Wednesday, July 30, 2014

52 Ancestors #31: John Moreland: From Workhouse to War

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.”

The primary focus of "My Moynahan Genealogy" blog has been my patrilineal ancestors. This is because the genealogical research of my matrilineal ancestors has been undertaken extensively by my cousin in Nova Scotia. My cousin has shared a great deal of the information about my maternal ancestors with me.

Today I will retell the story of my great grandfather John Moreland as told to me by my Haligonian cousin. (Note: This blog post was updated August 4, 2014 based on new information)

John Moreland went from a Scottish workhouse as a boy to the army and then to Nova Scotia at the beginning of the twentieth century.  As a soldier, he survived  WW1 and was training soldiers in Kingston, Ontario, in Canada in 1940 for WW2 when he died as a QuarterMaster Sergeant. He is buried at the Cataraqui Cemetery in Kingston, Ontario.

John, Dorothy and Florence (Curd) Moreland (c.1908)

John Miller Moreland was born on the 6th of October 1882 in Dunoon, Argylshire Scotland. 

John Moreland's mother (Agnes Bell Hind) died on the 3rd of January 1888 when John was 6 years old. John's father had already left and remained in Melbourne Australia. 

John and his younger sister, Mary, were sent to Lochgilphead Workhouse outside Glasgow

A typical workhouse scene from 1895
Lochgilphead Workhouse
He belonged to 3 Artillery Units of the Royal Garrison Artillery (RGA) before coming to Canada . He served under the RGA for 5 yrs 11 months when he changed to the Royal Canadian Garrison Artillery (RCGA) in Halifax. 

He married Florence Curd on the 15th of April 1908 and had Dororthy Claire in 1909 (pictured above) and Florence in 1910.

John and Florence also had another child, Charles, who died at birth 1 May 1913.

John Moreland served in the RCGA until 1915 when his wife Florence (Curd) Moreland died on February 3, 1915 of tuberculosis (see her death certificate below).

Death record for Florence (Curd) Moreland edited
Purchased from

Florence (Curd) Moreland is one of few women buried at the Military Cemetery in Halifax (Fort Massey Cemetery site 1013) with their son Charles (site no 1175). 

John Moreland fought in WW1.John re-joined the RCGA with the 8th Siege Battery in 1916 and was sent to France until Dec 1919. He was wounded by shell gas in 1918.

Archives Canada
Archives Canada

  • 1st March, 1916, instructions were issued from Militia Headquarters at Ottawa authorizing the organization of a Depot Battery, Siege, and Heavy Artillery, at Charlottetown, P.E.I., with an establishment of 6 Officers, 1 Warrant Officer and 152 Other Ranks for supplying drafts to the 2nd Overseas Battery, Canadian Siege Artillery from P.E.I. which was then overseas. The command of the Battery was given to Major A.G. Peake, who had returned from England. The title of the unit was officially changed to No. 5 Overseas Battery, Siege Artillery, by authority from Ottawa dated 12th April, 1916. 
  • 20th June, 1916, the Battery was warned to prepare for overseas service, and on 
  • 18th August  1916 the Battery was notified to be ready to proceed at short notice. 
  • 25th September 1916 the Battery moved out of Charlottetown at full strength on board S.S. "Southland" which sailed from Halifax 
  • 27th September 1916 the Battery was en route to England. 
  • 7th October 1916 the Battery arrived in Liverpool and went into camp at Whitley. In England the Battery received its training at Whitley Camp, Ewshott Camp, Aldershot, Lydd and Woolwich. It was equipped with four 8" howitzers. 
  • In February, 1917, the unit was changed from a four to six gun Battery. 
  • On 15th October, 1916, the War Office ordered a change of name to No. 272 Canadian Siege Battery and on 29th January, 1917, the final designation, No. 8 Canadian Siege Battery was authorized
  •  31st March, 1917,The 8th Canadian Siege Battery left Woolwich for Folkestone; crossed to Boulogne on the following day, going into action near Festubert 
  • 15th April 1917 with XI Corps Heavy Artillery. It operated in this area and at Fleurbaix and Armentieres

RCGA Siege Battery
Source: N.S. Contribution to the Great War
War Diary: March 1918
Great-grandfather admitted to hospital March 28, 1918
after being wounded by shell gas

John's two daughters, Dorothy (my grandmother)  and Florence, were removed to a foster home while their father John Moreland was overseas (1916-1918). 

Notably, the foster family's home was devasted in the Halifax Explosion but the family survived because they were visiting friends outside the city that day - December 6, 1917. 

Halifax Explosion close-up
John returned from WW1 and remained in the Royal Canadian Artillery in Halifax. he later died at CFB Kingston as a Quarter-Master Segeant with the Royal Canadian Horse Artillery 6 October 1940. 

John had spent 41 years in the Artillery.

With thanks to Bruce Creighton for this genealogical research


Tombstone: John Moreland
Cataraqui Cemetery, Kingston, Ontario

My genealogy notes from my visit with John Moreland's daughter
Dorothy (Moreland) Creighton Feb 28, 1988
(My grandmother)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

52 Ancestors #30: Rhea Coughlin & Parke Davis, Detroit

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's story is about my grandmother Rhea Fern Coughlin and her employment at Parke Davis in the 1920s.

Parke Davis 99th Annual Report Cover (1965)
Detroit Historical Society
Parke Davis (Detroit, Michigan) is the oldest (and once upon a time the largest) drug maker in the United States and played a very important role in medical history. Parke Davis is credited with "building the first modern pharmaceutical laboratory and developing the first systematic methods of performing clinical trials of new medications".

Parke Davis' women workers 1900-1930

Rhea Fern Coughlin worked as an office clerk at Parke Davis.

Women workers at Parke Davis (circa 1920)
There could be an entire blog post written on the types of pharmaceuticals that were bottled and sold in the 1920s like the chocolate coated opium cannabis pictured below!
In The Early History of Parke Davis and Company we learn:

"The beginning of the 20th century marked the start of a new era for Parke-Davis and for the United States. The automobile had arrived. In Detroit the police posted speed limits of 8 miles per hour in order to halt reckless driving. The popular Theodore Roosevelt as President was busy reforming the government of the United States....

The period leading up to World War I was a happy time for the more than 3,000 employees of Parke-Davis. There were company picnics and boat excursions. There were social clubs and dances, bowling leagues and company sponsored athletic teams. The company pioneered a profit sharing and old age pension plan"

Rhea Fern Coughlin lived in Windsor and would travel to Detroit to work (common then) and she would have required a document (below) to cross the border. (Boarder Crossings from the U.S. to Canada 1908-1935).

Detroit Border Crossing: Rhea Coughlin
Dated August 1927

Detroit Border Crossing: Rhea Coughlin: "To work at Parke Davis"

The document states that Rhea started commuting 3/31/19 to Detroit, Michigan. The date of the border crossing card is August 1927.

In "Working Detroit" we learn that in 1920 women were a distinct minority in the workplace "they were only expected to seek work outside the home when they were young and single or when thier husband's low wages meant two wage earners had to support the family".

"In 1920, fewer than than one of every four females above the age of ten worked outside the home."

"Typically, the city's industrial employers only hired women for light assembly and low wage jobs: in the pharmaceutical plants of Parke Davis (site 36) and Stearns, in the cigar plants and candy factories on the east side, and in the sewing rooms of downtown department stores and clothing shops. The auto industry was also a major employer of women workers, though the 12,000 women in Detroit's auto plants in 1930 represented only six percent of the industry's workforce."

Parke Davis 1929: section of ampoule department

Rhea Fern Coughlin married Ernest Joseph Moynahan on November 27, 1929. Their first child, Patricia was born in 1932. I am not aware of my grandmother Rhea working outside the home after the 1920s meaning that Parke Davis was the only job she ever had her whole life!

Border Cities Star



Thanks to Shelly Coughlin MacKinnon I have an update to the women workers at Parke Davis and Co.

Rhea's sisters Gretta (Coughlin) Langlois (1910-) and Viola (Coughlin) Lefaive (1906-1985) also worked at Parke Davis.

Gretta (Coughlin) Langlois

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Ancestry's Mobile App Awarded Patent

Screenshot of my Ancestry tree on my iPhone
I love the Ancestry mobile app! I have found that it is incredibly helpful while doing research and even when visiting family.

They were just awarded the patent for the pedigree charts and you can read how it was developed on the blog.

Congratulations ancestry and thanks for such a great tool for genealogists!

52 Ancestors Recap: 2014

Wordle created using my surname list

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 is a summary of my 2014 #52Ancestors blog posts:
  1. BRODERICK: Sarah "Daisy" Broderick
  2. ANNAL: Family Photograph Mysteries
  3. MOYNAHAN: John Moynahan: First Clerk Township of Sandwich South 
  4. COUGHLIN: Glassblowers in the 1800s
  5. MOYNAHAN: Timothy Moynahan: When Windsor Was A Wilderness
  6. MOYNAHAN: Timothy Moynahan: The Voyage from the Old Sod
  7. MOYNAHAN: Timothy Moynahan: 1829 - Days of the Old Horse Boats
  8. MOYNAHAN: Timothy Moynahan: The Shillelaugh Guards
  9. MOYNAHAN: Timothy Moynahan: Timothy Moynahan's kin?
  10. MOYNAHAN: Nellie  Moynahan: School teachers in the 1800s
  11. CREIGHTON - COUGHLIN - MOYNAHAN : Quilts and Crochet
  13. MOYNAHAN - LENNON: Departures
  14. COUGHLIN: Wallaceburg Schools
  15. MOYNAHAN: The Next Generation - We Are Family
  16. MOYNAHAN: Family Places & Homes in Mimico
  17. FOREMAN: Joseph Foreman (1933-1999): Track Star and Olympian
  18. CREIGHTONS: Halifax, Nova Scotia Roots
  19. MOYNAHAN: Talbot Settlers
  20. COUGHLIN: Holy Name of Mary Society, Wallaceburg, Ontario; and Updated post
  21. MOYNAHAN: Catherine Moynahan: "Unsound Mind" in the 1800s
  22. MOYNAHAN: Timothy Moynahan: Meningitis and Lunatic Asylums
  23. MOYNAHAN: Matthew Moynahan: 1770-1860
  24. MOYNAHAN: Enos and James Moynahan
  25. MOYNAHAN: Thomas Moynahan - 1861 Mail Carrier
  26. MOYNAHAN: John Moynahan - Labour Leader
  27. MOYNAHAN: Kent County Moynahans - Matthew, Timothy and Patrick
  28. BRODERICK: Detective Leo William Broderick
  29. MOYNAHAN: Detroit Postal Clerk M.J. Moynahan ~ Mt. Elliott Zinc Marker
  30. COUGHLIN: Rhea Coughlin & Parke Davis
  31. MORELAND: John Moreland: From Workhouse to War
  32. BRODERICK: RCAF: Leo Joseph Martin Broderick (1919-1943)
  33. ANNAL: Orkney Sailor James Annal (1849-1930)
  34. HUSSEY: Mary (Hussey) Broderick (1842-1913)
  35. O'CONNOR: The O'Connor Sisters
  36. ANNAL: Fire Chief and Ice Dealer James Annal 
  37. MOYNAHAN: William Moynahan's Amputation
  38. BRENNAN: Mary Brennan: Maidstone midwife
  39. DUFFY-COUGHLIN: Poughkeepsie Brick Wall
  40. BRODERICK: My GG Mary (Broderick) Moynahan
  41. COUGHLIN:  Coughlin Golden Anniversary 1949
  42. COUGHLIN: Trick or Treating
  43. COUGHLIN: The Photographic Camera and a Photograph Album
  44. COUGHLIN: Ice Boating in Windsor, Ontario
  45. CURD: The Curds of Dover, England
  46. CREIGHTON-MORELAND: Beloved Matriarch Dorothy
  47. CREIGHTON: Frederick Douglas Creighton (1907-1976)
  48. MOYNAHAN: Autoworker Ernest Joseph Sr.
  49. DONIVAN: The Chapleau Donivans
  50. PLAUS: John J. Plaus (1912-1966)
  51. FOREMAN: Donald Jennings Foreman
  52. CREIGHTON: My Mother Dawn

Tombstone Tuesday: Detroit Postal Worker Mathew J. Moynahan

First of all, up front, I must state that I have not established any relationship with the following Moynahan family whatsoever.

My ancestor Denis Moynahan is buried in the Mt. Elliott cemetery in Detroit, Michigan. When I researched the surname "Moynahan" at Mt. Elliott cemetery, I discovered many Moynahans. I believe that some of these Moynahans may be related but I have yet to locate source records to prove it.

Today's post is dedicated to the Moynahan family that belongs to this incredibly beautiful zinc headstone.

Located just inside the gates of historic Mt. Elliott cemetery,
this stone sits among grand mausoleums, Smithsonian art, and several other zinc monuments.

Zinc Headstones

According to Zinc, or "White Bronze" headstones can be found throughout North America, and are easily recognized by their bluish-gray color, and raised lettering.

 "They are rare in that they were only produced from the mid 1870's through 1912, and only by one company. All of these markers were produced by a company founded in Bridgeport, Connecticut. In 1881 Bridgeport set up its first subsidiary, in Detroit. Later, it also opened plants in Philadelphia, New Orleans, St. Thomas, Ontario, Des Moines and Chicago. 

 They are made of cast zinc, which allowed them to be produced and shipped around the world less expensively, as compared to more traditional stone monuments. Unfortunately this was also their downfall. Many people felt that because they were so inexpensive, that it would not be proper to remember their loved ones with such a monument. The headstones eventually gained the euphemism "White Bronze," in place of “zinc,” by sales people who wanted to make them seem more attractive to the public. 

 In purchasing one of these, a person would select a general monument type and style. They then could customize all of the four sides of the monument, if they wished, with a plate which was screwed to the headstone using decorative screws. The plates typically list the name of the deceased, along with date of birth, date of death, and relationships to others who may be buried in the same plot."

Based on the information above, could it be that M.J. Moynahan waited ten years before he purchased the headstone?

The M.J. Moynahan Family 

From my research on the Moynahan family that belongs to this marker I have learned that M.J. (Mathew) Moynahan was postal worker. I found him in the 1855-56 Polk's Detroit City Directory and the 1861 Detroit Directory. He is found in the "Post Office Department" and in the general directory as a postal clerk.

He was married to Hannah (born 1836 and died 26 November 1870 at the age of 34) and they had three daughters: Nellie (born 1857 and died 2 Oct 1872 aged 15 years and Maggie (Margaret) and Emily ("Emma").

The dates found on the "Return of Deaths indexes" (1870 and 1871 below) create confusion (the three deaths occurred in both 1870 and 1871)

I am assuming that Hanna had died as a result of complications in childbirth delivering the twins (who both die shortly thereafter). (There is an entry that looks like it says "cholera" on the twins cause of death on page 2 - but it is barely legible)

Return of Deaths in the County of Wayne 1870

Return of Deaths in the County of Wayne 1871

For M.J. the deaths of his entire family between 1870-1872 must have been devestating.The beautiful markers he had made for each of them can be seen in detail below. I have not found M.J.s death record. 

The Detroit Post Office 1861
April 16, 1861. This public meeting was typical of  Detroit’s wartime rallies. Jex Bardwell  photographed the crowd gathered in  front of the US Post Office on Griswold  Street to watch Detroit’s civil and  Military officials take a new oath of  allegiance. Photos (32) slides, Box 2,  Michigan and the Civil War
Hannah Moynahan
(1836-26 Nov 1870)

Nellie Moynahan
(1857-2 Oct 1872)

Maggie Moynahan
(Died 27 May 1871)

Emily Moynahan
(Died 24 Jun 1871)

Mt Elliott Cemetery Lot 71 Section J


Thursday, July 3, 2014

Grateful for CanadaGenWeb's Cemetery Project

I have immense gratitude for the creators of and volunteers at CanadaGenWeb's Cemetery Project.

On June 25, CanGenWeb published a cemetery update that included cemeteries in Kent and Essex counties in Ontario. Thanks to this update, I found a Kent county Moynahan, Timothy Moynahan's (1848-1925) headstone in Essex county's St Francis Xavier Cemetry:

St Francis Xavier Cemetery
I also located a good number of Moynahans that are not in my Moynahan family tree!

The Cemetery Project debuted in 2004 as a volunteer project of CanadaGenWeb and currently offers a free and searchable listing of over 18,000 known Canadian cemeteries.

 This volunteer built database offers a variety of information geared towards genealogists:

  • Names, locations & histories of cemeteries 
  • Links to repositories & genealogy organizations that offer further information and/or assistance 
  • Lookup offers, transcripts, indexes, and photos compiled by volunteers.

More Links
Old Photograph of Thatcher Granite and Marble Monuments in Chatham
Photograph from Chatham-Kent Museum Collections