Saturday, March 28, 2015

Film: "Glas" - Bert Haanstra‘s 1959 Oscar winning documentary short

My great grandfather William Henry Coughlin (1872-1952) came to Canada from Poughkeepsie, New York to work as a glassblower at the Wallaceburg Ontario glass factory.

As the years passed, Dominion Glass began to move steadily away from glassblower-craftsmen. The Coughlin family eventually moved to Windsor (1918) because glass making had been automated and the need for skilled glassblowers was officially over.

That is why I love this short documentary (10 minutes) by Bert Haanstra about Dutch glass production in the 1950's. It demonstrates glass being made by hand and mass production using jazz and techno music.  "Glas" is often acclaimed to be the perfect short documentary.

Watch the amazing glass artisans at Royal Leerdam Glass Factory back-to-back with machines used in automated bottle making.

Monday, March 23, 2015

March 24th - Turning of the Page: Leo Joseph Martin Broderick (1919-1943)

The Book of Remembrance page below displaying the name of  Leo Joseph Martin Broderick (my 1st cousin 2x removed) is on view in the Memorial Chamber of the Peace in the Peace Tower in Ottawa on March 24 every year.

Page 140 from the Book of Remembrance: Second World war
WO Broderick, Leo Joseph Martin

The Books Of Remembrance 

"The Books of Remembrance contain the names of the men and women who died in service to Canada. There are seven books in total, which include names from the country's first expeditions until the most recent missions."

Book of Remembrance
Letter enclosed with requested copy of Page 140
for  Leo Joseph Martin Broderick
Turning of the Page Ceremony

"Everyday at 11:00 a.m. a member of the House of Commons Security Services conducts the Turning of the Page ceremony. Since 1942, a page has been turned daily in the Books of Remembrance, which contain the names of Canada's war dead. The order of pages turned is based on a perpetual calendar system that ensures each name appears at least once yearly."

Turning of the Page Ceremony
"With the date for each page set, family members can be present for the ceremony when the name of a relative is shown." If family members cannot be present, it can be viewed online and the video can be saved.

At 11 Bells...The Page Is Turned

I requested in writing to be present  for when the page is turned on March 24th, 2015 to honour the brief life and ultimate sacrifice of my first cousin 2x removed Leo Joseph Martin Broderick (1919-1943).

Friday, March 20, 2015

52 Ancestors No. 12: The Naturalization Papers of William Henry Coughlin

This is the twelfth of 52 blog posts for the 2015 edition of the 52 Ancestors challenge. I have been blogging my family history for the #52Ancestors challenge since it began in 2014.

#52Ancestors asks bloggers to "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 blog post is about the Naturalization Papers of my great grandfather (GG) William Henry Coughlin (1872-1952) who was born in Poughkeepsie New York and emigrated to Canada in 1898 at 26 years of age. In November 2013, when the 1921 census was released, I learned that William was naturalized in 1915.

Poughkeepsie, New York
on the New York Central railway line

My GG: William Henry Coughlin (1872-1952)
Naturalization: The 1940 RCMP interview
William Coughlin 1025 Hickory Rd., Windsor, Ontario

What is Naturalization?

"Prior to the Canadian Citizenship Act of 1947 there was no such thing as a Canadian citizen. Persons born in Canada were British subjects. Those who had come to Canada from other parts of the Commonwealth were also British subjects and in terms of citizenship considered equal to those born in Canada. Those from non-commonwealth countries were considered aliens and had to become naturalized in order to enjoy the same rights as citizens." (Source: Family Search: Wiki)

20th Century Naturalization

With the Naturalization Act of 1906, aliens could become naturalized after spending three years in Canada. Through this process they became British subjects, although it was a status recognized only in Canada. Applications were made to judges in provincial courts. A tougher act was passed in 1914, although its implementation was delayed to allow anyone in Canada before 1 January 1915 to apply under the old rules. The last year for application of the older rules was 1917. The new law gave the same status to naturalized Canadians as those held by natural born British subjects.(Source: Family Search: Wiki)

How I Found W.H. Coughlin's Naturalization Records

I knew from the census information that GG Coughlin was naturalized in 1915. Unfortunately William Henry Coughlin's name was not found in any of the databases at the Library and Archives Canada - Naturalization index (1915-1951).

I submitted a written request through an Access To Information (ATI) request from Citizenship and Immigration Canada for my GG William Henry Coughlin's papers. 

In February 2014 they sent me 14 pages dating from December 1915 to November 1940. These fourteen pages revealed lots of new information!

According to the Naturalization Records


Great grandfather Coughlin arrived on the New York Central Railway in 1899  through the port of Niagara Falls. 

His occupation was a glassblower and he was issued a certificate of naturalization on the 14th of December 1915.
Naturalization granted 14th Dec. 1915
Certificate of Naturalization

In 1940, William indicated that he was applying for naturalization under Section 8, "to renew old Nat. Papers so he may obtain a passport to visit relatives in the States."

A requirement under Section 8 was that two persons "vouch for the subject" and the two were G.J. Smith (who had known him for three years) and son-in-law E.J. Moynahan (my grandfather, who had known him for fifteen years).

In the remarks section from the RCMP interview we learn that the applicant (William Henry Coughlin):
  • "the port of arrival was Fort Erie, Ontario" (different from Niagara Falls ?)
  • "he went directly to Wallaceburg, Ontario, remained there for about one month, then went to Montreal stayed for nearly four months and had only periodic work, he then returned to New York, and stayed for one year and lived at Poughkeepsie, N.Y., he returned to Wallaceburg, Ontario where he remained for 15 years during the time he spent there he got married and bought a home, in 1915 sold his home and came to Windsor and since arrival has worked at Fords for 15 years had worked at General Motors in Detroit for about three years then due to sickness he obtained relief....till 1937....The above applicant owns his home and also has properties in the city of Windsor."
A certificate of naturalization was issued, No. 29812 Series E dated 27-12-40 under Section 8.

Other Documents 

William Henry Coughlin married Elizabeth Annal on the 27th of November 1899 in Kent county, Ontario.

Marriage certificate 1899
Other Documents 
1901, 1911 and 1921 censuses

On the 1901 census, Lizzie Coughlin is living with daughter Madeline Coughlin at the home of Lizzie's parents James and Mary Annal. Could this be the time period when William could only obtain "periodic work" in Canada and "returned to New York stayed for one year and lived at Poughkeepsie, N.Y" ?

1901 census Wallaceburg, Ont

1911 census Wallaceburg, Ont
The 1911 census listed the year William Coughlin's immigration as 1898, not the 1899 listed in the naturalization papers. It could be that it was November of 1898 and remembered in the later years as 1899? Wiliam is listed as a "glassblower".

1921 Census: Hickory Ave, Windsor, Ont
It is in this 1921 census that we see the year of immigration as 1899 again and the new information that the year of naturalization was 1915.

The release of the 1921 census in November 2013 was instrumental in helping me locate William Henry Coughlin's year of naturalization which led me to these papers above and so much more information on my great grandfather's journey from Poughkeepsie, New York.

"1893 NYC RR". 
Licensed under Public Domain 
via Wikimedia Commons - 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Bachelors, Spinsters, Priests and Nuns

As a family historian and genealogist, I find myself particularly drawn to researching and learning more about the lives of the many bachelors and spinsters that come to me through my research.

I cannot explain the satisfaction I felt at locating the service records, a photo and the final resting place of Leo Broderick; or locating the whereabouts of a son sent to an asylum due to illness like Timothy Moynahan; or finding the obituary for an auctioneer relative like William Moynahan; or receiving in the mail the service records of an uncle like Bernard Moynahan; or hearing more and more about the life of a strong unmarried woman like Nellie Moynahan.

I also want to honour the many relatives who were nuns and priests and who devoted their lives to serving God. Most often these relatives moved to communities far away from their families.

I have created this page to honour and remember them all and to share some of their unheard stories.

The Spinsters:
Note: The term "spinster" is seen as derogatory in the present context. I use it here in the historical context where it was a legal term used on legal documents to denote someone who was single and never married.

The Nuns:

The Bachelors:

The Priests

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Two New "Seeking Michigan" Resources

I am always excited whenever new genealogical information is digitized and shared for free on the internet!

This week, to celebrate Seeking Michigan’s sixth birthday, they announced (along with the Archives of Michigan) the images of Michigan death certificates from 1921-1939 have been made available for free and the index for records from 1940-1952 will be made available in the next few weeks!

Mt Elliott - Moynahan plot

1895 Detroit City Directory
Kitty Moynahan was the principal of McKinstry School
Education in Detroit 1916
Kitty Moynahan Principal of Parke School

Another resource worth noting on the Seeking Michigan website includes Newspapers:

  • The Detroit News Indexes The Archives of Michigan received well over 1 million index cards from The Detroit News at the end of 2014. These cards have been scanned into batches of 500-1000 cards per PDF file. The tables of files are organized alphabetically by starting and ending subject. These index cards appear to cover from the beginning of The Detroit News into the late 1990s. The Archives of Michigan does not have microfilm of The Detroit Newspaper at this time. Because the cards are organized by subject, be prepared to look for different but related subjects if the first subject you try doesn’t yield a result.
  • I found an index card for my uncle, Labour Leader John Moynahan (1934-1897)
Index card from 1975
regarding my Uncle John Moynahan
As time passes, more genealogical records become digitized . I am very grateful to those organizations like Seeking Michigan who offer their records for free to family historians, genealogists and all researchers.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

52 Ancestors No. 11 Hess & Annal : Feather Renovators (1906)

This is the tenth of 52 blog posts for the 2015 edition of the 52 Ancestors challenge. I have been blogging my family history for the #52Ancestors challenge since it began in 2014.

#52Ancestors asks bloggers to "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 blog post is about a wonderful 1906 photograph that was sent to me recently by family historian, genealogist Vicky Hess with whom I share ancestors in our Hess-Annal-Coughlin family tree.

Hess & Annal Feather Renovator
Joe Hess (pictured in the derby hat) with James Hess and other unidentified men
Source: Vicky Hess family archive photos
Vicky also sent me the following news clipping text from the Wallaceburg News (1906):

It was difficult to locate information online about the occupation of Feather Renovators.

On the need for feathers to be renovated, I found this 1872 advice from Alexander E. Youman to housewives on the daily care of their feather beds:

Source: A Dictionary of Wants 1872
(Free eBook)
If feather beds had not been cared for on a daily basis (as suggested above), The Southern Cultivator and Dixie Farmer (1887) advised "lady readers" to "put them on the grass where rain pours heavily, and let them become thoroughly wetted.":
The Southern Cultivator and Dixie Farmer (1887)
(Free eBook)
Thankfully, at the turn of the last century, there were many patents submitted and granted for inventions of new and improved mechanical "feather-renovator" devices to do this work instead of the methods described above.

It is wonderful to know that our Annal-Hess ancestors provided this valuable service to the residents of Kent county Ontario in the early 1900s.

I am grateful to Vicky Hess for passing on this wonderful photograph that I had never seen before and sharing facts about our ancestors that I would have never known.

Wallaceburg Links
Feather Renovator Links

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

52 Ancestors No. 10: James Moynahan (1842-1919) Civil War Soldier & Colorado Miner

This is the tenth of 52 blog posts for the 2015 edition of the 52 Ancestors challenge. I have been blogging my family history for the #52Ancestors challenge since it began in 2014.

#52Ancestors asks bloggers to "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 blog post is about Hon. James Moynahan, mayor of Alma, Park County, Colorado who was the grandson of Matthew Moynahan of Maidstone, Ontario.

Book Excerpt: Portrait of Denver and Vicinity, Colorado

One of the three sons mentioned in the above excerpt is the Hon. James Moynahan, mayor of Alma, Park County (1842-1919) and the subject of this blog post.

Family Search Ancestral File 3652-KCH

The Maidstone Matthew Moynahan mentioned in the excerpt is the father of Timothy Moynahan

I was excited to locate this biographical excerpt because of the rich information it provides about another one of Matthew's five sons and three daughters (who predeceased that last of the siblings Timothy).


James was born in Michigan June 7, 1842, the son of James and Catherine (Hart) Moynahan, both natives of Ireland.
  • His father James Moynahan (1810-1858) located in Wayne County, Mich., where he carried on a farm and followed the blacksmith's trade.
  • His father James Moynahan was with the Michigan men in the Toledo war. He died at the age of forty-eight. 
  • His mother Catherine (Hart) Moynahan also died in Michigan, her age being sixty-two. 
  • He had two brothers (Matthew and John) and two sisters (Mary and Honora)  
  • His sisters married: Mrs. Parks, of Leadville, and Mrs. Clinton, of Michigan.
  • His brothers died: Matthew having died in Breckenridge and John (1875) in Georgetown, Colo.


When James father died in December, 1858,  he went to the upper peninsula of Michigan, where he worked in copper mines. Later he was in the lower peninsula.

At the first call for troops during the Civil war he volunteered in the Fifth Michigan Infantry, but the quota being filled, the regiment was not called into service at that time

The U.S. Civil War 1861-1865

"United States General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934,"
index and images, FamilySearch
( : accessed 11 March 2015),
James Moynahan, 1865; citing , NARA microfilm publication T288
(Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 541,096.
27th Michigan Infantry - Page 096

  • In 1862 he entered Company C, Twenty-seventh Michigan Infantry, and enlisted as a private at Copper Harbor, thence going to Kentucky and joining the Ninth Corps under General Burnside, in the Department of the Ohio. 
  • He took part in the siege of Vickshurg and later was at Jackson, going from there back to Kentucky, then to East Tennessee and taking part in the siege of Knoxville
  • In the spring of 1864 the corps was reorganized at Annapolis, Md., and was incorporated with the Army of the Potomac, taking part in all the engagements in the Wilderness. 
  • In May 12, 1864, (at Spottsylvania, while acting as second lieutenant) he was wounded by a minie-ball that lodged in the right breast and remained there for eleven months before it was removed. When he was wounded he was taken to Fredericksburg and for four days lay on a blanket, without medical attention, during which time the wound became so swollen that the surgeon could not probe for the bullet. He was moved to Washington, sent from there to Philadelphia, and finally, though the bullet was still in his breast and the wound still open, he requested to be returned to his regiment, which was done. 
  • In February, 1865, he was commissioned first lieutenant . 
  • In April 2, 1865,while participating in the assault on Fort Mahone at Petersburg  in command of his company, before daybreak he was shot in the left forearm by a minie-ball, which would have entered the left side had it not been for his silver watch and a memorandum book in his overcoat pocket. Previous to this the fort had been taken and with it three pieces of artillery, and his company, which carried the colors, had planted the stars and stripes oh the fort, so that he was permitted to participate in the victory before incapacitated for further service. 
  • On his way from the field he met General Potter, whom he notified of the victory, news that naturally rejoiced the general's heart. 
  • He went to the hospital at City Point, where he had his arm dressed; the old bullet in his breast, which was lodged against the shoulder blade, was operated for and removed at that time
  • In April 12, 1865. He participated in the grand review at Washington and was mustered out as captain of Company G, July 26, 1865, at Washington, and a few days later was honorably discharged at Detroit. 

After his retirement from the army, Captain Moynahan studied in Bryant & Stratton's Commercial College in Detroit. In April, 1866, he graduated from the college.

In 1866 in Greenfield, Mich., he married fellow Irish-American Mary Monaghan. The couple immediately left for the wilderness of Colorado and settled in Buckskin Joe.
  •  Mary Monagan was born in Ireland, a daughter of Peter Monaghan, who came to America and settled in the upper peninsula of Michigan, there engaged in mining. 
  • The four children born of the union were: Alice, Ambrose Edwin, James W. and Clarissa.

Shortly afterward the couple arrived in Colorado, James superintended a mine in Park County for two years; owned the Orphan Boy mine, two and a-half miles from Alma.


In the 1870s, Moynahan expanded his business interests to include a general merchandizing business and livery stable. In 1880, he opened a general store in Alma with branches in Fairplay and Leadville. The family also acquired ranch property in Park County, where they raised horses and cattle. 
Moynahan became one of Alma's most prominent and politically active citizens. A driving force behind the town's incorporation in 1873, he served on its first board of trustees. In 1876, he sat on the Alma School Board and was postmaster. Before moving to Alma, he had served as a Park County commissioner from 1870 to 1873. 

In 1876, he was elected to the state Senate and re-elected in 1882, representing Park and Fremont counties for four years and serving as president pro tempore of the Senate for two years. At the Republican conventions in 1886 and 1888, Moynahan's name was put forward for governor, but he did not win the nomination. Alma residents elected Moynahan mayor for three consecutive years beginning in 1896.   

1885 Colorado State Census
James Moynahan: ranchman

Spring House: 

Photos are from a walking tour of Alma Colorado
 The Moynahan family 1940s
After 1884, the Moynahans split their time between their homes in Denver and Alma. The couple raised five children at Spring House: Mary, Alice, Ambrose Edwin, James W., and Clarissa. 

"This large two-story residence, which the Moynahan family called ”Spring House,” is believed to have begun as a log cabin in the early mining town of Buckskin Joe, which was located about a mile and a half west of present-day Alma. Local mine supervisor James A. Moynahan apparently moved the cabin to Alma in 1873 and opened the Spring House Hotel. By 1886, he had built additions to the south and rear of the cabin and had clad the log walls with wood siding. A third log addition was built on the rear sometime before 1896."

Spring House has remained in the Moynahan family for the past 145 years.

Token for a loaf of bread

In 1919, James Moynahan died in Denver, ten years after the sudden death of his wife, Mary, from appendicitis. 

Mt. Olivet cemetery, Jeffereson County, Colorado
  • has more than 40,000 digital genealogy books that are fully searchable and downloadable for free! 
  • Town of Alma

Composite of studio portraits of twenty-nine members of the Colorado Senate of 1885. Identification: 13. Governor B.H. Eaton; 12. Liet.-Gov. Peter W. Breene, President of Senate; R. 18. Jas. Moynahan, President Pro Tem; 7. Geo. T. Clark; R. 1 Jas M. Freeman, Weld; R. 2 A.W. Waters, Arapahoe; D. 3 Henry Lee, Jefferson; R. 4 H.H. Eddy, Summit; R. 5 John T. Elkins, Lake; R. 6 Gilbert M. Woodworth, Bent; R. 8 Leonard W. Wells, Douglas; D. 9 Chas. L. Hall, Lake; R. 10 M.B. Carpenter, Arapahoe; D. 11 Frank Tilford, Arapahoe; D. 14 Chas. C. Parsons, Lake; R. 15 H.E. Tedmon, Larimer; R. 16 Thos. Cornish, Clear Creek; R. 17 O.F.A. Greene, Boulder; R. 19 M.W. Howard, Arapahoe; R. 20 A.M. Stevenson, Gunnison; R. 21 Geo. M. Chilcott, Pueblo; R. 22 J.H. Stead, Chaffee; R. 23 Irving Howbert, El Paso; D. 24 J.W. Bostwick, Gilpin; R. 25 Jas P. Galloway, Montrose; R. 26 Antonio D. Archuleta, Conejos; R. 27 Antonio A. Salazar, Costilla; D. 28 Casimiro Barela, Las Animas; D. 29 A.J. Rising, Custer.

18. Jas. Moynahan: 1885 Colorado Senate
President Pro Tem
Death notice: Mary (Monaghan) Moynahan
Source: The Intermountain Catholic (1909)
Library of Congress

Sunday, March 8, 2015

The Women Who Made Me, Me!

Today, March 8th, is International Women's Day.

I am grateful for the inspiration and strength that flows through my blood from my many women ancestors: the women ancestors I have known in my lifetime; the women ancestors I have located through my genealogical research and the women ancestors whose name and stories I may never know.

I dedicate this blog post to all the women ancestors who made me, me.......Happy Women's Day!

My Moynahan-Creighton women ancestors

And half were women!