Wednesday, January 31, 2007

When Down Just Kick In Teeth

I received my very first Birthday Card yesterday.

No, my Birthday is not for another two weeks.

The card was signed by the CEO of the hospital.

It also contained a pass for a free meal in the hospital cafeteria.

Generally, this would be a thoughtful gift because it is always nice to be remembered.


After 20 years of devoted service and while out on a medical leave for a work related injury,

I received "Via" mail two weeks ago a two line letter which stated my position had been terminated.

No phone call.

No fanfare.


After 20 years.

Excuse me if I feel a little bitter.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Oh Me Oh My, What Fine Webs We Weave

Remember that name I came across on the records of Ellen Boland (1858)? That name known as Michael Doherty? Well, I investigated it a little further. Instead of just reading the Text "via" computer translated by a third party, I took a very close look at the ACTUAL ship passenger document itself.

And what I found out was a very valuable piece of "buried" family history.

That document dated September 6th, 1908 had the name Michael Doherty written next to the Boland names but what was written on that document was not the same information given in the "text translated version".

Michael Doherty was not listed as the step-brother/step-brother-in-law of Ellen/John Boland but he was listed as the son/step-son. In case it was a mistake, I looked up the children of Ellen & John that traveled over on that ship, "Friesland". Right there in black and white, the name Michael Doherty was listed as step-brother to the children.

So what does this all mean?

It means our great great grandmother Ellen Boland was married before in Ireland and had a son. I traced Michael Doherty's birth as being in 1877. Because divorce was illegal in Ireland, I am positive Ellen's first husband died.

Furthermore, the documents I read clearly stated that Michael Doherty was still in Killala, Ireland at the time his mother/step-father and step-siblings went to Philadelphia. I am curious as to know if Michael Doherty really ever came to Philadelphia and if he did was it for a visit or to live.

Then there is the question of Ellen Boland's maiden name. My entire life I was told it was Doherty. However, it now appears that Doherty was not her maiden name but the married name of her first husband.

Of interest, Ellen and John Boland's first born child Mary was born in 1884.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Martin Boland

I was able to follow Martin Boland through the Census Records of 1900, 1910 and 1920. As you know, Martin Boland is the brother of my great great grandfather John Boland. According to the Census Records, Martin immigrated to Philadelphia in 1880. He married a woman by the first name of Anna (Annie) in 1882 and according to the records of 1900, they lived at 186 Calumet Street in the East Falls Section of Philadelphia. In 1900, they had six children listed as follows; Katie (1884), Nellie (1886), William (1888), Mary (1889), Edward (1892) and Annie (1896).

By the year 1910, Martin Boland would be a widower.

By the year 1920, Martin would still be living on Calumet Street with his youngest daughter Annie and her husband Thomas McLaughlin. Thomas McLaughlin immigrated to Philadelphia from Scotland in 1919 and was listed as a Brickman for the Reading Railroad.

Of notice, in the 1920 Census Records, there was a John Ritter on that same block and in 1910 Census Records, there was a William Boland (probably Martin's son) on that same block.

I could not find any Military Records on Martin. I found one Ship record but at the time I cannot verify if it is Martin's record.

Stay Tune for information on another Boland Brother, Patrick.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

One Plus One Equals Two

Ellen (Doherty) Boland born 1858 in Farrah Cobrayo Ireland was grandmother to my grandmother Anna Marie McCaffery Gallagher.

Records show that Ellen came to Philadelphia from Killala, Ireland on September 6, 1908. She arrived on the ship "Friesland" with her husband John (1858), daughter Ellen (1892), son John (1895) and a grandson Michael Cafferty (1905).

What I found interesting in these ship records was the name Michael Doherty who was listed as one of the people already in Philadelphia which the above family were to meet. Michael Doherty was listed as "step-brother" to Ellen Doherty Boland. At the time, I did not have any clue to what, who or where this Michael Doherty came from, was related too. However, I found him in the 1910 Census Records as living on 3741 Sharp Street (near the 3700 block of Cresson) as a boarder who came to Philadelphia from Ireland in 1908, worked as a Laborer in a Foundry and had listed as a fellow boarder Daniel Melvery.

Guess who Daniel Melvery was? Katherine Boland's future husband. Katherine or better known as Aunt Kate was the daughter of John & Ellen (Doherty) Boland, sister to Bridget Boland McCaffery and Aunt to my grandmother.

Ahhh, family connections and why XYZ married XYZ. Daniel Melvery (1895) came to Philadelphia from Ireland in 1907. Guess who else came to Philadelphia from Ireland in 1907?
Yes, you guess it, Katherine Boland.

This all makes me think that the Boland, Doherty, Cafferty and Melvery Families all knew each other before they even immigranted to America. Fantastic. Really.

Anyway, there was one other name listed as the original contact person here in Philadelphia for Bernard & Mary (Boland) Cafferty when they came to America from Ireland on April 30, 1906. The contact person listed was John Boland's brother Martin Boland who at the time resided at 186 Calumet Street in the East Falls Section. I researched Martin Boland's immigration records and it appeared Martin Boland has been in this country since 1888. He was born in 1863.

Monday, January 22, 2007

On A Mission

If you noticed, I have been trying to tag (on right side) all the 400 plus entries I have made since 2005. It is a major task and I am sure it will take weeks/months to finish it.

Over the last few weeks I have realized that some folks are clicking onto my blog because they themselves are researching certain names. (Google searches) I was surprised to see that some of these folks are researching as far away as Bosnia, China, England and as close as those in Philadelphia.

I figured if I labeled all my research then it would be easier for them to just click on the names they are interested in. I myself cannot believe how much research/information I have posted over the last eighteen months. How many facts I have on our family and the places they lived/worked/prayed. I have Military Records, Ship Passengers Lists, Census Records, Baptism/Death/Burial Records. I am beginning to think I need a personal secretary to keep it all in order.

I have so much information on so many lives.

I have so much information I want to share.

Because I could not be more proud of who we are and where we came from.

And because seventeen years ago I made a promise to my grandmother that I will never let anyone forget our history.

The Thief

Friday, January 19, 2007

Define Peace

Watching the first snowfall of the season in the predawn hours as it is falling by the light of the street lamp.

Where We Live

I really love the neighborhood where we live with its mixture of the old and new. This neighborhood has been around for more than two hundred years so it is not a surprise to see everything from the small carriage size rowhouses to the large and often breath-taking Victorian mansions. Add a few factories converted into condos and there is something for everyone.

Manayunk has the charm of a small town in the convenience of a large city. Take a stroll down Main Street and you can visit any of the chic shops and gourmet restaurants. If you prefer to live here you can live in anything from the small sized carriage houses to converted factory condos to the enormous 19th century townhouses.

Climb the steep neighborhood hills and enter into Roxborough where you see families raising small children living in anything from a modern townhouse to a hundred year brick twin to an old 19th century mansion.

Wissahicken is full of large Victorian Style mansions in which some have been converted into apartments that are full of college students who prefer the quiet of a typical tree line street but just a train station away from their school's destination.

Because three medical schools are in short distance, you have a population of med-students living about.

Mostly everyone who lives here has a dog and so advertisements for "dog walkers" are plentiful and about.

Just North of Roxborough is a suburban-like section of the city called Andorra. Andorra has only been developed in the 1950's so this is the baby of the neighborhood.

Another reason I love where I live is the Wissahickon Park which surrounds the entire neighborhood. It is a place once inhabited by the Indian and was popular for its catfish. When you take a walk through its woods down by the creek you can just imagine what it was like for all those who lived hundreds of years ago when they took that same walk.

Some neighbors still have horse stables so it is not uncommon to see rider and horse riding freely down the hidden paths of the park. It is also not uncommon to come across an old mill or stone house that was built in another century.

The neighborhood still runs an Agricultural School complete with a live working farm where high school students can learn and practice this trade. There is nothing as satisfying as taking a small child up to the farm just so he/she can pet and feed carrots to the very human friendly horse on the property.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

America's Glory (Something I read)

Whether or not Americans have big heads or perhaps big hearts is not really the issue at hand. Americans have a deep pride but they also have fears. Their backs are strong from working long and hard. The truth is they sometimes forget their greatest strength comes when they bend their knee to be thankful they are free. If ever this trust is broken; then what they believe in doesn't exist.

Author Unknown

For Fit Happy Cyber Nuts

I have a group of Internet friends who are very much into health and fitness as in diet and exercise which if it does not involve chewing I am not a part of but since I have come down with this terrible head cold sore nose (plague-like thing) and have not felt like doing much more then reading and surfing the internet which I must add has been mostly about what the actors wore at the Golden Globes, I did come across a very interesting article in the local newspaper here about and I quote "Phila. looks healthy for a change".

Two years ago, Philadelphia was named one of the fattest cities in America but this year Philadelphia has been named one of the fittest. (I am not fat nor fit so I do not count) How did we manage this major turn in events, you may ask since we are well known for our scrapple, soft pretzels and cheese steaks?

Well it appears we have become more involved with health and fitness programs and decided to learn some lite cooking.

Anyway, for all those friends of mine who love this sort of stuff, here is a list of ten things to gain that overall health and fit lifestyle as per the Philadelphia Inquirer;


Monday, January 08, 2007

Keller Update

Well, its official. My husband and fellow genealogist, found the missing link to my grandfather's paternal family roots. He discovered that John Gotlieb Keller was born in Manyershein Dekedorn, Baden Germany. He also discovered John's wife's maiden name. You will never believe who she was but if you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Her birth thus legal name was Marie Elisabeth Voigt and she was born in Gross Brede, Hanover Preussen (Prussia).

Now, I am working on finding just who was her Voigt parents. If you remember, there is a Karl and Dorete Voigt buried in Bethanien Lutheran Cemetery. The Voigt grave is right next to the grave of John G and Elisabeth Keller. I wonder if Karl and Dorete are her parents? If they are then her brother was Henry (Henrich) Charles Voigt who died and was buried out at Little Big Horn.

This is the second Voigt connection to our family. The first Voigt connection was discovered last month when I made contact with a Ritter Cousin in Arlington, VA. He provided me with the first Voigt/Ritter family connection (complete with photographs) when Henry Voigt married Mary Voigt in the 1870's.

However, the Keller/Voigt connection is more significant because this is our direct line meaning "grandparents".

So in summary, John Gotlieb Keller was born July 8th, 1837 in Germany. He came to Philadelphia in 1852. His mother's name was Susannah Keller and he had two brothers Jacob and Frederick. John was two years younger then Jacob and five years older then Frederick. While in Germany, John Gotlieb was known in custom German fashion by his middle name. But when he immigrated to America, he was known by his first name John. John G Keller was a Private under Captain Otto Christi in Company B, 15th Regiment Of New York City Volunteers in the Civil War. He enrolled in the 15th on May 5th, 1861 and served three years. He was discharged in Fredericksburg on May 18th, 1864.

According to his Military Discharge Papers, he was five feet and six and three quarter inches tall with a fair complexion, brown hair and brown eyes. Before he entered the military, his occupation was a Dryer.

On January 16th, 1869, he married Marie Elisabeth Voigt in the Bethany Lutheran Church located at Pechin and Martin Streets in the Manayunk Section of Philadelphia, PA. He lived at 128 Walnut (now known as Mallory Street), Philadelphia, PA 19127.

At this time, I want to make the following correction to the Family History "A Journey Into The Past".

When I wrote our Family's History, I submitted some incorrect names of children whom I thought were the children of John and Elisabeth when in fact they were the children of his brother Jacob who lived next door at 126 Walnut Lane and who was also married to a woman named Elisabeth and who both named their children similar if not the same exact names of children born to our grandparents John and Elisabeth. Please note that both brothers had children by the name of John, Louisa and Mary. Confusing to say the least.

Here are the list of children born to John and Elisabeth Keller; Amelia born 1871, Elisabeth born 1873, Louisa born 1875, John Gotlieb born 1882, Mary (our great grandmother) born 1885 and Annie born 1889. You can find a copy of our Family Tree on Ancestry.Com. I just updated it this afternoon.

I also want to note that the second eldest child Elisabeth, did marry a man by the name of Christopher Beatty. In the 1900 Census Records, Elisabeth and Christopher lived with Elisabeth Keller (her mother) and they had listed a son of their own also named Christopher who was born in 1898.

John Gotlieb Keller died on October 28th, 1897. His wife Elisabeth died on February 4th, 1905.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Someone Forgot

to tell this section of the country that it is Winter not Spring. Not that I am complaining or anything, but today it is 71 degrees out. Yep! 71 and it is January.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Not Just Anyone's Road To Travel

Many people have little interest in their past or those relatives that have gone before them. They believe in simply living in the here and now with a few goals for their future. What they do not understand is that who we are today is a result of those who came before us and I do not mean just in the gene pool neither.

I am talking about their character. How they conducted their everyday life. Why they made the choices that they made. Genealogy is a puzzle consisted of many pieces of a person's life and as I gather more information about that person and fill in those blank spaces I can create that person's character and get a very clear understanding of who that person was, where they lived, the choices they made.

John Gotlieb Keller was my great great grandfather who came over to this country in the early part of 1850. He left a country destroyed by constant Civil War only to encounter the same here when the South succeeded from the Union thus created its own Civil War. But think about it. John did not run and hide but took up arms to fight for what he believed in, to show his loyalty and patriotism for his new homeland. This military trend would be seen again and again throughout the generations that followed up to and included the Iraq War.

John worked hard and provided his family with a decent existence. He was active and well respected in the German Community and was a neighborhood leader. When he died suddenly in 1890, he was remembered and his legacy has been passed down through the generations. His daughter Mary would inherited his strength in character, hard work and patriotism and she would be remembered for her active work in the church. I saw the same things in my grandfather, her son and then again in my mother.

The Bolands came over to this country two at a time then working and sending over for the others so that they could all have a better chance in life. They are a lesson in family dynamics.

And now as I piece together the paternal side of my family, I begin to realize that my great grandmother Eva Wisloski was also of strong character and great will. As each of her children married and started their families they lived under Eva's roof until they could afford to live out on their own. I also believe she was her husband's second wife and that he may have had two or three children of his own in which Eva continued to raise after his death. This woman raised seven children on her own in a small house on Roxborough Avenue and never spoke a word of English.

Genealogy is not for everyone. The work is long and tedious and every time you move one step forward in your research, you end up moving two steps backward in the process. It takes years and years of research to create that puzzle called a person's life. There is no instant gratification but the rewards are great when you stumbled across that valuable piece of family history.