Category Archives: Dennis O'Connell

Treasure Chest Thursday – Border Travel Permit

My Great Grandfather, Dennis O’Connell, died in 1950. My father had just turned a year old and probably never met his Grandfather. Dennis moved to Canada in 1917 and continued his life there until his passing in 1950. 

As a resident of Canada, this card gave Dennis permission to travel back to the states, with no more than $5 in US funds, $10 altogether. This card is valid until Jul 8 1944.  According to the Inflation Calculator, that would be like traveling with $62.05 today. Can you imagine traveling with that amount of money today. We would be lucky if it put gas in the and a meal.

As for genealogical information this card does not give many clues. Besides Dennis’ name, it gives us his current address of 52 Albert St., Thorold, Canada. I hope the house is still there. I would like to visit and take a few pictures. 

The back of this card gives the conditions under which the permit mat be used. Unfortunately, it cannot be completely read, it was originally glued into a scrap-book. The black marks on the sides are from the book it was in. You can also see were the paper tore.  At the bottom right hand side, you can see where Dennis signed his name to the document. I get really excited when I see an original signature of my ancestors.


Keeping Family Stories Alive

About a month ago, I sent a letter to a distant cousin that I knew existed, but had never met. To be clear, she is my father’s cousin. I had been in contact with her brother for about a year and he had given me her information, figuring she would know more about our family. It took me a long time to make contact, but I finally did. I sent “D” a letter and hoped for a reply, whether a letter or phone call.

A few weeks after I sent the letter, I received a voicemail from “D” that I could try calling her or she would call again. It took us about a week to make contact, but once we did, she was able to shed light on a few of the family lines I had questions on. 

Lets start with my O’Connell line, she was not able to shed any real light on the family. Though she was able to give me the name of the child of Dennis and Rose that passed away as a toddler, her name was Viola. I am excited to have this information and hope to find her final resting place. 

“D” also shared some family stories with me that has helped me on our Springer line. Rose (Springer) O’Connell is my Great Grandmother and her family line has been a mystery to me. I knew she had a brother Arthur and a sister Sophie/Sophia. But, that was really all I knew. “D” shared with me that the Springer’s were actually Fontaine’s that moved to the states from Quebec. That when they arrived they had been to change their name.  She also said that Rose was one of 7 children. Her siblings were Prosper, Omar, Homer, Arthur, William and William. I have been doing some research and some of this information is correct. What I have found is that her siblings were actually Prosper, William, Joseph, Koreen, Sophia, and Arthur. I have been able to find some of the family in the US Census records, but have not found much information about the family in Quebec. I have put a few messages out on different genealogy message boards today and have already received two responses. One response is from a descendant of Arthur’s. How exciting to find a new family member. In the coming weeks, I hope share more of this line. 

I decided to write a quick post about some recent updates on my family history because I read a tweet today by DearMyrtle,  she said “We must tell the family stories, or they may have been lost.” How right she is. If it was not for the conversation with cousin “D,” these family lines could have been lost. I look forward to spending time digging in the roots of this family.

Treasure Chest Thursday – 1947 Bank Loan

Loan paperwork of Dennis O’Connell

from the Canadian Bank of Commerce

dated July 9, 1947


The Many Joys of Genealogy


When I started this journey, learning about the family that came before, I wanted to just know who they were and really not much more. My maternal grandfather, William Richmond,  was in the hospital and it did not look good. I had met his siblings and his parents. But I never really knew them. Most of the were complete strangers. Why? What could be good enough reason that the family is not so close? Well, I will never know the whole story, but I know that my grandfather never felt he they  treated him the same as his siblings. As an adult living in Chicago, his parents never lived far. I remember seeing them a handful of times, going to their apartment and one Easter at his sister’s house. Truly not a lot of communication through this family line. I was an adult when my great-grandmother, Edith Walker Richmond,  passed away at 102 (which was only 6 years ago). As I go through my family information, I always feel bad that I never made an effort to see her either. I could have changed this relationship, I could have found out more about the family. The first thing you read about when starting on your genealogy is to interview your family members and start with the oldest. Why did I not listen to that? I will never have an answer to that. But my journey will continue, it will just be a bit harder to continue for lack of information.

As I have continued on this journey looking for family members that have come before me, I have had many exciting days. I wanted to take some time to list the joys of my genealogical journey.

  • My O’Connell line was a hard one, I’ve been successful in getting back further than anyone else who has tried to research this family. 
  • Finding the burial-place of Dennis O’Connell in a folio at Newberry Library.
  • Calling the cemetery to learn that this is in fact the correct Dennis and 5 other family members there as well.
  • Having someone on help me find the burial-place of Bridget (Curran) O’Connell.
  • The help I have received on GenealogyWise finding my Revolutionary Soldier, bringing my family back 100 years in 1 day.
  • Finding the burial-place of Rose (Springer) O’Connell McAvoy blocks from my home
  • Having my paternal grandfather’s scrap-book, with many original documents of his father Dennis O’Connell
  • Having photo’s from the same scrap-book.
  • Meeting many new “cousins” through my research

Cousins, no matter how far removed,  are always a pleasure to find. Before I started this journey, I never even thought of finding living relatives. It was not the goal. Through my many years of research, I have found cousins through the Ancestry message boards, through My Family’s Raleigh, WV site, through letters I have sent out and from knocking on doors of old family homes. I would never have thought that I would find family through blogging or twitter.  This past week I have found two more new cousins to add to my trees and I am really excited about that. Cheryl at Heritage Happens and I descend from the same Richmond tree. We found each other through Twitter. Really, who would have guessed that have a conversation through tweeting could be so fruitful for my tree? I look forward to being able to do some more research on this line, as I know she does too. There is one more cousin that I believe I have found, but until we speak, that will remain mine and  Cheryl’s genea secret!

I hope you have many joys in your genealogy search as well!

Dennis O’Connell, Obituary

For Treasure Chest Thursday I am adding my Great Grandfather’s obituary, which is from The St. Catherines Standard. 

O’Connell, Dennis – At the Hamilton General Hospital, Friday, Nov. 17, 1950, Dennis O’Connell.

Resting at the Funeral Home of Noble S. Crowe, 26 Ormond St. S., Thorold , where prayers for the departed will be said at 7:30 this Saturday evening. Interment will take place in Hudson Falls, New York.


Dennis O’Connell obituary, St. Catherines Standard, St. Catherines, Ontario, 18  November, 1950, page 2 column 6.

My favorite female ancestor, Rose Springer

Lisa Alzo of The Accidental Genealogist has put together a great list of writing prompts for Women’s History Month. The first prompt asks if you have a favorite female ancestor, one you seem drawn to or would like to learn more about. Write about the key facts or what you would like to learn. Outline your goals and what potential sources you can check.

I have two females that I would like to know more about, it was a hard choice. My decision is to write about my Great Grandmother, Rose/Rosa May (Springer) O’Connell McAvoy, the reason I decided on Rose is because she is the closest generation to me. 

Rose/Rosa May Springer was born 30 Mar 1888, in Maine. Her Mother’s name was Mary. She had a sister named Sophia and a brother named William. I currently do not have information on her father.

About 1897 Rose married Dennis O’Connell. They were both Catholic and raised their children in the Catholic Church. Rose gave birth to 4 children, with 1 child dying in infancy. The surviving children were:

Ambrose Lawrence 17 Dec 1905 – 28 Feb 1975

Linus Joseph 5 Mar 1908 – 31 Oct 1980

Theresa May abt 1909 – 1990

The fourth child is still unknown at this point. 

Dennis and Rose lived in a few different places. Son Ambrose was born in Berlin, NH while Linus and Theresa were both born in the state of New York. I have traced Rose in the following locations:

Moreau, Saratoga, NY

Glens Falls, Warren, NY

Chicago, Cook, IL

In 1917, Rose’s husband Dennis signed the World War 1 draft card and then proceeded to move to Canada, where he died in 1950. Rose continued to raise her children alone in NY until the 1920’s when her boys rode the rails to Chicago. She soon followed with daughter Theresa. By 1930, Rose is found remarried to Frank McAvoy. Within the past year, I have found the gravesite of Rose and Theresa just blocks from my home.

What would I like to know about Rose?  How can I find the information?

Who is her father? Check for her birth information, some type of index or registration list for Maine 

Where did Rose and Dennis get married? An exact date would be good too. Find marriage record, in either NY or NH

When and where did Rose and Dennis get divorced? Assumption would be NY which is where they last lived together. Would have to check with the courts. I am unsure of this process since I do not have any dates.

What happened to Frank? He is not in the same cemetery. Check with his family. They are connected on my family tree. I sent a request for information once, I need to follow-up.

What happened to her fourth baby and where is that baby buried? Again, back to NY check Moreau, Saratoga County which is where the family was living in 1910.

There are many other questions I have, but  research would never answer them. They would be more of the personal questions that only Rose would be ale to answer.

This was a great exercise, not just to put information out there. But because Lisa has prompted me to think about where I can find the answers to the questions I have. Thanks Lisa for putting thought into the prompts for this month. I look forward to doing as many as possible. 

Poem for Dennis

For this Treasure Chest Thursday, I am posting a poem  that was in my Grandfather, Larry O’Connell’s, scrapbook. This poem was written about his father, Dennis O’Connell. 

Fiddlers Green, 100% Union

from Pulp, Sulphite and Paper Mill Workers Journal, page fifteen (unsure of date)

They tell me Dinny O’Connnell of Thorold is gone;

Well boys I’m not surprised.

I guess he’s gone to join the host,

That live beyond the skies.

He lived his span of years on earth,

A fairly average guy, a fellow,

Who was always square;

He wouldn’t harm a fly.

Like all the old time papermakers 

And this mill has seen a few;

They’ve run of the stuff at the Ontario, 

And never lacked a crew.

They enjoyed their share of the good times, and

There were times that were not so good;

But they always produced the paper, 

As long as we kept them in the wood.

From slow speed up to high speed, 

As we know they roll today;

The boys are handling six hundred tons,

With very little hay.

Well, Dinny had his share in this, 

Like many, many, more;

We mean those boys who have worked here, 

But have passed long before.

There was Charlie Killawee and Chappie;

The Benoits, Frank Hickey, Jack Ryan and

many more.

Good fellows you’ll all remember,

We could name them by the score.

Well they’re all up in the Fiddlers Green, 

In a lovely home they say;

And sometimes one comes to visit us at night, 

But never wants to stay.

In Fiddlers Green they’re happy, 

And are having lots of fun,

And I know there is rejoicing,

Because a new member has just come.

His dues are paid forever

And his card is edged with Gold;

And he’ll never have to worry

About his growing old.
Yes, the old pals are all waiting, 

To make the welkin ring;

At Fiddlers Green they’re happy;

Now that Dinny is coming in.

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