Category Archives: East Coast Trip

COG – Our Ancestors’ Place of Worship

The words Irish and Catholic always seem to go together. But, not in my family. We are Irish and Lutheran, which people always find hard to believe. Recently, I had a conversation with a priest and he made a comment about my being Irish Catholic, it was a bit odd to correct him on my being a life long Lutheran.

My Grandmother, Ida (Jaeger) O’Connell’s family was Lutheran and I just assumed that is why we are as well.

Well, studying my families genealogy brought some other reasons to light. Back in the 1800’s my Irish line was Catholic. My great-grandfather Dennis O’Connell was baptized at Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Middle Granville, NY on 16 Sept 1883. This is the church the family worshiped at while living in Granville, NY. Dennis’ mother, Bridget (Curran) O’Connell died in 1895 and is buried in Mount Carmel Catholic Cemetery.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel (taken June 2010)

Our Lady of Mount Carmel closed its doors on Easter sunday, 2009. The church still stands and they were trying to sell the building the last time I checked. It was sad to read this, knowing that it was a place my family worshiped and that the church was over 100 years old.

Some of the items that are within St Mary’s came from Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

Church bell originally from OLMC, now it sits outside St. Mary’s.

Originally from OLMC, now placed in St Mary’s.

There were many catholic churches in the area and worshipers chose their church based on the ethnicity. It is obvious that Our Lady of Mount Carmel was the chosen church for the Irish. The current priest has closed all of the other catholic churches in this area and everyone now attends St. Mary’s Catholic Church.

St Mary’s Church, Granville, NY

When the family moved from the Granville area to Hudson Falls, they attended St. Paul’s Catholic Church. St Paul’s had a bad fire and now all of the surviving church records are held at St Mary’s. St Mary’s opened their church to all of St Paul’s parishioners and it is now known as St Mary’s/St Paul’s.

In 1917, Dennis O’Connell left his wife (Rose Springer) and children to move to Canada. Sometime before 1930 they divorced and Rose remarried. Since then divorce has run through my family so much, that I am sure the catholic church would never let us back in.

In 2010, I was lucky enough to take a road trip east with my aunt and cousin to visit the places my ancestors lived, worshiped and were put to rest (which were all catholic cemeteries).

I was confirmed at Our Savior Lutheran Church in Chicago, IL and all three of my children were baptized there.

This post was written for submission into the 109 Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy.


Tombstone Tuesday – Surprised at the Cemetery

Last summer, while my aunt, cousin and I were on out trip through the East Coast, I had a great find at the cemetery where I knew my great-grandfather and great-great-grandfather were buried. About two years ago, I found Dennis and John O’Connell both listed in an index for St. Paul’s / St. Mary’s Cemetery in Hudson Falls. The day after I found the index, I called and spoke with Dorothy at the church and was able to verify that this was indeed my family. It had only taken me about 8 years to find this link. I was ecstatic and knew I would have to make the trip to the cemetery at some point. Well, last summer that all came to life for me. We spent the morning in another town and by late afternoon we had finally found our way to the St. Mary’s /St. Paul’s Cemetery. I thought that I had drawn a picture of the cemetery from the index, but no such luck. Instead we spent a good hour looking for the gravesites. I was angry at myself because I knew better than to go into a cemetery not knowing where to be looking. Though this was a smaller cemetery to what I am used to visiting back home, there was still many stones to be read. We split up and continued the search.

At one point, I found the name Daha and took a few pictures because I knew this line married into ours. I just did not have specifics on the family. Just a brief note I found in an obituary for Dennis O’Connell. After taking 1-2 pictures, I was aggrivated and decided to stop taking pictures to look for the O’Connell family once again. When I did that, my cousin Tracy urged me to continue taking photo’s of the Daha stones, there were many of them. While I  reluctantly continued, Tracy and our aunt were moving towards an older section of the cemetery that was further away from all the other stones. I actually tripped over a stone when I was done with the Daha pictures, I looked down and you guessed it, I actually stumbled onto my family plot! I was so excited, the O’Connell family was all buried together. John Sr., his wife Maria, John Jr, his wife Beatrice and Dennis. These were all of the family members that I knew were there. The stone I stumbled on was for Elizabeth O’Connell Daha the gravesite next to her was for Mary O’Connell Herring.  Both of these ladies are sisters to Dennis and daughters to John Sr! I was thrilled at the discovery because I did not see either name in the index and when I called the church, this information was not given to me either.

Elizabeth O’Connell



Mary O’Connell



Tombstone Tuesday – Beatrice O’Connell

Beatrice D O’Connell


1894 – 1976

St. Paul’s / St. Mary’s Cemetery Hudson Falls, NY

Beatrice is wife of John O’Connell Jr., this is not a line that I have spent any time researching as of yet. I do plan to research their family in the future.

Photo © Terri O’Connell 2011.


SNGF – My Best Adventure

Once again, Randy at Genea-Musings presents:

It’s Saturday Night again (I know, you just celebrated New Year’s Eve – are you home for the night?) — time for some Genealogy Fun (what else is there?)!!

Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to:

1)  Decide which of your (many?) genealogy research adventures was your “very best” (your definition).

2)  Tell us about it in a blog post of your own, in a comment to this blog post, or in a Status report or comment on Facebook.

My best adventure to date has been my East Coast trip with my aunt and cousin. We traveled from Chicago to Boston to visit the final resting places of our ancestors, have a little fun and finally to meet my paternal Grandfathers first cousins.

The trip was fun and we found everyone we wanted to in each of the cemeteries we visited. But, the best part of the trip / adventure was stopping in Black River, NY to meet the cousins. We met two of Grandpa Larry’s first cousins who are not both 80+ years. They really did not have any information to add to the tree but were very interested in what I had found so far.

The reason is has been my best adventure so far is because many, many years ago I was told we still had family in NY and I did not believe it. How happy I was to actually find the family that is still there. A few other family members have tried to trace this line in our family and no one has been this successful. I am so glad I was able to trace the family as far as I have and hope to continue to find new family members there. Keeping my fingers crossed that they will all return the letters I send out (still waiting on one I sent out over a month ago)!

Reviewing 2010 Resolutions

As 2010 comes to a close, it is time to take a look back at the resolutions made for this year and see how I did with my research and then I can decide what my resolutions will be for 2011.

Find out who the parents are of John O’Connell and Bridget (Curran) O’Connell.

For John, I actually found a death certificate. Through the death certificate I was able to have someone find his obituary for me. Read how my Brickwall Came Tumbling Down for more information.

John’s parents are Denis O’Connell and Helen Teahan.

For Bridget, I am still searching for more concrete evidence. At this point, I know she was a sponsor to Catherine (nee’ Curran) Berringer’s daughter. I was hoping to find proof that Bridget and Catherine are sisters, but no such luck. I do have an index from Tralee, County Kerry, Ireland that shows a Bridget Currane was baptized. This index shows parents as Patrick Currane and Mary McGill. According to research being completed on Catherine Curran Berringer, her parents are John Curran and Catherine McCarthy.

So I still have no absolute proof on Bridget’s parents. I have called the town and county where Bridget is buried to see if they have any death records on her, they do not. Our Lady of Mount Carmel has not further information on Bridget or Catherine.

Find out who Marie O’Connell that is buried in St Mary / St Paul’s cemetery is? Does she fit into the family. She is the last O’Connell there.

What I have found so far is that a John O’Connell married a Marie Goyette at St. Paul’s Church on 9 Apr 1915.  John and Marie are found living in Nassau, Rensselaer, NY in 1920 and Fair Haven, Rutland, VT in 1930 (which is where John died in 1931). At this point, I have not found any mention of Marie in the Newspapers, no marriage notice or obituary. I can only assume that the Marie in St. Paul’s cemetery is John’s wife.

Visit the NY Cemeteries were my family members are buried. While in NY, meet the remaining family members that are there.

I completed this journey in June with a cousin and aunt. I have shared some of the photo’s already and have more to share.

Continue research into my Springer line.

The specific records I was looking for on this line were specific to Rose Springer. I was hoping to find her birth, marriage, divorce or even her second marriage records. I have not found one of them so far. To be honest though, I did not search very hard.

What I have been able to find out has come from a phone interview with a cousin in Az who told me that the Springer family is from Quebec and when they moved to the states, they changer their name from Fontaine to Springer. She also told me that Rose’s father died before 1900, he had been struck by lightening (I believe he was going from the house to the barn). I used this information to search message boards and I found another cousin out west. I was able to meet with one of Rose’s nieces over the summer, she took me to a family function where I was able to meet other family members who also remember Rose. It was a great privilege to spend the evening with the extended family.

Find a very nice person who is willing to translate Russian to English for me so I can continue research on my Mother-in-laws family.

Thanks to Thomas MacEntee at Geneabloggers, I found someone who translated a few sections of a Russian website.

My brother-in-law also started helping research this line and we have been able to find the family in ship records (which is what I have been trying to find for about 2 years now).

So, that is my year in review. I hope everyone else has had a good year as well and that you were able to meet some of your goals.

Wordless Wednesday – Flowers of Plimouth Plantation

Tombstone Tuesday – John O’Connell Jr.

John O’Connell


St. Paul’s Cemetery, Hudson Falls, NY

John was actually John Jr and went by the name Jack.

©Terri O'Connell 2010

Wordless Wednesday – Boldt Caslte

Boldt Castle, photo taken from Alexandria Bay, NY

All photo’s © 2010 Terri O’Connell

One of the many stops we made on our trip east was in Alexandria Bay to view Boldt Castle. Unfortunately, we did not have enough time to go over to Heart Island and walk the grounds. I had the opportunity to do this in 2002 with my girls. If you are ever on a road trip through NY, I definitely recommend a stop here. The castle and the grounds are absolutely stunning, not to mention the history here as well.

Tombstone Tuesday – Bridget O’Connell

Our Lady of Mount Carmel Cemetery

Granville, NY

Bridget Curran

wife of

John O’Connell


Great Granddaughter Terri Foote at grave of Bridget O’Connell


All photo’s © Terri O’Connell 2010

Visiting New England Genealogy Society

While we were on our road trip to the east coast, we were lucky enough to spend a few nights in Boston. I had never been to Boston and I had so many things I wanted to do. We did get to do a small amount of sight-seeing, we went into Cheers and purchased a few souvenirs for the family. We walked through the commons a few times, checked out the farmers market and walked the Freedom Trail.  As I am sure you can see, we did a lot in the bit of time we had there. We had two nights and a day and 1/2 to split up and see everything. The day we left Boston, (to head Jefferson County, NY) I had just a bit of time to check out the New England Genealogy Society. I had already searched their data base and knew they had a few things that I wanted to print out, I wanted to make sure I got copies of anything I could.

Let me tell you that driving around Boston is very confusing. But I managed to do it, even though many warned us not to.  As we were driving around looking for the NEGS, we drove down the street looking for the address and then hoping that I would be able to pull over and let my Aunt take the driver’s seat while I went inside. As we sat at a stop light, in the second lane with a truck to our right, we were discussing how difficult it seems to find everything in Boston, a truck moved and my cousin, said “hey, I think it is right here!”

Not the best picture, I took this on my phone, with my hands full of files!

I turned to my right and there it was. I was lucky enough to get over right away and turn onto the side street so that I could pull over and get out of the car. I had already made sure everything I needed was in the backseat of the car. I carefully, pulled everything out, made sure I did not have a bag (because of the rules at Newberry Library in Chicago, see this post). I walked around the corner and entered into the most beautiful building. I checked in and paid my $15 non-member fee (my membership had run out the month before and I am currently cutting my genealogy expenses). I told the woman what I was looking for and she sent me up to the sixth floor (I believe), right after she offered me a bag to hold all of my files. I laughed and told her I purposely did not bring in a bag because the genealogy library at home does not allow them.  I bagged up my things and headed off to the sixth floor.

The library/genealogist from this floor was on lunch, so I browsed the room and its holdings. I felt out-of-place, had no clue where to find help. I waited a good 20 minutes beyond the time the librarian was to return and found the stairs. I headed downstairs to see if I could find anyone that could assist me. Turns out, I had been sent to the wrong floor and I just needed to go down 1 more floor.

I finally made it to where there were people around and most importantly, there was someone to help me. I pulled out the information I was hoping to take home with me. I thought I came prepared, I took notes on what I found on their website, with the records # they listed. This was not helpful. The lady had to look everything up manually and then give me the CD’s the indexes were on, all information taken from my ancestors church in NY. Most of this information I had, but I wanted to get printouts anyway. I am glad I did this, it did give me a bit more information on some of the family lines I was working on and with this information, I was able to track down more living relatives (I hope to make contact with them soon).

But, the one record that I wanted to walk away with, I did not. That is the probate records for Hilaire Fontaine/Alexander Springer. This is a newly discovered line and I really wanted some concrete paperwork on the family. I believe she told me that I would have to go to Essex County to request the record or to utilize their request a copy and pay to have it emailed. I was not wanting to do this, I was looking for instant gratification! Not so much…I was on a time crunch, definitely no time to drive someplace else. I still need to order a copy of the records. Hopefully sometime in the near future I will be able to do this.

Back to the records, I was able to look at. I found a marriage record for a John O’Connell and Marie Goyette at St Paul’s Catholic Church in Hudson Falls, NY. When I last spoke with St Mary’s who houses the records for St Paul’s they did not have any listing’s of O’Connell marriages. I was beyond thrilled! Now, I am not 100% sure this is my John O’Connell, but I have a  great hunch that it is and will continue looking until I find the evidence to prove I am right. I do know that buried to the right of John is a Marie O’Connell, but I have not found an obit for her or John yet. Keep your fingers crossed that I will stumble across a record sometime soon!

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