52 Ancestors #3: Bridget Cafferty

Bridget was married to the guy I mentioned earlier (Anthony Maguire), and she has been just as much of a pain in the ass to figure out. (Why are most of my people so mysterious?) I have some theories about where she came from and who her family is, but I haven’t been able to prove any of it. The earliest record I have of her is her marriage record to Anthony in September or 1860 in St. Paul. In the state marriage record, it says that both Anthony and Bridget came from Pennsylvania. In the 1865 Minnesota state census, Anthony and Bridget were living in Winsted, Minnesota, RIGHT NEXT TO some other Cafferty’s (Patrick, Ann, and family) that also had ties to Pennsylvania. I think this is not just a coincidence. When the Irish migrated to America, they stuck together as much as they could, and they would go to where family was, if they knew where they were.

Other than census records, I’ve only found the death record for Bridget – she died just 2 weeks after giving birth to their eighth child, Kate. The cause of death listed in the death register was “Insanity”, but I’m guessing that what they meant by “insanity” is not what we would think of these days.  That’s my hope, anyway. Last summer, I made a trip to Winsted to go tromping through the catholic cemetery looking for her grave. I found lots of my other relatives there – including some Poles (more on them later), but not this Biddy. Later, after a little more research, I found that this particular cemetery was started the year she died (1872), and that there was another, older cemetery in use before that time. I drove to Winsted again in search of it, only to find that it was practically in someone’s back yard, and I didn’t particularly feel like trespassing that day. Another time, perhaps.

Years ago, my genealogically-talented aunt got in touch with some other Winsted Cafferty researchers for me. They all thought that yeah, we might possibly be related through Bridget, but none of us could prove it. And if we’re connected, then Bridget is likely from County Mayo in Ireland! I’m looking through my emails with them as I’m writing this post, and I see that one of them lives (or lived?) in the town where I currently reside, and I’m getting a little inspired to contact them and start digging into this line again. Another thing that I really need to do is spend some time in the old newspapers and find some obituaries for the people that I think she’s related to. With luck, one of them will mention their “sister Bridget”.

In two days I’m heading out to Salt Lake City for the RootsTech conference, and maybe some research at the Family History Library there. I’m not hopeful that I’ll actually find anything, but I do hope that I’ll pick up some tips on things I could try next.

No post next week, probably.  But maybe I’ll blog a little about my conference experience!

Marriage & Naturalization Records

Marriage Records

Saturday, I headed to St. Paul for some research; first to MNGS (it was Irish Day, where they have people on staff to help with Irish research), and then to MNHS.  At MNGS, my goal was to find the church records for Anthony & Bridget’s marriage on 12 Sep 1860.  These church records are housed by the chancery of the Archdiocese of St. Paul, but they have provided MNGS with some of them. The woman helping me says that the Archdiocese has recently put some sort of freeze on all of these records – meaning you cannot order them, or request them? I haven’t really been able to confirm this, but I am happy to report that they had what I was looking for.

The neat thing, is that this record is in Latin! FamilySearch has a handy Latin Genealogy word list that helped me translate a few of the words. Here’s what I could transcribe:

Antonius Maguire
Brigitta Caverty

A.D. 1860 [??] September 13 [??]  [??]  proclamation juncti in matrimonium Antonius Maguire [??] Birgitta Caverty. Testes Edwardus Essing [??] Kenna.

And then a few of the translations:

Juncti in Matromonium = joined  in marriage
testes = witnesses

I’m happy that I found this, but I wish it would have given me more information, and less confusion.  The confusion is regarding the marriage date.  The other marriage record that I have – the state record – says that they were married on 12 Sep 1860, but it was signed on 13 Sep 1860.  This new record says they were married on 13 Sep 1860, I think?

After a few paper jams while trying to print this record on an old microfiche reader/printer, they moved me over to a newer, fancier, digital-er microfiche reader/printer.  I didn’t even have to print it if I didn’t want to, because it scanned the images and made them digital. In all of my genealogy research, all of the microfiche machines I had used were totally old school and crappy. I think they didn’t put me on the new machine in the first place because they didn’t really know how to use it – I had to kind of figure it out on my own.  Helper woman told me that they used to sell flash drives for people to save their images, but they didn’t have them any anymore, and weren’t getting more.  Their computers let me access Google, so I thought I’d just scan and upload them to my drive – so convenient!  I didn’t have to print the marriage record, but I did anyway, to have for reference while I was there researching. Good thing I did, too; when I got home and downloaded all of my scanned images (.tif files), none of them would open.  GD. I had grabbed a few other records while I was there, but didn’t print them.  So I’ll have to remember to scan them again when I’m there next (and check them!)

Land Records

It seems that every time (lately) that I take a day to do research, I end up picking up a new hint or tip for something to try next.  That happened this time, too.  The woman helping me told me that if Anthony homesteaded, I could contact the Bureau of Land Management, and ask them to send me anything they might have on him.  Back in the day, when a person was homesteading, the government would “check up” on the person and their land, make an assessment of their property, and record the progress they were making on the land.  Adding to my to do list!

Naturalization Records

Next, I headed over to MNHS to try again at finding the rest of Anthony’s naturalization records.  I asked a nice volunteer about the record that I already had, and he confirmed that it was what I suspected – Anthony’s Declaration of Intent. I still had to find his “Final Papers”, the thing that would confirm whether or not he actually did become naturalized. And since you had to be naturalized to own land, and Anthony owned land, I was pretty sure that these records should exist.  It took a bit of effort, but we finally found it! On SAM 56-I Roll 1, McLeod County. District Court. Naturalization Records Index., I found Anthony, and by chance, two of my other ancestors (my Danish 2nd Great Grandfather Jacob Mathiasen, and my Polish 2nd Great Grandfather Lawrence Mochinske). The index gave me this, for Anthony:

Next I had to figure out which roll had “Vol. A-1. P.2” so I could find the actual record. Volunteer man helped me determine (from this list) that I would find it on SAM 56, Roll 3. And he was right.  The top portion of the image below reads,

State of Minnesota
September 15, 1868

Dist. Court 4th Judicial Dist.  McLeod County

September 1868

The following persons came into open court and produced the proof required by statutes and were admitted to [free?] citizenship.

Once again, I was kind of hoping for more information, but this is still cool. And the story is coming together! He came to the US in 1857. By law he had to live in the US for 5 years before he could apply for citizenship.  Shortly after his 5 years are up, he starts the process on 06 Mar 1863 and signs (marks with an ‘x’) his Declaration of Intent, renouncing his allegiance to the Queen of Great Britain & Ireland. Another 5 years have to go by before he can get his Final Papers and become a citizen, which he did on 15 Sep 1868.

I ran out of time, and wasn’t able to get the final papers for my Dane & Pole — next time.  (And now I know how to do it!)


I stopped by the MNHS gift shop on my way out, and I purchased a couple of really neat, small maps of old Minnesota – one from 1855, before we were a state, and one from 1860, shortly after we became a state. They are very cool, but now I don’t know what I’m going to do with them.  Maybe I’ll be able to use them in my research?

I’m also wondering if I should become a member of the history center. Every time I spend money there (copies, food, …maps, etc.), they ask me if I’m a member, and I say “no”, and I don’t get the member discount. I certainly go there often enough, and I give them money almost every time — maybe I should become a member?  I think I would feel good about helping them keep doing what they’re doing. I also wonder about volunteering at the library.  The thought is kind of appealing, and I’m sure I would learn a lot more about what they offer if I were to volunteer there. I always appreciate the volunteers that take the time to help me, like this weekend, especially when they’re busy running around helping other people as well. I don’t know that I have the time now, but I think that’s something I’d like to do, someday.

What’s next?

  1. Contact Bureau of Land Management
  2. Find church marriage record for Anthony’s second marriage to Mary O’Meara

Family History Fair

Saturday morning, Kate and I went to a Family History Fair at the Hennepin County library downtown. For a free event, I think it was pretty awesome.  One of my coworkers has said that he likes to attend web-dev conferences so he can hear about/observe the latest tools and resources that others are using.  I found this conference pretty helpful for the exact same reason. Not only did we get to listen to professionals speak about mostly interesting topics, but we were tipped off to other genealogy websites that they use often in their research.

We stopped by the FamilySearch.org booth to talk to the volunteers there. They were able to give Kate some good info, but the moment I uttered the word “Irish” when asked about my research, they pretty much just laughed and said “good luck”.  And, “hopefully his mother’s name wasn’t Mary”.  “It was”, I sadly replied. They did have me talk to their one person with some knowledge in Irish research.  Apparently there is a new database on FamilySearch.org that is not yet public – it’s in some sort of beta stage – that could be very valuable for Irish researchers.  I’m not sure what it’s called, or even what it was exactly, but it was almost like a “family search” (ha) for very old Irish families; each result contained a person and their parents, but it wasn’t just a collection of personal family trees like you’d find on some search sites.  None of the first few results were obviously my Anthony, and there were a lot of records that I’d like to sift through someday when they’re made available.

The other tip the familysearch.org people gave us was that their website contains tons and tons of images that aren’t indexed.  But you can browse them! I think that I had only really used their search before, and didn’t realize I could browse images that weren’t indexed.  I’ve done this on Ancestry, when I know that my people should be in a census for a given year and place, but they didn’t show up in the indexed search results.  I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me to use familysearch.org this way as well. After browsing for a while this weekend, I discovered that all of those birth records that I found while spending time at the courthouse in Sibley county are available in their browsable images!  These are the ones that I spent time transcribing while I was there, because they wouldn’t let me copy them.  So, hooray for that.

One of speakers I saw turned on a light bulb for me.  She made me realize that I might not have Anthony’s complete Naturalization records. I think I only have Anthony’s Declaration of Intent (which pretty much gives you nothing, except that the person has denounced the  king/president/leader/whatever of their homeland).  I might be able to find Anthony’s Final Papers, which could possibly tell me more? When I was searching for these papers long, long ago at MNHS, I don’t remember the circumstances, or results (other than the Declaration of Intent).  Maybe I did look for his final papers, and couldn’t find them? I guess that’s why I now have this blog, so I can remember what I did and when!

In between two of the sessions, I spoke to Ann from IGS about my Anthony mystery.  She agreed that I have quite a challenge.  But she said that I should check the Catholic church records in St. Paul for Anthony’s marriage record to Bridget, as I only have the state/county record.  She also said that engagements were typically 6 months, and the bride (or groom? I can’t remember) had to live in St. Paul for that time if they were getting married in St. Paul.  If that’s true, and they were married on 12 Sept 1860, and the 1860 census was taken in April of that year, shouldn’t I be able to find one of them in the 1860 census?  Why can’t I?

So tonight I’ve started reanalyzing the state/county marriage record I have for Anthony & Bridget in Saint Paul.  It is signed by the Catholic priest that wed them, and lists two witnesses.  (Wondering why I hadn’t dug into this before?).  The priest’s name listed is L. Caillet.  A little bit of Googling, and I found that his full name was Louis Eugene Caillet.  He was born in France, and recruited to come to America to serve the Diocese of Saint Paul.  The book, Some letters of Monsignor Louis E. Caillet and August N. Chemidlin, 1868-1899 , says that on August 21, 1857, he became an ordained priest assigned to the Cathedral of St. Paul after the death of Bishop Cretin (first Roman Catholic Bishop of Saint Paul).

I’m not Catholic, and call me ignorant, but I didn’t know what the difference between a Bishop and a Priest was.  Wikipedia to the rescue?  Catholic Church hierarchy.

So, I know that this is the priest that married them, but now I want to find out where they got married. I’ll need to know this so that I can find the church records. You know that big beautiful Cathedral in Saint Paul?  It didn’t exist at the time of Anthony & Bridget’s marriage.  But they have a nice little history page on their website that tells me this:

This, the fourth Cathedral of Saint Paul, was the dream of Archbishop John Ireland, who secured the site in 1904. The Archdiocese was growing and Ireland saw the need for a “great Cathedral” to replace the third Cathedral, which was 46 years old at the time and too small for the growing congregation.

I think that this “third cathedral”, built in 1858, might be where they were married.  More Googling, and I found that the third cathedral has since been demolished to make room for the Hamm Building. Shucks!  But I did find a tiny picture of it on the current cathedral’s website:

Third Cathedral of Saint Paul, Minnesota
Third Cathedral of Saint Paul, Minnesota

I am also now wondering about a “second cathedral” and “first cathedral”.  It appears that these existed, too.  But when? (TODO)

Now, if this is where they got married, where do I find the church records? It looks like they might have them at MNGS. So my plan: next Saturday is Irish Day at the MNGS, and I think I will try going to that again. In addition to the church records (which might tell me Bridget’s parent’s names, and maybe Anthony’s mother’s maiden name), if I can talk to the same woman I talked to briefly on Saturday, she might be able to give me more advice on where to go or what to do next.

Oh, another TODO: dig into the witnesses that were listed on their marriage record: Edward Essing and Mrs. Kenna.

A lesson in Palaeography that I learned this weekend at the Family History Fair: in old writings such as this, when there were double s’s in a word or name, the first ‘s’ would look like an ‘f’, just like you see above in Edward Essing’s name!  Weird, eh?  Had I not gone to this fair, I might instead be wasting my time searching for “Edward Efsing”…

More after Saturday…

Winsted On a Whim

On Labor Day, I made a trip out to Winsted to go walk through some cemeteries.  I knew that I had some family buried in Holy Trinity Catholic Cemetery, but I didn’t really plan or make a list of the people I wanted to find.  I just kind of went for it.  And I found that there are a crap ton of Cafferty’s buried in that cemetery!  I took photos of all of the Cafferty stones that I could find; I think I must have some sort of connection to some or all of them, I just don’t know how, yet. So for now, I’m just working on throwing them all up on findagrave.com, since none of them were on there.  Hopefully that will help somebody out.

While there, I was also reminded that my grandmother (my father’s mother), Anna Clara (Mochinske) Maguire is buried there. I was only 12 when she died in 1996, and I don’t remember her funeral at all – I must have gone, though? I don’t think I even really have any memories of her, as a person.  (TODO: get over stupid anxiety about talking to extended family, stop being lazy, and interview some living people.)

Buried along with her were her parents, my great grandparents, Waddick Mochinske & Helen (Grzasewicz) Mochinske.  And even more, Waddick’s father, my 2nd great grandfather, Lawrence Mochinski, as well as some other grand and great grand uncles. One day when I’m as obsessed with my Polish side as I currently am with my Irish side, I’ll be more excited about these finds. Or maybe not, because they haven’t been as difficult to track down as dear Anthony.

When I was done at Holy Trinity, I drove south and then west in search of another similarly-named cemetery: Old Holy Trinity Cemetery. I really had no idea if any of my relatives were buried there; but I thought I would check, since I was out there.  But, I still don’t know if any of my relatives are buried there, because I couldn’t find the cemetery. I see now that Google Maps has the cemetery sitting in the middle of nowhere, with no roads leading to it.  I think I would have to trespass on country folks’ properties in order to get to it. Maybe another time…

Another Obit Search Day @ MNHS

I thought I might go to MNHS today to search for more obituaries.  I didn’t decide to go until sometime after noon, and didn’t end up getting there until shortly after 1pm.  I had until 4pm to dig through papers. And the night before, I had only briefly considered what I might try and find.  I thought I might look for Bridget Cafferty’s obituary.  But I didn’t have high hopes of finding it; she died in 1872, and MNHS only had 1 paper for McLeod County during that time (Glencoe Register) that I could check.  So I checked it, and nothing.

So then I spent some time pulling up the obituaries I found last time.  The last time I was here, I was definitely not a good genealogist.  Sure, I copied all of these obituaries, but…I forgot one important piece: the things needed for citing sources!  So I looked them all up again and copied down page numbers, volume numbers, column numbers, and what have you.  Now my research can be all proper, and reliable.

So, after that, I wasn’t really sure what to do.  I decided to spend some time just reading the Sibley County Independent.  It was fairly consistent, and had  a little section for Green Isle on the front page of almost every issue, called “Green Isle Dew Drops”.  I thought I’d start with the issue where I found Anthony Maguire’s obituary, and then work my way back.  So before they closed, I made it from Dec. 1st, 1882 back until  March 17th, 1882 (happy Saint Patrick’s Day!).  I didn’t find much, but I found a couple of O’Meara bits…

Sibley County Independent, Friday, October 27, 1882. No. 29. Page 1. Column.4

O’Meara’s new building was formally opened on Friday. He is now ready to serve customers in the most approved style.

Sibley County Independent, Friday, October 20, 1882. No. 28. Page 1. Column 2.

DIED. – At Henderson, October 17, 1882, of diphtheria, Hannah O’Meara, daughter of James O’Meara, aged 4 years.

Sibley County Independent, Friday, May 12, 1882. Vol. 10 No. 5. Page 1, Column 1.

Also, Mr. Michael O’Neil, of Faxon, to Miss Mary E. Cunningham, of Green Isle, sister to Mrs. O’Meara of this place.

I’m sure these are somehow related to Mary O’Meara, but, unless the things I find on her can somehow tell me something about Anthony, I don’t know that I’m that interested.  So I’m kind of letting these go for now.  The next thing I found was a little more interesting, however:

Sibley County Independent, Friday April 14th, 1882. Vol. 10.  No. 1. Page 1, Col. 3.

Green Isle.
April 4th, 1882.
DIED– Mr .Patrick Maguire, on Saturday the 1st inst.

What? A Patrick Maguire in Green Isle?  Could he be related? I kept going, and found more…

Sibley County Independent, Friday April 7, 1882. Vol. 9. No. 52. Page 1. Col. 1.

DIED — Of typhoid fever, at Green Isle, on the 1st day of April, Patrick McGuire, at the age of 58 years.

Sibley County Independent, Friday March 24, 1882, Vol. 9. No. 50. Page 1, Col. 5

Green Isle
March 20, 1882
Patrick McGuire is sick with a fever which accounts for the apparition he saw last week. We understand he is very low to-day.

Sibley County Independent, Friday March 17, 1882. Vol. 9. No. 49.

Green Isle
March 14, 1882.
Mr. Patrick McGuire was taken seriously ill last week and imagined he saw a man on horseback without a head standing at his stable door.

And that’s the last thing I found, as they were shutting off the lights.  So I quickly transcribed the last bit, and left.  To the Liffey for some Guinness and dinner (and knitting) I went.  The weather was absolutely perfect, and every other song playing was either Prince or the Replacements; I didn’t want to leave their rooftop patio.  While I was sitting there, I thought I’d use my all-knowing smrt phone to check findagrave.com for this Patrick McGuire that I had found.  Well, he was there, but I now I don’t think that he is directly related to Anthony, because his father’s name is John.  But I guess it’s possible that he’s a cousin.  Filing this info away for one day when I might need it…

I think next time, I might keep going back in the Sibley County Independent?  Or I might try the Green Isle Record, but that one doesn’t go back this far, so I’m not sure how helpful it will be (unless I can dig up some crap on Anthony’s children?).  No research next Saturday, as it’s the annual MN Irish Fair!

Irish Day @ MNGS

Today I set off for the Minnesota Genealogical Society in South Saint Paul. I hadn’t been there before (whaaat?), so it was kind of exciting for me. It was also their “Irish Day”, where they have volunteers that specialize in Irish research – exactly what I needed: some professional, expert help. A sweet old woman with an Irish surname sat down with me to help me figure out my Anthony mystery. I explained to her everything I know about him, and told her everything that I would like to know. One of the things that really makes him difficult is that I cannot connect him to any siblings or parents that also came to America. As far as I know, he came to America on his own, at age 17 in 1857 (sounds like something I would have done).

We first looked at a book she had (can’t remember the title, and I didn’t write it down – shucks), to see how common Maguire/McGuire is as a surname. In 1890, there were 74 Maguires and 300-something McGuires in Ireland: a small number compared to the thousands of Sullivans, Murphys, Kellys, etc., but quite a lot compared to my other Irish surname, Cafferty, where there were only 6 in all of Ireland. Good news, I guess? A less common name might make it easier? The book also told us where these surnames were more prominent. The Maguire spelling was much more common in Fermanagh and other parts of Northern Ireland (I kind of already knew this after researching the Maguire surname on my own, but it was nice to have the confirmation).

She also had some thoughts on the spelling: Maguire versus McGuire. She thought because it is written on his gravestone as Maguire, she would think that that is the way he preferred to spell it, because his family, the ones who took care of giving him the stone, would’ve known how he liked it spelled. I don’t know if I completely trust it though, because that family was really his wife’s family, the O’Mearas. Maybe they didn’t know him that well? But maybe they did? Also – Anthony could not read or write; would he have even had a preference?

The sweet woman also had me check some books that indexed “The Search for Missing Friends”, advertisements that were placed in the Boston Pilot by Irish immigrants that were looking for their family and friends that had also come over, but who they had lost touch with. I only found one entry that could maybe, with a 1-in-a-million chance be somewhat useful, someday:

The Search for Missing Friends: Irish Immigrant Advertisements placed in the boston pilot.
Book: Volumne v1 1866-1870
15 October 1870 Missing Friends

Information Wanted:

OF THOMAS MAGUIRE, native of the townland of Monion, county Fermanagh, Ireland; when last heard from, about fifteen months ago, he was in Cohoes, New York. Information of him will be received by his brother Patrick Maguire, Schenectady Locomotive Works, N.Y.; or his sister, May Ann Maguire, 1500 Pine Street, Philadelphia.
-New York Herald and Albany Knickerbocker please copy

The only reason I gave this one a glance is because Anthony had children named Patrick and Mary Ann, and it was (is?) very common to name your children after your parents, siblings, etc.  In fact, it was pretty standard for the first son to be named after the father, and since Anthony’s father’s name was Patrick, I’d like to think that maybe Anthony had an older brother named Patrick.  Anyway, maybe someday, when I prove that Anthony had any siblings, I’ll come back to this.

Today I also learned that before Ellis Island was opened, people came in through Castle Garden, but a search there didn’t really give me anything good.

And I was given a long list of websites for Irish research. Maybe once I’ve had a chance to check them out, I’ll post them here.

But ultimately, it was decided that I needed track down obituaries, and try to find mention of any siblings that Anthony might have had, and a town or county in Ireland where he came from.  So I thanked the lady for her help, left, and went straight to MNHS to search some newspapers.  This is not my favorite genealogical activity.  Old obituaries are hidden deep within the other content of the newspapers; they rarely had headings or anything to set them apart, and were often scattered around, so they’re difficult to find, and it’s very time consuming.  I searched for Anthony in the nearby Belle Plaine Herald, as my friend at MNGS suggested (MNHS unfortunately does not have a Green Isle paper for 1882).  No luck. I also checked for Martin McGuire’s obituary from 1937 in the the Minneapolis Journal, Tribune, and Star – a more recent death – perhaps I’d have better luck.  Nope.  I think I also checked for Margaret (McGuire) Davidson’s obituary: also no luck.

So that was my genealogy day.  Until next time.

MNHS Death Certs

Went to the Minnesota Historical Society. I found and copied the following: Death Certificates for Alvin H. Maguire, Scott Owen Maguire, and Martin Maguire. I also attempted to find Naturalization Papers for Anthony Maguire, who came over from Ireland. It was quite strange, his name was indexed in the book there, so I checked the reel listed. On the reel, I saw his name listed with a bunch of other names on about 2 pages at the beginning. There was no title, so I don’t know what those names were for. And following those pages, there were some pages of names with the pages numbers of where their papers could be found, Anthony was not in there. So either, I missed something while looking, or it’s possible that he never got full citizenship? Looks like I’ve got some more research to do. Also, I looked for divorce records of Bridget Cafferty and Anthony Maguire. I needed a ‘case file’ which I didn’t have, so I just had to browse the records that they had, which wasn’t a whole lot. I dug through this box full of really old envelopes, hoping to find their names on one: no luck. Maybe if I try the McLeod County Courthouse.