Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Goals for the New Year...

In looking back at the information I have found in researching this past year, I thought it best to lay out some plans for 2009. 

1. Find out who the parents are for John O'Connell.
2. Find out who the parents are for Bridget Curran O'Connell.
3. Place the remaining 2 O'Connell's at St Paul's/St Mary's Cemetery into the family tree.
4. Go to NY and visit the cemeteries and get photo's of grave markers (St Paul's/St Mary's, Black River and Mount Carmel). Plus meet the family I have found.
5. Continue to blog my research and findings on a regular basis.
6. Start more in depth research on the Springer line.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Another Letter Update

Merry Christmas to all. Today I received a great gift. An email from D O'Connell, in response to my earlier letter. He states he has passed info on to his sister in Az. and will follow up with a call next week. I did reply to his email, with my goal in all of this. Which, right now is to get the family back to Ireland. Also that I have many questions and look forward to speaking with him soon.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Reply from T Fuller

I was so excited today, when I checked the mail and found a reply from Mrs Fuller. She does not have much info on the family. Never met her Grandparents and met the Aunts and Uncles only after her Father passed in 1942. She does have an old family picture that has names and dates listed on the back. These happen to be the 6 people buried on St Paul's Cemetery, Hudson Falls, NY.
She replied saying she hopes to hear back from me and hopes to hear anything I may find on the family. 

I cannot tell you how excited I am with each letter returned. Every little piece of information adds something. Even though the writer seems to think they have nothing. I look forward to corresponding with her again. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Letter Updates

Just wanted to keep everyone posted, I have not had any replies on the 3 letters I sent out. As soon as I do, I will let you know. 

I have spent my time the past week researching Al's family. I will be starting a new blog on this one.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Mary Herring

I believe I may have found one more of Dennis O'Connell's (GGrandpa) sisters in NJ. According to his obit Mary Herring lived in NJ. I have found on the 1930 census a Mary Herring wife of Cornelius Herring in Palasides Park, NJ. Of course, I need to much more investigating into this to see if it is really her. Will keep you posted.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Rose and Dennis O'Connell

So, thanks to a reply on a message board, I found Rose and Dennis in the 1910 census. I learned something new from this. Rose and Dennis had 4 children at this point, with only 3 surviving. I checked my records to see if the fourth child was buried were Dennis was and no such luck. I will have to look into this more. Hopefully, we can find the "missing" child.

Friday, November 14, 2008


Ok, so I have typed and addressed three letters today. All are set to go in the mail tomorrow.  They are to...
C Pratt- NY
T Fuller - NY and
D O'Connell - IL

Wish me luck on the replies. I will of course keep you all updated.

Letter from C. Pratt (2)

So, I have written another letter looking for more information and also wrote a letter to his sister. Hoping to get a little more information with each letter. Also, to form a family relationship for all of us. I am of course, ever thankful that he replied to me. Hopefully, he and his sister will be willing to meet with me and whoever is willing to go to NY with me in the spring. I would like to meet with them and any other family member I can. Maybe do some interviews and find out more about the family.

In my letters, I asked the following questions...
Do they have older pictures that we could look through?
Does he remember his Grandfather John?

Here is some other things I would like to find out...
Did they ever meet the cousins that moved to Chicago (obviously before the move)?
Do they know why Dennis and Rose divorced and if so where were they living at the time?
Who are the parents of John and Bridget?
When did the family come to America?
What part of Ireland did they come from?

I feel this is a lot to ask in 1 letter, so I guess I will write a few and break it up some.  If anyone has any other questions they would like answered, please feel free to post comments on this blog and I will take them off of here and insert into the next few letters.

C Pratt letter update

Here is the letter that I got from Clellon, dated 11/5/08...


yes. My mother was a family member. I remember Dennis working in Canada. I think the town name was Thorough or something like that (very close, it was Thorold) I don't know if my Mother was notified of his burial. I (not sure of word here) around at this time in 1950. My mother died in 1968. You didn't mention any of the other siblings. I remember, 1 of them was Aunt Elizabeth that had a gas station outside of Glover (I think). I remember going to Hudson Falls and Glen Falls when I was a kid. My father died in 1942 of cancer. My sister still lives in Felts Mills. She knows more about the Aunt and Uncles than I do. (he then gives her address and his phone #) Black River is only 2 miles from Felts Mills. I hope you can read this letter.

signed CFP

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Springer - O'Connell

I got a response on a message board post. The post was looking for more information on Rose Springer O'Connell. Looks like we found her, with Dennis in 1910 in Saratoga, NY. They are with the 3 children and Rose's brother William and their mother Mary E Robichaud. Mary is widowed, I am assuming for the second time. Will see if I can find an obit or anything else on her, which might lead to the first husband. Of course, I will keep you updated.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Letter from C. Pratt

So, I know everyone is on pins and needles wondering if I got a reply to the letter I sent out. The answer is, yes! Today in the mail I received a reply from Clellon. He said his mother is a family member. (How excited am I you ask, I am on cloud nine)!
He remembers Great Grandpa Dennis and said he does not know if his mother was notified of Dennis burial. He also remembers going to Hudson Falls and Glen Falls as a child. 

He did give me some other info, but I am pressed for time. I will write him again and see if he gives more information. The power of the pen is a wonderful thing!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Pratt Family Update

So just wanted to keep everyone updated as to replies I am getting on emails and so forth. I did receive confirmation that Mr Pratt did get my letter. I have not spoken with him or received a letter in reply. I am going to mail another letter out to his younger sister, since I found the first name of her husband through her Mother's obit that I talked about last time. 

I also received a reply from Watertown Daily News in NY. I sent an email looking for obits before the 1980's. They do have the hard copies. They have not been digitalized. So, the woman I need to speak with is on vacation this week. I will reach out to her next week to see if she can find the one for Catherine (O'Connell) Pratt. This should give me the info I need to actually tie her to John and Bridget O'Connell. Then we will have solid proof! 

As for the NY letters, I truly hope someone responds. I would love to listen to some family stories of John O'Connell. Some of these cousins were around before he passed on.  What a great interview this would be. 

Will also work on the O'Connell cousin in IL to see if I can get any information from him.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Lacey Family

From the clues I have received from my email I mentioned a few days ago. I searched the Watertown Daily news and found the obits for Elizabeth Pratt Lacey and her husband Alton V Lacey. I also found the obit for Alton's brother,  Orville. With these I have been able to add quite a few names to the tree. Though they are not of blood relation, it does extend our tree even more. I have updated my personal tree on my computer and will hopefully update soon. Hope everyone is doing well.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Elizabeth Pratt Lacey (Lacy) Update

So, just to keep everyone updated. I received a response from Mary via email on the Lacey line. Her Grandmother Doris was Alton Lacey's sister. She did confirm that Catherine O'Connell Pratt is the daughter of John and Bridget O'Connell. I am so excited to continue making these connections. I replied to her email and let her know about our site and let her know that if she is interested in joining our tree to continue its growth to let me know and I will email it to her.  How excited is everyone that these connections seem to be coming quick for us this year. So I know that if I get a response on the letter I sent out, the answer should be the same. Since I sent it to Elizabeth Lacey's Uncle on the Pratt side of her family. 

Happy investigating to all!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Elizabeth Pratt Lacey (Lacy)

In my quest to find O'Connell descendants, in one of the many obits I have read online, I came across Elizabeth Pratt Lacey (who is Catherine O'Connell Pratt's daughter). Elizabeth Pratt married Alton V Lacey. On, there are a few family tree's that date back to the 1600's. What a wealth of information his family has. I have sent out many emails to all invested in those tree's. I have received a few responses, basically stating they would get back to me, love to get info I have or to contact another person (from whom they got their info). So I will continue to email these people until I get a response.  still hoping for the connection that her mother is indeed the daughter of John and Bridget (Curran) O'Connell. 

Will let you know what this turns up as well. I do feel like I am turning into some type of history detective. Just looking for the facts. I do hope this info proves to be correct, otherwise I have a ton of information on the wrong family.

Finding Bridget (Curran) O'Connell

So, I'm still wondering why Bridget and John (GG Paternal Grandparents) are not buried together. I sent an email to nygeorge on This person seemed to answer a lot of queries and I figured maybe I could get a little help. 
Boy, was I right. She found for me that Bridget is buried at Mount Carmel Catholic Cemetery in Granville, NY (which is close to the Vermont boarder).
Now, here's the odd thing, this is the church G Grandpa Dennis was baptized at. I have an original letter from the church that I believed was used to verify the birth of Dennis for something. This church does not have a lot of information on line. But one day, I will make the call to see if they have any other family records (like marriage, or other birth's). 

I will let you know if I come up with anything else from here as well.

Search for NY Descendants

So, since my few finds this year, I have turned my research towards finding any living relatives in NY. Through Dennis' obit, I  have the married names of his sisters and the area that they were living in the 1950's. I used this info and found Catherine O'Connell Pratt, buried at Black River Cemetery, I have mailed a letter to a Mr Pratt of Black River, NY (Catherine's son).  I believe he would be the nephew of my G Grandfather Dennis O'Connell. I mailed this letter on Oct 30, 2008, so I anxiously await a response. If this connection is correct, I have found many relatives to make a connection with, which excites me. This could make that trip to NY much more memorable. We won't just have local cemeteries to visit. But hopefully live family as well. 

As I said, hopefully, Mr Pratt will respond that his mother is the daughter of John and Bridget O'Connell. Then we will be able to point is the correct direction of more family members that I have not found. 

If and when I get a response, I will let everyone know.

Rose O'Connell's burial

On September 24, 2008 I ordered a copy of Great Grandma Rose's death certificate. No one in the family that we speak to seems to know where she is buried. The first certificate was not for our Rose. So, I tried again. This time it was a success! But, the good news is that Rose is buried within a mile of my house at St. Joseph's Catholic Cemetery. I got up in the morning and made Brittany go with me to search for her resting place. This is a huge cemetery and it took us awhile to find her. But here is the exciting part. Not only did we find Rose, but we found her daughter Theresa, son Linus, and his wife Helen. Pictures of the markers are already loaded on the blog. There are many O'Connell's buried here. Not sure if any of them will end up related or not. But it was too many in their listing to take a quick note to go back to later. Glad it is close so that I can get back whenever I need to.

Here is what I learned so far. The hunt is exciting, but the thrill is from the find. Each time I find something, the excitement is so thrilling! Hope to have many, many more finds.

At this point, I look forward to my trip East to visit the parts of NY my family came from. Hopefully I will be able to do this in the spring, when the weather becomes nice enough to enjoy a few days outside.

The start of my climb, Dennis O'Connell

In December of 2003, I found the obituary of my paternal great grandfather, Dennis O'Connell. Dennis was born in NY and died in Thorold, Alberta, Canada (1950). His obituary listed his living relatives in NY and also stated that his body would be returned to Hudson Falls, NY for burial. At this time, I got on the internet to get a list of cemeteries in that area so I could call them. Of course, I never got around to making any of those calls. I could not figure out how to really make that call. "Can you tell me if my dead relatives are buried there." Anyhow, I had narrowed this list down because I knew that Dennis was divorced so he could not have been buried in the Catholic cemeteries. From here I did nothing with this information for many years.

Now it is Aug. 7, 2008 and I went to the Newberry Library with my sister in law to kick start my research yet again. I found a pholio of Washington County, Town of Kingston. This pholio is a transcription of all the local Cemeteries. I believed that I had found Dennis and maybe his father as well. There are 6 O'Connell's buried in the same area of St Paul's Cemetery. 
On Aug 8, I called St Paul's and spoke with Dorothy, who did confirm that this is the Dennis I was looking for. She confirmed this by giving me Dennis' wife name. I was so excited that I actually cried. She told me once I calmed down, she would give me all the info she had. This information did include that John O'Connell buried there as well is his father. This was confirmed through his wife's name, Bridget Curran. Dorothy did find it odd that my Irish ancestor's are buried in their French cemetery. I did tell her we believe that Bridget is of French decent, but have no proof at this point. 

I did find it odd that Bridget was not buried here with her husband.

For me,  this was a huge find. Though, the one thing I learned is do not go with what you know to be right. Because this was the one cemetery I would never have called. It is a Catholic Cemetery. Again, Dennis and Rose were divorced! I will need to find proof of this though. 
St. Joseph Cemetery, River Grove, Cook County, IL

Helen, Wife of Linus O'Connell
Linus, Son of Rose O'Connell
Unmarked grave of Theresa May O'Connell
Great Grandma Rose O'Connell

The Beginning

I have started this blog to make it easier for my family to follow the research I have done on our family tree. In the past most of our communication has been via email between certain family members. Within the past month a few more members of the family have started adding to the ever-growing family tree with newer family members. Which has added many branches to our tree. I am so happy to see that this obsession has moved to the next generation. I know that whenever I have completed my research (which will not be for many, many years) someone will pick up where I left off and continue. So this is just the start and within the next few days I hope to really blog what I have found within the past few months. Since this has been the best year of my research.