Thursday, November 9, 2017

My Military Ancestor - Rev. Joseph Rooney

I'm continuing the Honor My Military Ancestor Challenge started by Patricia Greber. It's Day 9 and I'm highlighting my 1st cousin 3x removed. Rev. Joseph Rooney.

Joseph Rooney was born on March 5, 1887 in Iona, Prince Edward Island, Canada. His parents were Philip Rooney and Ellen McKenna. He was the second oldest son. He had 13 siblings. His father Phililp was a shoemaker and later became a farmer. His mother Ellen was a housewife. Many of Joseph's siblings were in the clergy as priests or nuns.

Joseph would join the clergy and was ordained as a priest on June 11, 1916. He was a professor at St Dunstan's University from 1918-1919 until he enlisted in the C.E.F as an Honorary Captain in the Canadian Chaplain Services from June 17, 1918 to September 7, 1919. During this time he served overseas in England and France. His C.E.F. file is digitized by the Library and Archives of Canada if you would like to read it.

After the war ended, he returned to St. Dunstan's to resume his duties there. His tenure at the university was short lived as he left to become a parish priest at Lawrence Church in Morell, PEI from 1920-1940 and at All Saints Church in Cardigan, PEI from 1940 until his death in 1942. Joseph was buried in the parish church's cemetery. You will see that his headstone provides a life history on Joseph, which I've summarized here. His memorial page is here if you would like to pay your respects.

Rest in peace cousin Joseph.

Monday, November 6, 2017

My Military Ancestor - Reubin Schild

I'm continuing the Honor My Military Ancestor Challenge started by Patricia Greber. It's Day 6 (at least when I wrote this) and I've decided to switch to my maternal side of the family. I'm highlighting my 2nd great uncle Reubin Schild.

Reubin was born on January 19, 1896 in Manhattan, NY to Abraham Schild and Eva Bodner. His parents were born in Austria and came to the U.S. in the 1880's. Rubin was the second oldest son. He had 3 siblings. His father Abraham was a book binder and his mother Eva was a housewife.

He was inducted into the U.S. army on August 5, 1918 in NY. He was a private assigned to Battery F, 26th Field Artillery Regiment. He was honorably discharged on February 6, 1919. According to his abstract of military service, he never served overseas. I don't have any additional details of his service at this time.

Following his honorable discharge, Reubin was a shipping clerk in the cloak & suits industry (1920 census). On June 20, 1926 he married Rayner Anna Chestner Chickerofsky. According to the 1930 census, he was a stock clerk in the shoes industry. In 1940, Reubin is recorded as being a shoe liner in a shoe factory. He had 3 children with Rayner, Alan, Paula, and Judith (all deceased).

Reubin died on December 8, 1973. If you would like to pay respects, here is his memorial page.


Sunday, November 5, 2017

My Military Ancestor - Dennis Rooney

I'm continuing the Honor My Military Ancestor Challenge started by Patricia Greber. It's Day 5 so I'm highlighting my 2nd cousin 2x removed, Dennis Rooney.

Dennis was born on August 7, 1899 in Kings County, NY to John Rooney and Mary Ann Reilly. He was the oldest son. He had 6 siblings. His father was a blacksmith and owned his own shop.

When he was 18 years old Dennis enlisted on June 25, 1916 in the New York State Guard in the 71st Infantry, Supply Company. His rank was horseshoer (no surprise there given his father's occupation). You may recall that during WWI, horses were involved to transport supplies so a horseshoer was an occupation that was in need.

Dennis was awarded a Purple Heart for his service in WWI in 1935. According to a newspaper article, Dennis was wounded while serving with the 105th Infantry, 27th division on the Belgian front on August 8, 1918. He was in hospital there for seven weeks. I found a separate article that mentioned that Dennis was gassed while serving in Company G, 105th Infantry. He was gassed on October 1, 1918. His father received a letter that he was recovering in November 1918.  He was honorably discharged on April 1, 1919. According to the 1930 census, Dennis was listed as married but no wife was listed. I also haven't located him on the 1920 census yet. He died on on May 6, 1960 and was buried at the Long Island National Cemetery in East Farmingdale, NY.

I learned that Dennis' father John served in the military as well. He enlisted the same day as his son Dennis in the 71st Infantry. He also was a horseshoer in the Supply Company. He was later transferred to Company B, 12th NY Infantry. Following his military service, he returned to his shop. He died on May 19, 1934 and was buried at Calvary Cemetery in Maspeth, Long Island, NY.

If you would like to pay respects to Dennis Rooney and his father John Rooney, I have included their memorial pages:

Dennis - Find A Grave Memorial 
John - Find A Grave Memorial 


Saturday, November 4, 2017

Day 4 - Honoring Michael Connolly

I'm continuing the Honor My Military Ancestor Challenge started by Patricia Greber. It's Day 4 so I'm highlighting my 1st cousin 2x removed, Michael Vincent Connolly. 

Michael was born on February 28, 1915 in Iona, Prince Edward Island, Canada to John Connolly and Catherine Daley. He was the 3rd oldest son. He had 9 siblings. He attended St Dunstan's College in Charlottetown, PEI as well as taking courses in carpentry and leadership. He was a school teacher from 1934 to 1935, leaving to go back to college. He liked to play sports in college: football, baseball, handball and softball. 

Michael enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force on June 6, 1940. His WWII service file is full of interesting tid bits about his health and training. His interview report described him as follows: "Good type. Polite, pleasant -clean cut, frank, honest, ambitious, keen-clear eye-steady nerves-strong physique, intelligent. Should absorb instruction easily". He moved up the ranks to flight sergeant (air observer). 

On September 27, 1941 he died in a flying accident overseas. I don't have the particulars on what happened. He was buried at El Alamein War Cemetery in Egypt. If you would like to pay his respects, here's his memorial page

Friday, November 3, 2017

Day 3 - Honoring My Military Ancestor - Bernard Corcoran

11/4: Update: I received information from a Corcoran cousin that confirms that I had some incorrect information on Bernard below. I have updated his biographical information below.

I'm continuing the Honor My Military Ancestor Challenge started by Patricia Greber. It's Day 3 so I'm highlighting my 2nd cousin 3x removed Bernard Corcoran.

Bernard Joseph Corcoran was born on May 31, 1891 in the small town of Dillonstown, located in County Louth, Ireland. He was the 3rd oldest son of John Corcoran and Katherine Conlon. He had 6 siblings. He sailed from Liverpool, England heading toward the U.S. in 1911. He became a house painter. He lived in Long Island City, Queens from 1911 to 1920. He became a U.S. citizen in 1919. Most of these details came from his U.S. passport application. What caught my eye was his occupation was listed as "disabled war veteran".  In his physical description, Bernard was listed as being blind in both eyes.

I started completing some research on his military service and with the assistance of my friend David Lambert and my cousin Ciaran McDonnell, I found Bernard described in Father Duffy's diary "Duffy's War". One story discussed how Bernard accidentally killed one of his own men, Oscar Ammon in March 1918. Bernard was exonerated and not charged. 

I completed some newspaper research and was able to confirm a family story about how Bernard was injured during WWI. Bernard enlisted in Company F, 165th Infantry. His rank was corporal. On July 28, 1918, he was blinded by a machine gun bullet at Chateau Thierry.  Following his injury he returned home to join his cousin and my great grandfather, Thomas James Corcoran, in Long Island City, Queens, NY. 

There was a charity event held in 1919 in Bernard's honor to raise the funds to help send him back home to his parents in Dillonstown. I learned from my aunt that he never moved back to Ireland and lived out his days in the U.S., ultimately dying in Maryland.

He was reassigned to the Evergreen Hospital for the Blind where he stayed until he was discharged and moved to Cantonsville, Maryland in 1932. At Evergreen he received musical training from the government and even led an orchestra of blinded World War I veterans in 1924. I learned that he married twice, once to Mary Komenda (who died young) and then again to Ethel Murphy and had two children, Catherine and Margaret (who are both deceased). He is buried in New Cathedral Cemetery in Baltimore, MD. I submitted a request this afternoon for a photo of his headstone. 

Here is a picture of Bernard from his U.S. passport application:



Rest in peace cousin Bernard.




Thursday, November 2, 2017

My Military Ancestor - Michael Doherty

I'm a day late on posting about my ancestors My Military Ancestor challenge hosted by Patricia Greber at My Genealogy Life.

Today I will highlight my paternal grandfather, Michael Joseph Doherty. Here is a picture of Michael that was on his Declaration of Intention paperwork:




Let's start with a brief family history before I talk about his military service:

Michael was born on June 12, 1910 in Queens County, Prince Edward Island, Canada to Joseph Doherty and Rose Rooney. He was one of 6 children. He was the second oldest son. He came to the United States in September 1927 on the SS Calvin Austin to join his sister Catherine in Dedham, Massachusetts. He moved to NYC and was naturalized in 1939. He then married my grandmother, Rose Corcoran in 1941 at St Mary's Roman Catholic Church in Long Island City, Queens, NY.

He served in WWII from September 1 1943 until October 20, 1945. The story goes that he was originally going to be a cook for a general in the army but instead was handed a gun and went into the infantry. He served in the 7th Army, 45th "Thunderbird" Division of the U.S. Army. His rank on his tombstone is noted as Tec 4.

During his time in WWII, he was awarded the Silver Star award for his bravery. He was on the front in France when his group were pinned down under enemy fire by the Germans. My grandfather took out a Germany Jerry gun by shooting a rifle grenade at it and took out the gun. Also, during his service my grandfather liberated a concentration camp. I was told that he never spoke of what he saw when came back home.

If you would like pay your respects to my grandfather, here is his tombstone.

Rest in peace grandpa Michael.

Congratulations Sheri!

I am proud to announce that we have a winner of my RootsTech pass giveaway.

Please give a rounding applause to Sheri Fenley from Califonia! Can't wait to meet you Sheri at RootsTech!

Thank you to everyone that entered! I can't wait to share additional contests in the future with my readers.

Opting Out - Should You?



If you have visited your AncestryDNA settings page today, you may have noticed a new section entitled "Privacy". Below is a screen shot from my page.




At first glance it looks like standard options you would expect to see on your DNA page. However, these settings need to be examined further. The Ancestry team posted a blog post today regarding the new changes to DNA settings. One important change sticks out (emphasis mine): "Customers can now decide if they want to have access to the list of people they may be related to and be shown as a potential family member for other customers with whom they share DNA." This statement refers to the first setting in my picture "You have chosen to see and be seen by DNA matches" (which thankfully is the default for existing users). I can understand if a tester doesn't want to see their own list of matches. Perhaps they tested and a family member is managing their kit or maybe they're not interested in genealogy. Or maybe they're brand new and are just starting a tree and just aren't ready to jump in and start reviewing matches.


However, to hide yourself from others' matches list may be doing a disservice to your DNA cousins. I know this may seem like a sweeping statement but let me explain. I am involved in a number of genealogy groups and have personally worked on a few cases where I was helping an adoptee or someone with an unknown parent locate their biological family. They typically just wanted to know their roots or want to reach out for medical reasons due to the inheritance of many diseases and conditions. By opting out, you're potentially denying someone that you're related to an opportunity to know their roots.


I'll give a recent example. I was approached by a young woman who was helping an older gentleman find his biological roots. He was adopted in Canada and wants to know who  his biological family is. He has no intention of disrupting any lives, he just wants to know about the people he came from. Had I opted out as well as several other cousins he's been in touch with, he would not have any leads to pursue to find his family. I was able to provide some details on my family to help narrow down a family line that could be pursued further.

It may seem like a small act but I urge everyone to keep "opted in" to see your matches and be seen by matches. I view it similar to the public vs. private tree argument. I would rather you see everything I have and approach me with questions or even challenge me when I'm wrong (I've been wrong before and I will do my best to quickly fix my mistakes and learn from your documentation). I welcome all of my DNA cousins - I may not know how we're related but you are still family to me. You have a right to know about your roots and I will do what I can to help you.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Honoring Grandpa Gene

It's Halloween today! My husband Tom and I have prepared for the trick or treaters in their adorable costumes going door to door looking for candy. We stack the candy just so that we have a few goodies left over (I mean who doesn't like Reese's peanut butter cups?).

It's also an anniversary in my family. My maternal grandpa Gene passed away 17 years ago on Halloween morning. He was the closest family member that I knew that had died since my paternal grandmother died when I was 7. I was 15 when grandpa passed away, a sophomore in high school who still went trick or treating with friends. I didn't feel like celebrating much that day. 

Grandpa Gene is actually my step grandfather on my mother's side. My maternal grandfather, Alfred Schild, passed away in 1976 (before I was even born). My grandmother (who I call Nanny) married Eugene Blumenreich. I'm still researching grandpa so I'll share what I know today. 

Eugene Blumenreich was born on September 2, 1927 in NYC to Benjamin Blumenreich and Esther Alter. He grew up in NYC (specifically, Bronx and Brooklyn boroughs). He married his first wife Clara (date TBD) and had a son named David (who is now deceased). He served during the Korean War as a parachutist (I still have yet to learn all of the details of his military service). 

I don't know the specifics if he divorced Clara or if she died but eventually he married my grandmother, Dorothy. My grandmother already had three children. She had no additional children. Eugene and Dorothy lived in Clifton, NJ for a time where they were landlords of a high rise apartment building. I loved their apartment so much - so many rooms to explore! Grandpa and I would rough house or play chess, talking endlessly about so many subjects, talk during the movies (yes I know that's frowned upon). Before he passed, him and Nanny were fixing up their condo in Florida, getting ready to enjoy retirement and the Florida sun. He had heart problems and underwent surgery. Unfortunately, recovery was very hard on his body and he didn't wake up one day. 

I hope to continue to honor my grandfather by researching his line of the family tree. He's still a part of me and my family, even if we're not blood related. 






Saturday, October 14, 2017

RootsTech Giveaway Contest


This contest is now closed. 

As most of you are aware I'm a RootsTech ambassador. This means that in exchange for blogging and promoting RootsTech before, during and after the event that I receive a free registration for the conference. I'm also provided a free registration for 4 days at RootsTech, held on February 28th - March 3rd, 2018, (a $279 value) to give to one of my readers!

The pass includes access to the following:

■ over 300 classes
■ Keynote / General sessions
■ Innovation Showcase
■ Expo hall
■ Evening events (Thursday and Saturday)

Note: The pass does NOT include transportation costs (airfare, car, etc.), hotel costs, computer labs (these are additional add-ons), meals (including banquets and luncheons), printed syllabus, paid workshops.

Contest Rules:

1. To enter to win a free registration, subscribe to my blog
               a. There is a "Follow by Email" on the right hand side. Enter your email address and Click Submit.
               b. A pop up will appear asking you to type a verification code. Enter the code and click "Complete Subscription Request"
               c. You will receive an email from "Feedburner Active Email Subscriptions". Click the link in your email to activate your subscription. Your email must be verified to have a valid contest entry.

2. Email subscriptions must be completed by October 31st at 11:59 pm EST. The winner will be announced in a future blog post in early November.

3. One entry per person (10/18 Update: If you subscribe with more than one email, your entry will not qualify)

4. If you already booked and paid for RootsTech and are selected as the winner, you will be provided instructions on how to obtain a refund of your registration fee.

5. No purchase necessary to enter. Void where prohibited by law.


California State Archives Trip

Front doors of the California State Archives

I just returned from my annual work trip to the Sacramento, CA area for department meetings. On the
way back to the airport I scheduled a quick visit to the California State Archives in downtown Sacramento. It's located about a block away from the State Capitol (sadly I didn't stop to get a picture as I was running out of time).

The Research Room is located on the 4th floor of the building. You are asked to show government ID to the security guard before being allowed to go up.  You then need to fill out a researcher request form which asks for some basic information about who you are, address/phone #, and purpose of visit. They have a nice set up for lockers (and they're free!) to store your purse, laptop bag, etc. You're allowed to bring in your phone (just silence it and don't make/take calls), tablet, computer, paper and pencil (they have plenty of pencils and paper that they can give you). No folders, no notebooks to protect their documents from being taken out. Lockers were nice and deep so I could easily fit my laptop bag in, purse, and sweatshirt. The key is on an old microfilm reel.

Registration desk and view of collections on display 
Once you're all checked in and your belongings are put away, you present your researcher request form to the archivist in the Research room and are handed a Researcher badge to wear. I talked with one of the archivists for a few about what kinds of collections they have and asked for finding aids (these were very helpful). I was also pointed toward the Root Cellar Sacramento Genealogy Library on-site, which is a genealogists' dream. Lots of books to peruse. They have a computer set up for you to search their online catalogue. I mostly browsed until one of the volunteers came in. We had a very nice chat about genealogy and exchanged business cards. I find this setup very unique to have a genealogy society library on-site in the archives. The society helps with lookups in their library and the archives.


Research Room (not seen here is the Microfilm Viewing Room)





Lockers on-site with key on microfilm feel


Root Cellar Genealogy Library

Here are my tips to maximize your trip to any archives:

1. Review the collections ahead of time via their online catalogue (if they have one)

2. Prepare a research log of ancestors who lived in the area of the archives and what records you're looking for

3. Before you make your trip, check their rules on where to store belongings (do they have lockers or are you expected to leave in your car), bringing in imaging devices (some will not allow document scanners, only phones), wi-fi access

4. Contact the archives ahead of time for any documents you want pulled in advance of your visit

5. Research if any local genealogy societies operate in or near the archives to help assist. This will be useful when you're not near the archives and need some assistance pulling documents, assisting with research questions. 



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I'm continuing the  Honor My Military Ancestor Challenge  started by Patricia Greber. It's Day 9 and I'm highlighting my 1st cou...