Saturday, May 31, 2014

52 Ancestors #22: Timothy Moynahan

This post is Part II of research into two ancestors who were sent to asylums in southwestern Ontario in the late 1800s. Part I was about Catherine Moynahan whose records were from the Malden Asylum 1871-1872. She died March 10, 1872 in London, Ontario.
Source: Essex Record 14 Feb 1878

Part II is about Timothy, a seventeen year old lad in 1878, who was sent to the London Lunatic Asylum from Windsor, Ontario. Timothy is the son of Timothy Moynahan and Archange Parent.  

Ink Sketch of the London Lunatic Asylum (from the 1871 Medical Superintendent's Report)
Reading Timothy's case file (Reg. No. 1300) we learn that he suffered an attack of meningitis five years before being admitted in February 11, 1878. Between 1873 and 1878, Timothy's health (mental and physical) deteriorated as a result of the meningitis. He became dangerous and violent.

Timothy's case file ends in 1890 

Timothy was located on the 1901 census (Line 17) as a patient (unsound mind) Middlesex, Ontario (London) . Timothy's father died in 1902. His mother died in 1903 and he had two siblings. Enos (who died in 1903) and Mary Moynahan (from Timothy's first marriage) of Detroit unresearched (died 1905).

Researching patient Reg. No. 1300, I found this note that Timothy had been transferred to the Toronto Asylum August 4, 1906. 

The next phase of this research is to locate Timothy in the Toronto Asylum records to learn more. I do hope to locate his death record.

There is a Timothy Moynahan listed as a boarder (lodger) (Line 17) in Toronto South (District 127, Sub District 5, Ward 5) in 1911.

I feel frustrated with search engines. It seems I cannot locate records in an easy straight forward way by typing "Moynahan" into the search engine. To locate Timothy in the 1911 census, I first researched the district number for Toronto South (a reference found through using familysearch search engine) then I used wild cards (*) and Timothy's age (50) to get the following result:

And Yes. This result ("Franthy Mogannam") is the correct one for Timothy Moynahan!!!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

52 Ancestors #21: Catherine Moynahan "Of Unsound Mind"

This post is Part I of an in-depth study of two ancestors sent to asylums in southwestern Ontario in the late 1800s.

This is difficult and painstaking work. Difficult firstly because records are difficult to locate and navigate. The records that I am currently exploring include the Essex Gaol,  Malden Lunatic Asylum and London Lunatic Asylum records. Secondly this research is challenging because mental health in the 1800s is challenging to read and understand.

The London Lunatic Asylum around 1875 (the Asylum opened in 1870)

Insane Persons Under Asylum Treatment

The figures show that in Ontario there was one Insane person under asylum treatment for every 1044 of the population, taking the census returns of 1871 as a basis. According to returns elsewhere at the same time England had one under treatment to every 615 of her population ; Scotland, one to every 606 ; and Ireland, one to every 729.

The interesting chart below shows the numbers of the so-called "defective class" in Ontario based on the census results from 1842, 1848, 1851, 1861, 1871 and 1881. Notable is the spike in 1871.

Catherine Moynahan: A Review of the Facts

Fact 1: 1871 Census: In the 1871 census Catherine Moynahan (wife of Denis Moynahan) is marked Column 22. Infirmities: unsound mindCatherine is 58 in 1871 (estimated birth date 1813)

Fact 2: Asylum Record: We also know when she was admitted into the asylum with thanks to . I learned of Catherine Moynahan while reading pages on the Malden asylum database. I ordered the source document (for a fee) and learned the following:

This is all that I have (so far)
for Catherine Moynahan (who I believe is my GGG Grandmother)

Fact 3: Death Certificate: Catherine Moynahan died March 10, 1872 at the London Lunatic Asylum. She was 46 years old (born 1826? thus a thirteen year difference fro the 1871 census record). More on the stated cause of death (marasmus) later. I will come to learn that her Asylum Reg. No is 384. (See AO information below)

Fact 4: Cause of Death: I could not decipher the cause of death in the death certificate and was delighted that it was stated again in the document below (thanks to Inspector  J.W. Langmuir ). She died from "Marasmus",  a severe form of malnutrition. Marasmus comes from the Greek word marasmos ("decay").

The Annual Report of the Inspector of Asylums, Prisons, and Public Charities, Volume 5, Part 1872 (Google eBook)  was incredibly valuable to my research. J.W. Langmuir was meticulous in his reporting. His report is dated for the year ending 30th of September 1872 (Catherine had died March 1872). Some interesting facts from the report:
  • J.W. Langmuir  made 4 visits to the London Asylum in the year: On January 10 and 11, 1872. (on his October visit, he personally saw and examined every patient in the Asylum).
  • There were 487 patients in residence, of which 221 were men and 266 women.
  • The female patients were generally clean and neat in their personal appearance and were comfortably clothed
  • Nine female patients, who were destructive in their habits, had on the canvas clothing.
  • With the exception of a few very noisy and unruly patients in the female refractory ward all the rest were very quiet and orderly.
  • The filthy condition in which patients are sometimes sent to Asylums from county gaols was . illustrated in the case of a patient who had just been received. The matter was brought to the notice of the Government, in order that the neglect should be brought to the notice of the local authorities.

Future Research

Casebooks, London Psychiatric Hospital, 1877-1885 
London Psychiatric Hospital patients’ clinical casebooks
Reference Code: RG 10-279 Archives of Ontario 

The Archives of Ontario explains the record keeping process fo psychiatric hospitals:

"Early patient records were transcribed by hand into large bound volumes called casebooks. Each patient was assigned a new page in the casebook, in order of admittance. Notes about the patient’s subsequent history were added to the page, which was cross-referenced to a second later page if additional space was needed. "

Records relating to the London Psychiatric Hospital 
  • RG 10-279 London Psychiatric Hospital patients' clinical casebooks 1867-1906
  • RG 10-280 London Psychiatric Hospital patients' clinical case files
  • RG 10-281 London Psychiatric Hospital patient registers 1870-1957 
  • RG 10-282 Records of the Medical Superintendent of the London Psychiatric Hospital (1871-1970)(note:  warrants for commitment or transfer of patients, registers of patients' outgoing correspondence, registers of hospital instructions and orders, conference books, physician day books, etc.)
  • RG 10-283 Records of the Bursar of the London Psychiatric Hospital 1865-1923 
  • RG 10-279 Clinical Casebooks Finding aid
Records relating to the Malden Lunatic Asylum

Note: The Malden Lunatic Asylum closed in 1870, and everything was transferred to the London Psychiatric Hospital.
  • RG 10-283 Records of the Bursar of London Psychiatric Hospital has references to Malden
  • RG 10-20-C-4-5 Day Book and Journal, Malden Lunatic Asylum 1 Jul 1865-  31 Oct 1868 (Reel 15)
  • MS856 in the AO reading room have:
  • RG 10-283 (Formerly RG 10-20-C-4-6  Day Book and Journal, Malden Lunatic Asylum 1 Nov 1868- 30 Dec 1870 (Reel 16)
Records relating to the Essex Gaol (jail) records:

    Research trip planning

    Cartoon found at Seeking Susan

    Sadly (but not surprisingly) not all genealogical research can be achieved online. Sometimes (many times) you simply MUST visit record repositories in person.

    Here are some great links for saving time by planning ahead.

    From Genealogy à la carte: 
    • A free 23-page Summer Genealogy Research Guide to help you plan your research trip this summer. Download the guide from Mocavo's blog.
    From the Archives of Ontario
    From the Library and Archives of Canada (LAC)
    From FlipPal:
    From Geneabloggers:
    From Cyndi's List

    The Geared Up Genealogist from Family Tree Magazine

    From the 2007 Family Tree Magazine

    Monday, May 19, 2014

    52 Ancestors #20: Update

    After writing the post: 52 Ancestors #20, I was examining the photo again and on the reverse side I discovered that Rhea Coughlin had written the word "Dad" and marked an "x" on the back.

    This is not at all surprising given my Grandmother Rhea (Coughlin) Moynahan's highly developed organization skills. I recall as a young girl that almost everything in my grandparent's Marentette home was sorted, labelled, organized and often had names of members of the family added. This was something I admired as a young girl, tried to emulate as a young woman and was grateful for when many old historical items came my way to assist me in my genealogical research.

    With Grandma's mark in mind, I found the area where William Henry Coughlin was standing: the back row on the far right side at the edge of the church.

    Zooming closer

    And closer yet

    With thanks to my meticulous Grandmother Rhea (Coughlin) Moynahan, I now know exactly where my Great Grandfather William Henry Coughlin is in this great photo that is now almost 100 years old!!.

    Moreover, now that I think of it, many thanks to Amy Johnson Crow and her New Year's challenge "No Story Too Small". This challenge has inspired me to look more closely at photos, documents and information I have had for some time and in the process, I am learning new things.

    Sunday, May 18, 2014

    52 Ancestors #20: 1916 Holy Name Society (Wallaceburg, Ontario)

    No Story Too Small has issued a New Year's Challenge: "Have one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor. It could be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem — anything that focuses on one ancestor.”

    This week I am choosing the photograph below which was passed down by our Coughlin ancestors. The photograph, dated 1916, is titled “Holy Name Society: Our Lady of Help Church”; Wallaceburg, Ontario

    I know nothing of the Holy Name Society. I know there were many such societies for men in the Catholic Church: Catholic Order of Foresters, Knights of Columbus, the Holy Name Society and St. Vincent De Pauls Society etc. (There is a Catholic Women's League for women) To learn more about the Holy name Society, I benefited from an online book "Seasons of Grace: A History of the Catholic Archdioces of Detroit"

    I also benefited from information found at :

    The Society of the Holy Name

    "The Society of the Holy Name, formally known as the Confraternity of the Most Holy Name of God and Jesus, is a Roman Catholic confraternity of the laity and is one of several which are under the care of the Dominican Order. It is open to all Catholic adults. The primary object of the society is to beget reverence for the Holy Name of God and Jesus Christ; it is also dedicated to making reparations, in particular, for blasphemy, perjury and immorality.


    Membership is open to practicing Catholics over the age of 18. Members of the Society must first pass through a Novitiate, or formation, stage before becoming professed members and undergoing the Induction Ceremony"


    The Mission Statement of the Society states that: The apostolate of the society is to assist in parish ministries by performing the Corporal Works of Mercy: to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, give drink to the thirsty, shelter to the homeless, tend the sick, visit those in prison, and bury the dead; as well as the Spiritual Works of Mercy: to convert sinners, instruct the ignorant, counsel the wayward, comfort the sorrowing, bear adversity patiently, forgive offenses, and pray for the living and the dead.

    Great Grandfather Coughlin is somewhere in this photo. I have had no luck locating him.
    (See: 52 Ancestors #20 Update)

    More Links:

    Thursday, May 8, 2014

    Two New Resources for Research

    Just found out that the Essex County Ontario Genealogical Society has a facebook page. I quickly located some FB members who I have previously met through my research at  On this FB page folks are posting interesting links such as:

    The Essex County OGS Branch is celebrating 35 years in 2014! 

    Sunday, May 4, 2014

    52 Ancestors #19: Maidstone Ontario: Talbot Settlers

    My Great Great Great Grandfather Denis Moynahan was settled on 6 South Middle Road, Maidstone Ontario by Col. Thomas Talbot in 1830. 

    The following chart and map indicate other early Moynahans settled by Col. Thomas Talbot:

    Source: AO RG 1-100-0-0-1368

    Col. Thomas Talbot

    Large areas of Essex County came under the control of Colonel Thomas Talbot between 1802 and 1837. 

    "Colonel Thomas Talbot contributed to road development, and Talbot Road was named for him. Talbot Road followed a natural ridge of glacial moraine which stretched from Windsor to Point Pelee."

    The establishment of good roads led to further settlement along the 'Middle Road' and .....settlers of this era were often emigrants from Britain and Ireland.... The village of Maidstone was the centre of the Irish community...."

    I failed to locate any information on my ancestors at the wonderfully compliled indexes at "The Upper Canada Sundries", however, painstaking searching through the original indexes did pay off:

    The documents obtained by Denis Moynahan follow:



    Thursday, May 1, 2014

    52 Ancestors #18: The Creightons

    No Story Too Small has issued a New Year's Challenge: "Have one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor. It could be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem — anything that focuses on one ancestor.”

     I created this blog to post about my Moynahan roots (my patrilineal roots) because my Halifax cousin has wonderfully researched my matrilineal roots already.

     With Mother's Day, approaching in May and with the discovery of my great grandparents (Creighton) marriage record (thanks to and the Nova Scotia Historical Vital Statistics Online); I decided to devote two pages in honour of my mother and her roots.

    Here is an early photograph of my mother's parents: Frederick Douglas Creighton and Dorothy Claire Moreland. (Perhaps the only photograph that they appear together?).

    Here is a small overview of the Creighton/Moreland tree:

    Charles R.D. Crichton (1884-1911)

    I was surprised to learn from my researcher cousin of the surname spelling change from Crichton to Creighton. I was also suprised to learn that my great grandfather Charles Robert Creighton was born in Stratford Market, East London on January 3, 1884.

    Halifax circa 1900

    In March 20, 1907 ( at 26 years of age) he married Effie Tomlin in Halifax, Nova Scotia

    He died on the 28th of December 1911  of a mitral regurgitation (a disorder of the heart in which the mitral valve does not close properly) after 12 days in the V.G. Hospital (Halifax). His son Fred (my grandfather Creighton) was only four years old.

    On his death certificate, he was employed as a stevedore and he was a Roman Catholic.

    Effie Alberta Tomlin

    Effie Tomlin died Effie Melhuish 

    Effie's daughter Gladys

    On my only trip to Halifax with my mother, we stayed with Clyde and Gladys Garrison. Gladys passed in 2006. Here is her obituary from the Halifax Chron. Herald September 29, 2006:

    GARRISON, Gladys Elizabeth - 84, Halifax. It is with great sadness we announce the passing of our mother, Gladys, on Thursday, September 28, 2006, in Dartmouth General Hospital. She was a daughter of the late William and Effie (Tomlin) Melhuish. She was, for many years, a member of St. Margaret's of Scotland and enjoyed cross stitching and crocheting, and her many friends. She is survived by her daughters, Pat (Gordon) Bowdridge, Sackville; Colleen (Gary) Newton, Truro; grandchildren, Brent, Penny, Geoff, and Beth; four great-grandchildren. She was predeceased by her husband, Clyde; brothers, Arthur, William, and Fred; sisters, Em and Edie. Cremation has taken place. No visitation by request. Funeral service will be held in St. Margaret's of Scotland on Wednesday, October 4, at 10 a.m. with Rev. Dianne Parker officiating. Donations may be made to St. Margaret's of Scotland, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Nova Scotia or a charity of your choice. E-mail condolences may be sent to: