Saturday, September 1, 2018

The Moynahan/Minahan Family of St. Thomas, Ontario

Have you ever heard of the "Genealogist Rabbit Hole". It's a phrase used to describe what happens when a genealogist get curious and one thing leads to another until you realize that hours have passed, you haven't eaten, the laundry did NOT get done but you made incredible progress filling in more blanks on your family tree! This is how my morning started today.


I saw a name in my "Ancestor Calendar" and I become curious about "Margaret C. Moynahan" who died on September 2. I then looked at her details on my ancestry.ca tree.

The only thing that I knew about Margaret C. Moynahan is that she died on September 2nd, 1917 at two years of age in St. Thomas, Ontario and her parents were John M.(1889-1954) and Annie (Fielding) Minahan (1891-1981).

I looked more closely at her death certificate.

Source: Archives of Ontario; Toronto, Ontario, Canada;
Series: MS935; Reel: 230
Margaret died of  "Enterocolitis" and "Exhaustion Anemia" at such a young age. Her grieving parents (John Matthew and Annie) were descendants of the our Tilbury Moynahans (Ontario) in our family tree.

Margaret's father, John Matthew Moynahan/Minahan (1889-1954), was the nephew of my great-great grandfather Jeremiah Moynahan (1837-1922)

Source: Moynahan AncestryFamily Tree
Margaret's father, John Matthew Moynahan/Minahan (1889-1954), was the first cousin to my great grandfather John Moynahan.


So Where Did This Rabbit Hole Take Me?

Because I knew Margaret's death date, I found her headstone at Elmdale Memorial Park Cemetery in St Thomas, Ontario and from her headstone, I was able to fill in more details about the entire Minahan family including a son that I had not located previously.


Kathleen Minahan Headstone; Elmdale Memorial Park Cemetery; St Thomas, Ont.
Photograph taken by CanGenWeb volunteer Kate Ford
and gratefully used with permission
   
CanadaGenWeb Cemetery Project: Minahan search


 The Last of the St. Thomas Minahans/Moynahans

I am driven to tell the stories of my ancestors and this story is important to me because this particular branch of our family tree ends in St. Thomas, Ontario.

There are no descendants left to tell their stories because two of the children died young and the surviving child died in 1986 unmarried.




 The St Thomas Minahans/Moynahans

The Tilbury branch of our family tree often appear in historical records with variant "Moynahan" surnames spellings. I am not entirely sure why that is. It could be an education issue or a record-keeper issue. This has happened many times in my research.

For the purpose of this post, I will tell this part of their story using the "Moynahan" spelling.

John Matthew Moynahan (1889-1954) was born in Tilbury, Ontario the 9th child and LAST born son of  Matthew Moynahan (1835-1910) and Catherine Carr (1845-1927) on the 26th of September 1889.

Family Group Sheet for Matthew Moynahan and Catherine Carr, Tilbury, Ontario
 John Matthew (1889-1954) married Annie Alice Fielding in Tilbury, Ontario on December 6, 1910 (by license). John's father Matthew Moynahan (1835-1910) passed away the following spring.

On the 1911 census, John Matthew Minahan is living with his new bride next to the Fielding family on Yonge St., in Tilbury, Ontario.

When we find the family living in St. Thomas, Ontario (census 1921, Voters List 1935, Voters List 1940) John Matthew is working as a fireman and lineman on the railroad (M.C.R.R.) in St. Thomas, Ontario.

When John Matthew died on the 15th of March 1954 he was the last living of all of his siblings and his obituary appeared in the St. Thomas Times-Journal on Page 7 (C5) on the 16th of March with his photograph.

St. Thomas Times-Journal on Page 7 (C5) on the 16th of March; Source: with thanks to the Elgin Branch: Ontario Genealogical Society


Matthew and Annie had three (four?) children
  • Kathleeen (the subject of this post): died on the 2nd of September 1917
  • Arthur: died on the 7th of December 1923
  • Sarah Catherine: was born in 1911 and died in 1986. 
  • Betty mentioned in obituaries (no records located)
Arthur Minahan Headstone; Elmdale Memorial Park Cemetery; St Thomas, Ont.
Photograph taken by CanGenWeb volunteer Kate Ford
and gratefully used with permission


Anna (Fielding) Moynahan died in 1981. She was the daughter of Edward Fielding (1854-1896) and Sarah Catherine Lickman (b 1863). She died in 1981 and I am trying to locate her obituary and will share here if found.

Source: St Thomas JOurnal; with thanks to the Elgin Branch: Ontario Genealogical Society


Minahan Family Headstone; Elmdale Memorial Park Cemetery; St Thomas, Ont.
Photograph taken by CanGenWeb volunteer Kate Ford
and gratefully used with permission



I feel privileged and grateful to have fallen down this rabbit hole today because it enabled me to tell the story of our kin who once lived in St. Thomas, Ontario and were laid to rest in the Elmdale Memorial Park Cemetery.

I also feel thankful for volunteers like Kate Ford at CanGenWeb's Cemetery Project who donate their time to provide photographs that unlock many doors for family historians like me.

Obituary Margaret C. Minahan who died on September 2nd, 1917 at two years of age in St. Thomas, Ontario; Source: with thanks to the Elgin Branch: Ontario Genealogical Society

 St. Thomas Links
     
    Source: Elgin County Archives; Catherine Minihan pictured lower left
Source: Elgin County Archives; Catherine Minihan pictured lower left

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