Sunday, January 15, 2012

Saturday Night Fun - Genea-Musings

Randy Seaver of Genea-Musings posted this last night.
Challenge: Accepted

2012 Goals

We're halfway through January already, but it's not too late to set goals for the year. I've noticed on the few genealogy blogs I subscribe to on Google Reader, everyone has set goals for the new year. Not to be left out, here is my list:
  • photograph local family headstones
  • visit Wheatland
  • find burial info for Kate Lucy Waters Moran and her father, Michael!
  • find out what county in Ireland Patrick J. Moran is from
  • create a spreadsheet for all the people in the tree, cross-referencing all of their in an index
  • create "profiles" for all the people in the tree using the index and spreadsheet
  • scan ALL the images from family members that I can
  • get photos of headstones for the family where location is known (via
  • get tracingtheivy headstone cards made (via Hector)
  • take at least two volunteer photos per month for
That feels like a good mix of roadtripping, researching, organizing, and utilizing resources.

Friday, January 6, 2012


The greatest mystery on my mom's side is wrapped up in the rumor about her paternal grandfather. There is the glamorous claim that he was the illegitimate son of Graf Otto von Bismarck. I asked my mom's step-mom, Grandma Anne, about it the other day. Apparently my mom's younger half-brother, Paul, went on a trip to German with his elementary school. They visited the mother house for the order of nuns that ran his school. In the infirmary, two older nuns got out of bed to stand and show respect to little Paul - the idea being that he resembled Bismarck so much. Also, Grandma Anne said she had a cousin from Bavaria that had remarked to her about what a fine looking man her husband was - supposedly to mean that he also resembled Bismark. I told these two stories to my mom, and she said that she had also been told that she looked like Bismark. I did read once that Bismark had approximately 100 illegitimate children, but it's still an interesting story. I wonder if we'll ever know...

The History behind the Name Frederick John

Frederick John Moran, Sr.'s (1900-1981) mother was Mary Catherine Manley Moran (1871-1938). She was married to James Joseph Moran (1870-1943).

Mary's parents were Anthony B.(1836-1881) and Ellen Frances Manley (1844-1938). Ellen was from Ireland. Anthony was born in England, but his parents were from Ireland.

Anthony had a younger brother named Frederick John (1840-1914), and their father's name was John. Anthony and Fred both had their first child, girls, in Tennessee, and named them both Mary - Fred's Mary E (1867) and Anthony's Mary Catherine (1871. Anthony's second child, Elizabeth Manley Buck, was born in Pennsylvania. Fred, his family, and his father, John, remained in Pennsylvania. Anthony moved his family to San Francisco, popping up in a city directory in 1877. His next child and first son was Frederick John (1876-1900). Mary Catherine had her second child, a son, a few months after her younger brother, Fred, died, and named her son after him.

So the name Frederick John was a Manley tribute and still lives on in Hawaii and Pennsylvania!

Frederick John Manley, Sr.

Frederick John Manley

Frederick John Moran, Sr.

Fred J. Moran III

His Brother's Keeper

I had been trying to research beyond my maternal great-great grandfather, James Joseph Moran, for about six years. He was born in 1871, but I could not find him anywhere before 1900 (this was back when I was still relying solely on census records). The story was that he was from Worcester, MA. Whether that was the city or the county, I didn't have a clue. After a break of well over a year, I picked my research back up with the help of my friend and research master, Bee. We found his mortuary record, but JJ (as we nicknamed him) did not have an obituary. He was married (to Mary Catherine Manley) in 1893, and because of the 1906 earthquake, his marriage certificate was destroyed. We moved on to looking for him in the scanned images of the San Francisco Call, and because he was a patrolman, he was mentioned in many articles. We also found him in the city directory for many different years. For a long time he lived at 521 Laguna Street. I found an article from December 25, 1908 which printed a list of men and their addresses who had made the eligibility list for police officers, over 80 men going for 20 available positions. Something of note: A William T. Moran residing at 521 Laguna Street. Although Moran is a common Irish last name, I thought it was enough of a coincidence to consider William T. a lead.

Hot on the trail, I found many interesting tidbits about William T. According to his headstone (buried in the San Francisco National Cemetery) he was born on February 5, 1876 and died November 6, 1931. He fought in the Spanish-American War and was married to a woman named Ellen "Nellie" McAleer, a native of Ireland. I couldn't find a birth record for William in Colorado, but I tried and tried to find James and William in a household together in 1880 in Massachusetts. Nothing. Then just before Christmas I found a new collection on (thanks to the San Francisco Public Library). The collection is of coroner's records from 1928 to 1956. Of all the people I could have looked up, I decided to look for William, since I was focusing on him at the time I found the collection. Of all the people I have looked for since, none of them have been in this collection, but there was William T., and listed on the record was his brother, James J. Moran and his nephew, Fred Moran. Even better, his parents' names: Patrick J. and Kate Lucy Waters! Zip over to the 1880 census and we find them in West Brookfield, MA. JJ is called Jimmie, William (listed as born in Colorado!!) is Willie, and then there's Lizzie and Johnnie, both born in MA (which leads us to wonder why the second of four children was born in a completely different state). It was actually almost two months from the time I first spotted William T. until I found his confirmed connection to JJ. I

Since then, Bee has been communicating with someone whose husband is related somehow. I'm still waiting to hear that connection (the person is on vacation and has limited internet access).

What's in a Name

My paternal grandmother's given name has been shrouded in mystery for as long as even my dad can remember. She called herself Betty and may have given herself the middle name of Isabel. Dad and I had speculated that maybe Betty was short for Elizabeth or even short for Isabel. Her death certificate lists her as Betty I. Rossman. The 1910 US census (she was 3) calls her "Beky," and in the 1920 US census, she is "Rebecca." By 1930 she was 23, still living at home, and called Betty. I wish I had thought to ask her about her name before she passed in 1994.

I wrote that a year and a half ago, and I am proud to say that mystery has been solved! My cousin, Heidi, had interviewed my grandmother in 1989 and 1990. We've had the cassette tapes all these years, but I thought they were packed away. I found them at Thanksgiving with my mom's tapes, so I took them home at Christmas. There is a huge difference between listening to them as a kid and listening to them as family researcher. What a treasure rediscovered!

So her given name in English was Rebecca, but at home she was called something in either Russian or Yiddish. When she went to school the Russian or Yiddish name was translated to Isobel. She hated both Rebecca and Isobel and legally changed her name to Betty Isobel Rosenthal before she got married.