Monday, March 14, 2016

Mary Lang

Here is an example of how much work can be spent chasing down a relative that turns out to be unrelated.

While browsing through census records for information about my Donnelly (and related) family, I found a Mary Lang living with John and Catherine Gorman Murphy. Catherine is a granddaughter of my great great great grandparents, Patrick and Nancy Larkin Donley. Mary Lang is described as a niece. So I embarked on a search for the relationship between the Langs and the Gorman or Murphy family.

A search of historic newspapers revealed that Mary Lang was also a niece of the Murphys' next door neighbors, Alexander and Elizabeth Creighton, and that Mary was from Minnesota or Wisconsin. I'll skip all of the convoluted search details, but it included searches through newspapers, census records and cemetery records. After assembling a tree of over 100 people, I was finally able to find a distant link between families.

Mary G Lang was the daughter of Nicholas Lang and Mary Ann Dinnenny, born in 1885, probably in Waddington, New York.  In 1890, Mrs. Lang moved the family to Felton, Minnesota. I have not found any news of Nicholas, so am not sure whether he died or whether they split up. Living in Felton was Christopher Dinnenny and family, whom I believe to be Mary Ann's brother, and probably the reason for moving there. Mary Ann married Albert Fox in 1895. In 1908, Mary G returned to Waddington and spent the next four years with her aunt, Elizabeth Dinnenny Creighton. I'm not sure why she was living next door at the Murphys' in 1910.  Perhaps she was renting a room at their house. I'm guessing she was described as a niece of the Murphys because the true relationship was too complicated.

Mrs. Catherine Gorman Murphy's much younger first cousin on her father's side, John Augustus Gorman, was married to Anna Fay.  Anna's first cousin on her father's side, James Fay, was married to Mary Creighton, daughter of Mary Lang's aunt Elizabeth Dinnenny Creighton. Said another way, Mary Lang's first cousin's husband's first cousin's husband's first cousin is Mrs. Murphy. Or Mrs. Murphy is the first cousin of the husband of the first cousin of the husband of Mary Lang's first cousin. Mrs. Murphy is not Mary Lang's aunt, but the term was used to describe a generation difference in age and some not-simple relationship.

Even though all this work did not lead to Mary Lang being related, it did allow me to answer another difficult question in my family tree. Bridget Donley and Thomas Gorman's daughters, Catherine and Mary Ann, both married Murphys, John and Michael, respectively.  I was able to establish that John and Michael Murphy were brothers, sons of Elizabeth Stafford and Moses Murphy. While many of the individuals in this research are not related to me, I have added them to my family tree in order to show the string of relationships between the Murphys and their "niece", Mary Lang.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Elizabeth Langham Cushing Most Interesting Person in Portage Wisconsin, 1931

I just stumbled across a recent article about Elizabeth Langham Cushing, wife of James Cushing of Fort Winnebago, Wisconsin, cousin to our great-grandfather Francis Cushing. It having been published earlier this year, I felt that copying it here would be a copyright violation.  The article is located at  . It cites an original article by Zona Gale, a well-known Portage author.

Briefly, Ms. Gale, who, by the way, was a close friend of Elizabeth Cushing, describes her friend as an exceptionally fair Justice of the Peace, and a single mother who, in addition to raising her twin daughters, provided food, shelter, clothing, a bath, etc. to a constant stream of down-on-their-luck people who showed up at her door. I'm not sure what was in Gales' original article and what was added by subsequent authors, but Elizabeth had also traveled in Europe, lived in Italy, lived in a Nevada mining camp for 20 years, and became a highly respected and prominent Justice of the Peace. My addition: She was a member of the Progressive Party and was active in the presidential campaign of Wisconsin senator Robert LaFollette. Her daughter, Rachel, once told me that Elizabeth was very active in women's rights causes. (According to her obituary, Rachel remembers having to carry a banner with her mother and sister in a march for a Women's Right to Vote. A neighbor called out "Mrs. Cushing, go home and cook dinner for your family", to which Elizabeth replied "I have a pot roast in the oven. I think I'll keep marching.")

Elizabeth died in 1932, one year after Ms. Gales' article appeared, from injuries suffered in an automobile  accident.

The information in the recent online article originated in an article titled "Interesting People, Zona Gale Talks About The Most Interesting Person in Her Hometown", written by well-known Portage author Zona Gale, published in the November 1931 edition of American Magazine. It subsequently was used by Dorothy McCarthy for an article in her weekly "Tales of Old Portage" column in the Portage Daily Register (which appeared from 1958 to 1975). It's third incarnation is a collection of Ms. McCarthy's articles published by the Portage Historical Society in a book also titled "Tales of Old Portage". The fourth telling of this story is the recent article by Joanne Genrich, posted earlier this year. I suppose this post might be considered yet a fifth account (a great grandchild of Gales' article?).

Monday, August 24, 2015

LaBrunes Arrive at NYC in 1833

LaBrunes on passenger list of ship Robert Morris, arriving in New York City on November 7, 1833.
I just stumbled across (read "found on the family of Philip LaBrune on the passenger list of a ship that arrived at New York City on November 7, 1833.

First, why I think this is our family. From the 1840 and 1850 US census records of our Philip LaBrune, I have the following family in 1833:

Philippe, b. 1794 in France
Ann, wife, b. 1793 in France
George, son, b. 1824 in France
Unknown, son, b. between 1825 and 1830, probably in France
Nicholas, b. 1831 in France
[born later were:
Unknown, daughter, b. between 1835 and 1840, in France or the US
Jean-Baptiste, b. 1840 in Ohio]

The passenger list shows the following family:
Philippe (probably), 38 years old (b. 1795), male, Weaver, French citizen
? ends in -ria or -nn or -nna, 39 years old (b. 1794), female, French citizen
? ends in -ne M., 14 years old (b. 1819), female, French citizen
? ends in -orge, 11 years old (b. 1822), male, French citizen
? ends in -un C., 7 years old (b. 1826), male, French citizen
? ends in -los, 5 years old (b. 1828), male, French citizen

There is some uncertainty in the names, but what is shown matches well with the LaBrunes whose names we know, the birth years and countries match well, and the arrival fits in the window we thought to be between 1831 and 1840.

They arrived on a ship called the Robert Morris, sailing out of Le Havre, a very large port on the north coast of France, and arrived on November 7, 1833 in New York City. The  153 passengers were mostly from France and Bavaria and included several weavers, seamstresses and shoemakers, as well as bakers and farmers.

This passenger ship record adds some new information about the family.  The LaBrunes immigrated in 1833.  Philip was a weaver in France.  He and Ann had a daughter, name ending in -ne and middle initial M, born in about 1819 that was no longer with the family when we first found them in Ohio in 1840, when this daughter would have been about 21 years old. My guess is that she married, so there is another branch of the LaBrune family somewhere.  Philip and Ann's second son's name ends in -n, his middle initial is C, and he was born in about 1826, probably in France. Nicholas may have been born a little earlier than the census indicates, in about 1828. Their youngest daughter, born between 1835 and 1840, was probably born in the US.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Double Cousins

I recently came across a report of a Dooley cousin in St. Louis - Alex Dooley, Hamburger Man in St. Louis - (though I haven't yet contacted this family and they may not be aware of our connection). My Legacy Family Tree software tells me that Alex's children are my fourth cousins, through two different paths, i.e., double fourth cousins.  I set out to find out what that means genetically and if there is some sort of metric to allow me to compare a "double fourth cousin" to the more common single fourth cousin.  There is a Coefficient of Relationship, R, related to degrees of relationship, but the math might be too much, so first I'll skip to the results, then try a brief basic explanation, then point to some resources for more information, if you're interested.

Single relationships

Siblings have about half of their genes in common, the degree of relationship is 1 or first, and the corresponding coefficient of relationship, R, is 1/2.  Advancing one generation: first cousins have in common about 1/8 of their genes, the degree of relationship is 3, and the corresponding R is 1/8. Each consecutive generation shares just 1/4 as many genes as the previous generation, the degree increases by 2, and the corresponding R is only 1/4 as large.  The following table shows these values through fourth cousins.

RelationshipDegreeR% genes in common
Self or identical twins01100
1st cousins31/812.5
2nd cousins51/323.1
3rd cousins71/1280.8
Double 4th cousins81/2560.4
4th cousins91/5120.2

Our double relationship

So, where does the "double" come in? Back in 1863, William Dooley married Elizabeth Martin in St. Louis.  In 1887, William's niece, Anastasia LaBrune, married Elizabeth's nephew, James Hogan. This created a double relationship between the Dooleys and the Hogans. William and Elizabeth's son, Thomas, was a first cousin to both Anastasia LaBrune on his father's side and James Hogan on his mother's side.  As an aside, since Thomas was an only child AND the Dooley's were Anastasia's only family in St. Louis AND Thomas and Anastasia were only four years apart in age AND James Hogan was also family AND the Hogan kids and Thomas' kids were all close in age, the Hogans and Dooleys were probably very close, akin to siblings, at least in their teen and adult lives.  In the next generation, Thomas' kids were second cousins to the Hogan kids, once through Anastasia and the Dooleys and again through James and the Martins.  This made them double second cousins. The next generation were then double third cousins, and so forth. How does that change the values in the table? Basically this means that instead of having one set of ancestors in common, they have two, both the same number of generations back, so the descendants of Thomas Dooley and of James and Anastasia LaBrune Hogan all have twice as many genes in common. The degree of relationship for double fourth cousins in 8, R is 1/256, and they have about 0.4% of their genes alike. According to one of the sources listed below, this is about 117 genes of the approximately 30,000 in the human genome.

More about quantifying relationships

If you'd like to know more, perhaps about how to include half siblings, or how to trace out any relationships, here are some explanations on the WWW:

Genetic and Quantitative Aspects of Genealogy
A thorough explanation of the Coefficient of Relationship (R) and related subjects.

Quantitative Consanguinity
A less through explanation with more applications to genealogy, but they only show degrees of relationship through 7, whereas a fourth cousin is degree 9.

Degrees of Relation and Number of Genes Shared
Not thorough, but relates R to the number of genes shared for various relationships.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Cushings of Fort Winnebago, Portage and Lewiston, Wisconsin

[A very frustrating experience at the library.  Found hundreds of newspaper articles including Cushings and Caseys in the Portage newspaper database at the library.  I emailed all my findings to me, then find that only the titles were sent, not the text information. But, there were a few that I remember.  I'll report more precisely when I go back and copy the articles.]

One of the articles reported four marriages that took place at St. Mary's Catholic church in Portage one day.  Two of the brides were Cushings.  One was Nellie, daughter of John, who married Dennis Callahan.  The other I don't remember exactly, but married McSorley (from Texas, I believe) and was from one of the Portage or Lewiston Cushing families.  The article stated that the two brides were no relation to each other, which (if accurate) answers a question we've had for many years. So our Cushings of Fort Winnebago were not, at least closely, related to the other Cushing families in Portage and Lewiston. 

Johanna Cussen/Cushing O'Connell of Lodi, Wisconsin

I've found the last of the known daughters of Dennis and Catherine Casey Cussen/Cushing.

Johanna was born in Galbally in 1836, travelling with her family to Newfoundland, Boston, and Fort Winnebago by about 1848. In about 1858 she married George O'Connell, I believe a recent immigrant from New Brunswick, Canada, and they settled in Lodi, about 25 miles south of Fort Winnebago. They were farmers. From 1860 to 1876 they had thirteen children in Lodi: Katie (1860), Ellen (1861-1931), John F (1863), Mary E. (1864-1937), George, Jr. (1865), Joanna (1866, m. Edward Kerrigan), James E. (1868), Maggie (1869, m. John Bastian 1906), Frances (1871, died 1873), William (1873, died at 6 weeks old), Daniel (1874, died in 1888), Alice (1875), and Mark (1876). George, Sr. died in 1877, leaving Joanna with 11 children between the ages of 4 and 17 and a farm to run.  I have no records over the next 20 years, so don't know how she managed. By 1920, Johanna was living in Portage, near Fort Winnebago, with only James remaining at home.  She remained in Portage until her death, in 1923, and is buried with her family in St. Patrick's Cemetery in Lodi.

A side note: In 1860, 27 year old Michael Welch, also from New Brunswick, was living with George and Johanna.  Ten years later he married Johanna's younger sister, Ellen Cushing. A brief google indicates that Michael's mother's name may have been O'Connell, so he and George may have been cousins.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Hypothesis: Philip LaBrune m. Josephine Oligée in Ohio in 1868

[Just realized I posted this information at Iowa GenWeb in 2012, but nowhere on my blog or website. So:]

If there are any LaBrune researchers listening, please let me know if you have any information that might support or refute an hypothesis I'm working on.

What I think I know:
(1) Philip and Ann LaBrune and family were in Clermont Co., Ohio in 1840. Jean-Baptiste was born there after the census. In 1850, the family was in Dubuque co., Iowa. Comparing the 1840 and 1850 censuses, a 20-25 yr old boy and a 10-15 yr old girl are not with the family in Dubuque. (These are the ages they would have in 1850.) Did they stay behind? Did they die? Were they not members of the family, but just living with them in Ohio? I don't know, but I have looked around to see if there are any LaBrunes back in southern Ohio.
(2) We don't know what happened to Philip. He is in the 1860 census. He is listed in an 1865 property tax roll. He is not in Dubuque in the 1870 census. He is not buried with his wife and the other LaBrunes. I have not researched extensively myself, but know of no death records for Philip. As an interesting, a little surprising, side note: Daniel Dooley, a neighbor and father-in-law to Philip & Ann's son, Jean-Baptiste, is buried next to Ann. Ann died in January 1868.
(3) In Oct 1868, a Philip LaBrune married a Josephine Oligée in Brown co., Ohio, a county adjacent to Clermont co., where the LaBrunes lived in 1840. Thinking this might be the missing LaBrune son, who possibly stayed behind, I dug deeper. I found Philip and Josephine in the 1880 census. They were both born in France: he in 1796; she in 1804. This Philip is about the same age our Philip who disappeared from Dubuque. Could it be?

Putting together the pieces:
As I said, the last record I have of Philip in Dubuque is a tax roll in 1865. If he did not die there, I assume he would have remained with his wife, Ann, while she was living. She died in Jan 1868, about 9 months before the marriage in Ohio. Perhaps after the death of his wife, he went back to the Clermont/Brown co. area of Ohio for something. Maybe that's why when Daniel Dooley died a year later, in 1869, the LaBrune family allowed him to be buried in "Philip's plot", since Philip had moved away and remarried. Maybe that's why there is no record of Philip's death in Iowa - he didn't die there?

Why would Philip go back to Ohio? I haven't found other LaBrunes there, so I'm giving up on finding the missing son. But what about the daughter? She could have been 5 in 1840 (listed as female under 5 at the time of the census). The first record I'm aware of in Iowa is the 1850 census, so the LaBrunes could have left Ohio as late as 1850. The missing daughter could have been as old as 15 years old when they moved. Still kind of young. I've gone back and looked at the 1860 census of the Oligée family in Brown co., Ohio. Josephine was married to an older Jacob Oligée and had several sons. The three that I saw were all married, and their wives were 20 to 25 years old, the age range of the missing LaBrune daughter.

I think the missing LaBrune daughter being married to one of the Oligée boys is a stretch. But I think there's a good chance that our Dubuque Philip moved back to Ohio and remarried. The age, the name, the location, the timing, and the lack of other LaBrunes in that area prior to the 1868 marriage are an awful lot of coincidences. I don't spend alot of time on my genealogy, but I'd like to dig up more information to either support or shoot down this theory.