Category Archives: New York

What Were your Ancestors Doing in 1940

With the release of the 1940 Census in April, most genealogists have been spending time mining the census for any information they can find on their family. We have spent many hours trying to locate each ancestor to see how they were living in 1940, how did the depression affect them?

I was excited this week when I found my great-great uncle John O’Connell in the 1940 Census (thanks to all who indexed the state of New York, I found this with a shaking leaf on Not only was he still living with his wife, they also had a boarder.

John’s wife Beatrice was a music teacher and worked all 52 weeks of the year. how exciting to read that, given the times and how tight money was, I am amazed that she still had work. According to the census information, she worked for a private company. So, she could have been self employed or worked for a company. She did not work for the public schools.  She worked 8 hours per week. But, the important piece is that she is working.

John was lucky too! He worked all 52 weeks at a restaurant, that he owned at about 70 hours per week.

John O’Connell household, 1940 Census, Glens Falls, Warren, NY.

John’s lived at 61 Sherman Ave. and his home was valued at $6,000 which is not so bad, it could definitely have been worse.

I would like to find out what restaurant John owned. I have already looked through the directory records on Ancestry and have not found any information on the restaurant. The only information that was given pertained to John, himself.

O’Connell, John. US City Directories, 1937 Glens Falls, NY.

This tells me that John and Beatrice lived in a house at 61 Sherman Ave (same place as 1940 Census). John had business (bus) and it was in Hudson Falls (HF). I was able to determine the HF = Hudson Falls because another listing showed someone employed (emp) in Schndy (Schenectady).

So, do you have any thoughts how we can figure out what restaurant John owned? At this point, I have not looked at deeds or probate records for him.

*As a side not, I do know that by 1942 John was employed by Luzerne Villa from the US City Directory.*

NY State Census Records

Last week, Ancestry released the New York State Census records for 1892, 1915 and 1925. I had already looked through the 1892 on Family Search and have that document saved on my hard drive, but I was excited to add it to my online family tree, finally.

My hard to research, Irish, O’Connell line was in NY for many years and I was excited to be able to look at them through these newly available records. The most important thing I learned is that my great-great grandfather, John O’Connell told the census taker in 1925 that he was naturalized in Rutland, VT in 1874! I am excited to have another tidbit of his life and hope to be able to find the record.

Of course, with a name like John O’Connell it will probably take forever to flush him out!

Have you had any recent luck with new records online? Please share your stories!

Sundays Obituary: John O’Connell

Fair Haven Era

October 1931

Funeral services for Mr. John O’Connell who died last Friday evening at his home on Pine St., after a five week illness were held at St. Mary’s church Monday 8 o’clock. Rev. PJ Long and JJ Dwyer officiated at the mass of requie. Mr. O’Connell was born in Canada.and has resided in town for the past six years on Pine St. Besides his wife is is survived by three daughters, Mrs. Coulman of Schenectady NY, Mrs. Daha and Mrs William Pratt of Hudson Falls NY, three sons, Dennis of Canada, Dan and John O’Connell of Hudson Falls NY, one half sister, Mrs. J. Gilrain of Fair Haven.

The internment was in St. Marys Cemetery on Washington St. and the pall bearers were Fred Moore, James Hickey, George Eaton, James Laramie, John Dutelle and Frank McDermott.

Tuesday’s Tips: Old Fulton NY Post Cards

Do you have New York ancestors? Have you utilized Old Fulton NY Postcards?

The first few times I accessed this site, I was more than confused as to how to access the records they keep. What records do they have you ask. NEWSPAPERS. I love old newspapers. On this site, I have found obituaries, quick updates about ancestors leaving town and then coming back as well.

So, you ask what is so confusing about the website. On the right 2/3 of the web page is a ability to page the site owner, look at older photo’s and log in. You do not need to log in to use this site.

screen shot of home page

On the right side is where you do your research. You plug in the information you are looking for and are given a list of hits to search through. Everything is in small print, so be careful going through these lists. Personally, as I go through my lists, I look at what area the paper is before I open it. If it is in the area my ancestors lived, I will then open and see what I can find.

List of results for John O’Connell

There are 5,000 hits when I searched for John O’Connell, which is way too many to go through. This is when I get selective and will look for papers that were located near the places John had lived.

There are many different searches that can be performed on this site. If you have ancestors in NY, I suggest you take some time and search here to see if you can find anything in their newspapers.

Mysterious Marie Becomes Less Mysterious

Awhile back, I wrote a Tombstone Tuesday post for Mysterious Marie, my great great grandfather’s second wife. At that point, I had not done truly any research on Marie. I really did not have much information to work with. Besides her former name was Goyette. That was all I really had, plus I was not too interested in her. There was no offspring to this marriage, Marie and John married later in life.

In the back on my head there has always been a little reminder that I needed to find more information on here. Thanks to FamilySearch, I was able to find the marriage register for John and Marie and it gives me a few more clues to look into.

Here is what I learned from this record. John and Marie were married 9 Apr 1915 in Hudson Falls, NY. Marie was 55 at this time and a widow. She was born in Canada to Joseph Denis (I think, it is hard to read) and Harriet Labounty. At the time of marriage, Marie lived in South Glens Falls, NY. Goyette was marries married name, I have no information on her first husband. Now that I have some clues, I will be following up on them in the future.

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.


Was John O’Connell Buried Twice

Last October I wrote about How My Brickwall Came Tumbling Down. I had finally found a death certificate for my great-great grandfather John O’Connell and with that I posted a query on’s message boards for help with an obituary. My facebook friend, Peter, was helpful and went to the library and looked it up for me.

As always with this line, there is another twist in John’s story. According to his obituary, John was buried in St. Mary’s Cemetery on Washington St., in Fair Haven, VT. Now, I had already visited John’s final resting place in Hudson Falls, NY (this has been verified through church records). But, I thought maybe he could have been buried originally in VT and then the family moved him home to Hudson Falls. Obviously, a phone call to St. Mary’s was in order.

I spent a few days searching for any cemetery information on St. Mary’s and found nothing. I reached out to Peter again to see if he could get me a phone number. Again, he was extremely helpful and sent me the number and told me that the church goes by Our Lady of  Seven Dolars.

Today, I knew I would be at work about an hour early with some time to myself. So, this was the day I was going to make my calls to the east cost cemeteries. I placed the first call to a CT cemetery for my MIL’s line, but that is a post for another day. I then called St. Mary’s/Our Lady of Seven Dolars and spoke with a very nice woman who pulled out her file on J. O’Connell. She said that there was no information in his file and she believed no one was buried there. She then asked if I could hold on for a minute and she would check the map of the cemetery to see if that would give us any information. When she got back on the phone, she advised that there are 2 lots and no one is buried there.

So, what happens to these 2 unused burial plots? That was my next question. She said that unless they were bequeathed to someone in a will, the lots will remain there, unused. As a family there is nothing we can do. Not that I am looking to be buried in VT, for gosh sake, I have never even visited the state! But, could we even donate them to a family in need, something? The short answer, NO – not unless it was left to someone in a will. Can you guess what my next step will be? That’s right, will and probate records! I need to see what became of John’s property after his death.

Here are the thoughts that crossed my mind since this phone call:

  • John died during the Depression in 1931
  • He had been living in Fair Haven, VT for six years
  • As far as my research goes, all his children were in NY and Canada
  • His half-sister Alice live in Fair Haven, VT as well

With the facts I have on John and his family, this is the scenereo I have come up with…

Alice started the planning for John’s service’s and must not have known that he had already purchased plots at St. Mary’s (though why his wife did not say anything I have no clue). His children arrive and decide they want to bury him at home in Hudson Falls, NY. Leaving behind the 2 plots at St. Mary’s in VT.

I also want to add that John’s first wife is buried at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Cemetery in Granville, NY with no other family around her (and many empty spaces as well). Are there more family lots there? I sent an email to the church month’s ago asking this very question, I never received a reply.

This was a poor family (in 1930 John owned his home and it was valued at $1,200 in the 1930 census), I cannot see them wasting money by purchasing multiple burial plots and not using them.

What are your thoughts? Would love to hear from anyone on this.

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
%d bloggers like this: