Moynahan Surnames

Sunday, March 4, 2018

52 Ancestors: Week 9: Where There's a Will

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 9 is "Where There's a Will".

Amy Crow was asked if this theme means a WILL (as in the probate document) or WILL(as in being determined or strong minded). Her answer was: YES!! She encouraged us to use this prompt however we were inspired to.

My "Will" to Locate My Poughkeepsie Ancestors 

For thirty years I have been unable to locate ANY information on my Coughlin Poughkeepsie ancestors and through sheer determination AND strong mindedness, I actually made HUGE progress last week (See my previous post "My Poughkeepsie Coughlin Breakthrough ")

The only evidence I have had of my Coughlin 2nd great-Grandparents - My great grandfathers baptismal certificate

 Duchess County, New York Records!

Part of my problem has been access to records in Poughkeepsie, Dutchess County, New York, U.S.A..

Unlike Michigan and Ontario records, Poughkeepsie records are really hard to come by, and even where they are available (i.e. Ancestry censuses), keyword searches of "Coughlin" rarely achieve any results.

Initially, my "Coughlin breakthrough" was achieved with great thanks to three record sources:

  1. Family Search Census Records: I decided to manually scroll through the records of the 1875 census for Poughkeepsie to locate my Coughlin Family. Once I located them in 1875, (I was so fortunate that they never moved from the same census wards) I successfully located them on sequential Federal and State censuses from 1875-1940
  2. New York Directories:  With the census records and now certain of the location in Poughkeepsie of my Coughlin ancestors, I used the historical Directories to confirm their addresses and occupations.
  3. Poughkeepsie Newspapers: I used the newspapers to confirm the deaths of two Coughlin brothers whose headstones are the only headstones to appear on FindAGrave for St. Peter's Poughkeepsie. I also used the death indexes for Poughkeepsie to get possible dates and then looked them up in the newspapers. The two newspapers that I used are:
William H. Coughlin 

Find A Grave: William H. Son of Daniel & Lillian Coughlin
Source: Poughkeepsie Eagle-News

John J. Coughlin

Find A Grave: John J. Son of Daniel & Lillian Coughlin
Source: Poughkeepsie Eagle-News

Source: Poughkeepsie Eagle-News

Source: Poughkeepsie Eagle-News
I'm Still Searching For More Records

I now know that my Coughlin Poughkeepsie ancestors lived, married and died in Poughkeepsie, Dutchess County, New York.They passed their entire lives there. (Except one son Daniel Coughlin 1907-1979 who moved to Connecticut - but that's another blog post)

I am still having great difficulty locating Dutchess County death and marriage records and I will be focusing my next steps on accessing:
  1. St Peter's Church and Cemetery Records
  2. Naturalization Records
  3. Emigration Records
  4. Alms House and Medical Records 
Through Newspaper research and browsing Poughkeepsie Alms House Records, I have learned that my 2nd great-grandfather Michael Coughlin (1842-1921) suffered a serious injury in 1891. In the following years he lived alternatively with his son Daniel and in the Alms House in Poughkeepsie. I hope to learn more.

Source: Poughkeepsie Eagle-News
Source: Ancestry: New York, Census of Inmates in Almshouses and Poor Houses 1830-1920

And thanks to, I located a death notice for my 2nd great-grandfather Michael Coughlin (1842-1921) and I have sent away to the he New York Department of Health for his death record which I hope will contain the names of his parents

Source: Poughkeepsie Journal
I believe that the man barely visible on the left in the photograph below is my 2nd great-grandfather Michael Coughlin (1842-1921) and I am even more determined than ever to uncover his story and share it with his descendants.

Poughkeepsie photograph from the photo album of Rhea (Coughlin) Moynahan (1902-1992)
Poughkeepsie, N.Y. page; Source: Photo album belonging to Rhea (Coughlin) Moynahan (1902-1992)

Poughkeepsie, Dutchess County, New York Records

  Dutchess County, New York Records

New York Records

1 comment:

  1. Well done in finding your Coughlin relations. You've mentioned several New York Records that may help me in the search for my New York ancestors. Thank you.