A couple of months ago (yeah, this post is a little delayed…), I decided to play hooky at work and take a day to do some genealogy research.  Bright and early, I set off for the tiny, tiny town of Green Isle, Minnesota. My main destination was the Sibley County Courthouse in Gaylord, but I wanted to stop by St. Brendan’s Catholic Church in Green Isle and tromp around the cemetery for a bit to look for…I dunno…anything? Of course, I was secretly hoping to find the grave of my great, great grandfather, Anthony Maguire (McGuire? I haven’t figured out which is right), but I had no paper evidence that said he was buried here, so I wasn’t expecting to find anything. But prior to this little expedition, I had just finished reading A History of St. Brendan’s Parish, the Village of Green Isle and Minnesota’s First Irish Settlement, which, in addition to crediting Anthony McGuire as the buyer of the town’s first house (a saloon), talks about some of the other Irish families that played significant roles in building the little village.  The O’Meara’s were one of these families, and Anthony’s second wife was Mary Jane O’Meara. I don’t have a complete grasp on all of the O’Mearas of Green Isle (and how Mary fits in with all of them), but I expected to find some of them in this cemetery.  And even if I didn’t find a single thing in Green Isle, I wanted to go just so I could see the town; I wanted to see what my ancestors had built.  So there I was, standing in a small town Catholic cemetery, at 8am, on a very gloomy Thursday morning in May.

St. Brendan's Catholic Church & cemetery in Green Isle, Sibley County, Minnesota

I found a number of McGuire/Maguire stones with names that I did not recognize, and I couldn’t tell you if I am related to them.  I also found many O’Meara stones. One O’Meara stone I was especially happy to stumble upon, because guess who was on it? Mr. Anthony Maguire! Or, McG, as I now like to call him.  And just my luck, his part of the stone gives me no information other than (most of) his name.  His elusiveness continues…

There was a small stone for each person listed on the big stone: Brother, Sister, Father, Mother, and…McG.

His wife, Mary was on the stone, too.  On the opposite side, along with her first husband, Michael Young. This was news to me – I didn’t know Mary had another husband. But not surprising; perhaps she re-married after Anthony died in 1882.  I needed more paper documents to figure out what was going on here.  But after my cemetery visit, I could add the following to my collection of known information:

  • Mary O’Meara’s death date: 17 Nov 1888.
  • Mary O’Meara had another husband: Michael Young
And then I was off to the Sibley County courthouse in Gaylord, to find documentation for the McGuires. I was mostly hoping to find birth and death records for any of Anthony’s thirteen offspring.  I found lots of things.  (What follows is a lot of detail that I’m recording for myself, so I have something to look back on when I ask myself things like “How do I know when this person died?  Do I have his/her death record?, Where did I get it? When did I get it?”  Actually, this blog exists exactly for that reason. I can’t imagine I have many (any?) readers that aren’t relatives who find this the least bit captivating.)
  • A birth record for another child of Anthony’s – that makes 14 kids! The new one: Patrick McGuire, born 24 June 1874.
  • The death record for William McGuire, son of Anthony & Mary. Died 14 Feb 1892.  I knew about William’s death from a previous trip to the McLeod County Historical Society, where I found his death notice in the Glencoe Enterprise.  The death notice says he was age 16 when he died of inflammatory rheumatism, but I recorded age 19 from Sibley county.  I trust the photocopy of the death notice more than I trust that I transcribed the correct age from the book.  I want to double check this the next time I go back.
  • The death record for Mary O’Meara’s first husband, Michael Young. Died 26 April 1872 in Green Isle from a kick to a horse. Age 30, born in Ireland, parents: Thomas and Jane.  So Mary was married to Michael before she married Anthony!  Why is she buried next to Michael – who she was married to for 2 years, rather than Anthony, who she was married to for 9 years and with whom she had at least 6 children?  Was this a cultural norm or tradition for the Irish?  Don’t know.
  • Death records for Mary O’Meara’s parents:
    • Patrick O’Meara: born 02 Jun 1815 in Ireland, died 02 Feb 1907 in Green Isle, MN, parents: James O’Meara and Margret Hibbits.
    • Margaret Delaney: born 24 Dec 1816 in Ireland, died 16 Sep 1909 in Green Isle, MN, parents: John Delaney and Mary Delaney (Delaney wouldn’t be her maiden name, it was just recorded that way).
  • Marriage record for Mary Jane O’Meara and Michael D. Young, married 09 Apr 1871 (found in book B, page 9).
  • Marriage record for Anthony McGuire and Mary Jane Young; they were married 03 Oct 1873. I paid $13 for a photocopy of the record, which is found in book B, Page 83.
  • Marriage record for Charles McGuire (son of Anthony & Mary) and Emma Grassinger, married 28 Nov 1905 (book I, page 58).
  • Marriage record for Martin McGuire (son of Anthony & Mary) and Margaret Agnes, married 05 Jun 1917 (book K, page 355).
  • Marriage record for Mary Jane McGuire to James Clancy.  Since my trip, I’ve learned from a connection on that Mary married a third time after Anthony died in 1882.  She married James Clancy on 13 Nov 1883.  Good thing I copied this one down.
  • Birth record for Maggie Maguire.  One of the records I was hoping to find!  Born 14 Aug 1881 to Anthony and Mary in the town of Grafton?  That last part confuses me a little.
I copied a lot more down from those ancient books, but I’m not sure they are all connected to me – so I’m not going to list them here.


  1. I didn’t find birth records for all of Anthony & Mary’s children.  It seems like Anthony spent time in both McLeod and Sibley county, so I’d like to take a trip to the McLeod county courthouse to see if I can find any birth records there.
  2. Go back to the Sibley county courthouse and dish out the $13/page for photocopies of the birth records. I don’t want to have to distrust my transcribing anymore.
  3. Maybe move this blog to my own host/domain, because I’m paying for it and barely doing anything else with it?

I Found Him!

Holy crap – I still have this blog. Big news in my genealogy life: I found my 2nd great grandfather, Anthony Maguire! Or, Anthony McGuire, rather. I probably could’ve found him a lot earlier, had I just gotten off my butt and taken a trip out to Sibley County to search their records. Instead, a friend and I had a genealogy weekend, organizing and researching, and this is how I found him. The plan was to spend the first part organizing our electronic files, and the second part would be research. To prepare for our weekend, I picked up a couple of genealogy/ancestry magazines. One of them was Family Tree Magazine – I bought it because this particular issue had lots of information about organizing your research, which we both very much needed. A little blurb in this issue pointed me to Chronicling America, where I could search old newspapers. The luck ‘o’ the Irish must have been shining upon me – because the first result for my first search of “Anthony McGuire” brought me straight to his death notice! After years of (lazy, not very exhaustive) searching, he just fell into my lap, like that.

St. Paul Daily Globe, Dec. 2nd 1882
“Anthony McGuire, of Green Isle, Sibley County, fell dead the other day while cutting wood at his door.”

First thing Monday morning, I called Sibley County to see if they had his death record. They did, and I ordered it as soon as I could. It arrived in the mail on my birthday. (Yeah, a morbid birthday gift, but I can’t be the only genealogy nerd that would get so excited about this kind of thing, right?). From his death certificate, I could gather the following new information:

Death Date: 27 Nov 1882
Occupation: Saloon Keeper
Father’s Name: Patrick McGuire
Mother’s Name: Mary
Age: 42 years 3 months

A few thoughts:

  • I have no idea if his parents came to the United States or stayed in Ireland.
  • I have no idea if he had siblings.
  • I still have no idea where in Ireland he came from. Since his death record didn’t tell me, I think I will have to start investigating all 13 of his children. Thank you, Anthony, for heavily reproducing. I hope one of your offspring can give me some clues about you.
  • This was the first I had seen anything about him being a Saloon Keeper. Censuses have told me that he was a farmer. Did he switch sometime between the 1880 census, and his death in 1882?
  • Perhaps I could still find a more detailed obituary?
  • Death record and newspaper clipping spelled the name McGuire instead of Maguire. Census records (which are unreliable for correct spellings anyway) are split both ways. Marriage record to Bridget: Maguire. Land record: Maguire. Which is it – Mc or Ma?
  • I don’t know where he is buried, so I’d like to research that. Maybe he’s buried next to other family members?
  • I’d like to find an obituary in one of the local Sibley County newspapers.
  • Mother’s maiden name?
  • Where in Ireland did he come from?

Alvin Howard Maguire

I knew from Alvin Maguire’s death certificate that he was in the military, but today, after searching the Nationwide Grave Locator, I found out a little bit more:

VETERAN SERVICE DATES: 03/05/1942 – 12/01/1945
DATE OF BIRTH: 04/09/1911
DATE OF DEATH: 01/06/1973
(612) 726-1127 (612) 725-2059

He was in the airforce! Cool! Now, maybe this Saturday I’ll make a trip out to Fort Snelling.

Mary O’Meara

Concerning the last post: You can view those death certificates recently found by visiting the links on the right. That day I also found the name of Anthony Maguire’s second wife, which was Mary O’Meara. I still need to find census info and a death certificate for her.

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.