Sunday, July 12, 2015

52 Ancestors No.28: The Irish Brogue and French Priests

The Moynahans of Essex county arrived in North America in the late 1820s (first in Pennsylvania) and settled in Ontario and Michigan in the 1830s.

Finding records of the Moynahans in Ireland has been difficult for two reasons:
  1. Record keeping: My Moynahan ancestor's arrival in America classifies them as "early immigrants" or "Pre Great Famine" (before 1845) and these records are more difficult to locate. The Catholic records in Ireland prior to the mid 1800s are equally hard to locate.
  2. Literacy and language: When my Moynahan ancestors arrived in Ontario and Michigan, they were unable to read or write and they spoke gaelic with a strong irish brogue. They were reporting to largely french speaking record keepers. There were obviously going to be communication  misunderstandings.

The French Churches of Detroit

"Before the Irish immigrants had their own church in Detroit they were invited to celebrate Catholic Mass at St. Anne's on early Sunday mornings before the French service began at midday." (Source: Detroit News: "The Irish Helped Form Detroit For Centuries")

In the handwritten french marriage record (below) for Denis Moynahan and Catherine Roach (Roche) (29 April 1833) it says "de Matthew Moynahan & de Mary Lery ne dans la parisse de Himiguaney conte de Cary en Irelande"

Written record #1
29 April 1833 Marriage record, Ste. Annes, Detroit, Michigan
Denis Moynahan & Catherine Roach

Translation: "Parish of  Himigueney, County Kerry, Ireland"

Written record #2
Note "Hinneguenay"

In the translated record below, it becomes "parish of Kilcrohane Kerry, Ireland"?

Transcribed parish records
Ste. Annes, Detroit, Michigan

Ireland's Catholic Parish Records

Clairifying "Kilcrohane", "Himiguenay" or "Hinneguenay" became important with the historic July 2015 release of 300 years of records by the National Library of Ireland (NLI). There are 370,000 digital images from 1,086 parishes ! Which parish was I going to enter?

I left a comment on the Blog 'Kerry Catholic Parish Registers' and the blog owner wrote to me "I am not sure that the Moynihans are from Kerry. You mention 'Kilcrohane' and that is County Cork. However some of the Cork parishes are located in the Diocese of Kerry."

This was helpful. I thought I should start with Kilcrohane records. I started with Kilcrohane (though not in County Kerry) which I learned was a variant of Muintervarra and was happy to find some Moynahans there!

RC Parish Kilcrohane, Cork

  • Marriage: 14 February 1829: Jeremiah Monahan to Margaret Cochlan; Daniel Harrington, Jeremiah Cochlan

RC Parish Kilquane, Kerry

Kilquane, Kerry at NLI

The problem was that although the parish record names changed in the early french records that I located, the county name NEVER changed and was always County Kerry!? I thought I would look at County Kerry parishes. Could "Kilcrohane" be "Kilquane"? I searched 1807-1808 (Microfilm 04274 / 09) and 1808 - 1828 ( Microfilm 04274 / 10)

Civil Parish: Kilcrohane, Kerry

There is also a civil parish called Kilcrohane in Kerry that is the RC parish of Ballybog

When I checked the records for Ballybog, there were baptisms 1845-1848; and 1857-1880 and marriages 1858-1881. These records cover events after my Moynahan ancestors left.

My instincts tell me that County Kerry is where I need to be looking. The "looking" part is a "bit of a slog" but worth it. I will keep going!


  • Written Record #1:Source Information U.S., French Catholic Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1695-1954 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2007. Original data: Gabriel Drouin, comp. Drouin Collection. Montreal, Quebec, Canada: Institut Généalogique Drouin.
  • Written Record #2: Source Information U.S., French Catholic Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1695-1954 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2007. Original data: Gabriel Drouin, comp. Drouin Collection. Montreal, Quebec, Canada: Institut Généalogique Drouin.


Thursday, July 9, 2015

52 Ancestors No. 27 - Ottawa Photographs of Moynahan Kin?

I posess a number of family photographs that were taken at various locations on Sparks Street in Ottawa.

Sparks Street, Ottawa photographs

Pittaway & Jarvis Photographer
117 Sparks St., Ottawa

John Moynahan (1866-1933)

Of these nine Ottawa photographs, I have identified only one person, my great grandfather John Moynahan (1866-1933) pictured above.

This photo of John definitely precedes his serving on the first Sandwich South Council in 1893 and his marriage on May 10, 1898 (aged 32 years) to Mary Broderick (1869-1960).

I would date the photo between 1880-1890 and this correlates with the information I located about the Pittaway and Jarvis Photography Studio.

"When Samuel J. Jarvis completed his apprenticeship in 1882 he went into business first with A.G. Pittaway (opened on 15 February, 1882) at 117 Sparks Street "(From “Early Ottawa Photo Studios” (Alfred George) Pittaway& (Samuel James) Jarvis , 117 Sparks St. [1882-1890] "

I wondered if the Pittaway and Jarvis series of photos were fellow teachers with John Moynahan in the 1880s? But why would they be saved and passed down through the family? Or were they photographs of Moynahan kin who travelled to Ottawa for a visit together from Windsor, Ontario?

Cabinet Card - J.D. Wallis Photographer 
61 Sparks St., Ottawa

That brings me to this"cabinet card" taken at J.D. Wallis Photographer in Ottawa.

By the early 1870s, cartes de visite's were supplanted by "cabinet cards," which were also usually albumen prints, mounted on cardboard backs measuring 4.5 by 6.5 inches. Cabinet cards remained popular into the early twentieth century.

J.D. Wallis Photographer had three locations on Sparks St: at 56 Sparks St., [1873-1874] (1st of 3 locations: photos); 24 Sparks St. [1874-1875] (2nd of 3 locations, photo) and 61 Sparks St., [1875 - 1895] (3rd of 3 locations: photos)  Source: Early Photographers and Photography Studios in Ottawa, Ontario.

We know this photo was taken at 61 Sparks therefore at some time between 1875 and 1895. But who could it be?

The Bowler

The cane

 Jarvis Photographer
141 Sparks St., Ottawa

Samuel Jarvis operated a photo shop at different loactions on Sparks St.: 140 Sparks St (1875-1879) and 141 Sparks st. (1879-1892) Source: Early Photographers and Photography Studios in Ottawa, Ontario.
Only one photo was taken at Jarvis

Interesting tie

If you read this post and notice any other clues in these family photographs or if you have any information about Windsor, Ontario ancestors being photographed in Ottawa, Ontario in the late 1800s, please add a comment below.

I would love to solve these photographic mysteries.