Joined for duty and enrolled:
When July 30, 186*
where Lexington
Period 3 years
WBeck copyist
Mark Stewart
Priv, Co F, 10 Reg't Calvary
Appears on Co. Muster-out Roll, dated
Nashville, Tenn, June 22, 1865
Muster-out date June 22, 1865
Last paid to Oct 31, 1864
Clothing acount:
Last settled: Aug 31, 1864; drawn since $ 56 42/100
Due U.S. for arms, equipments, &c., $ 19 61/100
Bounty paid $ 25; due $ 75
Remarks: Stop for one Colt's Army Revolver,
one Sabre Knot

N.M. Jackson, copyist
Patrick was in the 1883 Pensioner's Roll, the 1890 Veterans Census, and after he passed in 1892, his wife received a Widow's Pension.

He has been the only Irish kin that I've found that had a will:

(My transcription) FHL Film 0955930
Lafayette County, Missouri Probate Court Vol F-H

          Last Will and Testament of Patrick Stewart, Deceased,
          Know all men by these presents that I, Patrick
          Stewart of Lexington in the County of Lafayette
          State of Missouri in feeble health but of sound
          and disposing mind do hereby make publish and
          declare this to be my last will and testament.
First: It is my wish that all my debts be paid.
Second: I give each of my children Thomas, Charles, Bridget,
          and Mary Ann the sum of one dollar.
Third: I desire to be buried decently and have a suitable
          monument erected over my grave.
Fourth: All the rest of my property real and personal
         I give and bequeath to my wife Ann Stewart
         whom I also herby appoint as the sole executrix
         of this my last Will and request that no bond
         be required of her as such executrix. Witness my hand
         and seal this 4th day of May 1892
         Attest                                           Patrick Stewart (his Mark)
         U. G. Phetzing
         Signed sealed published and declared as his last
         will in our presence and we at his request in
         his presence and in the presence of each other
         have signed our names here to as witnesses May 4th 1892
                                                                    U. G. Phetzing 
                                                                    Katie Murphy

The online papers at ...
were just a few issues shy of finding an obituary for Patrick Stewart. Was hoping to glean a bit more about him. Maybe one of those issues will pop up as "found" in the future!

We can hope...

Commercial Break.... Autosomal DNA end-of-the-year (2014) Sales...

Well I can't pass up making sure these savings get air time...

There are three major DNA services. I've had my Autosomal DNA done with all 3. Each has their benefits. First off, this test is really inexpensive compared to just a few years ago. The technology has improved so dramatically to create the data used for this type of testing. It also appears to be pretty darn accurate. Three test houses, and three sets of results, and they match exceptionally well.

Family Tree DNA ( announced their price drop for Autosomal, they call it Family Finder from $99 to $89 - good through December 31st

Ancestry DNA ( announced their priced drop for Autosomal (it's the only one they do these days) from $99 to $79 - only good through Monday night December 1st at 11:59PM/ET

The third service is - I haven't seen a price drop from them yet (still $99, which is still great)

The sample they submit is either a cheek swab or "spit" into a small tube. Either way eezy-peezy.

All three provide estimates (which change with additions to the database they keep, as they become more refined) of your percentages of ancestral locations. Some just give major ethnic groups, while others try to refine to regions. The latter is much more speculative, but interesting.

The benefit for Ancestry DNA is a longer track record of family trees that can be easily linked to the DNA connection page. Drawback is so far not much in the way of tools to display results.

FTDNA is only just now inviting participation with family trees.

23andMe has the largest database but it's appeal early on was looking at health risks, so a large segment isn't interested in genealogy. Unfortunately the FDA stepped in awhile back and shut that operation down for any new clients. I'm sure they were pressured by the medical profession concerned that in some way 23andme was offering "medical" advice. That's a shame. Not sure when that might be resolved. I would have loved to see what they would come up for risk factors for me.

Last note I'll make is to a free website called you can upload results from all 3 services (and there are instructions on their website how to get the raw data from each service). This has helped me significantly because not all those that I have to help in my DNA comparison were done on one service. What's great about gedmatch is their tools. An amazing array. Great visual tools comparing the 23 chromosomes. Helps you identify which segments may be the common element from a specific ancestor. What's important is that you don't stop just at yourself for a DNA sample. You should strive to get the oldest relative you can, as well as cousins and siblings. Not all of you get the same "pieces" of your ancestor. My brother has a different mix than I do. He's actually more "Irish" than I am!


Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Irish - To Lafayette County Missouri

A little historical background first: The Irish Potato Famine (was not really a "famine" in that there was plenty to eat in crops (grains in particular), but the subsistence crop, the potato, which sustained the poor tenant farmers failed in a massive blight that lasted from about 1845 to 1852), killed a million or more by starvation or disease (from malnourishment), and drove countless others to flee for their lives. The English used it as an opportunity to drive Irish from their farms. Even before this, and for many more years after a mass exodus was in the making that drove the Irish to all parts of the world, with a large proportion to the U.S..
So in terms of relocating to Lafayette County, Missouri, the movement could have been in direct result of the Potato Famine, or in later years by the opportunity seen through letters home by those that did make the trip earlier. As I've read in places that one draw is that certain groups from locations in Ireland would tend to move to areas of the U.S. that held earlier immigrants of their locale. Can't say that I've been able to establish that for Lafayette County, but then I'm just starting. Maybe that puzzle will come into place eventually.
Where I put my stake in the ground is an 1860 marriage:
Immaculate Conception Catholic Church Records, Lexington, Missouri
married: Aug 1, 1860
James Hughes s/o James Hughes and Bridget Quigley
to: Sarah Hastings d/o Michael Hastings and Bridget Stuart
witness: John Hughes and Bridget Moran / Edward Hamill / 7.50

So my first question... is John Hughes kin to my James Hughes, or is it a common name enough to just be a coincidence? And how is Bridget Moran related, possibly to Sarah? There my guess it that yes, she may be fellow County Mayo countryman, but to date I haven't figured that out. Other than I see quite a few references to common surnames to County Mayo as being Moran.

County Mayo is located in the West of Ireland. One of the very hardest hit by the famine.

So the next question is, who are these fellow Irish that are living near by my Michael Hastings, Bridget and Margaret? Kin, or from County Mayo, in this 1860 census?

I've attempted to go back to the Parish records on the hunch that those that are listed as sponsors or witnesses may be either kin or from similar areas in Ireland. So far other than the direct relationships I can see between the three families, nothing pops up. Even made a little spreadsheet of it:

I've tried to trace as many of these people as I could, but haven't had much luck there. Also have got as many of the death certificates as possible to see if the informant provided more than just "Ireland" for a birth location. No luck either. But I keep trying....

While it is not practical to enumerate all Irish in the various census, hopefully if you have "traveled back" to this time and place we can talk about what we've collectively done to get ourselves "across the pond" and see what common ties we might be able to find.


Emigration/Immigration - the O'Histon/Heston/Hastings/Esthan

Anyone that has done a bit of Irish research know how frustrating it can be if it's pre extant (currently existing) census, and if your kin was Catholic prior to the 1870s. That's because the census that were taken were burnt up in the civil war fire in Ireland, and you weren't counted for civil records prior to 1870 if you were Catholic. Actual Parish Records do exist but they can be spotty at best.
A couple of things that might be helpful for stitching together kin is DNA, which I noted in my last post, and for various families, the Irish had a pretty good chance that if you have the same surname, and were from the same area, you have a good likelihood that you are related. That is a strong patronymic tradition, unlike other places in the world.
So how do I know my kin came from County Mayo? Luck
was on my side in a smattering of records that existed. That is at least for the Hastings (I'll use their anglicized name here). As noted in the previous blog post, there was an Uncle, two sons and a nephew that were in the Civil War. Three of them in a Kansas Regiment, then one very young son (as a musician) and his cousin in a Missouri Regiment. In those regimental records there were several record references to County Mayo, Ireland as their birth location.

Even my own Sarah (Hastings) Hughes, provided additional reference in one of her census to Ireland and "Co Mayo".
One cousin also found a picture of her great grandmother with a reference to "Westport" on the back of the picture. So when I (may) jump to the conclusion that I found a Parish record of the marriage for Michael Hestin and Bridget Stuart in the Westport area, I'll assume that's correct until I find out differently.
Ireland, Mayo, Oughaval, Westport 1823-1904 LDS Film: 979,697
Westport Marriages, Diocese Tuam, Parish: Aughaval (Westport)
Sept 8th, 1826
Mich'l Hestin to Bridget Stuart
sp: Daniel Hestn and Anne Lydon 1.0.0

I actually visited the area in 2010 and believe they are from an area south of Westport in Drummin.

Westport sits on Clew Bay on the upper end of Oughaval parish

As I mentioned, parish records are spotty, and with the exception of the marriage, I was unable to find any of the children's baptisms. Given the number of children they had in the 1820-1845 time frame that is a big disappointment, but then, is in my opening statement, that isn't uncommon.
My big breakthrough was finding one of the children was born in Liverpool which I was able to find the civil birth record, and by some exceptionally creative searching find the family in the 1851 census (identified as "Esthan", try garbling "Heston" and you can see it). The way I found this record is not by looking for the surname I expected, but just looking for "Margaret" of the right age (leaving surname blank), in Liverpool, with the birthplace of Liverpool... bingo... all the given names lined up with what I expected! So don't give up if you've tried the "expected" approach, you may need to get creative.

OK, from there the family apparently took two different routes. The men (except for young James) left for America and the others (except for Edward who stayed behind) left in 1855 from Liverpool

An image from a paper near that time for those emigrants crowding the docks with their meager possessions and the frightening prospects of being stuffed below decks for weeks on end, and to untold hardships to their new home in far flung places.

They then went through New Orleans up the Mississippi and Missouri river before reuniting in Lexington, Missouri.
Wait a minute... say that again? New Orleans? You mean Boston, or New York, or somewhere on the East Coast, right? Well that was another surprise. When searching for the ship that these ancestors came over on, I decided to broaden my expectations to other ports not usually associated with Irish immigration. That lead to finding at least this set of kin landing in America in New Orleans. Lesson learned: don't constrain yourself to what is "usually" or "standard" set of assumptions, if you can't find your kin, start broadening for those "less likely". It may just pay off.

What was fun about that is that I actually located a picture of the ship that brought my ancestor, her Mom, and a sister and brother to America.
The Screamer - Sailed from Liverpool to New Orleans. Found a painting in a Maine Museum. The name was supposedly from the sound created as the storms battered the sails.

This is the record of the Screamer Sailing from Liverpool. What is funny is that the original announcement said it was going to sail on March 17th, (St. Patty's day), I always imagined that the crew was partying too much to leave on time!

I've not been able to locate the ship that brought Michael Hastings or his sons Thomas (and possibly Peter), and daughter Anna (who came separately, too), to America, but assume they did arrive earlier and send for the rest of the family.
Thomas died just after the Civil War and I've never been able to trace Peter and James.

As for Bridget, Sarah, James and Margaret, it must have been a frightening experience to be traveling on that long voyage across the ocean, and then up the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers.
My kin, Bridget, and her daughter Sarah, traveling with James (which is the last record I have of him) and Margaret (she was the one born in Liverpool)

This birds-eye-view panoramic is from just about the time that they arrived in bustling New Orleans!

You can imagine that this trip had to be by steamboat, which could actually be a very perilous way to travel. I visited a museum in Kansas City back in 2010 in a wonderful display of a steamboat that was excavated that would be from around that time frame. Listening to the dangers to getting snagged (impaled) in steaming upstream, the multiple boiler explosions, and other mishaps, it was NOT the Good Ship Lollipop! But what an exciting time for steamboat travel. I saw this in St. Louis and was in awe of the crowded dockside!
These pictorals were done for most major cities and towns and provide a glimpse into the past. Look for them in towns you are researching.

OK, now that I've done the set up to get to Lafayette County, Missouri, we can proceed to look at the families that congregated and what brought them through perilous waters and times to this land in the middle of the U.S.!

Hopefully this detail, although a bit much to trek through, provides a few ticklers for places you may have not looked for ideas on getting information on where your kin came from in Ireland. We'll explore more in future blogs.


The Gathering - Irish to Lafayette County Missouri - Post "an Gorta Mor" (The Great Hunger - aka Potato Famine)

This Blog is going to be centered around the Irish coming into Lafayette County Missouri around the time frame of 1840 to 1870. I chose that because I assume that groups of Irish from the same place in Ireland congregated where family had previously immigrated. I've seen a lot of Irish, like my kin, head up the Missouri to settle and work the Coal Mines and railroads and there's a great likelihood that they are kin, or at least familiar with each other from the "old country".
I've spent quite a bit of time trying to triangulate kinship through the Catholic Parish Records, but even though I know who were witnesses and sponsors by name, I have yet discovered what family relationships that may have existed. DNA might be a path to start, so invite anyone that has done their own autosomal DNA to compare among the Lafayette County Irish to see how they might be related.
My kin are a couple that met in Lafayette County and married in 1860 in the Catholic Church. I've not been able to determine his origins, James Hughes (~1836/Ireland-1912/KCMO), but have quite a bit on his wife, Sarah Hastings (~1843/CountyMayoIreland-1923/KCMO). She had both her parents living in Lexington, and the parish records establish her parents. Fortunately there were several records that establish County Mayo, and I believe I've discovered her parents marriage record that establishes their marriage near Westport in that county. I believe the family name was Irish as O'histon or Heston, but anglicized as Hastings. I find them all together in Liverpool before traveling to America, in the 1851 census.
Descendants of three sisters, mine and two others, have been tested by autosomal DNA and confirm what our assumptions on kinship are. Although the family was together in England, they all had three separate paths in America, so was good to confirm our records. I was also able to establish that an assumed brother that had been left behind in Liverpool appears to also be kin. A descendant from a tree that I put together from miscellaneous records appeared to all fit, and the autosomal DNA appears to bear out those assumptions.
My hope for this blog is to find others that tie back to Irish Kin that lived in Lafayette County Missouri in the 1840-1870 time frame and see if we can discover kinship, or at least from the same area in Ireland.
Slainte' !!!
The Townships of Lafayette County, 1870

From a Panoramic etching of the River and Town of Lexington;s+eye+view+of+the+city+of+Lexington,+Lafayette+Co.,+Missouri+1869.+Drawn+by+A.+Ruger.&style=pmmap&legend=

The Old Catholic Cemetery in Lexington - It actually had been moved when putting in a new road so all headstones are not reliably placed, or even existing if they were not replaced in this "new" location.

My kin's kin - Patrick Stewart is most likely brother to my Bridget (Stewart) Hastings, mother of Sarah Hastings, Mark is his son, and Thomas Hastings is Bridget's son. Note they were all in the Civil War together. Missing is Patrick's son Charles Stewart who also served with this kin, he moved to Montana and on.

My kin - James & Sarah
(buried in KCMO)