Sunday, February 25, 2018

My Poughkeepsie Coughlin Breakthrough

Coughlin Photographs from my grandmother Rhea (Coughlin) Moynahan's photo collection

For over thirty years I have been unable to break through my Poughkeepsie-Coughlin "brick wall" and the only proof that I had of my 2nd great grandparents Michael and Margaret (Duffy) Coughlin was a Poughkeepsie baptismal certificate

My great grandfather's parents: Michael Coughlin and Margaret Duffy

My great grandfather William Henry Coughlin's Poughkeepsie baptismal certificate

A "brick wall" for genealogists is a barrier in their genealogical research that seems impossible to work around.

I tried for so long to locate the parents of my great grandfather William Henry Coughlin without any success that I began thinking that the whole Coughlin family must have moved from Poughkeepsie in the late 1800s just like William Henry Coughlin had when he moved to Wallaceburg, Ontario

An 1891 Map of Poughkeepsie, New York

Scrolling Family Search 1875 Census Records

This past week I had some time to kill so I decided to review some of the information that is now online for Poughkeepsie, Dutchess County, New York at Family Search

https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/Dutchess_County,_New_York_Genealogy
I saw that there was an 1875 census available at Family Search, so I decided to see if I could browse the Poughkeepsie records while I killed the time that I needed to.

Rather than putting "Coughlin" into the search fields (this has never achieved results for me previously), I decided that I would browse the 55,032 images instead.

I chose Dutchess county records and saw that I had eight record sets to browse:
  1. Poughkeepsie; E.D. 01
  2. Poughkeepsie; E.D. 02
  3. Poughkeepsie; Ward 01
  4. Poughkeepsie; Ward 02
  5. Poughkeepsie; Ward 03
  6. Poughkeepsie; Ward 04
  7. Poughkeepsie; Ward 05
  8. Poughkeepsie; Ward 06
I could not believe it when I located Michael and Margaret (Duffy) Coughlin in Ward 1. Poughkeepsie (on the 14th page of 53) and clearly the reason why they never showed up in search engines was because the Census enumerator recorded them as "Cochlin".

Poughkeepsie; Ward 01; The Cochlin family
This 1875 New York State Census shows that:
  • My 2nd great grandparents were living the Mulligan family. (James Mulligan was a saloon keeper in Poughkeepsie).
  • My great grandfather William H. Coughlin is 2 years and 9 months
  • My great grandfather has two siblings: John J. (8 years old) and Daniel (8 months)
  • My 2nd great grandfather was working as a "furnaceman" and my 2nd great grandmother was "keeping house" (furnacemen were needed on steam boats, railways, iron works and glass works which were all nearby in Poughkeepsie)
  • It confirms that both 2nd great grandparents were born in Ireland and all three of their children were born in Dutchess County, New York.
Poughkeepsie; Ward 01; The Cochlin family
 John J. Coughlin 
Born 1867

This small piece of information from the 1875 New York State Census confirms a postcard that I had (from my grandmother Rhea (Coughlin) Moynahan) picturing "Uncle John" as my great grandfather's oldest brother born in 1867.

(In the 1920 Poughkeepsie census, John J. Coughlin is widowed and living with his brother Daniel's family and his widowed father Michael. John J. is employed as an Inspector at the Horse Shoe Works)

"Uncle John" of Poughkeepsie now known
Back of postcard
Daniel Coughlin 
Born 1875

This small piece of information from the 1875 New York State Census also confirms a photograph  given to my grandmother Rhea (Coughlin) Moynahan that I had picturing "Uncle Danny, Danny boy, Feb 14, 1948" as my great grandfather's youngest brother born in 1875.

(In the 1920 census, Daniel is living at 168 Mill St., Poughkeepsie with his wife Lillian and their three sons. His widowed father and brother are also living with them. They have three sons at home. They also have a daughter. Of their six children, only four were living in 1920)

Daniel was a fireman for the Gas and Electric Company in Poughkeepsie.

"Uncle Danny" now known
Back of photo
 The Story Continues To Unfold

I have continued to research the online records for Poughkeepsie, New York to locate the rest of my great grandfather William Henry Coughlin's family story

I know now that the family of my great grandfather Coughlin remained in Poughkeepsie all of their lives. 

In fact, the Poughkeepsie Coughlins lived in many different houses but always in the same area from the 1870s to the 1940s. The location is close to the Poughkeepsie Glass Works and the Poughkeepsie Iron Works that were situated on the Hudson River.

Poughkeepsie Coughlin Addresses

The Coughlin family addresses (based on the historic directories and censuses) are marked in red on the 1891 Poughkeepsie map below. They seemed to always stay close to the Hudson River.


  • 1889/90 Directory - Michael Coughlin - 46 Dutchess Ave.,
  • 1890/91 Directory - Michael Coughlin - 46 Dutchess Ave.,
  • 1894/95 Directory - Michael Coughlin - 9 Dock St.,
  • 1895/96 Directory - Michael Coughlin - 9 Dock St.,
  • 1896/97 Directory - Michael Coughlin - 9 Dock St.,  
  • 1900 Census - Michael Coughlin living with Daniel Coughlin and family - 21 Dutchess Ave.,
  • 1910 Census - Michael Coughlin living with Daniel Coughlin and family - 107 Delafield St., 
  • 1920 Census - Widower Michael Coughlin and Widower John Coughlin living with Daniel Coughlin and family - 168 Mill St., 
  • 1930 Census - Daniel living with his son Daniel Jr and wife - 213 Main St.,
Next Steps

I am incredibly excited to have broken through this thirty-year-old brick wall but there is still SO much left to research, such as:
  • Locate Emigration information about Michael Coughlin - 1855
  • Locate Naturalization Papers of Michael Coughlin
  • Locate death and burial for Margaret (Duffy) Coughlin
  • Locate death and burial for Michael Coughlin (Believed to be December 16, 1921; Cert 64342)
  • Locate death and burial for John J. Coughlin and spouses, etc
  • Locate death and burial for Daniel Coughlin and spouses, etc
Daniel and Lillian Coughlin's two sons headstones are there at St. Peter's Cemetery in Poughkeepsie
John J. Coughlin
1904-1925
Son of Daniel and Lillian Coughlin
William H. Coughlin
1901-?
Son of Daniel and Lillian Coughlin
But there are two more children of Daniel and Lillian:
  • Margaret R. (born 1899) (She was a garment maker on the 1915 census, the last record found of her so far)
  • Daniel Jr. (born 1907) (He was a "dop forger" (sp) on the 1930 census and married to Ruth)
Unknown Photographs 
Taken In Poughkeepsie

Could Margaret or Daniel be the unknown persons in Rhea's photo album? Hopefully, we will figure that out!

Photo Album belonging to Rhea (Coughlin) Moynahan - Poughkeepsie photos

Photo Album belonging to Rhea (Coughlin) Moynahan - Poughkeepsie photos
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Photo Album belonging to Rhea (Coughlin) Moynahan - Poughkeepsie photos

Previous Coughlin Posts

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