Thursday, February 1, 2018

52 Ancestors: Week 5: A Census Surprise!

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks was created by Amy Johnson Crow and is a series of weekly blogging prompts to inspire genealogists and family historians to write about an ancestor and then share it online. The theme for Week 5 is "Census".

Sept. 2017 Statistics Canada Speakers Series entitled,
"A glimpse into the past:
Using historical censuses to research Canadian families".
Back in September 2017, I attended a Statistics Canada Speakers Series entitled, "A glimpse into the past: Using historical censuses to research Canadian families". I learned a lot at this session and I reported my findings on my blog post Statistics Canada - Speaker Series - Historical Censuses .

My 2nd great-grandparents Jeremiah and Mary (Brennan) Moynahan

Inspired by the speakers, I decided to revisit the historic censuses of some of my Essex County, Ontario ancestors and I started with the family of Jeremiah and Mary (Brennan) Moynahan who were my great great grandparents.

My 2nd Great-Grandmother
Mary (Brennan) Moynahan 
Learned How To Read!

One of the most exciting discoveries that I made following my census review was learning that my 2nd great-grandmother had managed to learn how to read!

This would have been something for Mary! She fled the famine in Kerry Ireland when she was twelve years old with her parents. They emigrated to Canada in 1853 and the ability to attend school was not available to her.

My 2nd great-grandmother Mary (Brennan) Moynahan and her daughter Nellie
On the 1871 census Mary (and Jeremiah) were unable to read in 1871 and then on the 1891 census, at fifty years of age, Mary CAN read and write! This is confirmed on the later censuses where Jeremiah her husband is recorded as "unable to read or write" and Mary CAN read and write!

Mary (Brennan) and Jeremiah Moynahan's daughter (Nellie) and son (John) were well-known teachers in Essex county for many years (Nellie taught for thirty-five years and John taught for twelve years before pursuing a municipal career)

It's conceivable that Mary learned reading and writing from her children Nellie and/or John in the evenings or in the summer when school was closed and this is something about our 2nd great-grandmother Mary (Brennan) Moynahan that we would have never known if it weren't for the census records!

As I said in the comment section below, "Pioneer life being what it was (with so much work to do from dawn until dusk) I picture Mary with her handmade slate chalkboard practicing the alphabet by candlelight. That image in my mind makes me smile."

Mary's Son
Teacher: John Moynahan (1866-1933)

Essex Free Press: 25 April, 1975
Mary's Daughter
Teacher: Nellie Moynahan (1865-1940)

Source: St Mary's Church, Maidstone Ontario Centennial Book 1874-1974

4 comments:

  1. This is a lovely census surprise! You have every reason to be proud of Mary. She must have worked hard to learn as an adult.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for taking the time to post your kind comments Marian. Pioneer life being what it was (with so much to do from dawn until dusk) I picture Mary with her handmade slate chalkboard practicing the alphabet by candlelight. That image in my mind makes me smile 😊

      Delete
  2. With havin so much content do you ever run into any issues of plagorism or copyright infringement? My site has a lot of completely unique content I've either created myself or outsourced but it appears a lot of it is popping it up all over the web without my permission. Do you know any techniques to help reduce content from being ripped off? I'd definitely appreciate it.China Fonds

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jesi
      The best course of action can be found here
      https://www.bloggingbasics101.com/what-do-when-someone-steals-your-blog-post/
      Cheers

      Delete